Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute and Weekly Webzine Site
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That was the welcome message to fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs that appeared in the October issue of Science Fiction Monthly. For many, it heralded a new beginning in their lives, to share and communicate with others that enjoyed reading his books. And this is the story of how for some of us, it all began...
The British ERB Society welcomes membership.The Society was founded to bring together by means of its quarterly journal ‘Burroughsiana’, all persons who are sincerely interested in the life and works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Its aims are to keep alive the memory and works of the author, to make known to its members the author’s lesser known works, to assist members in completing their collections through the ERB Want List, to hold a general meeting once a year, and to put members in touch with other fans throughout the world.
The year was 1972. That summer, our family took its annual holiday in the coastal Yorkshire town of Scarborough. It would turn out to be eternally special to us as it would be the last summer we would get to spend with our father. A couple of years earlier I had read two books titled Lost on Venus and Escape on Venus by an author named Edgar Rice Burroughs. Aware that they were a part of a series, I looked in vain, in book store after book store searching for the missing volumes to complete the story. There were no second hand book stores near me, had there been, my father would have discovered that overpowering urge his son had found to not just read all the books by this author that had me hooked, but an eventual lifelong association with the works of a man that gave us Tarzan, John Carter and so much more.
On a bright summer day, while taking a break from the beach, I wandered through the town, the sea air still fresh in the nostrils from the coastal breeze. As I had become accustomed to looking through book stores, it was not unusual to find myself in one on this particular occasion. My first point of call was as always, had come to be the science fiction / fantasy stand where so many times before I had made that seemingly futile search for more books by a man called Burroughs. Imagine then my overwhelming delight to not only come across just one new book, Mastermind of Mars, but next to it were the other stories from the Martian series too all issued by the New English Library publisher. Then, further down the shelf I discovered that which I had been looking for so long, the other Venus volumes. At last I could read more adventures of Carson and Duare as they travelled together across the cloud covered planet that teemed with life and encountering adventure after adventure whether they looked for it or not. My father passed away the following May just two days before my 18th birthday due to heart failure.
Around the same time and unknown to me, on the other side of London to where I lived, two friends had sent out invitations to a group of people that they either knew personally or were aware of them. By acquaintance, they knew that they had a similar interest in Edgar Rice Burroughs, and asked that they should join them one evening for a meeting in a pub in Ealing, London.
Rod Jackson had been hooked on Burroughs at the tender age of 12 and would later discover and subscribe to fanzines such as ERBania and ERBdom. He decided to publish his own zine and wrote letters to various parties asking for contributions or permission to reproduce their material. One of these letters was to Four Square books that had begun publishing Burroughs work in the late 1950s. Gordon Landsborough was the founder for Four Square and would later publish the Dragon books, personally abridging several Mars and Tarzan stories for younger children. He replied to Rod and happily gave him permission to include art by Josh Kirby. He also gave him the name of another fan that he thought may be of interest, and his name was Frank Westwood.
Shortly after these two men had met and would eventually become lifelong friends, Rod published his first fanzine titled Zor in the late summer of 1969. It was a small, 16 page publication that included a two page spread with examples of Kirby’s cover work along with a short biography and a list of the Burroughs titles that included his cover illustrations. As things turned out, it was to be a one shot issue fanzine due to the fact he was not happy with the final result, plus he found himself working away from home for the next four years, by which point the Society was already underway.
Frank Westwood had been introduced to Burroughs by a school friend named Joe Corrigan who was reading a book from the school library titled At the Earth’s Core. Like others before and after, he eagerly sought out other books from this master of adventure and escapism and was soon subscribing to fanzines published in the U.S. Even at this early stage, Frank was fascinated by the Mars series and began writing what he planned to be a definitive encyclopaedia that he titled, The Martian Manuscripts of Edgar Rice Burroughs. He began delving deeper and deeper into Burroughs making contact with publishers Four Square / New English Library where he met Landsborough and also one of their artists, Jim Baikie. At this time, most of Jim’s work was for comic books specially written for young girls and had attended the 1968 Comic Con in Birmingham where by coincidence, they had an Edgar Rice Burroughs themed "midnight Dum-Dum" on the Saturday night.
