The Ape Men

When I was in junior high school and discovering myself, AMC very helpfully spent a summer airing the entirety of the Tarzan film oeuvre. I became acquainted with all of the Tarzan men, from Buster Crabbe to Johnny Weissmuller (check out a Weissmuller marathon Aug. 3 on TCM) to Lex Barker (did you know he molested Lana Turner’s daughter Cheryl, and Lana pulled a pistol on him while he slept and then, holding it to his head, thought, “Is this bastard worth the rest of my life in prison? The end of my career? Everyone’s life ruined?” and instead kicked him out the next day?), bodybuilder Gordon Scott, Jock Mahoney, and Mike Henry. Oh, those men! Those names! That Technicolor! Those muscles and costumes in varying degrees of skimpiness, depending on the era! It was a total delight, and the films remain a fond memory even apart from all the beefcake. They were mindless adventures, perfect for a lazy summer Sunday—or a sticky Wednesday night.

Johnny Weissmuller

Perv Lex Barker

Gordon Scott

Jock Mahoney

Mike Henry

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