The flight was enjoyable with a choice of films and TV shows. I was
able to see Disney's Treasure Planet, an episode of Friends, and finally,
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Mystery. But after having enjoyed the in-flight
entertainment, the memory of it quickly disappeared as we waited a frustrating
45mins. for our baggage to reach the carousel. There were then long lines
to hand in our customs declaration forms, a long line to place our luggage
on the conveyer belt that was not moving for my connecting flight (this
is where my case was left behind), and finally another line to go through
a security check point to get into the main terminal. However, I noticed
several people exiting through a side door and heading up the road to the
next terminal. Time was running out if I was to make my next flight and
if meant walking from one end of the airport to the other, then so be it.
Fortunately there were no lines at the next terminal that is used for internal
flights and I breezed through the remainder of the airport.
It amazes me at times just how small our world can be as I sat down
in my seat on the commuter prop aircraft. It turned out that the young
girl student sat next to me who was visiting her grand parents lives just
twenty miles from me.
Elaine Casella was there to greet me. My luggage caught the next flight
out of Philadelphia and arrived at Elaine's home at 12:30am and Bill's
books were finally back in safe hands.
Shortly after 9:00am the following day, Elaine and I set out for Annapolis
where Bill and Lois Ross live. They were planning a barbecue beside their
pool for early arrivals. The water looked cool and inviting in the 97°
heat but the local mallards had got there first and did not look like they
wanted to share the oasis.
Many familiar faces welcomed us upon our arrival, some I had seen just
two months earlier on my last visit at the April meeting of the Panthans.
John Tyner was already busy at work taking registration. Fortunately I
still had enough cash left over from that visit to take care of business.
Besides Bill's wonderful ERB collection, he has amassed an incredible
mystery book collection in recent years. Several bookcases line the walls
in their sitting room along with perhaps a dozen large boxes that contain
many signed editions but have yet to find a home. Upstairs is a similar
picture with the upper landing lined with shelves of yet more books. What
makes this collection even more amazing is the fact that Bill only likes
to collect first edition hardback mystery books and it would be hard to
find its equal. Elaine had not visited our hosts' home since the ECOF event
in 1999 and her face was a picture as she gaped in awe of it all.
Bill's timing was impeccable when he fired up the barbecue, as I had
not eaten since an early breakfast. With a range of side dishes and dressings
for our hot dogs and burgers, cold soft drinks and beer to quench our thirsts,
we dined extremely well that day.
After a long day, people began to drift home or head over to the Ramada
Inn on the outskirts of Baltimore where the convention would take place
over the next couple of days. Mike Conran and I tossed a coin for the spare
bedroom that ended with Mike finding that he would sleep on the mattress
- but one that was laid out on the upper landing floor. We were not the
only guests as Jerry Spannraft and his lady friend Candy were also staying,
as too was Bruce Wood. Bruce is currently producing dust jackets for the
uniform set of ERB hardback editions being made available by Jerry Schneider
and his Erbville Press publishing house. So far, four books are available:
The Land That Time Forgot; The Girl From Farris's; Conquest of the Moon;
and The Master Mind of Mars. In the coming months, The Mucker; Thuvia Maid
of Mars; and Tarzan and the Huns will also be released. At around $41 each
plus another $15 for a quality-produced jacket, these books are not within
everyone's reach. But Jerry is going back to the original magazine versions
that have not been seen in a long time and they do sit very well together
on a bookshelf.
I slept extremely well that night - helped no doubt by the air conditioning
that would otherwise have proved very uncomfortable. Elaine and I had both
brought along a few items to try and sell at the event along with my notes
for a talk that I had been asked to give in the afternoon.
Once again John Tyner was on hand for registrations and to give us each
a package filled with goodies. Amongst the items included was a convention
pin with new artwork by Mark Wheatley a bookmark with the same artwork
with a full listing of Burroughs published works on the back (in an order
that I could not quite fathom). There was also a portfolio of 10 new pieces
of art by Harry Roland, five of which were in full colour. Inside the huckster
room several people had already begun to display their wares. I happened
to choose a table next to fellow APA member Bill Morse who immediately
snapped up my copy of J.T.Edson's Sacrifice for the Quagga God that is
the third novel in his Bunduki trilogy. When I told him that the other
three books I had, JT's Hundredth, Mark Counter's Kin and JT's Ladies Ride
Again also contained Bunduki short stories, he took those also. I was now
almost out of items to sell before I had started but fortunately Elaine
had brought along enough to make our table still look respectable.
The room soon began to fill with people and the tables piled high with
all kinds of wonderful things. I managed to find a rare copy of Vern Coriell's
Burroughs Bulletin #13 that begins with a great article on Jim Pierce and
his work on Tarzan and the Golden Lion. I also found two studio stills
that identify four of the actresses that played amazons in the film Tarzan
and the Amazons.
