From Tarzana, California
Memories from the
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Oldest Correspondent in the WWII Pacific
A Time Line of Events
1940-1942: The War Years
Collated by Bill Hillman
MAINLAND: PRELUDE TO WAR
1940s: ERB wrote a Tarzan parody play called "Tarzan's
Good Deed Today."
Better Little Books published many adaptations of ERB's books: John
Carter of Mars, Tarzan the Untamed, Tarzan the Terrible, Tarzan and the
Golden Lion, Tarzan and the Ant Men, Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, Tarzan
and the Lost Empire, Tarzan in the Land of the Giant Apes, etc. Many
are reprints of Tarzan
comic strips and John
Coleman Burroughs did some of the art.
* Murder mystery puzzle, "The Gang Murder," was
January 2: The death of Robert D. Lay, old childhood friend
and classmate at Michigan Military Academy.
January 16 - March 22: Tarzan
and the Madman was written. Thanks to son Jack, a Burroughs Dictaphone
wax cylinder remained with Ed's voice dictating about 1,500 words from
the novel. The book never appeared in magazine but was published by Canaveral
Press in 1964.
January 21: Brother Harry died at the home of his daughter,
Evelyn (Mrs. Carlton McKenzie) in Quincy, Michigan after being hospitalized
for eight months with sclerosis of the spine.
January 31: ERB agreed to participate in a memorial to
Grey, whose works he said "will live forever as authentic records of
days that are fast disappearing." He also considered Booth Tarkington as
"our greatest novelist."
February 15: Synthetic
Men of Mars was published by ERB, Inc. Illustrations were by
Terrible Tenderfoot (written as That Damned Dude back in
1930) appeared in three parts in Thrilling Adventures magazine ($500 paid).
and the Champion appeared in Blue Book ($250)
HAWAII: PRELUDE TO WAR
April 18: Florence, Lee and Caryl Lee, along with their
maid and Packard sedan, sailed to Hawaii aboard the S.S. Matsonia.
Ed was to follow on the 24th.
April 24: Ed rented out the Beverly Hills home and left for
Hawaii on the S.S. Monterey. Ed's royalites had taken a setback
due to WWII and this move was designed to cut living expenses.
April 24: The S.S. Matsonia docked with Florence and
kids on board.
April 25: The arrival of "Mrs. Tarzan"
and children was reported in LaSelle Gilman's "Port
and Off Port" column in the Honolulu Advertiser.
April 29: Ed arrived in Hawaii on board the S.S. Monterey.
April 30: Ed's was reported in LaSelle
Gilman's "Port and Off
Port" column in the Honolulu Advertiser. He is quoted as saying he
will be writing a series of books while on the islands and that he will
make a special broadcast over KGU tonight at 6:30 o'clock introducing a
new series of transcribed Tarzan dramatizations, the first of which will
be heard over KGU tomorrow evening.
May 1: Ed introduces the new Tarzan radio series debuting
on Hawaii's station KGU. He said that his Mars stories would soon
be on the air as well, adding that they would be guaranteed not to scare
the listening public into believing Mars was attacking the Earth, as had
been done by Orson Welles.
May 4-5: Ed started writing again, writing an outline for
a Venus story on his Underwood. Because of the war in Europe most of his
foreign royalties from books, movies, magazines and strips were lost and
money was tight. They rented a ramshackled beach house on Kailula Bay,
Lanikai, Oahu for $125 a month. (The papers report that they have taken
the R. Alexander Anderson home at Kalama for the summer.) Ed's office was
in the garage on the property and he wrote here almost every day, turning
out new novels of Venus, Mars, Pellucidar, and Tarzan. ERB's last visit
from John Carter took place at Lanikai.
May 4 - July 20: "Captured on Venus," the first of
a new Carson Napier series, was written.
May 7: Ed and family given a tour of Pearl Harbor and the
May 23 (evening): Ed and Florence observed a Honolulu blackout
rehearal from the top of Mount Tantalus.
May 24: Ed sent the poem, "Mud
in your Ai, or May 1940," to Hulbert.
