Me Tarzan, You Technology: The Magic of Tarzan in the Movies

Presented by the Academy’s Science and Technology Council.

Hosted by Academy governor Craig Barron. With special guest Ben Burtt.

A week-long celebration of the technology behind “Tarzan” with screenings and a temporary display highlighting the production methods used to create the classic film series.

Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Craig Barron and Oscar-winning sound designer Ben Burtt explored some of the secrets behind the making of two classic Tarzan films with screenings of “Tarzan and His Mate” (1934) and “Tarzan Finds a Son!” (1939). Both evenings included rare, behind-the-scenes photos revealing how certain technologies were used in making the films. The program also examined the MGM rear projection technique used to create the illusion of a charging rhino.

Sound effects played an enormous role in these films. “Tarzan and His Mate” is one of those rare action films in which no music score was added; instead, the filmmakers relied on the power of sound effects alone to magnify the drama. Burtt performd live audio demonstrations to illustrate why this was successful, and he revealed the secret of how the classic Tarzan yell was created (as well as other fun, quintessential Tarzan sounds).

Saturday, October 16, 7 p.m.

Tarzan and His Mate (1934)

Premiering a new print from the Academy Film Archive

Jane’s (Maureen O’Sullivan) former love Harry Holt (Neil Hamilton) returns to the jungle bearing expensive gifts in an effort to convince her to return to civilization. Holt and his business partner embark on an ivory expedition to the Elephant’s Graveyard, and Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) does everything in his power to stop them. Because censors found the aquatic interlude too racy, this version of the film was released only briefly and in just a few theaters.

Directed by Cedric Gibbons. Produced by Bernard H. Hyman. Screenplay James Kevin McGuinness. Adaptation Howard Emmett Rogers, Leon Gordon. Based on characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Cinematography Charles G. Clarke, Clyde De Vinna. Film Editing Tom Held. Art Direction Arnold Gillespie. Sound Douglas Shearer. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. 35mm. 104 mins.

Sunday, October 24, 7 p.m.

Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939)

Featuring a new print courtesy of Warner Bros.

When a plane flying to Cape Town crashes over the jungle, the only survivor – a baby boy – is rescued by Tarzan’s chimpanzee Cheeta. Tarzan and Jane adopt “Boy” (John Sheffield) and raise him as their own, but the new family is threatened when a search party arrives five years later looking for the child, who happens to be the heir to a fortune worth millions.

Directed by Richard Thorpe. Produced by Sam Zimbalist. Screenplay Cyril Hume. Based on characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Cinematography Leonard Smith. Film Editing Frank Sullivan, Gene Ruggiero. Art Direction Cedric Gibbons. Sound Douglas Shearer. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. 35mm. 81 mins.

Images: “Tarzan and His Mate” and “Tarzan Finds a Son!” © Turner Entertainment Co. A Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. All Rights Reserved.

Event Information

Saturday, October 16, at 7 p.m.
Sunday, October 24, at 7 p.m.
Doors open at 6 p.m.
Linwood Dunn Theater
1313 Vine Street
Hollywood, CA 90028

Tarzan’s Technology Treasures

October 16–24 in the foyer of the Linwood Dunn Theater

This week-long display highlighted the studio production methods used in the MGM “Tarzan” films starring Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan. Materials on view included two rare, original matte paintings on loan from the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, from the Elephant’s Graveyard scene in “Tarzan and His Mate,” illustrating the tradition of realistic painting used to create the illusion of exotic locations; a Mitchell camera of the type used to film several “Tarzan” films, and other items. Original multimedia content by Craig Barron and Ben Burtt provided a look at behind-the-scenes footage showing how the films’ various jungle illusions were created.

Display Information

Saturday-Sunday, October 16–17, and Sunday, October 24
Noon to 6 p.m. and immediately prior to and following the screenings.
Tuesday–Friday, October 19-22
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Saturday, October 23.
Foyer of the Linwood Dunn Theater
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