April 15, 2019 – “The Adventures of Tarzan (Sort Of)”

Hello, everyone!

Today begins another week at the University of Central Florida Library’s Special Collections and University Archives and with it resumes my journey into the Home Movie Collection. The set of films I reviewed mostly entailed scenes of a short Tarzan fan film produced presumably by the donor and his high school friends in the 1960s. While some of the scenes show the amateur quality of the film, some scenes did seem well choreographed (emphasis on some). Sprinkled inbetween the Tarzan footage laid scenes of either one of the boys visiting or working at the local Food Fair grocery store, a visit to the zoo, a Thanksgiving dinner, a Woody Woodpecker cartoon, and all around tom-foolery. All of this, alongside my normal responsibilities, consisted of my shift.

As usual, I immediately gathered my cleaning supplies and began cleaning the desks of the fifth-floor study hall. While I cleaned the usual stains (pencil markings, coffee stains, eraser shavings, ink left by pens, etc.), I remained thankful that I did not need to scrap gum off from the underneath of the desks. The cleaning process did not take long and I finished approximately 30 minutes after I began. Before I returned the cleaning supplies, I glanced at the shelving cart only to see the cart empty. With the cleaning supplies successfully returned, I turned my attention to the Home Movie Collection.

As previously mentioned, most of the footage viewed concerned a Tarzan fan film. The plot remained relatively the same: a group of hunters, poachers, or mercenaries wade through the woods, confront Tarzan, Tarzan either flees or fights them, the villains recuperate and give chase. Despite the amateur production, the boys who made these films did at least have a very athletic friend to play Tarzan (he climbed trees with great ease) and, to no one’s surprise, they did their own stunts.

Sprinkled in between Tarzan scenes, some other footage presented itself. Footage of a Thanksgiving dinner from 1963, the boys making a mock battle, a structure called “The Buddy Haus” (the place looked like a trash heap with newspaper lining, plastic bags, and assorted items), and the family one of the boys delivering newspapers (something I sympathized with as I once delivered newspapers in a similar manner for one summer). Other footage includes either of the boys working at or shopping as customer of the Food Fair grocery store.

In this particular Food Fair, a sign read “Our Highest Quality” underneath the logo. After witnessing the following, I questioned this statement. One exceptional individual decided that they needed to be the center of attention in front of a camera by dancing around in the store or put a brown paper bag over their heads. “Highest Quality,” indeed.

Another interesting aspect embedded in the films happened to be a Woody Woodpecker cartoon. I remember seeing Woody Woodpecker cartoons as a child and the character remains part of Universal Studios’ beloved intellectual properties. Curiously, the particular cartoon did not feature a distinct characteristic of Woody’s: his trademarked laugh. The 8mm home release of “Knock Knock,” despite the cartoon’s reputation as the first appearance of Woody Woodpecker, did not have any sound and, as a result, did not feature Woody’s laugh. The dialogue needed to be spliced in through cue cards, very much like the silent film era of two decades prior. Very peculiar.

Now, I previously stated that the shelving cart did not contain any books for me when I checked it in the morning. That changed when I returned from lunch. Imagine my surprise when I glanced at the cart by coincidence. While the publications did require much difficulty to shelve, this experienced reinforced my policy of conducting a double check of the cart.

In review, I watched more footage from the Home Movie Collection and completed my Monday responsibilities. Tomorrow, more footage awaits me. Until then, enjoy the evening and stay safe. Bye!



Author: 57r3l574d

I am currently a Graduate Student at the University of Central Florida and simultaneously employed by the university library's Special Collections and University Archives as a Other Personnel Service (OPS) Student. Expected to graduate in 2019 with a History MA - Public History Track.

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