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Volume 0001



-- The War Years --

Dean of WWII War Correspondents in the Pacific Theatre


Edgar Rice Burroughs, along with son Hulbert, witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In spite of his age, he stayed on the islands to help in the war effort -- he was the oldest war correspondent in the Pacific Theatre. Those who worked with him were astonished by his courage and stamina. Only one novel was the result of these experiences -- it actually came out of time spent in Java. Fittingly it involved his best known character -- Tarzan and the Foreign Legion.

ERB’s “Laugh It Off!” column was originally started shortly after Pearl Harbor at the request of army authorities in the Hawaiian department, as a civilian morale booster, and it soon became a familiar fixture to Hawaiian readers. It often ran simultaneously in two Honolulu newspapers, “The Advertiser” and the “Star Bulletin,” as well as in “Hawaii: A Magazine of News and Comment.” ERB’s keen sense of humor, wittiness and strong opinions on a wide range of topics served him well in the writing of this column -- the start of a five-year-long series of journalistic endeavours.

Burroughs, stationed in Hawaii as an accredited United Press correspondent, also wrote an undetermined number of news dispatches from the Pacific theater during the war. In fact, William Brinkley’s humorous novel of the war in the Pacific, “Don’t Go Near the Water”, devotes its first chapter to a fictitious visit made by correspondent ERB to one of the Navy-held islands.


Contents

ERB's Pre-War Presence in Hawaii
ERB in the Pacific Theatre -- World War II
ERB POEM: MUD IN YOUR AI or MAY 1940

LAUGH IT OFF COLUMN EXCERPTS
2. Laugh It Off excerpts from December 1941
3. Laugh It Off -- Honolulu Star Bulletin -- January 22, 1942
4. Laugh It Off -- Honolulu Star Bulletin -- January 23, 1942
5. Laugh It Off -- Honolulu Star Bulletin -- January 26, 1942
6. Laugh It Off -- Honolulu Star Bulletin -- January 27, 1942
7. Laugh It Off -- Honolulu Star Bulletin -- “Last” Column By Edgar RiceBurroughs
8. Conclusion of Laugh It Off Columns -- January 1942

ERB COLUMN EXCERPTS FROM 1942
AUTHOR OF TARZAN RIDES FLYING FORTRESS February 17, 1942
BMTC GETS TRAINING IN SHOOTING PISTOLS  March 14, 1942
WHAT IS SABOTAGE   March 26, 1942
OAHU: SINGAPORE OR WAKE   May 19, 1942
DON'T BE STUPID    July 4, 1942
DON'T LET 'EM KID YOU, JOE     July 15, 1942
NOT FOR MICE     September 22, 1942
WANTED: 1,000 September 24, 1942
BMTCERS CAN SHOOT    September 30, 1942
WHATSOEVER A MAN SOWETH     October 21, 1942
SATURDAY NIGHT IN HONOLULU DULL    November 11, 1942
ERB IN THE FIELD WITH THE ARTILLERY     December 1, 1942

ERB COLUMN EXCERPTS FROM 1943
TARZAN'S CREATOR, NOW COVERING WAR, FINDS AUSSIE CUSTOMS ODD  January 4, 1943
ERB WITH A TANK OUTFIT IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC   February 14, 1943
BOMB HIROHITO  April 24, 1943



ERB's Pre-War Presence in Hawaii
Before World War II, the Honolulu Star Bulletin featured a number of articles on ERB and each contains a number of interesting little-known facts:

April 10, 1935 - ORIGINATOR OF TARZAN IN TOMORROW
"ERB...most popular author of the day will arrive in Honolulu..." followed with the usual biographical notes...

