The Legend of Tarzan is an animated television series created by the Walt Disney Company in 2001, based on the Tarzan character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Initially meant as the first original series (though ultimately shunted to UPN's "Disney's One Too" lineup), it also appeared on in India. The Legend of Tarzan picks up where the 1999 feature film left off, with the title character adjusting to his new role as leader of the apes following Kerchak's death and Jane (whom he has since married) adjusting to life in the jungle.
The series would adapt elements from numerous other Tarzan books, such as Queen La, the Waziri Tribe, and Pelucidar, a hidden world of dinosaurs. Several episodes unaired during the original run would be edited together into the Tarzan and Jane movie but found their way in the individual form in re-runs.
This series was never shown on video in its entirety. Instead, several scenes were integrated into a game in the Tarzan & Jane DVD, named the Tarzan & Jane Adventure Builder, in which the player has to decide the characters' actions, using the remote control's arrow keys, while choosing a path, while Tantor narrates, gamebook style.
- Tarzan (Michael T. Weiss) - Since the end of the film, Tarzan assumed his role as leader of the Gorillas. He married Jane and they live happily in the jungle, residing in the old treehouse that Tarzan's parents had built before their deaths. Although Tarzan doesn't live with his mother and the other gorillas, Tarzan will still leap into action to protect them at any length, and he often returns to seek Kala's advice in dealing with situations such as the doubts of the other gorillas, and Jane wanted him to be more "civilized". While helping Jane get over her more romantic ideas about jungle life, she acts as his guide to the duplicity in human nature—and insists he eats his food from a plate. It is a never-ending growth process for both, with some startling insights into what "civilized" means and some uproarious stumbling blocks along the way.
- Jane Porter (Olivia d'Abo) - Daughter of Archimedes Porter and wife of Tarzan. Jane is married to Tarzan and they live in the very treehouse built by Tarzan's late parents. Throughout the series, Jane is shown to have adjusted quite well to her new jungle life with Tarzan, but often when she begins to miss her old life and England, she tries to get Tarzan to act more "civilized" which sometimes poses as a problem to Tarzan's morals. Her appearance and human actions often cause some members of Tarzan's Gorilla Tribe to have doubts about her and question Tarzan's "leadership". She is often the damsel in distress of the series, either being kidnapped or held hostage by the episode's antagonist, only for Tarzan to rescue her.
- Terk (April Winchell) - Terk the Gorilla loves the spotlight, and she's perfect "big sister" material because she's Tarzan's closest friend—protective, concerned, and absolutely convinced that Tarzan can't survive without her. Terk loves telling Tarzan what to do—that is until Tarzan's physical strength proves he can hold her in a headlock instead. Even though Terk is a bit bossy at times, Tarzan knows it's because Terk cares, though she will never say so willingly.
- Tantor (Jim Cummings) - "Someone's gonna get hurt and it's always me!" is Tantor's rallying cry. Despite his size and relative stature within the jungle kingdom, Tantor the Elephant is a coward - he is afraid of anything and everything, including bacteria, pond scum, piranhas (which are not even found in Africa), and anything else that can be named. But when it comes to helping Tarzan in trouble, Tantor shows know-it-all Terk a thing or two in the bravery department and leads the way.
- Kala (Susanne Blakeslee) - If his woes become too great or his thoughts too burdensome, Tarzan seeks seclusion and the calm council of his mother, Kala. A sympathetic ear when Tarzan needs someone wise to talk to, Kala acts as the voice of the apes, always reminding Tarzan of his unique obligations to the family. She is also Jane's closest confidant. The two share a warm, strong bond, and Jane regards her mother-in-law as her only kindred spirit in the jungle. From Kala's point of view, Jane is the human daughter she never had. Kala was Kerchak's mate, and perhaps the only one besides Tarzan that ever openly defied him without repercussions. Kala' s open mind is a well of great wisdom and she is almost always right. Even though Kerchak is gone, she is still highly respected. Although kind and motherly to Tarzan, Jane, and all the gorillas, Kala is almost undoubtedly the bravest gorilla in the family. When the family was trapped in a cave by Tublat, Kala bravely stood up to the villain and encouraged all the other gorillas to be brave as well. Kala's presence and support keep the family together and ensure that they are always there for each other even in the most direst situations.
