Tarzan Meets Technology at the Academy

Beverly Hills, CA (October 5, 2010) — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will screen “Tarzan and His Mate” (1934) and “Tarzan Finds a Son!” (1939), and explore the secrets behind the making of these two jungle classics on Saturday, October 16, and Sunday, October 24, respectively, at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. Presented by the Academy’s Science and Technology Council, “Me Tarzan, You Technology: The Magic of Tarzan in the Movies” will be hosted by Oscar®-winning visual effects supervisor and Academy governor Craig Barron, with special guest Oscar-winning sound designer Ben Burtt. Both programs will begin at 7 p.m.

The evenings will include rare, behind-the-scenes photos revealing how various technologies were used in making the films. The program will also examine the MGM rear-projection technique used to create the illusion of a charging rhino.

“Tarzan and His Mate” is one of the rare action films to which no music score was added; instead, the filmmakers relied on the power of sound effects alone to magnify the drama. Burtt will perform live audio demonstrations to illustrate why this was successful, and he will reveal the secret of how the classic Tarzan yell, as well as other quintessential Tarzan sounds were created.

In “Tarzan and His Mate,” which was directed by Cedric Gibbons, 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 in the film too racy, this version of “Tarzan and His Mate” was released only briefly and in just a few theaters.

In “Tarzan Finds a Son!,” which was directed by Richard Thorpe, a plane flying to Cape Town crashes over the jungle and 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.

In conjunction with the two screenings, the Academy will present “Tarzan’s Technology Treasures,” a week-long display highlighting the studio production methods used in the MGM “Tarzan” films. Materials that will be on view include a Mitchell camera of the type used to film several “Tarzan” films, and two rare, original matte paintings on loan from the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. The paintings, which helped construct the Elephant’s Graveyard scene in “Tarzan and His Mate,” illustrate the tradition of realistic painting applied to imaginary, exotic locations. Original multimedia content by Barron and Burtt will provide a behind-the-scenes look at how the films’ various jungle illusions were created.

“Tarzan’s Technology Treasures,” on display in the Linwood Dunn Theater foyer, will be available for viewing the weekends of October 16–17 and October 23–24 from noon to 6 p.m., and immediately prior to and following the screening programs on the 16th and 24th. The public may also view the display Tuesday through Friday, October 19–22, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to view the display is free.

Tickets for each of the “Me Tarzan, You Technology: The Magic of Tarzan in the Movies” events are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Tickets are available for purchase by mail, at the Academy box office (8949 Wilshire Boulevard, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), or online at www.oscars.org. Doors open at 6 p.m. All seating is unreserved.

The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood.  For more information call (310) 247-3600 or visit www.oscars.org.

Contact Information

For more information, contact

Teni Melidonian
tmelidonian@oscars.org