April 11, 1935 - Features a large picture of ERB and his new wife at the top of the front page. It reports that one of the world's great adventure writers was met aboard ship by a living image of his creation -- Tarzan. The "ape man" who greeted ERB at the dock was a husky, dark-skinned Hawaiian youth who looked every bit a "Tarzan." In the article ERB is quoted as saying, "My first Tarzan story was just a vagrant idea...a new type of story and not more unusual than a new type of stove." He mentioned how he had sent it in on the backs of old discarded letter paper with little hope of it being accepted and was "completely surprised" when it sold. The rather lengthy article goes on to tell that ERB had never swung from a tree and had never been to Africa. At the time of this article, ERB had 43 books published and the filming of the 12th Tarzan movie had just been completed in Guatemala.

August 24, 1938 - CREATOR REGRETS BUT TARZAN'S GOT A WIFE
ERB is quoted in this article as saying "I married Tarzan off in my second book. I know now that the wedding was a mistake...He's just not domestic." The item goes on to explain how ERB attributed the popularity of Tarzan to the suppressed desire in every man to be a "Tarzan," and battle lions and bellow like an ape. It also mentions ERB's refusal of $10,000 for the original manuscript of the first Tarzan story written in long hand.

September 18, 1940 - The article reports that ERB has come back to the islands for his health, and is writing 20,000 words weekly. He had completed three 20,000 word novelettes during the first part of the month of September and had started his fourth on September 16! His work schedule was as follows: "...to work at 9AM in slacks and beach slippers. Answers correspondence until 11AM, works on stories until 4PM. following the two finger method, he types out 330 words in 20 min." The news item also states that ERB had come to think of TARZAN as a real person, whereas John Carter and his other characters were thought of as purely imaginative creations.


The moral back of Tarzan is that the youths of the land should strive for physical fitness and preparedness [but] preparedness for defense is not enough. The U.S. is surrounded on all sides by people who do not like us. They call us dollar mad, plutocrats, imperialists and worse. They want our trade and our money. If we are only ready to defend what we have, that is not enough. If we prepare for invasion, be sure they will let us alone.
                                        --ERB Honolulu Advertiser, September 18, 1940



MUD IN YOUR AI or MAY 1940
A humorous poem sent to Hulbert on the twenty-fourth which makes
an amusing attack on the supposedly idyllic Hawaiian setting.
On the beach at Lanikai, lovely, lovely Lanikai
Where the mud comes down from mauka, from mauka to makai;
Where the piebald fishes ply through the mud at Lanikai;
There's where I love to be beside the yellow sea
With my water-wings and slicker, and umbrella over me.
Where the liquid sunshine tumbles and the thunder rumbles, rumbles
And a cloud-burst is a sun-shower on the beach at Lanikai.
I love the buffo buffo and the rain upon my roof, oh!
And the mildew and the rust and the typhoon's throaty gust
And the roaches, and the ants that have crawled into my pants.
I love it! oh, I love it! I cannot tell a lie,
From Kalama and Kailua all the way to Lanikai

mauka: inland, toward the mountains
makai: toward the sea
buffo: "a repulsive toad that swarms over our yard nights"
 
 

Ed's feelings expressed to daughter Joan in a January 10, 1942 letter 
I want to come home. The work that I am doing here is inconsequential in the extreme. There already are two other alleged humorists writing for the same page of the paper.  One of us would be one too many.  Furthermore, writing against an editor and a military censor leaves one practically nothing to say, with an excellent chance that that will be deleted. 

The civilian morale here has been fine, but I look for it to crack one of these days if some of the restrictions placed upon civilian life are not lessened.  Coop people up in their homes from 6 P.M. to 6 A.M. daily, day in and day out, week in and week out, with the assurance that it will probably be for the duration is going to play hell with morale.   We are not allowed on the streets and may not even buy a little hootch with which to lessen the tedium of the long, dark hours.  While I don't, myself, now drink, I hear rumblings about town concerning this restriction. 

The civilians here have responded splendidly in the emergency, and they can't understand why they shouldn't now be trusted as much as Londoners are trusted over there.  They are allowed on the streets at night, and they may buy liquor.  It all seems to the civilians here a poor reward for loyalty, sacrifice, end co-operation. 


