Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute and Weekly Webzine Site
Since 1996 ~ Over 15,000 Web Pages in Archive
Volume 4551

Denny shares anecdotes from his long career in show business
Shared with ERBzine by Denny and Nancy Miller ~ Illustrated by Bill Hillman
1. Tarzan X-Rated?
2. I Love Lucy Too
3. "Do you know where I slept last night?"
(Giving Katherine Hepburn a Surf Lesson)

For more in the series go to:

Denny and Nancy

"Denny Miller Flashbacks" is an ongoing feature in ERBzine
in which Denny will share a different anecdote each week on this page.
Readers are reminded to join us here each Friday for a new Miller flashback.

Not all librarians read.
ERBzine Aug 9-15 Episode

Los Angeles means the City of Angels.  Who else but the City of Angels would ban all Tarzan books from its public libraries because some librarian claimed the books were x-rated.  Why?  According to this librarian, Tarzan and Jane were not married.

On page 314 of "The Return of Tarzan," Jane and Tarzan tie the knot.  Yep, it's right there, on page 314.  Would a librarian ban a series of books he or she had never read?  This one did!

To quote James Thurber in his book "The 13 Clocks," "If you have nothing better to do, you are somewhat less than much, and only a little more than anything."  I bet this  particular librarian was so colorful, he or she could disappear in a crowd of two.

During this ban, Edgar Rice Burroughs received a request from a Mrs. A. Nicely for a set of Tarzan books for the Tarzana Library.  Burroughs replied that since the main library had banned his work, he could not grant her request.

He also  wrote, "I also feel that books the Los Angeles Public Library believe might contaminate the morals or literary tastes of their readers should not be tolerated in Tarzana, and when we consider that some hundred million readers all over the world have already been contaminated, we should exert every effort to keep Los Angeles the one bright spot in the literary firmament." 

I know  I would gotten along great with Edgar!

Newspaper Clipping: December 28, 1961

10 Stupid Reasons


A Lucille Ball Flashback
ERBzine Aug 2-8 Episode
"Play ball!" said the director said to me and Lucille Ball

We were making a TV commercial for the game "SLAP BACK."  It was one of those games where you batted a tiny ball back and forth by spinning several small dowels with a bunch of tiny paddles attached at right angles to the pole.  Your opponent does the same from the opposite side of the table.  Points are scored when you batted the ball or puck into the goal at the end of the playing table at the same time your foe is trying to stop you from scoring.  SLAM BACK!

It was back in the day, before games were played just with your thumbs and you actually faced a real live opponent. You had to have eye-hand coordination.

They got the shot of the two of us playing and Lucy won.  She was good and it was also in the script.

The last shot was the two of us standing side by side, with Lucy selling the game.  Her last line was, "Isn't that right, Coach?" And she gave me a jab in the ribs.  That wasn't in the script.  Each time we rehearsed it, the jabs got a little harder.

The director asked if Lucy was ready to shoot and she said yes.  She looked up at me and asked, "Am I hitting you too hard?"

I leaned down and whispered "If you hear me break wind, you'll know."

Lucy couldn't continue for awhile.  Why?  Her laughter got in the way.

I was nine feet tall!  This "Ball of Fire", that made millions laugh, millions of times, I got her to laugh once!

I don't think they sold many games.  Slam Back is not a household name.  But Lucille Ball is.  I know I will always cherish the evening I played with that Ball!




"Do you know where I slept last night?"
A Katherine Hepburn Flashback
ERBzine July 26-Aug 1 Episode 

I was speechless! That is how I was when Katherine Hepburn, stunning in a knit bathing suit, greeted my brother and me.  We were standing at the front door of her Malibu beach house.  Without waiting for us to answer, she continued. "Right there on the board floor.  Beds are highly over-rated, don't you think?"

Meeting my favorite actress face-to-bathing suit was very exciting.  So was the conversation over a light lunch she had prepared.  The photographer, a French Count,  was a good friend of Miss Hepburn's and had arranged a photo shoot.  During lunch, they talked about Winnie (Winston Churchill), Marlon (Brando) and Spencer (Tracy) while my brother, Kent, and I tried to eat celery sticks quietly, so we wouldn't miss a word.

Then off the Count, Kent and I went off to the beach for the shoot.  Miss Hepburn joined us, still in her bathing suit.   "Do you guys body surf?"  she asked.   Kent and I looked at how the waves were breaking and explained that it was not a good day for body surfing. The waves were breaking too close to the beach.   "Oh, let's try."  she said as she grabbed each of us by the arm and marched us into the ocean.  When we got waist deep I said, "This is really not a good ..." But she was gone, trying to catch the wave.

All we could see was the bottom of her feet and her behind, as the wave crashed her face into the sand.   The newspaper headline that flashed through my head was "Katherine Hepburn breaks her neck when two dummies try to teach her to body surf!"  She was spitting sand when Kent and I grabbed her by the arms and carried her to the beach. "I must have done something terribly wrong.  Let's try that again."  We made it clear that "surfing lessons" were over and thanked her for lunch and drove home in a cloud.  By the way, did I mention she was wearing a knit bathing suit?!


Don't Go Near The Water, Kate!


Denny Miller was born in Bloomington, Indiana, where his father, Ben Miller, was a physical education instructor at Indiana University. He and his brother, Kent, began playing basketball almost from the day they were born. It was at University High School in Los Angeles where Denny and Kent came to the attention of coach John Wooden. They were given full-ride scholarships to UCLA. In his senior year, Denny was discovered on Sunset Boulevard by a talent agent, who signed him with MGM. His first role was a bit part in Some Came Running (1958), starring Dean Martin. 

He then became the first blond Tarzan in Tarzan, the Ape Man (1959).  MGM had him under contract for 20 months; in that time he worked eight weeks as "Tarzan". After that he did guest spots on a string of TV series, finally becoming a regular on "Wagon Train" (1957) as Duke Shannon (his name was then Scott Miller). In 1964 he appeared in two episodes of "Gilligan's Island" and in  the following two years he starred with Juliet Prowse in "Mona McCluskey"

In the decades to follow he was signed for countless appearances in movies, television and commercials (he was the "Gorton Fisherman" for years). He has worked with scores of other well-known actors. He is especially fond of thinking back to his role with Peter Sellers in the hilarious film, The Party. A partial filmography of Denny's roles is featured at IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base). He has also written books on his years in show business, as well as books on health and fitness ~ an amazing career and person. For more on Denny see our other ERBzine features (below) and visit his Denny Miller Website.



Click for full-size promo collage poster

ERBzine 1480
ERBzine 1959
Denny Miller Photo Gallery
Tarzan Centennial Convention at Bridgewater College
Tarzan the Ape Man 1959
Denny Celebrates Tarzan's Centennial
The Denny Miller / ERB Stamp Connection


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