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In 1941, I gave up a magazine-sales route and got a steady job on a newspaper route. I started to save my earnings from this job to make my first great safari -- to Tarzana, California. At that time, I believed that Edgar Rice Burroughs was still living in Tarzana. I didn't realize that he had moved to Hawaii.
I had learned that one of my high-school teachers took a group of students each summer on a sightseeing motor trip throughout the West, including Washington, Oregon, California, and Arizona. He usually spent two months or more on the trip. I saw this as a great opportunity to meet and visit with Edgar Rice Burroughs, so I signed up to join the group on the trip during the summer vacation of 1942. That gave me almost a year to save enough money for the trip.
In the spring of 1942, this "news" item appeared in our high-school newspaper. The last paragraph mentions the planned trip to meet Burroughs. The first paragraph states that I had an oil painting and a pencil sketch "both autographed by Edgar Rice Burroughs," but this was not true. These were the pencil sketch signed by Burne Hogarth and the watercolor painting by John Coleman Burroughs, as I mentioned in Chapter V.
The three films listed were from the silent era. These were parts of Tarzan of the Apes in 16 mm, two with Elmo Lincoln and one with Gordon Griffith. Great stuff for a young Tarzan fan. I learned from the news item not to believe everything newspaper reporters wrote. Just because it appears in print does not always make it the truth.
Plans To Visit Ed Burroughs
By ED VARIO
WARREN HARDING HI-LITES
March 13, 1942
Because he liked the character of Tarzan and was anxious to start a hobby, Bob Hyde, 11A, started saving in 1933, everything he could get that had to do with Tarzan. Since that time, he has collected 21 full length novels, 13 "Big Little" books, many dime novels, and funny books, three 100-foot films with sound, clothes, and jungle equipment, an original oil painting and pencil sketch both autographed by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Bob has won three prizes with different Tarzan costumes, one of which was the Mardi Gras costume, pictured above.
He also is planning to take a trip to Tarzana, California with Harold Hulme this summer, where he hopes to visit Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Alas, the trip to California and a meeting with Burroughs were not to be. The Japanese caused a change of plans. When the summer vacation of 1942 came, gasoline was in very limited supply, with rationing of the fuel (as well as tires) f or every automobile owner. This and many other problems did not permit us to make the trip.
So, as a partial replacement, the teacher agreed to take five of us on a train trip to New York City instead. I decided not to let this opportunity go by. Since I had received the drawing of Tarzan from Burne Hogarth the previous year, I made plans to extend the scheduled events to do some of my own exploring and visit him.
So, early in June we boarded a Pennsylvania Railroad train for an overnight journey to Gotham City. After a couple of days, when I had learned the subway system, I struck out on my own. I didn't have Hogarth's home address, only the office address for United Feature Syndicate. I headed there to start my search.
I became friendly with the office receptionist/telephone-switchboard girl, but she wasn't allowed to reveal the addresses of artists. I had thought that perhaps Hogarth did his art work at the Syndicate office, but I was told that he did not. (A few years later, I discovered that Rex Maxon, then the artist on the daily Tarzan strip, often did work at the office, and I had a great visit there with him.)
After three days of making a pest of myself with the receptionist, she finally broke down and told me to look in the Manhattan telephone directory for Hogarth's home address. His address was listed as being in the upper 50s, on the west side of Central Park. I didn't want to risk being turned down for a visit, so I decided to go directly there, without phoning ahead.
Off again I went by subway. Since Manhattan is generally laid out with numbered streets and avenues, it was easy to get around. There was a subway stop only a couple of blocks from his street, which was lined with apartment buildings. I walked along it, looking for his number. Up ahead of me was a tall building that I thought could be his address. In a corner window on about the fifth floor, I saw a man seated at what looked like a table, apparently working at it. I said to myself, "If I were a betting man, I would bet that is Hogarth right there, working on Tarzan." The closer I got to the building, the more I talked myself into believing that it was Hogarth. Sure enough, that building turned out to have the street number listed for him. I checked the building directory, and indeed he was listed on the floor where the man was working at the corner window. I was now more convinced than ever that I had already seen Burne Hogarth.
I rode the elevator up to his floor, rang the bell, and waited. He came to the door, but of course didn't know who I was nor what I wanted. He probably thought I was a bill collector. I told him I had written to him the year before, and showed him the drawing he had sent me and convinced him that I was a Tarzan fan, and a Hogarth fan. He then invited me in to visit. This was indeed the man I had seen in the window as I walked along the street. His "studio" was the corner of his living room, with windows on the north and east sides. On his drawing board was a partially drawn Sunday page (#594 for July 26, 1942), and nearby was the cover drawing for Sparkler Comics Number 14 that he had been working on. He also had a photostat of an earlier Sunday page that was partially colored. The coloring was very detailed, not just a color guide. The Sunday page drawings were very rough pencil sketches. He didn't draw the details in pencil, but later with pen and brush. We talked of many things and I watched him draw for about three hours. I was surprised to learn that he was left-handed. This wouldn't surprise me today, since I have known several other good artists who also are left-handed, but it did then. I remember at that meeting that he smoked a pipe during the entire visit, and that his tobacco humidor had been made from the hoof of a rhinoceros.
I have visited with him perhaps ten other times, and always he went out of his way to indulge my youthful admiration. He said, just lately, that he thinks I was the first fan of his to visit him. He doesn't remember anyone before me.
In later years, I visited with several of the other artists who drew Tarzan, but Burne Hogarth was the first. The first always recalls special memories.
