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The highway led east through the deserts, canyonlands and mountains of California, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado to our next important destination --- Evergreen CO, home of Camille "Caz" Cazedessus and his Hugo Award winning ERB-dom. There, perched high atop a hill, I found Caz ensconced in his eagle's aerie. After extending courtesies, Caz ushered us into his fantastic ERB collection room. I was awed by his incredible long wall of floor-to-ceiling books. Multiple copies of every edition, every printing and every publisher. Many signed books designated by gold stars on the spines. A wealth of foreign editions. Toys, games, doodads galore. Truly, this was a King Solomon's Mines of Burroughsiana. I remember Caz saying something to the effect of "there are probably only a few hundred people in the world who really care or realize what a collection like this means." Caz treated us to a few stories about the behind-the-scenes production of ERB-dom, shared some rare books and collecting tales, and then it was on to the business at hand. The purchase I had come to make! My half of the complete set of first editions which Joe Lukes and I were going halves on. I couldn't wait to lay my eyes on them. Caz brought them out in a box and soon they were mine. Now I couldn't wait to get them home! Hasty goodbyes were said, hands shaken, and soon my patient pal, Dave Petzold, and I were on the road to Milwaukee. Stowed in the hold, along with the books, were a couple of cases of Rocky Mountain Coor's beer -- a rare treasure back then, east of the Mississippi.
Caz with his awesome ERB collection, June 1972, Evergreen, CO.
In 1973 I felt a need to write about my favorite hobby. The result was an article titled "The Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs" published in the August-September issue of Long John Latham's Collector's World magazine located in Conroe, TX. The article was an overview of Burroughs' writing, his continuing wide appeal, and a look at the various editions of his books with an eye to identification and current market value. The black & white photographs featured books from my personal collection, including several first editions I'd purchased from Caz the previous year. One of the photos, which showed a McClurg first edition of Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle in original dustjacket, ended up illustrating an accompanying article by James S. Hurst entitled "Tarzan The Ape Man Still Swings." This article highlighted the collecting of Tarzan movie memorabilia and the two articles combined well to make this a special ERB issue of Collector's World. To my surprise, the front cover of the magazine sported the eye-catching Tarzan art of Neal MacDonald, Jr. from the cover of ERB-dom #48, supplied by Caz. I can't praise this image enough. In my mind it's right up there with St. John, Frazetta, Krenkel, Foster, Hogarth, John Coleman Burroughs, and all the rest as a dynamic and unforgettable artistic rendering of Tarzan.
The cover of Collector's World magazine for Aug-Sep 1973
featuring Neal MacDonald, Jr.'s Tarzan illustration.
The issue contained my first ERB related article "The Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs."
My next effort was an article I called "Tarzan Is Lost!" which appeared in another Long John Latham magazine True Treasure in August 1974. The subject was the many "lost" or missing pieces of original art created by master fantasy illustrator J. Allen St. John for the novels and stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs. I remember consulting Hulbert Burroughs who provided me with a list of St. John art that was owned by ERB, Inc. Hully also offered to provide several black & white photographs of St. John paintings which were used in the article. His only request for this kindness was that I reimburse him for the actual cost of making the 5 X 7 glossy prints and cost of mailing which I happily agreed to do. Other ERB fans and scholars who provided helpful information for this article were Stanley Vinson, Darrell C. Richardson, and Rev. Henry Hardy Heins who kindly loaned me a photograph of J. Allen St. John seated with his iconic painting of Tarzan and Jad-Bal-Ja the golden lion, which was crucial for the article. Thank you, gentlemen, one and all!
1975 was ERB's centennial year; one hundred years since the gifted author's birth in Chicago on September 1, 1875. One winter day early in this important celebratory year, I found myself standing before a well-stocked magazine rack in a Milwaukee bookstore named City News, another favorite haunt along Wisconsin Ave. A magazine called The Antiques Journal caught my attention. As I perused it a powerful suggestion entered my mind: I wanted to see Edgar Rice Burroughs books in color on the cover of The Antiques Journal. It would be up to me to put them there! I went home to my Royal typewriter, Kodak camera, and book collection and went to work. What I wrote was an expanded and more detailed presentation of the hobby of collecting and identifying the first editions and early reprints of books by our favorite author, Mr. E. R. Burroughs, along with numerous black and white photographs coupled with the quaint prices of yesteryear. The article was accepted by Antiques Journal editor John Mebane. But he informed me that if I wanted to provide a cover photo it would have to be made with a 4 X 5 camera. So I hired a local photographer, Tim Graves, to make the required photographic transparency which showcased eight beautiful ERB books with dustjackets from my collection. "The Enduring Novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs" appeared in the June 1975 issue of The Antiques Journal published by the Babka Publishing Co. of Dubuque, IA. (The attractive green background of the front cover was provided by my bedsheet!)
The June 1975 issue of the Antiques Journal magazine containing my article "The Novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs."
All of the books in the cover photo were from my original collection. The green background was my bed sheet.
