Tarzan, the Monkey Man

Here's one that was well known at my school:

Tarzan, the monkey man
got no brains, but he's got a tan


A more common version seems to have been:

Tarzan, the monkey man
swinging on a rubber band.


The Delaware Folklore Archives recorded this from a sixth grader in 1973.


Another Tarzan bit recorded by the Knapps in Indiana in the 1970s went:

Tarzan swings, Tarzan falls
Tarzan lands right on his balls


Jasan, a reader, sent in this variation he heard in Maryland in the early 1980s:
Tarzan swing, tarzan fall
Tarzan bust his titty ball
what color was his blood?
(The person that the caller pointed to on the word blood had to pick a color. It was usually red, but sometimes a smart person would pick a color that had the right number of letters for the desired result.)
R-E-D spells the word red and you are not it.


(Note: cheating at counting-out games has been recorded about as long as counting-out games)


Josepha Sherman recorded a couple of varitions:

Tarzen, the monkey man
swinging on a rubber band
pop goes the rubber band, down goes the monkey man

(Bedford, NY, early 1960s)

I can't help but guess that variations probably go back to around the 1930s, when the Tarzan movies were at the peak of popularity, though it wasn't recorded until the 60s or 70s.

Another one that Simon J. Bronner recorded, dated to the late 60s or early 70s, which was also known to Jason in the early 80s, went:

Tarzan, Tarzan, through the air
Tarzan lost his underwear
Tarzan say "me don't care
Jane will make me another pair
Jane, Jane through the air
Jane lost her underwear
Jane say "me don't care
Boy make me another pair"
Boy, Boy, through the air
Boy lost his underwear
Boy say "me don't care
Cheetah make me another pair"
Cheetah Cheetah through the air
Cheetah lost his underwear
Cheetah say "Me don't care
Me don't wear no underwear!"


What versions did you know?

40 comments:

  1. central ohio, early 90s:

    Here comes Tarzan.
    Swinging on a rubber band.
    crashed into a frying pan.

    oooh that smarts!
    hope it don't peel.
    Like a bannaaaaanaa
    (last word yodeled, like Tarzan)

    This was I think the first verse to a longer rhyme which repeated the last three lines using different setups, none of which I can remember anymore, and none of the others had to do with Tarzan...I think one verse used a sunburn as the thing that might peel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tarzan monkey man swinging from a rubber band,fell down broke his crown,what color was his blood?

      Delete
    2. Tarzan the monkey man swinging on the rubber band here comes superman kicking him in the trash can

      Delete
  2. I knew a rhyme similar to the one Simon Bronner posted. I learned mine in the mid-1960s and it went:

    Tarzan swings, tarzan falls
    Tarzan rips his underwear
    Tarzan says, "Me don't care"
    Jane will make me a new pair

    and so on...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Tarzan monkey man,
    swinging on a rubber band,
    rubber band popped,
    how many kids did Jane have?
    (then the person who was pointed to would chose a number, the pointer counts, and who ever the pointer lands on is not it, or out.)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Like the above, except first verse Tarzan, second verse Boy, third verse Jane loses her underwear and says:

    "Jane say, 'me no care,
    Tarzan like me better bare.' "

    Midwest, late 1960s.

    ReplyDelete
  5. After the standard "Tarzan, the monkey man/swinging on a rubber band," my grandfather used to add "lost his pants in a hula dance."

    ReplyDelete
  6. Maryland/D.C. area, late '90s, early '00s:

    "Tarzan, monkey man, swingin' from a rubber band
    Flip, flop, broke his balls, what color was his blood?" From there, you selected a color, and it became a counting-out game.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Tarzan the monkey man
    Swings like a rubber band
    Tarzan slips
    Tarzan falls
    Jane holds on to Tarzan's balls
    Now you know why Tarzan calls:
    Ahhhh-hhhhhhh-hhhhh

    Miami, mid 1980s.

    ReplyDelete
  8. When I was a kid we said
    Tarzan the monkey man, swinging on a rubber band, falls off and breaks his balls, pees all over his overalls, goes to the river to wash them off (in a deep voice) big baboon rips them off, he goes to the doctor and the doctor said, sorry sir your balls are dead.
    I heard this version around 1998 from a kid who heard it from his older brother

    ReplyDelete
  9. Tarzan, Tarzan, through the air
    Tarzan lost his underwear
    Tarzan say "me don't care
    Boy will make me another pair
    Boy make me another pair"
    Boy, Boy, through the air
    Boy lost his underwear
    Boy say "me don't care
    Cheetah make me another pair"
    Cheetah Cheetah through the air
    Cheetah lost his underwear
    Cheetah say "Me don't care
    Me don't wear no underwear!"
    Jane, Jane through the air
    Jane lost her underwear
    Jane say "me don't care Tarzan Likes me
    better bare"

    I could be wrong about the order but I remember that line I thought was so funny was the last.
    Boston, MA Around 1970

    ReplyDelete
  10. tarzan the monkey man swinging from a rubber band flip flop broke his back what color was his blood. then u would use both hands with same in group and try to not to get out. 2001 missouri

    ReplyDelete
  11. Tarzan, Monkey Man
    Swinging from a rubber band.
    He trips, he flips,
    He breaks his hips.
    What color was his blood?
    March 2012 in Michigan

    ReplyDelete
  12. I heard this one at school:
    Tarzan the monkey man swinging on a vine,
    he slips,
    he falls,
    he's hanging by his balls,
    they rip,
    they tear,
    but Tarzan doesn't care!

