Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute and Weekly Webzine Site
Since 1996 ~ Over 15,000 Webpages in Archive
ERB 100-Word Drabbles
by Robert Allen Lupton
With ERBzine References by Bill Hillman
On May1 in 1915, All-Story Cavalier Weekly published part one of Pellucidar. Other stories in that issue included, "Into the Fifth Dimension by Frank Blighton, The Mysterious Goddess [Part 3 of 4 by Richard & Grace Duvall,The Princess Awakens by Mary Carolyn Davies, and The Brave Little Soldier by Percy W. Reynolds. Pellucidar is on the cover. Today's drabble is "The Telegraphist".
Codgon Nestor and Edgar Rice Burroughs hurried to Algiers where Nestor had uncovered a box that communicated telegraphically with David Innes in the Earth’s core.
Nestor said, “I hired a telegraphist named Frank Downes. He seemed like the best applicant.”
‘Yeah, the most compelling response was from an eleven year old in La Plata, Missouri. Said he could key over a hundred words a minute and he’d work for expenses and the adventure of it all. His parents wouldn’t let him go.”
“What was his name?”
“Well, I expect he’ll find adventures when he grows up.”
TARZAN ALWAYS FINDS A WAY
May 2: On this day in 1936 the last Hal Foster Sunday page appeared. It was part of the ongoing "Tarzan in the City of Gold" story line which continued with a new artist, a guy named Burne Hogarth. "Tarzan Always Finds A Way" is today's drabble.
“Here’s my last Tarzan page,” said Hal Foster.
“You stopped in the middle of “Tarzan and the City of Gold.”
“Sure did. Send Hogarth a copy. He’ll need to finish the story line. I’ve drawn the first three months of Prince Valiant.”
The editor looked the last page. “Wow, Nakonia secretly loves Tarzan, but she had him arrested so her people will stop resisting Flint, who wants the city, the gold, and Nakonia. You certainly left Hogarth with a lot to clean up. Does he need an outline?”
“Nope. Tarzan will figure it out. He just has to draw it.”
May 3: On this day in 1967 the prolific John Celardo's Tarzan daily "Tarzan and the Diamond Smugglers" concluded. "Inspector Bond" is today's drabble.
The customs inspector said, ‘My name’s Bond, Inspector Bond.”
I’m Tarzan. Dena Bain isn’t hunting gorillas for a zoo. She has a man dressed in a gorilla skin. They’re smuggling diamonds.”
“Nonsense. She’s entirely too pretty to be a smuggler.”
‘Mr. Bond, don’t let a pretty woman lead you astray.”
Tarzan caught Bain and her fake gorilla boarding the freighter, Corinthia, and exposed the plot.
Bond said, “I’m shocked.”
Tarzan replied, “Don’t be. This isn’t the first time a pretty woman made a man into a monkey – in this case, two men, you and the man in the gorilla suit.”
MISS TRACH, A CURTAIN CALL, PLEASE
Happy Stars Wars Day, May the fourth be with you. On this in 1997 "You Lucky Girl" concluded its ten day run at The Palmdale Playhouse,in the Antelope Valley Community Arts Center, Palmdale, California. Sandra Trach played the lead. I believe the attached photograph is a relatively recent one of Sandra Trach. If I'm incorrect, please let me know. The drabble today is "Miss Trach, A Curtain Call, Please."
“Pat. Why are we here?”
“John, this is the Palmdale Playhouse. Edgar Rice Burroughs play, “You Lucky Girl.” Was presented here from April 25th to May 4th in 1997.”
“I read about that. Did the playhouse do any plays I’d know.?”
“You bet. “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”. They did “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “True Grit,” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
“Well, that’s good company. Who played The Lucky Girl?”
“A woman named Sandra Trach.”
“I’d like her autograph.”
“So would a lot of fans, but we don’t know how to find her. Take my picture at the entrance.”
UP IN SMOKE
May the fifth, Cinco de Mayo, celebrates the Mexican army's victory over France at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 and is a major holiday in New Mexico.
May 5 is not a celebrated holiday in Edgar Rice Burroughs history because on this day in 1958 the warehouse Fire at ERB Inc. occurred and damaged and destroyed books, films, memorabilia, and who knows what else. My copies of Llana of Gathol and Escape on Venus have stickers inside the books indicating that those copies survived the fire. The drabble today is "Up In Smoke."
“Mr. Burroughs, some of the old cellulose nitrate films stored in the warehouse spontaneously combusted and started the fire last night.”
“Call me Danton. Is it safe to clean up the warehouse?”
“Wait another day. Most of the books have smoke and water damage. None of the film stock survived. The heat caused it all to burn. Were the films valuable?”
“I doubt it. Copies of Tarzan movies. There must be hundreds more out there.”
“I remember “Tarzan the Mighty. I loved that one.”
“Chief, I’ll look for that one first. We’ll watch it together once we clean this up.”
May 6: On this day in 1966, The House of Greystoke published The Efficiency Expert as a photographic reprint of the All-Story version. The 84 page story was approximately 47,000 words. The cover by Frank Frazetta was repeated as the frontispiece and Roger B. Morrison did the four B/W interior illustrations. 'Pocket Watch" is today's drabble.
Jimmy restrained the pickpocket until the policeman arrived. “This man tried to steal my wallet.”
“Nah, Officer. We bumped into each other. This swell grabbed me and started yelling. Search me. I ain’t got nothin’ what ain’t mine.”
The officer searched the accused. “Mr. Torrance, he’s clean. I’m letting him go.”
The officer left. “I’d swear you were dipping my pocket.”
“Name’s Lizard. Got the time?”
“Sure. Wait, my watch is gone.”
“I nipped it while the cop searched me. Got his badge and wallet, too.”
May 7: On this day in 1962, the John Celardo Tarzan Daily "Tarzan and the Poachers" began. The story ran for 132 days. In the storyline, much of the action takes place in "Wasiri National Park". Wonder how Celardo thought of that name??? "Eggzackly" is today's drabble.
Tarzan said, “Muviro, poachers are in the jungle. I need the Waziri to help me stop them.”
“If men want lie around on the porch all day, I say let them. Don’t see the harm.”
“Not porcher, poacher.”
“Okay. I prefer my eggs boiled, but if others like over easy or poached, I say to each his own.”
‘Not that kind of poacher. You aren’t hearing me correctly. Poachers are unlicensed hunters. These men kill elephants for ivory and rhino for their horns.”
“English language is hard. I’ll get my warriors off the porch and we’ll scramble after the hunters.”
SLIP SLIDING AWAY
May 8: On this day in 1915, All-Story Cavalier Weekly published part two of Pellucidar. This was the last issue of All-Story Cavalier Weekly, the title changed to “All-Story Magazine” with the next issue. The magnificent cover for the issue illustrated “Abu, the Dawn Maker” by Perly Poore Sheehan. I haven’t identified the artist. Sheehan wrote over a hundred pulp stories, including ‘Kwa of the Jungle” using the name “Paul Regard” and is credited as one of the writers for Lon Chaney’s 1923 “Hunchback of Notre Dame.” He wrote several screen plays. Kwa of the Jungle, a Tarzan pastiche is available at lulu.com. The drabble today is “Slip Sliding Away."
A bear chased Abner Perry through a dense fog in the mountain pass. David Innes searched for Perry and fell down the mountainside, but survived. Perry was safe at the bottom near a river flowing to the Lural Az, a great sea.
Innes said, “I was sure the bear killed you.”
“The bear was right on top of me. I fell on the ice. I slid down the mountain. The bear chose not to follow.”
Innes laughed. “So, it’s true. Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimess the bear eats you, and sometimes you both go hungry.”
“Yes, slip sliding away.”
ME SPEAK BETTER SOON
May 9: On this day in 1932, Edgar Rice Burroughs appeared on Hollywood stage with Maureen O’Sullivan and “Tarzan the Apeman” director, Woodbridge Strong Van Dyke. The first photo below is of Van Dyke with ERB and Johnny Weissmuller. The second photograph was taken on the movie set and includes ERB with Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan and Tantor. “Me Speak Better Soon” is today’s drabble.
Burroughs stood as she walked on the Hollywood stage. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss O’Sullivan. I feel like I’m standing next to the real Jane.”
“Mr. Burroughs, the honor is mine. You know the film’s director, W. S. Van Dyke.”
They shook hands. Van Dyke said, “Call me Woody. What did you think of the film?”
“I expected Tarzan to be a bit more articulate than a two year old.”
“I don’t understand what you mean?”
Burroughs touched his own chest and then Van Dyke’s. “Of course you don’t. Me writer, you director. Does that ring a bell?”
A ROSE IS A ROSE
May 10: On this in 1913, Edgar Rice Burroughs completed “Number Thirteen” (The Monster Men) and began “Prince of Helium” (Warlord of Mars). Many of his working titles were changed by Burroughs, editors, or publishers before the stories were printed. I always wondered how ERB felt about that. I have a short story that will be published this summer. My title was “Kiddie Patrol.” The editor changed it to “Until I Have to Crawl.” Such is life.
The photo attached is of my Edgar Rice Burroughs first day of issue stamp envelope for “The Monster Men.” The small book cover on the envelope is of a Japanese edition of the novel. "A Rose is a Rose” is today’s drabble.
Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote “The End,”, and carefully aligned the completed manuscript to “Number Thirteen.” “I seem to have a remarkable ability to use a working title for a book that the publisher refuses to use.”
Emma said, “It shouldn’t matter. They pay you. A rose is a rose. What’s in a name?”
“It hurts my feelings. I’m starting the sequel to “Gods of Mars.” I call it “Prince of Helium.” They won’t change that title.”
“I think of John Carter as more than a prince.”
“Perhaps I’ll promote him to Jeddak or Warlord. I’ll see how the story goes.”
May 11: On this day in 1930, Edgar Rice Burroughs' lumbago was bothering him and he made up a variant of bridge to help him pass the time. That evening he explained it to the others in his bridge foursome. The drabble today is "Jungle Rules."
“Tonight, we’re going to play Tarzana Bridge. My back hurts and I couldn’t write so I made up this variant."
“Okay, Burroughs, explain it we’ll try it.”
“In addition to counting tricks, we count high card points. Most points taken counts as a trick. The twos count as a trick each and the trump five and six each count as trick. Twenty points, not thirteen."
They played the first hand. On the third trick, Burroughs played the trump ace a second time.
“Wait, that’s not fair.”
“I forgot to explain Jungle Rules. Anything is fair if you don’t get caught.”
THE STUDENT PRINCE
May 12: On this day in 1926, Joan played Kathie in a school production of the play, "The Student Prince." (ERB: Playwright) The original play had been an international success, notably in America where, in spite of having a very limited Broadway life both as "Old Heidelberg" (1902) and as "Prince Karl" (1903). It became both a long-touring vehicle for popular actor Richard Mansfield as the Prince Karl-Heinrich who was to become `the student prince’ and the 1915 D W Griffith silent film ( Old Heidelberg" featured Wallace Reid as the prince alongside Dorothy Gish, Erich von Stroheim and Karl Formes Jr. Dorothy was Lillian Gish's younger sister. The film was remade in 1927 with Ramon Novarro and Norma Shearer, and again in 1954 with Anne Blyth in the Joan Burroughs role. "The Student Prince" is today's drabble.
Joan Burroughs said, “Dad, our school play, The Student Prince” opens tonight. You and Mom will come won’t you?”
“Wouldn’t miss it. Saw the D. W. Griffith film about 12 years ago. I bet you’ll look better than Dorothy Gish did. You play Kathie, right?”
“Yes, the film was silent, the play’s an operetta. I sing `Come Boys, Let’s All Be Gay, Boys’ and a duet `Deep in My Heart, Dear.”
“I do so hope an agent or producer will be there to hear me.”
“Don’t get your hopes up, Dear. Talking pictures will never be a real thing.”
DON'T BE CROSS
May 13: On this day in 1927, Edgar Rice Burroughs started writing Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle at his office on 5225 Avenita Oriente. He later finished the novel at 18354 Ventura. The novel would be published by Blue Book in six installments beginning in December of 1927 and finishing in May of 1928. Frank Hoban did the illustrations in the first section. H. Bedford Jones and Robert Ames Bennet also had stories in the December 1927 issue. The novel continues the trend, first seen in The Return of Tarzan and established definitively in Tarzan the Untamed, of taking Tarzan to a new lost civilization or tribe in almost every book. The drabble today is “Don’t Be Cross”
Blake stumbled into to a valley inhabited by descendants of ancient crusaders. Sir Richard, a knight, helped him.
Blake asked, “Why not return to England?”
“Can’t. In 1191, two ships of crusaders found this valley. One group believed it the Valley of the Holy Sepulcher, moved their crosses to their backs, and prepared to return to England. The other group wants to continue to Jerusalem. Neither group will let give way. We stay and we fight.”
Blake said, “That’s like two men holding the ends of a sausage until the both starve.”
“Sounds foolish when you say it like that.”
HOPE FOR THE BEST
May 14: On this day in 1912, at 10:25 Central Standard Time, Edgar Rice Burroughs completed “Tarzan of the Apes.” ERB had originally christened his jungle character "Zantar," then "Tublat Zan," then, finally, "Tarzan". "Bloomstoke" became "Greystoke." Zantar has been used as a character name in Tarzan pastiches and other novels, as well as a place name in others books. Burroughs used Tublat, or Broken Nose in Mangani as the name of Kala’s mate in Tarzan of the Apes. If you think about it, today would be a good day to light a candle on a cake, blow it out, and say “thank you.” The photo today is of my "Tarzan of the Apes" Edgar Rice Burroughs stamp first day cover. The drabble for today is “Hope For The Best.”
Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote, “My mother was an Ape, and of course she couldn't tell me much about it. I never knew who my father was.” He put down his pen and checked his watch. It was 10:25 PM.
He picked up the lamp and walked to the bedroom. Emma woke up. He said, “Sorry. I finished my third novel.”
“That’s the jungle story?”
Right. All-Story wants to see it. I’ll send it off tomorrow.”
“You think it will do well?”
“I hope so, but probably not as well as Princess of Mars. Barsoom has more appeal than a jungleman.”
May 15: On this day in 1931, Metropolitan published “A Fighting Man of Mars.” This 319 page, 78,000 word novel with a wraparound dust jacket by Hugh Hutton, features Tavia, perhaps the most underappreciated female created by Burroughs. She was tough, brave, and loyal. She and Hadron of Hastor get the happy ever after ending they deserved. This was the last of four novels to be published by Metropolitan. Today’s drabble is “Something Blue."
Tal Hadron was imprisoned with Phor Tak, who’d invented a metal disintegrating ray and the ghastly blue paint that repelled the ray. Both men were sentenced to “THE DEATH”.
They escaped with Tavia, a female prisoner and Hadron’s friend. Hadron said, “I must warn John Carter.
Hadron and Tavia assembled a flyer from the wreckage of flyers, old and new. A panthan loaned him a navigational compass. Hadron painted his makeshift craft the ugly blue, returned to Helium, and told John Carter the defense against the disintegration ray.
Carter said, “Nice flyer. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.”
WHO SAYS WRESTLING'S FAKE
May 16: On this day in 1914, All-Story Cavalier Weekly published the first part of “The Beasts of Tarzan.” The F. W. Small illustration of the story on the cover is magnificent. Other stories in the issue included part three of “A Prize for Princes” by Rex Stout and part two of “The Lone Star Rangers” by Zane Grey. “Who Says Wrestling’s Fake” is today’s drabble.
Tarzan wrote a bad check to Rokoff to ransom his son. Rokoff abandoned him on shore and he encountered apes similar to the mangani.
Tarzan dispatched their leader, Molak, with a full nelson. Akut, the second in line, challenged Tarzan and was defeated the same way.
“You be the leader,” said Tarzan. “I’ll help you.”
“If you wish.”
Akut learned several wrestling holds and seemed unbeatable. “I’m the best. I want to fight in Rome, Paris, and London. Akut will be world champion.”
Akut’s mate slapped his head. “Shut up, champion. Go gather fruit. I’m hungry.”
GOLD IS WHERE YOU FIND IT
May 17: On this day in 1936, the Hal Foster drawn and Don Garden written Sunday Comic story, Tarzan In The City of Gold began and ran for fifty-one weeks. This story shouldn’t be confused with the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, the Rex Maxon daily comic strip, the Gold Key Comic Book, or the recent Titan Books publication of a collection of Sunday comics by Burne Hogarth. The title of those publications is different by one word, instead of the preposition “IN,” those titles use the conjunction “AND.” Oh, it’s not the 1966 Mike Henry film “Tarzan and the Valley of Gold” or the Fritz Leiber novelization of that film. A valley is not a city. The 100 word Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble today is “Gold Is Where You Find It.”
Hal Foster called Don Garden. “Don, are you sure about the title of this story for the Sunday Funnies. Burroughs wrote a novel about five years ago, “Tarzan and the City of Gold. Our story’s a little different from that one.”
“People love reading about cities of gold. Remember the Spanish search for Cibola.”
“Rex Maxon adapted “Tarzan and the City of Gold” for the daily comics in 1932. He used that title. Won’t people be confused?”
“Okay, I’ll change the name. We call our story, “Tarzan in the City of Gold. Happy now.”
“No, but I’m just the artist.”
I'VE HAD ALL I CAN STAND
May 18: On this date in 1929, the disagreement between Edgar Rice Burroughs and A C McClurg over royalties and print runs came to a head. Burroughs moved to Metropolitan for his next four books. The editor at A C McClurg for the fifteen years when the company published Burroughs’ was Joseph E. Bray. McClurg punished or rewarded Bray after Edgar Rice Burroughs’ departure by promoting him to President and Chamber of the Board. Over the years, McClurg also published, “Hopalong Cassidy” and books by Ray Cummings and Otis Adelbert Kline. A tip of the Apache War Spear to Bill Hillman for help with research. The drabble today is “I’ve had All I Can Stand.”
Burroughs picked up the phone and said, “Hello.”
“Joseph Bray here, at McClurg. “ You haven’t signed the contract for your next book. I can’t commission a cover or let the editor begin until we have everthing in writing.”
“I know. I deserve more money. My books always sell out. I want higher print runs.”
“You stick to writing and we’ll handle publishing.”
“I’ll find another publisher.”
“Good luck. McClurg’s the reason you aren’t selling pencil sharpeners.”
“Joseph, I’m the only reason you’re in business.”
“That’ll surprise the rest of our writers. Sign or move on.”
TREE STUDIO VISIT
May 19: On this day in 1957, J. Allen St. John died in Chicago, Illinois. J. Allen St. John lived the majority of his creative life at 3 E. Ontario, Chicago, IL in a building named Tree Studio. Tree Studio was built especially for artists by Judge Lambert Tree, with the intention that every unit would provide the proper light by which the painter could work.
St. John is no stranger to fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, but his first work for A. C. McClurg was “The Face In The Pool,” a fairy tale which he wrote and illustrated. It was published in 1905 and contained 4 full color plates, plus black and white illustrations. Reprints are available from LULU and first editions from various book dealers, including Amazon and EBay sell in the $500 to $1000 range. “Tree Studio Visit” is today’s drabble.
Pat and John visited the Tree Studio in Chicago. Mrs. St. John answered the door. “Hello,” said Pat. “We don’t want to intrude. Did Mr. St. John live here?”
“Yes. I’m his wife.”
John asked, “Do you have any of his paintings?”
“Only a self-portrait. I’ve sold the rest.”
“The portrait’s amazing. Is it for sale?”
“No, it’s promised to the artist across the hall, Jim Romano. I’ve got copies of his first book, “The Face In The Pool” Interested?”
Pat gaped at the beautiful woman and tiger frontispiece. “Never knew this existed, but I’ve wanted it my whole life.”
DID YOU SAY BILL BATES OR BILL GATES
May 20: On this day in 1944, Edgar Rice Burroughs finished writing the 1787 word horror story “Uncle Bill.” Many readers have suggested the story is semi-autobiographical, but I see a little more of John Carter in Uncle Bill than I do Edgar Rice Burroughs, probably some of both. The story was unpublished in Burroughs’ lifetime, but was included in “Forgotten Tales of Love and Murder,” published by Pat Adkins and John Guidry in 2001. The story was also reprinted in ERBzine 6726. Today’s drabble is “Did You Say Bill Bates or Bill Gates?”
“Dad, did you finish that horror story you were writing.”
“Yes, Joan, but I won’t submit it to the movie people.”
“It’s too far out and the Uncle Bill character could be based on me or even on John Carter. My readers will think I’m deranged.”
Joan reread it. “Dad, you’re right. A woman keeping her dead husband in the attic is hard to believe.”
“Do you think it would be better if I made the woman into a man and made the dead person his mother?”
“No. No one will film a crazy psycho story like that.”
TRUTH TO POWER
May 21: On this day in 1919, Edgar Rice Burroughs completed “Under the Red Flag,” The second part of The Moon Maid was actually written first, shortly after the Bolshevik revolution. This piece of anti-Communist fiction predated Animal Farm by almost thirty years, but in 1919, no one would publish it. The story was rejected 11 times by periodicals including the Saturday Evening Post and Argosy All-Story. The unpublished story was filed away until Burroughs rewrote it in 1922 and re-titled the story “The Moon Men” and made it a sequel to an as-yet-unwritten story, “The Moon Maid”. The illustration is by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Today’s 100 word drabble is “Truth to Power.”
“Emma, I got another rejection for “Under The Red Flag.”
“Is that nine or ten?”
“No, it’s eleven.”
“Will you submit it again?”
“No point. The publishers must fear the Bolsheviks. Heaven help us if they get to America.”
“You sound frustrated.”
“I am, but I’ll put it aside until the editors forget about it. Then I’ll rewrite it and change the names.”
“Will that work?”
“Of course. It worked for Jonathon Swift, Lewis Carroll, and even, Aesop.”
“Surely, not Aesop.”
“Consider the ant a peasant and the grasshopper a member of the idle rich.”
“I see what you mean.”
TIME IS ON MY SIDE
May 22: On this day in 1915, All-Story Weekly published part four of Pellucidar. The cover art was for the novelette, “The Impostor” by Frank L. Packard. Part two of the novel, “The Man-Eater,” by Anne Warner was included in this issue along with part three of “Abu, the Dawn-Maker” by Perley Poore Sheehan. Frank Condon, who wrote hundreds of stories for the pulps was represented with “The Song of Songs.” He is credited as the screen writer on several silent movies, including The Knickerbocker Buckaroo” starring Douglas Fairbanks. The drabble today is “Time Is On My Side” with apologies to The Rolling Stones.
David Innes and Dian fled in their sailboat, but Hooja’s warriors paddled closely behind and painted savages lined the shore. They couldn’t outrun Hooja in the light winds and it wasn’t safe to land.
Fifty feluccas with lateen sails appeared and scattered Hooja’s primitive dugout canoes. Abner Perry commanded the fleet.
“Thank you, Abner,” said David. “The wind slowed and we couldn’t escape.”
“I’m glad we were in time.”
“Where did these ships come from?”
“We built them.”
“I haven’t been gone that long. There wasn’t enough time.”
“You might say that time is on my side. Yes, it is.”
ANGEL OF THE MORNING
May 23: On this day in 1918, Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing “Out of Time’s Abyss," the third section of the “Land That Time Forgot” trilogy. “Out of Time’s Abyss” was first published by Blue Book in December of 1918. The cover of a female pilot by M. S. Musselman was unrelated to the ERB story. The issue included a “dog” story by Albert Payson Terhune and part two of “Curse of the Pelican” by H. Bedrord Jones. Today’s 100 word drabble is “Angel of the Morning.” Apologies to songwriter, Chip Taylor, and singer, Marilee Rush, for using the song title.
During the night, Bradley heard wings flapping. A creature bigger than the largest eagle appeared in silhouette against the full moon. Bradley shouted, “It’s a banshee. Cover your ears.”
Sinclair shouted, “This is so weird. I think they’re harpies come to torment us.”
Tippet said, “Perhaps, they’re descendants of Icarus?”
James replied, “Icarus died, you idiot. Didn’t have no descendants.
Bradley said, “I saw one closely. Ugly with yellow teeth, sunken cheeks, sallow skin, and claws. Flying demons.”
Sinclair said, “Call ‘em demons, harpies, banshees, or pterodactyls, but if one’s here come sunrise, don’t call it angel of the morning.”
THE EVIL EYE
May 24: On this day in 1928, Edgar Rice Burroughs received a letter from Boris Karloff asking to meet. Karloff played Owaza, a Waziri witch doctor in the silent film, “Tarzan and the Golden Lion” starring James Pierce. Karloff hadn’t appeared in Frankenstein at this time, but had been cast in 40 previous films, including “The Cave Girl (not ERB) and Lady Robinhood. Today’s drabble is “The Evil Eye.”
“Joan, I got a letter from an actor named Boris Karloff. He played Owaza, a Waziri witch doctor in “Tarzan and the Golden Lion.”
‘I remember. He wore a hat with a skull on it. I thought he couldn’t decide if he was a pirate or a shaman. Does he want you to put in a good word for him or write something that fits him?”
“Says he wants to meet me.”
“Dad, I’d be careful. His eyes were evil and his voice was terrifying.”
‘Joan, you make him sound like a monster.”
“Maybe not yet, but give him time.”
MUD IN YOUR AI
May 25: On this day in 1940, Edgar Rice Burroughs sent his poem “Mud In Your Ai” to his son, Hubert. Ai has an array of meanings. For example, it can mean to consume by fire, to erode, to taste, or to rule and reign. It can also refer to a dancing style or to score points in a game. However, its most relevant definition means food or to eat, particularly referring to fruits and vegetables. Interestingly, and most significantly, the word 'ai is used when specifically referring to poi – the most important source of sustenance among the Hawaiian people. Think of the title to the Burroughs poem as “Mud in Your Food.” By the by, Buffu is a Hawaiian dance. I didn’t write today’s drabble, Edgar Rice Burroughs did. It’s 125 words long, instead of 100.
On the beach at Lanikai, lovely, lovely Lanikai
Where the mud comes down from mauka, from mauka to makai;
Where the piebald fishes ply through the mud at Lanikai;
There's where I love to be beside the yellow sea
With my water-wings and slicker, and umbrella over me.
Where the liquid sunshine tumbles and the thunder rumbles, rumbles
And a cloud-burst is a sun-sho/wer on the beach at Lanikai.
I love the buffo buffo and the rain upon my roof, oh!
And the mildew and the rust and the typhoon's throaty gust
And the roaches, and the ants that have crawled into my pants.
I love it! oh, I love it! I cannot tell a lie,
From Kalama and Kailua all the way to Lanikai
ON THE WINGS OF A DOVE:
May 26: On this day in 1923, Argosy All-Story Weekly published part four of “The Moon Maid.” The cover was by Modest Stein and illustrated part one of the novel, “Woman With A Poppy” by Herman Howard Matteson. The Ray Cummings short story, “The Thought Machine,” also appeared in the issue. “On the Wings of a Dove” is today’s drabble with an apology and acknowledgement to Robert E. Heinlein for my use of the phrase, “menace from Earth.”
Julian Five escaped from Kalkar City 337 and fled to Laythe where he learned to fly with manufactured wings and gas bags.
The Laythe prince desired Nah-ee-lah, Julian’s love, and conspired with the Kalkars to surrender his city for their protection and the girl.
The Kalkars attacked and Julian and Nah-ee-lah donned their wings and flew to safety. Eventually, they boarded The Barsoom, a Martian Flyer commanded by Ensign Norton. Norton said, “I always wanted to try those wings.”
Nah-ee-lah replied, “Julian flew poorly. In the air, he was a menace from Earth.”
May 27: On this day in 1900, Rudolph Belarski was born in in Dupont, PA. He studied correspondence art courses at ICS Inc. of Scranton. Moved to NYC in 1922 and graduated Pratt Institute in 1926. Worked at first for Dell Publications doing interiors and covers for adventure pulps about the Great War. By 1935 Belarski was working for Thrilling magazines and Munsey and Fiction House. Joined the USO in WWII and drew portrait sketches of hospitalized servicemen in NY and London hospitals. After the war Belarski became the foremost paperback cover artist for Popular Library until 1951, and then afterwards worked for men's adventure magazines until 1960. He moved to Connecticut and became a correspondence art instructor at the Famous Artists School from 1956 to 1972. He drew the Argosy covers for Red Star of Tarzan, Synthetic Men of Mars, and Carson of Venus, as well as the Thrilling Adventures cover for “Tarzan and the Jungle Murders." The two illustrations posted are not his Burroughs’ covers, but two of his covers of semi-clothed women, a specialty of his from the 1940s through the 1960s. “Rudolph Belarski” is the title of today’s drabble.
“So Rudolph, you drew magazine covers of Edgar Rice Burroughs stories.”
“Sure, I did four. I never understood why they hired me. Airplanes were my specialty. I did covers for Dare Devil Aces, War Aces, War Birds, T. X. O'Leary's War Birds, and War Stories. Later, I drew lots of lurid women. Whatever the editor wanted.”
“I liked ‘Red Star of Tarzan.”
“Yea, I based it on a Johnny Weissmuller photo.”“Where’s the painting?”
“No idea. Every week, I finished one, let it dry, shipped it out, and started another.”.”
“You didn’t save any.”
“I’m a painter . . . not a collector.”
LOST ON JASOOM
May 28: On this day in 1929, Edgar Rice Burroughs submitted A Fighting Man of Mars to Argosy. The story was rejected, and was ultimately published by Blue Book beginning in April, 1930. The May 1930 cover was by Lawrence Herndon. A George Alan England short story, “Mamma Told Me,” appeared in the issue. The second photo posted is a detail from the 1963 Ballantine cover of Llana of Gathol by Robert Abbott. Today’s drabble is “Lost on Jasoom.”
Dejah Thoris’s flyer lost power. She glided to a landing near a stream that cut through a large forest.
She checked and her tanks were full. A crocodile attacked her and she killed it.
A lioness stalked her. The beast roared. Dejah drew her sword and made short work of the animal.
A troop of gorillas surrounded her and a man in a loincloth screamed at the primates. He challenged the largest one. After a primitive display of threats and counterthreats, the apes retreated into the jungle.
“I’m Tarzan. Are you okay?”
“Hell, no. I’m in the wrong damn book.”
NEVER CALL HIM BY HIS NAME
May 29: On this day in 1930, Metropolitan published Tanar of Pellucidar. The wraparound cover and frontispiece were by Paul F. Berdanier. Today’s drabble is “Never Call Him By His Name.”
Stellara and Tanar walked alone. She said, “You are brave. Who is your father?”
“Was that a cough or a name?”
“His name is Ghat.”
“Did your grandmother sneeze or cough when they asked what she wanted to name her child?”
“No, Ghat means hairy one.”
Stellara sneezed and coughed deliberately. “Hairy, like a fur-ball?’
“No hairy like a mighty warrior. Stop making fun of my father’s name. Who is your father?”
“His name is Cid. I don’t look anything like him.”
Doesn’t Cid mean brutal, uncaring, and inhuman?”
“If it doesn’t, it should. Sounds exactly like my father.”
JANE ON THE RUN
May 30: On this day in 1914, All-Story Cavalier Weekly published part three of “The Beasts of Tarzan.” The issue included stories by Rex Stout, Zane Grey, H. Bedford Jones, and Harold Titus. The cover illustrated the story, “Eagle of the Empire,” a Napolionic Romance by Cyrus Townsend Brady. The drabble today is “Jane on the Run.”
Rokoff threatened Jane with rape and then marriage to a cannibal chief. “If I can’t give Tarzan’s son to the cannibals, I’ll give them his wife.”
He beat Jane senseless and drug her into his tent. She regained consciousness and knocked Rokoff out with his own gun. She fled into the jungle.
Rokoff staggered out of the tent and the cannibal chief said, “Your face is bloody. Where’s my new wife.”
‘You fool, she escaped into the jungle.”
“Who’s the bigger fool? Me for trusting you, or you for letting her child die and for letting a woman beat you?”
May 31: On this day in 1931, Blue Book published part one of The Land of Hidden Men, later published in book form as “Jungle Girl." Laurence Herndon did the cover art for the May issue and Frank Hoban drew seven interior illustrations. Today’s drabble is “Tiger’s Kiss.”
Che and his wife found Gordon King delirious in the jungle and nursed him back to health. King learned to use a spear and a bow and arrow. King went hunting alone and encountered a beautiful woman menaced by a tiger.
King distracted the tiger and the girl, Fou-tan, escaped. King killed the tiger. She told King that she had escaped from the leper king, Lodivarman, who had chosen her as his next mate.
“Bad luck that a tiger found you.”
“Wasn’t luck. I found him deliberately. I prefer the bite of a tiger to a kiss from the king.”
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