Academic journal article Antipodes

Tarzan in Oz

Academic journal article Antipodes

Tarzan in Oz

Article excerpt

Johnny Weissmuller-Tarzan to you

would slip the knife back into his belt &

thump his chest & holler like crazy & all

us boys just idolized him & god knows

what the girls thought. Johnny Weismuller,

Olympic champ, still this side of flab

only just-fastest man in a Hollywood

pool, whitest white man in Africa.

Tarzan, clutching a fake jungle vine, would

launch into his awesome swing across the

croc-infested river that flickered between

two gum trees-a cinema black & white

as the movie: a crystal sky chock-full of stars

that almost lit up the clearing; seats that

were hardwood planks, but no-one cared

in the least. We were fresh out of Europe,

like a batch of scones, strangely at home in

Australian bushland, turning it into a surrogate

Congo, a creepy Heart of Darkness, before

we'd ever read Conrad-wishing it was

ourselves on the screen saving Jane from

the deadly swamp, the crocodiles, whatever

everyone wanting a piece of the action,

though few of us would have had a clue

what to do with Jane if we got her. …

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