- Professor Archimedes Q. Porter (Jeff Bennett) - Father of Jane, Professor Porter is a noted scientist with years of expertise studying gorillas, though prior to arriving in Africa in the first film, he's never seen one in the wild. Sometimes the kindhearted professor gets so absorbed in his thinking that he simply forgets what he's doing. Even so, Jane doesn't bat an eye at her father's eccentric antics—she's used to them and shares his enthusiasm. When they both finally meet the gorillas, it's the fulfillment of a lifelong dream—even if the professor does faint at the sight.
- Flynt and Mungo (Erik von Detten and Jason Marsden) - Clueless ape brothers Flynt and Mungo have grown up along with Tarzan, but they are still as dopey as ever. Maybe it is too much self-inflicted head trauma from playing their childhood game "Stop hitting yourself", but their IQs do not seem to have improved with time. The brothers don't mean any harm, but likely as not, their dumb behavior is bound to give Tarzan some serious headaches as he flies to save them—and protect the family—from danger. Since they spend all their time together, being separated will cause them to freak out.
- Booto - The leader of a Rhinoceros herd.
- Manu (Frank Welker) - A mischievous baby baboon, who is fascinated with humans, and, when no one is looking, he is irresistibly drawn to rummaging through their belongings and trying on their clothes. He may even run off with a shiny keepsake or two. Like an inquisitive kid, he leaves a mess behind, which means a red-faced Tarzan and the other family members are usually stuck with cleaning up after him. His mischief, however, sometimes ends up doing more good than first assumed.
- Renard Dumont (René Auberjonois) - Slick, opportunistic French proprietor of "Dumont's Trading Post" whose lust for material gain is compromised only by his persistent attempts to, through oily charm and token gestures, lure Jane from her cozy life with Tarzan. Though somewhat of a nemesis in his first appearance, he later becomes a reluctant ally of Tarzan. A good example is when he disguises himself as a high-ranking official in order to secure the release of Tarzan, Hugo, and Hooft. He even allows Tarzan and his friends to borrow one of his boats to find out the source of the poison that has flown into the river and endangered the jungle, knowing that the contaminated water would ruin his business.
- Hugo and Hooft (Dave Thomas and Joe Flaherty) - Loose caricatures of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, c. the "Road to" series. Deserters of the French Foreign Legion, these Americans now work for Dumont, though they still have the occasional run-in with Lt. Colonel Staquait (their former superior), who considers their insubordination (refusal to raze a village of women and children) a capital offense. They also seem to owe money to Joey the Shark, a loan shark in Chicago, which is probably why they joined the Legion in the first place. Although they are smooth-talking conmen who try to cheat people out of money, they are good-natured and willing to do anything for their friends. A good example is when they are arrested and sent to prison. When Tarzan helps them escape, they have the chance to flee, but return to save him from being executed.
- Jabari (Taylor Dempsey) - Elephant offspring of Baruti and Jamila bearing an uncanny resemblance to the young Tantor. He and "Mr. Tantor" have bonded over their shared phobias and paranoia.
- Chief Keewazi (James Avery) - Leader of the Waziri tribe, a group of natives who live deep in the jungle.
- Basuli (Phil LaMarr) - Chief Keewazi's headstrong son and future leader of the Waziri tribe. He becomes good friends with Tarzan. Tarzan once aided Basuli in retrieving an eagle's feather, which he needed as part of a rite of passage in order to marry. Though he and Tarzan are friends, they compete in many ways.
- Dr. Robin Doyle (Sheena Easton) - A female Irish anthropologist who began her studies in the jungle and has the Professor smitten. The first time she came to Africa to study the Waziri people with Professor Porter, he was afraid he was too old for her and sought out a fountain that he thought would make the drinker young again. Another time, she brought her nephew Ian.
