judging from "Tarzoon, Shame of the Jungle," a new novelty item at the Key, the art of off-color animation is not exactly flourishing.

Can it be so difficult to sustain 70 minutes of lewd parody about a figure as familiar as Tarzan? Maybe, but this attempt looks too derelict to be decisive.

"Tarzoon" was co-directed by Europeans Jean Paul Walravens (known professionally as "Picha") and Boris Szulziner, who show a certain flair for character animation and turbulent slapstick, but no story sense or staying power. It's immediately apparent that their Tarzan figure is supposed to be a stooge. If his baggy loincloth wasn't a dead giveaway, his oafish mug and greaser's coiffure would be.

The problem is that he turns out to function as such a marginal stooge. The animator don't know how to keep the presumed target of their X-rated humor in the thick of the action.

Tarzoon has a sneering, oversexed mate, June, whose golden locks are coveted by a bald madwoman, Queen Bazonga. June is abducted by minions who look like phallic shmoos, imprisoned in the Queen's subterranean fortress and threatened with scalping at the hands of Siamese-twin surgeons.

Time hangs heavy while June is being transported to the villians' hideout and Tarzoon lumbers after her. The Bond movies appear to have been a stronger influence on the animators (especially during the climatic rescue sequence) than any Tarzan story, movie or scrap of mythology.

As a rule, obsence spoofs of prototypes like Tarzan are never as funny as you hope they'll be. "Tarzoon" is no exception to the rule. If anything, Tarzan seems to have fallen into the hands of humorists who would be happier as butchers. For every sex gag in th movie, there must be half a dozen mutilation or snuffgags.

Michael O'Donoghue and Anne Beatts, charter members of the National Lampoon who joined the writing staff of "Saturday Night Live," are credited with the dialogue, which offers a profane nifty here and there but never comes close to saving the show. John Belushi and Bill Murray of "Saturday Night Live" have also been recruited for brief voice characterizations that mean more to the film's advertising campaign than its content.

Tarzoon's sporadic lines were dubbed by Johnny Weissmuller, Jr., and example of Oedipal dopiness rivaled only by the decision of Frank Capra, Jr. to produce "Billy Jack Goes to Washington."