- Tarzan yell
The Tarzan yell is the distinctive, ululating yell of the character
Tarzan, as portrayed by actor Johnny Weissmullerin the films based on the character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, starting with " Tarzan the Ape Man" (1932). The yell was a creation of the movies and the closest thing to it in the books is simply called "The victory cry of the bull ape."
History and origin of the yell
Although the yell ostensibly was that of Weissmuller, different stories exist as to how the
sound effectwas created. According to the newspaper columnist L. M. Boyd(circa 1970), "Blended in with that voice are the growl of a dog, a trill sung by a soprano, a note played on a violin's G string and the howl of a hyena recorded backward." According to Bill Moyers, it was created by combining the recordings of three men: one baritone, one tenor, and one hog caller from Arkansas [ [http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0522-35.htm "Pass the Bread" by Bill Moyers at Common Dreams.org] ] . Another widely published notion concerns the use of an Austrian yodel played backwards at abnormally fast speed. But Weissmuller claimed that the yell was actually his own voice, of his own invention, based on a yell he used when playing as a child. His version is supported by his son and by his Tarzan co-star, Maureen O'Sullivan, and is the most reasonable explanation, given that the state of audio technology at the time when it first appeared would have made seamless splices very difficult to create.Fact|date=August 2008
The sound itself has received a
trademarkregistration, owned by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.. The official description of the yell is: "The mark consists of the sound of the famous Tarzan yell. The mark is a yell consisting of a series of approximately ten sounds, alternating between the chest and falsetto registers of the voice, as follow - 1) a semi-long sound in the chest register, 2) a short sound up an interval of one octave plus a fifth from the preceding sound, 3) a short sound down a Major 3rd from the preceding sound, 4) a short sound up a Major 3rd from the preceding sound, 5) a long sound down one octave plus a Major 3rd from the preceding sound, 6) a short sound up one octave from the preceding sound, 7) a short sound up a Major 3rd from the preceding sound, 8) a short sound down a Major 3rd from the preceding sound, 9) a short sound up a Major 3rd from the preceding sound, 10) a long sound down an octave plus a fifth from the preceding sound." [ [http://tarr.uspto.gov/servlet/tarr?regser=serial&entry=75326989&action=Request+Status Trademark Applications and Registrations Retrieval, Serial Number 75326989] ]
Despite these efforts, the
Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market(OHIM) in late 2007 determined that such attempts by the estate of Burroughs to maintain such trademark must fail legally, reasoning that " [w] hat has been filed as a graphic representation is from the outset not capable of serving as a graphic representation of the applied-for sound," said the OHIM ruling. "The examiner was therefore correct to refuse the attribution of a filing date."
The Tarzan yell is often used for comic effect in later, unrelated movies, particularly when a character is swinging on vines or doing other "Tarzanesque" things. The sound clip used in the Weissmuller films has also been exclusively used for
animated seriesappearances of Tarzan, and in the Tarzan television series (1966 - 1968), which starred Ron Ely, rather than having the actor providing Tarzan's voice for the series attempt to imitate the trademark yell.
Other Tarzan yells
The first ever version of the yell can be found in the part-sound serial "
Tarzan the Tiger" (1929). This version is described as a "Nee-Yah!" noise [ [http://www.erbzine.com/mag5/0593.html ERBzine: Tarzan the Tiger] , retrieved 25th June 2007] .
In the 1932 Tarzan radio serial with
James Pierce, the yell sounds like "Taaar-maan-ganiii". In the ape language mentioned in the Tarzan novels, "Tarmangani" means "White Ape" [ [http://www.erbzine.com/mag14/1482.html ERBzine: Tarzan Yell Story] , retrieved 25th June 2007] .
A very similar cry was used for Burroughs' own Tarzan film, "
The New Adventures of Tarzan" (1935), shot concurrently with the MGMWeismuller movies in Central Americawith Herman Brixas a cultured Tarzan. The yell can best be described as a "Mmmmm-ann-gann-niii" sound that gradually rises ever higher in pitch [ [http://www.erbzine.com/mag5/0584.html ERBzine: New Adventures of Tarzan] , retrieved 25th June 2007] .
One of the victory fanfares in
Team 17's worms is a slightly different sounding Tarzan yell, comically followed by a swooshing and a collision sound.
Tarzan yell in film and television
Non-Tarzan related films and television shows where the Weissmuller Tarzan yell can be heard include:
Dumbo(1941) when a gorilla shakes the cage before the cage's bar comes off.
