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Volume 2289
Edgar Rice Burroughs

ECLECTICA v.2010.07


Miss Helen P. Miller
Dixon, Illinois
September 3, 1981

Dear Miss Miller:

My brother did see that your letter reached me and first of all, let me thank you for all that you did with the news people in my behalf. Thank you, also, for the snapshot. We were delighted to have it, but, really, you touched a nerve with your letter and opened the door on a great deal of nostalgia and warm memories.

You asked, what did the Dixon Library mean to me? I haven’t seen the new addition to the building, I remember with great warmth the old stone building, and I believe I was probably as regular a patron as the library ever had. And I’m speaking about the time that began when I was about ten years old.

I can barely remember a time in why life when I didn’t know how to read. As a matter of fact, I was a family mystery in that I had learned to read before entering the first grade. The joy of reading has always been with me. Indeed, I can’t think of greater torture than being isolated in a guest room or a hotel room without something to read.

Beginning at about age ten, I would make what to me was a long trek on foot in the evening after dinner -- we called it supper then -- down Hennepin Avenue past South Central School, up the hill and across the street to the library. I would usually take out two books. I made those trips at least once a week and sometimes more often. I didn’t go with a specific book in mind but would browse for lengthy periods.

I, of course, read all the books that a boy that age would like -- The Rover Boys; Frank Merriwell at Yale; Horatio Alger. I discovered Edgar Rice Burroughs and read all the Tarzan books. I am amazed at how few people I meet today know that Burroughs also provided an introduction to science fiction with John Carter of Mars and the other books that he wrote about John Carter and his frequent trips to the strange kingdoms to be found on the planet Mars. Then came all of Zane Grey, Mark Twain, and others. Every once in a while, a kindly librarian would nudge me into things she thought would be helpful -- not only enjoyable, but profitable for me to read.

When we moved to the north side of the river, my walk was across the Galena Avenue bridge through town and to the library. The library was really my house of magic. Now and then I would take a foray upstairs to the Indian museum where I was fascinated by the artifacts and (at that time) the full length birch bark canoe. But mainly it was the books, and I can assure you the love of books still stays with me. I now have a library of my own and am very proud of it. But as I say -- it all started there in my house of magic -- the Dixon Public Library.

Thank you for your kind letter and best regards.

Ronald Reagan

The original warrior of Mars returns!  Dynamite is proud to announce the October release of Warlord of Mars, an enhancement to the classic story Princess of Mars!  This series is written by Arvid Nelson and is illustrated by Stephen (Avengers/Invaders) Sadowski and Lui Antonio, and features covers by Alex Ross, Joe Jusko, Lucio Parillo, and J. Scott Campbell!

"We're trying to stay as true to the spirit of the originals as possible," says writer Arvid Nelson.  "The novels are told as the 'memoirs' of John Carter, the main character, and the comics will be told the same way.  I think Mars is going to be something really special. We're doing this adaptation the right way, and I'm so excited for people to read it!"

"This is a project that we’ve been working on for quite a bit," says Dynamite Entertainment President Nick Barrucci.  "We plan to capture all the grit and action of the original, while expanding the story with brand-new elements, exploring the back story and earlier events of this classic tale!  To allow the series to be accessible to fans old and new, we are offering the first issue at the Introductory Price of $1.00 for the full ENTIRE 32 page comic, as well as dedicating both of the Dynamite front gate folds of the October shipping Previews Magazine to our launch.  Get on board for the biggest comic book launch in October!"

