In casting about for a subject for the APA, I decided to do an interview on one of the BBs more noteworthy members. What better choice than Bill Hillman? (Plus, he sat still for me to do an interview with him.) As I am sure you all know, Bill is the editor of the ERBzine, 15,000 pages on ERB related material. If you can't find it in the zine, it probably doesn't exist.
My wife and I had the pleasure to recently visit Bill and his wife, Sue-On at their home in Brandon, Manitoba recently. They have a lovely home there, packed full of ERB related items. Bill has several closets full of video items. A really huge collection. It was most interesting to watch Bill in his "cave" working on the ERBzine. And, yes, he does stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning working on it. Definitely a labor of love.
Sue-On wouldn't let us take them out to eat, but insisted on cooking for us. She said she loves to cook, She said "Some people eat to live, but I live to eat!" We really enjoyed her cooking while we were there. We had several items we had never had before, such as Yorkshire pudding. I had no idea what that was like. Quite tasty actually. Sue-On found out my wife is a quilter and took her over to the house of a quilter friend of hers. That was most enjoyable for my wife to be able to share ideas.
Bill and Sue-On lead most active lives, involved with all sorts of eclectic projects. Along with ERBing, Bill and Sue-On are accomplished musicians. Here are some web sites that Bill provided for those interested.
HILLMAN ROOTS AND WINGS
OUR ONLINE MUSIC BIO BOOK
THE GIG NOTES SECTION
Much more on our main Website:
BILL HILLMAN INTERVIEWJG: Hello, Bill
This is an interview with Bill Hillman, editor of ERBzine,
taped on August 2, 2014 during the Texas Dum-Dum Convention
BH: Hi, Jim. Hey, Aren't we in a great spot here?
BH: The Vincent collection.
JG: Yes, I would say the Vincent collection is a Louisville Library number 2.
BH: Why Yeah, it's amazing really. The original art, the St. John art is just incredible. He's (Brad Vincent) got collectibles everywhere. Other people, all original art! Magazines, comics galore, and even Ed Burroughs' old Ediphone machine. And the cylinders on some of the dictating that Ed had done for some of his books. Really rare. Lots and lots of toys. Very old age. Chewing gum. Box covers. Movie memorabilia, and cans and cans of all the Tarzan movies in 16mm. Every movie coming up, right up to the '50s anyway.
JG: I want to talk to Bill about Bill, interview you.
BH: Bill is so excited about Brad Vincent's collection that that is all he wants to talk about.
JG: How old were you when you got the Burroughs Bug?
BH: I guess it would be 1949. I was born in 1943, so I was pretty young. The Tarzan comics, the Sunday comic was in Toronto Star Weekly, which we got every week. That and the Dell comics somewhere about that time, and early Big Little Books somehow I had come across. The movies, the Lex Barker movies.
JG: What town did you grow up in?
BH: In Strathclair, Manitoba.
JG: Okay, as time went by, when did you start actively collecting? From that time?
BH: Yes (laughing) from that time! I know those early Sunday pages, I still have a bunch of them.
BH: I was so enamored with the Big Little Books that I cut the frames out of the some of the Sunday pages and I stapled them together in book form. They are mismatched in shape, you know. Now there's a collectible! The first Mars comic I got was the John Carter comic. I had Tarzan comics before that, but the 1952 John Carter was an early one. It was a Dell. Then it went on from there. I have always been a pack rat. Luckily, I still have a lot of that old stuff.
JG: Have any of your children caught the virus?
BH: They respect the Burroughs thing, but I have that covered. (laughing) But they are really into science fiction and science fantasy. In fact, my daughter, who is a medical doctor now, specializing in radiology. . . for a while there, she was determined she wanted to be a Knight and go to Knight school! The jousting they have in Las Vegas, and the jousting matches they have in Medieval Fairs. She wanted to do that. She even took a welding course so she could make her own knife and sword! (laughing) All three kids have crazy little things, spin-offs like that. They are all very computer literate, web designers. My daughter and son make great use of computers in their medical fields.
