Issue 0891
Edgar Rice Burroughs
 From Tarzana, California
Memories from the 
Danton Burroughs
Family Archive
Danton Burroughs
Another in a series of
Burroughs Family Tributes and Stories
Florence: Mary Pickford Look-Alike
Florence Gilbert Smith Dearholt Burroughs Chase
February 20, 1904 - February 27, 1991
Part II

Continued from the Florence Gilbert Bio Part I at
ERBzine 0890

Kailua Racket Club
Upon reaching Hawaii, Ed and Florence immediately took up where they had left off after their last visits. They played tennis and cavorted on the beaches with the kids by day and attended bridge parties, luaus and social events by night. There was a major difference however, as there was now a tense atmosphere on the islands -- talk of war was everywhere. On May 7th Ed took the family on a tour of Pearl Harbor and the U.S.S. California where he was made quite welcome by military brass. One evening, a few days later, he and Florence drove to the top of Mount Tantalus to observe a Honolulu blackout rehearsal.
Beachside Gateway to Lanikai
Beach side Gateway to Lanikai
Kailua Bay, Lanikai, Hawaii
Kailua Bay, Lanikai, Hawaii
Night view from Mount Tantalus
Night view from Mount Tantalus
Janet Gaynor

Rochelle Hudson
After a few months of beachcomber style existence at Kailua, Ed wrote friend Bert Weston that Florence was discouraged with the cost-saving measures, as well as the remoteness and condition of the house with its rats, bugs and scorpions.  Ed maintained a daily writing schedule in his makeshift garage office but he and Florence still attended regular evening social affairs with friends - including many film people: John Halliday (The Philadelphia Story, Lydia, Intermezzo), Oscar winner Janet Gaynor (career launched in Florence's film, The Johnstown Flood), naval officer Hal Thompson and his wife, longtime family friend, Rochelle Hudson (The Bosko series, Mr. Moto, Curly Top, Boston Blackie, Rebel Without A Cause). Rochelle's film career was interrupted during the coming war years when she worked for the Naval Intelligence Service in Central and South American and Mexico. The social evenings usually involved drinks followed by bridge. Ed's inner agonies, guilt and fears, as well as his increasing reliance on alcohol, were creating marriage tensions. Florence sometimes had to do the driving after some of the party nights and found it extremely difficult  maneuvering their heavy, cumbersome Pierce Arrow or Packard along the Pali Highway through the mountains to Kailua. Friends were starting to note that the two appeared ill-mated. Florence finally decided they would have to move from Kailua after being stung on the heel by a centipede at a fireworks celebration on the beach.
1298 Kapiolani
1298 Kapiolani
ERB at work in his Honolulu office
ERB at work in his Honolulu office
Flo and Ed at the Tennis Club
Flo & Ed at Tennis Club
The Burroughs family moved over the mountains to 2623 Halelena in the Manoa Valley, Honolulu on August 28, in time for the kids to enroll in Punahou School in the city. A week later, Ed moved into an office at 1298 Kapiolani Boulevard. He worked at the office from nine to four, preferring to keep his work separate from his homelife. The Deputy Sheriff of Comanche County with illustrations by Jack, was published on September 15th. The dedication was "To Mary Lucas Pflueger," a close friend an member of a prominent Honolulu family. Because of wartime paper shortage, this was the last ERB book to appear until 1944. By the end of the year Ed and family had moved to a three-bedroom cottage - part of the Niumalu Hotel on Kapiolani Boulevard. Florence was becoming increasingly disenchanted with Ed's nightly partying with his military buddies and was not happy with his strict expectations of son Lee, who was non-athletic and a mediocre student. Ed, on the other hand, was frustrated with the increasing lack of recognition of his writing, both financially and artistically. He was losing patience with acquaintances and critics who so often belittled his work.
Niumalu Hotel on Kapiolani Boulevard
Niumalu Hotel 
Kapiolani Boulevard
Ernest Hemingway and leopard
Ernest Hemingway 
and leopard
In February of '41 two of the world's best-known authors, Ed and fellow-Chicagoan Ernest Hemingway dined with their wives on opposite sides of the same Honolulu restaurant. Neither identified himself although they were two of the best-known authors of their day and they had much in common. Florence pretended to swoon at the sight of Hemingway and insisted that Ed go over to introduce himself, all of which did nothing to allay his feelings of artistic inferiority and deal with other personal demons he was fighting at that time.

