Feral Children

Toren, Joe and Kevin discuss Leopard Boy, “Baby Hospital”, Peter The Wild Boy, the Wild Child of Champagne, Tarzan and more children raised by animals — or raised as animals by people we’re declaring worse than animals.

Music: “Ain’t A Fit Night Out For Man Nor Beast” by Noble Sissle and His Orchestra



23 Responses

  1. Oh no! I’m worried about this episode. There’s no picture of SON GOKU! Did you guys forget DRAGONBALL and DRAGONBALL Z? The main character is not only a feral boy, he has a monkey tail! And turns into a building-sized ape under the full moon! And he CRUSHED HIS ADOPTED FATHER TO DEATH the first time he changed. He also never figured out that he was what killed “Grandpa”.

    Very Caustic Soda to me.

      1. You got bonus points for “The Mighty Monarch”.

        BTW Joe, the Venture Bros is self-described as a story about failure. You might enjoy it as a study of character studies.

  2. Not to be a jerk, but Elton John didn’t do the music to Tarzan. It was in fact done by Genesis alumni Phil Collins. John did the music to The Lion King.

    1. Nobody who proves Toren wrong is ever a jerk. What a mixup — I should have remembered that, or at least looked it up to confirm while recording!

  3. There was a short-lived TV series in 1977 about a boy raised by wolves then rehabilitated back into civilization: Lucan (TV series) I vaguely recalled some villain was after him for some stupid reason so Lucan had to keep moving. Kinda like Bruce Banner getting chased by that reporter. I was a big fan and watched it every week and kept hoping it would stop sucking. It never did.

  4. I love the feral child concept and, in fact, often claim to be raised by wolves myself. The problem — and give-away — to so many of the raised-by-animals stories is that the tellers obviously subscribe to the “blank slate” theory of child development, which has at least partially been disproven. For instance, human children do not learn to smile. It’s in-born. Look at any baby, even weeks old, and if you make eye contact, the baby will smile, even if you do not.

    Same with walking upright. Take any infant and hold her up under the arms, and she’ll perform left-foot-right-foot motions. They instinctively pull themselves upright.

    Different story with children who have specifically and intentionally been physically restricted.

  5. I was disappointed that you had an episode about feral children and made no mention of “The Road Warrior” in the pop culture section. The narrator of the whole thing is a grown up version of the character listed in the credits as Feral Kid. No real explanation given as far as his origin. When I saw the episode listing that was the first character (after Mowgli and Tarzan) that popped into my head.

    1. I didn’t know that the narrator of Road Warrior was supposed to be the grown up feral kid. The Road Warrior was on my list of movies doing the research, but quite often there are items we include in our notes that we a) don’t talk about because we run out of time, b) talk about but cut out during editing because we don’t say anything insightful or humorous, or c) don’t talk about because we’re pretty sure it will be cut (due to (b)). I can’t remember which reason Road Warrior didn’t make it on the final cut of this episode. In the pop culture section we usually try to limit what we discuss to pop culture that has more than just a passing instance of the topic, although there’s always exceptions. Can you imagine if we talked about every movie that had a pistol in it for our “Small Arms” episode?

      1. Fair enough. I know stuff has to be cut for time, and there are a lot of feral children in pop culture, so there’s bound to be favorites missed. I think the Jodie Foster movie Nell would also fall into the category (based on a cursory understanding of the movie, as I haven’t actually seen it), but understand why stuff doesn’t make it in. Plus, there’s a lot more to discuss with Mowgli and Tarzan and Mononoke as far as their feral upbringing. The feral kid in Road Warrior was never really explained; I was just mentioning that he was the first one that popped into my head.

        1. I watched Nell, the week before the episode recording, expecting to bring it up. But upon viewing I felt it was only marginally related to true feral children. She was raised apart from regular society, but she was raised by her mom. She knew how to take care of herself in the cabin after her mom died, she just had her own language and limited exposure to the outside world. It was an interesting movie which I would recommend watching despite its faults.

        2. First pop culture instance that popped into my head too. Poor Feral Kid. Loved his tricky tunnel and boomerang.

  6. Best part of GREYSTOKE: LEGEND OF TARZAN is that director felt Andie MacDowall was so bad, they had Glenn Close dub her part. MacDowall is still pissed about this to this day…

  7. I first encountered Genie’s story in college, and the focus was on not just her adbuse at the hands of her father, but of the in-fighting of her caregivers. ultimate fall through the cracks story, sad.

  8. There is an interesting reference to feral children in City of Glass by Paul Austere. The Graphic Novels plays with it more. Very Very bizarre. I recommend it.

    Oh, and Elvis hated the Beatles so much he tried to keep them out of the states physically altogether. I can’t remember how that got started.

  9. Talk of feral children and Tarzan, but no mention of George of the Jungle, friend to you and me? He is a Tarzan clone, but the classic show was pretty good.

    On a more Caustic note, it turns out Johnny Weissmuller was in Cuba at the the time of the Castro’s revolution. He was being taken captive on a golf course, surrounded by armed rebels, when he let out his trademark Tarzan yell. The soldiers recognized it, were impressed and delighted to meet him, and escorted him and his golf partners to safety at the clubhouse.

  10. i can’t recall if you mentioned marina chapman on this episode, but she was supposedly raised by monkeys. i heard her in an interview on cbc this morning.