Richard (Dick) Ellingsworth’s association with ERB began when he was just fifteen years old and one Saturday upon leaving his local cinema after watching an episode of Flash Gordon, found that he had just missed his bus home. Instead of waiting for the next bus, he decided to walk home and happened across a copy of the comic, Tarzan Adventures on the newsstand at the station. However, it wasn’t Tarzan that caught his eye, but a story called "Sojan the Swordsman" written by a certain Michael J Moorcock. Mike was already a big fan of ERB and had produced several issues of his fanzine called Burroughsania when he decided to contact the then editor of the comic for an interview. Mike was unimpressed with the man he met and referred to him as a hack when he wrote his ensuing article chronicling the interview. Not surprisingly the editor was outraged but his assistant, Alistair Graham, contacted Mike and said that he was spot on with his assessment. Graham was later to become the editor but had his own plans for moving on and suggested to Mike that he apply for the role of assistant. Within four months Mike was promoted to editor of Tarzan Adventures, still at the tender age of 17 and began his tenure with issue 25 of volume 7. Dick contacted Mike after seeing the Sojan story and the two became fast friends. Several of Dick’s letters to Tarzan Adventures appeared in the mailbag section with his own suggestions of what they might think of including in future issues of the comic. The two would also get to co-write a short story that appeared in issue 23, volume 8. By the time Mike had published issue 17 of Burroughsania, he was ready to pass the stencils onto his friend Dick, but the new editor found time only to put together one issue due to beginning a full time job and other commitments that fills the life of a young man.
Paul Privitera grew up on American comic books of Batman and Superman that would filter into our stores at random such that one could never collect full runs. But it wasn’t just the stories that he was engrossed in, but the different styles of art that really caught his attention. In his early teens he began reading the aforementioned Dragon books featuring Burroughs stories and became hooked. In his own distinctive style, he began drawing scenes from the novels and sent off a few examples to Caz Cazedessus publisher of ERB-dom and was delighted to see his work in print. Paul was amongst the group that was contacted by Rod and Frank and later invited to join the Society as their art editor.
Paul Norman also began reading Burroughs at a young age but it was the appealing covers of the Four Square books that grabbed his attention. One of those early editions gave a list of ERB fan clubs that eventually gave him the name of Frank Westwood. The two made contact and along with Rod Jackson, met up that night for the first time in Ealing.
The inaugural meeting at the Three Pigeons public house in Ealing took place one evening on the 25th May 1974. The group of about a dozen fans also included Ted Ball and Dave Gibson who together, had recently set up a bookstore called Fantasy Centre. As the evening progressed, it was decided that a society should be formed and publish a journal to spread the enthusiasm for ERB’s work to others. Amongst themselves, they organised a committee with Jackson as Chairman, Ellingsworth as editor, Westwood became the secretary, Privitera offered his skills as art editor and Norman wanted the position of librarian.
The first order of business was to make themselves known to the wider public. Earlier that year, New English Library (NEL) had begun publishing a magazine called Science Fiction Monthly. Printed on a mixture of glossy colour pages and newspaper style pulp, it consisted of 32 pages measuring 43cm x 28cm (17” x 11”) of wide ranging aspects of science fiction. For the October issue (Vol. 1 No. 10), Frank wrote a three page biography of Burroughs with supporting photos plus a full page colour photo of the cover from the Amazing Stories issue devoted to ERB’s novella, depicting Skeleton Men of Jupiter. There was also an advertisement by the newly formed British ERB Society welcoming membership for the princely sum of £1.50.
