James Pierce


  1. Gary Cooper, Wings, 1927.      “There’s Tarzan!” yelled the one man who should know – his creator, Edgar Rice Burroughs – during a party at his Tarzana ranch.   And he wooed big Jim, all-American centre for Indiana U out of Wings – “You’re just what I always had in mind” – and into the 1926 Tarzan and the Golden Lion, the last silent ape-man movie. “The opus was a stinkeroo,” said Pierce. “Because of poor direction, terrible story treatment and putrid acting… I emerged with nothing to show for my strenuous effort except being typecast as Tarzan. I was out of a job.” Not quite. He wed the boss’ daughter, Joan Burroughs, in 1928. They became radio’s Tarzan and Jane for 364 chapters during 1932-1934.
  2. Buster Crabbe, Tarzan The Fearless, 1932.        Big Jim also  proved to be what Burroughs’ daughter, Joan, had in mind. They were wed in 1928 (until her 1972 death) and  were  radio’s Tarzan and Jane for 364 15-minute episodes in 1932.  Allthough Burroughs added a clause to his contract for  Pierce to reprise the  ape man again, producer Sol Lesser decided he was so fat that the film could only be a comedy! Pierce was shunted aside (at a price) for the 1932 LA Olympics 400-metre freestyle gold-medalist swimmer.  Fearless  was a 12-chapter serial which totally vanished after being re-edited into this feature. Crabbe had no interest in remaining a lord of the jungle. Or not until Paramount  upped the ante and made him a copy-Tarzan called Kaspa, the Lion Man,  in  King of the Jungle,  1933.    He  went on  to be Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers – but drew the line at Superman at 41 in 1948. For  most of his 75 films, Pierce was uncredited. The far better looking Crabbe was miserable  about going blond for Flash. “Men whistle at me!” 




 Birth year: 1900Death year: 1983Other name: Casting Calls:  2