Erbzine.com Homepage
Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute and Weekly Webzine Site
Since 1996 ~ Over 10,000 Web Pages in Archive
Presents
Volume 1754
Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Press Series

"LAUGH IT OFF" COLUMNS
with period photos of Hawaii
Honolulu

1942
by Edgar Rice Burroughs
"Famed author and creator of 'Tarzan.' Mr. Burroughs is now living in Honolulu."

CONTENTS
January 1, 1942
January 3, 1942
January 5, 1942
January 6, 1942
January 7, 1942
January 8, 1942
January 10, 1942
January 12, 1942
January 13, 1942
January 14, 1942
January 15, 1942
January 16, 1942
January 17, 1942
January 19, 1942
January 21, 1942
January 22, 1942
January 23, 1942
January 26, 1942
January 27, 1942
January 28, 1942
Conclusion

See the Laugh It Off columns from 1941
(Complete with scans of the actual clippings)

ERB's Residence in Hawaii
.

LAUGH IT OFF
Honolulu Star-Bulletin ~ January 1, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs

A letter from the mainland reports that there has been quite a little hysteria among the ladies during blackouts. They should see our gals! I have heard of only one case of hysteria here, and that was a tourist lady who was standing in front of her hotel on Kalakaua the morning of December 7 when a truck load of bronzed veterans of draft boards, with guns and tin hats, whizzed by. She screamed, "The Filipinos have landed and have taken the Island!" Then she fainted.



Roger MacGuigan tells about a man who was being questioned about the theft of his wallet by a police officer, who asked, "How much was in the wallet?" "Seventy five dollars," said the man. Further questioning revealed that the money was in bills. "What denomination?" asked the officer. "Oh, I'm Portuguese," was the reply.


Jimmy Fidler says, Lupe Velez is off for Honolulu this week . . . Columnists who make unflattering cracks about Lupe have never seen her on a pistol range." Hi Lupe! I hope you haven't forgotten how we paled around together on Catalina island for about five minutes in front of publicity cameras.


Janet Carpenter, who has sent me in a couple of honeys, now comes across with this one: To save gas, she thumbed a ride to a post office. The thumbee was an old Hawaiian, one of those lovable old types whom we all so much admire. When they reached the post office, Mrs. Carpenter thanked him profusely. "It has been a great pleasure," he said. "I only wish that it had been during the last war, when we were both younger."


Speaking of saving gas: Do you know that if you drive slowly, your ten gallons will carry you from 50 per cent to 100 per cent farther than they will if you speed?


A thoughtful Honolulu hostess said to a guest, "I'll take the dog into my own room, so that if any bombs drop she won't disturb you."


Maybe Sherman was wrong. A private air raid shelter I recently inspected, which will accommodate twenty or thirty people, hs a ventilating fan, electric lights, radio, a raised plank floor covered with Morocco leather cushions, cigarets, ice, Scotch, and soda water. There was no food; but then we have to make some sacrifices during wartime.


On the other hand, think of returning to the mainland in company with fifteen hundred nervous women and squalling children.

Just received this radiogram from the mainland: "Jappy New Year!"

.

Surfing at Waikiki
.
 

LAUGH IT OFF
Honolulu Star-Bulletin ~ January 3, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Greater love hath no man than this: A couple who own three dogs, hearing the wild rumor that fifth columnists had poisoned our water supply, sampled the water themselves before allowing the dogs to drink!



Things are beginning to look pretty black now that Hitler and his pet astrologer have assumed full command of the German armies -- pretty black for the axis. But Baron Hee Haw of Japan is still on the firing line slaying us right and left, as Samson slew the Philistines, with the jawbone of an ass.


Here's a tip for the kids when our schools reopen: Roger MacGuigan tells me that way back east on the mainland, the children on their way to school sing:
Heigh ho! Heigh ho!
We're off to Tokyo
To kick the Japs
Right off the maps,
Heigh ho! Heigh ho.


This may be apocryphal, but it sounds reasonable: A woman walked into one of our markets with a poodle under each arm and complained that she was unable to buy enough food for her dogs. "Madam," said the clerk, "There is a war going on and you may be lucky if you don't have to eat the pooches before it is over."
.
 