June: Murder in the Jungle was extensively revised
by the editors of Thrilling Adventures and appeared as Tarzan
and the Jungle Murders ($300 - 2 cents a word). It was rejected
by all of ERB's regular magazine publishers.
June 25: Ed wrote Bert Weston that Florence was discouraged
with the cost-saving measures, as well as the condition of the house and
its rats and scorpions. Ed relayed a chain letter which contained
a long list of famous names: Senator Heflin, Bernard Shaw, Henry Ford,
Col. Lindberg, Dorothy Dix, John Barrymore, etc.
June 29: "John
Carter and the Giant of Mars" (a 20,000-word novelette mostly written
by son Jack) was sent to Ziff-Davis (Amazing Stories).
July 4: Florence was stung on the heel by a centipede at
a fireworks celebration on the beach.
July 10: In a letter to brother George, Ed again expressed
his dislike for FDR and his hope that Willkie would win the impending election.
He noted that they were settling in to the Hawaii way of life. He had come
to the end of his rope on the mainland so he had to rent the house out
at a profit and moved to the Islands where they could live on the cheap.
Much of the company's income had stopped coming in due to the war in Europe
and he hoped he could recover some of the tied up income after the war
ended. He likened Oahu to an island fortress. The 25,000 troops stationed
here was a larger force than in any US territory although they were undertrained
and underequipped. They felt quite safe in their beach home with
so many fortifications to the south and north and Ed felt that a Jap attack
was quite unlikely. He met some of the Rice family descended from
Deacon Rice. They had invited "cousin Edgar" to their Luau where he met
many high ranking officers.
July 16: Ed wrote the 10 page, 5,700-word, "The
Strange Adventure of Mr. Dinwiddie." It was marketed under the
nom de plume, John Tyler McCulloch but was not published until 2001. Ed
maintained a daily writing schedule but has regular evening social affairs
with friends - two of whom were neighbours John Halliday and Janet Gaynor.
The evenings usually involved drinks followed by bridge. Ed's inner agonies,
guilt and fears, as well as his increasing reliance on alcohol, were creating
marriage tensions. Friends were starting to note that the two appeared
July 20: A short biography of ERB appeared in Bob Davis'
New York Sun column. Davis, retired from Munsey's and now living at Kailua,
had interviewed Ed after a chance meeting on the island.
July 24 - September 6: ERB wrote "John Carter and the
Pits of Horz," the first of series he planned to combine in a book
tentatively titled "Frozen Men of Mars," "Llana
of Gathol," or "The Horror Pits of Horz."
August 28: The family moved to 2623 Halelena in Honolulu
and a week later, Ed moved into an office at 1298 Kapiolani Boulevard.
He worked in the office from nine to four, preferring to keep his work
separate from his homelife.
September 3: ERB was interviewed on Radio Station KGMB.
September 6: Ed completed a 20,000-word John Carter story.
September 7-15: "Hodon and O-AA," the first
of a new David Innes series of four was written. It is later titled "The
Return to Pellucidar." He planned to publish all four parts in a book
titled Girl of Pellucidar. The full novel was not published until
1963 when it was issued as Savage
Pellucidar by Canaveral Press.
September 15: The
Deputy Sheriff of Commanche County was published by ERB, Inc. (previous
titles were That Damned Dude and The Terrible Tenderfoot).
Illustrations were by John Colman Burroughs. Dedication was: "To Mary
Lucas Pflueger," a close friend and member of a prominent Honolulu
family. Because of wartime paper shortage, this was the last ERB book to
appear until 1944.
September 26: A dictaphone arrived at the office and Ed carried
on writing at a feverish pace. Ed claimed to have coined the word "scientifiction"
to categorize his writings. He had come to develop strong feelings of inferiority
about ability as a writer. He showed deep resentment toward "literary"
writers and anger toward his critics who had excluded him from literary
September 27 - October 2: "The Black Pirates of Barsoom,"
part 2 of the new Mars series was written.
September 30: Mrs. Jane Morse was hired as a typist.