Back on the mainland Ed had exhausted himself for four years trying to keep up with his younger Hollywood socialite wife. When they moved to Hawaii however, he was more in his element and took on new energy. Florence possibly felt that she had created a party monster. The army and navy personnel welcomed this ex-military man and author of Tarzan as one of their own, welcoming him with an unlimited supply of booze and hospitality. Ed himself said, "You just can't say no to the people over here." Florence was just as welcome at these mostly male gatherings, but now she apparently had trouble keeping up with her husband and started to look upon her main role in their marriage as being merely Ed's sober chauffeur. Nor was she satisfied with the cramped and musty quarters and communal dining room at the Niumalu.

The relationship between Ed and Florence had clearly become strained. Finally -- in mid-March -- with threats of war on the horizon and major rifts developing in their relationship, Ed borrowed money for his family's fare back to the mainland. Florence and the kids sailed at noon on the Lurline. Upon reaching the mainland Florence started divorce proceedings. Meanwhile, tormented over Florence and finances, Ed was experiencing slight stroke and angina attacks. His diary entries from that time period  indicate that he had fallen into deep depression and complete withdrawal. He even sent Rothmund, his trusty ERB, Inc. secretary,  instructions to be followed after his death. Drawing upon inner resources, however, he soon snapped out of his bouts of depression, swore off drinking and started to lose weight.

On July 23 Florence announced through her attorney that she was filing a suit for divorce against Edgar Rice Burroughs, the author, charging him with mental cruelty. The Star Bulletin reported that Florence had filed for divorce. Ed's legal matters were delegated to Rothmund. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported that Ed's reaction to the divorce announcement was, "News to me." Florence was granted a divorce in Juarez, Mexico, ten days later.

Ashton Dearholt, Florence's former husband, father of Lee and Caryl Lee, and Ed's former business partner, died in April of '42. Florence re-married in that year, to a physician, Dr. Albert Stillman Chase.

Although separated, Ed and stepdaughter Caryl Lee kept up a correspondence for the rest of Ed's life. Florence and her new husband enrolled her in the private Marlborough School for Girls in 1943. Still loyal to Ed, however, she persisted in using Burroughs as her last name -- against her mother's wishes. She even fought the adoption by Dr. Chase. Ed sent her many letters and presents over the years and always encouraged her to keep the Burroughs name.

Ed Burroughs went on to a new career as a War Correspondent in the Pacific theatre but never remarried although he had a number of near misses. Emma died of a stroke, alcoholism and depression in Bel-Air on November 5, 1944. Ed viewed her death as an escape from an agonized life. Fortunately Ed and son Hully were granted compassionate leave from their military duties and flew to join the family in California. He saw grandsons Johnny and Danton for the first time and spent his first Christmas in 11 years with his family. He later had an amicable meeting with Florence and her new husband, Dr. Albert Chase, and Caryl Lee.

Daughter Caryl Lee eventually became a well-known animal trainer in Hollywood (Harry and the Hendersons, The Lonely Guy), using the name Cindy Cullen. She died in her sleep at her home in Sedona, Arizona on July 10, 2001. 

Son, Lee Chase, graduated from high school in 1948 and spent over three years as a radar observer in the Air Force before graduating from USC in real estate. He spent over 40 years in that field, travelling worldwide. He and his high school sweetheart, Suzanne, have been married since February 14, 1953 and have two sons and a daughter. His retirement years are taken up with travelling and with his involvement in antique car clubs.

Florence's brother Eddie Gilbert pursued his love of books, a passion fueled by his famous brother-in-law, Ed Burroughs. Eddie's bookstore -- Gilbert Books  -- was a fixture at Hollywood and Vine for many years. He was guest of honour at the Tarzana 1999 Burroughs Dum-Dum Convention. He died on June 27, 2000. 

