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Volume 0712
(ERBapa v01 n04)
Presents
A reprint of an article that appeared in
ERB-apa No. 71 ~ Fall 2001
Jeddak and Princess of the North: Art by Thomas Yeates
BILL HILLMAN
Aka JoN: Jeddak of the North
Aka WILLIAM G. HILLMAN
B.Sc. (4 Yr. Honours), B.Ed. (5 Yr.), M.Ed.
41 Kensington Crescent,
Brandon, MB  R7A 6M4  Canada
204.728.4673 ~ hillmans@westman.wave.ca
BILL & SUE-ON HILLMAN ECLECTIC STUDIO
www.hillmanweb.com
ERBapa 71 cover by John Celardo
ERB-APA #71
Edgar Rice Burroughs:
Amateur Press Association
Archive Site
APA Index   APA Cover Gallery
Membership ~ History ~ Bylines ~ Photos
~ APA Contributors to ERBzin-e  ~ 
Index of Back Issues

 
William G. Hillman: A Burroughs Biblio-Pro-Phile
ERB Roots & Wings I
ERB Roots & Wings II
ERB Roots & Wings III
ERB Roots & Wings IV: Flashbacks
ERB Roots & Wings V: Music
Hillman's ERB Cosmos
Musical Odyssey Contents (Fast Load)
Meet Princess Dejah: Sue-On
Musical Odyssey Illustrated Contents
Brandon University Professor Profile
Bill & Sue-On Hillman Main Website
Interview Feature In Wheat City News


HILLMAN ERB QUEST:
Part IV ~ Roots and Wings

ERB FLASHBACKS


ERB Flashback I: The Return of Tarzan Memories
 
With our fearless flock of chicken warriors

Sister Bonnie and The Monster Men

This ERB flashback takes me back to the late '40s / early '50s with Lex Barker movies, the Tarzan radio show with Lamont Johnson, Dell comics and Annuals, Big and Better Little Books (with their flip animation pages and crude Maxon art), gadzillian premiums and toys, 3-D bubble gum cards, View Master reels, EC Mad Comics parodies, colouring books, Sunday pages (Hogarth, Lubbers, Celardo, et al) and the Jesse Marsh-drawn John Carter comic...
And [sigh]... a  little SISTER... but she proved to be a good character actor and game companion for the Ape Man (numa, mangani, bad guys, gimla and Jane were only a few of the roles she had to tackle).
With faithful Woola aka NumaRidin' herd: The Deputy Sheriff of Hell's BendWith my buddy, grandpa ~ feeding lamb with nippled beer bottle
Tom Stetson of the JungleBomba the Jungle Boy Sadly, there were NO ERB NOVELS . . . and I loved to read. My mother, realizing my obsession for "jungle stuff," started me on a series of TOM STETSON books on Whitman (anyone remember these?). Christmas 1951 yielded "The Giant Jungle Ants", '52 "The Blue Devil" and '53 "On the Trail of the Lost Tribe." A little later I discovered the BOMBA series on G&D ... but still no Tarzan.
Monroe DJ: Return of Tarzan: Later G and D edition Finally, in 1954, on a trip to the big city of Brandon, I discovered a book shop that stocked the G&D Tarzans. After months of subtle Jean Shepard Xmas-Story-Red-Ryder-BB-Gun-type hints to my parents and 'old softie' grandfather, they presented me with the THE RETURN OF TARZAN on my twelfth birthday - the book was a revelation.

I still have this now-jacketless G&D treasure with its loose pages...  and the tear on page 296 -- actually a rip from the claw of my pet cat.  I had just started Chapter XXV - "Through the Forest Primeval" when word came that my Grandfather had been taken to the hospital and was dying. I had jumped up, dropping the book and my startled reading partner - my long-taloned lap cat - to the floor.

Now, many decades later, my sister Bonnie has parlayed her sense of adventure into a career in Saudi Arabia. My Tarzan eventually took on the added persona of John Carter and we married Dejah Thoris. Together, my Princess and I have preserved and added to all the early ERB treasures...

...but I'm still ticked off about that mutilated page 296...  and I'm still looking for my missing Return of Tarzan dust jacket...
 


ERB Flashback II: Adventures of Tarzan Radio Show - Early '50s

!!!Victory cry of the mangani . . . !!!
(simple one-voice Weissmuller-type version)

ďFrom the heart of the jungle comes the savage cry of victory.
This is Tarzan -- Lord of the Jungle"
 . . . MUSIC . . .
"From the black core of Dark Africa, land of enchantment, mystery and violence comes one of the most colourful figures of all time . . . transcribed from the immortal pen of Edgar Rice Burroughs . . .
Tarzan -- the bronze white son of the jungle!
And now in the very words of Mr. Burroughs, the story of Tarzan and [episode name goes here]."
. . . Orch. Sting . . .

I used to wait eagerly for these words every week when I was about nine or ten. The opening lines of this show had me convinced that I was actually listening to ERB himself and I would diligently follow each week's action, looking for adventures which my overactive imagination could transmigrate to the woodlots and streams on our farm on the Canadian prairies. Already I had used my dadís hunting knife (really) to build a tree house out of saplings . . . deep in the jungle beyond the cow pasture. This marvellous structure offered shelter from Numa the Collie and Sheeta the Siamese but it didnít fend well against Usha. My devotion to this radio show turned me on to other Tarzan sources: Tarzan movies (Barker), Tarzan comics (Dell) and a strange coverless comic about Mars. It had ERBís name on it and the same Tarzan art (Marsh) . . . so I bought it . . . 5 cents . . . and I have been wishing myself to Barsoom ever since.

