First and Only Weekly Online Fanzine Devoted to the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Since 1996 ~ Over 15,000 Webpages and Webzines in Archive
Volume 3109
Edgar Rice Burroughs

ECLECTICA v.2010.11


A 1935 Magazine Stand

A few years ago, back in ERBzine 0873
Danton and I displayed this photo of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Maureen O'Sullivan
at a 1932 May Co. autograph signing.

Edgar Rice Burroughs and Maureen O'Sullivan at May Company Signing
William Stephen has a copy of one of the books signed at that event and shared some photos of it below:

Book covers and autograph page photos from the William Stephen Collection

More at our Lex Barker film galleries
ERBzine Silver Screen

More at our Harold Foster Pages
ERBzine 0802

Maureen O'Sullivan on the Tarzan set
The Herman Brix Tarzan Yell for Burroughs-Tarzan Enterprises films
Tarzan on Broadway Video
Our Tarzan on Broadway ERBzine Tribute


Born Wild by Tony Fitzjohn, with Miles Bredin
Viking Canada, 352 pages, $34
From child reading Tarzan to African animal activist
Winnipeg Free Press - September 25, 2010 ~ Reviewed by: Maureen Scurfield
When Christian the Lion hit YouTube, the footage showed the exotic pet who'd been released back into the African jungle emerging cautiously from the bush, then jumping up to embrace his former owners. This to the tune of Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You. It got millions of hits, and the online world brushed away tears. It was British animal trainer Tony Fitzjohn who helped train Christian with the help of his mentor, George Adamson, famous from the movie Born Free. Fitzjohn engineered the dramatic turnarounds that allowed animals like Christian to go back "home" without being eaten for dinner by 100 per cent wild beasts.

In this fascinating memoir, Fitzjohn relates the ongoing saga of his decades in Kenya and Tanzania, releasing into the wild at least 30 lions and 10 leopards, not to mention rhinos and African hunting dogs. Fighting sport hunting and poaching in Africa can make a man a lot of enemies, and the occasional lion can cause harm, even death. Fitzjohn was forced to stop releasing lions by enemies in the Kenyan government who wanted him and his "dangerous" work out of the country. They were still willing to let Adamson stay on, because he was a worldwide tourist draw. Luckily, Tanzania wanted "Fitz," so he set up a new reserve at Mkomazi for the wild African dog and black rhino. It exists to this day with protected national park status, as does a renewed Kora reserve back in Kenya after a government change.

This book is a retrospective taken from 300 pages of diaries, with writing assistance from Miles Bredin. It's fully alive and readable as an adventure story. Stories of struggles and victories with the lovable lions, shy leopards and rampaging rhinos keep an animal lover's heart engaged. Political struggles, money problems, sickness and several murders keep the tension high.

Fitzjohn arrived in Africa a devilishly handsome bad boy in his 20s, fresh from the swinging London of the late '60s. On one African trip he hitchhiked from South Africa to Kenya and was dying to stay there and work. He kept asking Joy Adamson (who reintegrated Elsa the lion, Penny the leopard and Pippa the cheetah) if she knew of any jobs. She looked at the city slicker like he was from another planet, and said, "'I have nothing going, but I know my husband (George) is looking for someone. His previous assistant has just been killed by a lion." To her chagrin, Fitzjohn jumped at the job. Joy and George couldn't get along so they lived separately, and she used to radio him and loudly tell him to get rid of "the boy." It never happened. He and Adamson were clearly kindred spirits, and both worked for what they could afford to eat and drink.

Born Wild is full of detail; it's a pick-up-and-put-down book. Don't let the old-fashioned black-and-white photo section in the middle fool you. Fitzjohn's work is modern and ongoing in both his Kenyan and Tanzanian camps.

He has come a long way from reading Tarzan over and over again, dreaming of life in Africa.