From a January 28, 1942 letter
I can't do much to win the war, either here or on the Mainland. I have quit writing my silly column and am going to work with Jack Halliday and others on a radio program for KGMB, which they hope will prove good enough for the network; so you may hear the sweet strains of my voice some day when you tune in on CBS. As this will require much of my time, I cannot conduct a column too. 

That you may see how silly my column is, I am enclosing one. It has been sort of fun; but bucking a newspaper editor, a military censor, and, apparently, the WCTU and the Epworth League, and probably the PTA and the advertisers has rather cramped my well known style. Even a little "damn" was cut out of one story I told - and the damn was the whole point of the story. 


2. Laugh It Off excerpts from December 1941 
In the first issue he noted that there was no sabotage, merely silly, unfounded rumors; on the fifteenth he included praise of the Red Cross girls and even more strongly of the Filipinos who, for twenty straight hours, without rest, had been digging trenches at Kewalo Basin. On the twenty-fourth he cited the loyalty of four Japanese house servants who informed their employer of their intentions to work without pay for the duration. Later when they were given their salary, they insisted upon returning it.

In following with his goal of cheering people up, Ed included many humorous stories. Among these was a report of the owner of three dogs who feared that fifth columnists had poisoned the water; he sampled the water first before allowing the dogs to drink. As one of the blackout problems, there was the incident of the three-year-old who cried out from the bathroom in the dark, “Mommy, I can’t find my way home.” --Irwin Porges ERB Bio.

Whatever else the civilian population of this island of Oahu may lack, it is long on cooperation, guts and a sense of humor.....These people, regardless of race, color, or antecedents, are AMERICANS. They make me proud to be an American, too. -- ERB, Laugh It Off, December 13, 1941.

I am now a War Correspondent with a green arm brassard and a red C and an official identification card. Am I getting up in the world! --ERB Diary, Dec. 23, 1941


3. Laugh It Off -- Honolulu Star Bulletin -- January 22, 1942
    By Edgar Rice Burroughs Famed author and creator of “Tarzan.” Mr. Burroughs is now living in Honolulu. 
We read that a famous German general is about to undergo a serious operation. It will probably be performed by Gestapo agents with rifles.

In the good old days, generals used to have cushy jobs far behind the lines. It was seldom that one of them was killed. Adolph has changed all this, and “a usually reliable source” reports that his generals are hastening to resign their commissions and enlist as privates.But Adolph isn’t worrying -- there will be others when the generals are all gone. It is the astrologers who are worrying. 


Arthur Scheid tells this one, possibly as another argument in favor of lifting the ban on liquor: A large cat was put in a wine cellar to catch a mouse which had eluded all previous efforts to liquidate him. One day an attendant spilled a few drops of wine on the floor. Timidly, the mouse crept out of his hiding place. He smelled of the wine, tasted it, licked up every drop. Then he sat back on his haunches, wiped his chops, and demanded: “Where is that cat?” 
From a very sweet letter from the wife of Lt. Col. Hugh Johnson of Scholfield Barracks: On a dark night, a sentry heard some one approaching and challenged: “Halt! Who goes there?” A voice replied, “Oh, you wouldn’t know me if I told you. I just got in yesterday.” Mrs. Johnson closes with this: “We’ll keep ‘em flying, and you keep ‘em smiling.” I’ll try to, but I can never hope to do the sell job that I know you people will do to keep ‘em flying. 
I was deeply grieved to hear that Mr. Belknap’s air raid shelter had caved in on him. I only hope that he had had the foresight to cache his beer there previously, and that no one will be so unkind as to dig him out while it lasts. Some Columnists have all the luck! I ain’t got no air raid shelter; and I ain’t got no beer, neither. 
ALOHA! REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR and KEEP ‘EM FLYING! 

4. Laugh It Off -- Honolulu Star Bulletin -- January 23, 1942 
By Edgar Rice Burroughs Famed author and creator of "Tarzan." Mr. Burroughs is now living in Honolulu. 
Attention! Veterans of the Kewalo Basin campaign. Listen to this: "At Winona, Minn., 15 recently discharged draftees, released from the army for dependency and for being more than 28 years old, organized the first post of the Selective Service Veterans of America." (Time, December 8.) And now we learn that Oahu's Kiawe battalions are about to organize.

