- Hardcover: 230 pages
- Publisher: ECW Press; y First edition edition (October 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1550225227
- ISBN-13: 978-1550225228
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #645,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Tarzan, My Father Hardcover – October 1, 2002
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"Johnny Weissmuller-he was a great Tarzan." -- Roger Moore
About the Author
Actor/Longshoreman Johnny Weissmuller, Jr. lives in San Francisco, California, where he has spent most of his adult life. Historian William Reed -- who resides in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico -- is a retired Naval-Intelligence officer and author of the award-winning biography, Olaf Wieghorst. He and his son, W. Craig Reed -- a former nuclear submariner -- are also coauthors of the book Crazy Ivan: Based on a True Story of Submarine Espionage.
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Top Customer Reviews
Tarzan fans in our generation actually embraced a parallel universe in the jungle man's world. There was the long time favorite given us by author Edgar Rice Burroughs, an articulate educated Lord Greystoke who could stow away his tux, put on a loin cloth to lead Tantor and his herd of elephants. Then there was the bigger than life Johnny Weissmuller on the screen who portrayed a Tarzan of few words, gave a battle cry that is more familiar today than most any other sound byte and whose biggest vocabulary word was "Umgawa!" Whether we were first introduced to the book Tarzan or film Tarzan, we could love both. Weissmuller himself was familiar with the concern Burroughs had about the portrayal that first MGM and then RKO required and wished also that he could have a bigger speaking role. However, the money was good and he couldn't object too much. When Burroughs himself made Tarzan films and hand picked Bill Brix with his well spoken vocabulary the films bombed.
In "Tarzan My Father" the author Johnny Weissmuller, Jr. gives a portrayal unlike others in the past. It is not an apology or a "daddy dearest". Johnny Jr. loved his father and admits there were both good and bad things that can be related. However, even in the bad, Johnny Weissmuller is more the innocent taken in by business managers, partying big name friends and two of his five wives, especially the last one who did all she could to trash his name and memorial while making money off of interviews. There is also a rebuttal against Esther Williams's recent book with interviews that reveal she has lied about Johnny Weissmuller as she did other legendary Hollywood heroes.
Johnny Jr. covers the myths behind the legend and uses documentation when needed. When stories conflict he gives both sides as would a true historian. I found myself looking at older books I have on the father and find that in general the son has been forthright in his handling of events. There is also detailed information about his father's sports career which makes him also legendary in that world as well. I had an opportunity to meet Johnny Weismuller briefly in the Roanoke Valley of Virginia and the man I saw was the man described by his son. It was a moment I will always remember. He was both generous and kind.
The book covers the father's friends and cronies, people like Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne, Red Skelton and others who are icons today. In his own case the author knew well Robert Mitchum, Ricky Nelson, Burt Reynolds and Elvis. There are great pictures in the book that will delight any and all film fans.
Yes, the book is very personal and unlike some, the author does it not to exploit his name but to give honor to one of the great film heroes of the 20th century. The book itself is endorsed by Danton Burroughs, secretary of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. This is a tribute and it shows us a man bigger than life who greatly influenced more than one generation.
Johnny Weissmuller had what some might call a simplistic philosophy that his son paraphrases as "A man should stand where God places him-jungle trails or Hollywood streets-and fight for those things he believes."
A positive and different perspective than has often been written about movie stars, it leaves a warm feeling when you lay it down. I certainly hope this book receives the notoriety it deserves. One can only hope it will influence them to put all the great Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies on DVD. It astounds me they are only available on VHS when some poor quality non-Weissmuller Tarzans are on DVD. I highly recommend this book.