October 6-13: "Men of the Bronze Age," part 2 of the
new Pellucidar series was written.
October 11: He writes of visiting scenic Hanauma Bay with
Hully where they swam. He expresses disappointment with the Nova/Baer prize
fight -- and boxing matches in general.
October 15-22: "The Living Dead," part 2 of the new
Venus series, was written.
October 24-30: "Escape on Mars," part 3 of the new
Mars series was written.
October 24 - November 5: "Beyond the Farthest Star,"
the start of a new series on the planet Poloda was written. It was published
in book form in the 1964 book, Tales of Three Planets, by Canaveral
November 1: ERB ran into astronomical problems in his creation
of the new "Canapa" solar system in the Poloda series. He began correspondence
with Professor J. S. Donaghho of Honolulu.
November 6-10: "Tiger Girl," part 3 of the new Pellucidar
series was written.
November 17: In a letter to Irene Ettrick, a London fan,
Ed expressed his concern over Japan's growing strength, on and off the
islands. He believed that there will be war with Japan in a matter of weeks.
He described Oahu as an immense fortress. He saw the navy as being great
but the army as being pitifully undermanned and under equipped.
November 26 - December 13: Tarzan
and the Castaways of the "New Tarzan Series" was written
November 18-22: "Invisible Men of Mars," part 4 of
the new Mars series, was writtten.
November 27: Rothmund sent word that feedback on Tarzan
and the Jungle Murders and "The
Giant of Mars" was bad - many fans do not believe that ERB has
December 17: ERB started writing "Tangor Returns,"
the second in the Poloda series, as a 20,695-word novelette.
December 27: Ed and family moved to a three-bedroom cottage
- part of the Niumalu Hotel on Kapiolani Boulevard.
* Jungle Girl was released
as a 15-part Republic serial starring Frances Gifford. Ed's friend Rochelle
Hudson had hoped to get the role.
* Tarzan's Secret Treasure with Weissmuller and O'Sullivan
was released by MGM
Carter and the Giant of Mars" appeared in Amazing Stories under
ERB's name (the magazine hit the stands on November 10, 1940). A controversy
soon followed as to authorship over this story which was actually written
by John Coleman Burroughs. Hulbert later explained that "Giant" was originally
written as a Whitman Better
Little Book and later expanded into novelette form - although ERB might
have had some input from Honolulu, Jack (perhaps with input from Whitman
editors) did most of the work on it.
January 5-8: The 3,300-word story, "Misogynists
Preferred" was written under the pen name John Tyler McCulloch.
It was rejected in February by Esquire, New Yorker, Romantic Story and
Hillman Periodicals. It was not published until 2001.
January 15: ERB wrote the poem, "The Skunk in Defeat,"
and later "A War-Job Striker To A Soldier."
January 23 - October 7: "Wizard
of Venus," the first of a planned new Venus series, was written.
All magazine submissions were rejected.
February: Two of the world's best-known authors, Ed and fellow-Chicagoan
Ernest Hemingway dined with their wives at the same Honolulu restaurant
but neither introduced himself.
March: "Captured on Venus" appeared in Fantastic Adventures
as "Slaves of the Fish Men" ($472).
March: "The City of Mummies" ("John Carter and the Pits
of Horz") appeared in Amazing Stories.
March 14 or 18: Florence and the kids sailed for the mainland
at noon on the Lurline. Ed had to borrow the money for their fares.
She filed for divorce on July 23. He wrote I Am a Barbarian
and The Wizard of Venus
during this period.
March 20: Ed wrote Bert Weston of having met long-standing
fan, pulp writer, and professional wrestler, Prince Ilaki Ibn Ali Hassan.
He said Florence left the islands because of the increasing Japanese threat.
March 27 (early morning): Tormented over Florence and finances,
Ed had a slight stroke or angina attack in his sleep.
Spring: Ed started writing I
Am A Barbarian.
April 8: Ed's diary entries indicated that he had fallen
into deep depression and complete withdrawal.