‘Baboon Boy’ beliefs still linger ~ September 29, 2010
MONKEY BUSINESS: Experts may have dismissed the long-forgotten story of ’Lucas the Baboon Boy’ as a hoax, but there are still a few Bathurst old-timers alive who are convinced it was the real deal.

The best scientists in the world may have long ago written off the Bathurst “baboon boy” as a hoax but more than 60 years after he died, there are still a handful of people alive who cling to the belief he was a real-life Tarzan.

“It is fascinating for those of us that knew Lucas the Baboon Boy to still hear people writing him off as bulls**t,” 81-year-old retired farmer Gordon Arnold said. As a child, Arnold would grab his catapult and hunt birds with “Luke” – who he claims “would wring their necks, pull out a few feathers and eat them raw” – in the Trappes Valley area 70 years ago. “I was always convinced the story of Lucas the baboon boy was true.” Arnold said Lucas had scars all over his body, including a massive one across his face, apparently from when he tried to steal ostrich eggs with the baboon troop. “He also said he broke his leg when he fell off a krantz stealing honey with the baboons.”

South Africa’s own Tarzan boy made headlines in the Dispatch and all over the world between 1928 and 1938, and there was even talk of making a Hollywood movie . But it all fell apart when the esteemed American Journal of Psychology (AJP) labelled the story a hoax in 1940. According to a Dispatch story on a paper by internationally renowned Wits University anatomy professor Raymond Dart to a science congress in East London in 1939, the story of Lucas was “the most strongly certified case” of a feral child. But Dart revised his findings less than a year later when he told the AJP he now considered the story an elaborate attempt to “exploit” and cash in on a “low grade imbecile”.

In the 1953 book Assegai over the Hills, by Grahamstown author FC Metrowich, news of Lucas’ death in Settler’s Hospital in 1948 “created only a faint stir of excitement in the South African press”. “Yet there was a time this primitive, uneducated K****r achieved worldwide notoriety,” he wrote. In the book, a copy of which is at the Cory Library at Rhodes University, a young Xhosa baby was “kidnapped” by baboons when his mother left him under a bush while she tilled a field.

Legend has it that several years later, in 1900, a young boy was captured by police after he was spotted running with a troop of baboons near Bathurst and taken to the Grahamstown Mental Hospital. But no records of the feral boy existed at the hospital. Subsequent interviews with officials revealed although a young boy called Lucas was found and admitted to the hospital at the time, he came from “Burghersdorp” – miles away from where the baboon boy was allegedly found near the Fish River. It was only after he was taken in by Bathurst blacksmith George H Smith in 1903 that the baboon boy story took root. He lived with the Smiths for more than 40 years.

A treasure trove of photographs and press clippings detailing the controversial “baboon boy” are housed at Grahamstown’s Albany Museum and Cory Library, which both allowed the Dispatch access to the archives. Norman Clayton, who went to school with Smith’s son Eric 80 years ago, told how he used to see Lucas every day on his way to school at nearby Thornhill Farm. The retired farmer, 89, said Lucas “did not talk much” and was “a bit backward”.

“Lucas used to act like a baboon … he would run on all fours.” Although academics scoff at claims that Lucas was raised by baboons, Clayton said locals always believed it. “We never questioned it … he ran around like a baboon.” Eric Smith died earlier this year. His widow, “Aunt Aggie”, never met the “baboon boy”, but she heard all about him during their 59 years of marriage. “Some people say it is hooey, but I don’t think so. Eric always said it was true.”

Another retired farmer recalled Lucas riding a horse with no tack. “Boet, he used to ride around bareback … he would use his feet to steer the horse.” But US historian Professor Roger Levine, who teaches modern South African and African history at Sewanee: University of the South, Tennessee, is not convinced Lucas ever lived with baboons. Levine did a “bunch of work on Lucas” when he was in Cape Town 10 years ago that featured on National Geographic’s Is it Real TV series for an episode on “wild” children. “ I argue that the way he was presented to the world reveals a lot about white racial attitudes.”

