From Tarzana, California
Memories from the
Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Dean of American War Correspondents
in the WWII Pacific Theatre
An Illustrated Time Line of
1940: The War Years
Collated by Bill Hillman
MAINLAND: PRELUDE TO WAR
1940s: ERB wrote a Tarzan parody play called "Tarzan's
Good Deed Today."
Better Little Books published many adaptations of ERB's books: John
Carter of Mars, Tarzan the Untamed, Tarzan the Terrible, Tarzan and the
Golden Lion, Tarzan and the Ant Men, Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, Tarzan
and the Lost Empire, Tarzan in the Land of the Giant Apes, etc. Many
are reprints of Tarzan
comic strips and John
Coleman Burroughs did some of the art.
* Murder mystery puzzle, "The Gang Murder," was
January 2: The death of Robert D. Lay, old childhood friend
and classmate at Michigan Military Academy.
January 16 - March 22: Tarzan
and the Madman was written. Thanks to son Jack, a Burroughs Dictaphone
wax cylinder remained with Ed's voice dictating about 1,500 words from
the novel. The book never appeared in magazine but was published by Canaveral
Press in 1964.
January 21: Brother Harry died at the home of his daughter, Evelyn
(Mrs. Carlton McKenzie) in Quincy, Michigan after being hospitalized for
eight months with sclerosis of the spine.
January 31: ERB agreed to participate in a memorial to
Grey, whose works he said "will live forever as authentic records of
days that are fast disappearing." He also considered Booth Tarkington as
"our greatest novelist."
February 15: Synthetic
Men of Mars was published by ERB, Inc. Illustrations were by
Terrible Tenderfoot (written as That Damned Dude back in
1930) appeared in three parts in Thrilling Adventures magazine ($500 paid).
and the Champion appeared in Blue Book ($250)
HAWAII: PRELUDE TO WAR
April 18: Florence, Lee and Caryl Lee, along with their
maid and Packard sedan, sailed to Hawaii aboard the S.S. Matsonia.
Ed was to follow on the 24th.
April 24: Ed rented out the Beverly Hills home and left for
Hawaii on the S.S. Monterey.
April 24: The S.S. Matsonia docked with Florence and kids
April 25: The arrival of "Mrs. Tarzan"
and children was reported in LaSelle
Gilman's "Port and Off Port" column in the Honolulu Advertiser.
April 29: Ed arrived in Hawaii on board the S.S. Monterey.
April 30: Ed's was reported in LaSelle
Gilman's "Port and Off Port" column in the Honolulu Advertiser. He
is quoted as saying he will be writing a series of books while on the islands
and that he will make a special broadcast over KGU tonight at 6:30
o'clock introducing a new series of transcribed Tarzan dramatizations,
the first of which will be heard over KGU tomorrow evening.
May 1: Ed introduces the new Tarzan radio series debuting
on Hawaii's station KGU. He said that his Mars stories would soon
be on the air as well, adding that they would be guaranteed not to scare
the listening public into believing Mars was attacking the Earth, as had
been done by Orson Welles.
May 1: Ed arrived in Hawaii. Ed's royalites had taken a setback
due to WWII and this move was designed to cut living expenses. They rented
a ramshackled beach house on Kailula Bay, Lanikai, Oahu for $125 a month.
(The Star-Bulletin reports that they have taken the R. Alexander Anderson
home at Kalama for the summer.) Because of the war in Europe most of his
foreign royalties from books, movies, magazines and strips were lost and
money was tight.
May 4-5: Ed started writing again, writing an outline for a Venus
story. His office was in the garage where he set his Underwood typewriter
on a workbench and used a crate for a chair. He wrote here almost every
day, turning out new novels of Venus, Mars, Pellucidar, and Tarzan. The
first tale he wrote was Slaves of the Fishmen. ERB's last visit
from John Carter took place at Lanikai.
May 4 - July 20: "Captured on Venus," the first of
a new Carson Napier series, was written. The Honolulu Advertiser did a
profile on Ed: "Hawaii not rugged enough for Tarzan, says his creator at
May 7: Ed and family given a tour of Pearl Harbor and the
May 23 (evening): Ed and Florence observed a Honolulu blackout
rehearal from the top of Mount Tantalus.
May 24: Ed sent the poem, "Mud
in your Ai, or May 1940," to Hulbert.
June: Murder in the Jungle was extensively revised
by the editors of Thrilling Adventures and appeared as Tarzan
and the Jungle Murders ($300 - 2 cents a word). It was rejected
by all of ERB's regular magazine publishers.
