The Resurrection of Jimber-Jaw
"The Resurrection of Jimber-Jaw" is a 1937 short story by Edgar Rice Burroughs about an unfrozen 50,000-year-old caveman and his politically incorrect views. Burroughs uses the story to air what are presumably some of his own politics.
The story was originally printed in Argosy magazine, and later reprinted as one of three stories in the collection, Tales of Three Planets (Canaveral, 1964, 1974). The Argosy text, used for all versions published under this title, contained significant alterations by the magazine editor of Burroughs' original text. Burroughs' original version, "Elmer," has recently been published in Forgotten Tales of Love and Murder (Guidry & Adkins, 2001).
The story turns about an experimental aviator and a cryogenicist, who are flying over Siberia when forced to land, after an airplane mechanical failure. They survive the landing, and happen to find the body of a caveman, frozen into a newly uncovered glacier wall. Jokingly, the aviator suggests that the cryogenicist attempt to revive the man, which he proceeds to do, using transfusions and injections of drugs. The caveman proves to be intelligent, and immensely strong. His name is Kolani and he soon learns enough English to communicate. Returned to America, he is given the stage name of Jim Stone, after he proves to be a professional wrestling sensation who throws all contenders over the ropes, and into the crowd.
Stone/Kolani eventually falls in love with a popular movie actress, who as it happens is a look-alike for his intended mate of long ago. In negotiating the ways of the new society of the 20th century, however, Kolani gives the opinion that modern women now act in nearly all ways like men, and he doesn't approve of any of it. After finding the actress, whom he has been romancing, with another man, he deliberately re-freezes himself in a meat locker, with a note that he is seeking his real mate, and not to thaw him out again.
Popular culture associations
- "The Ugly Little Boy" (1958) Cave boy scooped up by time machine
- Iceman (1984) About a thawed cave man
- Encino Man (1992) About a thawed cave man
- The Man From Earth (2007) About a late-period cave man who has made it to the present by not aging
- Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, a Saturday Night Live sketch
- Offended Caveman, from GEICO advertising campaign
- Neanderthals in popular culture
- Edgar Rice Burroughs Summary Project Page for "The Resurrection of Jimber-Jaw"
- Free Ebook of "The Resurrection of Jimber-Jaw" from Project Gutenberg Australia