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In 1947, while still in the navy, I went to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and applied for re-admission in September. I was accepted for admission to complete the course of study that I had started in 1943. After my Navy discharge I worked on the Great Lakes ore boats until Labor Day, and then traveled to New Haven to attend Yale again, this time as a civilian.
On my first Sunday there I had a nice surprise. Across the street from my college dormitory was a drug store. I walked over to buy something and there on the sidewalk in front of the store was a stack of Sunday papers. The Boston Post had the Hogarth full page of Tarzan as the outside wraparound. This was the time that Hogarth was producing some of his best artwork, and was also writing the story line. I looked forward to every Sunday so that I could buy another issue and see those great full-size pages. So, once again, I had found a source of supply to keep my Sunday-page collection going - at that point with the full-page size, which I hadn't seen for several years.
In the fall of 1947, I again received a notice from Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. that a new Tarzan novel was to be published. I purchased the first edition of Tarzan and "The Foreign Legion from them. After I had read it, I sent it back to Warren, Ohio to be packed away in the trunk with the rest of the book collection. The only part of my collection I kept with me was the current Sunday pages.
It wasn't very long before I discovered that the University library had bound volumes of The New Haven Register newspaper, which included the Sunday color-comic sections. Before the days of microfilm, files of the complete newspaper were bound so that they could be used for historical reference. I have since learned that most libraries did not keep the Sunday color-comic sections in bound volumes. But this library did. I spent many Saturday afternoons in the basement file room catching up on the Tarzan pages (in full size) from the beginning - March 15, 1931. They were big, heavy books, and the library clerk hated to see me coming, because he had to find them and carry them out to my reading table.
In March of 1948, I made another visit to New York City to see Burne Hogarth. This time I visited him at the School of Visual Arts which he had helped to organize. Rex Maxon was no longer drawing the daily Tarzan strip. The strip was being printed with Hogarth's name on it. He told me that Dan Barry was actually doing the work on the strip, under his (Hogarth's) direction.
I wanted to visit Dan Barry, so Hogarth gave me the address of the 'studio' where he was working. The address was down on the lower east side of Manhattan. I took the subway to the area, and had no trouble finding it. The whole section seemed to be old buildings with few tenants As I remember, the Barry "studio" was on an upper floor of an old brick building that had once been apartments.
I walked up the stairs looking around and calling out to find someone. It appeared that no one else occupied that building. Up on the third or fourth floor I found both Dan Barry and his brother, Sy, working at drawing tables in a large room. If I remember correctly, there were the two drawing tables, one chair for each of them, a coat rack, a refrigerator, and nothing else. Obviously, the refrigerator was used to keep cool the necessary items that an artist needs to inspire him to draw authentic African jungle scenes. Or, in this case, authentic Pellucidar landscapes.
Each of the Barry brothers had three days of the Tarzan strip on his drawing board. I'm not sure what the working arrangement was between them as to pencil layouts, inking, figures, and backgrounds. It looked as though each did all the work on his own three days of the strip.
Along the entire length of the wall opposite the door to the room was an incomplete mural of a jungle scene, with Tarzan and many animals. In their spare time, or for a break. they would work on it just for fun. I never did find out if they completed it. It was so large, I doubt that they did. - And now, of course, it has been lost to history. Unfortunately, I had no camera with me.
Dan Barry graciously agreed to make me a good-sized black-ink painting of Tarzan, with Nkima on his shoulder. This is now among the art work on the walls of my library.
About this time another fortuitous happening occurred. I learned that National Screen Service had an office in New Haven, with friendly employees. National Screen Service is the supplier of advertising material for films to all the theaters. They would normally just rent these items to theaters, but I was able to buy some for my collection, such as Tarzan movie posters and stills. The press books were offered free. I was able to build up that aspect of my collection at a very reasonable cost by dealing directly with this office.
One of the high points of my collecting hobby happened in the Spring of 1948. When the publication of the novel Llana of Gathol was announced, I ordered a copy from ERB, Inc., and requested that Edgar Rice Burroughs inscribe it to me. I received this autographed copy in April of 1948, and consider it one of the jewels of my accumulation.
