June 25, 1925 - April 7, 2006
For many years now I've looked forward to working with Bob in adapting his always entertaining memoirs, Odyssey of a Tarzan FANatic, for Web display. Following the appearance of each of his installments in ERBapa, I would start a search for photos and links to add to his text to be featured in ERBzine.
Sadly, Bob did not complete writing his Odyssey beyond 1996 . . . leaving it to his friends and family to fill in the missing years. Bob's longtime ERBapa writing partners - Jack Daley and Walter Albert - have shared the following warm memories of one of the all-time great ERB boosters and one of the great guiding lights of fandom.
His Odyssey Ends
by Jack Daley
ERBapa Reprint No. 88, April 2006In August of 2001, while my wife Joanne and I were on our annual week's vacation at "Lake Erie's Oldest Summer Resort, Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio," Bob Hyde and Margaret Herzog stopped by for an afternoon and stayed for two days. The four of us spent one day driving to all the bookstores and antique shops nearby in search of (three guesses):
1) First editions of the Bobbsey Twins series, with dust jackets;
2) Rare folios of the 18th-century Ossian forgeries; or
3) Anything by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Okay, you win, it was 3). (I already had the folios.)
Margaret Herzog and Bob Hyde
On the second day the ladies declined, having had enough of dusty old books and haphazard antiques. So Bob and I drove to all the book and antiques stores in a 40-mile half circle, as far south as Chardon, as far west as Mentor, and as far east as Andover, just short of the Pennsylvania line.
He was searching for a copy of Triple-X Magazine, February1930, which contained part 4 of the serial Tarzan Returns. He owned parts 1, 2, and 3, but part 4 had eluded him for years. During supper that evening at a half-posh restaurant in historic Ashtabula Harbor, Bob was explaining the confusion involving the 4-part Triple-X reprinting of the original serial, The Beasts of Tarzan, which had first appeared in All-Story Cavalier Weekly in 5 parts in May and June, 1914. Triple-X retitled it Tarzan Returns. At this point, a glassy-eyed Margaret looked at us, then sidelong at Bob, and said, "There's nobody like him. There really isn't." Joanne smiled, I laughed, and Bob kept on talking.
I remembered that on Tuesday, April 11, during the funeral service at the Baldwin Community United Methodist Church, when Bob's son-in-law, John Benigas, gave "The Witness to the Life of Bob Hyde." John is the Pastor of a church in nearby Tiltonsville, Ohio. His eulogy was perceptive, evoking smiles and appreciative laughter when he touched on the Bob most of us, as non-family members, recognized. But the Bob Hyde who prompted Margaret's comment was not the devoted family man Pastor John showed us, but the one who became, without question, the world-famous Tarzan fan.
Organized Burroughs fandom began in the 1940s with Vern Coriell's authorized publications The Burroughs Bulletin and The Gridley Wave. Consequently there have been ERB fans, ERB buffs, ERB collectors, ERB buffs/collectors, ERB enthusiasts, ERB true believers, ERB faux experts, ERB obsessives, and ERB crazies. All, domestic and international, speaking in tongues. All to one side of a stable imaginary line. Alone on the other side of the line: Bob Hyde.
Other ERB devotees had larger or more comprehensive collections. I remembered seeing Stan Vincent's stunning original J. Allen St. John paintings at his home in Mansfield, Ohio, particularly the ones from Chessmen of Mars. This was in 1972. Stan also had original paintings by Frank E. Schoonover, Frank Frazetta, Morris Gollub, and others, but only the St. Johns froze you in your tracks. He had two first editions of every ERB title, in dust jackets, including the N. C. Wyeth jacket for The Return of Tarzan, of which only four copies are said to exist today.
And I've seen examples of other mind-boggling collections. But how many of these devotees so loved the creations of Edgar Rice Burroughs that they would, in dead of night, painstakingly remove from a billboard, strip by strip, an advertisement for Tarzan Finds a Son? Furthermore, how many would then carefully glue the strips to the ceiling of the family garage, where they could admire the result whenever they wished?
How many of them would collect the Sunday Tarzan pages from their local newspaper and preserve them in oversized scrap books? Year after year, and when the local paper discontinued the page, buy it from out-of-town papers? Year after year for 70 years?
How many ERB/Tarzan fans have become friends with ERB's son Hulbert and grandson Danton? And friends with Denny Miller, who starred in MGM's 1959 remake of Tarzan the Ape-Man? Or friends with Burne Hogarth and Gray Morrow, Tarzan Sunday-page artists? To Bob's delight, Gray Morrow put him in the Sunday page in 2000, as a villainous white hunter trying to capture Tarzan. Although the page was creaking with age at this time, hampered by repetitive story lines (how many times did Tarzan return to Opar?), Bob never lost his enthusiasm for it.
Bob with Bob Cook and Danton & his daughters
Bob with Joanna Barnes and Denny Miller
When his likeness appeared in that Sunday-page story, he became a part of the Tarzan comics history, and by extension, part of the Tarzan oeuvre. Which may be what he had in mind all along, from the time he received that Tarzan coloring book in 1933 and went on to remove the billboard ad for Tarzan Finds a Son.