After a quick visit to the bank to cash some travellers cheques and
lunch in the hotel restaurant, it was time for the afternoon panel of Burroughs
Bibliographies. It was at this moment that we discovered that our moderator
J.G. "Huck" Huckenpohler, had been kidnapped by Bill Ross and Mike Conran
who were on a visit to Second Storey Books. So without Huck to lead the
way, the panel consisting of Cole Richardson (sitting in for his father
Darrell), Tom Stock and myself, began our presentations.
Using his father's notes, Cole gave a history of the many bibliographies
that have been produced over the years and this was followed by several
questions. As the ever-present Englishman at these events, I had been asked
to talk about the publishing history of Edgar Rice Burroughs in Great Britain.
To help me along, and with the use of a large format colour printer at
the office, I had scanned several book covers and printed them out on poster-sized
sheets for everyone to see. Despite having my notes in front of me, I found
that I could not stand, talk, hold up posters and read my notes at the
same time. This meant that I forgot perhaps 20% of what I had planned to
say but still managed to talk for approximately 20 minutes and also surprise
the audience with a number of revelations. After numerous questions, I
was asked what I had planned to do with my posters. I had intended just
to discard them but after several people showed an interest in them, it
was decided that they should be auctioned them off and the proceeds go
towards paying for the Panthans upcoming publication of new articles on
ERB. Tom Stock then took his turn to talk about the various bibliographies
that are currently available through the Internet. Halfway through his
presentation, our moderator Huck showed up to much banter and was able
to say a few words after Tom had finished before the panel finally wrapped
A short time later the huckster room was closed for the day and we set
off to have our evening meal. In a convoy of five cars we headed off to
nearby Frederick - a town which made the news even in England a few months
earlier as that was where the two Washington D.C. snipers were finally
caught. After dining at a nearby Bob Evans restaurant, the group made its
way to the Wonderbooks bookstore where I was able to find one of the three
remaining Stuart Woods novels on my Want List. I also found a first edition
of Porges biography of Burroughs but decided to pass on it.
Traffic was extremely congested on our return journey caused by a small
construction crew drilling a hole in one of two lanes just after an intersection.
As soon as we were clear of it, the traffic melted away to clear open roads.
We took our time the following morning before heading back to the convention
hotel. The huckster room still promised a few surprises as I uncovered
several issues of Norb's Notes that I was missing. Out of the 100 issues
that Charles Reinsel produced (actually there were 101 issues with two
variants of #15), I now have 81 in my collection. No mean feat for a fanzine
that was published forty years ago and sent out haphazardly to subscribers
such that no one ever received every issue. Elsewhere I also bought a second
hardback copy of Richard Lupoff's: Barsoom, ERB and the Martian Vision
still in mint condition.
The morning panel discussion consisted of just one person, Stan Galloway
who teaches students at the Bridgewater College in Bridgewater VA. Through
his position, every now and again he has the opportunity to get his students
to read one of Burroughs novels and later is able to discuss the book in
class. His presentation at the ECOF event was to share the views these
academic students had of Edgar Rice Burroughs. The reaction amongst the
students was very mixed and ranged across the spectrum from one of enjoyment
to one of, “Why do we have to read this crap?” (the view anyway of one
student). When asked whether the question of racism ever arose, Stan Galloway
responded that as Burroughs work was followed by a book written by F. Scott
Fitzgerald in which he treated blacks in a similar nature and then the
theme was simply recognised as a product of its time.
The afternoon auction went down very well with many fine items going
under the hammer. Al Gross sold off several helmets that had been adapted
by the late Gray Morrow that he used when drawing his strips. My poster
sized book covers did far better than I expected amassing a total of $87
that went to a good cause.
After the huckster room finally closed down and cleared, the hotel caterers
took over to make ready the room. The evening banquet was a fine affair
with excellent cuisine and enjoyable conversation. After a few words by
John Tyner, the group finally broke up for the day. Jim Thompson had brought
along his Jetan set and several games were then played. Eventually it was
time for us to leave also and Elaine and I headed back to Annapolis with
Breakfast the following morning at the Ramada Inn was a chance to say
our final farewells to everyone. The convention had been a huge success
and enjoyed by everyone that attended.
On our way back to Bill's house, this time accompanied by Jim and Linda
Thompson, we stopped off in Laurel to check out a couple of bookstores.
Here I found one of my last two remaining Stuart Woods novels that I needed
for a complete set. What had begun with listening to a book on tape has
now reached almost the conclusion of collecting 26 first editions and have
enjoyed reading every one of them.
Back at the home of Bill and Lois Ross, I was able to continue taking
notes of Bill's British collection of ERB books for a bibliography that
Frank Westwood and I hope to complete and publish one day. But all too
soon it was time to head home. On route Elaine and I picked up Bill Morse
at the hotel and drove to his home in New Jersey. Finally we reached Binghamton
and the following day I flew home. Attending Edgar Rice Burroughs conventions
is always a highlight for me each year. I get to meet so many wonderful
people that I cannot imagine what would stop me coming. I just hope that
I never find out.