Jim retired in 1964 but Joan was still very involved
with ERB, Inc. as she and her brothers were all on the Board of Directors.
In her role as Secretary-Treasurer she had to be within a reasonable distance
for board meetings so they chose a home in nearby Apple Valley. Since golf
had developed into a consuming passion for the couple they built a home
on the edge of the Apple Valley Golf Course. It was a quite an impressive
structure with guest quarters, pool, and bath house with sauna.
The years following their retirement brought a steady
run of career tributes for the Pierces. They were guests of honour at the
Labour Day Dum-Dum Convention in Chicago in 1965 where they were
presented with a silver trophy, engraved "James H. Pierce and Joan Burroughs
Pierce, Guests of Honor, the Burroughs Bibliophiles, September 5, 1965."
In 1966, as part of a publicity stunt to promote the weekly NBC Ron Ely
Tarzan television series, the Pierces were invited to Mexico City where
the series was being filmed. The aim was to get a group of living Tarzans
together for a banquet and photo shoot. The Tarzans who showed up were
Jim, Johnny Weissmuller, Jock Mahoney, and Ron Ely. 1967 brought another
major event to which the Pierces were invited. Bloomington was acknowledging
the 50th anniversary for all athletes who made their letter "I" in any
sport in 1917 and Jim was one of those so honoured.
Nineteen sixty-eight, saw the publication of a long-awaited
Tarzan film book by Gabe Essoe: TARZAN OF THE MOVIES. Joan wrote
the following Foreword for the book:
Tarzan of the Apes is an important
member of the Burroughs family. In addition to growing up on the Tarzan
novels written by my dad, Edgar Rice Burroughs, we have been very close
to the Tarzan movies.
I, personally, can vouch for our
involvement in films because I married Jim Pierce, the lead in the last
silent Tarzan feature picture, TARZAN AND THE GOLDEN LION, in 1928.
He, as Tarzan, and I, as Jane, also made the first radio serialization
of dad's books in the early 1930s. This series authentically followed his
My father was never able to understand
why the Tarzan motion pictures would not follow his stories more closely.
He wrote such a fantastic wealth of material and it seemed to him that
some of it should have been suitable for the screen. Instead, Hollywood
writers changed the stories and created their own version of dad's hero.
For years he tried in vain to get film producers to maintain an integrity
with his work. Finally, he gave up, frustrated, and let them do what they
were going to do anyway.
It is the hope of ERB, Incorporated,
and the entire family that someday we will eventually see films produced
from the Tarzan books as they were written. If by no other means possible,
we may even produce the films ourselves.
JOAN BURROUGHS PIERCE
Another Tarzan reunion took place on March 2, 1971 on the
Merv Griffin Show. Jim, Mahoney, Ely and Buster Crabbe were present for
this one. Then Joan appeared as a guest on Garry Moore's "To Tell The Truth"
show in New York. A last-minute choice for the person to introduce her
was husband, Jim. The experience was a thrill for Joan who hadn't been
to New York since she was ten. They stayed in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
and were given the royal treatment by everyone connected with the show.
Apple Valley, California - February 29, 1968
Johnny Weissmuller, Gordon Scott, Jock Mahoney, Buster
Denny Miller, and Jim Pierce on the Mike Douglas Show
The "Burroughs Boom" of the '60s had given birth to a
whole new crop of fans for the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs and the worlds
and characters he had created. Thanks to the advance of modern technology,
a revival in publishing out-of-print editions and the spread of fanzines,
these new fans were even starting to discover the decades-old radio series
in which the Pierces had starred. Fans from all over the world were making
pilgrimages to the '20s-style bungalow that had served as the ERB, Inc.
offices since the company's formation. One such visit, involving the author
of this tribute during the summer of 1971, is described in ERBzine
0192 and ERBzine 0193.
We had a wonderful visit with Joan and Jim one morning, thanks to the hospitality
of Hulbert Burroughs, who had suggested that we spend an extra day in Tarzana
so that he could set up a meeting between us. Although they were experiencing
health problems, Jim and Joan were warm and gracious people. Joan had recently
gone through cancer treatments and a mastectomy operation and Jim was recovering
from a serious heart attack but they carried themselves with great poise.
We promised to send them tape reels from our OTR collection: 77 episodes
of the 1932 Tarzan radio serial they had starred in -- and they showed
their appreciation by sending us a huge box of ERB, Inc. books and