Follow the long tradition of ERB's John Carter Comics at our
Read the three Dell adaptations at:

July 15, 2010
The Martian Chess site has interviewed Kev McCurdy the man responsible for all the swordplay in the John Carter of Mars film. A few highlights from this interview: 

Kev McCurdy: The swordmaster choreographs with the core stunt team. The stunt coordinator then films the fights, gives them to the director. The director then says 'cool'. The stunt coordinator then 'signs' the fight off. We then teach the actors concerned. . . .   Each character had their own style and I fitted their style to the way they were playing their character so moves became organic, they flowed easily for them. . . . We had a lot of fun developing the Thark style and making it as brutal and minimalistic as we could. . . . The styles of blade were designed by Mark Andrews. They fit the different races and this was helpful when designing the fighting styles. The Zodangan blade was straight and I used that for a very brutal close quarter combat style as well as long distance striking. The Heliumite blade was slightly curved so their style was, as I call it, 'living on the 45 degree'. Their movements were straight lined and diagonal whereas the Zodangans were straight lined and totally in your face. The Tharks had huge axes and spears and used those as well as anything else they could get their hands on. . . Taylor [Kitsch] is a natural at movement. He clicks into what is needed for the fights very, very quickly and he's awesome with a sword. . . . Lynn [Collins] was lovely to work with. The fans will love her because she's feisty, intelligent and beautiful. Everything that the character is. She has a beautiful movement about her and I didn't want to lose that when I was training her so I made all of her moves flow by using circular movements then using straight line moves to use her core strength when blitzing the Zodangans. She did an awesome job. 

Read the entire interview at
From our John Carter News Site

BOMBASTIUM #51 (December 1980) Published by Alan Hutchison for CAPA-Alpha mailing 194.
Cover by Alan Hutchison of a parody of Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter of Mars.

Martian Rails
Discover the curious civilizations and wild lore of the wondrous, neighboring red planet Mars. Celebrate one of the mankind's most vital and enduring passions: railroads. Use your initial investment to build track. Then pick up commodities where they are grown, mined, or manufactured and deliver them to a lucrative place of demand.

Complete a delivery and make the money you need to buy larger, faster trains, and expand your railroad empire. Win the game by building and operating Mars' most effective railroad empire!

With over a million variations, Martian Rails never grows old. You decide where to lay your tracks. Your only obstacles are rival tracks and Mars' great mountains, canals, deserts, and jungles. So, dominate a whole new planet. Capture the pioneering spirit on the sands of Mars and learn to build an empire.

Visit Burroughs Landing -- A large city in the southwest section. One of the original cities and spaceports. It was, of course, named for Edgar Rice Burroughs. Carl Sagan, the noted 20th century space scientist and science populist, claimed that Burroughs’s stories inspired many scientists that worked on the Viking spacecraft program.

Cheeta memoir goes ape everywhere
Oxford-educated writer makes international waves
Canwest News Service ~ July 11, 2010
It's the Hollywood "memoir" to end all Hollywood memoirs. Consider this choice reference to Rex Harrison, the British acting legend who achieved immortality with his portrayal of Prof. Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. Harrison, we're told by the author, was "that marvellous light comedian." But he was also "a universally despised, impotent alcoholic ... a weakling and a bully and a near-murderer, scumbag, self-pitier, miser, liar and oaf ..." Why such venom? Well, it seems that Harrison tried to murder the author of this book by making him fall out of a tree.

The catch here is the identity of the memoirist. Purportedly, it's none other than Cheeta, the famous Hollywood chimp who achieved international glory by making beefcake Johnny Weissmuller his straight man in the great Tarzan movies of the 1930s and then -- according to legend -- continued to cavort his way through films for another four decades. Or so we are led to believe -- given that an antiquated Cheeta is still reputed to be alive and well in his Palm Springs, Calif., retirement and that he has now allegedly written this no-holds-barred autobiography called Me Cheeta: My Life in Hollywood.

Furthermore, this simian memoirist writes without fear or favour -- for, after all, no animal has ever been successfully sued for libel. Actually, Me Cheeta, published in Canada by HarperCollins and now available in paperback, did have a ghost writer. He's James Lever, the reticent spiky-haired son of a British high court judge, and he really would have preferred not to have had his cover blown. "I was attempting a dead-flat impersonation of a celebrity biography," Lever muses over a beer. "High tragic gallows humour -- that's what I aimed for with Me Cheeta."