Lee, Cindy and Eddie have been very popular guests of honour at ERB conventions as they were the last of the people who knew Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Although retired from the entertainment industry, Florence remained socially connected to the film community through  her professional friendships. In her later years Florence lived with daughter Cindy in the San Fernando Valley. When she weakened through old age she stubbornly refused hospital care, preferring be at home with her books and television. Cindy, who had loved and trained animals all her life, had the ashes of a few of her animals in urns displayed her mantle. Florence had often jokingly said she wanted to be cremated but wanted Cindy and Lee to promise that her ashes wouldn't end up on the mantle with the animals. Florence Gilbert died on February 27, 1991. Her ashes are interred at the Rose Garden in Exposition Park near USC.

For more information see our ERB Family Portraits series

Caryl Lee Burroughs
A Visit With Lee Chase I
Interview With Lee Chase
ERB Letters to Caryl Lee Burroughs Chase I
ERB Letters to Caryl Lee Burroughs Chase II
Eddie's bookstore -- Gilbert Books

ERB's Step Children: Lee and Caryl Lee with ERB's brother-in-law, Edward Gilbert in 1999
ERB's Step Children: Lee and Caryl Lee 
with ERB's brother-in-law, Edward Gilbert in 1999
Sue-On ~ Eddie Gilbert ~ Bill Hillman
Eddie Gilbert with Sue-On and Bill Hillman

Eddie and Claire Gilbert with Danton Burroughs ~ April 1990
Eddie and Claire Gilbert with Danton Burroughs ~ April 1990
Eddie Gilbert - BooksellerGilbert's Book Shop
Eddie Gilbert - Bookseller


Florence Gilbert and George O'Brien
Ashton Dearholt

1. Love Makes 'Em Wild (1927 Comedy) Fox 6 Reels ~ Florence Gilbert played Lulu
John Harron ~ Sally Phipps ~ Ben Bard ~ Arthur Housman ~ J. Farrell MacDonald ~ Natalie Kingston
It's not for nothing that wimpish Willie Angle (Johnny Harron) is known as "Willie the Worm." Victimized and dumped on by everyone with  whom he comes in contact, Willie is too shy and cowardly to retaliate. But when his doctor informs him that he has only six months to live, Willie's worm turns, and he gets even with all his tormentors. By the time he learns that the diagnosis was incorrect, it hardly matters; Willie has proven to himself that he always had the gumption to stand up for his rights. This comes as no surprise to heroine Mary O'Shane (Sally Phipps), who has loved Willie all along. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

2. Mad Racer (1926) Fox Film
Jean Arthur ~ Jere Austin ~ Frank Beal ~ Frank Cooley

3. Parisian Knight (1926) Fox Film ~ Florence Gilbert played Sylvia
Earle Foxe ~ Frank Beal ~ Lynn Cowan ~ Hazel Howell ~ Robert Klein

4. Tennis Wizard (1926) Fox Comedy Short
Frank Beal ~ Marcella Daly ~ ~ William B. Davidson ~ Earle Foxe
Reggie accidentally drops his girlfriend's locket down the back of another woman's dress. He has to retrieve it without attracting  the attention of her husband.

5. Return of Peter Grimm (1926) Fox 7-Reel Melodrama based on Play ~ Florence Gilbert (uncredited) played Annamarie
Alec B. Francis ~ John Roche ~ Janet Gaynor ~ Sammy Cohen
The venerable David Belasco stage piece The Return of Peter Grimm was first brought to the  screen in 1926, with Alec B. Francis in the title  role. In life a selfish, mean-spirited old man, Peter Grimm returns from the grave to right the wrongs  he committed while on Earth. The spectral Grimm pays a visit to his nasty nephew Frederick (John Roche), the husband of Grimm's ward Catherine (Janet Gaynor), who had been forced into the marriage. Literally entering Frederick's conscience,  Grimm transforms his covetous, philandering  nephew into a "good guy." After several similar episodes, both comic and dramatic, Return of  Peter Grimm comes to a tear-stained finale as the  tubercular young William (Mickey McBan) joins  his grandfather Grimm in the hereafter. The double-exposure work was faultless, with Alec B.  Francis seeming to glow and radiate as he ministers to the living. Return of Peter Grimm was  ploddingly remade in 1935 with Lionel Barrymore
as star. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