- Moyo (Neil Patrick Harris) - Another gorilla in Tarzan's family. He once believed Tarzan cared more about Jane than the family. When Hista, an enormous python, attacked while Tarzan was with Jane, Moyo managed to chase Hista away for the time being. When Tarzan returned, he boasted about this one-time accomplishment, claimed that Tarzan was too busy being with Jane to protect the family, and challenged Tarzan for the leadership of the gorillas. Moyo defeated Tarzan, though only because Tarzan had saved Moyo from an imminent death of being impaled on sharp spikes. Moyo led the family away and, by an error of judgment, into a tar pit. After some conflict, Moyo and Tarzan cooperated to rescue the family and lure Hista into the tar pit, where the great snake became stuck and sank, forever ending the python's reign of terror. Moyo reconciled with Tarzan, finally seeing that Jane was part of their family, and stepped down as leader. He promised to wait until he was ready to try to become a leader again. Despite his arrogance and stubbornness, when the elephants and gorillas engage in jungle warfare, Moyo plays a big part in helping Tarzan lead the gorillas to victory. Just as the gorillas are about to triumph, a fire breaks out, and Moyo is the first gorilla to follow Tarzan's lead in putting out the fire.
- Hazel, Greenly, and Eleanor (Tara Strong, Grey DeLisle, and Nicollette Sheridan) - Three upper-class women and Jane's friends from England, who came to the jungle to "save" Jane from Tarzan because they thought that she was unhappy in the jungle. When she tried to show them that she was still the same polished girl they knew from London by throwing a picnic, she asked that Tarzan wear his father's suit. Tarzan, thinking Jane was embarrassed by him, wasn't too thrilled on "being something he wasn't", but after a heart to heart talk with the Professor, he put on the suit. Meanwhile, her friends were being chased by the panthers, Sheeta and Nuru. Using the skills she learned in the jungle, Jane was able to help her friends survive until Tarzan was able to save them. The next time her friends came to visit, they brought Greenly's fiance, Henry, to the jungle to "toughen him up". After an earthquake created a tidal wave, they ended up lost in the jungle with Henry. The geologist showed exceptional ingenuity and resolve in helping the group survive until Tarzan could save them (again), including wrestling a crocodile and winning. Hazel is mentioned in "Tarzan and the Flying Ace" as being the biggest gossiper in the British Isles, which is how Robert knew where to find Jane. Hazel also happens to be the name of Jane's best friend in the books, sharing her last name with the voice actor, Tara Strong.
- Tublat (Keith David) - A rogue ape and a former member of Tarzan's gorilla family. He challenged Kerchak for leadership but was defeated and cast out. He is considered dangerous by all the gorillas due to his aggressive and sociopathic behavior. He is based on Kala's husband (and Tarzan's foster father) in the original Tarzan novel. His personality is also very much like the original Kerchak and/or Terkoz from the novel. Conversely, Kerchak's personality in the 1999 film is just like Tublat's in the original novel. He once took over another gorilla family that Gobu belonged to. But the family overthrew him and Gobu replaced him. He often calls Tarzan a hairless runt. He has four toes on his right foot, and this is one way to tell he is in the area. In the series, he plots to dispose of Tarzan so that he can take over the gorilla pack for himself, and makes no secret of his hatred against Tarzan, believing him to be unworthy of leading the gorilla pack (despite Tarzan's actual success as a leader of the gorillas).
- Queen La (Diahann Carroll) - In the original novels, a high priestess of a blood cult who fell in love with Tarzan. In her adaptation for the series, she is an utterly vicious sorceress who rules over the abandoned city of Opar, where she lords over the Leopard Men, leopards whom she has changed into humanoid form to serve her. She falls in love with Tarzan after he comes to rescue Jane's father from the Leopard Men, who were capturing males as potential husbands for La. Her attempts to seduce Tarzan fail every time, as his loyalty is firm with Jane, and in almost every encounter, La is trying to hurt Jane and take Tarzan for herself. She could actually be considered Jane's rival for Tarzan's affections. Her magic staff is eventually shattered by Jane, turning La to dust and the Leopard men back into ordinary leopards. Her spirit still lingers and tries to steal Jane's body and fix her staff. After some forced body-switching and getting inside Tarzan, she is eventually forced inside the body of a rat, and the staff is destroyed again, trapping her in the rodent form.