"It will subtly change forever the way we think not only about Hollywood, but also about our own species," burbled The London Sunday Times. "I challenge anyone to find a more foul-mouthed, salacious and entertaining memoir," actor Richard Grant wrote in the Telegraph Magazine. Meanwhile, the Spectator concluded it was probably "more truthful" than most accounts of Hollywood. The Guardian newspaper listed Me Cheeta as a finalist for its award for first-time authors. Then Lever's book found itself in the golden circle when it was long-listed for the coveted Booker Prize for fiction. "It was very nice to have that recognition," Lever says hesitantly.

Before starting, Lever submerged himself in dozens of Hollywood memoirs, written mainly by stars of the 1930s and '40s. In the process, he found himself writing not just a caustically funny expose -- which led one journalist to describe Cheeta as "the simian equivalent of Jonathan Swift" -- but a slice of social history. "I see something inherently sad about this period," Lever says. "The vulnerability and power of the stars -- the vulnerability of being exploited and photographed and the power that gave them. It's a time when history is moving so quickly that the glamour we're really excited about is actually a movement of history."

Cheeta's judgment of his human Hollywood peers is rarely flattering. Maltese Falcon star Mary Astor was obsessed with the male organ. At actress Marion Davies' beach parties, such guests as Ronald Colman, Paulette Goddard, Hedy Lamaar and celebrity restaurateur Mike Romanoff would "copulate en masse." A costume party is recalled where Shirley Temple came as Joan Crawford, W.C. Fields as Rex the Wonder Horse and Gloria Swanson as herself. Cheeta doesn't identify who snorted cocaine off Constance Bennett's naked breasts, but there is a reference to Cary Grant's "LSD-inflected eyes" and there are numerous references in the index to the sexually voracious Lupe Velez. And then, of course, there was the day that David Niven and Weissmuller borrowed Douglas Fairbanks' Rolls-Royce, and made it look as though Cheeta and MGM's Leo the Lion were operating it. Cheeta has only kind words for Weissmuller, the screen's greatest Tarzan, and Lever's research suggests that Weissmuller was a lovely human being. Indeed, says Lever approvingly, Cheeta "is offhandedly rude about every single human being in the book except for Johnny."

© Copyright The Edmonton Journal

Animals abound in Tuacahn shows
Deseret News ~ July 10, 2010
IVINS, Washington — Another Tuacahn season is under way and this year it may be hard to spot your favorite actor, as most are playing animals this year. Their faces are completely covered with makeup either of the feline or primate variety. "Cats" and "Tarzan" are the two family-friendly offerings, and most families seemed to enjoy them. One thing is sure: Tuacahn spent a lot of money to get a flying/pulley system in place, and they are certainly not afraid to use it. With these two productions, you'll see more flying cats and gorillas than you'll know what to do with.

With "Tarzan," Tuacahn boasts the first regional premiere of the Disney/Phil Collins musical. Tuacahn's space lends itself well to the king of the jungle. The apes, costumed brilliantly by Wilma Mickler, danced with a type of African flare (Mic Thompson, choreography) and tumbled with the ease that primates should. They were fun to watch. Ditto the other animals in the jungle, like the leopards — very well done. James Royce Edwards looks great in the loincloth, swinging on his vine, and he has some nice moments with his gorilla family and with Jane, played well by Summer Broyhill. Tarzan's gorilla parents were very engaging, played by Cessalee Stovall and Sam Zeller, and their duet, "Sure as Sun Turns to Moon," was a very nice moment.

See our ERBzine feature on the Tuacahn show:
ERBzine 2759

Our Reports on the Tarzan Premiers:
Tarzan: The Broadway Musical 
Tarzan: The Musical in Holland 
Tarzan: The Musical in Hamburg

Tarzan set to swing into 21st century with new series of novels
Edgar Rice Burroughs estate backs new series of children's books
by author Andy Briggs
Designed to bring the bare-chested jungle hero up to date ~ June 30, 2010

Jane has an iPod and Tarzan is facing up to environmental catastrophe: following literary excursions into the childhoods of James Bond and Sherlock Holmes, readers are now set to venture into the teenage years of a 21st-century Lord of the Jungle.