If we don't get busy they'll get their lobbies into Washington and grab off bonuses and pensions ahead of us. So arise comrades, and organize the Ancient and Honorable Veterans of Kewalo Basin. And weren't we all honorable and weren't some of us ancient!

For the post of exalted grand commander I nominate Anton Rost, our own Sgt. York, who, single-handed captured 42 enemy aliens. I'll be treasurer. 


Once again Governor Poindexter has demonstrated the traits of mercy and humanity for which he is so justly famous. He has changed the name of Herman Kemohoaliikahakuohawaii to Wong. Now, if Herman ever has to go to war, he'll have room for his pack. 
The 16th consecutive son was recently born to Mr. and Mrs. Grover C. Jones of Virginia. A triumph for democracy. Even with all their bonuses and medals for prolificacy, the nazis have never been able to achieve anything like this; and their "beloved fuhrer" hasn't even one to his credit - thank God! 
And speaking of Adolph - did you ever own a rhesus monkey? I did. I once owned two. They were the meanest, filthiest creatures that I have ever had even a bowing acquaintance with. The fouled everything they touch; just as Adolph has fouled the women and children of Germany, the churches, the peoples of conquered countries and even the swastika, which was once a symbol of good luck or benediction. I always mean to be fair, and so I apologize for comparing him to a rhesus monkey. I apologize to the monkey. 

5. Laugh It Off -- Honolulu Star Bulletin -- January 26, 1942 
By Edgar Rice Burroughs Famed author and creator of "Tarzan." Mr. Burroughs is now living in Honolulu. 
Our military governor is allowing us $200 in our jeans. We are now eagerly awaiting a general order telling us where to go to get it. 
Civilian defense instructions say: “Notch corks of all poison bottles in the medicine cabinet, or better, remove them entirely.” This should simplify junior’s problem when he climbs up on the wash bowl to sample the contents of bottles in the cabinet, as he may not as yet have learned to remove corks. 
Sylvia, who evidently had a rotten cup of coffee for breakfast lights into society women doing war work, whose activities are mentioned in the papers. Personally, I feel that their example is far more inspiring than Sylvia’s. Their efforts promote morale and unity. Carping criticism of anyone doing his best for his country, does not. Calm down, dear. 
A famous journalist, writing from the mainland, says: “We haven’t any conception in this country of what a real blackout means.” Oh, yeah? 
Whenever you get too fed up on the blackout, think of the fuel saving that it is effecting. It must take a heck of a lot of that vital commodity of war to lighten up the island of Oahu. Just figure it out for yourself. If one quart of oke will light up one citizen, we must be saving the equivalent of 260,000 quarts of oke every night. 
Interesting war communiqué: The --th regiment of -- is building a -- at -- for use in the event of a -- by --. 
I hate to give aid and comfort to the enemy by revealing the dire straits to which we are reduced by the exigencies of war, but truth must prevail: At dinner at our hotel Sunday evening our choice for the meat course was confined to tom turkey or pheasant. The thought of the laden tables of our enemies makes our mouths water -- ersatz bread on one front, rice and fish on the other, if they can get it. 

