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ERB 100-Word Drabbles
NOVEMBER IIa Edition :: Days 16-30
See Days 1-15 at ERBzine 7096
by Robert Allen Lupton
With Collations, Web Page Layout and ERBzine Illustrations and References by Bill Hillman
November 16, 1921: On this day, Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing “The Girl From Hollywood.” The working title for the Novel was “The Penningtons," but he considered several other titles for the novel including were “Shannon,” “Fetter of Snow,” “The Snow Slave,” “The Demon of the Snow,”” Rancho del Ganado,” “The Little Black Box” and All-Story Editor Robert Davis’s suggestion, “Needlewoman.”
The novel was serialized in Munsey’s Pulp Magazine from June to November in 1922.
“Shannon, I don’t see you in the credits?”
"Screen Name" is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble.
“Grace, Gaza de Lure is my screen name. My first picture was a real stinker. I played a shameless woman who’d do anything for a buck. I couldn’t identify with the part and I asked another actor how to play the role. He said, “Under an assumed name.” After that I became Gaza de Lure.”
“So that’s who you are on screen.”
“I’m afraid Gaza’s in charge most of the time. We need to pick a name for you.”
“No thanks. I like a fellow to say grace before he kisses me.”
IT ONLY TASTES GOOD IF YOU LIKE IT
November 17, 1915: On this day, the New York Evening World Newspaper published part three of “The Maneater.” News that day included British Red Cross hospital ship HMHS Anglia struck a mine in the English Channel off Folkestone, Kent, England and sank with the loss of 134 lives and U.S. Marines captured Fort Rivière, the last rebel stronghold in Haiti, resulting in 50 rebel casualties.
With apologies to everyone who reads this, “It Only Tastes Good If You Like It” is today’s ERB inspired drabble.
Ben, the king of beasts paced his cage. He hated the circus. The smells were vile and dirty, nothing like the clean jungle air.
The tiger in the next cage snarled at Ben. “Lion, if I get out of this cage again, I’ll kill you.”
“I’ll run away if I get out. Did you say you escaped before?”
“Yes, but they recaptured me. After I killed two roustabouts, an acrobat and a clown. I stuck my head in a water barrel to wash my mouth and they caught me.”
“Why stick your head in a barrel?”
“The clown tasted funny.”
JUST LIKE A MAN
November 18, 1916: On this day in 1916, All-Story Weekly published part one of “Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar.” The P. J. Monahan cover features a Tarzan in blondish hair and a torn white shirt swinging on a vine and carrying a woman (Jane).
None of the other stories or writers in the issue have withstood the test of time. (My opinion, only)
I don’t know about any of them except one, ABDULLAH, ACHMED; pseudonym of Alexander Nicholayevitch Romanoff, (1881-1945); the full pseudonym is listed asAchmed Abdullah Nadir Khan el-Durani el Iddrissyeh. I never read any of his work, but I confess, I liked the name. Achmed’s contribution to this issue is “The God of Incredibly Strong Arms.” Gotta love the title.
“Just Like a Man” is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble.
La freed Tarzan from the sacrificial altar. “I can’t kill you. I love you.” They followed hidden tunnels to the vaults of Opar.
La said, “I love you. Take all the gold and jewels you desire.”
Tarzan said, “I don’t know the way out.”
“I love you. I’ll guide you.”
They reached the jungle. La said, “I love you. Take me with you.”
“Can’t. I’m married.”
“What is married?”
“I love another.”
“Not in Opar, you don’t.”
“I’ll be back.”
“For me or my gold.”
He just left. La stomped her foot and sought another sacrifice to the Flaming God.
I DON'T LIKE IT
November 19, 1911: On this day, Thomas Metcalf wrote a letter to Edgar Rice Burroughs summarizing what he, Metcalf, considered to be the defects in “Outlaw of Torn.”
Burroughs promptly replied with letter defending the story. He and Metcalf went back and forth, but Burroughs stood up for his story and refused to let Metcalf have his staff rewrite it. Ed's persistence eventually paid off eight months later when A. L. Sessions, Editor of the "New Story" magazine, accepted the story for publication. (The Outlaw of Torn was purchased for $1000 and serialized in the January, March, April, and May 1914 issues.) The original Methuen dust jacket is included with this post.
Correspondence between Burroughs and Metcalf concerning Outlaw of Torn is available on ERBzine at www.ERBzine.com/mag28/2835.html and www.erbzine.com/mag28/2836.html
The drabble today, “I Don’t Like It,” was written by Thomas Metcalf. editor at All-Story Magazine, on November 19, 1911. The spelling and grammar are Metcalf’s.