LAUGH IT OFF
Honolulu Star-Bulletin ~ January 5, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Manila has fallen! Just another incentive to each of us to buckle down to the job of winning the war, no matter how humble one's job may be, remembering that "They also serve who only stand and wait." Provided that they stand and wait with chins up and smiles upon their lips.

If, sometimes, you think the waiting is hard, consider the courageous women whose men are at sea. We see them every day, waiting with chins up and smiles upon their lips. An inspiring example.



It is remarkable how quickly human beings adapt themselves to changed conditions. Before the war, I was utterly helpless in the dark. When I entered a motion picture theater and groped for a seat, I either sat down in some old lady's lap or on the arm of the chair. 

Now I can not only undress in a blacked out room and put my clothes away, but I can also find them again. I can guess pretty close to the time of night by the familiar sounds and the silences. When I hear Rathbone-Deaton come home, I know that it must be about 1 a.m. From being an affliction, the blackout has developed into a more or less enjoyable game.



And God said, "Let there be light," and along came Colonel Green and said "Let there be darkness."


Incidentally, we should give thanks that this same Col. Thomas H. Green is executive officer to our military governor. He is a very human and a very understanding man, and you may rest assured that the restrictions placed upon us are for our own good and in the common cause we should all be proud to serve. We might have had a man in Colonel Green's position like the old time Chicago cop who said, "It ain't that I hate you that I bait you, it's because I have the authority."


G-man attacked by Fifth Columnist! "Howdy" Reynolds says one of them, disguised as a centipede, jumped out of G-Man Joe, his ventriloquist doll, during a blackout. Strange, too. I always thought those fifth columnists were just termites.


Foresight backfires: A lady, fearing pollution of our water supply, carefully scrubbed her bath tub and filled it with drinking water. That night, during blackout, she stumbled and fell into it.


It's darn decent of those Japanese sub commanders who have been shelling some of the islands just returning a part of the scrap metal we sold them last year and not charging us anything for it.
 
.USO Entertainment Troupe aboard shipUSO Entertainment Troupe aboard shipUSO Entertainment Troupe aboard ship
From the R.G. Hillman WWII Photo Journal ~ HMCS Prince Robert Tribute


 

LAUGH IT OFF
Honolulu Star-Bulletin ~ January 6, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Barry Stevens of Kaneohe sends these in to prove that I was right when I said that there is no such thing as a "Japanese-American"; both from American of Japanese descent:

1. "I was working at Mokapuu that Sunday morning, and I look up and see planes with Japanese sign on, and I think, Ah! That's going a little bit too far, putting Japanese sign on American plane just for practice, Then my friend grab me and pull me inside and bullets come down, and he tell me is Japanese plane. Boy! Was I MAD!"

2. And a girl with her arms about her mistress' waist, that being as high as she could reach: "Oh, Missy, I so scared; and I so mad at those Japanese!"


A bouquet from Mrs. James Ward of Diamond Head Road: "No, you are wrong. Sherman was right. Hell is an understatement to describe any situation that would make a columnist of you." Or was it a bouquet?

Uncle Bill of Hickam Field says that if he had known of the restraining influence of a gas mask on vocal output he would have equipped his last wife with one. That's just what Uncle Bill thinks now.

I shudder to think of the economic consequences should gas masks for gals become vogue. They'd insist on having them designed by Schiaparelli and set with diamonds and emeralds by Tiffany.



Uncle Bill says that because of increasing deafness he studied Braille, but when he tried a little practice one evening, he got slapped.


Two kamaainas were discussing the Japanese two-man subs at The Pacific Club. One of them knew the dimensions, equipment, armament; in fact, all the answers. "But how in the world did they get over here?" demanded the other. "Oh, one cooked and one rowed."
.
Matson Lines Boat Day in Honolulu


 

LAUGH IT OFF
Honolulu Star-Bulletin ~ January 7, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Seems to me that someone remarked that the blackout might be developed into a more or less enjoyable game. However, it unquestionably has a deleterious effect upon public morals. Having already seduced me into seeking nirvana through the habit forming crossword puzzle narcotic. I fell still lower last night by playing  bridge again.

What do you do? Take your hair down and tell all. Well, almost all.