In retrospect, perhaps the Bob Hyde whom John Benigas eulogized was not that different from the famous Tarzan fan. He showed the same qualities: loyalty, patience, determination, and a single-minded focus on a goal. These qualities probably contributed to his success as a U. S. Navy Ensign, a U. S. Steel computer programmer, and a family man. They also made him a treasured friend.
I first met Bob by chance in the dealers' room at a local science-fiction convention, probably in late 1975 or early 1976. He and Jack Price, another local collector (although not a Burroughs specialist), had a table from which I purchased an early thirties Weird Tales. But in addition to meeting Bob, the other important aspect of that meeting was an invitation to a meeting of a small group of local collectors, whose names are worth recording for posterity: Jack Daley, Lester Fried (Lester died of Leukemia a year or so after this meeting), Al Reilland, Jack Herzog, and Jack Price and Bob.
Click for large image
A young Tarzan and Jane:
Bob and Alice Hyde
The Pittsburgh Browsers
by Walter Albert
That invitation was quickly converted into a regular membership and for at least 15 years, many of my most treasured hours were the ones I spent with that group of congenial friends, displaying items from our collections, exchanging anecdotes about notable finds, talking about books, movies, childhood memories of the different ways we were bitten by the collecting bug, and finally repairing to a dining-room (we met at the homes of the various members) for the generous spread the host of the evening provided.
This was a men-only group, not by choice but simply by the nature of the circumstances that brought us together, but several of our wives quickly formed their own congenial group, and would hold their own session in another room, until we all gathered together for the late-evening collation. Alice Hyde, a bright woman with a keen sense of humor and a special interest in art, and Joanne Daley, a talented writer and quiet authority on many subjects, were particular favorites of my wife, and Peggy still remembers those gatherings with great affection and some sadness for the friends who are no longer with us.
Death took first Jack Herzog, then Alice, whom Bob cared for devotedly during her final illness, followed by Jack Price and Al Reilland, but Bob, Jack and I continued to meet for at least a dozen years twice a month for lunch and an afternoon's browsing in one of the local bookstores, with our foraging eventually extending to an annual visit to the Akron Book Fair every spring.
Bob's focus on Burroughs was legendary and I'll always remember the drives to Akron, Bob in the back seat, sometimes half-dozing, apparently paying little attention to the chatter between Jack and me from the front seat, but suddenly alert, his antennae vibrating at the slightest mention of ERB, correcting a bit of misinformation or responding to a query about some arcane Burroughs matter. From my academic career, I was certainly familiar with obsessive specialists, but I never knew one who was as focused, knowledgeable and entertaining on a subject as Bob was on his.
One of our favorite stops was at Eide's, a Pittsburgh comics store we had all been foraging in since the early 1970s. Our last stop with Bob was at Eide's, in November, and we spent the usual busy time chatting with the clerks, many of whom we've known for 15 or 20 years, and checking out the comics, BLBs, and magazines, and the inviting book, VHS and DVD room on the second floor, where rarer items under glass would be gawked at (but seldom purchased), while Bob carefully checked out the small ERB section, carefully placing Burroughs Bibliophile bookmarks in the copies added since our last visit.
Crowded years, vivid memories, and Bob calmly figuring in so many of them. Jack and I continue the tradition, but it's not quite the same, and I think there will always be an awareness of the empty chair at the luncheon restaurant, and some feeling of a diminishment of our pleasure, as long as we are able to keep the tradition alive.Credits:
Two from Thuria. Volume 15 Number 2 (Whole Number 88, April 2006)
Bernard J. (Jack) Daley & C. B. (Bob) Hyde with Contributing Editor: Walter Albert
Mailing Address: 454 Elaine Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15236-2417.
Associate Copy Editor: Joanne Daley; Production: Margaret C. Albert.
Dum-Dum 2003 Louisville
Bob Hyde and Bob Zeuschner at the Dum-Dum 2003 banquet head table
We have compiled a series of Web photo displays from our files and previous ERBzine features
on many of his convention appearances in those years: ERBzine 1663
-- however --
We are sending out an open invitation for photos, memories, anecdotes, letters, etc.
from the last 10 years to help complete Bob's Odyssey.
David Adams has started the ball rolling with photos from the 1997 Dum-Dum which we present below:
Bob with Dum-Dum Host, Mike Chapman
The Dum-Dum Panel: Holtzmark, Thompson, Huckenpohler, Zeuschner, and moderator Adams
Tarzan (Gordon Scott) with his buddy Nkima (David Adams)
George "Jeddak of Jasoom" McWhorter and Jim Thompson with their awards.
Bob in the front row for the panel discussion
THE BOB HYDE TRIBUTE
President and Co-Founder of the Burroughs Bibliophiles
Friends Jack Daley and Walter Albert Remember
of the Odyssey
2005 Oak Park
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