6. Laugh It Off -- Honolulu Star Bulletin -- January 27, 1942 
By Edgar Rice Burroughs 
Several loyal columnees have asked me to skip the Sylvias; then up pops Muriel with this: As a columnist you’re not so hot Altho likely the best that we’ve got but if you don’t get better After reading this letter, Then deservedly you should be shot. --Muriel Williams 4117 7th SE, Navy Housing Them’s harsh words, Muriel. Couldn’t you temper justice with mercy and make it half shot? 
What are you potential drunkards who can’t get booze squawking about? Suppose you had to stand for hours in a line blocks long to get a few ounces of meat once at week? If nobody has told you, we are at war and war is not a picnic with beer. Anyhow, I don’t like picnics, and beer if fattening. But if any of you has a bottle of Scotch he doesn’t know what to do with ---- period. 
A suggestion was just telephoned to me by an anonymous lady with a nice voice. She says she has a brass Buddha made in Japan that she would like to donate to the government, if it needs brass. She believes that many others would like to donate metal objects made in Japan, and would like to see a bin set up down town to receive them. 
While I was typing the preceding paragraph, the nice voice phoned again to say that her Buddha was a wedding present from a Japanese who is now in a concentration camp. She wants to return it. If not to him, to his country. She says that it is a nice smiling Buddha and that she is going to knock its teeth in before she turns it over to Uncle Sam. If Colonel Greep or somebody will set up the bin, I’ll notify all loyal Americans through this column. Of course they all read it! 
7. Laugh It Off -- Honolulu Star Bulletin -- “Last” Column By Edgar RiceBurroughs
                    Famed author and creator of "Tarzan." ~  Mr. Burroughs is now living in Honolulu. 
Lt. Albert Stevenson of the police department relays this one sbout the dame who drove through a stop signal. An officer ran her to the curb and asked her if she saw the signal to which she replied, “No.” “Do you realize that you didn’t stop?” he asked. “I did stop,” said the lady. by that time she must have been as confused as I am, for she inquired, “Tell me, officer, does it cost any more if I get fresh?” “Not a cent more,” replied the cop, up to which point the story seemed entirely reasonable; but there is a limit to even my gullibility. 
In a very nice open letter to me, Jazz Belknap tells about walking into the cage of a lioness with cuts in his birthday suit and slapping her in the face. That ain’t nothing, fellow drudge. About 20 years ago I went into an arena with TWO lionesses with cubs. I knocked out the first one all right, but the second one killed me. 
When, at the request of army authorities, I undertook to conduct this column shortly after December 7, I felt that it might aid in bolstering civilian morale. Perhaps it was helpful for a short time. I hope so. but attempting to bolster civilian morale in the islands is like taking coals to Newcastle. Our morale is tops , and it will remain tops if each of us takes it upon himself to keep his own morale high, no matter what happens - and plenty may happen before we are done with this mess. Fear is contagious. If you are ever afraid, camouflage it. In closing this column, I wish to thank all those who have aided me by their contributions and the many who have encouraged me by their kind letters. I wish to thank the Sylvias and the Muriels for the amusement they have afforded. And so, aloha! 


8. Conclusion of Laugh It Off Columns -- January 1942 
(Editors note: The Star-Bulletin regrets very much that Mr. Burroughs is closing his column and voices the thanks of its readers for his generous contribution for more than a month. When recently Mr. Burroughs asked whether readers wished the column continued, at least 90 per cent of the replies not only favored continuance but were enthusiastic in their appreciation of his writings. The Star-Bulletin is glad to assure Mr. Burroughs that since December 7 his column has been a source of comfort, consolation and reassurance to thousands of readers.)

For several issues the column was published in both the Advertiser and the Star-Bulletin, but ERB soon arranged for the latter paper to have exclusive rights to the column. The “Laugh It Off” columns appeared uninterrupted until January 28, 1942, when they were temporarily discontinued. (In the Spring of 1945 ERB resumed writing the Laugh It Off column while aboard a U.S. Navy oil tanker.) ERB, restless, was seeking a more active war role. He spent the remainder of the war involved in a long string of colourful War Correspondent activities - in both official and non-official capacities -- and on both the Hawaiian home front and in active combat situations.


ERB COLUMN EXCERPTS from 1942 
Unable to gain a combat assignment because of his age and physical condition, Ed wrote many columns, all of which appeared on the editorial page of the Advertiser.

AUTHOR OF TARZAN RIDES FLYING FORTRESS February 17, 1942

I flew in a flying Fortress the other day. Six of the great capital ships of the air flew in formation. I was in the sixth, with Jack Price, cameraman for Associated Press. I do not know what altitude we flew; but as I stood between two open gun ports, holding on to both because of the roughness of the air the sea, far below, appeared a solid mass of dark blue ice, flecked with snow....

