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Volume 1143
This issue spotlights another ERB fan and 
prominent Burroughs Bibliophile member in our 
Burroughs Biblio-Pro-Phile Series.

My Collection: The Audio/Visual
Wayne "Tintin" James

This chapter will cover my collection of audio visual aids. First, the audio. My first introduction to audio was vinyl, as I am sure it was with many of you. You remember!? Way back in the good ol' days we had discs that we called records. There were three speeds (rpms): 78, 45, and 33 1/3 (commonly called LPs because they were long playing). I only had a few 78s, but all my record players had the capability of playing them. I was very familiar with 45s and LPs. Music LPs were also usually stereo (put your speakers at least six feet apart for best results). Unlike todays disks these were much more susceptible to scratching. 

My Tarzan LPs.
My Tarzan LPs.

I never did have many 45s. I preferred the LP albums because they played longer without human intervention. However, we do still have a few 45s, and one is Tarzan Boy by Baltimora. When this song came out my wife decided that I needed to have it and went out and picked up the 45 (the only format she could find at the time) for me while I was still trying to decide if I should. We still have quite a few LPs. Most are music but three are Tarzan radio stories. I also have three Kid Stuff (See, Hear, Read) books with the records. 

In the early 1980s I listened to KCME, in Colorado Springs. This station is a member of PBR and on Sunday evenings they played old radio shows in their entirety (including the old commercials). I was interested enough to join the Old Time Radio club and even volunteered to read a section of their catalog onto a reel-to-reel tape for use by the seeing impaired members. The club had quite a library of old shows and all you had to do was request the shows you wanted and pay the return postage. I went through their catalog very carefully and checked out any tape that might have some Tarzan material on it. I also used to check every store I entered for cassette tapes of old Tarzan radio shows (found one at a car wash). In this way I was able to build up a library of maybe twenty shows or so. Then Radio Spirits came out with their releases and I was able to upgrade the quality and increase the size of my collection tremendously. I now have 68 of the CBS Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle shows from the 1950s. I have The Diamond of Asher, The Fires of Tohr, and the sixth Stan Freburg Show from August 18, 1957. This show has a skit, Citizen's Committee Censor, concerning Tarzan, Dick Tracy, and Little Orphan Annie. I also have the first radio episode of Tarzan from 1932 and the first episode where Jane appeared in 1932. I have nine ERB books-on-tape (that I would like to upgrade to CDs) and several Disney Tarzan stories on tape. 

My collection of ERB stories on tape reside in and on this smoking stand.
My collection of ERB stories on tape reside in and on this smoking stand

I also have another half dozen tapes with miscellaneous pieces of information, like tv themes. (Do you know how many times I had to record the theme song from the Ely series and the Saturday morning cartoon series before I got a half way decent version?) I have an interview with Christopher Lambert from KVUU radio in Colorado Springs on 03/29/84 and a review of Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, King of the Apes with Nancy Reeback on April 03, 1984. These last two items I heard about soon enough to be able set up the recorder for a four hour period to ensure that I did not miss recording them. I listened to the station at work and marked the time of the actual section of concern to me and later edited that section from the reel-to-reel tape to a cassette. Of course my latest catch was the Tarzan yell song from the Carol Burnett Show in May 2004. 

Next let us discuss the visual from "the good ol' days" which, for me, was View Master. My first experience with View Master was at my grand parents home in Wisconsin. My grandmother would sometimes get out the reels and viewer if there were only a few children present. We would spend hours viewing. We would put in a reel, view it, and pass it to the next child. They had about two dozen stories with Disney or national park themes. Unfortunately, no Tarzan. I did not even know that there were Tarzan reels until at least the 1970s. I now have only one old Tarzan reel and the relatively recent Disney reels. 

My View Master reels

I did manage to pick up several 8mm movies when a department store went out of business back in the 1980s. However, I have never had a projector (and Edie's does not work correctly) so until recently I had never been able to watch them. Edie wanted to convert her 8mm home movies to DVD (to which we added a sound track and made copies for her children) and I decided that I may as well get in on the ride and have my ERB 8mm movies converted also. Well due to some regulation they could not put them on DVD for me, but they were allowed to convert them to VHS. 

So far I have discussed the older audio visual technologies. What I really wanted back then, was some way to capture the audio and video together. My first perceived "need" for this technology was as a teenager. I wished I had a way to capture some of the television shows for viewing later, especially when a show conflicted with an event in real life. I thought about a home movie camera, but could not afford one. Besides they did not have sound, would only record 15 minutes or less of action (as I found out later), and those old cameras would have shown the rolling lines on the television (like televisions in the older movie shows did). Then along came the combination, the video cassette recorder. 