On October 31st, 1974, the committee held their first official meeting at Frank’s home in Acton, London. Frank reported that to date, they had forty members, but this also included eleven people that they had already designated as being honorary. The minutes of that meeting contained interesting plans that most of its members would never be made aware of because basically, they never happened. Frank had reported that he had received a letter from Hulbert Burroughs stating that ERB Inc. was proposing to publish a book with ERB’s so far unpublished work. There was the suggestion that Paul Privitera could draw a comic strip based on ERB's The Lost Continent to celebrate the upcoming centenary of ERB. Plus, apart from planning for a convention the following year and a possible trip to Greystoke Castle, the idea of chartering a flight to California for members in the UK was also thrown into the discussion. Grand plans indeed!
By late 1974, the Society had produced its first publication, a small eight page A5 (approx. 8” x 6”) newsletter with cover art by Jim Cawthorn. Titled as, ‘On the road to Kaol’, the artwork was originally scheduled to appear on the cover of the 19th edition of Burroughsania – but as that issue never materialised, Dick offered it to the Society that was gladly accepted. Inside the issue was a list of the committee members and their roles, plus they laid out their plans for the quarterly journal, the re-spelt Burroughsiana (which due to a mistake was always its intended spelling). True to their promise of making more of Burroughs work available to its members, it had acquired a number of copies of the Tom Stacey editions. There were eight titles in all, the Moon trilogy in one volume, the first two Pellucidar novels, the Land That Time Forgot trilogy again bound in one volume, War Chief and Apache Devil as separate books, plus Jungle Girl and Tarzan’s Quest with more planned at a later date but for professional reasons, this never came about as Stacey had moved onto other things.
Paul Norman’s role as librarian was to not only keep the fans abreast of new Burroughs books being published, but there was also some discussion about setting up a reference library. The ‘ERB in Print’ appeared in different formats, sometimes as an insert, other times it was a part of either the journal or newsletter, and sometimes Paul sent it out to members as a separate publication. On occasion, Paul would share his own skill as an artist publishing several of his own pieces of art. From September 1st until the 20th, 1975, Paul organised a commemorative display of Burroughs works at the Stevenage Central Library to mark the centenary of the author’s birth that was well received by the public.
After months of waiting, members finally received their first issue of Burroughsiana. It was a 24-page, saddle stapled A4 (approx. 12” x 8”) publication with front and back cover artwork from Paul Privitera. Frank Westwood had become assistant editor as well as secretary, and Rod Jackson became the printer at the last minute.
The issue contains work from each of the committee members with articles on Burroughs life, The Outlaw of Torn, Dian the Beautiful and news from the newly released film, The Land That Time Forgot.
After just two issues of the Newsletter, the Society changed the name of its news information publication to The Anotar and also increased its size from A5 to A4. Now side stapled, it gave them the flexibility to use any number of desired pages.
One of the aims of the Society was to reprint The Martian comic strip that had appeared in the boys’ comic, Sun Weekly. Published consecutively over a 31 week period beginning on October 25th, 1958 in issue number #507, it finally concluded on May 3rd, 1959 in issue number #537.
Following faithfully close to the original storyline of, A Princess of Mars, the artist deviated only in the number of limbs Burroughs had given the various life forms of Barsoom. The Tharks and Warhoons now had just two arms, as did the white apes, the thoats had four legs and Woola, Carter’s faithful hound had been reduced to just six legs. Unfortunately the reprinting of The Martian was to be the beginning of a growing disagreement amongst the committee not least of which was the cost involved for their publications. By the time Burroughsiana issue one had been printed, nearly all of the treasury funds had been depleted and its members would still be expecting three more issues to fulfil the subscription they had paid. Now they were reprinting The Martian single sided, doubling the paper and postage costs, friction was growing ever fast in their ranks.
In late June 1976, members of the Society received an unexpected letter from Dick Ellingsworth. It would appear that Frank had moved out of his home in Acton and for a short time, shared an apartment with Dick from September the previous year until February. During this period, Dick had fallen ill and spent several weeks in hospital leaving Frank to take care of the Society’s business in his absence. Upon his return home, Dick discovered that he had received several letters that had not been passed onto him and a serious argument broke out between the two. Things between the two men became so strained that in the end, Dick asked Frank to find other lodgings. Apart from the letters, the disagreement over the Society’s publication of The Martian arose. According to Dick, it had been ready to send to subscribers for several weeks but for reasons unknown, had been held back. He certified this argument by pointing out that at least one London dealer had copies for six weeks prior to the fans getting theirs. As the Society had close ties with Fantasy Centre, it can be assumed / guessed at, that this was the dealer that Dick was referring to.
