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Volume 1199
Bob Hyde's
The 1990s Decade

Chapter LXI: 1993 and Flashback
First appeared in ERBapa No. 84 ~ Winter 2005
Here I will break the Odyssey's chronological sequence that I usually maintain.

I must go back several years for this happening, which involves as strange a coincidence as many that Edgar Rice Burroughs used as a plot device in his novels.

In 1937 I started collecting the Sunday Tarzan pages when Hal Foster was doing the art work. Later I was able to obtain the pages from 1931 (the beginning) up to where I started saving. I am still collecting the current pages.

In 1943 I enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served stateside for two years, before being assigned to serve aboard a ship. I had managed to get all the pages for those two years, since they were printed in so many different cities. But the ship I was on was ordered to go overseas. So I talked my cousin's girl friend, Shirley Bartels, into saving the pages for me from the Youngstown, Ohio newspaper. Her father was a church pastor, and I believe he persuaded her to keep her promise to me, as a serviceman. She and her whole family waved the tArzan pages for two years. When I was released from active duty in the Navy in 1947 she gave them all to me. That was 58 years ago.

Some time in 1986, Jerry Spannraft was traveling on business and went into a bookstore in Racine, Wisconsin. He asked the lady bookseller if they carried any books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, especially Tarzan novels. I think he said they had a few but none he needed. The sales clerk then asked if he knew a Tarzan fan named Bob Hyde. Of course he knew Bob Hyde and gave her my address. She wrote to me and asked if I was THE Bob Hyde that she had saved the Tarzan Sunday pages for back in the 1940s. I responded that indeed I was that Bob Hyde.

In 1991 the Dum Dum was held in Chicago, so  I wrote Shirley and told her I would like to visit her after the gathering. I had driven to Chicago, so I could easily drive up to Racine. Shirley told me of a Holiday Inn close by, and I made a reservation to stay there.

So, after almost fifty years I met again with Shirley. I spent three days in Racine and she prepared dinner for me a couple of evenings. She was married to a man who was also named Bob, was bald, and had served in the Navy. One day she drove me around Racine and we ended up at the Whitman Publishing Co. building, where the Big Little Books had been printed. I went in to see if I could obtain any material on the Tarzan Big Little Books, but I ws not able to obtain anything.

That brought to mind that on one of my visits to ERB Inc., Hulbert Burroughs showed me a complete set of the Tarzan and John Carter Big Little Books he had just received form Whitman. They apparently were clearing out their Big Little Book files, and these had been their files, and these had been their file copies.

I corresponded with Shirley until her passing in 1996. This was a wonderful coincidence, because Jerry happened to go into that store on a day Shirley was working there, and he spoke to just the correct person to bring it all together. As I said, it was a coincidence equal to any that ERB had written. 

Now, back to chronological order in  my Odyssey, 1993.

An ECOF gathering was hosted by Ralph Brown in his home in Willows, California, in mid-June. I flew to San Francisco, then up to Sacramento where I rented a car to drive to Willows. Tom Yeates and John Eric Holmes were the honorees at the ECOF.

On my way home I stopped in San Francisco and had lunch and a two-hour interview with Johnny Weissmuller, Jr. and his wife. Since I was in California I extended my trip by flying to Los Angeles and driving out to Tarzana. John McGeehan also made that trip. He knew how to contact Gordon Scott and persuaded him to come out to Tarzana. We all went to dinner with Danton Burroughs and his whole family.

I located Bruce Bennett's address and drove to his home, hoping to get his autograph in two film books. But when I got there I was told he was out of town. I flew out to Los Angeles and Tarzana again in late August, and this time found Bruce Bennett at home. I did get the books autographed and had a brief interview with him.

Dum-Dum 1993
Program Booklet

Front Cover Art by
George Evans

Original Back Cover Art by
Bob Lubbers
I hosted the Dum Dum at the Greentree Holiday Inn in mid-September. The special guests were Gray Morrow, who received the Achievement Award and Don Kraar (Sunday Tarzan-page writer), the Golden Lion Award recipient.
Gray Morrow and his BB Achievement AwardDenny Miller at the cookout
On Sunday, the last day of the Dum Dum, I had a cookout in my back yard with Denny Miller cooking hamburgers and hot dogs (not Gorton's fish). Everyone got a tour of my collection. About 75 people attended the banquet, and most of them also came to the cookout.