Among the blackout games that have been suggested, is that of gathering in the family circle at night and repeating nutty  rumors and then punching holes in them. Post office and kiss the pillow remain high favorites however. Blackout solitaire, or blindman's buff, is played with articles of furniture, your shins, and a bottle of arnica. But be careful of your language. A man was fined 25 bucks the other day for profanity. The provost marshal will get you if you don't watch out.

Hess flew to England. Hitler's astrologer had better take flying lessons before the Russians reach Germany, unless Adolph beats him to the take off. But where could "our beloved fuhrer" fly? Offhand, I might suggest Palestine or New York.

A navy wife writes in to give me Hail Columbia for my reference to returning to the mainland in company with 1,500 "nervous women and squalling children." And after all the nice things I have been saying about navy wives! The irony of it is that I was just quoting a navy wife without giving her credit. Among other things, my correspondent says, "As a columnist, you ought to stick to Tarzan." I think she has something there.
.
.
 

LAUGH IT OFF
Honolulu Star-Bulletin ~ January 8, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Fifty six billion dollars a year! That is a lot of Jack -- an absolutely inconceivable amount to most of us. But dragging it down to our level it means only $430 per capita -- cheap insurance against perpetual slavery for ourselves and our children -- peanuts to the richest nation in the world. but of course we'll have to forego a lot of necessities such as mink coats, Paul Flato jewelry, yachts, caviar and champagne.


I just heard of a chap who complained that because of the blackout his meals came too close together. He could escape that war affliction by going to Germany or Japan.
The Japanese have threatened to shoot any white man seen on the streets of Manila. A loving wife suggests that at last a means has been discovered for keeping the old man at home.
THE YANKS ARE COMING! That war cry brought hope to our embattled allies 24 years ago. As it rings out again today, it brings hope to the whole world of human beings -- which does not include Hitler and his stooges.
It has been reported that when Adolf is thwarted h flies into a hysterical rage, throws himself on the floor and chews the edge of the rug. After he heard the President's promise of 60,000 planes, 45,000 tanks, and 8,00,000 tons of shipping this year and about twice as many next year, the nazis had to refurnish the room completely.
 
.

.
 

LAUGH IT OFF
Honolulu Star-Bulletin ~ January 10, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs

To conserve material, the clothing designers have decreed no more cuffs nor belts for trousers.

We can struggle along without cuffs, although they came in handy as collectors of dust and germs and are occasionally used as a depository for cigaret ashes when all the ash trays in the room have been preempted by the ladies. They have always seemed to me a symbol of the native intelligence and inventive genius of the well dressed man. He started wearing them years ago because it rains so much in London.

But belts! That is a different matter. Having taken four inches off my midriff in the past few months, I have difficulty in keeping my pants on at all, even with a belt.


Appropriate: Man Mountain Dean, the 280 pound wrestler, has enlisted in the tank corps. I have met a lot of chaps on Oahu who could qualify for the tank corps, though not necessarily on the strength of avoirdupois.
Hitler's astrologer couldn't beat this -- he couldn't even tie it: An army officer now attached to G-3 was a writer before the war. ON the evening of December 6 he finished a story based on an imaginative Japanese surprise air raid on Pearl Harbor and the next day was December 7. But now he can't sell his manuscript -- another of the horrors of war.
A man being questioned by a registration enumerator was asked if his son had any training. "Oh, yes, plenty," he replied. "He take Oahu railroad every morning." Another, asked where he worked, said, "No work. I work Pearl Harbor before big BOOM!" 
Gnats are not the only insects. There's Hitler for example.
.
Oahu Country Club
Oahu Country Club
.
 

LAUGH IT OFF
Honolulu Star-Bulletin ~ January 12, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Now that the noble experiment is in our midst again for the duration, bath tubs are being meticulously scrubbed, wood alcohol and Sterno supplies are being checked, the bootlegger is warbling sweetly in the bushes, and the coroner and the undertakers are preparing for a rush of business.


I had my picture taken the other day for my press pass. If Chief Gabrielson or the FBI ever sees it I'll be wearing horizontal stripes. They are all that it lacks.
This definition of a humorist hs been sent me: "A plant that lives on another planet." Wile the implication is complimentary, I do not need to refute the suggestion that I am a humorist -- some of my correspondents have done that for me. And if anyone thinks this job s parasitic and profitable, he can have it along with all its emoluments, including a pass that doesn't get one anywhere.
It is reported that nazi morale is going -- probably to join their morals, which have always been gone.
We drove into Moana park Saturday morning to get a closer view of a number of ships standing off shore. A civilian guard came to where we were parked and said pleasantly, "I'm sorry, but the park is off limits; no one is allowed in here."