June 25: Ed wrote Bert Weston that Florence was discouraged
with the cost-saving measures, as well as the condition of the house and
its rats and scorpions. Ed relayed a chain letter which contained
a long list of famous names: Senator Heflin, Bernard Shaw, Henry Ford,
Col. Lindberg, Dorothy Dix, John Barrymore, etc.
June 29: "John
Carter and the Giant of Mars" (a 20,000-word novelette mostly written
by son Jack) was sent to Ziff-Davis (Amazing Stories).
July 4: Florence was stung on the heel by a centipede at
a fireworks celebration on the beach. Through the day the family would
go on outings, swim, picnic, and play tennis. Some evenings were spent
going to luaus.
July 10: In a letter to brother George, Ed again expressed
his dislike for FDR and his hope that Willkie would win the impending election.
July 16: Ed wrote the 10 page, 5,700-word, "The
Strange Adventure of Mr. Dinwiddie." It was marketed under the
nom de plume, John Tyler McCulloch but was not published until 2001. Ed
maintained a daily writing schedule but has regular evening social affairs
with friends - two of whom were actors John Halliday (Philadelphia Story)
and Janet Gaynor. The 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. Friends were starting to note
that the two appeared ill-mated.
July 20: A short biography of ERB appeared in Bob Davis' New
York Sun column. Davis, retired from Munsey's and now living at Kailua,
had interviewed Ed after a chance meeting on the island.
July 24 - September 6: ERB wrote "John Carter and the
Pits of Horz," the first of series he planned to combine in a book
tentatively titled "Frozen Men of Mars," "Llana
of Gathol," or "The Horror Pits of Horz."
August 4 or 28: The family moved to 2623 Halelena in Honolulu
and a week later, Ed moved into an office at 1298 Kapiolani Boulevard.
He worked in the office from nine to four, preferring to keep his work
separate from his homelife.
September 3: ERB was interviewed on Radio Station KGMB.
September 6: Ed completed a 20,000-word John Carter story.
September 7-15: "Hodon and O-AA," the first
of a new David Innes series of four was written. It is later titled "The
Return to Pellucidar." He planned to publish all four parts in a book
titled Girl of Pellucidar. The full novel was not published until
1963 when it was issued as Savage
Pellucidar by Canaveral Press.
September 15: The
Deputy Sheriff of Commanche County was published by ERB, Inc. (previous
titles were That Damned Dude and The Terrible Tenderfoot).
Illustrations were by John Colman Burroughs. Dedication was: "To Mary
Lucas Pflueger," a close friend and member of a prominent Honolulu
family. Because of wartime paper shortage, this was the last ERB book to
appear until 1944.
September 26: A dictaphone arrived at the office and Ed carried
on writing at a feverish pace. Ed claimed to have coined the word "scientifiction"
to categorize his writings. He had come to develop strong feelings of inferiority
about ability as a writer. He showed deep resentment toward "literary"
writers and anger toward his critics who had excluded him from literary
September 27 - October 2: "The Black Pirates of Barsoom,"
part 2 of the new Mars series was written.
September 30: Mrs. Jane Morse was hired as a typist.
October 6-13: "Men of the Bronze Age," part 2 of the
new Pellucidar series was written.
October 15-22: "The Living Dead," part 2 of the new
Venus series, was written.
October 24-30: "Escape on Mars," part 3 of the new
Mars series was written.
October 24 - November 5: "Beyond the Farthest Star,"
the start of a new series on the planet Poloda was written. It was published
in book form in the 1964 book, Tales of Three Planets, by Canaveral
November 1: ERB ran into astronomical problems in his creation
of the new "Canapa" solar system in the Poloda series. He began correspondence
with Professor J. S. Donaghho of Honolulu.
November 6-10: "Tiger Girl," part 3 of the new Pellucidar
series was written.
November 17: In a letter to Irene Ettrick, a London fan,
Ed expressed his concern over Japan's growing strength, on and off the
islands. He believed that there will be war with Japan in a matter of weeks.
He described Oahu as an immense fortress. He saw the navy as being great
but the army as being pitifully undermanned and under equipped.
November 26 - December 13: Tarzan
and the Castaways of the "New Tarzan Series" was written
November 18-22: "Invisible Men of Mars," part 4 of
the new Mars series, was writtten.
November 27: Rothmund sent word that feedback on Tarzan
and the Jungle Murders and "The
Giant of Mars" was bad - many fans do not believe that ERB has
December 17: ERB started writing "Tangor Returns,"
the second in the Poloda series, as a 20,695-word novelette.
December 27: Ed and family moved to a three-bedroom cottage
- part of the Niumalu Hotel on Kapiolani Boulevard. This was a complex
of residential cottages with a central dining room and lounge. Unfortunately
a sewer canal passed nearby.
Updates will be added to this timeline as more dates become available.
BILL HILLMAN .
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