Around 1972 or '73 I discovered The Good Old Days nostalgia shop near 27th and State St. on Milwaukee's northside. This place was a veritable museum filled with collectable items of all types from days gone by. Movie posters, pinball machines, toys and games of all kinds; comic books, coloring books, boys and girls adventure series hardcover books; Big Little Books, dime novels, pulps, stained glass, and assorted antiques. Most exciting to me, however, was a large selection of original artwork done for the many youth oriented publications from Whitman Publishing Company of Racine WI (located just twenty miles south of Milwaukee). The store's proprietor, Dale Manesis, was a jolly fellow with an infectious laugh and endless enthusiasm for vintage movies and film stars, old-time radio shows, comic strip characters, comic books, and related memorabilia. Dale was possibly the first person in the United States to compile a complete checklist of all the Big and Better Little Books published by Whitman and make that list available to other collectors.
Opening The Good Old Days in the late 1960s, Dale was definitely on the cutting edge of the burgeoning nostalgia craze. It was in The Good Old Days where I found and purchased an original one-sheet film poster from "The New Adventures of Tarzan" starring olympic athlete Herman Brix. Another early purchase from The Good Old Days was a mint condition Dell Tarzan #1 comic book. Dale's shop became a hangout for youthful comic book fans who loved to browse through his extensive stock of old comics, visit with each other, and dream of becoming comic book writers and illustrators themselves. Once when I was there, Jimmy Steranko dropped by and gave an informal presentation to awed comics fans. The vibes inside The Good Old Days were always extremely pleasant, sometimes approaching a party atmosphere. I was a frequent visitor and Dale and I soon became good friends. In 1976 I wrote an article about Dale and his Good Old Days nostalgia shop which was published in a local paper, the Ozaukee County Guide. After I moved to Tucson Dale would always stop by my house for a day or two on his way to and from Los Angeles nostalgia conventions where he sold his wares.
My very good friend Dale Manesis, owner of The Good Old Days nostalgia shop,
holding original cover art for Whitman Better Little Book Tarzan and the Lost Empire.
Photo taken inside The Good Old Days ca. 1973-74.
Major purchases I made at The Good Old Days in the 1970s included original cover paintings for two Whitman Tarzan coloring books; all of the original pen and ink illustrations by Jesse Marsh and Tony Sgroi for the interiors of Whitman's Tarzan and Forbidden City, Tarzan and the City of Gold, and Tarzan and the Lost Safari. In the case of Lost Safari I also purchased the original wraparound cover art for both Whitman editions of that title. (The cover art for the earlier two Whitman abridged Tarzan books never surfaced to my knowledge, and I don't know if they still exist anywhere today.) Other Whitman original color cover art that came my way via The Good Old Days included beautiful Zorro and Davy Crockett coloring books and Dragnet, Gunsmoke and Have Gun Will Travel wraparound art for hardcover editions. I never got around to buying any of the many original paintings for Big Little Books and Better Little Books, but Dale had no problem selling these to avid collectors in New York, Houston, and Los Angeles. Dale told me that he once spent several hours in a restaurant lounge drinking and talking with Johnny Weissmuller during a convention in Houston. I don't doubt it. Dale's many collector friends included Russ Cochran and Bruce Hamilton. Dale Manesis, whom I affectionately dubbed "the king of nostalgia," was a hard-working, generous and loving family man. He is gone now and missed by many.
In 1978 my career with the U. S. Postal Service brought me to Tucson, Arizona. At this point in my life I decided to sell my beloved Burroughs collection in order to pay off the mortage on a house I'd purchased. It was a difficult thing to do but I went ahead with it. It enabled me to accomplish my purpose though I knew I would never see some of my rare materials ever again. Everything went -- all books, fanzines, doodads and original Whitman art. I tried collecting other things, notably antique pocket knives which I enjoyed very much. But in my life, all roads ultimately lead back to Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Sometime in the early 1990s I was contacted by Mitchell Harrison of Chicago who informed me that long-time ERB fan William Gilmour also lived in Tucson. I had no idea! I arranged for a meeting with Bill, who kindly showed me his collection. We enjoyed "talking Burroughs" and quickly became ERB pals. Meanwhile, Mitchell wanted me to try to arrange a deal for him with Bill Gilmour in which Mitchell would swap his first edition copy of Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar for Bill's copy which had a nicer condition McClurg dustjacket. Bill proved to be a tough negotiator and wasn't particularly interested, but the deal finally came about after Mitchell provided a substantial monetary "boot" to make it happen. I learned a lot about books from Bill Gilmour who was an amazing collector. Besides a complete set of ERB 1sts, Bill had extensive collections of E.C. comics, Spider pulps, Erle Stanley Gardner, Bomba the Jungle Boy, Big Little Books, sports cards, etc.
On September 1, 1996, Bill Gilmour and I founded The Apache Devils chapter of The Burroughs Bibliophiles at his home in the Sonoran desert foothills of Tucson. Sadly, just two short months later on October 30th, Bill "sailed down the River Iss." His legacy of of ERB pastiche writings published by his long-time friend Vern Coriell as original series Burroughs Bulletins lives on.
