From Tarzana, California
Memories from the
Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Dean of Correspondents in the WWII
An Illustrated Time Line of
1942: The War Years
Collated by Bill Hillman
Journals of Correspondent Edgar Rice Burroughs :: December 1942-April 1943
DIARY OF A CONFUSED OLD MAN
or Buck Burroughs Rides Again
Featured here is a timeline summary of ERB's 60-page
with added photos compiled by Bill Hillman
The entire actual journal pages are featured at:
1942 ERBzine 1035
* ERB contributed a one-page
article for a series titled "Famous
Living Americans and Their Homes," which was being featured by
Perfect Home magazine. It was rejected.
the Farthest Star, part 1 of the Poloda series, appeared in Blue
Book ($400). The sequel, Tangor
Returns, was apparently never submitted but appeared in print 24
January 18: Hully enlisted in the Army Air Corps at Hickam
Field and served as a military photographer.
January 27: Headquarters authorized a flight in a Flying Fortress
for Ed. He was hoping that the Fortress spotted a Jap sub.
January 27: A Pathe Newsreel man working with Hulbert on a motion
picture of army life told Ed that Hully was considered the top photographer
January 28: The "Laugh
It Off" column was discontinued. Ed was seeking a more active war
role. He was quite active in the civilian Businessmen's Military Training
Corps as public relations officer and as a drill instructor.
January 29: Ed went to the pistol range to try to qualify with
a .45 Colt for a permit to carry a gun.
February: The Return to Pellucidar ("Hodon and O-AA")
appeared in Amazing Stories.
February 2: I Am A Barbarian was submitted to Red
Book. It was rejected and did not appear until 1967 when it was published
by ERB Inc.
March: Men of the Bronze Age appeard in Amazing Stories.
March 9: Ed complained to Senator Hiram Johnson of the peril
facing California as a result of the weak defences at Hawaii.
March 13: Star-Bulletin published "Dry
Firing' Makes Experts In BMTC Ranks" by ERB, Public Relations Officer
March 18: ERB sent a letter of protest to Colonel Bourland
over the treatment of the BMTC by the military.
March 23: Ed received the documents of the final property
settlement with Florence.
March 26: Star-Bulletin published "Undermining
of Morale is Type of Sabotage" by ERB, BMTC Public Relations Officer
* Ed wrote Washington to try to have Hulbert's ROTC
commission re-instated. He was currently holding the rank of corporal.
* Tiger Girl appeared in Amazing Stories.
April 1: Ed completed the first of a series of radio programs
which CBS planned to air weekly on the mainland.
April 14: Ed was promoted to major in the BMTC, a guard regiment
composed of some 1200 Caucasian citizens. He served as the Public Relations
Officer and drill instructor.
April 15: Ed and Hully took photos of each other in uniform.
April 27: Ashton Dearholt died. He was Florence's former
husband, father of Lee and Caryl Lee, and Ed's partner in the production
New Adventures of Tarzan in Guatemala.
April 30: ERB made an inspection tour of island defences with
Major Frank Steere, Hawaiian Provost Marshall.
May 1: Ed reported that he was Plans & Training Officer
for the regiment with a staff of three BMTC officers.
May 4: The Honolulu Advertiser reported the finalizing of
the Burroughs divorce. Florence was granted a divorce in Juarez, Mexico.
May 19: "Oahu: Singapore or Wake?" article was printed
in the Honolulu Adviser. Ed expressed his impatience with the limited participation
of the BMTC and civilian apathy.
June 12: Hully received a commission -- 2nd Lieutenant --
and was sent to the Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal, etc. as a documentary
and combat photographer.
June 22: Birth of a baby, John, to Jack and Jane back in California.
July 13: "Don't Let 'em Kid You, Joe" - News Bulletin appeared
in the Honolulu Advertiser
* Tarzan's New York Adventure with Weissmuller and
O'Sullivan was released by MGM.
August 3: Ed was guest speaker at a dinner given by the Schofield
Barracks Quarterbacks Club at the Chun Hoon residence.
August 4: Met with officers of an Anti Aircraft artillery regiment
and gave a talk to 25 or 30 officers at an officers' school after lunch.
Possible co-ordination of BMTC and AA was discussed.
