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The 1980s Decade
Part 2: 1985 - 1988
Chapter LII ~ 1985
Ethel Dwyer: The Forgotten Jane (Part 1)
Ethel Dwyer died of a heart attack on September 2, 1985, at her home in Pittsburgh, PA at the age of 86. Who, you may ask, was Ethel Dwyer, and why is she the subject of my contribution fo the ERB-apa? Ethel Dwyer was THE FORGOTTEN JANE! She portrayed Jane Porter in the 1921 Broadway stage play of Tarzan of the Apes, which featured Ronald Adair as the adult Tarzan. As the Symposium this issue is the "Ladies of ERB," I feel that it's the proper place for the recognition she deserves. She resided in Pittsburgh for 51 years, but I never knew that until the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette printed an article on her on August 27, 1985. After reading the Post-Gazette article, I wrote to the interviewer at the newspaper to arrange a meeting with Ethel Dwyer. A telephone call form the newspaper reporter informed me that she had died the same morning my letter had arrived. I was put in contact with her daughter, who graciously sent me newspaper clippings and a photograph.
Ref: Internet Broadway Data Base site
Tarzan of the Apes
Total Performances: ?
Category: Play, Melodrama, Original, Broadway
Opening Night Production Credits
Book by Major Herbert Woodgate and Arthur Gibbons;
Based on the novel "Tarzan of the Apes" by Edgar Rice Burroughs;
Book adapted by George Broadhurst.
Staged by Mrs. Trimble Bradley.
Opening Night Cast
Tarzan, the man
Two days after I was notified by the reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Ethel Dwyer (The Forgotten Jane) had passed away, obituaries were printed in both of our major newspapers. She had portrayed Tarzan's love in 14 performances, more than most of the "Jane" actresses have done, and received good reviews in major New York newspapers. Let us not forget her!
In addition to the passing of Ethyl Dwyer - The Forgotten Jane - other events took place in 1985.
On January 19 Bill Ross and Shawn Cassidy drove from Baltimore, Maryland, to my home to visit and view my collection. My wife, Alice, had a hot meal fixed for them. They really enjoyed that, because outside we were experiencing a record cold temperature (something like 20o below zero) and blowing snow. This was their first visit to examine my collection, and they were especially interested in some of the items from the 1930s and 1940s. Fellow Thurian Jack Daley was able to join the group.
It was so cold that Bill could not get his car started when they returned to Shawn's home the next night. He had to borrow Shawn's car in order to get back to his home.
On the weekend of June 29, George McWhorter hosted an ECOF gathering at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, KY and at the University of Louisville Library, which houses his Edgar Rice Burroughs Memorial collection. The guest of honor was Burne Hogarth, who received the Burroughs Outstanding Achievement Award. Other guests were Danton Burroughs and Frank Shonfeld from England, who corresponded with ERB during the 1930s and 1940s. He was 90 years old. Jack Daley was able to attend but I could not go.
Frank Shonfeld was accompanied by Larry Dunn and Frank Westwood of the British Edgar Rice Burroughs Society. He wasn't a garrulous chap but he answered questions graciously. At the Saturday banquet he revealed his perspicacity by falling asleep during the award presentations and speeches.
In the Library auditorium, Tarzan movies ran from 9:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. Elmo Lincoln's "Tarzan of the Apes," Herman Brix's "New Adventures of Tarzan," and Denny Miller's 1957 remake of "Tarzan the Ape-Man" were on the schedule, along with home moives of the Burroughs family in the 1920s and 30s. I watched one of the latter and found it as boring as anyone else's home movies.
The hightlight of the ECOF was Burne Hogarth's speech and slide presentation after the Awards banquet. He commented on the media concept of Tarzan in comics and films (he didn't believe Christopher Lambert was tall enough or heroic enough in "Greystoke"), he discussed the symbolism of his contorted jungle landscapes in the Sunday pages, he remarked on Michelangelo's influence on his style, anatomy-wise, he reflected on the history of the adventure strip and delved into various tangents. It was a brilliant performance. After the first hour, however, he lost a third of his audience, and at the end of the second hour the remaining die-hards sat stunned and glassy-eyed.
He was an engaging, unpretentious man. So was Danton Burroughs, who was having a good time, smiling between performances of the Tarzan yell.
I recall some notable conversations, one with John F. Roy, whose articles were a mainstay of Vern Coriell's Burroughs Bulletin and Caz Casadessus' ERB-DOM in the 1960s and 70s, and another with Bob Barrett and Pete Ogden, who were discussing The Courts of the Lion, by Robert W. Krepps, an African adventure involving Chaka, the famed 19th century Zulu chief. It's a neglected classic.
