Saturday, June 7, 2014

Tarzan movie, Monkeys and Bayou Pigeon.......By Adam J. Landry

Connecting the dots...

In 2013, the Williams Cypress Sawmill museum in Patterson, Louisiana, added an exhibit.  The exhibit was the “Tarzan Lord of the Louisiana Jungle”.   The very first silent Tarzan movie was filmed in Morgan City, Louisiana, in 1918, at Lake Inn Park, right on Lake Palourde. Check out the trailer here.

As you will hear in the trailer, the jungle animals for shooting the movie were shipped in by train from California.  Among the animals brought in were 18 monkeys.  After the movie was completed the monkeys could not be recaptured so they were left behind in Morgan City, Louisiana.

While doing research for the Bayou Pigeon Book and while conducting interviews, several people told stories of Bayou Pigeon fishermen finding playful monkeys in their boats in the Bayou Pigeon and Indigo Bayou areas in the early 1900’s.  Later on as the story was being told over and over, it was thought the monkeys might have escaped from the Donaldsonville State Fair and eventually made their way to the Bayou Pigeon area. 

After visiting the Tarzan exhibit in Patterson, Louisiana and after viewing the above movie trailer on YouTube we (the author and coauthors of the Bayou Pigeon book) think the monkeys in the Bayou Pigeon area very possibly came from Morgan City and perhaps not from the Donaldsonville State Fair. Migrating from Morgan City to Bayou Pigeon, which is less than 50 miles, would have been quite easy following the river bank.  There is no way to prove this one way or the other, but it is fun trying to connect the dots.