August 5: Popa Ed sent snapshots for Joan and Jack in a Letter
home to Joan. He reported that Hully was in town and that they
had played poker and tennis followed by a night at the movies: The
Man Who Came to Dinner. Ed had been invited to participate in AA
practice shooting at a target behind a tow plane. Hulbert had been recommended
for a first lieutenancy.
September: Ed socialized with many officers of the Signal Corps,
Intelligence, Anti-Aircraft Brigade, etc. He entered into a battle of wits
with the Signal Corps - each trying to baffle the other with coded messages
- "undecipherable ciphers."
September: Ed resigned in frustration over the limited role
of the BMTC but was lured back when offered the position of liaison officer.
He received credentials as a combat correspondent for United Press.
September 7: Hulbert was posted to Air Force bases in the
South Pacific as a documentary and combat photographer. He came under intense
fire at Guadalcanal.
September 10: Ed resigned in frustration over the limited
role of the BMTC but was lured back when offered the position of liaison
September 30: Ed hosted one of many radio shows for BMTC
- this one featured many of his military friends as guests.
November 2: Ed sent a thank-you letter to George Carlin who
had sent United Press correspondent's credentials.
November: The Navy ordered Ed to abandon his office but he refused
November 13: ERB completed an article reporting on
a year of martial law in the Islands.
December 1: ERB contributed "Somewhere on
Oahu" - News Bulletin - N.Y. World
December 4: Hulbert was promoted to 1st Lieutenant.
December 4: Ed received orders to depart the next morning
in his role as war correspondent. Under Hully's experienced supervision
he packed his B-4 and musette bag but couldn't stay within the required
55 lb limit. Also added his "tin hat" and typewriter.
December 4 - January 19, 1943: ERB began the first in a series
of war diaries: Happenings in New Caledonia and Australia. During
this reporting mission he filed 25 unpublished stories. Burroughs compiled
the highlights of these diaries into a 60-page, typed, single-spaced document
that he presented to family members: "The Diary of a Confused Old Man
or Buck Burroughs Rides Again."
December 5: Ed and Hully ate an early morning breakfast in
the blacked out Niumalu kitchen. They reached the airfield at 8 A.M. --
the start of what would be a 7000 journey for Ed. He flew on a C-87 (a
converted B-24 bomber) to New Caledonia via Canton Island and Fiji. On
board were nine lieutenants -- new fighter pilots flying into action. Ed
got their autographs. It was a typically noisy, rough, dark, cramped and
cold B-24 flight. The aircraft was flying at 9,000 feet and cold wind entered
through the gun turret openings. He stood up and kept moving to keep from
freezing. The pilot Ed a chance to fly the ship but he declined,
remembering his bad experience in becoming lost on a solo flight to Pomona
years back. They crossed the equator and International Date Line on this
very long flight to barren Canton Island. Correspondents were accorded
Officer privileges so he ate and bunked in the Officers' Quarters. Most
everyone he met was a Tarzan fan.
December 7 (a day was lost crossing the Date Line): They flew
out of Canton Island at 7:30 A.M.. and stopped at Nandi, Viti Levu, Fiji
- a lush tropical island. There was time for sightseeing and a few drinks
with the pilot before bedtime.
December 8: 6:30 departure. Ed experienced the excitement
of takeoff and a low flight around the tropical island. At 11:46 A.M. they
landed at Plaines des Gaiacs at the northwest end of New Caledonia. The
officers -- most of them Tarzan fans -- gave Ed a warm welcome. At 1 P.M.
he flew to Tontouta 30 miles from the southern end of the island and was
taken by command car to Noumea to check into the officers' quarters at
the Grand Hotel du Pacifique. Here he met Lt. Ballanger who had gone to
Pomona with Jack and Jane, then old acquaintance Hal Thompson, husband
to long-time family friend, actress Rochelle Hudson.
December 9: Ed visited a village of grass thatched huts close
to St. Louis Mission (French Catholic) - a place famous for its rum production.
Photographer Corporal Wold took many photos of Ed with natives and the
Grand Chief following their exchange of gifts.
December 10: Q.M. provided Ed with a 1942 Willys jeep and
December 11: The Signal Corps took photos of officers signing
Ed's autograph book. He met Frank J. Cuhel of Mutual Broadcasting Systems
(later killed in clipper crash at Lisbon).
December 12: Ed drove to the camp of crack 112th Cavalry outfit
in Dumbea River Valley. His accompanying photographer took photos of Ed
with the cavalry horses.