I remember other people, too: Frank Westwood holding
a luncheon group immobile with his interpretation of "Greystoke," Tony
Mennegazzo having even more fun than Danton Burroughs, Jim Thompson taking
photos of everything, George McWhorter beaming. And of course, the Kentucky
sun, 86o, and the magnolia breeze.
With the Science Fiction World Con being held in Australia, there was no Dum-Dum held in 1985.
Chapter LIVI must backtrack for this chapter, whereas I usually continue in chronological order, year by year. So now I am going back to something that I should have written in Chapter LI about a very important event for Burroughs fandom in 1984.
1984 and 1986
This was when our ERB-apa founder John Guidry, along with Pat Adkins, suggested by letter to Walt Albert in 1983 that a group of Edgar Rice Burroughs fans combine to form The Edgar Rice Burroughs Amateur Press Association, to publish a quarterly fan magazine. John Guidry was the first Official Editor, with help from Pat Adkins. Members were to submit original articles about Burroughs or his invented characters to him. He would combine these articles to the members under the title ERB-apa. It did happen, and Issue number 1, dated March 31, was published in April 1984. This first issue had a membership of twenty-three. An upper limit of thirty-six was established, based on Burroughs' age when he started his writing career.
Although we (The "Three from Thuria") did not have a contribution in Issue number 1, we did contribute to Issue number 2, dated June 30, 1984. We were listed as member number 30, so we were in fact, included as a charter member of the first 36 members.
We three decided to join as one membership (with John's approval), thus giving a break to each of us in not requiring a contribution each issue. It has worked out well, even though one of us (Walt Albert) dropped out because of the pressure of other interests. He has, however, contributed information on French fanzines and occasional notes and comments, and, with his wife, has produced "Two from Thuria."
Our scholarly colleague, Jack Daley, came up with our original title, "Three from Thuria," which was altered to "Two from Thuria" when Walt dropped out. While most of the original 36 are no longer members, for many reasons, Jack and I try to have something to publish each issue. Jack has done some excellent research work in his contributions, especially "The Greystoke Kills."
Now back to the chronological sequence, which picks up with the Burroughs happenings in my life during 1986.
On Sunday, August 31, during a World Science Fiction Convention at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel (Confederation), an unscheduled DUM-DUM occurred, since Vern Coriell managed to attend. Vern was very ill at this time, so there was no formal program at this impromptu gathering. There were approximately 40 fans in attendance. Forry Ackerman took it upon himself to gather fans for this meeting and presented Vern with a hand-made "Big Heart" award. It could be said that Vern was the Guest of Honor.
This was Vern's last appearance at any convention. And this photo is probably the last picture taken of him. There could be other photos, but I am not aware of them. Vern was so sick that on the bus ride back to his brother's home (and Vern's collection) the bus driver went out of his way to drop Vern off at a hospital somewhere between Atlanta and Cincinnati.
There was also an ECOF gathering in 1986 hosted by Mike Conran in Jenison, Michigan. He had the noted author of many scholarly Burroughs articles in fanzines, John Flint Roy, as Guest of Honor. John also had written a book, A GUIDE TO BARSOOM (Ballantine 1976), which had a second printing in 1980 by Del Rey, a division of Ballantine Books.
In September, my wife Alice and I took a vacation trip to the West. We flew to Oakland, California, rented a car and went from Oakland to Yosemite National Park, to Reno, Nevada, back to Oakland, and San Francisco, and Alcatraz, then flew to Los Angeles and Tarzana. We had the very rare privilege, with Danton's help, of a visit with Hulbert Burroughs, on September 11. Hulbert had agreed to have us visit him at his home, since we were great friends for almost 25 years. He had become disillusioned with fans and stopped their visits after he became aware that items were missing from the ERB, Inc. offices and warehouse, after visits.
He was very ill and confined to a chair and watching television. He spoke very little. It was sad to see him in this condition, but I feel that for a few moments our visit brought back good memories of better times he and I had together. His wife, Marion, had a few unkind remarks for me as we left, but I understood her feelings and later wrote her a letter expressing my regrets that anything I had done was not pleasing to her, although I thought that Hulbert had appreciated my thoughts and concern for him.
ERB's sons: Jack and Hully
From the Jane Ralston Burroughs Tribute Site
Copyright 2002 Danton Burroughs
Alice and I drove on down to Mexico where I found a Tarzan belt buckle and a few Tarzan comic books. Then back up to Los Angeles to fly to Pittsburgh. A good visit with Danton, a sad visit with Hulbert, but a good vacation trip.