6. Lash of the Whip (1926) Arrow Films Western ~ Florence Gilbert played Florence
Ashton Dearholt as Pinto Pete ~ Harry Dunkinson ~ Francis Ford (actor/writer/director) ~ Frank Baker
Poverty row actor-director-producer Ashton Dearholt, as Pinto Pete, battles a gang of railroad saboteurs led by the spiteful Hurricane Smith (Francis Ford who also directed). Dearholt collaborated with genre specialist Ben Wilson on this little oater, casting Mrs. Dearholt (Florence  Gilbert) in the femme lead. Released on states rights  through the Arrow organization, Lash of the Whip had little more than an exploitative title to offer. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, All Movie Guide

7. Man Four-Square (1926)  Fox 5-Reel Western ~ Florence Gilbert played Bertie Roberts
Buck Jones ~ Marion Harlan ~ Harry Woods ~ Frank Beal based on the William MacLeod Raine novel
One of American western star Buck Jones' finest silents, A Man Four-Square is a screen version of William McLeod Raine's popular tale of a rancher who finds himself falsely accused of murder while  attempting to help a friend in need. Jones, needless to say, not only saves his friend (2-reel western lead William E. Lawrence) but vindicates himself and gets the girl (Marion Harlan). This fast-paced western marked the first of many screen encounters between Jones and the always hissable Harry Woods. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, All Movie Guide

8. Johnstown Flood (1926) Fox 6-Reel Silent Epic Melodrama ~ Florence Gilbert played Gloria
George O'Brien (Tom O'Day) ~ Janet Gaynor (Anna Burger) ~ Anders Randolf (lumber camp boss) Max Davidson (David Mandel) Sid Jordan (Mullins) Walter Perry (Pat O'Day) ~ Paul Panzer ~ Irving Cummings (director)
While there were often disasters such as floods, fires, and avalanches in silent films, few of them were actually built around a catastrophic event.  This melodrama focused on the Johnstown flood, which destroyed the Conemaugh Valley in 1889, making it an ancestor of modern-day disaster films. Janet Gaynor, in a supporting role, had recently worked her way up from Hal Roach  comedies and was clearly headed for stardom. Contractor John Hamilton (Anders Randolph) has built a dam above Johnstown over the protests of his engineer, Tom O'Day (George O'Brien), who is convinced the structure is weak and dangerous. O'Day is in love with Hamilton's daughter, Gloria (Florence Gilbert), and they wed while her father is in Pittsburgh. Right on schedule, the dam bursts. Ann Burger, a little local girl (Gaynor), is drowned while riding on horseback to warn the villagers. O'Day and Gloria manage to make it out alive. ~ Janiss Garza, All Movie Guide

9. Desert's Price (1925)  Fox 6-Reel Western ~ Florence Gilbert played Julia
Buck Jones ~ Edna Marion ~ Arthur Housman ~ W.S. Van Dyke: Director ~ William MacLeod Raine: novel
Once again the battle between cattle ranchers and encroaching sheep farmers takes center stage in a silent western, this time with an added touch of Romeo and Juliet. Returning from college, Wils McCann (Buck Jones) discovers that the long-standing feud between his family and their neighbors is actually the fault of the nasty Martin brothers. In love with neighbor girl Julia Starke (Florence Gilbert), Wils succeeds in setting the record straight and disarming the villainous brothers. This average western benefitted by an unusually strong cast that included Canadian-born flapper star Pauline Garon, as Julia's sister and the
wonderfully hammy Montagu Love as one of the nasty Martin brothers. Love is perhaps best remembered as the lecherous stranger killed by Lillian Gish in the late silent masterpiece The Wind. Although far from original, The Desert's Price was
 remade twice, as The Ivory Handled Gun (1935), again starring Jones, and as Law of the Range (1941), featuring Johnny Mack Brown. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, All Movie Guide