December 13: (Sunday): Ed spent the day settling in and getting
supplies. He set up his typewriter in a tiny lanai opening onto the main
island road with its 24-hour stream of noisy and dusty military traffic.
Officers invited him to an evening poker party and they formed the Noumea
Chowder and Marching Club.
December 14 - 16: The days were spent getting to know the officers
and fellow correspondents -- mainly in poker parties. A captain gave him
a bunch of full-page color comics from the L.A. Times - the first he'd
seen in a year.
December 17: Drove to Dumbea Valley to do a story of Royal
Navy lieutenant, John Templeton -- now a private with the 112th Cavalry.
Wold took many photos (they didn't turn out) of the troops. He then inspected
batteries overlooking the harbour and had a look at a rather attractive
native leper colony.
December 18: Hurricane season -- there were numerous threats
of hurricanes in the vicinity.
December 19: Ed picked up a Negro soldier on way to Tontouta,
who directed him to the First Parachute Battalion, USMC. They had recently
suffered 50% combat casualties and were here to train replacements
December 20: Ed and Lt. Ramsey explored the island's east
side with its unusual scenery of jungle and bare volcanic hills. He picked
up hitchhikers along the way: a Free French soldier and two Melanesians.
During their drive along the bay to the south side of the island they had
to get gasoline from a passing army truck. There were free fuel dumps alongside
the highways all over the island. During supper, groups of visiting nurses
all wanted to meet the famous creator of Tarzan.
December 21: Ed interviewed the island governor, Col. Henri Montchamp
with aid of an interpreter. He later got permission to fly out on a plane
leaving Tontouta on the 24th. The next visit was to the construction site
of a new mess and was fascinated by the extensive use of bamboo and thatch
in the building structure and contents.
December 22: Ed was talked into posing for silly pictures --
one with Ngatijem, his Javanese room girl. (The film was lost.)
December 23: His mess bill - board and room - Dec. 8 to 23
- was $13.60! The Army transported Ed and other officers 28 miles
to Tontouta in preparation for next morning's flight to Viti Levu and on
December 24: Ed and twelve passengers boarded a DC-3 Marine
transport and flew out at 5:15. They arrived at Sydney's Mascot Field at
12:00 Australian time after a rough trip: many hours, no food, no smoking,
and not enough seats. Ed's new portable typewriter fell off the roof of
the navy bus transporting them into the city. All the hotels were packed
but he and Ham Freeman got rooms at Usher's Hotel. Ed expected a letter
from Ralph with information that would help him pick up ERB, Inc. frozen
Australian royalties. He spent Christmas Eve with three girls, Ham and
an Australian captain.
December 25: Ed spent Christmas day writing stories, chatting
with a P-38 fighter pilot from Guadacanal and finally going out for a late-night
December 26: He delivered a story to the censor and headed for
the Botanical Gardens.
December 27 (Sunday): Ed joined the holiday crowd on the Manly
Ferry on a 35-minute trip through Sydney Harbor to Manly - an Australian
version of Coney Island. He carried on with his sightseeing around Sydney
on a camouflaged double decker bus and then took a tram over the famous
Sydney bridge. He returned to Usher's for poker, drinks and supper.
December 28: He had being trying to get his laundry done and
find a place for a haircut for days without success - everything was closed
during this holiday season. Ed reflected on meeting so many great and interesting
people but noted that his only real friend after all these years was Bert
December 29: End of holidays brought clean clothes and a haircut
at last. Ed met Pat Robinson of the International News Service -- oldest
correspondent until OB came upon the scene. He wrote in Ed's autograph
book: "The Dean until Tarzan showed up." Ed and Ham went to the Lyceum
to see a Blondie picture and Francot Tone in "A
Yank in Dutch" -- "... probably the silliest picture I have ever seen."
December 30: Ed was taken to lunch at the War Correspondents'
table at Romano's. He and Ham drove over to a hospital to get stories from
wounded soldiers. They joined a group of Americans, including four nurses,
to cook steaks in an apartment gathering.
December 31: Ed did a series of interviews and photo shoots
with The Sydney Daily Mirror, Sydney Sun, Cinesound Review (newsreel),
the Herald, and the Sydney Daily Telegraph. He celebrated New
Year's Eve in the hotel lounge. Toasts were given to President Roosevelt
and His Majesty the King and national anthems were sung.
Updates will be added to this timeline as more dates become available.
BILL HILLMAN .
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