April 19: Ed sent Rothmund instructions to be followed after
May 3: Ed swore off drinking. He had lost 11 pounds in the
May 5: The Honolulu Star-Bulletin printed a scathing letter
from ERB in which he blasted the Hawaii Legislature. In a follow up letter
he outlined a plan in which an intelligence test could be administered
to potential leaders to better help the voters choose the best people for
the job of governing.
May 17: Ed noted in his diary that his article concerning
the Legislature was viewed favourably in the governor's office.
June: "Black Pirates of Barsoom" appears in Amazing
Stories. Also included in the issue is the 750-word article, "An
the Authors" by ERB appeared in Amazing Stories
June 1: Recurring bladder condition.
June 2: Ed's old bladder obstruction problems were returning.
June 12: Admitted to hospital for treatment of bladder/urinary
June 13: Sent home but was bedridden for 10 days.
June 22: Doctor advised him to return to hospital but Ed
treated himself with alcohol and went to a baseball game.
June 25: Returned to the hospital for 13 days.
July: "The Fire Goddess" appeared in Fantastic Adventures.
July: "Uncle Miner and Other Relatives" (22,800 words)
was written in and out of hospitals. He signed the preface, "Joe Louis."
The wildly imaginative story was rejected by New Yorker on August 28, 1941
and was never published.
July 2: Ed left the hospital prematurely after treatment
with sulfathhiozal. A recurrence of the illness forced him to return later
in July and August. The doctor suggested that he start drinking again -
the results were not satisfactory.
July 23: Actress Florence Gilbert announced through her attorney
that she was filing a suit for divorce against Edgar Rice Burroughs, the
author, charging him with mental cruelty. The Star Bulletin reported
that Florence had filed for divorce. Ed's legal matters were delegated
July 24: Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported that Ed's
reaction to the divorce announcement was, "News to me."
August: A month of severe health problems - uretha wire insertions,
infections, anti-biotic sulfathhiozal treatments, high temperatures, vomiting,
delirium, and muscular convulsions.
August: "Yellow Men of Mars" appeared in Amazing Stories.
August 1: Ed submitted a letter from longtime fan, Frank
Shonfield, of the English Army, to Life Magazine. It was rejected.
August 12: Ed instructed his children to elect Rothmund as
president of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. and to look after him financially.
August 13: Ed drafted a new will.
August 23 - September 6: Tarzan
and the Castaways appeared as a three-part serial in Argosy. It
was revised and retitled "The Quest of Tarzan" ($450).
September 1: Ed's 66th birthday.
September 7: Hully arrived on the Mariposa for a "vacation"
and to be with his dad. They moved into new quarters at the Niumalu
Fall: Times were good: lazing about, drives, sunbathing,
drinks, fishing, walks, movies, wrestling matches, paddle tennis, etc.
September/October: Ed returned to the hospital for short
October: A 2,400-word article, "Fall of a Democracy,"
was completed. Magazine submissions were turned down and it was never published.
October: "Invisible Men of Mars" appeared in Amazing
Stories. All four of these Mars novelettes appeared in the 1948-ERB, Inc.
book, Llana of Gathol.
October: George's wife Edna died. She had been committed
to a mental institution in August. George invited old friend Lew Sweetser
to share the Fontana home.
October 20: Hulbert reported to Rothmund that he had talked
his father out of drinking so heavily and that his health was much improved.
Ed checked into Queen's Hospital, Room 33J. He suffered from fever blisters
inside his mouth and couldn't swallow.
October 21: Ed walked to breakfast and the office. He felt better
but still rotten.
October 25 - November 20: "The
Skeleton Men of Jupiter," the first of a planned new John Carter
series, was written. It was rejected by Blue Book but appeared in Amazing,
November: "The Living Dead" appeared in Fantastic
Am A Barbarian was completed. It was rejected by McCall's Red Book
and Blue Book as being: "...too gruesome and downbeat a story for us to
consider at this time, can't you give us something a little cheerier?"