- Samuel T. Philander (Craig Ferguson) - Professor Archimedes' academic rival who frequently attempts to steal his ideas or garner fame by turning Tarzan in as the "missing link". On one occasion, he found Pellucidar yet his photographic proof was ruined by a monkey photographing himself. He later attempted to capture the silver ape Mangani who is known for his healing powers. Samuel even tried to capture Tarzan and his men mistaken Archimedes as him. His humiliations reduced him to living in an apartment in Chicago constantly ducking the Landlord when he was visited by Edgar Rice Burroughs about what he knows about Tarzan. He is modeled on the British comedy actor Terry-Thomas; he is named after Professor Porter's bumbling assistant in the original Tarzan novel.
- Count Nikolas Rokoff (Ron Perlman) - A greedy former Russian count stripped of his title who hears about a treasure in the valley of the leopards and plans to find it to regain his title. Tarzan refuses to help him until Rokoff threatens to kill Jane if he doesn't. His intellectual battle with Tarzan goes like a chess game until Tarzan finally releases the last few leopards from the boarded-up cave on him, but it is unclear if they kill Rokoff or not.
- Lt. Colonel Staquait (Jim Cummings) - A vicious, scar-faced Colonel in the French Foreign Legion. He sees himself on the right side of the law, but his draconian means do not justify his actions, putting him at odds with Tarzan. He acts as judge and executioner and has made it his goal to hunt down Hugo and Hooft after they refused his order to burn down a village full of women and children. Tarzan helped fake their demise, but eventually, the Colonel learned the truth and imprisoned them. Tarzan ended up imprisoned in Fort Doom as well, then after allowing Hugo and Hoof to escape, he was sentenced to hang. But Tarzan was released after Renard impersonated a French magistrate, which Staquait doesn't notice as the heroes safely returned to Africa by steamship.
- Thaddeus Hunt (Kevin Michael Richardson) - The leader of a band of kidnappers (presumably drug traffickers) who try to kidnap Tarzan and former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt for ransom money. His two main minions are Jake and Sam. He and his men are eventually arrested by Roosevelt's two government agents.
- Nuru and Sheeta (Frank Welker) - They are two black panthers that frequently find and battle Tarzan. They are sometimes seen as part of a group of leopards.
- Mabaya - A rogue bull elephant who originally belonged to the same herd as Jabari and his parents. Mabaya, like all rogues, is almost constantly angry and tramples anything he sees for almost no apparent reason. He is easily recognized by his broken right tusk and bloodshot red eyes. Episodes featuring Mabaya usually require Tantor to overcome his fears and face down the renegade in an elephantine match of strength.
- Johannes Niels and Merkus (John O'Hurley and Jim Cummings) - Two miners who first came to the jungle to mine diamonds. Niels is the tall, blond-haired, and calmer of the two, and Merkus is shorter, muscular, and more violent. Tarzan agreed to guide them to a volcano to dig for diamonds, on the condition that he get one to give to Jane. After a mishap, they lose their diamonds and leave in chains. They later return to retrieve the diamonds, which may not have survived the lava. They are attacked by Tublat, who they capture, and are about to take him around the world until Tarzan, along with a protesting Terk, rescue him. Once again, Niels and Merkus leave the jungle empty-handed.
- Hista (Frank Welker) - A giant snake that threatens the gorilla family and no one seems able to fight evenly. He threatens the gorillas until Tarzan and Moyo manage to lure him into a tar pit, where the snake dies sinking into it.
- Ian McTeague (Charles Napier) - A corrupt greedy businessman. He started up an illegal mining operation near the mountain, where he and his men believe that there is gold for them to dig. As they do so, they use the water from the river to irrigate their operation, where they separate the dirt from ore with chemicals, which are then later spilled out into the rest of the river heading towards the jungle. Because of this, it has caused a plague among the animals drinking it (even Tantor almost fell victim to it). Even the Waziri tribe fell victim to the plague, as they used the river for their crops and traveling. Needless to say, McTeague doesn't care about the toxicity of the chemicals and continues dumping them into the river, as he still wants to be rich. Upon learning about the mine, Tarzan and his friends ally with the Waziri tribe to build a dam to block the river and then break it down to have the speeding water destroy the whole mine for good, leaving the river fresh and clean again. McTeague and his men then leave in a huff, but not after McTeague angrily swears revenge against Tarzan and the Waziri tribe for ruining his mining operation.