And then two days later I watched some 1,200 other Americans being trained to serve. They were older men... clerks, salesmen, business executives, bankers, lawyers. It has been said that comparisons are odious. But it can't be said in this instance, not truthfully. These men are as keen and conscientious and as proud of their organization as are the boys who fly the Fortresses. They are members of the Business Men's Training Corps -- the BMTC... I have attended every meeting and drill... amazed at the constantly increasing attendanceand at the serious and conscientious attitude on the part of every member. 


BMTC GETS TRAINING IN SHOOTING PISTOLS  March 14, 1942
The training of the BMTC is constant, careful and never-ending. This is especially true of the care given in instructing the men in the handling and combatant use of the heavy .45 colt automatic pistols with which they are armed...

And they are on the streets nights now, guarding you and your homes... walking their posts in the cold wind, the rain and the mud. You've got to hand it to 'em -- these men who work in their regular jobs all day and then go out and walk their posts at night. Why do they do it? For $21 a month? [A private's pay during the peacetime draft and early part of the war.] They don't get 21 cents a month for it. They do it because they are swell citizens and real patriots... the Minute Men of 1942... living proof that America is not a decadent nation of conscientious objectors. More power to them. 


WHAT IS SABOTAGE   March 26, 1942
...Often we hear criticism of the Army and the Navy. Oftener still, we hear various civilian defense organizations belittled or ridiculed. That, my friends, is moral sabotage. Its authors are saboteurs... worse than enemy Fifth Columnists and more dangerous. A fool is always more dangerous than a knave....

As a member of the BMTC, I am probably more aware of the morale saboteurs who are deliberately trying to undermine that organization than I am of others. Yet I hear many thoughtless criticisms of Civilian Defense and ridicule of Air Raid Wardens. Let's stop it. I know that those who are 100 per cent loyal to America will. 


OAHU: SINGAPORE OR WAKE   May 19, 1942
...Our soldiers, our sailors, our fliers have done and are doing a magnificent job. But what are we doing? We're sitting on our fat tails and letting "George do it" We are smugly complacent in our belief that with our tremendous resources, man power and wealth, we shall eventually be able to lick the world -- when we are ready. Okeh, brother! But before we are ready, we stand an excellent chance of being licked ourselves. Right up to the present moment we have been licked. We have been licked good and proper. We are still being licked....

This is an all-out war. Can't we ever get that through our thick heads? ... Are we making an all-out effort? We are not.

[ERB proceeded to read the riot act to his favorite organization, the BMTC, stating that they were only giving 12 1/2 per cent of their leisure time to war work. He called upon them to give a minimum of at least eighteen hours a week -- 33 1/2 per cent.)

Other citizens should give as much. Oahu should set an example... the eyes of the world are upon Oahu as never before since she was lifted from the depths of the ocean. Her place in history lies in our hands. Shall we go down in history as another Singapore or another Wake? 


DON'T BE STUPID    July 4, 1942
Shortly after the battle of Midway, I have heard a man say: "Now we can throw away our gas masks." A remark which exemplifies with some accuracy the stupid complacency of the general public since our decisive defeat of a Japanese Task Force... Hitler has said that we are stupid. Perhaps Hitler is right. But why risk our lives to prove he is right.

...What I do know, and what everyone else must know is that the Japanese, for psychological reasons, have go to hit back. They've got to save both their faces...

Don't throw away your gas mask. Don't cancel your Mainland booking. Don't neglect your defense duties. Don't be stupid.

The Japs might come tomorrow. 


DON'T LET 'EM KID YOU, JOE     July 15, 1942
[Ed replied to a statement by Representative Andrew J. May (D., Ky.) Chairman of the House Military Affairs Committee, who had been quoted as predicting an early United Nations victory in the war -- which would make it unnecessary, May said, to draft eighteen and nineteen-year-old youths.]