"I am very doubtful about the story. The plot is excellent, but I think you worked it out altogether too hurriedly. You really didn't get the effect of the picturesqueness of Torne. Opportunities for color and pageantry you have entirely missed. The worth of some of the figures of which you might make a great deal, you do not seem to realize. As, for instance, the old fencer whom you use for about three chapters and then ignore entirely until the end of the story. In him you have a kind of malevolent spirit who might pervade the whole book."
“I Don’t Like It,” was written by Thomas Metcalf.
ON MY OWN
November 20, 1931: On this day Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc. published “Tarzan the Invincible.” The working title was “Tarzan and the Man Things” and was published as a seven-part serial in The Blue Book Magazine, October 1930 through April 1931 as “Tarzan, Guard of the Jungle.”
The first edition was the first book published by Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc. It was printed and bound by Kingsport Press in Kingsport Tennessee. Kingsport Press printed and bound all ERB Inc. editions until 1948.
Located in the heart of a mountainous Tennessee wilderness that was said to be at the center of the book-buying population of the United States, one of the world's greatest printers began operation on January 15, 1923. On that day, the three million dollar Kingsport Press began to hum with its first book run, producing copies of the best seller, the New Testament. The latest methods of quantity production were applied, allowing books to be manufactured at prices within reach of everyone.
The enterprise was so remarkable that its daily capacity soared to 100 thousand volumes. Moreover, for the first time in history, the components of book manufacturing became fully integrated. Instead of it being a single unit of management, the company consisted of numerous affable groups. It purchased nearby forests, which experts estimated would supply paper for 90 years (until 2013). It also owned an abundance of coalfields within 40 miles from the main plant and controlled the railroad, which ran through Kingsport transporting coal and printed books.
Further, the new company acquired paper and pulp mills, glue and ink factories, a cloth finishing plant, bookbindery, plate making and shipping departments. In effect, the book was brought out of the earth with sources of power and raw material close at hand.
In 1963, the Kingsport Press had the dubious distinction of being the target of the nation’s longest strike, which continued to the spring of 1967. After a series of mergers that began in 1969, the former company is now owned by Quebecor World, a business that began operation in Montreal, Canada, in 1954.
The photo of the factory was taken in the late 1920s.
Today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble is “On My Own.”
“Well, Dearholt, I got the proof copy of “Tarzan the Invincible” from Kingsport Press. This is the first book I’ve published myself. I hope it works out.”
“Well, it can’t do any worse than the decision we made to make our own moving pictures.”
“Has to work better. I don’t have any employees or a partner. The only ego I have to work with is my own. My nephew does the covers and he doesn’t get paid until they're finished. I pay the printer up front. I’m only over budget if I have three drinks at lunch instead of two.”
THE LION GOD
November 21,1921: On this day, ERB began writing “Tarzan and the City of Gold.” Like many of his books, the novel was published under a different name than the working titles. In this case, the titles Tarzan and the Lion People, Tarzan the Courageous, and Tarzan Courageous were under consideration.
The British Four Square paperback cover by Edward Mortelman accompanies this post. I always felt like this cover would be right at home on a John Carter book.
Tarzan was imprisoned in Cathne, the City of Gold. His cellmate. Phobeg, had stepped on god’s tail.”
“The Lion God” is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble.
Tarzan said, “Never saw a god with a tail.”
“Belthar, the God of Cathne is a great lion.”
“No worries. My best friend is a lion.”
“Belthar’s an evil god who kills for pleasure.”
“I’ve killed lions before.”
“You can’t kill god.”
“Calling a lion a god is like saying that a lion has five legs if you call its tail a leg. A lion has four legs no matter what you call its tail. Calling him a god doesn’t make him one.”
WALK THIS WAY
November 22, 1941: On this day, Edgar Rice Burroughs completed “I am A Barbarian.” The story was rejected by McCall’s Red Book and Blue Book as too gruesome and downbeat a story to consider. They asked Burroughs to give them something a little cheerier. The novel was shelved for years and finally published by ERB,Inc. on September 1, 1967 with a print run of 2000.
The dust jacket illustration was by Jeffrey Catherine Jones, who wasn’t born when Burroughs finished writing the novel.
“Walk This Way” is the Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble for today.
Brittanicus, a young slave, was Caligula’s companion. He guarded the future emperor of Rome from childhood when the Roman soldiers nicknamed him, “Little Boots.”
Caligula was a cruel and depraved master and he had many enemies, but Brittanicus fulfilled his duties to the corrupt ruler even though he hated him.
One evening, hired assassins attacked while Caligula was at an assignation. Brittanicus killed them all, but not before Caligula’s chariot and horses ran away.
“We should run from here,” said Brittanicus. “There could be more assassins.”
Caligula pointed to his feet. “I don’t run. These boots are made for walking.”