- Lady Waltham (Amanda Donohue) - An aristocratic lady and the sister of the deceased Clayton (originally intended to be his widow) who wants revenge on Tarzan for killing her brother (at least, in her own mind). She had her valet Hobson capture those close to him and she then poisoned Tarzan. Tarzan was then given a challenge by Lady Waltham which was either save those he is close to from danger or head to a mountain she dubbed "Clayton's Peak" where the antidote is. Though Tarzan managed to save his friends and family, he then ended up saving Lady Waltham from leopards. Afterward, she gave Tarzan the antidote realizing that Tarzan would never have killed her brother. She is implied to have made peace with Tarzan and his family and has returned to her original life.
- Hobson (Jim Cummings) - Lady Waltham's valet.
- Muviro (Kevin Michael Richardson) - a treacherous Waziri warrior and one of Basuli's subordinates. Despite serving for Basuli, Muviro holds a personal hatred and jealousy against the chief's son and happens to be hostile towards outsiders (mainly Tarzan and his friends). Upon learning that Basuli is planning to get an eagle's feather with Tarzan's help as part of the customs for Basuli to marry and be future chief, Muviro secretly plotted to dispose of Basuli so that he himself can be the new chief. He caused several incidents during Tarzan and Basuli's journey: such as chopping down a tree into a river they were crossing over, disturbing a herd of rhinoceros to stampede after the duo, and causing a rock slide on them in an elephant graveyard near the mountain. After the third attempt fails, Muviro reveals his true colors to both Tarzan and Basuli before engaging in a fight with the latter. Fortunately, Basuli defeats Muviro and banishes him from the tribe for his treachery, and Muviro is last seen walking away into the midst with an angry look on his face, implying that he might return to get revenge.
- Robert Canler (Jeff Bennett) - Jane's old childhood friend and next-door neighbor who knew her since she was five, nicknamed Bobby. He is an ace pilot who carries a sword disguised as a cane with a silver edge and a Webley pistol and flies in a Sopwith with floats. He was once working for the British Intelligence but switched to the German army as a double agent when he realized how profitable it would be, by bringing them a code machine, which was disguised as a music box he gave Jane. Despite his betrayal of Jane, he prevents her from certain death and is eventually arrested by Captain Nigel Tailer of the RAF.
- Bob Markham (Mark Harmon) - A logger, widower, and single father to his daughter Abby. After his wife died, he sunk everything he had into logging. However, the way he was logging tore up so much soil, that a long dormant plague was released and threatened to kill his men and daughter. With help from Tarzan and Terk, Markham gathered all but one of the ingredients for the cure. The last one was a flower that was only found in one part of the jungle until Markham's men bulldozed over them while logging. By some luck, Abby had picked one of them before, and Jane showed her how to press it, thus preserving it. After Abby and Markham's men were cured, they ceased logging and started to plant the seeds saved from the flower.
- Abigail "Abby" Markham (Nicolette Little) - Abby Markham is the daughter of Bob Markham, she appears to be 5–9 years old, but maybe older. Markham loves his daughter and will do anything for her. When she falls ill with the same plague that threatens his men, he asks for Tarzan's help to cure her. Together, they get all but one ingredient for the cure, a flower found only in an area that Markham's men had bulldozed over; Luckily, Abby had picked one of the flowers and preserved it by pressing it. She is last seen playing tag with Jane and Terk.
- Gobu (Tate Donovan) - A gorilla from another family. Tarzan and Terk found him being attacked by hyenas and saved him. He ended up with a broken leg. Terk felt she wasn't girly enough for him. He managed to trick Tarzan into coming with him to his family so he could meet his leader. Tarzan then finds out Tublat is his leader. He showed up a few months ago and killed Gobu's original leader. Tublat and Tarzan prepare to battle, but Gobu stands up to him and reminds everyone that there is strength in numbers, and the gorillas gang up on Tublat, driving him off. Gobu then steps in to take place as a new leader. Terk tries her lady charms, but Gobu tells her that he always liked Terk the way she is. They both end up leaving to throw mud at warthogs.
- Zutho (Jason Alexander) - A shady mandrill that Tarzan, Terk, and Tantor first encountered as kids at the forbidden side of the river. While Tarzan teaches Zutho and his friends how to make spears, a fire broke out and nearly destroyed the jungle but the rain had put it down. Tarzan blamed himself and ended up in Zutho's debt. Several years later, Zutho resurfaces in order to get Tarzan to fulfill his favor into dealing with some annoying monkeys that were keeping him up at night. With help from Jane, Terk, and Tantor, Tarzan did the right thing and admitted what happened the day of the fire to Kala, who then dealt with Zutho.