November: Ed and Hully played paddle tennis most days after
which they went to the movie theatre: Never Say Die with Bob Hope
and Martha Ray ~ Caught in the Draft with Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour.
November 21: He sent congratulations Jane congratulations
on her pregnancy. He and Hully played paddle tennis before attending the
wrestling matches. Bed at 7:00. (He kidded that Hully, thanks to
all the cocktail parties they were attending, wais becoming a social butterfly
on the primrose path to hell -- but at least Ed had weaned him from the
filthy weed habit). He wished he had built a paddle tennis court back in
Tarzana. He wrote that he truly appreciated the unselfish devotion
of his children despite his having been a lousy father. He was truly sorry
that Joan and Jack have had to carry the burden he left them at home. He
admitted that he never liked children till his own three came along.
November 22: Tennis followed by movies: Down
Mexico Way with Gene Autry ~ Nothing
But Pleasure with Buster Keaton.
November 28: Ed took a woodcarving lesson at the Academy
of the Arts. Evening film was Charlie's
Aunt with Jack Benny.
November 29: Wrestling matches
December 2: A new Carson of Venus story was started but abandoned
because of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
December 4: Tennis followed by Great
Guns with Laurel and Hardy
December 5: Tennis followed by The
Great Dictator with Charlie Chaplin
THE JAPANESE ATTACK PEARL HARBOR ~ AMERICA ENTERS
December 7 - 7:55 a.m.: "Watched
Japan bomb Pearl Harbor and Hickam field while we played tennis...."
The old military man was finally in the right place at the right time.
Ed and Hulbert watched the attack from the hotel tennis court, at first
thinking it a military practice exercise. Ed, Hulbert, and friend Anton
Rost volunteered for sentry duty with Patrol 2, Company A, 1st Battalion,
stationed on the wharf warehouse at Honolulu Tuna Packers Ltd. and to patrol
Ward Avenue. Later Ed was assigned to guard and then to escort "enemy aliens"
(Japanese) to the Immigration Station. The march almost killed him.
December 7: Ed reported to Brigadier General Kendall Fielder's
office at General Headquarters and volunteered his services for the war
effort. He was asked to write a humorous series of Laugh It Off columns
for the Honolulu Advertiser and joined the Business Mens' Training Corps
home guard. Ed was extremely proud of his new role of War Correspondent.
December 7: John
Carter of Mars illustrated by John
Coleman Burroughs appeared as a Sunday feature for United Feature Syndicate.
Wartime paper shortage forced its demise in the spring of 1943.
December 12: Ed and Hulbert were attached to G-I at Iolani
Palace. They were serving as chauffeurs, because they each had a car --
Ed's and one borrowed from Cecile Bumside whose husband commanded a sub
at Manila. They worked from 8-4 and ate dinner at the hotel at 4:30. Early
dinner was the result of island blackout.
December 23: Hulbert expressed his pride in his father in
a letter to Joan.
December 24: Hulbert asked Rothmund to tried to persuade
ERB to return to the mainland as he was reluctant to enlist until his father
December?: In the 2,800-word article "Came the War"
Ed described his and Hulbert's activities during and after the Japanese
December: December movies included: Adventure
in Washington with Herbert Marshall ~ When
Ladies Meet with Joan Crawford ~ Hold
That Ghost with Abbott and Costello ~ The
Devil and Miss Jones with Jean Arthur ~ Here
Comes Mr. Jordan with Robert Montgomery ~
* ERB contributed a one-page
article for a series titled "Famous
Living Americans and Their Homes," which was being featured by
Perfect Home magazine. It was rejected.
January: Beyond the Farthest Star, part 1 of the Poloda
series, appeared in Blue Book ($400). The sequel, Tangor Returns,
was apparently never submitted but appeared in print 24 years later.
January 18: Hully enlisted in the Army Air Corps at Hickam
Field and served as a military photographer.
January 27: Headquarters authorized a flight in a Flying
Fortress for Ed. He was hoping that the Fortress spotted a Jap sub.
January 27: A Pathe Newsreel man working with Hulbert on
a motion picture of army life told Ed that Hully was considered the top
photographer of AAF.