DUM DE DUM DUM
November 23, 1887: Boris Karloff, who played Owaza, an evil witch doctor, in “Tarzan and the Golden Lion" was born in Camberwell, London, England. The name on his birth certificate said William Henry Pratt. Karloff appeared in 80 films, including Tarzan and the “Golden Lion.” before being cast in “Frankenstein.” He made hundreds of films, television shows, and frequently appeared on radio. His distinctive voice was instantly identifiable and was the essence of horror for countless generations.
“Dum De Dum Dum” is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs and Bobby Pickett inspired drabble. (Bobby Pickett was the co-writer and singer on the song referenced in today’s drabble.)
The evil Estaban Miranda shook his head. He whispered to the witch doctor. “Owaza, what’s to be done with this Tarzan fellow? He’d gonna ruin everything.”
“Dum De Dum Dum” is today’s drabble
Owaza’s voice sent shivers up Miranda’s spine. “Capture him and stake him out where the apes do their dance under the great tree. They’ll stomp him into the dirt.”
“Are you sure. He looks like an ape to me.”
“Nothing survives when the monsters beat the hollow logs and dance. The beat goes dum, dum, dum.”
“So they’ll smash his bones into the mud.”
“Yes. They do the mash, they do the monster mash.”
WHERE'S THE BAD GUY
November 24 and not much happened in the historical world of Edgar Rice Burroughs on this day through the years. However on this day in 1849, Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett was born in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, United Kingdom. She wrote over 40 novels, but is best known for three children’s books, “Little Lord Fauntleroy, “A Little Princess,” and “The Secret Garden.”
Her inclusion in a post about Edgar Rice Burroughs is explained by a review of ERB’s library, a collation of 1,100 volumes by Bill Hillman at www.ERBzine.com/dan, which contained a selection of her work, including “Little Lord Fauntleroy”, “The Head of the House of Coombe,” “The Land of the Blue Flower,” “The Lost Prince,” “The Shuttle,” and “A Little Princess.” A copy of “Sara Crew” belonging to Emma was also on the shelves.
“The Land of the Blue Flower” is borderline fantasy / British historical fiction. I first considered it as a possible influence for “The Outlaw of Torn”, but it was written after ERB finished Outlaw. “The Lost Prince” contains some of the themes found in “The Prince and the Pauper” and “The Mad King,” but the publication date (1915) makes it impossible to have influenced Twain or Burroughs in either of the two novels listed above.
Today’s drabble is “Where’s The Bad Guy” is today’s drabble – inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs and Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Emma said, “I finished reading “The Secret Garden” again today. It always makes me want to cry. You’ve read it, haven’t you dear?”
“Yes, I read it. Her prose is stilted. Her characters think too much. I liked “The Land of the Blue Flower” better. A good king confronting bad people to save his subjects. Stories need to be about conflict – good against bad.”
I want heroes and villains. That garden book doesn’t have a real hero or a villain, just children doing what children do. I’ll try that Fauntleroy book next.”
“Don’t, you’ll really going to hate that one.”
THE ROAD TO CRIME
November 25, 1916: On this day, All-Story Weekly published part two of “Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar.” The cover illustration was for Mildred Van Inwegen’s story “The Stroke of Twelve.” Burroughs did not receive a mention on the cover. The issue also contained “Queen of the Mosquitoes” by John D. Swain. “The Autumn of our Discontent” by Margret G. Hays and “The Blue Beetle” by Helen Topping Miller.
Van Inwegen was a regular contributor to “Young’s Magazine.” “The Stroke of Twelve" is the sequel to “Ten Minutes to One” published by All-Story in August of 1916. The only other All-Story publication of hers that I can find is “Moon-Mad,” serialized in 1917.
Lieutenant Albert Werper, a disgraced Belgian officer, killed his Captain and a guard. He fled into the African jungle and joined Achmet Zek’s band of ivory poachers and slave traders.
Today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs drabble. “The Road to Crime,” is based on “Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar.”
Achmet said, “I hate a man called Tarzan, Lord Greystoke. Help me kidnap his wife.”
“I’m in. I’ve stole from the army and murdered my captain. I’ve killed elephants and marched women and children into slavery. What’s a little kidnapping?”
“Arson may be necessary.”
“And more murders.”
“I said I’m in. Perhaps, there’ll be time to steal toys and candy from children.”
“I hope so. I like candy.”
TIME TO GO
November 26, 1926: Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing “The Tarzan Twins.” The 23,000 word story was published by Volland on October 19, 1927 with a cover illustration by Douglas Grant, who also did six interior illustrations. Volland reprinted the book repeatedly through 1932.
The illustration with this post is of the Hayakawa Edition published in Japan on January 15, 1976.
The Tarzan Twins, Dick and Doc, were identical cousins. They were captured by cannibals in Africa. Ukundo, a fellow prisoner and pygmy, promised to help them escape.
“Time to Go” is the Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble for today.
Doc performed some sleight of hand and gained the chief’s respect, but the witch doctor’s anger.