Levine, born in Johannesburg and educated at Boston and Yale universities, is certain the story was a hoax designed to cash in on a person who was “slow or mentally retarded”. “My take on it is that he exhibited a certain set of behaviour that Smith saw and said ‘I can say he grew up that way’ – and then perhaps he coached Lucas on how to answer certain questions.” Calling the “white settlers gullible”, Levine said: “I think it’s to do with how whites at the time hoped to view Africans … almost like wish fulfilment.” - By DAVID MACGREGOR, Port Alfred Bureau,

Jack thought he was human
ALSO housed at the Albany Museum is the skull of Jack the Baboon – who thought he was human.
The world famous chacma baboon was trained by his legless owner, James Wide, in the late 1800s to operate the railway signals in Uitenhage. In Eve Palmer’s classic Karoo book, The Plains of Camdeboo, seen on, “Jack pumped and carried water, fetched wood, helped with the house and garden, locked up every morning, pushed and pulled the trolley Wide used to get around and helped him with his duties”.
“Once, when Wide was ill, Jack managed the signalling himself, under supervision.
“They were together for nine years before Jack died in 1890 – the pride of the district.”

MONKEY BUSINESS: Experts may have dismissed the long-forgotten story of 'Lucas the Baboon Boy' as a hoax, but there are still a few Bathurst old-timers alive who are convinced it was the real deal.

TARZAN TALES: Gordon Arnold, who used to hunt birds with 'Lucas the Baboon Boy', pages through an old Sunday Times comic strip about the headline-grabbing story of the feral boy

Statue of rescue gorilla Jambo up for auction
BBC News ~ September 22, 2010
A life-size bronze cast of a gorilla credited with saving a boy's life is to go up for auction in Gloucestershire. Silverback Jambo guarded the five-year-old boy after he fell into the gorilla area at Jersey's Durrell Park in 1986. Jambo's act was credited with changing public perception of silverbacks from dangerous beasts to gentle giants. The statue, by David Cemmick, was expected to sell for at least £20,000 next month. Durrell also has its own statue of Jambo in the park. Levan Merritt was knocked unconscious after he fell into the enclosure on 31 July 1986.

'Historical importance'
His mother watched as Jambo - Swahili for "hello" - walked towards Levan, sat down beside him and, as if guarding him from the other gorillas, stayed with him and stroked his back until Levan was rescued by the emergency services. Sculptor David Cemmick visited the zoo in 1987 and made sketches which the statue is based on. He created the bronze cast with mould-maker Sebastian Wylder. Jambo lived at the zoo until 1992, when he died of a chest haemorrhage. Nathan Winter from the auctioneers said: "We are thrilled to have such a magnificent and rare sculpture of such historical importance as part of our auction. "Jambo was renowned for changing the public's perception of gorillas back in the 1980s and this unusual life-size cast is a remarkable original work." The cast will be auctioned at the auction house near Cirencester on 6 October.

'Oprah' producers tap into winner with Kinderhook in Oak Park
Oak-Park Leaves ~ September 30, 2010
Two producers on the "Oprah Winfrey Show," Kristin Graham and Marci Hughes, teamed up to open Kinderhook. They might be new to the restaurant world, but it doesn't show in Kinderhook. They have produced a real winner. The inviting, cozy space is well organized with a sleek, handmade mahogany and copper bar and a mix of high-top and regular copper-topped tables. Large windows invite lots of natural light, adding to the warmth of restaurant's terrazzo floor and tin ceiling. A few flat-screen TVs are bracketed to the walls, and a modest outdoor seating area is located along Van Buren Street.

Three desserts are offered, with the most interesting being Mr. Twinkie ($5) -- two fried Twinkies served with raspberry coulis and chocolate ganache. The menu notes that Mr. Twinkie honors Oak Park's Twinkie inventor James Dewar, and other notable Oak Parkers are similarly honored with drink names. The Edgar Rice Burrough's Tarzangria is a homemade red banana sangria.

