Scott Tracy Griffin

Every child has a hero growing up. For some it’s their parents for others, it’s firefighters or policemen, and for others still it’s characters in their favorite novels. If you were to ask Starkville native and author Scott Tracy Griffin who he looked up to growing up he wouldn’t hesitate to say, Tarzan.
Born at the Oktibbeha County Hospital to Jesse E. Griffin an optometrist and Sarah D. Griffin a homemaker, Tracy became fascinated by the Tarzan folklore at a very young age.
“I walked into the [Book Mart] on Main Street when I was nine years old, and they had all the Tarzan books. I had asked my parents for a Tarzan book, but we didn’t have any in our home library. I bought the very first one, “Tarzan of the Apes” and I just fell in love with the writing,” Tracy explains.
Not only did Tracy fall in love with the writing, but also the character who seemed like the strongest and most honorable man alive.
“[As a kid] Tarzan was always an inspirational character to me. Tarzan was a lot of children’s hero at the time. He was honorable and noble and strong and courageous. All the things that little kids look up to. I think he also inspired my physical efforts. I played basketball and was a long distance runner. I had a book entitled “Tarzan of the Movies” that had all of this information about these Olympic champions that were Tarzan. So I thought that in order to be Tarzan you had to be athletic.”
Tracy even credits Tarzan and his creator, Edgar Burroughs for inspiring him creatively, and not just with books; he’s even had a hand in creating comic strips for the character. After graduating from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, Tracy moved out to California to pursue acting and writing. One day Burrough’s grandson, Danton Burroughs, called Tracy to tell him he enjoyed reading an article Tracy had written on his grandfather. After becoming friends, Danton approached Tracy to help create an illustrated book of the Tarzan franchise which led to the creation of Tracy’s first Tarzan book, “Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration” which was published by Titan in 2012. The first book details the character’s literary history and appearances in comic strips, comic books, radio, and other media, and was a 2013 Locus Award Finalist for Best Art Book.
Once “Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration” was successfully publish, Tracy was approached once again to write a second book about the jungle man this time focusing on the Tarzan of the movies and TV entitled “Tarzan on Film.” Published by Titan Books, this lavishly illustrated and colorful book spans nearly a century of ape-man film history, beginning with the 1918 silent picture Tarzan of the Apes starring Elmo Lincoln and Enid Markey and includes Warner Bros. Studios’ 2016 release The Legend of Tarzan, starring Alexander Skarsgård and Margot Robbie. The book includes fantastic photos of the actors on set as well as movie posters ranging from the very first movie all the way to present day with a poster for a Netflix children’s show entitled Tarzan and Jane. This beautiful book doesn’t just include pictures on each page there are facts about each movie or TV show as well as profiles on each actor and actress that play a main character in the series. Even in the hands of someone who isn’t a Tarzan expert or even a movie buff, this book is fascinating.
The character of Tarzan debuted to immediate success in the October 1912 pulp magazine, The All-Story, leading to 24 novels featuring the ape-man. Olympic champions Johnny Weissmuller, Buster Crabbe and Glenn Morris all portrayed Tarzan on screen as did former Los Angeles Rams linebacker Mike Henry and UCLA basketball standout Denny Miller. Actor Casper Van Dien, who starred in Tarzan and the Lost City (Warner Bros., 1998) provides the foreword to “Tarzan on Film.”
Griffin has consulted and appeared in numerous documentaries and news programs, and will next be seen in Tarzan Revisited, a forthcoming documentary by Lowlands Media of Australia. Griffin divides his time between Mississippi and the beach community of Santa Monica, California. “Tarzan on Film” was released in August of this year.