Instead of barking at me and bawling me out, he performed his duty in such a way as to make it a pleasure to comply. I thought of showing him my press pass, but he had been so decent that I hated to think of him laughing himself to death.

.

Hawaiian Native Girls


 

LAUGH IT OFF
Honolulu Star-Bulletin ~ January 13, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs

"These," said a man finishing a midnight snack during blackout, "must be a new brand of sardines. They had a different flavor." His wife turned her flashlight on the empty can. "That was canned dog food, you sap," she said. "You have eaten Fifi's breakfast."



A young seaman was bending over his work below deck on the morning of December 7 when something hit him in the seat of his pants. He wheeled around and swung a haymaker for the chin of the fresh guy, only to find that there was no one there. Then he felt around and pulled a shell fragment out of his trousers. It had come in through an open porthole.

No wonder the Japs can't lick 'em; they're too smart. A Chinese here, catering largely to tourist trade, put a collection box near the entrance to his shop. Above it was the notice, FOR THE BLIND. When he had collected enough, he bought a new blind for his shop window. 
From a letter signed only "Sylvia": "The reason the war is 'running out' on you, is that you live at a hotel where there are flunkies to do the blackout and air raid shelter work." Sister, we ain't got any air raid shelters; and the flunkies are so busy laying out our evening clothes and putting studs in our dress shirts that they haven't had time to dig 'em.
Sylvia also says that some of us guys who have been released from guard duty and have nothing to do should volunteers to dig shelters for defense workers who are employed all day long. That is a sound suggestion, and I am sure that the proper authorities would receive generous response from men physically able to do this work.
Sylvia again: "I don't suppose that you resemble Tarzan: but if you can play tennis, you can dig." If you could see my tennis dear, y ou might change your mind. Furthermore, I dug my quota of ditches in Arizona for the commanding officer of the 7th cavalry, probably before Sylvia's father was born; and I ain’t digging no more ditches. However, if anyone wants to dig a ditch, I'll loan him a shovel and help him grunt.
A question to my readers: Shall I continue this series or go on to do something else. I really have plenty of other things to do, but if The Star-Bulletin readers want this column to go on, I'd like to know. Write the editor of The Star-Bulletin and tell him, please.
.

.
 

LAUGH IT OFF
Honolulu Star-Bulletin ~ January 14, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs

A contributor reproaches me for not acknowledging his contribution. As others may feel similarly offended, I should like to quote in part, from my letter to the him. "This work I am gladly doing without remuneration; but if I replied to every communication I receive no one would expect me to assume this expense in addition to loss of time and revenue from all profitable writing.


Ray Nunes, Jr., suggests that the sale of liquor has been prohibited in order to conserve the supply for christening all the ships we are going to launch to defeat our enemies.
From what I have seen of the contents f those 38,000 pouches of mail, I feel safe in assuming that 37,999 of them contained Christmas cards.
From all that has happened since December 7 we may feel assured that this war will result in a better and more united America and an infinitely better world in which to live. If that be true, our dead will not have died in vain. The words of the leaders of the United Nations show us that the lessons taught by the peace terms of World War I and their harrowing aftermath have borne fruit. Our president has assumed us that there will be no "peace of vengeance," and no matter how much we should like to rub our enemies' noses in the mud and then kick them because they were dirty, self interest, if nothing more altruistic, must convince us of the un-wisdom of such procedure. Unfortunately, we can't kill them all off. We shall have to continue to live in t he same world with them. Maybe i we take all their pea shooters away from them we may eventually be able to teach them how to act like human beings.
Mildred Meirs thinks the height of chivalry was reached by the guy who gave his gas mask to a gal because he had a cold in his head. Perhaps it was equaled by the chap who insisted that the women and children enter the air raid shelter first -- when he discovered that there was a fool of water in it.
.

,
 

LAUGH IT OFF
Honolulu Star-Bulletin ~ January 15, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Chinese have killed 50,000 Japanese in the Changsha campaign and taken 1,000 prisoners. Thrifty, those Chinese. It costs money to feed prisoners.