10. Lash of Pinto Pete (1924) Arrow Film  Western
Cathleen Calhoun ~ Edmund Cobb ~ Al McCormick ~ Francis Ford: Director

11. Western Feuds (1924) Arrow Films Western
Cathleen Calhoun ~ Edmund Cobb ~ Al McCormick ~  Francis Ford: Director

12. Diamond Bandit (1924) Arrow Films 5-Reel Western ~ Florence Gilbert as the Mission Waif
Ashton Dearholt as Pinto Pete ~ Arthur George ~ Frank Baker ~ Francis Ford: Director/Actor/Writer

13. Girl in the Limousine (1924) Chadwick Pictures 6-Reel Comedy ~ Florence Gilbert as Bernice
Larry Semon ~ Claire Adams ~ Oliver Hardy ~ Charles Murray ~ Lucille Ward ~ Larry Steers
14. Cupid's Rustler (1924) Dearhold Productions/Arrow Films 5-Reel Western

Florence Gilbert as Another Victim of Circumstances
Edmund Cobb ~ Clark B. Coffey ~ Ashton Dearholt ~ Janet Gaynor (uncredited) ~ Francis Ford: Director/Writer

15. Western Yesterdays (1924) Ashton Dearhold Production/Arrow Films 5-Reel Western
Florence Gilbert as Rose Silver
Edmund Cobb ~ William White ~ Ashton Dearholt as Pinto Pete (writer) Francis Ford (writer/director)
16. Rodeo Mixup (1924) Dearholt Productions/Arrow Films 5-Reel Western ~ Florence Gilbert as Edith Cummins

Francis Ford (actor/writer/director) ~ Helen Hayes (Flo's Maid) ~ Edmund Cobb ~ Ashton Dearholt (The Bum)
17. Breaking Into Society (1923) Hunt Stromberg Productions 5-Reel Comedy (58m) ~ Florence Gilbert as Yvonne
Carrie Clark Ward ~ Bull Montana ~ Kalla Pasha ~ Leo White ~ Hunt Stromberg: Writer/Director
When the down-market O'Tooles inherit a fortune, the entire clan -- including the dog, Rags -- moved  to upscale Pasadena, Beverly Hillbillies-style, in this comedy from independent producer Hunt Stromberg. Hoping to crash society, Ma (Carrie Clark Ward) and Pa O'Toole (Kalla Pasha) prove not only uncouth but also gullible enough to mistake the crooked "Pittsburgh Kid" (Chuck Reisner) and his Bowery bride, Yvonne (Florence Gilbert), for a couple of swells. Stromberg, whose The Great Ziegfeld would win the 1936 Best Picture AcademyAward, also wrote and directed this minor effort released by low-budget Film-Booking-Office. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, All Movie Guide

18. Spawn of the Desert (1923) Berwilla and Arrow Films 5-Reel Western ~ Florence Gilbert as Nola 'Luck' Sleed
William Fairbanks ~ P. Dempsey Tabler as Silver Sleed ~ Al Hart ~  W.C. Tuttle: Story
Louis King directed this minor William Fairbanks oater, in which the athletic star plays Duke Steele, a prospector whose life is saved by an elderly colleague, Silver Sleed (P. Dempsey Tabler). When his rescuer's wife and child are kidnapped by an evil dance-hall proprietor (Al Hart), Steele goes into action with a vengeance. Co-star P. Dempsey Tabler became the screen's second Tarzan, in The Son of Tarzan (1920). Needless to say, the middle-aged British Thespian was slightly  miscast. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, All Movie Guide

19 . Sheriff of Sun Dog (1922) Berwilla Films/Arrow Films ~ A 5-Reel Western ~ Florence Gilbert as Jean Martin
William Fairbanks ~ Robert McKenzie ~ Jim Welch ~ Ashton Dearholt ~ W.C. Tuttle (Writer)
20. Gun Shy (1922) Phil Goldstone Productions 5-Reel Western ~ Florence as Betty Benson

