Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966)  

The poster for Tarzan and the Valley of Gold shows Tarzan taking out a helicopter with bolas made from hand grenades. Since this actually happens in the movie, it is a perfectly acceptable thing to put on a poster. It is not, however, the most awesome thing to happen in it. That would be in the first 10 minutes, when Tarzan kills a henchman with an 8-foot bottle of Coke.

In the ’60s, the franchise ran out of ways to have white people plunder the jungle so Tarzan could stop them. Actually, they ran out of new ways to tell that story in the ’40s; it just took them another 20 years to do something about it. And it took Sean Connery to show them how.

The popularity of the James Bond movies created countless rip-offs and spoofs, but none more awesome than the 007-influenced Tarzan films, especially the ones starring former pro linebacker Mike Henry, in which a dapper, literate Tarzan visited the jungles of the world, making friends and fighting crime. Valley of Gold was the first of such films and opens with him arriving in Mexico, suited up, and met at the airport by villainous goons à la Dr. No.

It’s a short trip from there to giant beverages, grenade bolas, forming a tracking team of wild animals, discovering a lost civilization, and swinging through the trees to a tune that would make Austin Powers jealous. —Michael May

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5 Responses to “Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966)  ”

  • Mitchell Craig Says:

    I remember the scene where Tarzan killed a guy with that giant Coke bottle; I could never quite remember which Tarzan movie it was in.

    A couple of notes:

    1. David Opatoshu and Nancy Kovack are listed in the cast; they also appeared on Star Trek back in the day; Opatoshu in “A Taste of Armageddon” and Kovack in “A Private Little War”.
    2. Unlike Johnny Weismuller’s Tarzan, Mike Henry isn’t shy about using guns when the opportunity arises.

  • Michael May Says:

    I totally didn’t recognize Nancy Kovack without the dark wig and fur vest! Thanks!

  • Patrick Reumann Says:

    This was the only movie in the Tarzan series that came close to the style of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Not so much with the James Bond elements but the way that Tarzan moves from being a normal man to a hero in the Jungle and the lost city elements. I lost track of how many lost citys Tarzan discovered in the books.

  • Christopher Mills Says:

    I’ve long been a fan of producer Sy Weintraub’s more “civilized” Tarzan, and, in particular, the first two Mike Henry epics (although they’re not quite as awesome as Gordon Scott’s last two films). Your recent online cheerleading for Valley Of Gold here and on facebook & Twitter actually prompted me to order the widescreen DVD from Warner Archive (finally supplanting the pan & scan version I’d recorded off of AMC about fifteen years ago). Thanks, Michael!

  • Michael May Says:

    Cool, Chris! I need to follow you and make sure I see Henry’s third one too.

    I enjoyed the couple of Gordon Scott ones I’ve seen, but I don’t think they were the last two. I need to correct that too.

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