After Frank had moved out, Dick attempted to call a meeting with the other committee members to resolve the problems that had arisen. Whether the other members had already decided on which side of the fence they were sitting on or not, but Dick received little response to his call and found that they were not interested in getting together with him. The one contact he did still have was with Rod Jackson who informed him that the second issue of Burroughsiana was ready for publication. This news served only to inflame Dick even further as he claimed ownership of the title, having been given to him years beforehand by Mike Moorcock and decided that the Society could no longer have permission to use it. Perhaps it was a rash statement by Ellingsworth, but he announced in his letter that it was his intention to continue to publish Burroughsiana as an independent magazine not related to the Society. The letter by Ellingsworth and the accompanying catalogue turned out to be his swan song as he was never heard from again by his former colleagues.
As a footnote to the Dick Ellingsworth story, several years later a seller appeared on eBay by the name of REllingsworth and was selling several Burroughs items. Believing this could be the same man, Frank made contact with the seller hoping to heal old wounds only to be informed that the seller was Dick’s nephew and he was selling his uncle’s books as he had passed away a few months earlier. However, Frank may have been duped by this news as a recent search on the internet reveals that Dick actually passed away as recently as 2010 aged 67 after suffering from a long illness. It would appear that some feelings ran long and deep. For those interested, Ellingsworth had written the first part of what was meant to be a series of his early fandom experiences in the ninth issue of the online fanzine, Prolapse at efanzines.com. http://www.efanzines.com/Prolapse/Prolapse09.pdf Unfortunately he passed away before finishing his account that one may speculate it would have shed more light on his time with the Society.
In the Summer of 1976, members of the Society received a new journal, only this time it was not issue 2 of Burroughsiana, but the first issue of the Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Apart from a passing mention in the foreword and an accompanying letter, that they had suffered from some ‘real and very serious problems’, and that the Anotar and their journal, Fantastic Worlds of ERB were now the only authorised publications of the Society, no further word was spoken of the departure of Dick Ellingsworth. Interestingly, Paul Privitera’s name was also noticeable by its absence from the list of committee members. A coincidence? Was he another casualty of the fall-out or did he simply just move onto other things in his life will remain a subject of speculation as he is unwilling to discuss his association with the Society and denies any knowledge of its existence.
Footnote: Paul recently passed away and thereby taking his reasons to the grave with him.
The next year, Pinewood Studios held an open day that attracted thousands of people from across the country. News of this event reached Frank late in the day such that he was unable to send out a newsletter in time to invite all members along. He did however manage to make contact by telephone to a number of fans that included Frank Shonfeld and artist Jim Cawthorn. By prior arrangement, they were to meet with John Dark, producer of the film The People That Time Forgot, in his office. While they were waiting, actor Doug McClure entered the room and after introductions were made, he gave them a personal tour of the set. Several years later, Frank was able to secure a number of props from the film that included pterodactyls, banners carried by the Nargas warriors, the City of Skulls (actually a plaster cast model measuring approx 450mm [18”] square), and the 6.7 metre (22 feet) long iron mole. A public information film of the open day is available at: http://www.movietone.com/N_POPUP_Player.cfm?action=playVideo&assetno=105503 with particular attention for ERB fans at the 6min. 20 sec mark.
When the Society formed its committee, it was evident that they were split in a north south divide with four of them, Ellingsworth, Westwood, Norman and Privitera residing in the south of the country, while Jackson lived in Stockport near Manchester, approximately 200 miles to the north west of London. The committee speculated on holding a convention but realised that its members too were spread out across the country and may not have wanted to travel great distances for just a few hours get-together. With that in mind, Rod Jackson contacted several members living within reasonable travel distance to himself to see if they would like to meet. As it happened, about six members including a young and enthusiastic Martin Smiddy, an ardent fan of the Tarzan movies, descended on the print shop that Rod was renting at the time in Oldham, a large town on the outskirts of Manchester. Several cine films were shown including a copy of the New Adventures of Tarzan. Unfortunately Rod was never able to find the time for a repeat meeting.