January 28: The "Laugh
It Off" column was discontinued. Ed was seeking a more active war
role. He was quite active in the civilian Businessmen's Military Training
Corps as public relations officer and as a drill instructor.
January 29: Ed went to the pistol range to try to qualify
with a .45 Colt for a permit to carry a gun.
February: The Return to Pellucidar ("Hodon and O-AA")
appeared in Amazing Stories.
February 2: I Am A Barbarian was submitted to Red
Book. It was rejected and did not appear until 1967 when it was published
by ERB Inc.
March: Men of the Bronze Age appeard in Amazing Stories.
March 9: Ed complained to Senator Hiram Johnson of the peril
facing California as a result of the weak defences at Hawaii.
March 13: Star-Bulletin published "Dry
Firing' Makes Experts In BMTC Ranks" by ERB, Public Relations Officer
March 18: ERB sent a letter of protest to Colonel Bourland
over the treatment of the BMTC by the military.
March 23: Ed received the documents of the final property
settlement with Florence.
March 26: Star-Bulletin published "Undermining
of Morale is Type of Sabotage" by ERB, BMTC Public Relations Officer
* Ed wrote Washington to try to have Hulbert's ROTC
commission re-instated. He was currently holding the rank of corporal.
* Tiger Girl appeared in Amazing Stories.
April 1: Ed completed the first of a series of radio programs
which CBS planned to air weekly on the mainland.
April 14: Ed was promoted to major in the BMTC, a guard regiment
composed of some 1200 Caucasian citizens. He served as the Public Relations
Officer and drill instructor.
April 15: Ed and Hully took photos of each other in uniform.
April 27: Ashton Dearholt died. He was Florence's former
husband, father of Lee and Caryl Lee, and Ed's partner in the production
of the New Adventures of Tarzan in Guatemala.
April 30: ERB made an inspection tour of island defences
with Major Frank Steere, Hawaiian Provost Marshall.
May 1: Ed reported that he was Plans & Training Officer
for the regiment with a staff of three BMTC officers.
May 4: The Honolulu Advertiser reported the finalizing of
the Burroughs divorce. Florence was granted a divorce in Juarez, Mexico.
May 19: "Oahu: Singapore or Wake?" article was printed
in the Honolulu Adviser. Ed expressed his impatience with the limited participation
of the BMTC and civilian apathy.
June 12: Hully received a commission -- 2nd Lieutenant --
and was sent to the Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal, etc. as a documentary
and combat photographer.
June 22: Birth of a baby, John, to Jack and Jane back in
July 13: "Don't Let 'em Kid You, Joe" - News Bulletin appeared
in the Honolulu Advertiser
* Tarzan's New York Adventure with Weissmuller and
O'Sullivan was released by MGM.
August 3: Ed was guest speaker at a dinner given by the Schofield
Barracks Quarterbacks Club at the Chun Hoon residence.
August 4: Met with officers of an Anti Aircraft artillery
regiment and gave a talk to 25 or 30 officers at an officers' school after
lunch. Possible co-ordination of BMTC and AA was discussed.
August 5: Popa Ed sent snapshots for Joan and Jack in a Letter
home to Joan. He reported that Hully was in town and that they
had played poker and tennis followed by a night at the movies: The
Man Who Came to Dinner. Ed had been invited to participate in AA
practice shooting at a target behind a tow plane. Hulbert had been recommended
for a first lieutenancy.
September: Ed socialized with many officers of the Signal
Corps, Intelligence, Anti-Aircraft Brigade, etc. He entered into a battle
of wits with the Signal Corps - each trying to baffle the other with coded
messages - "undecipherable ciphers."
September: Ed resigned in frustration over the limited role
of the BMTC but was lured back when offered the position of liaison officer.
He received credentials as a combat correspondent for United Press.
September 7: Hulbert was posted to Air Force bases in the
South Pacific as a documentary and combat photographer. He came under intense
fire at Guadalcanal.