Twenty five Nazi generals have recently resigned. The 25 astrologers who have taken their places are now at the front casting horoscopes at the Russians. It takes an A-1 astrologer to cast a horoscope over his shoulder with any degree of accuracy, especially if he has chilblains and is trying to keep up with a German retreat in a blizzard.
Hitler is a copycat. The British started canning brass hats before he did. They canned Field Marshal Hirohito on December 7. They figured that the sneak play he pulled at Pearl Harbor that day wasn't cricket.
Ernest H. Heen says that this is no time for foolishness. He must have looked in, too, while the provost court was in session and come to the same conclusion that I have -- that only a congenital idiot would get foolish with a buzz saw.
What with Gen. Draja Minjilovitch and his guerrillas in Yugoslavia and Gen. Draja Mikhailovitch and his guerrillas in Serbia to contend with, the Germans are thinking of coming over here to fight somebody they can pronounce. It would make it much easier, too, for our radio commentators if they'd bring the war over to Kansas where there are a lot of towns they could pronounce. And Kansas wouldn't mind a war; it has for years been inured to almost all the other frightful things thaT could happen to a state.
.


 

LAUGH IT OFF
Honolulu Star-Bulletin ~ January 16, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs

It is going to be no cinch licking the Germans and the Japs, because as the inevitable end approaches they are going to fight like cornered rats. Running true to form.

I can't seem to get much of a mad on at the Italians. It would be too much like getting mad at the kittens that some disagreeable neighbor was drowning. Even our hate for Mussolini is becoming frayed at the edges from considering the punishment he has taken. It isn't in the American book of etiquette to kick a guy when he's down.


Among the other horrors of war which curdle our blood is the riotous flood of poetry that has broken into print. But it just goes to show the courage and ingenuity of the American mind. None but a brave and ingenious man would attempt to rhyme  "time" and "whine" or "come" with "home" or -- but why go on? Leave it to the poets; they will go on forever but whether the English language will be able to stand the strain, I wouldn't know.
Peavy Peabody tells me that Grandpa Peaberry is now working on another invention -- a rubber roof for air raid shelters, from which the bombs will bounce off into somebody else's backyard. It was Grandpa Peaberry who invented the parachute that went up instead of down. He is carrying on his experiments at the family home, Halepupule.
..
 

LAUGH IT OFF
Honolulu Star-Bulletin ~ January 17, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Well, the returns are in. Here's a part of one of them: "Please have a heart and don't let Edgar torment the public with trying to be funny." Come on with the brickbats; I love 'em. Having withstood a barrage of them from the book reviewers of both hemispheres for some 30 years, the efforts of amateurs do not appall me.


What could better insure the post war peace and prosperity of Europe and the world than the replacing of the German state by a Jewish republic under a new name? It might conceivably settle the Jewish question for all time, and it would most assuredly settle the nazi question.
Olga Streeter says that she understands that the United States and Japan have decided to divide the Pacific ocean between them. Japan is to get the bottom half.
Buddy de Mattos tells about the chap who was kidded for running for shelter during the air raid. "I did not," he said, "but I passed four other guys who were running."
Here is one of the most intelligent criticisms of a blackout that I have heard: "It's too dark."
Alice Trimble tells us that a match has a head but no brains, and now we know what it is that has been driving a lot of the automobiles on the island and why our accident rate is so high.
A new sentry who had shot at a pedestrian explained to an officer: "I say, 'Halt! Halt! Halt! three times, but he kept on standing still, so I shot him."
Okeh, okeh, fellow slave; but I just want to ask: While Edgar Rice Burroughs does Jass Bel nap? "I can go along with a gag, buddy."
.
.
 

LAUGH IT OFF
Honolulu Star-Bulletin ~ January 19, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Anton Rost says that Peavey Peaberry gave him a blue candle to use during blackouts. It is the latest invention of Grandpa Peaberry of Halepupule.