Things had begun to settle down within the Society itself and in late 1977; members of the Society were informed that they were going to have a stand at the Wembley Conference Centre in London. It was to be part of a three day convention called the World of Visual Effects where visitors were promised the chance to see special effects, props and guests from the world of cinema and TV. This was to be my first meeting with Frank Westwood and Rod Jackson and one that I had looked forward to for a long time. Entering the hall, it would not be unfair to say that most visitors would be immediately disappointed by its scarcity in exhibits and the majority of stands that were lack lustre in their content. In comparison, the British ERB Society stand was literally bursting at the seams with its exhibits of posters, books and comics largely supplied by Frank, and props made available to the Society by Amicus productions. That meeting heralded a friendship between Frank and myself that was to last for the next thirty six years until his death.
In early May 1978, Frank received a hastily composed letter from Burne Hogarth announcing that he would be arriving in London after travelling to Paris, with his son Richard. Burne expressed his wish to meet with members of the Society if it was at all possible. At this time the Society was reviving its newsletter that had become apparent by its absence, but now under a new name titled The Panthan. Aside from a few updates of news of the journal that had been delayed due to having to find a new printer, Frank was able to announce Burne’s impending arrival. However, Burne had yet to finalise his hotel details and he was due in London on July 7th. Literally just days before his arrival, Burne called Frank with the arrangements. Knowing that he could never mail out another newsletter in time to members, Frank had to call around to as many members that he had telephone details giving them the time and date.
At the appointed hour, some twenty or so members were waiting in the hotel lounge by the time Burne came down from his room. Accompanying him was his son who at the time was apparently nursing a toothache. A projector magically appeared and while the carousel was being loaded with slides, Burne gave the group a talk of his background and his involvement with the Tarzan books he had illustrated. For the next hour or so, Burne gave this fabulous lecture of his work on Jungle Tales, moving through each slide discussing aspects of what was going through Tarzan’s mind and how he had portrayed those thoughts through his artwork. The audience were mesmerised. Burne then showed his true gift by drawing a profiled picture of Tarzan’s head that began remarkably with the shading away from the front of his face before building the complete picture. In later years, Burne was to upset several artists at the 1992 Louisville Dum-Dum that at the time worked for Semic International on the Tarzan comic, discrediting their abilities and told them to go back to basics. He may not have been diplomatic in the way he said it, but at least he could put his money, or rather the skill of his hand, where his mouth was.
L-R: Doreen Westwood, Peter Ellis, Pete Ogden,
Frank Shonfeld, Jim Cawthorn, John Flint Roy, John Carson
The World Science Fiction convention arrived in the south coast resort of Brighton, England during the summer of 1979. Apart from somehow missing out on seeing special guest Christopher Reeve, or riding in the lift with L. Sprague de Camp and never thinking to ask for his autograph, or even my time spent getting to know a girl in costume with three breasts who was there for the masquerade party, I was there because Frank had arranged with the organisers for a room to be set aside for a couple of hours so that fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs could meet. Together with the likes of Pete Ogden, John Flint Roy, Frank Shonfeld, Peter Beresford Ellis, Jim Cawthorn, Michael Whelan and several other fans whose names have long disappeared in the wake of time, we had a tremendous time. A BBC2 programme of the World Sci-Fi convention (Seacon ’79) event can be viewed on-line at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMga-1TVZWc&feature=youtu.be
By the time issue 9 of Fantastic Worlds of ERB was sent out, the Society’s schedule had been reduced to one issue per year and was about to get worse. Paul Norman had not been able to contribute his own efforts as much as he would have liked because of other commitments such as a new family to attend and an Open University degree course, and praised Frank for doing most of the work for the last two issues. It would be another three years before the next issue was published, only now it was Frank as editor, treasurer, publisher and contributor while his former committee members had slowly gone their separate ways. Although Frank appeared to have a stable of writers, making genuine contributions that would keep the membership continuing their subscription; he was finding it tough going to fill each issue now that he was on his own. Over the next few years, a common characteristic of each issue was its abundance of newspaper cuttings that while informative, gave the impression they were there to bulk out the issue. However, Frank appeared to maintain a loyal membership that ranged between 80 and 120 members that obviously appreciated his efforts.
