The Adventures of Tarzan

The Adventures of Tarzan (1921) is a 15 chapter movie serial which features the third and final appearance of Elmo Lincoln as Tarzan. The serial was produced by Louis Weiss, written by Robert F. Hill and Lillian Valentine (partially based on the novels The Return of Tarzan and Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar by Edgar Rice Burroughs), and directed by Robert F. Hill and Scott Sidney. The first chapter was released on December 1, 1921.[1]

The Adventures of Tarzan
Directed byRobert F. Hill
Scott Sidney
Produced byLouis Weiss
Written byRobert F. Hill
Lillian Valentine
based on novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs
StarringElmo Lincoln
Louise Lorraine
Scott Pembroke
Frank Whitson
Lillian Worth
Great Western Producing Company
Distributed byNuma Pictures Corporation
Release date
December 1, 1921 (first chapter)
Running time
? mins. (15 chapters)
English Intertitles


Tarzan rescues Jane from Arab slave-traders after they have been marooned in Africa. They return to the cabin where his parents lived before their death. Jane is captured by Queen La of Opar, taken to that hidden city, and is to be made a sacrifice. Tarzan rescues her and they escape. Nikolas Rokoff and William Cecil Clayton, the usurper to Tarzan's title of Lord Greystoke, learn that Jane has a map to the city (which contains fabulous riches in exotic jewels), tattooed onto her back. They kidnap her and attempt to loot the city. Tarzan braves many perils, finally rescues Jane, defeats the villains and escapes La's amorous clutches.



The success of the serial The Son of Tarzan inspired Great Western Producing Company to approach Tarzan's creator Edgar Rice Burroughs about making another Tarzan serial. However, the rights for another Tarzan film were still retained by the Weiss brothers' Numa Pictures Corporation, the makers of the feature film The Revenge of Tarzan. When Numa discovered that Great Western had Elmo Lincoln, the first screen Tarzan, signed to play the lead, they agreed to a deal in which Great Western would produce the film while Numa would handle distribution.[2] The story was based partially on two of the Tarzan novels, The Return of Tarzan and Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar, with the addition of some new material.[2][3] The desert scenes were filmed in Arizona.


This serial marked Elmo Lincoln's return to the part of Tarzan, whom he was the first to play, but it was also Lincoln's last time as the character.[2] The serial was advertised as "Censor-proof."[3] Nevertheless, censorship forced the previously bare-chested Lincoln to cover up and wear an over-the-shoulder-styled costume for this production.[2] Jane was played by Louise Lorraine, who celebrated her sixteenth birthday during production.[2] As advertised "Joe Martin, famous screen ape, plays a leading part."[3] Production started 1 January and finished 13 August 1921.[2] The serial's prologue featured Edgar Rice Burroughs himself.[3]


Frank Merrill began doubling Lincoln about half way through the serial. Lincoln was insured for $150,000 and the insurers were not happy with him doing his own stunts. Seven years later, Merrill was cast as the Apeman in Tarzan the Mighty.[2][3][4]



For marketing purposes The Adventures of Tarzan Serial Sales Corporation was formed in New York. The serial sold in half of all available markets without the use of a road man. Within three months of the completion date it had sold out in most countries world wide.[2] Despite rumours circulated that the serial was not new material, but just a rehash of footage from previous Tarzan films, The Adventures of Tarzan was a successful film and one of the top four attractions of the year.[2] The film was reedited and released with sound effects twice—first in 1928, and a second time in 1935.

Home media

The complete fifteen chapter version has not survived. The version available on DVD is the 1928 ten chapter re-release.

Critical reception

The Exhibitors Herald wrote, "Elmo Lincoln as Tarzan is too well known to theater-goers to need further introduction. His red-blooded fights, staged in each episode, will evoke applause from the serial audience." Film Fun Magazine wrote, "There are enough wild animals introduced in each episode to keep the younger generation, which has shown a predilection for the serial form of entertainment, whooping her up.”[2]


The success of the serial inspired a Broadway show, Tarzan of the Apes, but critics attacked it as fit only for film and unsuitable for the stage.[2]

Chapter titles

  1. Jungle Romance
  2. The City of Gold
  3. The Sun Death
  4. Stalking Death
  5. Flames of Hate
  6. The Ivory Tomb
  7. The Jungle Trap
  8. The Tornado
  9. Fangs of the Lion
  10. The Simoon
  11. The Hidden Foe
  12. Dynamite Trail
  13. The Jungle's Fury
  14. Flaming Arrows
  15. The Last Adventure


The Adventures of Tarzan
AuthorMaude Robinson Toombs
Cover artistJerry Schneider
SeriesTarzan (book series)
PublisherERBville Press
Publication date
2006 (trade paper)
2008 (hardcover)
Preceded byThe Dark Heart of Time (1999) 
Followed byThe Greystoke Legacy (2011) 

Originally written as a 15-part serial for newspapers in 1921, it was collected and published as a released as a trade-paperback (ISBN 978-1-4357-4973-3) by ERBville Press in January 2006. The book became available as a hardcover via in 2008.


  1. Jungle Romance
  2. The City of Gold
  3. The Sun Death
  4. Stalking Death
  5. Flames of Hate
  6. The Ivory Tomb
  7. The Jungle Trap
  8. The Tornado
  9. Fangs of the Lion
  10. The Simoon
  11. The Slave Market
  12. Dynamite Trail
  13. The Jungle's Prey
  14. The Flaming Arrow
  15. The Last Adventure


  1. Erbzine
  2. Essoe, Gabe. Tarzan of the Movies. Citadel Press. pp. 37–44. ISBN 978-0-8065-0295-3.
  3. Harmon, Jim; Donald F. Glut. "6. Jungle "Look Out The Elephants Are Coming!"". The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury. Routledge. pp. 123 and 125. ISBN 978-0-7130-0097-9.
  4. Stedman, Raymond William. "3. At This Theater Next Week". Serials: Suspense and Drama By Installment. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 56. ISBN 978-0-8061-0927-5.

See also

Preceded by
The Dark Heart of Time
Tarzan series
The Adventures of Tarzan
Succeeded by
Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy
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