JG: How did you come up with the idea for the ERBzine?
BH: Well, that would be '96 and I had integrated computers into my teaching course. I taught High School for 30 years and university for 10 after that.
JG: Are you retired now?
BH: Yes, sort of, but there is always some other thing. I had integrated computers into my courses and I had integrated some Burroughs into my literature courses through computers. In '96, the internet really took off, in my area anyway. So, I found a web page on the internet. I said to myself "Hey man, I'm going to try that". So I did one and I thought that was about all we could say about Burroughs. It's all been done! 15,000 web pages later and now here I am! (laughing)
JG: Is doing the weekly zine a challenge?
BH: Yeah, I try to put a lot in the can and work ahead on some things and dole them out. That takes some of the pressure off. It's a marathon effort. I work till 3 or 4 every morning. Then I hike and I jog around the city and come back and do some more reading. TV's always on, hooked to cable and 2 or 3 dishes. Internet connections to China television and on and on. The video's always there and there's always music off to one side. A guitar propped off to one side. I like to multi-task.
JG: What's been your biggest challenge in the zine?
BH: I don't know. Keeping to a weekly schedule and keeping the huge archive updated. One main effort is to pay tribute to Edgar Rice Burroughs, his life. I have done a lot of research on the Burroughs family. Danton Burroughs, when he was alive, was a big help. It was always a challenge to find more information on his (ERB) life. So, I spent a lot of time in the Tarzana warehouse, and Danton's house. When Danton died, I flew down to Tarzana and did his eulogy. That was a challenge. Danton and I used to have long, two-hour conversations on the phone. He was a super guy, and to lose him so suddenly...
JG: He wasn't too old either.
BH: No, just a youngster, just like me (all laugh)
JG: Are you like Brad (Vincent), you have it all? Are there certain things you like to collect?
BH: I like it all, really, I like it all. I have radio shows and a huge video collection of related documentaries and all the movies. I have 4000 video tapes and that many DVDs and much more on hard drives. A huge movie collection, obviously not all Burroughs.
JG: What's the future hold for you?
BH: Well, I hope I can keep saying "I still live" (laughing)
JG: You know that doesn't mean much to non-Burroughs fans, but it does to us.
BH: Yeah, I would like to just carry on with ERBzine. I think I'm contributing something to fandom and to the Burroughs legacy. That's how I like to think about it. I need to do some more work on my own family. I haven't done as much history as I like on them. I like to work on military sites. I had three uncles that went down in Lancasters in WWII. My Dad was on a convoy to Hong Kong to accept the Japanese surrender. I do many other RCAF and military things. I do the Commonwealth Air Training Plan web site. We are putting up a huge monument to the dead from that Plan. The Pilots and air crew were trained at bases all across Canada in WWII starting in 1939. So we are putting up a 100m (+300 feet) granite monument to the 19,000 dead from that plan. It will have a huge statue and will be unveiled next month (Sept. 10, 2014)
JG: Where is this?
BH: In Brandon, two miles from our home, at the Brandon airport.
JG: Thank you for the interview, Bill
Thanks for the continuing saga and for being such a kind and generous host. Look forward to seeing you again in the future.
RELATED ERBzine FEATURE
THE HILLMAN LIBRARY
EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS ROOM
Hardcovers ~ Paperbacks ~
Comics ~ BLBs ~ Collectibles
Art ~ Pulps ~ Fanzines ~
Photocopies ~ Videos ~ Refs
Recent Reprints ~ Reference ~
Contemporaries ~ Current Projects
Convention Goodie Bags
Booty and Collectibles
Logo Shirts and Caps
Poster Wall and
Treasures from Friends
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 ©1996-2015 by Bill Hillman and/or Contributing Authors/Owners
No part of this web site may be reproduced without permission from the respective owners.