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Edgar Rice Burroughs Signature
Master of Imaginative Fantasy Adventure
Creator of Tarzan and "Grandfather of American Science Fiction"
Volume 1365
Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Press
A Life's Journey Through the Newspapers of the World
A Collection of newspaper clippings from 
Chicago to Tarzana  ~ around the world ~ and back to Encino/Tarzana 
LA Times: The Roaring Twenties I
"Tarzan" Poisoned ~ May 20, 1924
Personal Glimpses of World-Famed Southlanders ~ October 27, 1929
Tarzan as an Example  ~ November 22, 1929
"Tarzan" Poisoned
Los Angeles Times May 20, 1924
TARZANA RANCH, May 12 -- (To the Editor of The Times) I wish to register a protest against the ruthless and inconsiderate methods of the government Biological Department in the placing of poison in the hills without proper posting or other notification.

For the past several weeks I have kept my dogs confined at my residence, not even permitting them to run at large upon the several hundred acres of my own property surrounding my home. In every possible way I have sought to abide by the spirit of the quarantine regulations, however inconsistent and ridiculous they often appeared. I have given of my own time to patrol the hills, where, in the capacity of a deputy game and fire warden, I have been able to turn unauthorized persons out of the quarantined area.

Last Saturday morning the papers carried a notice ot the effect that the quarantine was lifted in the Santa Monica Mountains east of Topanga Canyon, and on Sunday morning we rode back into the hills and took one of our dogs with us. There was no poison sign posted on the gate through which we passed or in any part of the hills through which we rode, yet there was poison out, and our dog died before we reached home.

For nearly nine years this Airedale, who is known almost from coast to coast, has been the constant friend, companion and protector of my children. Those who have owned dogs know how closely the affections of a family are knit to these faithful friends and the grief of children when such a playmate is taken from them. The most casual amenities of social intercourse should have prompted the proper posting of the poisoned district, and that posting was possible is evidenced by the fact that when I rode this morning I found poison warning posted on the gate through which we took the dog Sunday morning -- put there too late.

No action on my part can bring "Tarzan" back to my children, but I am in hope that some publicity may help to safeguard other animals in the future.

Very sincerely yours,

Personal Glimpses of World-Famed Southlanders
Los Angeles Times ~ October 27, 1929
LEE SIDE O' L.A. By Lee Shippey
Edgar Rice Burroughs might be called the literary critics' best friend. For fifteen years they have taken great delight in ridiculing his Tarzan of the Apes and its large family of thirty-one children. One London critic declared Burroughs must have the mind of a child, as no one else could vision such romantic and wildly improbable stories. And others all over the world have broken into print with similarly unkind assertions.  In fact, if it weren't for such writers as Burroughs, some literary critics never could break into print.

And so great has been the influence of their criticisms that up to date "Tarzan" has only been translated into sixteen foreign languages, including Arabic and, of course, the well-known Scandinavian.  All the other best sellers of fifteen years ago have faded and gone like the last rose of summer and "Tarzan" is left blooming alone. It still brings in a goodly revenue twice a year, has been reprinted and reprinted and now is being condensed into a "strip" for more than seventy five big newspapers.

Never Saw A Jungle

This author of one of the greatest jungle stories ever written never saw a jungle, except, possibly, a few glimpses of the jungle of Chicago. He was born in the Windy City in 1875 and developed his romantic imagination as a department manager for Sears Roebuck & Co. Then, however, instead of going into the advertising department, he tried gold mining in Oregon, was a cowboy in Idaho, a soldier in Arizona and a policeman in Salt Lake. He returned to Chicago in 1912 as a department manager for A.W. Shaw & Co., the publishers of that highly romantic magazine, System. And then, for relaxation he spent his evenings and Sundays writing Tarzan of the Apes, the story of the orphaned baby of an English nobleman who was stolen by a fierce tribe of apes and grew to manhood thinking himself only a freakish and unusual ape, speaking their "language" and living their life. Then he is again thrown into contact with Europeans, the call of blood proves stronger than the habits formed by environment, human instincts more noble than those of most men and women reared in an environment of culture inspire him to heroic deeds and magnanimous sacrifices, and in both West Africa and Europe his life is one of thrilling adventures and breathless suspense's.

We summarize the story because, a movie having been made of it, countless people have it all wrong.