I do not impugn the loyalty or patriotism of the Gentleman from Kentucky when I assert that [his] statement might have been dictated word by word by Goebbels. It is an outstanding example of unconscious morale sabotage, tending to lull millions of Americans into a false sense of security. Hitler and Hirochito must have loved it...

There is not the slightest reason to believe that the war will be won by the U.S. this year or next. But there is a hell of a lot of reasons to believe it could be won by the Axis this year....

I don't know what sinister shadow darkened Mr. May's mind. It may have been Publicity. It may have been Votes. But a mind that can see harm in drafting youths of 18 and 19 at this time was darkened by something -- it is the type of mind which multiplied by millions, could cause us to lose the war. Or, if we are victorious, to lose the peace.... 


NOT FOR MICE     September 22, 1942
This is a call for men....

There are some 25,000 adult male citizens of Hawaiian, part Hawaiian and Caucasian blood living here in the city of Honolulu. Perhaps many of them do not know how badly they are needed, nor where and how to offer their services. This article will tell them how.

The BMTC needs men. The BMTC needs YOU.

If you are anywhere between 21 and the grave, have all your arms and legs, a little endurance, and a lot of guts....

[The column listed addresses and phone numbers where those interested in joining the BMTC could get further information.] 


WANTED: 1,000    September 24, 1942
Our boys are fighting and dying on the beaches of the green little Islands of the South Pacific... over the waters of the Pacific, the Atlantic, the North Sea and the Mediterranean. In China, in Europe, in Africa, in Asia. It is quite probable that one day they will be fighting and dying here again, as they did on December 7.

...the army wants a strong, well-trained BMTC for certain definite purposes of defense and to help maintain law and order.

...the Government will arm and equip you. You will give a few hours of our time each week. That is not too much to give.... Honolulu needs you. It may need you damn bad some cloudy morning. 


BMTCERS CAN SHOOT    September 30, 1942
(An ex-master sergeant, in a letter to the Advertiser, questioned the wisdom of placing arms in the hands of men not qualified to use them. ERB answered the letter by telling of the training procedures and weapon instructions which were part of the BMTC course, and he added:)

... There are many old-time Army men in the BMTC. Mr. Pinchon should be in it. We need all the experienced men we can get, regardless of age. From the date of his service, 1898, I judge that Mr. Pinchon is about the same vintage as I, although probably younger. I was discharged from the 7th Cavalry in 1896 (actually March 23, 1897 after ten months' service). 


WHATSOEVER A MAN SOWETH     October 21, 1942
Russia reproaches us for the paucity of aid we have given her.... she forgets that against her 2,000-mile front, we have a 25,000-mile front....

We admire Russia as a great and powerful ally [but] if Russia forgets, we do not. We do not forget that for more than a quarter of a century Russia has been trying to undermine and overthrow our government....

Before one plane or one bullet was sent to the aid of Russia, we should have demanded this assurance from Russia....Perhaps, if we were convinced that Russia would always be an ally and would never again attempt to interfere in our politics, we could and would redouble our efforts to aid her now. But deep in the fiber of our being is suspicion and distrust of the Government of Russia. It is nothing of our own doing. The Government of Russia... sowing deep for a quarter of a century, planted it there.

Whatsoever a Man Soweth, he Reapeth. 


SATURDAY NIGHT IN HONOLULU DULL    November 11, 1942
Bernard Clayton, Life Magazine representative in Hawaii, and I accompanied Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Green, executive to the Military Governor, on tour of Honolulu front line civilian defenses Saturday night.

However, there was absolutely no activity in the front line trenches, the enemy "Demon Rum" having practically run out of ammunition.

(The trio toured the city from 7:30 to 11:30 P.M., visiting the Red Cross stations, first aid units, telephone censors, auxiliary police -- all hard at work.)

And so to bed, taking with me an increased admiration for my fellow Americans -- God bless 'em. 