My ERB video collection is two deep on these shelves.
My ERB video collection is two deep on these shelves

I got my first VCR in the mid 1980s. At first I recorded everything without discipline. If a movie was on that I wanted it just went onto the end of the current tape. I never gave any thought to categories or sorting in any way. What was the need? I put the index number for each show right there on the label with the title. (My first, and still working, VCR measured tape with an index counter just like that on most audio cassette players.) At first this was no problem. However, after while I built up enough tapes to want to put them on a shelf. Ok, so put them on a shelf... or two... or six. Well, now I was running into trouble. With the shows all mixed up on the tapes, it was getting difficult to find the particular show of interest. You had to scan each label for the show of interest. It occurred to me, after a couple years, that I should be putting only the same type of shows on a tape. You know, only Star Trek: The Next Generation on this tape, only Tarzan: The Epic Adventures on that tape, etc. I started doing that but I had a mess to clean up from the past years. I have pretty much cleaned up that mess, but there are a few shows that were difficult to find. The last of them was the show No Man Is An Island which came out on DVD in May 2004 (I somehow missed its occurrence on VHS about a year earlier). 

I used to watch the tv guide in our newspaper, going through the entire movie section each week (now I search and I managed to collect most of the Tarzan films that were out during the 1980s and 1990s including a colorized version of Tarzan the Ape Man (1932). There are a couple Tarzan movies that I have recorded from channels that were not offered by our cable company, but rather were just low power stations in the air. These are watchable but I really wish I had better versions. One is Tarzan of the Apes (1918 silent). These old recording I replace with professional tapes whenever possible and will be getting the DVD sets as they emerge. One of the movies I really had trouble finding was Stage Door Canteen with the Johnny Weissmuller scene in. All copies I had gotten from TV had that scene deleted. I finally found a professional tape and was very glad to see that Johnny really was in the movie.

At present I have over 100 ERB and ERB related shows on VHS. Half of these are ERB stories or documentaries on ERB and his works and the other half are movies with former Tarzan and Jane stars in them, conventions and trips that include an ERB theme (e.g., Tarzan Rocks at Disney World, Dum-dums) or non ERB shows with an ERB theme (e.g., Gilligan's Island, Hollywood Party, Jack Benny, The Three Stooges). Of course I have all the episodes that were aired in the U.S. of the television series of Wolf Larson, Joe Lara, Disney, and Travis Fimmel and some of the Ron Ely (which are of poor quality but watchable) for a total of 117. (Plus I have four Wolf Larson shows that were never aired in the U.S.) 

As for language and format, well eight of my Tarzan shows are in a language other than English and one of these is a video CD. Although most of our tapes are in NTSC format (pretty much covers North America) I also have shows in VHS PAL format (which covers much of Europe). 

Now please indulge me as we take a little side trip here. CDs and DVDs are actually in both of the above catagories. Or, are they in a catagory by themselves? They can be audio, visual, or both. The are also great for data storage, although DVDs are now becoming more necessary due the increased amount of data that we want to keep together. At my place of employment we archive our designs to a long term storage medium and place them into our document control system. (Some of the older forms of storage medium were paper tape, 8-track magnetic tape, 8 inch floppy disks, 5 ½ inch floppy disks, VHS cassette tapes, 8mm cassette tapes, 16mm cassette tapes, and 3 inch floppy disks.) Most of our designs no longer fit on a single CD. Instead we are using two to four DVDs per design (a DVD holds about 6 ½ times more data than a CD). I still use CDs for personal archiving and most of my music is on CDs. Most people think that information on a CD or DVD is forever, but that is not necessarily the case. If stored properly, they have a longer shelf live than the magnetic forms of storage, but they can also degrade. The first CDs of the 1980s are especially vulnerable to this degrading effect, more so than the CDs made today. DVDs are even more stable, but none are forever... yet. And now back to the topic of this chapter. 

My ERB related music CDs.
My ERB related music CDs

As for CDs in my ERB collection, I have a couple dozen CDs with pictures, sound bits, papers, articles, and general information concerning ERB. I also have another couple dozen with ERB related music. I have one music CD that is a converted LP, Theme from Tarzan from 1966, and should you ever listen to it, I strongly recommend that you skip the first track as it is the zipped scans of the front and back covers of the LP, and it does not really agree with human hearing. 

Our DVD library is still in its infancy. We have far too many movies to convert entirely from VHS to DVD, but we now purchase movies in DVD format whenever possible. At present 18 of my ERB/ERB-related titles are on DVD. Most, however, are duplicates of VHS titles. Eventually I hope to have all the main ERB titles on DVD. 

There is another part of my collection that could be mentioned with the audio visual and that is the toys that do, or can be used to, produce sound. However, I believe I will leave them for the next chapter, my toy collection. 

. . . to be continued

More of the Wayne James Profile will appear in future ERBzine issues.

Pt. I: How I Became Hooked On ERB
Pt. II: My Support Group
Pt. III: My Collection: The Books
Pt. IV My Collection: The Audio/Visual
Pt. V: My Collection: The Toys
Pt. VI: My Collection: Special Treasures
Other Wayne James Features in ERBzine
ERBzine 0257: Question and Answer Session
With the Makers of Disney's Tarzan
ERBzine 0464: ERB Stamps
From the Wayne James Collection
Dum-Dum 04: Fort Collins Photo Memories I
Dum-Dum 04: Fort Collins Photo Memories II

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