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Volume 2158
by Mike Chapman
FOREWORD by Danton Burroughs
My grandfather, Edgar Rice Burroughs, began writing Tarzan of the Apes in 1911 and the story debuted in the October 1912 issue of The All-Story Magazine, soon moving into the world of books and film. Tarzan of the Apes was published in book form in 1914 and adapted to film in 1918. The character became an integral part of American culture and few fictional characters have enjoyed such immense popularity.

The first actor to portray Tarzan as an adult was barrel-chested Elmo Lincoln. Today, nearly fifty live-action Tarzan films have been made, starring eighteen different actors. When Ed and Ashton Dearholt were casting about for their new Tarzan in 1934, they placed an ad in the various trade papers asking prospective aspirants to get in touch with them -- one of which was a Chicago model who had posed for the famous Tarzan artist, J. Allen St. John. Of the more than two dozen applicants seeking the new role, none fit the part so well as Herman Brix. Ed was determined to see Tarzan portrayed on screen the way he was depicted in his stories -- and with that end in mind agreed to become part of a new film production company (Burroughs-Tarzan Enterprises) formed in 1934 by Dearholt, George Stout and Ben Cohen. When Dearholt asked Ed for his approval of Herman Brix to play the lead in "The New Adventures of Tarzan," my grandfather was quick to send his letter of approval.

Herman Brix brought a presence to the screen that many people feel personifies the Tarzan of the books. He was lean and muscular, articulate and dignified. He moved with the superb athletic grace that my grandfather envisioned -- "more like Sheeta, the panther, than Tantor the elephant" -- and played the role to perfection. Of all the screen Tarzans, he was the one Ed favored most. I also believe that he came closest to the concept that Ed had in mind. 

Concerned that being seen as Tarzan would limit his screen opportunities, Herman Brix changed his name to Bruce Bennett and became one of the finest character actors of his generation. He enjoyed tremendous success as a world-class athlete before Tarzan, and found considerable success on the screen after Tarzan. 

While reading Mike Chapman's book, I was pleased to discover that Herman Brix/Bruce Bennett has at last come to terms with Tarzan. We at Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., are very proud that he is a member of the Tarzan pantheon. He has lived a fascinating life and has brought great respect to the role. I hope all Burroughs fans, and all movie fans, will enjoy this book as much as I did. 

Danton Burroughs,
Tarzana, California
February 19, 2001
Bruce Bennett autograph
Please Don't Call Me Tarzan may be purchased from Mike Chapman, c/o Culture House, P.O. Box 293, Newton, IA  50208
Herman Brix Silver Medal shot-put at the 1928 Olympic games
Bruce Bennett '40s Studio Portrait
Herman Brix and Ula Holt in The New Adventures of Tarzan serial version
Herman Brix on the cover of New Adventures of Tarzan Big Little Book
Bruce Bennett with Bob Zeuschner and a long line of fans
Photo by Ralph Brown
Bruce Bennett, just before his 100th birthday, autographing several items
for Bob Zeuschner and a long line of fans.
Herman Brix
A Salute to the Memory of
Herman Brix - Bruce Bennett
May 19, 1906 - February 24, 2007
Each of his 100 years was a 
New Adventure
See the press memorium at ERBzine News
Discovery of Correspondence with 'Tarzan' Author Edgar Rice Burroughs
Leads to Duke Professor's New Book
Matt Cohen's Great-Grandfather had 50-Year Correspondence with Burroughs
Duke University ~ May 11, 2005
Durham, N.C. -- Matt Cohen was visiting his mother and grandmother in Nebraska when talk turned to his Ph.D. dissertation. He told them about his research on masculinity and bachelorhood in the 19th century. Gee, his mother and grandmother wondered, maybe you’d be interested in the Burroughs letters down in the Navy ammunition box in the basement. Indeed he was -- the collection in the old trunk turned out to be a 50-year correspondence between Cohen’s great-grandfather and “Tarzan” author Edgar Rice Burroughs.

“You can imagine how I felt,” Cohen said. “It was this huge, fat collection. There were letters, drawings, postcards, telegrams, photographs and, at some point, there were films, though those are now gone.”