ERB IN THE FIELD WITH THE ARTILLERY     December 1, 1942
[ERB broke up his regular commentaries to report on a field trip with an artillery outfit working on the defenses of Hawaii. It was released in the Los Angeles Times (and perhaps carried to other papers via the U.P. wire)]

Our battery left its position at 7:02 P.M. The range section and each of the big guns was hauled by an enormous, brutal-looking truck called a prime mover....

Captain Philip Bird of Oklahoma City, an observer, and I, of Tarzana, Cal., an innocent bystander, rode in the jeep at the head of the column with Capt. Robert Jaap of Canton, [Ohio] the battery commander. The convoy trailed out behind us like the tail of a comet -- a 15 miles-per-hour comet....

A range section consits of several units, including heavy, extremely delicate, precision instruments.... in 15 minutes the first unit, in the range section, was set up and ready to function....

There was another snappy section that ran [the first unit] a close second. We saw them huddled on their knees in a circle, laboring in the dim rays of a single flashlight even before the first gun was rolling to its position. This was the craps section....

What most impresses one is the assurance and confidence with which these boys handle an intricate job so remote, for most of them, from the peacetime work which they did a few months ago.

[Ed managed to get closer to the war at the tail end of 1942. What probably pleased him most was the front-page space the newspaper gave to his story, plus the byline: "United Press Staff Correspondent." Unfortunately, the headline was the most interesting part of the article.] 


ERB COLUMN EXCERPTS from 1943 
TARZAN'S CREATOR, NOW COVERING WAR, FINDS AUSSIE CUSTOMS ODD   January 4, 1943

I have no business being here and shall probably lose my job and have to go back to writing Tarzan and Martian stories and other factual and scientific works but when the opportunity presented itself, I couldn't resist the temptation. So here I am "down under" on Christmas, 1942, and glad of it....

ERB further reported that he was routed out of bed at 3:30 A.M. and loaded onto a truck with a dozen other men... but not much was happening so he told of finding Aussie customs odd. Such as: "Streetcars are called trams, cars are driven on the wrong side of the street, cops are called constables and whiskey means scotch." 


ERB WITH A TANK OUTFIT IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC   February 14, 1943
[Ed got within shooting range when he reported from a South Pacific base, most likely in southern New Guinea or Guadalcanal.)

I have just returned from a couple of days in the field with a tank outfit. Sure I had plenty of fun; but then I didn't have to camp out for the duration, I hope....

Standing on the summit of a hill, I watched the tanks move into position to attack. It was interesting. It was thrilling. I should like to describe it to you. But I have a hunch it won't get by [the censors].

What I hope does get by is this brief description of how your men are living and working way down here to-hellengone from home. They are cheerful, their health is excellent on the Island. They want letters... cheerful letters....

Honeys, write your boy friends. When you don't their buddies tell them you have fallen for some rejectee. 


(ERB had more thoughts about "mail," and the result was this editorial in the Advertiser in March 20, 1943)
There is food for solemn thought in the observation of Edgar Rice Burroughs upon mail for the men in the fighting fronts. His suggestion that free mail be discontinued to discourage indiscriminate letter writing may not meet general approval, but his pleas that letters to the fighting men be put on a more personal plane is sound.... 
[After his brief stint "up front" with the army, ERB made plans to join the Air Corps but, first, he had a few words to say about Hirohito and the murder of Doolittle's fliers. After a bomber raid on Tokyo on April 18, 1942, the airmen who had been forced down and captured by the Japanese were publicly beheaded.] 
BOMB HIROHITO    April 24, 1943 
...the purpose of these murders and the public announcement was obviously intended to intimidate us and deter us from further bombings of industrial Japan. Another example of Japanese stupidity. They have only advanced the day of the next bombing... and multiplied the number of bombers that will reign death and destruction upon them.

In the first raid on Tokyo, we purposely refrained from bombing the palace of the syphilitic, near-imbecile god whom they worship. The Japanese mind could attribute this humanitarian decency only to fear. The next raid should disabuse their mind of this false conception.



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