First and Only Weekly Online Fanzine Devoted to the Life & Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Since 1996 ~ Over 10,000 Web Pages in Archive
Volume 3418

May 1, 2011: It has been three years since Danton left us.
I have spent a lifetime avoiding funerals, 
but I was so honoured to be asked to share words of tribute at 
Dan's Memorial Service in Tarzana.

Now, three years later, 
I've prepared a follow-up tribute to keep his memory alive. 

I reviewed the recording of the talk I gave at the 
Celebration of Danton's Life 
and have transcribed it here. 

The Web pages which follow also feature a 
mosaic consisting of over 100 photos 
tracing Dan's life from birth through to his final year.




May 17, 2008 
Tarzana Cultural Center ~ Ventura Blvd ~ Tarzana, CA 
Good afternoon everyone. It's certainly an honour for me to come down from Canada to meet with you all and join family and friends in tribute to Danton Burroughs.

I worked with Danton for a lot of years to preserve the Burroughs family legacy. We spent long hours together on the phone and in person to create thousands of Webpages. He shared his hopes, dreams and frustrations so I felt very close to him. Danton's world, despite the many obstacles he had to overcome, was mostly filled with wonder and joy. Anyone who knows him well can attest to his excitement, enthusiasm. . . and kindness. He touched so many people -- just look around you and you will see many of them who have gathered here today. The times I spent with him really showcased his multi-faceted personality. I'd like to share some of the things that stand out in my memory of our friend Dan.

Danton was a lover of family.
He took great pride in his family's achievements - in his immediate family and in the Burroughs family tradition. Much of his life's work seemed to be to guarding the family memorabilia and memories. One of his greatest accomplishments was the work he put into preserving that legacy. He expanded this passion by constantly amassing treasures and collectibles from all over. He loved to surround himself with beautiful and unusual things as anyone who has seen his collection surely knows.

Danton headed the Burroughs company for decades and he took it to great heights. He was so proud when he took on his new role the day before he died and he was about to launch so many different projects. I witnessed examples of his business prowess during the Tarzan Musical premiere in New York. I saw him at work as a professional where he did countless interviews with the media, greeted fans and worked with show business people. At the gala after-show party in the Merriott ballroom our table was surrounded and bombarded by show business celebrities -- Phil Collins, performers from the musical, and a host Broadway stars -- and he met them all with such grace, friendliness and professionalism.

Full of boyish wonder and excitement
Also on that New York visit I remember Dan's boyish wonder and excitement. You could see the little boy in Danton's eyes and the sense of wonder that he had about his grandfather's fantasy creations. This was especially evident when we took a night off to explore Broadway. He led us on a safari in a quest for ice cream -- Linda, Dejah, (Janie was tied up with exams back in California), Bill Morse, my wife Sue-On and myself.  We found an ice cream parlour and Danton treated us all to triple scoop ice cream cones. The five of us carried on down Broadway with our dripping delights where we were jostled by throngs of tourists who all seemed to be staring up in amazement at the giant Tarzan banners strung across the towering skyscrapers. Hovering over Times Square was a giant video screen showing live action scenes from the Tarzan musical from the Richard Rodgers Theatre. There were similar neon-surrounded screens all along Broadway and every time Tarzan appeared on the screens he was met with a chorus of Johnny Weissmuller jungle cries. All Broadway was alive with Tarzan. We looked at each other and I saw that little boy excitement in his eyes as he said, "If my grandfather could see this!"

And Dan was a communicator.
He never mastered the cold complexities of computers. He preferred to talk to fans, clients and business people by phone. As Willie, Janet and Cathy know, anyone who did business with Dan in the office or on the phone was constantly interrupted by incoming calls on the other lines. You'd be put on hold as he answered calls from around the world. This went on constantly . . . then of course when he was worn out, where would we all head . . . wait for it . . . Charlie G's. That was the place to wind up meetings.

Dan was a collector.
You may not know this but he collected . . . : ) . . . a lot of things. One special event comes to mind. He was invited to give a talk at a Burroughs Bibliophiles convention at the University of Louisville. In preparation for this he spent a lot of time putting some amazing stuff together for his presentation. He flew from Tarzana with a large suitcase bulging with slides, videos, memorabilia, Uncle Hully's wartime film footage, and his grandfather's home movies from the '20s at Tarzana Ranch. He had all this material ready to go, but when it came time to give his presentation at the U of L Ekstrom Theatre  -- filled with hundreds of expectant Burroughs fans -- a slight problem arose. His Parkinsons medication hadn't kicked in or it had an adverse effects and he just didn't feel up to giving the presentation. So he said to me, "You take it."  As I was muddling through this the rascal sneaked away to some local swap meets and antique sales! Obviously he flew back to Tarzana with many more suitcases than he came in with <g>.

Music Lover
Another major collecting obsession centered around music: jukeboxes and records. He had one of the largest collections of jukeboxes in the world. He also had stacks of old 78s -- rooms full of old jazz classics, blues, R&B and doowop.  He liked to entertain friends as they came in by sharing these treasures. The jukes were lined all around the huge hodgepodge room and he'd turn them all on at once. The lights would be flashing, music playing, and there would even be the occasional Tarzan yell, since he had a collection of Tarzan records. It was quite an experience.

On the theme of music, one of my fondest memories was the last evening I spent with Dan. His old friend John Westervelt came over to the house with a guitar - we grabbed another guitar and the three of us sat on Dan's stone driveway wall under Tarzana stars. We swapped guitar licks and sang the blues into the night. The next day after we visited the home he grew up in - it was being demolished --  Dan saw me off on a flight back to Canada. It was to be the last time I saw him in person.

But most of all Danton was a dreamer.
Many of you have been touched by the magic of Edgar Rice Burroughs and certainly by Dan's enthusiasm and excitement over his grandfather's legacy of fantasy worlds and larger-than-life heroes. I like to think  that Danton has gone on to some such distant world and is living the adventures dreamed by Ed Burroughs. I'd like you to join me in closing our eyes -- close your eyes and visualize Danton Burroughs in Martian trappings, sword in hand and standing shoulder to shoulder with John Carter and Tars Tarkas -- under the hurtling moons of Barsoom -- and battling against almost overwhelming hordes of tharks. You hear them cry out in unison: "I STILL LIVE!"
                                                                                                . . .  and he does.

Bill Hillman




Photos by Bob Zeuschner, Cathy Wilbanks, and Stan Galloway
Part I: The Early Years
Part II: The Later Years




1. Hillman

2. Friends

3. Yeates

4. Griffin

5. School Chums
Photos 1

Photos 2

Photos 3

Photos 4

Photos 5


6. Bibliophiles

7. Phil Burger
Celebration of Life

1. Memorial Card
Celebration of Life

2. Friend's Eulogy
Celebration of Life

3. Hillman Eulogy Notes
Celebration of Life

4. Mertes ~ Photos I
Celebration of Life

5. Photos II

Photos III

Photos IV

Family Archive

Hillman Eulogy

Early Years

Later Years

Press Stories
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