Nineteen Eighty Four will be best remembered as a title for a bleak and sometimes disturbing futuristic novel written by George Orwell and the release of a Tarzan movie with its longest name to date. Greystoke, The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes was released. Prior to its opening night, Frank managed to get around 20 tickets for Society members to a preview performance at the Warner cinema in Leicester Square, London. After its screening, most of the group retired to one of the nearby fast food restaurants to reflect upon a film of two halves, one of great admiration, the other wondering where did it all go wrong. Unfortunately the screening was a mid-week performance in the early afternoon and as I had to get back to the office just a couple of hundred metres away, I was unable to join them.
In early 1985, it was announced by George McWhorter that he was going to host a three day event for Burroughs fans in Louisville, KY. Frank Shonfeld was once again going to be a guest of honour (he had been in Toronto the previous year and an ECOF event was held in his honour. ECOF was an acronym for Edgar Rice Burroughs Chain of Friendship that Frank Shonfeld had created to describe the friends he was in regular correspondence with), and this was to be the second such convention. There is some doubt over the numbering of these events as Bill Ross hosted a similar event at his home in 1983 and decided that that was truly the first ECOF. However as Frank Shonfeld was not at that event, nor was ECOF ever mentioned, the waters become a little murky.
Frank Westwood suggested to Ken Hall (another regular visitor to Frank’s home in north London) and myself, that the Society could to be represented at the gathering if we were interested in joining him and his wife Doreen. Preparations were quickly made and our quartet flew first to Orlando, Florida and then drove up to Kentucky taking in a few sights along the way. From the Society’s point of view, it was a great opportunity to meet with many of its overseas members for the first time. From our point of view, it was just such a fabulous period that we basked in its afterglow in the days that followed.
Our trip to the U.S. gave Frank the impetus he needed and had hoped to do ever since the Society began, to hold a convention for its members. It was around this time that Frank was able to secure several props from the film The People That Time Forgot and how the 6.7m long iron mole ended up in the front garden of their home. The theme of the event revolved around the fictitious centenary birth of Tarzan (1888 – 1988) and a planned visit to Greystoke Castle. Proceedings began at the home of Frank and Doreen with a welcome party, many of whom had come from the U.S. and across Europe to join in the festivities. It was followed the next day by a visit to a model museum, a tour of the nearby seaside town of Rye and afternoon tea in the 400 year old home of Ian Peters, another lifelong friend of Frank’s.
The main events of the convention really began however with the 300 mile coach journey from London to Greystoke, in Cumbria. Lord Howard greeted the group that had grown considerably with members living in the north of England able to join us, and took us on a tour of the grounds that surrounded the castle. The makers of the 1984 film Greystoke had visited the castle as a possible location but decided that it was not grand enough and in the end went to Floors Castle, Edinburgh instead. The group returned later that evening with the theme tune from the film piped through the coach just as we approached the inner gardens. We settled down for a marvellous banquet dinner held in the great hall that had a huge staircase at one end, its walls decorated with portraits of the family ancestors looking down upon us all. After dinner speeches were made and Pete Ogden was presented with a lifetime achievement award for his services to ERB fandom.
In the years that followed, Frank received many inquiries as to whether he would host another convention. For many of the fans that live in England, the expense was too much to bear to attend events in the U.S., particularly as many have families – and the idea of leaving them behind is a notion that few would entertain. As it happened, news came through that Burne Hogarth had passed away in the early part of 1997. After Frank Shonfeld had died, a tree was planted in a sustainable forest in his memory and with that in mind, Frank wanted to do the same for Burne but in a more fitting location. He called Neville Howard and asked if there was some place in the village of Greystoke that he might suggest. Lord Howard immediately offered a place within the inner grounds of the castle would be an ideal setting.