Warner Bros. cancels 3D for 'Potter' pic
Studio said Friday that it wasn't able to convert the film in its entirety and meet the "highest standards of quality" in time for next month's release.
To all you grammatically challenged scribes out there take heed…… In this world of hi-tech shorthand, I have noticed that many, who text message and e-mail, have forgotten the "art" of capitalization. Those of you who fall into this world, please take note of the statement below. I cannot stress enough that grammar is important:
Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack, off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse.

Deyans Are at Home in their Tarzana Recording Studio
Encino Patch ~ November 2010
The famous faces of Encino record their audiobooks with a Tarzana couple who transformed their four-bedroom house into their workplace. Bob and Debra Deyan never leave their home. Or their office. The couple has ambitiously transformed their four-bedroom Tarzana house into Deyan Audio, a full-service audio production company specializing in audiobooks (also known as books on tape), complete with four sound booths and a post-production suite.

And if having a high-tech home wasn't enough, the Deyans decided to design it with a Tarzan-theme. Three of their upstairs bedrooms have been transformed into recording studios cleverly named Tarzan, Jane and Cheetah. Boy is downstairs, just off the post-production suite, which used to be a living room. Their bathrooms have been renamed Watering Holes, and an upstairs Talent Tree House offers a balcony where actors can relax  during breaks.

The Deyans are paying homage to Edgar Rice Burroughs, the author who created the Tarzan character, and whose ranch, "Tarzana," once sat on the very same land as the Deyans' house, and later gave the town of Tarzana its name.

Day to day, the Deyans are not only surrounded by the names of famous fictional characters, but many in-the-flesh celebrities as well. . . The Deyans have a hand in producing nearly 1,000 audiobooks a year, and estimate they have produced about 12,000 audiobooks throughout their 20-year career. They've received 10 Grammy nominations in the "Best Spoken Word Album" category, winning three. . .  The Deyans have plans to construct five more recording studios in the Directors Guild of America building at 7920 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. More>>>


Ad from years gone by

Photos by Gerald Fecht for the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley 2010.
Part of a mosaic above the parking garage of the
Whole Foods Market on Ventura Boulevard in Tarzana.

Be sure to visit our
Tarzana and San Fernando Valley Hall of Fame
Eight huge Webpages starting at:


John Carter art by Ken Kelly
Limited edition print by Michael Friedlander's FPG

Greg Manchess John Carter Art

Enric (Enrique Torres-Prat) Tarzan and the Apes at the Ceremonial Dum-Dum Dance.
Enric captures one of the most famous scenes from the novel Tarzan of the Apes:
Tarzan dancing the ceremonial Dum-Dum alongside the great apes underneath the bright glow of the jungle moon.

 Conan vs. Tarzan by John Buscema (1977)

Patrick Berkenkotter cover artJoe Jusko cover artLucio Parrillo cover art
Patrick Berkenkotter ~ Joe Jusko ~ Lucio Parrillo
Covers by J. SCOTT CAMPBELL (50%), JOE JUSKO (50%),

The Prince Valiant Years: 1937-1942

Prince Valiant reprints: 1937/38 and 1939/40

Prince Valiant reprints 1941/42

Elephant and crocodile 'tug of war'
BBC News ~ November 19, 2010

Dramatic photographs of a female elephant and a crocodile
engaging in a ferocious tug of war in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park.

The elephant was drinking from the River Luangwa with her baby
when a crocodile leapt out of the water and grabbed hold of her trunk.
She was initially brought down to her knees as the predator thrashed around.

But the elephant eventually summoned the strength to walk away from the water,
dragging the still-attached crocodile with her for several metres.

The crocodile then let go.
However, as the elephants ran away, the baby tripped and fell.
The pair were seen feeding from the river later in the day.
In his Just So Stories, Rudyard Kipling said such a battle was how the Elephant's Child got his trunk.

Submitted by James S. O'Brien

The Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs
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