My Odyssey slowed down considerably in 1987. Our original Bibliophiles founder, and editor and publisher of The Burroughs Bulletin, Vernell Coriell, died in his sleep January 15, 1987, at age 68. He was at his brother's home in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the basement book room surrounded by what was left of his Burroughs collection. Because of financial difficulties resulting from declining membership and his health problems, the publication of The Burroughs Bulletin had become very sporadic. His poor health forced him to sell much of his collection, including original Burroughs material intended for The Bulletin. George McWhorter managed to buy some of this material for use in his New Series of The Bulletin.
Chapter LV features the Bob Hyde ERB Collection
1987 - 1988
I received close to two hundred letters from subscribers requesting Bulletins that had not been sent. I answered all such requests by suggesting that they might consider subscribing to Peter Ogden's fine fanzine Erbania.
There was no Dum-Dum in 1987, since the science fiction Worldcon was held in Brighton, England.
In July an ECOF gathering was held in Arnold, Maryland, where Darrell Richardson was honored in absentia. His son, Coleman, accepted the Achievement Award for his father. I was unable to attend. However, on their way to the ECOF, Mike Conran and John Flint Roy stopped to visit me, and review my collection. Fellow Thurian WAlter Albert came over to join the travellers for an evening of Burroughs talk.
We lost a Bibliophile great, John Flint Roy, on December 8, 1987.
In 1988 a very special ECOF was held in London and Greystoke, England. Again I was unable to attend. A banquet was held at Greystoke Castle, which the Howard family owns and resides in. Lord Howard was the special guest. Peter Ogden was honored with the Achievement Award. That ECOF has been described in great detail in other Burroughs fanzines. Since I could not attend, I cannot begin to give the rich details and humorous happenings of that memorable trip. I certainly wish I had been there.
The 1988 WorldCon was held in New Orleans, LA on Labor Day weekend. Darrell Richardson gave a talk and slide show on his experiences as a Burroughs collector, on Saturday afternoon, September 3.
On Sunday, September 4, a group of 15 or 20 Bibliophiles found a restaurant to hold a banquet and meeting. But there were no awards or guests of honour.
We lost another great Bibliophile -- Al Howard -- in 1988 at age 74. Al was appointed Vice President of the Burroughs Bibliophiles by Vernell, following the death of Stanleigh Vinson in 1982. He was one of the writers who frequently wrote articles and stories for Vernell's Bulletin.
The following is an important notice of an upcoming story. The important item in this notice I do not believe has been cited or discussed before. Take a look.
(Soon to appear is a scan of the January 1912, All-Story contents page announcing the coming appearance of Normal Bean's "Under the Moons of Mars.")
First published in ERBapa #70 ~ Autumn 2003
1989 brought a big change in my life, and my Odyssey. After suffering for two years with cancer, enduring treatments of surgery and chemotherapy, in and out of different hospitals, my wife Alice needed me at home more than at work. I requested an early retirement from my job at United States Steel Corporation, and left there in June. This brought many changes in my living habits.
An ECOF gathering that I was unable to attend was held in Tarzana, June 22 through June 26. Irwin Porges was the Guest of Honor. Other special guests were Eve Brent, Danton Burroughs, Gordon Scott, Denny Miller, Gabe Essoe, Burne Hogarth, Jack Iverson, and Forry Ackerman. Shown here is a photo taken at that event with Pete Ogden and a very young Denny Miller.
Highlights of that ECOF were visits to the old Tarzana Ranch and the Ackermuseum. Also there was a dedication of a Burroughs room at the Braemar Country Club, where the banquet was held.
No DUM DUM meeting was held in 1989, although J. G. Huckenpohler tried to get one started. He got no cooperation from the World Science Fiction Convention committee in Boston. He put up notices on bulletin boards at the Worldcon there but only three other people attended -- Larry Burrows, Coleman Richardson, and Joe Wilcoxcon. The four attempted to settle the long-standing problem of "What happens to your collection when you are gone?" As we have see, the most frequent answer is that it gets sold or auctioned or discarded. Not a happy result of a lifetime of work. To quote Huck, "I consider this to be the Nadir of DUM DUMs." (They did not agree on a solution to the problem.)
My wife felt well enough to travel to Chicago with me in October to attend a 75th anniversary commemoration of the publication of the book Tarzan of the Apes. The Chicago chapter of the Burroughs Bibliophiles, calling themselves "The Normal Beans" -- Mitch Harrison, Alan Freedman, and Tom Willshire -- organized a great gathering for that occasion. This included a visit to J. Allen St. John's old studio in the Trees Building in downtown Chicago. A banquet was held at the exclusive Explorers Club with Philip Jose Farmer as the Guest of Honor. He gave a speech (see photo) in which he declared that he had met the real-life Tarzan, who gave him some details of the life that Edgar Rice Burroughs had never known.
