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1940 was a memorable year. During the summer vacation from school, I spent many hours in the nearby "woods" climbing the trees, swinging with the tow rope I had found at Lake Erie in 1939, and building even more "tree huts."
One particular event will never leave my memory. I was with my family at our summer cottage at Lake Erie. We had rented the cottage to another family for a week or two and were awaiting their arrival, after which we would return home. I had climbed up into a nearby tree to "play, while we were waiting. When the renting family drove up and got out of their car, I saw that they had brought a pet monkey with them. I don't remember everything about this, but somehow they let him climb up into the same tree I was in. As usual, I did my climbing with bare feet. The monkey ran over on the limb I was standing on, and bit my foot. Manu had turned against me! (I am sure it was not Nkima.) It was not a serious bite and nothing developed from it, but I was disillusioned. Apparently this Manu had not come from Tarzan's Africa. He certainly didn't recognize me as one of Tarzan's loyal fans.
During the summer of 1940, I went with my family on a trip to New York City and a visit to the World's Fair. I thought that Johnny Weissmuller was swimming in the Aquacade there, but I hadn't kept up on the news, because although Johnny had been there in 1939, in 1940 he had moved to the San Francisco Fair on Treasure Island. Buster Crabbe was in the New York Aquacade, and I saw him swim, but I didn't try to meet him.
As a result of joining "The Tarzan Clans of America" (in 1939), 1 started to receive newsletters from Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. I think the first one I received was dated September 16, 1940. (Reproduced below) It certainly informed me of many new happenings. Note item number 2 of the newsletter.75-cent editions of the first eight Mars novels. Grosset and Dunlap published the first six titles about this time, without any illustrations, but did riot publish Fighting Man nor Swords. ERB, Inc. did publish the "Red Cover" 75-cent edition of Swords, with one illustration, but neither of them published Fighting Man in 1940. Item number 3 of the newsletter is of special interest. Has anyone ever seen this "75 cent reprint edition" of Forbidden City? I don't believe it was ever published. Anyway, I have never heard of anyone owning such an edition. Even Heins couldn't find any information about it for his Bibliography.
But, most importantly for me, the ERB newsletter informed me of two new pulp magazine stories. I had learned from the 1939 Saturday Evening Post article about ERB that pulp magazines had published his novels, but now here was news in advance about when and where new stories would appear. Naturally this started another trail for me to follow. Not only did the magazines contain Burroughs stories, but they also had ads from people selling magazines with earlier stories, which were fascinating for me to discover. Some of the titles I had never heard of, such as The Resurrection of Jimber-jaw, The Scientists Revolt, and The Girl from Farris's.
Here again was an opportunity to further extend my collection.
Another very important event happened to me in 1940. My letter to Tip Top Comics was selected to be headlined as the "Hobby-of-the-Month" in the February 1941 issue, which came out on December 27, 1940. (The Tip Top page is reproduced below.) As a result of the publication, I received more than 100 letters from other kids in the United States, England and South Africa.
Many wanted to start a Tarzan collection hobby, others just wanted a pen-pal, and a few were Tarzan collectors. I answered every letter and every response to my letters. This went on for several years, until all correspondence died out. But many years later, I was able to reestablish contact with two of the boys (now men) who had been collectors then, and I still correspond with one of them.
In all, 1940 was a very eventful year for me.
Telephone Reseda 222
September 16, 1940
1 - A new $2.00 Burroughs novel is being released this month, entitled THE DEPUTY SHERIFF OF COMANCHE COUNTY. This is a Western - the 4th Western Mr. Burroughs has written in his long and successful career as a writer -- and you will enjoy every page of its thrilling and tense dramatic situations, its unforgettable characters, the humor and repartee of the "boys", and above all the glamor and romance of the Old West.
2 - The entire series of Martian novels featuring JOHN
CARTER OF MARS will be re-published this Fall to retail at 75 cents each.
These books will be attractively bound, cellophane-wrapped, and illustrated
where possible - a $2.00 book value in every sense of the word for only
75 cents. The titles to be re-published are:
3 - A brand new Tarzan reprint to retail at 75 cents, entitled TARZAN AND THE FORBIDDEN CITY. This book has never sold for less than $2.00.
4. - A brand new JOHN CARTER OF MARS novelette will appear in the January, 1941, issue of AMAZING STORIES, published by Ziff-Davis Publishing Co., which will be available in November of this year.
5 - A brand new CARSON OF VENUS novelette has also just been purchased by Ziff-Davis Publishing Co., 608 S. Dearborn St., Chicago. Publication of this story has not yet been set; but to make sure you do not miss this thrilling Venus story, we suggest you write direct to the publishers for release date.
We know you will be gratified to have all this information well in advance of publication dates, and we hope you will not miss a single one of the above announced releases.
We take this opportunity to thank you for your continued interest in Mr. Burroughs and his writings.
