I found out that an escarpment is “a steep slope or long cliff that forms as an effect of faulting or erosion and separates two relatively level areas of differing elevations.” There are escarpments in Niagara, Southern Africa, Caprock, Catskills, Bandiagara, Helderberg, and Knobstone, to name a few.
Guess where I heard the word escarpment? In a Tarzan movie, “Tarzan’s N. Y. Adventure” (1942) in which Tarzan and Jane’s “adopted” son, Boy (Johnny Sheffield), is kidnapped by hunters who work for circus people and were given a deadline to leave by Tarzan. So, Jane (Maureen O’Sullivan), Tarzan (Johnny Weismuller), and Cheetah (chimpanzee) get to go to America.
Tarzan is based on a character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. And, in spite of 12 movies, Tarzan still never learned to speak more than a 2-3 word sentence, i.e. “Jane go”, “Boy no go”, etc. Yet, he knew the word “escarpment”.
Johnny Weismuller was “one of the world’s fastest swimmers in the 20s, winning five Olympic gold medals and one bronze for water polo. He won 52 U.S. national championships and set more than 50 world records. His character’s distinctive Tarzan yell is still often used in films.” A heartbreaking fact is that he had a heart condition that was revealed when he broke a hip and a leg in 1974 causing declining health, but he got a 21-gun salute at his funeral in 1984.
That’s where the sexy comes in—right? You want a relatively muscular man who’s scantily clad, can rescue you if you are drowning, can keep the “animals” in check, brings home the “bacon”, and protects his home. And, if you can’t have a kid in the plot because the studio says you are already living in sin, you can always wait for a kid to survive a plane crash in one of the movies, so you can “adopt” him or her.
Written by Rosa L. Griffin