Johnny Weissmuller (1904 - 1984) was the American actor who played "Tarzan" in the movies.
Benita Hume and Johnny Weissmuller greet set visitor Elmo Lincoln (centre), who famously played Tarzan in films of the silent era.
In 1959, Weismuller and some friends were visiting Cuba. On the road, some rebels (who were fighting to overthrow the Cuban government) stopped him Weissmuller and his friends. The rebels pointed their rifles at the group.
What should Weissmuller do or say? Maybe the rebels did not understand English. So Weissmuller stood straight, beat his chest, and let out the famous yell.
The rebels were, at first, stunned (shocked) and then they yelled: "Tarzan! Tarzan! Bienvenido! Welcome to Cuba!"
Some facts about Weismuller’s Tarzan yell:
- Hear it, and see him delivering it, by clicking on
- Edgar Rice Burrough’s 1912 novel Tarzan of the Apes describes it as sounding like “the victory cry of the bull ape.”
- Frank Merrill made an attempt at a Tarzan yell in the 1929 film Tarzan the Tiger. Regrettably it falls short (“Yahh! Yahh! Yahh!”). See it and hear it at:
- Weismuller created the definitive yell for his 1932 film. He later said his famous version of the Tarzan yell was inspired by the yodelling of his German neighbours, along with his own success in a yodelling contest he’d won as a boy.
- There are stories that the yell was the voice of another and that it was electronically enhanced, denied by Weismuller who delivered the same yell at numerous public attendances and functions. Co star Maureen O’Sullivan likewise confirmed that is was all Weismuller, as did Weismuller’s son.
- Btw, the Tarzan yell is used by Chewbaca in Star Wars: