PUSHING THE ENVELOPE IV
Envelopes 41-54 plus 3 specials
by John Martin
My "other hobby," buying, exchanging, making and mailing postal art covers,
ties in with my Edgar Rice Burroughs hobby quite a bit.
I enjoy making covers featuring Tarzan or other ERB characters,
and friends of mine have made and mailed me such covers as well.
I thought it would be fun to
start scanning and sharing such covers
on the anniversaries of the dates they were originally postmarked.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 41
In the spring of 2008, fellow ERB fan and philatelist Jim Thompson suggested to me that it would be great to come up with some kind of special cover for an ERB gathering that was on the horizon. I checked the special postal cancellations being offered by the USPS at that time and, of course, there were none related to anything to do with Edgar Rice Burroughs. But I did find a special cancellation that included a large star image. Well...Denny Miller was the star of "Tarzan the Ape Man" and Denny was going to be at the gathering.
So, I made 25 special covers and sent them to the Sheybogan Falls, Wisconsin, post office, where the special cancellation was being offered. When the P.O. returned them to me, I sent them to Jim. He took them to the ERB event and Denny signed at least some of them. He mailed me back one that Denny signed to me. One was for Denny, one was for Jim, and Jim also made sure George McWhorter got one. The rest were distributed to some of the attendees in other ways, many through the fund-raising auction for the expenses of the event organizers.
So, some of you who read this may have this cover in your possession.
Actually, two different covers were made. One was postmarked May 10, 2008. The other was postmarked a few days later in a different post office. Watch for it to be posted soon.
The stamps were from the sheet honoring American Film-Making, Behind the Scenes. Those stamps were issued in 2003
The event at which both of these covers were distributed was the Dum Dum held in Waterloo, Iowa, that year.
The Waterloo, Iowa, Dum Dum:
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 42
This cover was postmarked May 15, 2008, in Addison, Pennsylvania. It was the second of two special Denny Miller covers I made for the Dum Dum in Waterloo, Iowa, later that year.
The covers were made after fellow ERB fan and philatelist Jim Thompson suggested to me that it would be great to come up with some kind of special cover for the event. I was unable to attend myself that year but I checked the Postal Bulletin to see what special cancellations were being offered by the USPS at that time to see if there was anything that might tie in to ERB.
I knew that Denny Miller was going to be at the Dum Dum, so I made two cancellations featuring him. The first, shown earlier in this ERB Facebook group as “Pushing the Envelope No. 41,” was a cover with a May 10, 2008, cancellation from Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. It had a large star in the design. This one, from Addison, Pa., had a covered wagon in the design for a cancellation tied in with the National Road Festival in that city. The prairie schooner was an ideal Denny tie-in since, after making “Tarzan the Ape Man” in 1959, Denny (though billed as Scott Miller) joined the television series “Wagon Train” crew for a few seasons.
I made 25 covers with the Star design and 25 with the Wagon Train design and sent them to Jim, who took them to the Dum Dum. Jim sent me back one of each, signed by Denny, the rest were distributed to some Dum Dum honorees as well as being placed in the Dum Dum fund-raising auction.
All of the covers had 37-cent John Wayne commemorative stamps, first issued Sept. 9, 2004, plus two 3-cent Conestoga Wagon definitive stamps, first issued by the Postal Service on Feb. 28, 1988, as part of the Transportation Series. Total postage used on the cover was 43 cents, one cent more than the 42-cent rate which had gone into effect a few days earlier on May 12, 2008.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 43
A framed image of Disney’s Tarzan was used by Star Bombard for this cover, which was postmarked May 16, 2011 in North Greece, N.Y. a community near Rochester.
The stamp is Lady Liberty, issued Dec. 10, 2010.
The image of the stamp is not that of the Statue of Liberty which stands in New York Harbor, though, but one which occupies a spot at the New York-New York Casino in Las Vegas. The Postal Service thought the photo of the statue was of the original, but got fooled.
Read the story in NYTimes
However, that was not “the rest of the rest of the story.” The artist who created the Las Vegas statue decided to sue the U.S. Postal Service for using his image without permission, and won an award of $3.6 million dollars in 2018:
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 44
“Tarzan the Fearless” was mentioned on this cover by Big Feature Rights Corporation as part of an advertisement for its next feature, “Young Eagles.” The envelope was sent to theater owners, including to John A. Rowan, owner of the Greenriver Theater in Livermore, Kentucky. The envelope was postmarked May 19, 1934.
One wonders if there are other covers out there announcing “Tarzan the Fearless” when it was first about to be released! Showing front and back of this cover.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 45
Daniel David clipped out this piece of Tarzan art and turned it sideways to fit it onto a #10 envelope. When turned sideways, Tarzan is no longer leaping toward a higher tree limb but very likely jumping down to land on either an enemy or his lunch, or both. I can’t remember who did this art but I’m sure someone knows.
In his letter, Daniel wrote “I saved the Tarzan article from my local paper. Yes even NJ knows of Tarzan of the Apes.” I don’t know what Tarzan article he refers to but perhaps it’s where he obtained the artwork.
Daniel used a Liberty Forever stamp with flag design, and also glued on a “local post” Cinderella stamp made by another collector. While the bird looks somewhat like a stork, the words beneath it, which are hard to make out even with a magnifying glass, identify it as a feathered quetzalcoatlus dinosaur with a valentine.
The postmark would be from either New York or New Jersey and is hard to read, but the letter inside is dated May 21, 2012.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 46
Today’s offerings are a bit peripheral to the normal fare served up in “Pushing the Envelope,” but the ERB link is there.
First is a first-day-of-issue cover for the Douglas Fairbanks 20-cent stamp in the U.S. Postal service’s Performing Arts series, postmarked May 23, 1984, in Denver. The cover is signed by actress Laraine Day, who had a brief part as the mother of he who became known as “Boy” in the 1939 film, “Tarzan Finds a Son!”
Day has no obvious links to Fairbanks other than that they were both active in Hollywood films, but someone, somewhere had the opportunity to get her signature and this cover happened to be handy.
Then we have two covers postmarked May 23, 2017 on the date of the death of actor Roger Moore. Moore is mostly famous for playing law enforcement characters of one kind of another and many Burroughs fans are also fans of his “Saint” and “James Bond” series of films, although even fans cringe at the use of the Tarzan yell in the movie “Octopussy” when he swung from tree to tree while being pursued by enemies mounted on elephants.
The cover I made has photos of Moore in his roles as The Saint, Beau Maverick and James Bond. The stamps include one of the Golden Gate Bridge under construction, a tie-in with the thrilling finale of the Bond movie, “A View to a Kill,” and the other is of a 1954 Kaiser Darrin from the 37-cent USPS “Sporty Cars of the 50s” series to represent the sports cars that James Bond drove.
The other cover was made by Dennis Gelvin of Olympia, Washington and features a commemorative stamp of author and naturalist Henry David Thoreau. Dennis’s cover also has a black border and is, therefore, an official “Mourning Cover.”
“Mourning Cover” is a philatelic term for an envelope with a letter inside that bears bad news, usually the death of someone. The black border is to alert the recipient that the letter will contain bad news. It’s the postal equivalent of saying, “I have something important to tell you. Are you sitting down?”
I don’t use black borders on the covers I make to commemorate deaths so I refer to mine as “In Memory” covers. But the black border was used for many years when things like telegrams, telephones or email were either not available or not handy, as people wrote to notify others of sad but significant events.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 47
When the town of Edgar, Wisconsin, celebrated its sesquicentennial in 1998, a special postal cancellation was offered, dated May 30. I thought it would be fun to get some of these cancellations on a cover tied in with our own Edgar, Mr. Burroughs. Thus, I dreamed up the idea of “Famous Edgars,” and made three covers celebrating famous people named Edgar who came to mind.
This was in my pre-computer days when I couldn’t search online for images so I had to find what I could in various paper publications and photocopy the images onto 8 ½ by 11 sheets of paper, which I then trimmed and folded into envelopes. The Edgar Rice Burroughs image is one members of The Burroughs Bibliophiles will recognize as one originally used by George McWhorter for mailing out The Burroughs Bulletin and other ERB material.
The only other Edgars I could think of or find images for, at the time, were Edgar Allan Poe and Edgar Buchanan. If I ever find out that another “Edgar” cancellation is available, I might do a second ERB cover and maybe an Edgar Martinez, Edgar Bergen and Edgar Wallace.
1. Naturally, Edgar Rice Burroughs is No. 1 in the "Famous Edgars" series!
2. Famous Edgar, evermore...
3. And that's Uncle Joe, he's movin' kinda slow at the junction...
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 48
On May 31, 2016, the U.S. Postal Service issued two stamp sheets. One was titled “Views of Our Planets” and featured eight different designs showing the heavenly bodies which meet the latest scientific consensus on what constitutes a planet. A second, smaller, sheet was issued showing Pluto, which is now considered by some to be a “dwarf planet.” This sheet, titled “Pluto Explored,” had two different designs, one with an image of Pluto taken by the New Horizons spacecraft sent to gather data about it, and the second design an image of New Horizons itself.
These were exciting stamp issues for fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs and science fiction in general, and the possibilities for cover images were endless. I made a few using images of covers of ERB books, as well as other sci-fi books that happen to have the names of planets in the titles. I also used other planet images I had handy.
But most of my covers featured the work of Frank Paul, one of the most renowned of the illustrators of early science fiction. These images saw print in pulp adventure magazines, usually depicting rocket ships, strange landscapes and bizarre beings. Paul did some ERB covers as well, notably for “The Land That Time Forgot” and “Master Mind of Mars.”
Paul had been trained as an architect and his design skills were obvious in his exquisitely designed and imaginative space ships, along with the futuristic or exotic cities he put on canvas, all speculative of what types of craft it would take to go to other planets, and what humans would encounter when they got there.
Paul’s cover paintings for the magazines Amazing Stories and, later, Wonder Stories, were usually illustrative of the main story in the magazine, but on the back covers he made up his own worlds, with many paintings depicting the inhabitants of various planets as well as the cities in which they lived. The captions to some of these vivid paintings stated that they were actually based on scientific observations of the planets, and many referenced articles in the magazines which gave facts and figures about these planets.
Although we now know that most of these guesses about life on other planets were wrong, the paintings are still remarkable in the artist’s thoughts about what kinds of creatures could exist on the planets if, indeed, there was any life on them at all. A good example is the “massive men” of Jupiter, who would be somewhat sluggish beings because of being limited in movement by the planet’s massive gravity.
Shown in this post are some of the covers I made depicting the planets visited by those adventurers who have shared their stories with us via the pen of Edgar Rice Burroughs, including Earth. Included are covers with Paul art, as well as some others using book or magazine covers related to ERB or others.
Also included is a cover celebrating New Horizons. While not exactly traveling “Beyond the Farthest Star,” New Horizons has at least gone beyond Pluto and is now exploring the Kupier Belt and on its way to an encounter with Ultima Thule
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 49
Two Tarzans, Johnny Weissmuller and Ron Ely, were born this date and postal covers have been made to note the date.
I made the Ron Ely cover and had it postmarked a year ago, celebrating his roles as Tarzan and Doc Savage.
Most likely the first-ever Johnny Weissmuller postal cover was done by Artcraft for the “Kings of Sport” series. Weissmuller was the seventh sports star to be featured in the series, which only lasted for 15 covers because not enough people were buying them. This was postmarked June 2, 1975, in Windber, Pennsylvania, which at the time was believed by many to be Weissmuller’s place of birth. However, he was actually born in Romania in the town of Freidorf, according to the latest information.
Several different Weissmuller covers were done in Romania on and around the 100th anniversary of his birth, like the one shown, which was dated June 2, 2004. A stamp showing Johnny as Tarzan was also issued in Romania.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 50
The 2004 Olympics were honored with a 37-cent stamp showing a Greek torch runner. The stamp was issued June 9, 2004.
My first-day cover honored a past Olympian champion, Johnny Weissmuller. I scanned a trading card from a set of Olympic heroes and used that as the cachet, along with an image of a Tarzan movie poster showing Johnny swimming with the crocodiles.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 51
The Cover Monster of Elyria, Ohio, used the death scene of Jane Parker as the cachet for this cover, postmarked June 13 of 2000 The scene was shot for the movie, "Tarzan in Exile." However, by the time the movie came out, the title had been changed to "Tarzan Finds A Son!" and the scenes with Jane's death and grave were cut from the film.
The stamp is one issued Sept. 17, 1999, on a sheet of 15 stamps of events of the 1960s, part of the Postal Service's "Celebrate the Century" series. The scene on the stamp is of Peace Corps work in Africa.
More about the Tarzan movie here:
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 52
Thirteen years ago today, on June 14, 2006, the second Ronald Reagan stamp was issued, a 39-center. An identical 37-cent stamp had been issued a few months earlier, but the rates went up and the stamp was reissued.
This first-day cover focuses on Reagan's interest in the Tarzan stories.
Note his like for the Tarzan series as well as other facts about Reagan
Letter from Reagan to George McWhorter in ERBzine 0366
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 53
On June 15, 1999, this cover was mailed. I may have posted a cover like this before but if I did it's because the Cover Monster sent me two of them. (I can't doublecheck my list right now because it's on the main computer at home while I'm at the ECOF!)
Anyway, this one features the Boris Vallejo art for a Ballantine paperback of "Tarzan the Terrible." The stamp is a stegosaurus from the 1997 World of Dinosaurs stamp sheet. It is postmarked June 15, 1999. The 1-cent stamp is the American Kestrel, a falcon which is a fierce predator.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 54
The Tarzana Post Office provided a special pictorial cancellation for the 38th annual Dum Dum, organized by the L.A. SubERBs chapter of The Burroughs Bibliophiles in adjacent Woodland Hills, Calif. A bunch of fans trekked over to Tarzana to obtain the cancellation.
I made a few different cover designs, included one with an image of “Tarzan of the Apes,” copied off a page of Henry Hardy Heins’ “A Golden Anniversary Bibliography of Edgar Rice Burroughs” and one using the T-shirt and program design made for the Dum Dum by artist William Stout.
The stamps are two of the four designs from the Tropical Flowers stamps booklet issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 1999. The cancellation featured Tarzan done by Burne Hogarth and was dated June 19, 1999
LEX BARKER ENVELOPE BY LAURENCE DUNN
This is a special postal cover that Laurence G Dunn made to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Lex Barker It also commemorates the 46th anniversary of his death. Laurence was hoping the British post office would apply a postmark with the May 8 date. Unfortunately, the postal people there did not. Those posters show not only one of Lex's Tarzan movies but also a couple of other movies he was in as well.
"Winnetou, Furia Apache" has Lex playing Old Shatterhand and "Away All Boats" has not only Lex, but fellow Tarzan actor Jock Mahoney. Julie Adams, who was menaced in "Creature from the Black Lagoon" is in the film, and Clint Eastwood has an uncredited role as a medic.
T. REX TO STALK YOUR MAILBOX
This is not the same tyrannosaurus that killed Englishman John Tippet on Sept. 10, 1916, as recounted in "The Land That Time Forgot" by Edgar Rice Burroughs, but other examples of the Tyronnosaurus Rex will be coming to a post office near you on June 28 of this year.
A U.S. Postal Service news release states, "With this pane of 16 stamps [four each of four designs], the Postal Service brings Tyrannosaurus rex to life — some 66 million years after its demise.
"One design illustrates a face-to-face encounter with a T. rex approaching through a forest clearing; another shows the same young adult T. rex with a young Triceratops — both dinosaurs shown in fossil form. The third and fourth stamps depict a newly hatched T. rex covered with downy feathers and a bare-skinned juvenile T. rex chasing a primitive mammal.
The 'Nation’s T. rex,' the young adult depicted on two of the stamps, was discovered on federal land in Montana and is one of the most studied and important specimens ever found. Its remains will soon be on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamps with original artwork by Julius T. Csotonyi, a scientist and paleoartist.
The first-day-of-issue ceremony will be in Washington D.C. June 28, 2019
REACHING THE LUNAR SURFACE
It was June 10, 1967, when Edgar Rice Burroughs met Julian 5th in the Blue Room of the Harding and heard the amazing story of what would happen when we first discovered that there are inhabitants in the Moon's interior.The story is told, of course, in ERB's "The Moon Maid."
Now, around the 52nd anniversary of that event, the U.S. Postal Service will issue a stamp featuring the moon and a photo of a U.S. astronaut Buzz Aldrin who, with Neil Armstrong (who snapped the picture, went only so far as the outer surface of the moon. That was over 50 years ago. Both events, of course, are significant.
The high-resolution photo of the Lunar Surface shows that Aldrin and Armstrong apparently forgot to turn off the lights when they left the Sea of Tranquility.
The Story Behind the Stamp by John Martin
John Martin's Fun with First Day Covers
The Stamp Story by John Martin
ERBzine Stamp Dedication Ceremony Coverage in Tarzana
First impressions of the Stamp
Tarzan Stamp Previews
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