Capt. Bryan Arnold of the 21st Infantry suggests that a GET-A-GRIN CLUB be formed. I nominate Capt. Arnold for president. I'll be treasurer. In his letter it first looked to me like GET-A-GIN CLUB. That is even a better idea.
The captain also tells about a recruit who discovered his buddies packing up and demanded to know where they were going. "Get your stuff together, we're going into bivouac," was the reply. "Gee! geed the rookie. Headin' for the Dutch East Indies already?"
The returns are still rolling in, but I am not entirely flattened out. Junia Kupihea says of this column: "It may not be of any literary value: it may not make any sense at time." She takes the words right out of my mouth, but then spoils it all by contributing to my delinquency with the following: A fat Hawaiian was nagged by his wife into starting an air raid shelter. He dug down a couple of feet and encountered coral which required a cold chisel and hammer. He was disgusted. Then he had a happy thought -- he gave a luau and cooked the pig in the hole.
Adolph, in Mein Kampf and elsewhere, has often bragged of being a "have not." It won't be long before Adolph will have to admit that Saint Luke was right when he wrote, "and whosovever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have."
Capt. Harry May phones me about a placard on a building in San Francisco: WE PREFER JAPANESE CUSTOMERS RATHER THAN AMERICAN CUSTOMERS. A funeral parlor.
The following notice has been posted in all public places in Washington, D.C.: IN CASE OF AIR RAID ALARM -- CLOSE WINDOWS, PULL SHADES, LIE DOWN ON FLOORS, AND COOPERATE WITH AIR RAID WARDEN.
.
 

LAUGH IT OFF
Honolulu Star-Bulletin ~ January 21, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs

It is amazing how amenable to suggestion we motorists are. Take for example Colonel Green's suggestion that we pickup pedestrians going our way.. I had a demonstration of the cooperative spirit of motorists when I had to walk to my office Sunday morning. I was the sole pedestrian on Ala Moana, sticking out like a sore thumb -- or a couple of sore feet; yet thirty two cars going in my direction passed me; and gosh! how I hate to walk. Anyway, I had fun counting 'em.


A lot of us are going to be able to sympathize with the sufferings of W.C. Fields, who once had to stay three days in a dry town where he had "nothing to eat but food and nothing to drink but water."
Blackout tragedies: Alice Zuelke tells of the gal who shampooed her hair with cough syrup and brushed her teeth with white shoe polish.
If it should develop that there are still a few Jap subs in our waters, just recall the saying of Corporal Koontz's dad, that even a good hunting dog couldn't reach all his fleas.
The overwhelming number of people bleating for relaxation of the liquor ban may be one of the best arguments in flavor of the ban; for, according to a noted avant, the majority is always wrong and must always be wrong. Incidentally, he proves it. His strongest argument is based on the more or less well established fact that 90 per cent of us are morons.
While driving sixty miles an hour in a thirty mile zone on his way to the family home, Halepupule, Peavey Peaberry was stopped and questioned by a traffic cop. "I was averaging only thirty miles an hour, you nit wit," said Mr. Peaberry. "Half the time my car has been standing still in the parking lot. Add that to sixty and divide by two and you get my average speed. I didn't graduate from Harvard cum laude for nothing.
A large proportion of our loyal citizenry is enthusiastically in favor of the liquor ban -- the bootleggers.
.

.
 

LAUGH IT OFF
Honolulu Star-Bulletin ~ January 22, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs


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!
.
 

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.
.

Aloha Day Celebration
.
 

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.
.
 

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!
.
 

LAUGH IT OFF
Honolulu Star-Bulletin ~ January 28, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs
Famed author and creator of "Tarzan." ~  Mr. Burroughs is now living in Honolulu. 


Lt. Albert Stevenson of the police department relays this one about 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! 
.

.

January 28th marked the conclusion of the Laugh It Off  Columns
(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.

.

See the Laugh It Off columns from 1941
(Complete with scans of the actual clippings)

ERB's LAUGH IT OFF COLUMNS

1941: ERBzine 1129 
1942: ERBzine 1754
1945/1946: ERBzine 1755
More ERB WWII Writing at:
ERB: The War Years
Lost Words of ERB
Hawaii Clippings
Articles



BILL HILLMAN
Visit our thousands of other sites at:
BILL AND SUE-ON HILLMAN ECLECTIC STUDIO
ERB Text, ERB Images and Tarzan® are ©Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.- All Rights Reserved.
All Original Work ©1996-2007/2011 by Bill Hillman and/or Contributing Authors/Owners
No part of this web site may be reproduced without permission from the respective owners.