On this trip to New York, I found a news stand at Times Square that carried many out-of-town newspapers. I don't remember now just how I knew. which newspaper to buy, but I found one that was printing the John Carter of Mars Sunday page. I hadn't seen nor heard of this feature before. I was able to get two different pages for my collection at that time.
So, in spite of the cancelled California trip, I managed to extend my collecting hobby into new, uncharted areas.Copyright (c) 1985 by Clarence B. Hyde
This time I will not continue with my Odyssey, but instead will step back a couple of years.
The picture on page 3 shows what I looked like at age 15. As I have mentioned in earlier chapters, I lived near a heavily wooded area, and had built some tree huts in the trees there. In order to get really into the feel of this Tarzan obsession, I dressed the part. On many a summer day I would look like this picture, both in the woods near home and at the cottage on Lake Erie. I had several such outfits as I grew in size. Looking back on it now, it was a grand time. Ah, the joys of (misspent) youth.
The Letter to the Editor reproduced on page 3 was printed in Amazing Stories for March, 1941. I had read the story John Carter and the Giant of Mars when it appeared in the January 1941 issue of Amazing Stories. I had also read this same story as a Big Little Book that had been published several months earlier. When I read it in Amazing, I thought there was a "different" feel to it but I did not think that Edgar Rice Burroughs hadn't written it. The story was printed under the Burroughs by-line, and I thought that Ray Palmer certainly wouldn't have printed it if it were not written by Burroughs.
This letter was written by Jack Daley, now one of the Three from Thuria. It made a great impression on me when I first read it. I didn't know Jack at that time, of course. But I thought he must have great insight to have analyzed the story, and to have expressed his thoughts about it so well. Jack's analysis of The Giant gave me second thoughts about it. I already knew that Burroughs did not write the story line for the daily Tarzan strip nor for the Sunday Tarzan page, nor for the Tarzan movies, all of which carried his name. The memory of this letter stayed back in a remote corner of my mind all through the years. In later chapters I will refer again to this letter.
This was the only letter Palmer published concerning the authorship of The Giant, although Irwin Porges says that several such letters were sent to Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. expressing somewhat the same opinions.(c)Copyright 1986 Clarence B. Hyde
In 1943 I decided to enroll in an art class in high school. Naturally, my artistic efforts were directed toward Burroughs-related items. When it was time to make a costume for the school Mardi Gras Ball, I thought I had dressed as Tarzan often enough, so I constructed an Indian outfit and went as Shoz-Dijiji, and again won first prize. I patterned my costume after the Studley Burroughs dust jacket for Apache Devil, and painted the same blue and white design on my face.
One of my next projects was to draw the scene J. Allen St. John had done for the dust jacket of Tarzan and the Golden Lion.
First I drew the whole picture in pencil, then painted Jad-Bal-Ja and the scroll a golden yellow. The lettering of TARZAN I painted a bright red. This covered all my pencil work on the lion, so I had to do that over again. I then traced over all the pencil lines with black ink. It took me about three months of effort to complete this drawing. My picture is about 20 by 18 inches. I had it reduced in size. and used it as part of my letterhead, as shown here on the left.
Several years later, I had an opportunity to compare my drawing alongside the St. John original for the dust jacket, owned by Stanleigh Vinson. Although St. John's drawing is overall larger, since his lettering layout is different from mine, I discovered that my figures of Tarzan and Jad-Bal-Ja were the exact size as his.
My art teacher apparently thought I had done a great job on this, because he had it hung at the entrance to the auditorium on high-school graduation night.
This drawing now hangs on the wall in my library, over my reading chair. But that was the extent of my art work. I haven't tried anything like it since.
Early in 1943, I started to reread as many of the books in my collection as I could. I read all the Tarzan and Mars novels, but none beyond that.
I enlisted in the U. S. Navy in May of 1943, and was sent home to await high school graduation. A few days after graduation, I again traveled by train to New York City, and another visit with Burne Hogarth. This time I called ahead and didn't have to explore the city to find his apartment.
Darrell Richardson mentioned in his autobiographical essay that he had written to book publishers requesting dust jackets for his book collection. I had not done that, but on the 1943 trip to New York I found the office and warehouse of Grosset and Dunlap. Like Darrell, I asked them for a stack of dust jackets. Since my own copies had become somewhat worn from handling, I wanted to replace them. I was a little surprised that Grosset and Dunlap gave them to me free, since I had gone there expecting to buy them. The girt at the front desk acted as though this were not an unusual request at all.
I returned home to find my orders from the Navy to report to Yale University on July 1st, so I wrapped each of my books and packed my whole collection into boxes to be stored in the attic.
This assignment with the Navy didn't stop my collecting the Sunday Tarzan pages. Several newspapers sold in New Haven carried the page, so I had no trouble keeping up. In addition, I found that the New Haven newspaper was also printing the Tarzan daily strip, and I was able to resume that collection.
In November of 1943, I made a trip from New Haven to New York for yet another visit with Burne Hogarth. On the Sunday I arrived, he had plans to visit the American Museum of Natural History. He wanted to check something there, so we rode the subway to the museum. He found an exhibit of a mounted wild African boar and made some sketches of it for reference. This wild boar then showed up in the Tarzan Sunday pages for February 20 and 27, 1944 (#676 and #677) This same wild boar also appeared on the cover illustration for Sparkler Comics #83 (September-October, 1948). I could see that our visit to the museum had paid off.
Looking back at 1943, I believe it was a great turning point in my life, just as it must also have been for thousands of others.
WEBJED: BILL HILLMAN
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