Six years later, Cohen, now an assistant professor of English at Duke University, has compiled the rich collection into “Brother Men: The Correspondence of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Herbert T. Weston,” published this month by Duke University Press. It is the first critical edition of any of Burroughs’ letters. Cohen’s great-grandfather, Herbert T. Weston, and Edgar Rice Burroughs met at military school in Michigan in the 1890s and maintained a friendship that lasted until Burroughs’ death in 1950. Their lives were very different: Burroughs was an internationally famous, world-traveling writer and businessman who wrote, in addition to “Tarzan of the Apes,” more than 60 novels. He founded the town of Tarzana, Calif., and was involved in the movie and television productions of his work.

Weston, on the other hand, returned to his hometown of Beatrice, Neb., after attending Yale University and serving in the military. He entered into enterprises owned by his family and his wife’s family, including the local bank and corn mills, large amounts of farmland and a Wyoming coal field. Despite these different circumstances, the two men remained close and, except for a five-year silence after Burroughs divorced his first wife, the correspondence continued throughout their lives. The letters create a picture of men’s friendships, self-image and identity in the first half of the 20th century, Cohen said. He said he hopes the book adds to the body of scholarship on subjects from gender to popular culture to early 20th century boxing and wrestling.

“What you see when you read these letters together is that business and family and friendship were all intertwined for these guys,” Cohen said. “It shows a picture of male intimacy in the Teddy Roosevelt era.”

Although Burroughs was one of the first internationally popular writers and has a devoted fan base, this is the first academic book of his letters to be published. “Back in the ’20s, when Tarzan went global, there was no legal protection for that. You couldn’t brand a character,” Cohen said. Burroughs came up with a unique solution: He created ERB Inc., a corporation that would own and control the rights to all his work. The corporation -- which remains in Burroughs family hands today -- tightly controls use and access to Burroughs’ materials.

Although he didn’t know any of this when he opened up the old box in his grandmother’s basement, Cohen quickly learned the legalities of using Burroughs letters, and was able to work with ERB Inc. to publish the book. Some of the materials in it come from the ERB collection as well.

Danton Burroughs, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ grandson, said he was interested to see a new side of the larger-than-life figure he had known as a child. “A lot of time and effort went into this book. I’m very impressed. It was quite enjoyable for me to see a different side of my grandfather through his best friend and through his letters,” Burroughs said. “My grandfather led the life of a few individuals -- he had tremendous energy and drive. I’m in wonder as to how he was a family man, he traveled, he did the business, he wrote the books, he did the scripts, he wrote the movies … he was all-encompassing. “This is different side of him [in the letters.] He was so down to earth, such a good family man, he loved his kids and was proud of each and every one of his kids.” Danton Burroughs remembers weekly visits to his grandfather’s house, when family members would set up the movie projector and dip into the ERB archive. “Dad would select anything from the 1918 Tarzan right up to the Weissmuller classics. That left a hell of an impression on me. Those are cherished memories,” he said.

But Cohen also found that delving into your own family history is a different kind of project than the typical academic book.

“Writing about your own people is hard,” he said. “There’s a lot of detail about my family in here. In a lot of these letters my great-grandfather doesn’t look so good.”

Some of the letters are racist, for example, and they also reflect the class attitudes of the day.

“The things I say about Burroughs may not be music to the ears of fans,” he said.

The collection also is rare because, in many cases, Weston kept copies of his letters to Burroughs, as well as the replies. This meant that Cohen had an unusually complete set of correspondence.

Although Cohen had a vague memory of the family connections to the famous writer -- he remembers the set of Burroughs’ signed works sitting in the den where he used to watch television -- he needed his family’s help to put the letters together.

“I’d read 10 or 15 letters and call my grandma and say, ‘Do you remember so-and-so who lived on such-and-such street?’ That starts conversations with your grandmother you never thought you’d have,” he said.

He might need to keep that line to grandma open -- Danton Burroughs said there’s enough in the ERB archives for several more volumes.

“I’ve found so many more letters,” Burroughs said. “I hope that he’s considering a sequel.”

Only in California
It was fitting that Britney chose the home of Tarzan to shear her locks 
Toronto Sun ~ February 25, 2007 ~ Reprinted in ERBzine News
TARZANA, Calif. -- So this is the place where Britney lost her head. Esther's Haircutting Studio is a tiny shoebox set back from Ventura Blvd., a shy little building that looks as if it's trying to hide from the rest of big California. Clever writers dubbed it the Buzzcut Heard Round The World. Not since Elvis joined the army has there been a more talked-about haircut. 