    ReplyDelete
  13. what i know for tarzan is tarzan jungle man swinging from a rubber band he fell of broke his neck what colour was tarzans blod

    ReplyDelete
  14. Tarzan monkey man
    Swinging from a rubber band
    Fell down
    Broke his crown

    What
    Color
    Was
    His
    Blood

    (Say color e.g. red)

    R
    E
    D

    (Whoever says D is out)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Tarzan, the monkey man
    Swinging on a rubberband
    'long comes Superman
    Knocks him in the garbage can
    'long comes mommy
    Knocks him in salami
    'long comes daddy
    Knocks him in the fanny.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, forgot to mention that I learned this version in East Lansing, Michigan in the early '70s.

      Delete
  16. No you all have it wrong...it's
    Tarzan the monkey man
    swinging from a rubber band
    he slips
    he falls
    he breaks his balls!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. by the way I heard it on Long Island

      Delete
  17. Tarzan the monkey man
    swinging from a rubber band..
    he slips!
    he falls!
    he's hanging by his balls!

    Scottsdale, AZ
    2000

    ReplyDelete
  18. Tarzan is a jungle man
    Hanging like a rubber band
    He slips
    He falls
    He's hanging from his balls

    ReplyDelete
  19. ahahah you guys are so weird? our rhyme was,
    "Tarzan the monkey man, swinging on a rubber band, hit the sun, burnt his bum, thats the end of chapter one" then it went on with each chapter
    "tarzan the monkey man,swinging on a rubber band,lost his shoe and caught the flu, thats the end of chapter two" you pretty much made up what ever you could think of rhyming with the next chapter number..
    "tarzan the monkey man swinging on a rubber band, hit a tree and did a pee, thats the end of chapter three" :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Tarzan the ape man, swingin' on a rubber band,
    He don't care. He don't swear. He don't wear no underwear.
    -Omaha Ne. 1980s

    ReplyDelete
  21. Tarzan the monkey man, swinging from a rubber band, DING DONG broke his nose, what color was the blood! (7 yr olds)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Tarzan, the monkey man,
    hanging from a rubber band.
    He slips!
    He falls!
    He's hanging by his balls!
    They rip!
    They tear!
    He doesn't even care!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Heard in Andover, MA around 2000

    ReplyDelete
  24. tarzan the monkey man swinging fom a rubber band, he trips, he falls, hes hanging by his balls, they rip, they tear, BLOOD splatters EVERYWHERE!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. tarzan jungle man swinging from a rubber band fell down broke his crown what color was his blood

    ReplyDelete
  26. TARZAN JUNGLE MAN SWINGING FROM A RUBBER BAND
    OOPS FELL BROKE HIS BONES
    WHAT COLOR WAS HIS BLOOD

    ReplyDelete
  27. TARZAN JUNGLE MAN SWINGING FROM A RUBBER BAND
    OOPS FELL BROKE HIS BONES
    WHAT COLOR WAS HIS BLOOD

    ReplyDelete
  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Here's a variant I remember from the late 70s (southern Oregon):

    Hiho Silver everywhere!
    Tonto lost his underwear.
    Tonto said, "Me no care,
    Lone Ranger buy me another pair."

    ReplyDelete
  30. Maryland, mid-late 70s:

    Tarzan, Tarzan, in the air
    Tarzan lost his underwear
    Tarzan say "me don't care
    Me go get another pair
    Jane, Jane in the air
    Jane lost her underwear
    Jane say "me don't care
    me go get another pair"
    Boy, Boy, in the air
    Boy lost his underwear
    Boy say "me don't care
    Me go get another pair"
    Cheetah Cheetah in the air
    Cheetah lost his underwear
    Cheetah say "Me don't care
    Me got lots of hair down there!"

    ReplyDelete
  31. I also heard the same "counting game" version as Jason recounted in the intro.

    (Maryland, mid-late 70s/early 80s)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Tarzan, monkey man
    Swingin' on a rubber band
    He slips! He falls!
    He's hanging by his balls!
    He tears his underwear!
    I don't really care.

    (Ohio, 2012)

    ReplyDelete
  33. I remember this version

    Tarzan swings
    Tarzan falls
    that's why Jane holds his balls
    that's why Tarzan yells
    (famous Tarzan yell)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Tarzan the monkey man
    Swinging from a rubber band
    He slipped and fell and broke his neck
    What color was his blood?

    ReplyDelete
  35. Tarzan the monkey man
    Swinging from a rubber band
    He slipped and fell and broke his neck
    What color was his blood?

    ReplyDelete

PLEASE tell us where and when you heard your version (ie, "Chicago, early 1950s). And please be aware that the information may end up in a book sooner or later.