George McWhorter, Bill Ross and I received a special award plaque for "Everlasting Service" as Burroughs Bibliophile Collectors. This wa a big surprise for me and an honor I had no idea was going to happen. There was a good attendance of about 35 for this two-day anniversary affair.
On November 19th a comic convention was held in Monroeville, PA, an eastern suburb of Pittsburgh. Gray Morrow and his wife, Pocho, were there, so I was able to get autographs, and an original Tarzan drawing by Gray.
We lost a good man and an excellent film portrayer of Tarzan, Jock Mahoney, on December 14 at age 70. He died in an automobile accident.
1990 was a year of sadness for me. I lost my beautiful "Lady Alice" in April as the result of a brain tumor. I still miss her. Some of you met her at a half-dozen Dum Dums she attended. The Official Editor of the ERB-apa, John Martin, printed a drawing by Burne Hogarth as a tribute to her in no. 26 (Summer, 1990 issue). Thanks again, John. I was deeply touched by your thoughtfulness.
First published in ERBapa #80 ~ Winter 2004
Since Vernell Coriell's death in January, 1987, publication of The Burroughs Bulletin and The Gridley Wave had come to a halt. After corresponding with Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. I learned that the permission Edgar Rice Burroughs gave Coriell to form a fan club in his honor, and to publish the club magazine, did not end with Vernell's death.
Therefore, George McWhorter took over as the new editor. His credentials were two earlier projects: the ERB issue of his University of Louisville Library Review #30, May, 1980, and one issue of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Quarterly, Fall 1982. George's first printing of his "New Series #1" carried the date of January, 1990. It featured ERB's first written tale, A Princess of Mars. George's plan is to feature each ERB story in an issue of the Bulletin in the sequence that ERB wrote them, different from the order in which they were published. As we can see, he is doing a great job.
George also published his first issue of The Gridley Wave #88, January, 1990, following the numbering of those published by Coriell.
In June I was able to attend the ECOF gathering at Binghamton, New York, hosted by Ashley King. The main speaker was Darrell Richardson. The Outstanding Achievement Award was presented to Bill Ross.
McWhorter hosted a Dum Dum in Louisville at the Galt House Hotel from August 30 through September 2, that I was also able to attend. Burne Hogarth gave the main speech and received the Golden Lion Award. Denny Miller also received a Golden Lion that had been awarded to him in 1982, when he could not attend to receive it. Danton Burroughs was also a Guest of Honor.
The attendees elected George McWhorter as Executive Director. A motion was passed to have a nominating committee assigned to hold an election of five Directors.
Early in October I made a trip to Louisville to examine George's collection in great detail and to see how it compared to mine. Darrell Richardson also showed up, so George appointed the three of us as the nominating committee. We each wrote up a list of twelve to fifteen names for Directors, and by comparing our lists we came up with a list of ten people to be voted on. George mailed out a ballot with the ten names in the October Gridley Wave, #97. The results of the voting were reported in Gridley Wave #100 (January, 1991) with the top five being myself, Pete Ogden, Mike Conran, Bill Ross, and Darrell Richardson. I received the most votes, and George appointed me as Chairman of the Board.
Late in October I made a plane trip to Tampa, Florida, to visit with Pete Ogden for several days. I was able to view his great collection, including much original artwork, with many daily Tarzan strips and Sunday pages.
I then flew across Florida to Fort Lauderdale to visit with an old school buddy. We had grown up together, climbed trees, and read Burroughs books. Our first stop was to visit the Swimming Hall of Fame, with its exhibits about Johnny Weissmuller, Buster Crabbe, and Eleanor Holm. Later we took a cruise ship to the Bahamas, and even later a drive through Lion Country in West Palm Beach. Lions and other African wildlife roamed freely through the park. We of course stayed inside the automobile.
When I left there, I flew up to Orlando and Disney World. I was surprised to see an exhibit of original Burroughs artworks (Frank Frazetta, St. John, and others) and Tarzan movie stills. I later wrote to the Disney company asking whey they had such an exhibit. The reply was that they had just added to their MGM movie tour a display of Jane and Cheetah on an elephant with Tarzan swinging across the scene, based on the Johnny Weissmuller MGM Tarzan films.
From there I had a bus tour to Cape Canaveral to see the space exhibits and space craft. Then, back to Pittsburgh.
It was a sad, but very busy year of my Odyssey.
"When one has a heartache, we all shed a tear,
And rejoice in each victory, in this family so dear."
WEBJED: BILL HILLMAN
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