Esther's is at 18360 Ventura Blvd. just east of Reseda Blvd. in Tarzana, a city named in honour of Edgar Rice Burroughs, who founded this city in his spare time while he wasn't writing his popular Tarzan stories. You'll find this out if you knock on the door of the ranch-style bungalow barely five metres from Esther's salon. You'll be invited in to talk about the Britney fiasco next door and suddenly you're surrounded by wall-to-wall Tarzan memorabilia, with a balding man politely and gregariously talking about his grandfather. Upon questioning he'll tell you his grandfather is Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan. Only in California are such surreal afternoons possible. 

"My granddad liked the homey atmosphere, so he had a fireplace here, he had a shower here, he tied his horse up out in the back, and he'd come in here and create," says Danton Burroughs, 63, who manages the office. His grandfather, originally from Chicago, liked California so much that by the time he was rich from his novels he was able to buy a 550-acre ranch that had belonged to General Harrison Gray Otis, founder of the Los Angeles Times, for $125,000. He called it Tarzana Ranch after the success of his Tarzan character and moved his family there in February 1919. Later on Burroughs divided the land up and sold it for residential use, and the locals of the burgeoning town called it Tarzana in honour of him. 

Danton Burroughs is happy with the attention Britney Spears has brought upon Tarzana. He says we're all "amateur psychologists" trying to make sense of her fall from grace. "She's precious. She's a wonderful, cute little thing, but she's vulnerable now, and she doesn't have anybody," Burroughs says. "She's just a little lost soul. And she's making all these decisions herself. Boy." 

Burroughs wishes he would've seen Britney outside the night she cut her hair. He would've invited the pop star and her people inside to find some refuge inside the quaint cottage. "Oh, she would've loved it in here. It would've taken her mind off all the weird things. I would've given her a bunch of books to read. She would've liked that." 


Danton Burroughs ~ 1975
By Nancy Anderson ~ Copley News Service
HOLLYWOOD -- Danton Burroughs, grandson of Edgar Rice Burroughs, has had limited acting experience -- mostly in school plays - but nonetheless says he'd like to play Tarzan in Warners' upcoming treatment of his grandfather's work.

Robert Towne who wrote "Shampoo" and "The Last Detail" has finished a screenplay which, according to young Burroughs (he's 32), is more true to the spirit of the original Tarzan than scripts previously brought to the screen.

"Towne says he's going to give my grandfather's Tarzan to the people," the grandson cheerfully tells us. "I've liked some of the screen Tarzans, but none of them has been like the man my grandfather created. If you've read the books, you know that Tarzan was actually an English lord who was well educated and didn't use 'me' in the nominative case."

"In the new picture, you'll see Tarzan as a baby, as a boy and as a man, so three actors will be cast. I believe Warners has an actor tentatively cast to play the adult Tarzan, but I'd certainly like to play the part. I'm the right age, and I'm in good condition, because I've been working out since I was 15. Physical fitness was paramount with my grandfather. These interests really inspired Tarzan."

Of the screen Tarzans to date, Burroughs says Herman Brix was his favorite. "He was absolutely the best," he says. "But I also liked Johnny Weissmuller, and I loved Lex Barker."

The elder Burroughs wrote 26 "Tarzan" books, the first of which appeared in 1912 in All Story magazine and two years later in hardback.

"There've been 16 movie Tarzans and 40 'Tarzan' movies," grandson Burroughs reveals. "But, since the movie producers didn't read the books, the hero of the pictures wasn't like the one my grandfather imagined."

Goodbye dear friend ~ So many good times ~ So many memories
To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.


1. Hillman

2. Friends

3. Yeates

4. Griffin

5. School Chums
Photos 1

Photos 2

Photos 3

Photos 4

Photos 5


6. Bibliophiles

7. Phil Burger
Celebration of Life

1. Memorial Card
Celebration of Life

2. Nakasone Eulogy
Celebration of Life

3. Hillman Eulogy
Celebration of Life

4. Mertes ~ Photos I
Celebration of Life

5. Photos II

Tarzana, California
The Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs
ERBzine Weekly Webzine
Danton Burroughs Website: Tarzana Treasure Vaults
Burroughs Bibliophiles
John Coleman Burroughs Tribute Site
Tarzine: Official Monthly Webzine of ERB, Inc.
John Carter of Mars
Edgar Rice Burroughs
ERBzine Weekly Webzine
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Danton Burroughs Weekly Webzine
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