The event was well attended by fans from across the length and breadth of the country, joined by others from the U.S., Norway, Spain and France. Rain however was a great hindrance, washing out the planned barbecue at the home of Frank and Doreen, the torrential weather endured travelling north to Greystoke, and the constant drizzle marring the tree planting ceremony. But the weather did not spoil it for everyone and were still able to enjoy the occasion. During our dinner at the castle, Frank was able to surprise Marcia Lincoln Rudolf (surviving daughter of Elmo Lincoln), by presenting her with a plaque in his memory.
In 2004, Frank published a double issue of Fantastic Worlds that unknowingly would be his last for the next seven years. His wife Doreen had begun to complain of severe migraines and went to see a specialist. Within days she had been diagnosed with a brain tumour that would need surgery if she was to survive. Survive she did but needed the constant care and attention that only Frank could provide. By 2011 Doreen had recovered enough for Frank to consider once again publishing his fanzine. It was reduced in size to A5 format but saddle stitched and a colour front and back cover. His friend of many years Rod Jackson was back to help him this time and even stepped in when Frank suffered with computer problems.
For nearly thirty years Frank was the Society with occasional help from myself and others with printing and collating issues. During those years Frank would correspond regularly with members, have countless phone calls, and with Doreen at his side, would welcome visitors into their home whether it was at the tiny bedsit he had in Streatham, the flat in North London, or the house they later owned in Seven Kings, the door was always open until those final few years as he cared for his wife. At some point during those years, Frank decided to drop the word ‘British’ from the name of the Society because he had more members from outside of the British Isles than within. Few probably noticed the change he had made as it happened without any formal announcement.
During a telephone conversation I had with Frank in late 2012, he mentioned that his doctor had informed him that his heart was in a poor condition. Within two months, Frank was undergoing a triple by-pass procedure and released from hospital a short time later. Unfortunately during this period of convalescence, he suffered a severe stroke from which he would never recover. At age 81, Frank passed away on September 28th.
It was with great sadness and a heavy heart that Rod published issue 6 of The Anotar newsletter announcing Frank’s passing and wrote about his own memories of the man he had met many years earlier and who shared with him the admiration of an author that has had a profound effect on us all.
Today the Society still lives on through the continued efforts of Rod Jackson. With a much smaller circulation list than the one Frank had established during his tenure as editor, the journal and newsletter is now sent mainly to members within the UK. After some deliberation and canvassing amongst members, Rod decided to reinstate the word ‘British’ back into the Society’s name. In all, sixty one issues of Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs, one issue of Burroughsiana, eleven issues of The Anotar, two newsletters, one Panthan newsletter, several issues of ERB in Print in a variety of formats, and one reprint of The Martian have been published to date. Its aims were to bring together the fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, keeping alive his memory and his works. However, its achievements and goals have extended far beyond that, as it has given us wonderful memories of the likes of Frank Shonfeld, Jim Cawthorn, John Flint Roy, Burne Hogarth, Bob Hyde, Danton Burroughs, Dick Ellingsworth, Frank Westwood and many others that have already taken that final pilgrimage down the River Iss and have become a part of the folklore of this Burroughs fandom.
They still live.
Dedicated to the memory of Francis Henry Westwood 16/08/32 – 28/09/2013
ERBzine Features Related to Laurence's Article
Fantastic Worlds 1
Frank Westwood Collection
All Issues Reprinted: Nos. 1-53
Lost On Venus
Escape On Venus
The Master Mind of Mars
At the Earth's Core
Skeleton Men of Jupiter
Beyond Thirty (Lost Continent)
The Moon Maid
The Land That Time Forgot
The War Chief
A Princess of Mars
UK Hardcover Editions
UK ERB Editions _ II _ 4-Square
FANTASTIC WORLDS OF ERB
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