Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Judo Johnny Weissmuller by Dave Goode

I've mentioned in the past that though I first knew Johnny Weissmuller as Jungle Jim he would become my favorite movie Tarzan.And I actually prefer him as Jungle Jim.I suppose that's because as Jungle Jim,Weissmuller was using judo/jiu jitsu techniques in fight scenes.In his post Tarzan movies you could see him using various armlocks and wristlocks as well as the ippon seoi nage, tomoe-nage and osoto-gari.


In the Jungle Jim flick SAVAGE MUTINY there is a scene in which Weissmuller teaches members of the jungle patrol some judo self-defense techniques.Re-watching that recently got me to thinking.Did Weissmuller ever take any lessons himself?

Of course the Olympic swimming champ swam to keep in shape.If not Tarzan shape.After all during the filming of the Jungle Jim series
Weissmuller was still appearing
in a number of aquacades and water shows. 
But playing an action/adventure
movie hero it just made sense to
me that he might have taken some
judo or jiu jitsu classes.Though
that may not have been the case.

Like George Reeves had practiced judo with Gene LeBell during the run of The Adventures of Superman television series perhaps Weissmuller had taken some classes with John Halloran.You might remember Halloran as the evil Captain Oshima in the James Cagney movie Blood On The Sun.Halloran was a former LAPD officer and judo instructor who was Cagney's instructor for this movie. And served as the movies technical advisor for the judo scenes. In any case it would be interesting to find out if Weissmuller had any formal instruction.

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  1. My guess would be the hollywood stuntmen gave him lessons. Gotta make the star look good.

  2. Gosh darn! I still wish there had been a real Johnny Weissmuller comic book.