September 10: Ed resigned in frustration over the limited
role of the BMTC but was lured back when offered the position of liaison
September 30: Ed hosted one of many radio shows for BMTC
- this one featured many of his military friends as guests.
November 2: Ed sent a thank-you letter to George Carlin who
had sent United Press correspondent's credentials.
November: The Navy ordered Ed to abandon his office but he
refused to comply.
November 13: ERB completed an article reporting on
a year of martial law in the Islands.
December 1: ERB contributed "Somewhere on
Oahu" - News Bulletin - N.Y. World
December 4: Hulbert was promoted to 1st Lieutenant.
December 4: Ed received orders to depart the next morning
in his role as war correspondent. Under Hully's experienced supervision
he packed his B-4 and musette bag but couldn't stay within the required
55 lb limit. Also added his "tin hat" and typewriter.
December 4 - January 19, 1943: ERB began the first in a series
of war diaries: Happenings in New Caledonia and Australia. During
this reporting mission he filed 25 unpublished stories. Burroughs compiled
the highlights of these diaries into a 60-page, typed, single-spaced document
that he presented to family members: "The Diary of a Confused Old Man
or Buck Burroughs Rides Again."
December 5: Ed and Hully ate an early morning breakfast in
the blacked out Niumalu kitchen. They reached the airfield at 8 A.M. --
the start of what would be a 7000 journey for Ed. He flew on a C-87 (a
converted B-24 bomber) to New Caledonia via Canton Island and Fiji. On
board were nine lieutenants -- new fighter pilots flying into action. Ed
got their autographs. It was a typically noisy, rough, dark, cramped and
cold B-24 flight. The aircraft was flying at 9,000 feet and cold wind entered
through the gun turret openings. He stood up and kept moving to keep from
freezing. The pilot Ed a chance to fly the ship but he declined,
remembering his bad experience in becoming lost on a solo flight to Pomona
years back. They crossed the equator and International Date Line on this
very long flight to barren Canton Island. Correspondents were accorded
Officer privileges so he ate and bunked in the Officers' Quarters.
December 7 (a day was lost crossing the Date Line): They
flew out of Canton Island at 7:30 A.M.. and stopped at Nandi, Viti Levu,
Fiji - a lush tropical island. There was time for sightseeing and a few
drinks with the pilot before bedtime.
December 8: 6:30 departure. Ed experienced the excitement
of takeoff and a low flight around the tropical island. At 11:46 A.M. they
landed at Plaines des Gaiacs at the northwest end of New Caledonia. The
officers -- most of them Tarzan fans -- gave Ed a warm welcome. At 1 P.M.
he flew to Tontouta 30 miles from the southern end of the island and was
taken by command car to Noumea to check into the officers' quarters at
the Grand Hotel du Pacifique. Here he met Lt. Ballanger who had gone to
Pomona with Jack and Jane, then old acquaintance Hal Thompson, husband
to long-time family friend, actress Rochelle Hudson.
December 9: Ed visited a village of grass thatched huts close
to St. Louis Mission (French Catholic) - a place famous for its rum production.
Photographer Corporal Wold took many photos of Ed with natives and the
Grand Chief.and following their exchange of gifts.
December 10: Q.M. provided Ed with a 1942 Willys jeep
and gas mask.
December 11: The Signal Corps took photos of officers signing
Ed's autograph book. He met Frank J. Cuhel of Mutual Broadcasting Systems
(later killed in clipper crash at Lisbon).
December 12: Ed drove to the camp of crack 112th Cavalry
outfit in Dumbea River Valley. His accompanying photographer took photos
of Ed with the cavalry horses.
December 13: (Sunday): Ed spent the day settling in and getting
supplies. He set up his typewriter in a tiny lanai opening onto the main
island road with its 24-hour stream of noisy and dusty military traffic.
Officers invited him to an evening poker party and they formed the Noumea
Chowder and Marching Club.
December 14 - 16: The days were spent getting to know the
officers and fellow correspondents -- mainly in poker parties. A captain
gave him a bunch of full-page color comics from the L.A. Times - the first
he'd seen in a year.