Ukundo told the boys he’d distract the tribe while they got away. “Climb the waterfall the tribe uses to measure time. The water fills one pot per hour. Watch and run when the tenth pot’s full.”
The boy’s escaped, but Ukundo was recaptured. “Where they go,” demanded the chief.
“Dick, Doc, the boy’s ran up the clock.”
November 27, 1938: On this day, the Burne Hogarth and Don Garden Tarzan Sunday strip, “Tarzan and the Pygmies,” began. The story ran for 25 weeks until May 24, 1939. It was the fourth story line written by Garden and drawn by Hogarth. The strips were reprinted in Flying Buttress's, “Tarzan in Color Volume 8” and in in Titan Books' “Volume 1: TARZAN: IN THE CITY OF GOLD.”
The illustration is from the November 27, 1938 Sunday page. Tarzan has a brief moment to relax.
Tarzan was surrounded by a tribe of pygmies, little people who lived in the jungle. The chief wore a lion’s skin and a towering headdress of ostrich feathers. The short warriors carried bows and long spears.
“Perspective” is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs and Hogarth inspired drabble.
“You are our prisoner,” said the chief. “Don’t resist. Tall men die easily.”
Tarzan glanced upward and knew he could safely leap into the forest canopy. He faced the chief, who, headdress and all, barely reached to his waist.”
Tarzan said, “You’re so short.”
The chief said, “We’re the same size. Do not both of our feet reach all the way to the ground?”
THE GODDESS IS GREEN
November 28, 1934: On this day the Tarzan Film Expedition set sail for Guatemala aboard the liner, SS Seattle. The Ashton Dearholt led expedition reached the Guatemala coast and landed with great difficulty during a tropical storm. Nevertheless, production soon began on the film, Tarzan and the Green Goddess." Other titles included "The New Adventures of Tarzan" and "Tarzan's 1935 Adventures."
A postcard of the SS Seattle is the illustration for today.
Ashton Dearholt cabled Edgar Rice Burroughs from Guatemala. “Perfect name for film – Tarzan and the Green Goddess.”
“The Goddess is Green” is the Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble.
“Why,” cabled Burroughs. “Green Goddess is a salad dressing from the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. I don’t like it.”
“Stormy Weather. Landed in rough seas. Bennett and Ula Holt both sick. She didn’t eat for three days. Vomited all the time. Her facial pallor turned a sickly green. Hasn’t gone away. If she’s going to be as green as a gourd, we might as well take advantage.”
Burroughs replied, “Good plan. Maybe you can at least keep the makeup budget in line.”
HIT THE ROAD, GAHAN
November 29, 1922: On this day, A. C, McClurg published the first edition of my favourite Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel, “The Chessmen of Mars.” The ninety-three thousand word novel gave us Jetan, Rykors, Kaldanes, and Tara of Helium. The dust jacket cover and interior illustrations were by J. Allen St. John. The 375 page book had a print run of 12,500 copies.
Tara of Helium stomped out of the ball, boarded her flyer, and flew aimlessly across the dead seas of Barsoom.
Today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble is “Hit The Road, Gahan.”
Gahan of Gathol, the rejected suitor, watched her leave.
Tara’s mother, Dejah Thoris, slapped the back of Gahan’s head. “Don’t just stand there and mope. Go after her.”
Tara hates me. I’ve nothing to live for.”
“If all men were as foolish as you, our race would’ve died out. Go after her.”
“But me no buts. Go after her. At worst she still doesn’t want you. Stay here and you’ll never know.”
“Don’t make me hit you again.”
November 30, 1928: On this day, Edgar Rice Burroughs finished writing “Tanar of Pellucidar” One city in the story is named after Pacoima. Pacoima, meaning "running water," is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the northern San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles. Burroughs spelled Pacoima backwards, “Amiocap.” Perhaps ERB was a fan of the tacos at “El Patron.”
Tanar was serialized in monthly installments in Blue Book Magazine from March to August of 1929. Frank Hoban drew all six covers. The third novel in the Pellucidar series is approximately 78,000 words long and was dedicated to ERB’s granddaughter, Joan Burroughs Pierce II.
Jason Gridley said, “What’s your name young man and who’s your daddy.”
“Ghak Attack” is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs themed drabble.
“I’m Tanar, son of Ghak.”
Jason pounded the boy’s back. “Cough it up. Don’t choke.”
“Wasn’t choking. My father is Ghak.”
“Spit it out. Breathe.”
Tana jerked himself free. “I have been to the village, Garb. The king is Scruv.”
“In my world we call seamen, scurvy knaves. Any news?”
“No, the king is Scruv, the queen is Sloo.”
Something squished underfoot and Gridley paused to clean his shoe. “I hate dinosaur dung.”
“Right. Their son is called Dhung.”
“Please, no more. I think I may Ghak, myself.”
See Days 1-15 at ERBzine 7096
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