Tarzan first swung onto the page in 1912 in Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan of the Apes. After his parents Lord and Lady Greystoke, marooned in west Africa, were killed, their baby was adopted by a great ape and raised as one of them, before falling for another castaway, Jane Porter. The star of 24 books by Burroughs, the bestselling story of the "brown, sweat-streaked, muscular" Tarzan has also been adapted for film, comics, television and radio.

Now the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate has backed a new children's series about the bare-chested hero, set in modern Africa and aimed at nine to 11-year-olds. By Andy Briggs, author of the and books, the series is promising to "bring Tarzan the Eco Warrior to the PlayStation generation" as an "edgier and more feral" character. Briggs, a long-time fan of Tarzan, believes the character is ripe for a reboot. "I think now more than ever Tarzan is a relevant character," he said this morning. "He was the first eco-warrior, and I wanted to hold on to that."

Set in and around the Congo, the Tarzan of the new books will be aged around 17 or 18, while Jane, whose father is part of an illegal logging expedition, gets lost in the jungle at around 14 years old. "The original Jane is a classic character, but she's not a modern woman," said Briggs. "I wanted her to be tough, to be Tarzan's equal. Not physically - she's not jungle savvy - but I wanted her to be a tough kid. She's had a very hard life but she's been brought up with technology – she's part of the Facebook generation, she owns an iPod. But as she goes deeper into the jungle, she sees its beauty." The first book in the new series, Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy, will be published by Faber & Faber in 2011, followed by the second in 2012, during official Tarzan centenary celebrations.

"I didn't want to steamroll all over classic characters," said Briggs. "I think fans of the original books will be pleased – I'm not just straying off and doing something completely different, it's a nod to the original. It's the same action adventure but with a more modern storyline, and hopefully feels fresh and new."

Tarzan's new adventures follow the successful launch of Charlie Higson's Young Bond series in 2005 by Puffin, and the first outing this month for a 14-year-old Sherlock Holmes in Andrew Lane's Death Cloud.

From our Swag site:
The National Capital Panthans 
ERB The Second Century 
Note: Don't read the ERBzine entry too closely . . . 
it was written many years ago and has a bit of dated material : )
A Unique Tarzan Collectible Poster
from Al Bohl's
Tarzan: Lord of the Louisiana Jungle
In time for the Chicago Dum-Dum 2010
Covering the Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs
by Jeff Long and Chris Wright


In this illustration: Coripi, White Ape, Mr. Philander, Esmerelda, Prof. Porter, Lord William Clayton, Mephis, Kantos Kan, Mugambi,
La, Talaskar, Sagoth, Kerchak, Horib, Komodoflorensal, Kavandavanda, Meriem, Korak, Geeka, Jubal the Ugly One,
John Carter, Nkima, Victory, Dejah Thoris, Julian 20, Tars Tarkas, Tarzan, Jane Clayton, Jad Bal Ja, Duare,
Muviro, Carson Napier, Sorak, Sola, Hooja The Sly One, Dian the Beautiful, David Innes, Abner Perry,
Ghek the Kaldane, Sarkoja, The Mucker, Woola, Paul D'arnot, Carthoris, Mahar, Thuvia, Banth
Submitted by Conrad Szumilas to the group "Tarzan (Films, Novels, and more)"
from the album Fanart 'n such ~ From the David Shepperd Collection

For more check out 


click for full-page review
Read the easier-to-read, transcribed version at ERBzine 2299
See the Ballantine publishing history at our

ERB C.H.A.S.E.R Illustrated Bibliography
Click on the CRAFT link in every ERBzine page-top logo

Jane Meets Tarzan ~ 09/02/2009
Last month, Dr. Goodall traveled to Paris as part of a 3-day visit to the City of Light. While there she promoted the work of the Jane Goodall Institute-France and attended a number of events to highlight the work JGI is doing in Africa. She also had meetings with government officials to discuss ways in which France is making positive environmental choices. The American University of Paris Roots & Shoots group shared some of their amazing projects. Dr. Goodall even met her childhood hero, Tarzan!

Dr. Goodall met actor Christopher Lambert, who played the lead role in the 1984 film Greystroke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. The film is based on the Tarzan stories written by Edward [sic] Rice Burroughs. Dr. Goodall often jokes that she would make a better love interest than that other Jane whom Burroughs featured in his books.

Dr. Goodall, dressed in red, took a moment to pose with the red gorilla sculpture during the “Species in Danger” exhibit she inaugurated at the Xavier Nicolas Art Gallery. Over 20 artists who created original works featuring endangered species were highlighted. The exhibit was organized in recognition of Dr. Goodall’s role as the Patron for the United Nations Year of the Gorilla campaign, a year long project to bring awareness to the plight of the species. Learn more about the campaign at:

Dr. Goodall meets actor Christopher Lambert

A picture of complementing styles

Excerpt from the site
John Carter of Mars Starts Principal Photography 2010-07-12
Walt Disney Pictures declared in the present day with the aim of princibuddy taking photographs left in London on behalf of John Cknacker of spoils. Academy Abattled®-triumphant  as a consequencerew Scoffeeton bring abouts this attractive hero to the wide vdt in a stunning adexhausture epic position on the hurt world of ruins, a disappear inhapiquancyd by soldier tspinees afterward exoconvulsion desert njurious. Based on the essential of Edgar Rfrost Burseveres' "Barsoom Series," the layer history the jopitcherey of Civil-crusade expert John shipper, who discoverys him character battling a new-fangled as well as furtive feud acenter a horde of weird creature from outer space intraditionants. "I retain been coming up my intact time to glimpse the typescript plus humankinds of 'John transporter of blights' understandd on the lofty hide," pronounces Schocolateton. "It is scarcely a superb bonus with the aim of I suffer everything to do in the company of it."
Movie madness as Emery County becomes Mars
Emery County becomes Mars for a movie called,
"John Carter of Mars," a movie of an old story by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Emory County Progress ~ June 15, 2010
Where do you go to film a movie about Mars? Why you come to Emery County. Emery County Economic Development Director Michael McCandless was instrumental in leading the Disney/Pixar filmers to Emery County. Emery County was the site last year of filming for an installment of the Star Trek movie series. This year the filming takes place near Factory Butte. Currently there are 200 people on site filming with 75-100 vehicles. Some locals are being used in the film as extras. Film crews have been staying in Green River and are a boost to the local economy. The film is action, adventure, fantasy and science fiction all rolled into one.

McCandless describes the area where the film is being shot and tells why it's perfect for this type of movie scenery AKA Mars scape. McCandless said of the geology in the area, "The Factory Butte, and Swing Arm City sites are all located on Mancos Shale and it is this shale that makes the area suitable for the "Mars" environment. The shale was an ancient sea bed and as a result, the remaining soil is grey, alkaline and not particularly fertile. The ancient 'Mancos Sea' as it is known, covered much of what is now Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. The Mancos Shale does have fossils including shark teeth, clams and ammonoids (relatives of the modern Nautilus). The Big Water site is located on the Tropic Shale, an associated marine layer that is very similar to the Mancos. Biology: Because of the dry climate and infertile soils, plant life in the area is limited. However, some key species that have adapted to the environment and now live only in this area. In particular, three species of rare Cactus are present in surrounding areas. Pediocactus despainii, San Rafael cactus and Pediocactus winkleri, commonly known as Winkler's cactus and Sclerocactus wrightiae, commonly known as Wrights Fishhook Cactus are very small cactus varieties that are difficult to see and therefore can be easily destroyed. These species are only indiginous to the Central and Eastern parts of Utah and are listed as Threatened or Endangered.