Makes No Pretenses

Ten years ago Burroughs bought the Otis ranch at Reseda, which he has renamed Tarzana. He doesn't try to produce much on the ranch except two novels a year, but that crop never fails. His office is a pretty cottage shaded by a huge black walnut tree, on Ventura Boulevard. As we entered it the first things which caught our eyes were book-lined walls; the next, huge bearskin rugs and a great tiger skin draped over a table.

"Did you shoot these?" we asked.

"I brought them down," he replied, with charming and disarming frankness, "not with one volley, but with one volume." They're gifts from Tarzan admirers.  I'm really too fond of animal life to be much of a hunter. I carry a gun while riding about the ranch, but only because I'm my own ranger. I wouldn't use it, but it makes me look official. There are coyotes and rabbits and birds on this ranch which know me by sight and won't take flight at my approach. Every morning I take a long ride on my horse, the Senator, often getting off to walk a mile or two for exercise.  Then I strip to the waist and take a sunbath while I plot my day's work, and then come here and speak it into a dictaphone.  I don't pretend to be literary -- don't want to be. I just write for a living and enjoy it. It gives me more freedom than any other occupation would. I can work when and where and how I want to, live where I want to and write what I want to. I don't want to write stories to make people think, but merely to give them relaxation. I'm satisfied to let them think for themselves."

The Birth of Tarzan

"How did you happen to write 'Tarzan'?"

"I've been asked that hundreds of time and ought to have a good answer thought up by now, but haven't. I suppose it was just because my daily life was full of business, system, and I wanted to get as far from that as possible. My mind, in relaxation, preferred to roam in scenes and situations I'd never known. I find I can write better about places I've never seen than those I have seen."

"Have you traveled much since winning success?"

"Yes, indeed. With my tow sons, I've traveled all over California. With a bed-wagon trailer hitched to our car, we've had some great trips about this State. We have three children, a married daughter, a 20-year-old boy at Pomona and a 16-year-old boy in the Van Nuys High School. We're prouder of them than of all my books. They're fine children and they were reared on 'Tarzan.'  I couldn't keep them from reading it. They almost know some of the books by heart. So I feel sure the bodies won't do youngsters any harm. My boys and I love to work together, too. We have a workshop in which we make lots of things and an old truck in which we go up into the hills, and bring down gravel and stones from our quarry. I always write in riding togs and most of the time wear clothes suited to outdoor work or play.

Grown-Up Fairy Stories

Burroughs has the bald head of a business man, but the fine figure of a conditioned athlete. He is devoted to his family and affable to everyone, but most of the time he prefers to be alone, carried by his imagination to realms he has never seen or even realms that never were on land or sea.  He enjoys every day's work, for what is he doing but telling grown-up fairy stories to himself?  And so he lives most pleasantly and does so much work he can hardly keep track of it.

"How many novels have you written this year?" we asked, as we were leaving. He thought a minute, then turned to his secretary.

"Ralph," he said, "how many books have I written this year, two or three?"

Tarzan as an Example
Lee Side O' L.A. by Lee Shippey
Los Angeles Times ~ November 22, 1929

Edgar Rice Burroughs is convinced that his Tarzan stories are good for children because his own children grew up on them and he thinks they are the best of children. "We tried to keep the books from them at first," he said, "but couldn't. They almost know them by heart. And the only bad effect we've ever noticed is that for awhile one of the boys wanted to eat with his hands, because Tarzan did that when a boy."

Grey Spurns Tobacco
Zane Grey came very near inspiring us to swear off smoking forever. Or, at least, for life. We may smoke afterward, involuntarily. When we were trying to find out how he managed to accomplish so much, he said: 

"I owe a lot to Barton Currie of the Ladies' Home Journal. I used to write three months a year and spend the other nine months gathering material and fishing. Currie suggested that I try writing six months a year, and that was the start of my most prolific period. Now I write all but four months, but usually take enough time to get in my boat and sail through the South Seas as far as New Zealand."

One big section of Grey's house, including several rooms, is taken up by fishing tackle and trophies of his fishing exploits. Swordfish and sailfish are his special delights and most of his fishing calls not only for skill, but for coverage. 

"I never waste any time smoking or drinking," he added. 

"You don't even smoke?" we interjected, in surprise.

"No, indeed. I can see a swordfish two miles away, and I couldn't' do that if I smoked."

We are no sword fisherman ourself but when we though of all Grey has done against considerable odds, we were just about to swear off smoking. Just in time, however, we recalled that Shakespeare is reported to have been quite a smoker.

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