December 17: Drove to Dumbea Valley to do a story of Royal
Navy lieutenant, John Templeton -- now a private with the 112th Cavalry.
Wold took many photos (they didn't turn out) of the troops. He then inspected
batteries overlooking the harbour and had a look at a rather attractive
native leper colony.
December 18: Hurricane season -- there were numerous threats
of hurricanes in the vicinity.
December 19: Ed picked up a Negro soldier on way to Tontouta,
who directed him to the First Parachute Battalion, USMC. They had recently
suffered 50% combat casualties and were here to train replacements
December 20: Ed and Lt. Ramsey explored the island's east
side with its unusual scenery of jungle and bare volcanic hills. He picked
up hitchhikers along the way: a Free French soldier and two Melanesians.
During their drive along the bay to the south side of the island they had
to get gasoline from a passing army truck. There were free fuel dumps alongside
the highways all over the island. During supper, groups of visiting nurses
all wanted to meet the famous creator of Tarzan.
December 21: Ed interviewed the island governor, Col. Henri
Montchamp with aid of an interpreter. He later got permission to fly out
on a plane leaving Tontouta on the 24th. The next visit was to the construction
site of a new mess and was fascinated by the extensive use of bamboo and
thatch in the building structure and contents.
December 22: Ed was talked into posing for silly pictures
-- one with Ngatijem, his Javanese room girl. (The film was lost.)
December 23: His mess bill - board and room - Dec. 8 to 23
- was $13.60! The Army transported Ed and other officers 28 miles
to Tontouta in preparation for next morning's flight to Viti Levu and on
December 24: Ed and twelve passengers boarded a DC-3
Marine transport and flew out at 5:15. They arrived at Sydney's Mascot
Field at 12:00 Australian time after a rough trip: many hours, no food,
no smoking, and not enough seats. Ed's new portable typewriter fell off
the roof of the navy bus transporting them into the city. All the hotels
were packed but he and Ham Freeman got rooms at Usher's Hotel. Ed expected
a letter from Ralph with information that would help him pick up ERB, Inc.
frozen Australian royalties. He spent Christmas Eve with three girls, Ham
and an Australian captain.
December 25: Ed spent Christmas day writing stories, chatting
with a P-38 fighter pilot from Guadacanal and finally going out for a late-night
December 26: He delivered a story to the censor and headed
for the Botanical Gardens.
December 27 (Sunday): Ed joined the holiday crowd on the
Manly Ferry on a 35-minute trip through Sydney Harbor to Manly - an Australian
version of Coney Island. He carried on with his sightseeing around Sydney
on a camouflaged double decker bus and then took a tram over the famous
Sydney bridge. He returned to Usher's for poker, drinks and supper.
December 28: He had being trying to get his laundry done
and find a place for a haircut for days without success - everything was
closed during this holiday season. Ed reflected on meeting so many great
and interesting people but noted that his only real friend after all these
years was Bert Weston.
December 29: End of holidays brought clean clothes and a
haircut at last. Ed met Pat Robinson of the International News Service
-- oldest correspondent until OB came upon the scene. He wrote in Ed's
autograph book: "The Dean until Tarzan showed up." Ed and Ham went to the
Lyceum to see a Blondie picture and Francot Tone in "A
Yank in Dutch" -- "... probably the silliest picture I have ever seen."
December 30: Ed was taken to lunch at the War Correspondents'
table at Romano's. He and Ham drove over to a hospital to get stories from
wounded soldiers. They joined a group of Americans, including four nurses,
to cook steaks in an apartment gathering.
December 31: Ed did a series of interviews and photo shoots
with The Sydney Daily Mirror, Sydney Sun, Cinesound Review (newsreel),
the Herald, and the Sydney Daily Telegraph. He celebrated New
Year's Eve in the hotel lounge. Toasts were given to President Roosevelt
and His Majesty the King and national anthems were sung.
An abbreviated timeline for 1040-1945 and the complete
timeline for 1946-1950
are featured in the ERB Online Timeline Bio
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