"Historic: The primary site that John Carter Of Mars is filming on near Factory Butte is actually in the footprint of a small coal strip mine. The mine was active in the 1960s and 1970s, but was never a large mine. The Swing Arm City site is a very important Off Highway Vehicle area and is one of the few areas where open, cross country travel for OHV use is allowed in the region. This, combined with the areas close proximity to Capitol Reef National Park (15 miles), Goblin Valley State Park (20 miles) and Lake Powell (60 Miles) makes this a cross road for recreational use.

"The Muddy Creek area, to be filmed by air, is part of the BLM's Wilderness Study Area program. The area historically was dotted with access roads for Uranium Development during the 50s and 60s. Virtually all of the roads in the area were created for either coal or uranium," McCandless said. More>>>

Swamp Encounter by Mike Hoffman
Swamp Encounter by Mike Hoffman

For In-Depth John Carter Information 
mirrored at:
Las Vegas actor recalls days with Wooden
 Las Vegas Review-Journal  ~ June 13, 2010
You may not know Denny Miller by name, but you probably know his face -- especially if you like fish sticks. He was the fisherman on the front of the Gorton's box until 2004. He also was Duke Shannon on "Wagon Train." Before that, he was the 12th Tarzan of the 21 who have swung from a vine in the movies or on TV, having starred in the 1959 MGM remake of "Tarzan, the Ape Man."

The worst Tarzan movie of all time says the self-deprecating Miller, 76. At least until the one with Bo Derek came along.

Those credits alone would make Miller darn near one of the most fascinating Las Vegans you'd ever hope to meet. Throw in his guest-starring roles on "Gilligan's Island" and "Gunsmoke" and that he was a starting guard for the great John Wooden at UCLA, and Mayor Oscar Goodman and Carrot Top suddenly have some serious company.

Like the rest of the sporting world, Miller was deeply saddened by the June 4 death of his genteel former coach and molder of men.

"He was a poet in the locker room, and I don't mean he recited poetry," said Miller, who moved to Southern Nevada with his wife, Nancy, nine years ago and uses Tarzan's famous ululating yell on his answering machine. "He was a soft-spoken gentleman in a macho world."

Miller's younger brother, Kent, also played for Wooden. Their father had competed against the legendary Bruins coach in high school in Indiana and later joined Wooden on the UCLA faculty.

Denny Miller's UCLA teammates included Willie Naulls and Rafer Johnson, the famous decathlete. When Miller quit the Bruins during his senior year to become Tarzan No. 12, his roster spot was taken by Denny Crum.

Miller recently wrote a book called "Didn't You Used to Be ..." which was the last time he corresponded with Wooden. The coach sent him a photo and his famous "Pyramid of Success" for use with the memoir.

"The world is a far better place for John Wooden having called it home for 99 years," Miller said.

Denny Miller, left, and younger brother Kent flank 
UCLA basketball coach John Wooden in a 1958 photo. 
Miller, who moved to Las Vegas nine years ago, 
was a starting guard for Wooden, who died June 4 at age 99. 
Miller gave up his senior season to become an actor and 
went on to become the Gorton's fisherman. 
Denny Miller 
poses with Cheetah in a publicity still 
from the 1959 remake of "Tarzan, the Ape Man," 
which Miller calls the worst Tarzan movie ever made.


Read more about Denny Miller's amazing career in ERBzine:
ERBzine Silver Screen 

Tarzan, the Ape Man

The Bookseller Who Became an Author and
Who Once Had Been the Biggest Little film Star in the World
by Thomas Gladysz ~

Diana Serra Cary spent nearly forty years working in bookstores in California and Texas. She was a clerk and head buyer, and worked the floor hand-selling books to customers back in the day before computerized inventories and when store staff had to know their stock. She also helped build a couple of small shops into major bookstores. Beginning in the late 1940s, she worked at a succession of stores including the Post Oak and Sam Houston bookstores in Houston and the Santa Barbara Mission book & gift shop in California. In 1991, after 20 years on the job, she retired from the UC San Diego student bookstore. A couple of her books were written while she was working as bookseller.