- Gozan (John DiMaggio) - A mandrill who is one of Zutho's friends.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs (Steven Weber) - A book writer who was in need of inspiration for his next novel. He eventually finds it when discovering about Tarzan. After meeting some of Tarzan's acquaintances, he finally meets Tarzan when Tarzan saves him. After a talk with Tarzan and Jane, he creates a novel (in comparison to the reality version of it) and his boss says everyone will remember him by it. He was also a real person who wrote the Tarzan series.
- Theodore Roosevelt (Stephen Root) - Former President of the United States. The writers take Roosevelt's real-life post-presidency trip to Africa for the Natural History Museum of New York City and put it in the series.
The growling sound effects for the gorillas were recycled ones by Clarence Nash.
- Main article: The Legend of Tarzan episode list
Setting of the Series
When this series is set has stirred up a bit of controversy. The series was a spin-off of Disney's Tarzan, which mentioned Charles Darwin, Rudyard Kipling and Queen Victoria. The original film was set in 1882, but 'Dumont's Trading Post' is established in 1912, Teddy Roosevelt shows up his presidency (1901-09) (In real life he visited Africa in 1909-1910 during the Smithsonian–Roosevelt African Expedition) and is running in the 1912 election.
In Tarzan and the Mysterious Visitor, a visitor named Ed arrives in Africa to record details on Tarzan's life for inspiration, at the end of the episode it's revealed that Ed is actually Edgar Rice Burroughs, the author of Tarzan. It's agreed by researchers that Burroughs deliberately used fictitious dates to protect Lord Greystoke from curiosity seekers by providing a false trail so his identity would not be revealed.
"Tarzan and the Flying Ace" is implied to be taking place during World War I. Meanwhile Jane is able to identify a Velociraptor, a dinosaur genus described in 1923.
In "The Prison Break", Hugo states to a local prison mate as he, Hooft, and Tarzan begin their breakout, "We'll send you a postcard from Zaire". The Republic of Zaire was what the Democratic Republic of the Congo was called between 1971 and 1997. The Republic of Zaire was called the Colonial Congo during the original time period of the movie and was called Belgian Congo during Roosevelt's time in Africa.
In Tarzan and Jane, it's mentioned that special took place a year after their marriage. Though, when this took place is unknown. Tarzan and the Flying Ace featured fighter planes, which weren't invented until World War 1 in 1914, code machines (which weren't invented until the 1920s) and mentioned "her majesty". During the First World War, the ruler of England was George V.
This is much like how the Pirates of the Caribbean film series is stated as being historically inaccurate.
- Tarzan of the Apes, Page 3: From the records of the Colonial Office and from the dead man's diary we learn that a certain young English nobleman, whom we shall call John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, was commissioned to make a peculiarly delicate investigation of conditions in a British West Coast African Colony from whose simple native inhabitants another European power was known to be recruiting soldiers for its native army, which it used solely for the forcible collection of rubber and ivory from the savage tribes along the Congo and the Aruwimi.
- Tarzan of the Apes, Page 142: As you know, we were supposed to have set out upon a scientific expedition to the Congo. Papa was presumed to entertain some wondrous theory of an unthinkably ancient civilization, the remains of which lay buried somewhere in the Congo valley. But after we were well under sail the truth came out.
- Tarzan of the Apes, Page 174: To add to the fiendishness of their cruel savagery was the poignant memory of still crueler barbarities practiced upon them and theirs by the white officers of that arch hypocrite, Leopold II of Belgium, because of whose atrocities they had fled the Congo Free State--a pitiful remnant of what once had been a mighty tribe.
- Tarzan of the Apes, Page 183: Carefully they ransacked every hut and corner of the village, but no sign of D'Arnot could they find. They questioned the prisoners by signs, and finally one of the sailors who had served in the French Congo found that he could make them understand the bastard tongue that passes for language between the whites and the more degraded tribes of the coast, but even then they could learn nothing definite regarding the fate of D'Arnot.
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