Animal Star of Movies, Circus and Rodeo. He was an incredibly intelligent animal owned and trained by silent and then talkie cowboy star, Ken Maynard. Tarzan graced the screen in the '20s, '30s and the '40's delighting youngsters across America at Saturday Matinees. He was the star of his own movies and had screen credits for over fifty movies with many uncredited films. A few of them...His first in 1927 "Somewhere in Sonora," "The Wagon Master," "The Fighting Legion," "Arizona Terror," "Sunset Trail," "Come on Tarzan," "Death Rides the Range," and his final in 1940 "Lighting Strikes West." The wonder horse was a better performer in contrast to the human actors, perhaps making a case for an award to be presented to animals at the Academy Awards. Ken Maynard bought the palomino in Newhall, California for $50.00. He named him after author Edgar Rice Burroughs creation of Tarzan and the Apes. Burroughs sued but settled out of court calling for an attached moniker to distinguish the two characters apart. There was only one Tarzan but several doubles. They were used to perform very dangerous stunts to lessen the chance of injury to the smarter Tarzan. In the silent films, a hand signal summoned the obedient horse and later on a simple whistle summoned the steed who came at a full gallop. When movie making was slow, Tarzan appeared in rodeos, live on stage at neighborhood theaters and in the circus. Maynard was very close to his brilliant horse and was devastated upon the death of the animal. He substituted Tarzan II, a move that was short lived as Maynards career was soon finished. Legacy...Gene Autry appeared in some of Ken Maynard's early films and the first famous horse star and the first singing cowboy format in Ken, was copied by Autry which later propelled him to fame and fortune.
Bio by: Donald Greyfield