Certainly a busy travel year in my seemingly endless Odyssey.

Dancing at the Dum Dum
by Jack Daley
I will go on record here as stating that Bob's 1993 Dum Dum was the best I've ever attended. (I've attended two.) As members of Bob's support group, Walt (Albert) and I worked the Dum Dum as drivers, conveying the visitors from the Greentree Holiday Inn to Bob's house in Baldwin Borough, and as security guards in his collection room (incognito, of course).

Bob's house is a rancho style one-story structure with six rooms on the main floor and a basement containing a laundry room. So much for the everyday, practical parts of the house. Also in the basement is the focal point, his famous library, sometimes known as the Treasure Vault. The doorway lintel is about six and a half feet high, making tall guys like Denny Miller and Walt and Jim Albert duck their heads as they enter. Sofas along two walls and a couple of chairs further shorten the space, so that when four people occupy the room it is crowded.

I remember seeing Joan Bledig, the Burroughs Bibliophiles historian, standing just outside the library trying to get a camcorder shot over the heads of about six people jammed in the doorway. With at least ten more inside, it looked like the stateroom scene in "A Night at the Opera." (I asked for two hard-boiled eggs but nobody heard me.)

Even with the crowding and turmoil, Bob didn't report any missing items.

More time-consuming but still interesting was driving the flight people form the HOliday Inn to Bob's house, about a half-hour trip over a convoluted, tortuous  short cut. I transported such illustrious folk as George McWhorter and Bobbie Rucker on one trip and Denny Miller and Jim Albert on another.

As for the official conference activities, I missed a panel discussion (while I was driving to Baldwin) on how to improve the Tarzan daily and Sunday strips and why Tarzan appeared in fewer papers than did the Phantom, viable topics in 1993 but  obviously moot today I did get to the dealer's room where I admired some covers in ridiculously high-priced Blue Book magazines form the 1930s. I later heard that the dealers were happy with the three-day take.

More memories. An impromptu Friday night supper at the Holiday Inn with Bob and Denny Miller, who told us humorous stories about working with Charles Bronson and Jason Robards in a bad 1960 movie called "Caboblanco." Denny plays a Nazi henchman to Nazi villain Robards. In a climactic scene, Denny at six-four and 220 pounds, loses a fight with Bronson, five-ten and 165 pounds.

Probably the most enjoyable time was the Saturday night banquet, where I sat with Jim Thompson and Bob O'Malley, a former apa member and friendly adversary. A genuine air of camaraderie surrounded the long table.

Other highlights were conversations with Gray Morrow and Tom Yeates, as well as David Fury, who was writing his book on movie Tarzans, and old friends Bill Ross and Larry Dunn. I also met the affable Henry Franke and J. G. Huckenpohler, who was not yet a Ph.D.

But the main event was the Sunday cookout in Bob's back yard, which included some non-ERB fans: my wife Joanne, Peg Albert, Pat Albert, and Margaret Herzog.  This, too, was fun, but was marred by the arrival of gate-crashers from a Pittsburgh comics club. Kind-hearted ol' Bob fed them anyway.

And finally, there was the mysterious young man with a German accent and a backpack, who showed up at the cookout. No one knew who he was, how he learned of the Dum Dum, or how he got there. It turned out that he was a German student and science fiction fan touring the States.

At afternoon's end, he, Joanne and I were the only ones left at Bob's place, everyone else having gone home or to the airport. As we drove him to the Greyhound bus station, I asked if German fans still resented the anti-German bias in Tarzan the Untamed. He shrugged. "That was a long time ago," he said.

We watched him stride into the bus station, on his way to a strange destination in a strange country. As I had told him earlier, Edgar Rice Burroughs would approve.

Chapter LXII: 1994
First appeared in ERBapa No. 85 ~ Spring 2005
The great Odyssey continued in 1994.

