It’s good to be the king (of the jungle)

Today’s Quote: “Clothes therefore, must be truly a badge of greatness; the insignia of the superiority of man over all other animals, for surely there could be no other reason for wearing the hideous things.” ~ Tarzan (From Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs)

I came across this video clip from the 1934 movie Tarzan and His Mate, starring Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan. That really isn’t Miss O’Sullivan doing nude water ballet with the Lord of the Jungle, but her body double, Olympic swimmer Josephine McKim. That probably is Miss O’Sullivan behind the lush foliage at the end of the clip. Thanks to some creative film processing magic and the clever use of foreground objects, we can’t really discern any details but it is obvious she is nude. . On the other hand, I can’t understand why Tarzan didn’t forsake the loincloth and do some skinny-dipping himself. (Maybe he did between takes.)

This scene was cut from the original release in one of the first instances of censorship under the Hays Code which, among other things, banned nudity in films. The scene was later put back for home video release. I’m glad someone had the forethought to save the original negatives.


I’m a little surprised the censors allowed Jane’s outfit. She’s got a lot of leg showing (for the 30s) and it would appear that she’s got nothing on under that loincloth although I’m sure the folks in wardrobe came up with something clever to ensure the necessities were covered.

Song: Jungle Love
Artist: The Steve Miller Band
Album: Book of Dreams
Year: May 1977


Author: Rick

I'm a simple man, trying to make my way in the universe.

One thought on “It’s good to be the king (of the jungle)”

  1. I’ve since learned that there were three versions of the swim scene — fully clothed, topless and nude.

    As to Maureen O’Sullivan’s costume in the picture, religious groups and mad mothers complained and in subsequent Tarzan films, her costume was much more “modest” to use the vernacular. Personally, I like the briefer costume. It seems more authentic. Who wants to wear a lot of clothes in the jungle?


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