For a time in the 1920's, she along with Jackie Coogan was one of the two most famous child movie stars in the world. She was known then as "Baby Peggy." Her likeness regularly appeared in newspapers and on the covers of magazines. Sheet music and postcards pictured her, and Gimbels, the famous New York City department store, even modeled a doll after her. She went on personal appearance tours, endorsed products, and met celebrities like Tarzan author Edgar Rice Burroughs (who is pictured here holding the child actress in his arms). There would even be editions of children's books published which put her image on the cover in the hopes of selling more copies.

She was a celebrity then, the Shirley Temple of her time. She was so famous that as Baby Peggy she was named the "convention mascot" at the 1924 Democratic National Convention. There is a picture of the child actress standing near the future President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, on the convention stage. It was from such heights that this pint-sized star fell. At the age of 4 1/2 she was signed to a remarkable $1,500,000 contract. ( Her co-stars included the likes of Clara Bow, Irene Rich, Edward Everett Horton, Hobart Bosworth, and other major names. However, by the age of 6 it was all over. The film career of Baby Peggy abruptly ended in 1925 when her father had a falling out with studio executives over her contract. For the next four years, she worked in vaudeville. In the 1930s, a little more grown up, she returned to Hollywood and worked as an extra and bit player. As with Jackie Coogan, all her money had been squandered -- and not by her. The actress' final screen appearance was an uncredited role in Having Wonderful Time (1938), which starred Ginger Rogers, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Lucille Ball, and Red Skelton. In 1948, looking to make ends meet after her divorce, the one-time actress landed her first bookstore job. It was in a small Los Angeles shop. In a recent interview, Cary explained she was drawn to this line of work because she loved books and had always been a voracious reader.

ERB First Mass Marketed
Tarzan among the first mass marketed figures, says Canadian academic
Washington, July 4, 2010
As soon as a Disney blockbuster is out these days, its characters seem to be everywhere - in comics, toys, books and video games. But this marketing strategy is not new. Tarzan's creator Edgar Rice Burroughs was instrumental in helping invent the media blitz. "He was a very canny marketer and publicist. Tarzan was one of the first - if not the first - mass marketed figures," said Associate Professor of English Jason Haslam at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Burroughs was fantasy fiction's original multi-media impresario and his shrewdness kept Tarzan at the heart of popular culture for nearly a century. The volume of Tarzan tales is mind-bogglingly large, even by today's standards. He first appeared in a magazine in 1912. That was republished as a novel, Tarzan of the Apes, in 1914. Four years later, the first Tarzan movie grossed 1 million dollars. Burroughs swiftly incorporated himself into ERB, Inc. to control the brand. He even named his California ranch Tarzana. A Sunday comic strip appeared in 1929 (drawn by Halifax native Hal Foster), followed by a radio serial in 1932. Burroughs cranked out 25 more Tarzan novels in his lifetime and by the end of the '60s, almost 50 Tarzan movies had been made.

Dr. Haslam recently edited an Oxford University Press edition of Burroughs' 1914 novel, Tarzan of the Apes. What interested him is how Tarzan became such a massive pop icon yet could still divorce himself from his original context. Dr. Haslam said: "It's a fascinating moment where a character like this can be made into a Disney film and somehow try to escape its own racist background. The novel is simply racist. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it." If you revisit Tarzan of the Apes, what strikes you first is its brutal stereotypes of Africans and a plot fuelled by sensational African explorers' tales and absurd racial theories. Dr. Haslam asked himself many times during the project why he would want to edit such a problematic novel.

