In South Louisiana, it is still common practice to live close to and see a lot of the older generations--4 generations together, too much of the
time--and a large connection with cousins more generations apart than are still living. So a lot of our 1st-2nd had stories have their roots in the
earlier part of the 20th century. This is certainly true for something as simple as strange facts surrounding silent films made in Louisiana. The
strangest thing I've heard, so far, is that it's possible that we have a breeding population of Apes down here, due to the silent film version of:
Tarzan of the Apes film.
Tarzan: Lord of the Louisiana Jungle
In August of 1917 an eclectic band of filmmakers, actors and circus acrobats fought malaria, unbearable heat and the swamp of the Louisiana
Atchafalaya River Basin to bring to the silver screen the best-selling book Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It was an instant hit with
audiences, considered one of the top six motion pictures of the silent era, and one of the first 10 films to earn over one million dollars at the box
office. The film was shot in Morgan City, Louisiana.
Morgan City is on the route of Hwy 90, SW of my hometown about as much of a distance as
my hometown is SW of New Orleans--around a total of 2 hours away from New Orleans. It is the Southernmost part of the Atchafalaya flood basin, and is
part of a large coastal chain of swamps that far outnumber the acres of populated land.
The documentary that is being put together came across a fascinating claim: Here:
In Morgan City we interviewed a man named Glen Fusilier. His testimony said that he had been fishing with his wife near one of the areas where
the Tarzan film had been made. Near sunset he heard a terrible scream or cry from an animal that he had never heard before. A year or so later, while
enjoying the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, he heard the same scream when he was walking through the vicinity of the primates.
(There's even a
comment on the zoo's Silverback liking blondes, go read it!)
From the documentary information online:
About half the original film's footage is missing, and there are very few items left that had anything to do with the movie:
Louisiana was chosen because it met the parameters needed to film: African Americans, Jungle,
There is a book out about the original man who played Tarzan called
My Father, Elmo Lincoln: The Original Tarzan
. I could make a separate thread on the
differences between how Blacks are treated now, here, and at the time of this movie:
Elmo Lincoln who is credited for playing the
Tarzan character had said that he liked the area because due to hurricanes, many of the giant trees were bent over. Instead of climbing, he could run
up the slanted trunks.
(Have quite a few trees like that, still.)
So, what is left at this point:
1. The documentary is finished as of a few months ago. I have not found any information about a DVD being ready to buy yet.
2. Need to figure out how many species were let loose with breedable pairs, then figure out how many of them there could be on the loose, out there.
What complicates matters is that I know of several large apes and monkeys that are still privately owned, and am wondering how many of those get loose
and are unreported.
3. Need to do some research on Lougaroux/Rougarou/Loup Garou sitghtings both before and after this film in the potentially habitable areas, to see if
there is any change to the legends that could be from actual apes living here--and that's not easy, although I live in the right area to do this.
4. Check into how hard it is to track Apes and other animals (both real and possibly non-existant) in the Congo, since this would be dealing with a
fairly similar region to down here.
Still a lot of work.