Franklyn Farnum ~ Andrew Waldron ~ Bob Kortman ~ George F. Marion ~ William Dyer ~ Bill Williams
Maverick Hollywood producer Phil Goldstone and director Alvin J. Neitz fashioned this minor silent Western starring Franklyn Farnum as a milquetoast  Easterner who on a trip to the Wild West is mistaken for a U.S. marshall. Does Farnum rise to the occasion? Of course he does -- and gets the girl as well. She was played by Florence Gilbert, the wife of yet another independent producer-director, Ashton Dearholt. Character actor George F. Marion, later to portray Greta Garbo's drunken sod of a father in Anna Christie, plays a comic undertaker in this film. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, All Movie Guide

21. Guilty Cause (1922) Universal Films ~ 2-Reel dramatic short ~ Starring Florence Gilbert
Tom Santschi ~ Robert N. Bradbury (director - father of Bob Steele) ~ George Morgan (writer)

22. Hills of Missing Men (1922) Playgoers Pictures & Associated Exhibitors ~ Florence Gilbert as Hilma Allis
J. P. McGowan ~ Jean Perry ~ James Wang ~ Charles Brinley ~ Andrew Waldron ~ Helen Holmes
The veteran serial team of J.P. McGowan and Helen Holmes (The Hazards of Helen, etc.) returned to the screen in this strange
Below-the-Border Western concoction about the plans of a crazed revolutionary (Jean Perry) to take over Baja California. Masquerading as a notorious bandit, "The Dragon," United States Army Captain McGowan is able to infiltrate the megalomaniac's lair and signal the cavalry. As always, McGowan directed the proceedings himself with a great sense of speed and economy if not much finesse. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, All Movie Guide

23. Backfire  (1922)  Sunset Productions
Jack Hoxie ~ George Sowards ~ Lew Meehan ~  Florence Gilbert ~ Alan James: Director
The third of four Jack Hoxie westerns produced by Greek-born Anthony J. Xydias' Sunset Productions in 1922, Backfire tells the story of two drifters (Hoxie and comic sidekick George Sowards) who is overheard kidding around with the idea of robbing the local Wells Fargo office.When the office is actually robbed (by bad guys William Lester and Burt Rollins), Sheriff Lew Meehan points the finger at our heroes. Hoxie manages to elude the law, however, and heads toward a farm belonging to his now-jailed comrade. But the homestead is in the hands of the crooked foreman (William Gould) who's holding the occupants hostage. The quick-witted Hoxie, who in reality is a Texas Ranger, manages in the final reel to save his friend from the gallows and lead the posse against the usurpers. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, All Movie Guide

24. Greater Claim (1921) Metro Pictures ~ 6-Reel Drama ~ Florence Gilbert as Gwendolyn
Alice Lake ~ Jack Dougherty ~ Edward Cecil ~ DeWitt Jennings ~ Lenore Lynard ~ Wesley Ruggles (director)

25. Down Home (1920) Willat Productions ~ 7-Reel Drama ~ Minor role by Florence Gilbert
Leatrice Joy ~ James O. Barrows ~ Edward Nolan ~ Edward Hearn ~ Aggie Herring

Thanks to Frank Puncer for information and screen captures from his article,
"A Visit with Lee Chase" in Burroughs Bulletin New Series #48 & #52
Reprinted in ERBzine 1632
ERBzine 2754

The Danton Burroughs Family Archive
Burroughs Family Tributes and Stories Series

ERB Cosmos
Major George T. Burroughs: Bio ~ Photos ~ Letters
Major George Tyler Burroughs Memoriam
Memoirs of a War Bride by Mary Evaline Burroughs
John Coleman Burroughs Tribute Site
Jane Ralston Burroughs Tribute Site
Danton Burroughs Family Archive Website
ERB: The War Years
Back to Tarzana Ranch 1921
Florence Gilbert Burroughs: Bio ~ Photos ~ Filmography ~ Inscriptions
Eddie Gilbert: ERB Collection
The Hulbert Burroughs Collection
Jim and Joan Burroughs Pierce Burial Site Photos
Home by Edgar Rice Burroughs and Mary Evaline Burroughs
Volume 0891

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