When asked whether he would be perpetuating its problems, or redressing them with a critical edition, he replied: "I don't know if I walked that line or not but I read it as a child myself, and I wanted to at least give kids like me the ability to go back and see through the introduction or through the notes, that there are these issues and they can think about them rather than just ignore them." Dr. Haslam's edition differs from previous editions in important ways. The book has an introduction that frankly discusses racism in the novel. His edition includes a selected critical bibliography, a chronology of Burroughs' life and - most importantly - an introduction he wrote that explores the history, social tensions, and problems with the novel.

Editor's Note: Dr. Haslam's myopic view of the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs begs rebuttal. We have addressed these wrong-headed, runaway PC views in the past and will continue to do so in the future. We suggest that he actually read the Burroughs books. Meanwhile, I would like to reprint excerpts from an article we published in 2000 by Robert Woodley, a lawyer from Toledo, Ohio:
Well, to me this is symbolic of much of what's wrong with modern writers, and certain what's wrong with modern writers who deal with ERB. "Taking on racism" is nothing more than a look-at-how-wonderful-I-am device for writers/media to utilize for the apparent reason that if you don't, no matter what your subject matter, you are supposedly a racist. It's absurd. It's like taking on child molesting or taking on Hitler. Not to mention that virtually nobody can even define racism in terms everyone agrees on. 

This type of writing is more than erroneous and self-serving. It is actually revisionist history. This writer not only has the effrontery to characterize/imply that ERB's values were racist and/or supported white supremacy, whatever that is; but he has the outright gall to "speak for" ERB, making statements for Burroughs which are not based upon anything we know about ERB, nor anything we find in the books. 

ERB was certainly prejudiced. He matured in the late 1800s. Who wasn't? Where in the world do these writers expect to find people who somehow adopted values which were wholly different from about 99.9% of their parents/peers/media? Where do they expect such people to obtain facts, such as we have now, which would tend to contradict such teachings? 

Yet, although ERB would have had to have been born in the twilight zone not to have learned consistently prejudicial values, his  books reflect ideas and values which were so far ahead of his time that to characterize him as anything but wildly liberal is sheer lunacy.  This is a man who created a world populated by green, red, black, white, and yellow men; and who demonstrated clearly in those  books, 90 years ago, the absurdity of judging people  based upon color; and who examined the immense tendency of such people to nevertheless do so. 

This is a man whose most famous creation suffered from discrimination when he was a child; who consistently befriended creatures and peoples of all races, religions, and creeds; and who treated and judged each and every person as an individual. The Tarzan  books continually present heroic blacks, including Mugambi, the Waziri, and others. They also present less than heroic  blacks, thus demonstrating that good and bad exist everywhere. 

Does this writer think that Africa at the turn of the century was full of brain surgeons and nuclear physicists?  Although ERB's depiction of Africans was based upon scant knowledge, the fact of the matter is that there is no such thing as an "average" African. It's an entire continent, with widely varying peoples.  ERB portrays a scant few of such peoples.  I see nothing whatsoever wrong with his approach; nor do I think it's inaccurate for all natives. 

This is the ERB who in 1927 wrote War Chief, which has nothing to do with "apologizing" for the Apache. ERB never apologized for anything or anyone. He examined and discussed why people and peoples act the way they do, whether it involves the same words for "stranger" as for "enemy", or whether some other concept. To create a scenario in which ERB is purportedly agreeing with this absurd concept, and then to imply that ERB's Tarzan displayed characteristics which ERB was presenting mainly to highlight "what is wrong" with Tarzan/whites, etc. is absolutely outrageous and insults the man and his writing. 

    ERB needs no apologies. Nor does Tarzan of the Apes.  I am so opposed to this type of mindset, misinformation, and writing, especially about someone like  ERB, that I could never keep silent about such crap. If people don't fight such absurdities, others will actually accept them. 

 Robert Woodley - December 22, 2000 ~ ERBzine 0552

Liberty Meadows by Frank Cho ~ July 11, 2010

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