Very sincerely yours,
What's YOUR Hobby? ~ Hobby-of-the-Month
BOB "TARZAN" HYDE'S COLLECTION
|The WINNER of this issue's Hobby-of-the-Month honors
has a pastime that should be of special interest to all readers of Tip
Top Comics. Bob Hyde of Warren, Ohio, writes that he "collects everything
about Tarzan that I can find" -- and that's plenty as you will see from
his winning letter printed below. Besides most of the Tarzan books and
cartoons, Bob has clothes and equipment just like the jungle lord's. So
realistic is one of Bob's Tarzan costumes that he won first prize for it
in a Halloween costume party a few months ago at his local theater. Because
they think it will suggest other similar hobbies to our readers, the judges
have awarded top hobby honors to Bob Hyde for the following letter:
Dear Hobby Editor:
As a result of my published letter in Tip Top Comics, mentioned in Chapter IV, I received public recognition of my Tarzan collecting hobby in the local newspaper with this "news" item. (See Insert.) By the end of 1941, I had finally obtained a copy of all the then published Tarzan titles, except for the first Tarzan Twins book. I had only the beginning of a collection of the Mars series and other titles.
I started yet another phase of my collecting during 1941 - original works of art. I wrote letters to five of the artists who had illustrated the Burroughs tales, requesting a sketch of Tarzan from each of them. (How naive, but I was young.) I was thrilled to receive a beautiful watercolor painting of Tarzan and Numa, with a friendly note from John Coleman Burroughs. Burne Hogarth sent me a pencil drawing of Tarzan along with a letter. Both of these works are framed and hanging on my library wall. I received autographs and nice notes expressing regrets, but no drawings, from J. Allen St. John, Hal Foster, and Rex Maxon. One important result of these responses was that I now had addresses for these artists, which I would put to use in later years.
Warren, Ohio Tribune-Chronicle:
January 9, 1941
BOB HYDE, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Hyde, Kenmore SE, is a real Tarzan fan. He has a complete set of the Tarzan books. written by Edgar Rice Burroughs of which two are first editions. He also collects various articles relating to the mythical strong man and his hobby won him recognition this month from a top-notch comic book which prints the Tarzan story in pictures.In December of 1941, the film Tarzan's Secret Treasure was released and I obtained the largest Tarzan item in my collection: a complete 24-sheet billboard poster! It was about 10 feet high and 18 feet long, if I remember correctly. Most films are no longer advertised with this size poster, but in those days it was common for theaters to use a full-size outdoor billboard to display their advertisements. These posters were constructed by pasting on the board 24 separate sheets of paper. This would be similar to putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle, except that each sheet was rectangular. Put together correctly they formed one large display ad.
I had become friendly with the theater manager a couple of years earlier, and had received other collectible items from him. I asked him about the billboard display and was told I could have it "after we have finished playing the picture." This meant after midnight on a Saturday night.
I had examined the board a week or so ago before and it looked as if the board had not been cleaned of ads for veers. There must have been a hundred or more posters piled up to a thickness of about two inches. Part way back, about. 1 /4 inch or so, there was a slight separation which might have been caused by a heavy rain during the paste-up. I experimented on a lower corner and decided it might be possible to peel it off at that point. This would give me a sheet with backing like a soft cardboard.
So I borrowed a truck, some extension ladders and sidewalk ice-scrapers and (somehow) talked my best friend Jack into helping me get that poster. We arrived after midnight, in a snowstorm, and set up the ladder at each end of the billboard. We dug in the ice-scrapers (similar to hoes but with straight blades about 5 inches wide) along the top edge at each end of the billboard and kept moving the ladders back and forth toward each other, getting a nice even peel all the way down. It took a few hours, in the snowstorm, to succeed in our task, but we did it. I also remember that it was very cold that night.
Looking back at it now, I am surprised that the police didn't come by and ask us what we were doing. But perhaps if they had seen us they may have figured that the theater had hired us to remove the poster, since someone had to paste them up every week or so. Those workers also no doubt used a truck and ladders. The police couldn't have suspected that a couple of Tarzan nuts would be "stealing" an out-of-date poster in the middle of the night. But they couldn't know what madness lurked in the mind of the collector.
We got the poster off in one piece and folded it up into a big pile, then placed it in the back of the truck. After stopping for hot chocolate to warm up, we drove to my place and unloaded it in my father's garage.
It was a real task for me to get that heavy poster nailed up to the ceiling of our two-car garage. It covered the entire length and wrapped down the back wall. It was great to see that poster every time I went into the garage. Alas, it only stayed up there for a few years.
One day, about four years later, I came home on leave from the Navy and went out to borrow my father's car. My heart stopped when I looked up to view my poster once more, and saw that IT WAS GONE! I ran back into the house to find out what had happened. My father said he thought I wouldn't want the poster anymore, and had taken it down and burned it. That hurt, but I did realize that I could not have kept that huge thing around forever. But that was the only item from my collection that was ever thrown away.
We all know that many collections have been thrown out by parents who never mind-set of a collector
ODYSSEY OF A TARZAN FANatic
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