The lure of the sea called me back to the Great Lakes ore boats for the summer vacation of 1948. I spent that summer much the same as I had the previous one, working on the boats, traveling up and down the lakes. It was a profitable and well-spent summer.
Chapter XIII in preparation
The year 1949 continued to be one of happy events for me; another step on my long, adventurous journey with Tarzan.
One of my friends at Yale, who came from Waterbury, Connecticut, told me that a printing plant there printed color Sunday comic sections for many newspapers. So I called the plant manager of Eastern Color Printing Company and set up an appointment to see him. On a Saturday morning in April, I borrowed a car and drove to Waterbury. I was interested in the process of producing the comics (especially the Tarzan page). The manager was very willing to explain the process to me. It involved using the plates sent to him by the newspaper syndicates for the four colors of ink used. He explained how much color was applied at very high speeds, but with consideration for the split-second time necessary to dry the ink between colors. He gave me a guided tour throughout the plant, spending about three hours to show me how everything operated, and explaining the function of the large printing presses. He said that they printed comics for about a hundred newspapers. I came away with several sample pages of Tarzan printed for different newspapers, including one in Spanish.
One of the interesting facts I learned was that twice as much yellow ink was needed as red, blue, or black ink. If yellow wasn't applied heavily enough, it would tend to fade away and not be visible at all.
One Sunday night one of my roommates, "Big John," surprised me with a package when he returned from a weekend visit home in Hartford. He said, "Here, you would like this!" "This" turned out to be the complete daily newspaper-strip version of "Tarzan of the Apes," drawn by Hal Foster in 1929. Each day's strip had been cut from the Hartford newspaper and mounted on large sheets of heavy paper. Big John's father had done this when the strips were printed and had saved them for all those years. Each strip was the large 11 1/2- by 4 1/2-inch size that was standard then. Quite a contrast to the ministrips being printed now, 40 years later.
Obviously Big John's father had been told of my hobby, and apparently decided he had kept the strips long enough. He must have wanted them to have a new home. That home is now my collection room.
In June, as graduation approached, I made another trip to New York City for some job interviews. While there, I again made a visit to Burne Hogarth's School of Visual Arts. At this time Paul Reinman was producing the daily Tarzan strip, working at Hogarth's school, and he happened to be there that day. Hogarth took me back to where Reinman was working on the strip and introduced me to him. We spent a pleasant hour talking about the strip. He was enthusiastic about working on it, and glad to meet a Tarzan fan. He gave me several sketches of the characters he was drawing in that current story and agreed to paint a black-ink picture of Tarzan with Jad-Bal-Ja. This is another original drawing that graces my collection-room wall.
The May 16, 1949 issue of Life Magazine contained a pictorial feature on the new film Tarzan's Magic Fountain, with pictures of former Tarzan actors. Elmo Lincoln had a minor role in this new film. Life had a full-page photo of Elmo and Lex Barker together, both dressed as Tarzan. Elmo's loin cloth was a heavy fur one. In June, I mailed the magazine page to Lex Barker to be autographed. After he returned it to me, I mailed it to Elmo Lincoln in July to add his autograph to the picture. At this time in my life I knew no other Tarzan fans. As far as I knew, I was the only person with the hobby of collecting Tarzan items. If Burroughs fandom was out there, I hadn't learned of it; I hadn't even heard about Vernell Coriell, even though he began publishing his Burroughs Bulletin in July of 1947.
At this time in 1949, Vern was in California, where he had met Edgar Rice Burroughs, Lex Barker, and Elmo Lincoln, among others. Later, Vern told me that one of his visits with Elmo Lincoln was on the day after Elmo had autographed my page from Life Magazine and mailed it back to me. Elmo told Vern about me and the picture, but he no longer had my name or address.
So, I almost made contact with the Number One Burroughs fan then, but fate did not connect us until a few years later.
WEBJED: BILL HILLMAN
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