Danton Burroughs Talks About Family
By Ken Manson
I was fortunate enough this summer to talk to Danton Burroughs, the grandson of Edgar Rice Burroughs and director of ERB Inc., about whether he could attend the 2005
Dum-Dum in Oak Park, Illinois. He said he doubted it, for health reasons, but probably would decide at the last minute. Unfortunately for the fans, he did not attend.
I wrote an article for the Oak Leaves newspaper, reprinted unedited in ERBzine, about Burroughs' grandson possibly coming to Oak Park for the first time but was not able to use everything he told me.
Here are more tidbits from that interview:
Burroughs Family Gathering 1945
I asked him what he remembered about his famous grandfather, of course, who died in 1950 about three months before Danton turned age 6. He mentioned sitting on his grandfatherís lap being entertained playing a slot machine and ERB's "little" home in Encino, as I mentioned in the article. In an essay in Robert Lesserís "Pulp Art" book, which I just finished, he also mentions watching 16mm Tarzan films in his grandfather's home.
He also told me he has some photos of his grandfather in Chicago.
Copyright Danton Burroughs and ERB, Inc. ~ Not for duplication ~ Courtesy JCB.com
Grandfathers: Danton Ralston and Edgar Rice Burroughs
Son: John Coleman Burroughs
Grandkids: Baby Danton Burroughs and Brother Johnny
Danton did ask Bill Hillman to send my newspaper a photo showing him sitting on the lap of his father, John Coleman Burroughs, next to ERB, who was wearing an Army uniform, and brother, John, sitting on the lap of his other grandfather, his mother's father, Danton Ralston. I'm assuming that is where Danton's first name came from.
I mentioned to Danton that his father also is referred to by two names, John Coleman, rather than John and asked where the Coleman came from? He mentioned he had been asked that questions about five times in the last few months but Coleman is after one of his familyís relatives.
About his father and brother having the same first name, he replied, "My dad loved the name, John, like my grandfather loved it."
His sister, Dian, is named after Dian the Beautiful in the Pellucidar series.
Joan ~ John Coleman ~ HulbertDantonís father died in 1979 but I asked him about his Uncle Hulbert and Aunt Joan. He replied, "Everyone of that generation passed away. I miss them."
Copyright ERB, Inc. ~ Not for duplication
Hulbert ~ Mother Emma ~ John Coleman ~ Joan
Related to the Chicago-Oak Park connection, Danton mentioned the "Tarzan" stage musical will debut this spring on Broadway, and I suggested a Chicago performance because musicals such as "The Producers" and "Monty Pythonís Spamalot" successfully previewed in Chicago before going to New York City. He said he thought a Chicago performance would be appropriate because of the ERB connections here Whether that happens before or after a Broadway performance I guess is up to Disney.
I turned 50 years old last year, an event more terrifying in the mind than in actuality. Iíve been a freelance writer for the past 16 months after working full-time as a newspaper reporter or editor for 25 years.
Meet Ken Manson
My earliest memories about Edgar Rice Burroughs, other than the Tarzan movies, was going to a store on Cermak Road in nearby Cicero, Illinois, in the early 1970s and finding scads of Ace Burroughs editions. They mostly were in the Pellucidar, Venus or Mars series and were reasonably priced to a teen. I would go back to make sure I had all the books in a series.
After graduating in 1977 from Northern Illinois University, where I was a member of a science fiction club, I formed my own group, the West Suburban Science Fiction Society, that met in a paperback exchange in Oak Park. One member, Randy Kryn, was helping run the Oak Park Festival and convinced me to buy a discounted, hardcover copy of Irwin Porges' biography of ERB.
Somewhere around that time I remember going to an antique shop on Chicago Avenue in Oak Park that had a Burroughs book I didnít recognize -- something about Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins and a Golden Lion. I thought the price was reasonable at $25, went home and came back with money. Some 15 or more years later, I went to a "country store" in Brookfield, Illinois, saw the same book in a little more damaged condition, but knew it was valuable and paid $2.50 for it. I had hoped to repair the water and spine damage but it still remains unchanged in my collection.
I continued collecting Burroughs and other books and became a dealer at science fiction conventions to sell duplicate copies.
After hearing a friend, Dave Gorecki, talk about how fun Pulpcon was and how many pulp magazines were for sale, in the 1990s we finally started what would be an almost yearly trip to Ohio, either to Bowling Green or Dayton. I also have attended or dealt at every Windy City Pulp Convention in Chicago.
Iíve been reading Burroughs Bulletins, ERB-doms and other fanzines.
I attended my first Dum-Dum, in Oak Park, this year and wrote two articles about it for the local newspaper, the Oak Leaves.
This year I dug up an article I wrote in 1978 for the Forest Park Review newspaper about a tour of Burroughs' Linden Avenue home. I'm convinced I took the photo accompanying the article of the outside of the home and that somewhere in my home are photos of the interior and patio. If I find them, I will share them with ERBzine.
I gave a copy of the story to Frank Lipo of the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest for their archives (he said they didnít have a copy) and to Bill Hillman for Erbzine. I was very surprised and pleased by the historical society's Burroughs' exhibit at the Pleasant Home in Oak Park.
I hope to attend more Midwest Dum-Dums.
Oak Leaves Dec. 22, 2004
Danton Talks About Family
ERB/Oak Park Connection
Hundreds of Hillman Photos from the
Oak Park Dum-Dum 2005
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