I flew to Bryan, Texas, to visit Bradleigh Vinson (Stan's son) on April 22, and to meet his wife Pat, who grew up in Pittsburgh. Their home is a virtual gallery of art related to Burroughs, with a high count of J. Allen St. John originals. Some of them were commissioned by Stan for his private collection. Brad was just starting to rebuild his father's collection. Stan had sent much of it to Tarzana as the nucleus of a proposed Burroughs library, which never got off the ground. Hulbert Burroughs had great plans for it, and owned the property  where it was to be built, but other events caused him to sell the ground. Unfortunately, much of Stan's collection became lost. Many of Brad's St. Johns and two Frank Schoonover paintings had been used in the books and magazines. That was a great visit with Brad and Pat.

On April 30 the Pittsburgh Comic Convention was held. Mick Grell, who was the artist for the Tarzan Sunday pages in the early 1980s, was one of the featured guests. I obtained some autographs and original sketches from him.

In May I traveled to the Western Film Convention in Knoxville, TN, held in the Hyatt Regency Hotel. I went there because Gordon Scott was listed as one of the guests. He was there with his body-buildling friend and fellow actor Steve Reeves. Both were autographing movie stills, and Gordon was selling raffle tickets for one  (of many) knives he said he used in the Tarzan films. Two of Gordon's films were shown, one Tarzan and one Western. We sat together and he made comments about special scenes in the films, and later did a question and answer session. One morning he and I had breakfast at the hotel together, and again I was full of questions for him. He had made four trips to AFrica. Two were just fill-in shots without any other actors, and two were with the complete cast.

As I wrote in a previous chapter, I will not write in detail about the conventions, since other s have described in great detail both the ECOFs and the Dum-Dums in this, and other, publications.

The 1994 ECOF was held in June at the Ramada Hotel near the Baltimore airport. One of the artists for the Malibu Tarzan comic books, Mark Wheatly, was the special guest for this convention. The group visited the art studio of Insight Comics where the Malibu Tarzan comics were produced. We also went to the Annapolis home of Bill Ross to view his collection, which includes the very rare first edition in dust jacket of The Return of Tarzan.

Early in August Pete Ogden flew to Pittsburgh so he could ride with me to Pulpcon, held in Bowling Green (Ohio) University. Bob Lesser, a well-known art collector, had a display at the Popular Culture Library, featuring St. John's original artwork for Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle and other works.

I made what turned out ot be a terrible decision when I talked to the head librarian of the Popular Culture Library, agreeing to give it my entire Tarzan/Burroughs collection, to be donated in increments. A few years later, when a new head librarian was appointed, I was told that my collection was too big for them to take. However, they agreed to ship what they had received elsewhere. At that time I found out that 723 books, magazines, and comic books were lost, destroyed, or misplaced. They eventually found all but 236 items. These are still missing. So, all collectors, beware of libraries. Things happen!

The 1994 Dum-Dum was hosted by the "Burroughs Bookies" of Atlanta, GA. It was held at the Marriott Centre in early September. A special guest was the oldest living Burroughs fan -- Bill HIcks of Atlanta, age 100. Dave Fury was awarded the Golden Lion (in absentia). In a photo from Atlanta, I count 21 ERB-apa members who attended.

On September 8, John Szuch from Cleveland, an early member of the Burroughs Bibliophiles (#87) stopped by to see my collection. As it had been many years since we had seen each other, we had a great time catching up.

On September 25 I had a visit from Bob Lesser, who had the art exhibit at Bowling Green University. He was interested in seeing my St. John Paintings and art by other artists.

In October, while on a non-Burroughs trip, I stopped by the buildings of Kingsport Press in Kingsport, TN. This is where ERB, Inc. contracted to have their books printed and bound. Kingsport Press did not only the first editions, but all the reprints published by ERB, Inc. from 1931-1948. I had hoped to have a plant tour, but was denied entrance to their buildings. This is a big enterprise, a city block in size. I was able to take a photo of the original (1922) building.

Such was my Odyssey in 1994.

Marion Burroughs, Hulbert's widow, who almost drove ERB, Inc. out of business and had no liking for Burroughs fans or family, died July 6, 1994. Danton Burroughs, always a friend of Burroughs' fans, assumed more responsibilities.

Copyright © 2005 Clarence B. Hyde.

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