Dell John Carter of Mars 1952: Jesse Marsh art

Afterword: Reality prevailed . . . Sheeta froze to death during a 40 below cold snap one January. Numa/Woola was run over by a grain truck. The tree house was eventually bulldozed when my jungle was cleared to make way for a rape (canola) field. The "in the very words of Mr. Burroughs" voice turned out to be not really ERB's . . . it was some actor. My world didn't have quite the same romantic excitement and mystique as any of those created by ERB.

Billy Bob the Dashing Panthan and Sheeta

ERB Flashback III: Chessman of the North 40 . . .  and Beyond . . .

1954: Hey grade 6 is OK - I get to sit in a bigger Globe desk . . . with an inkwell . . . and they've got some neat initials and stuff carved into them . . . AND Iím right beside the big bookcase with the glass doors. New books to read! . . Hardy Boys, Call of the Wild, G.A. Henty . . . and . . . Yuck! Nancy Drew and The Bobbsey Twins. At least Teacher put the really old beat up ones in the give-away box . . . old garbage . . . like that red one . . . is it beat up . . . torn up and falling apart . . . Chessmen of Mars? Wow . . . pictures . . . a headless guy . . . Miss Anderson? Can I have it? . . . mmm . . . Edgar Rice Burroughs . . . Hey . . . Thatís the Tarzan guy . . . Hey! Mars . . . That old John Carter comic without a cover, the one I bought for 5 cents at the drugstore . . . Yup, itís the same Mars but whereís John Carter?

The start of it all... a ragged ChessmenTop: second from left: Grade 2... a few years before the bookcase yielded its treasureJ. Allen St. John Chessmen of Mars painting

This ragged and worn castoff Grosset & Dunlap that I retrieved from the school discard bin is one of the most beautiful books in my collection. I immediately fell under the spell of its old look, feel, smell, pictures . . . and words. I was totally captivated and a little scared and grossed out by the pictures and descriptions of headless beings, walking head creatures with ďfeelers,Ē catacombs, tunnels, dungeons, superhuman swordsmen, beautiful princesses, battles on Jetan fields, and an endless string of adventures like none I had ever dreamed before. The Chessmen of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs with its unsurpassed J. Allen St. John artwork is still one of my all-time favourites.

Jetan BoardJetan: Japanese art

Aha! Rules for Jetan... Martian Chess... in the loose and tattered pages at the back of the book!
The closest I had ever come to chess was the short-lived excitement of learning checkers from my grandfather. Undaunted, I studied ERBís description of the Jetan board and drew 100 black and orange coloured squares onto a large sheet of heavy paper which I then glued to a piece of plywood. Obviously influenced by my checkers experience, I obtained round milk bottle caps on which I carefully drew and coloured feathers, propellers and jewels. After mastering the rules I pestered everyone in the family to play my new game. Unfortunately, few could see or feel the excitement I experienced as I slid the makeshift disc-warriors across the board to do battle.

I went so far as to move my game, solo this time, out to the cow pasture north of our 1920-built brick farmhouse. Here I superimposed my new obsession onto an earlier passion -- my 160-yard-long football gridiron (Canadian football has a larger field and end zone, three downs and 12 players) where I practiced kicking, broken field running and play strategies against invisible opponents. It was a simple matter to convert the scratched-in-the turf parallel yardlines into Jetan squares -- and to transform the imaginary shoulder pads, helmets and tacklers in football jerseys to battle harness, headdresses, and sword-swinging tharks. The game was made even more exciting when herds of bovine thoats moved in to do battle with this solitary, two-legged invader of their grassy kingdom.

Still playing grass field Jetan a few years laterBovine thoat from OkarWarrior from the grassy kingdom

Long before Virtual Reality, computerized Battle Chess, Ultima, online role playing games, and in my case, even before television, ERBís words and J. Allen St. Johnís illustrations filled my inner cranial theatre with visions of Chess battles by living warriors. Eighteen combatants on each side, loyally battling to the death in defence of their beloved Princess and Chieftain across a huge arena surface of 100 black and orange squares. These Warriors, Padwars, Dwars, Fliers, Thoats and Panthans all came alive and stirred and seeded my fallow imagination with images and emotions which would grow, excite, and sustain creativity for the rest of my life. Many of my reactions to the adversities and pressures, boredom and loneliness, successes and triumphs -- and personal relationships -- in the real world, would be determined by the lessons I learned from these romantic and fantastic adventures on distant Barsoom.

William G. Hillman: A Burroughs Biblio-Pro-Phile
ERB Roots & Wings I
ERB Roots & Wings II
ERB Roots & Wings III
ERB Roots & Wings IV: Flashbacks
ERB Roots & Wings V: Music
Hillman's ERB Cosmos
Musical Odyssey Contents (Fast Load)
Meet Princess Dejah: Sue-On
Musical Odyssey Illustrated Contents
Brandon University Professor Profile
Bill & Sue-On Hillman Main Website
Interview Feature In Wheat City News


Volume 0712

BILL HILLMAN
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