"But the gold medal did it for me—Hollywood called. I moved out there to become Tarzan. At this point Tarzan was in my bones. They wanted to straighten my nose and cut my vocal cords. My wife was about to have our first baby and she went home to New Jersey. I was living with Horace Heidt, the bandleader, and one night I took this girl home from some party and some guy took a shot at me. God, the headlines! And I get to thinking what am I doing in Hollywood—Don Bragg from Penns Grove, New Jersey? What am I doing with nose jobs and voice-box tricks? I figured it's all too rich for me, so I came home."
It is very dark now in the dining hall of Kamp Olympik. Bragg paused for a moment, then spoke in hushed tones: "I am home for a week. I go down to the local swimming hole and some kids ask me if I'll make like Tarzan. Could I resist? No, I could not, so I swung out on a rope, dropped and landed on a big jagged hunk of glass and cut my foot so badly I needed 18 stitches and was supposed to stay off my foot for six weeks. So at this point I get this phone call from my old friend Sy Weintraub, the producer, and he said, 'Don, Don, we want you to play Tarzan in Tarzan Goes to India
.' I was lying in bed with my foot wrapped and I just gulped. 'Don, Don,' said Sy, 'we'll forget about fixing your nose because we don't have time and we're leaving for India right now. You ready to go, Don? Don?' I said, 'Well, ah, er, Sy, I can't walk because I got this foot problem....' So he hired Jock Mahoney to play Tarzan.
"Then in 1964 I was talking to some TV types about playing Tarzan in a series. They'd tested Weissmuller's son for the part, but he was too tall, so I got it. Yeah, I was going to be Tarzan. We went to Jamaica to film it and one day there I was, standing on a cliff in my little Tarzan briefs. The cameras were all below me and the director was sitting in his chair and I puffed my chest out and I thought, 'I'm a star! My life's dream—me Tarzan!'
"So not two days after we started shooting they slapped a subpoena or an injunction or something on the whole company—a great legal mess over whether we had the rights to do Tarzan. The company shut down on the spot. I was crushed, of course. I came home to New Jersey and I took a job selling drug supplies for $6,200 a year. What humiliation! People would say to me, 'Say, aren't you Don Tarzan Bragg? What are you doing selling drug supplies?' Oh, it was some ego adjustment. But it still wasn't the worst."
Now it is almost pitch dark in the dining hall and Don Bragg nearly vanishes as he paces. "I was having bad back problems then. My leg had been going numb and the doctor said I had no choice but to go into the hospital for spinal surgery. So I was packing my stuff to check in when I got this phone call from South America. Sy Weintraub. He was calling from Brazil and he wanted to know if I could fly down there and be on location in 48 hours. He said they were shooting Tarzan the Impostor. Sy wanted me for the impostor. I gulped again and I told him I couldn't make it just then because I, ah, er, had this back problem. Weintraub couldn't believe it. He hired Ron Ely, and Ely ended up playing the real Tarzan on a TV series."
Bragg shook his head. "I'm no fatalist, but I just wasn't meant to be Tarzan."
GISELA MAUERMAYER, LIBRARIAN
A homemade pullover sweater covers her big frame, and there is in her face a hint of haggardness of age and loneliness and the dry fatigue of a life filled with too much work. Gisela Mauermayer, 58, lives in the row house in Munich where she was born. She is a spinster. Her married sister shares the house; Gisela Mauermayer works as a librarian at the Munich Zoological Society.
Anyone who has seen photos of Berlin's Olympians will never forget Gisela—a 6-foot blonde beauty who won the discus. She was the very flower of Nazi maidenhood and she gave the Nazi salute as the swastika rose on its staff and the stadium roared.
Hitler had made it a state policy to produce gold medal winners for the Games and Gisela was discovered by the F�hrer's Olympic talent scouts. She spent the year before the Games in intensive training under government coaches. Despite her resolute devotion to the F�hrer, her gold medal brought her no great material reward. After the Games, Gisela was given the same teaching job she had applied for earlier. She taught in Munich during the war. When American troops occupied the city, her home was robbed of all her medals and trophies. She was removed from her teaching job because of her Nazi party membership. "I started from scratch at the Zoological Institute of Munich University," she said, "and I earned my second doctor's degree by studying the social behavior of ants."