Friday, May 22, 2020

Episode 24: Tarzan's Magic Fountain (1949)

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Noel and Michael watch the last Tarzan movie of the 1940s, in which Johnny Weissmuller has been replaced as the ape man by Lex Barker. They discuss Barker's alarming post-Tarzan behavior and how knowing that affects viewing his work, including Tarzan's Magic Fountain. And they also bid farewell to Brenda Joyce in her last appearance as Jane.

In the episode, a publicity photo is mentioned in which Sol Lesser took a picture of his new Tarzan with the original movie Tarzan, Elmo Lincoln, who had a tiny role in Magic Fountain. Here's the photo that Noel found.


  1. While I'll admit Barker replacing Weissmuller as Tarzan is like trying to replace Babe Ruth (you just can't), to me Barker didn't bring anything to the role in the look or command that Weissmuller had. So for the five Barker films, I'm just here for the revolving door of Janes.

    In the speculation you mentioned as to whether Barker's behavior had something to do with his numerous Janes, I don't think anything ever came to light, although 1940s Hollywood was certainly a different time where silence was unfortunately kept for the most part.

    There were also accusations leveled against Weissmuller about exhibitionist behavior towards Maureen O'Sullivan on the Tarzan set, primarily by Esther Williams, who wrote about it years after her own alleged incidents with Weissmuller on the Aquacade shows. She claimed that O'Sullivan verified Weissmuller's behavior and told Williams basically ignored it.

    It should be noted that there was an on camera scene in Tarzan and the Huntress where Weissmuller was playfully wrestling with Brenda Joyce's Jane on a raft where you can see Weissmuller subtly yank Joyce's hand down to touch his loincloth covered privates. I'm surprised the censors back then didn't catch that given how vigilant they were about other innocuous details.

  2. I didn't know that about Weissmuller. That's disappointing. I imagine that must have played some role in O'Sullivan's decision not to come back. Yeesh.