The Art of Self Defense(1941)
George of the Jungle(1967) animated series.
The Carol Burnett Show" (1967-1978), in which Carol Burnett, the hostess, specializes in frequent renditions of the yell.
Get Smart" episode "The Apes of Rath," (1969) in which Agent 99 is kidnapped by an ape, a la King Kong, who gives the yell as he plunges to his death from the top of a building.
* "The Price Is Right (1970's) Johnny Weismuller made a brief appearance on the game show endorsing a brand of vitamins and rendered a somewhat shakey version of the yell when asked to do so by host Bob Barker.
Harold and Maude" (1971), in which Maude performs the yell in an open field, Harold standing near their picnic blanket.
Every Which Way But Loose" (1978), in the lake scene Philo ( Clint Eastwood) jumps from a tree and gives the Weissmuller Tarzan yell.
Octopussy" (1983), when James Bondis swinging on vines through a junglein India
* "" (1983), this was actually the first appearance, in terms of production dates of the "
Star Wars" films, of the Wookieeversion of the yell; Chewbaccashouts it as he and a pair of Ewoksswing from a vine onto the top of an AT-ST. The sound effect was re-used for Episode III.
Pee Wee's Big Adventure(1985) When Pee-Wee is escaping Warner Bros. through a jungle set, he swings across a lake on his bike on a vine doing a Pee-Wee version of the Tarzan yell
* " (1985), when Yohko is swinging on vines through a jungle in Leda.
Explorers(1985), when Ben meets Wak, he introduces himself by tapping his chest and saying, "I'm Ben. Me Ben" Wak responds with "Me Tarzan!" followed by the Weismuller yell.
Howard the Duck (film)(1986)
* One of the many
Whammyanimations on Press Your Luck(1983-1986) is of the Whammy imitating Tarzan, with rope and yell, only to have an elephant run into him.
Short Circuit 2" (1988), Johnny 5 plays a reocording of the Tarzan yell as an alarm.
Mario of the Apes" (1989)
Misadventure of Mighty Plumber(1990)
Bobby's World" (1990-1998)
2 Stupid Dogs(1993-1995) ( Stunt Dogs)
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing" (1995)
Ronin Warriors" (1995), in the episode, " Sand Blasted", when Kento Rei Faunswings on the wire of a wrecking ball.
*"" (1997) [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkydTUOKDR4]
Tenchi in Tokyo" (1997), in the episode, " Ryoko's Big Date", as Ryoko (Tenchi Muyo!)does the yell while she was on the roof of the house after telling Tenchi he'd better be at the park.
George of the Jungle (film)" (1997) and " George of the Jungle 2" (2003)
*"" (1999-2003), in an episode,
Van Flyheight( Matthew Erickson) and Fiona ( Carol-Anne Day) swing on the vine one at a time before jumping into the water.
The Emperor's New Groove" (2000), Pacha does the yell while swinging on a vine in an attempt to save Emperor Kuzco from a pack of jaguars.
* "" (2001) when Alex is swinging on a rope starting to save a pirate from the Spanish soldiers.
* " (2001)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003)( Return to New York) Michelangelo does the yell while swinging on a rope.
The Backyardigans(2004) ( The Heart of the Jungle)
Home on the Range (film)(2004)
Mario Power Tennis(2004), in which Donkey Kongdoes the yell while winning in tennis tournaments.
* "" (2005), during the
Battle of Kashyyyk, voiced by a Wookiee warrior; the pitch of it having been altered slightly to resemble the deep and gravelly voice characteristic of the Wookiee race.
* "Madagascar" (2005), In the beginning, Marty swings on a vine in his fantasy and does the yell. All the original yells were manufactured, but
Chris Rockactually did that yell.
Mario Superstar Baseball(2005), Donkey Kongdid the same yell while striking out a player in baseball games.
My Gym Partner's a Monkey(2005), in the episode, "Me Adam, You Jake".
Return of Pink Five" (2006)
One Piece", Usopp performs a move called Usopp AAaaaAAAaaaAA! (ウソップアーアアー), which features him swinging from a rope. (2007)
George of the Jungle (2007 TV series)(2007)
* "", Sir Shark act like Tarzan (he's pounding the chest (who are
Ghostly Wail)) to destroy the Dark Bloom (evil clone) of Allergic to Superheroesand the Jedi.
The Universal telephone ring
* [http://www.erbzine.com/mag14/1482.html The Tarzan Yell]
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