Bill Gilmour, WWII tank driver, ERB fan, & co-founder (with Frank Puncer)
of the Apache Devils chapter of the Burroughs Bibliophiles.
Upon learning of Bill Gilmour's passing from his gracious wife, Alice, I felt compelled to write an "in memoriam" for the new series Burroughs Bulletin published by the University of Louisville. I contacted BB editor George T. McWhorter and, though the issue #30 deadline was close at hand, he gave me the go ahead. Bill Gilmour's memoriam piece appeared in "The Chessmen of Mars" issue of The Burroughs Bulletin New Series, Spring, 1997. It featured a great WWII photo portrait of Bill, supplied by his family. Bill had served as a tank driver with the U.S. Ninth Armored Division during the Battle of the Bulge, and in March 1945 he participated in the fight to secure the bridge at Remagen, Germany. A Burroughsian-style hero, to be sure.
A year or so later, I received a phone call from George McWhorter in Louisville who invited me to write an article for the upcoming "War Chief" issue of The Burroughs Bulletin. He said I could pick my own topic as long as it dealt with ERB's novel "The War Chief." Being a history buff living in Arizona I was already pretty well versed in Apache war lore, Dan Thrapp's The Conquest of Apacheria being one of the basic texts I had studied. I re-read ERB's The War Chief and was struck by how accurately he had portrayed the conflict from the Apache point-of-view. His portrayal of Apache customs, religion, raiding and warfare, and even language clearly showed he had done his homework by reading all available literature at the time he was writing. ERB's use of actual historic events such as the Cibecue ghost-dance debacle of 1881 and real-life Apache chiefs Cochise, Victorio and Juh, as well as war leader/shaman Geronimo, was very commendable. It was ERB's decision to use Juh (pronounced "Hoo"), last chief of the Southern Chiricahua or Nednhi Apache, as his main antagonist/villain, whom he portrayed as a ruthless evil brute, that provided a subject for my article.
Juh was indeed an effective, relentless, cruel war leader; however, he was known to be kind and generous amongst his own people. Certainly he was no more cruel than Cochise or Geronimo. Who was Juh from the Apache point-of-view, as compared to ERB's fictionalized portrayal, became my lengthy article "Juh Speaks" in The Burroughs Bulletin new series #37 Winter 1999. In doing research for this article I became friends with several well known Apache scholars, including Lynda A. Sanchez who wrote a fascinating article on "The Lost Apaches of the Sierra Madre" that George featured in "The Apache Devil" issue of The Burroughs Bulletin #40. These friendships continue to this day.
My "Juh Speaks" article led to my writing several more articles revolving around ERB's two Apache novels, which detailed major influences and sources used by Burroughs, as well as Ed's experiences as a cavalryman at Fort Grant, A.T. in 1896-97. A pattern was established whereby I would consult my good friend and BB editor George McWhorter on a potential topic to write about. George always responded with an enthusiastic "yes" and he always printed my articles exactly as I had written them. (Thank you, George!)
One day I received a phone call from Mrs. Suzanne Chase of Los Angeles CA who had seen my BB articles and knew that I resided in Tucson. She suggested that her husband Lee Chase, who had been ERB's stepson for several years in the 1930s and '40s, would be an excellent person for me to interview. I agreed. Lee and Suzanne have a son, Steven, then living in Tucson, whom they visited from time to time. Lee and I first met at his son's home where he showed me 1930s vintage home movies of "Ebby" and Lee's mother Florence Gilbert Burroughs (Ed's second wife), along with Florence's kids, Lee and Caryl Lee, frolicking at home and on vacations. I interviewed Lee several times in Tucson and at his home in Los Angeles. The results of these interviews, together with lots a family photos, appeared in various issues of The Burroughs Bulletin, new series. Unfortunately, I never had an opportunity to interview Lee's sister, Cindy Cullen (Caryl Lee) who passed away in Sedona, Arizona in July 2001.
Lee Chase, another great friend.
Here he is holding an advance review copy of The Master Mind of Mars, 1st British edition by Methuen.
It's signed by ERB to his second wife Florence. Photo taken near Phoenix Arizona at an antique car show in 2010.
However, many intimate letters written by Ed to Caryl Lee during the war years appear in my article "Consider Yourself Kissed" in The Burroughs Bulletin #65, Winter, 2006. (Also available online at erbzine. com.) Having just spoken with Lee and Suzanne Chase by telephone, I am happy to relate that as of this date, November 16, 2017, they are both still living at home and doing well. Lee, now 88, no longer drives and has sold his Model T and Model A Fords. He enjoys reading and collecting the novels of John Grisham. Lee and Suzanne have eight grandchildren.
Frank Puncer and friend Sharon Winderl, with Lee Chase in Marana, AZ in 2010.
Lee was getting ready to leave on one his antique car road trips into Arizona and New Mexico.
I've ridden with him on several occasions; he's an expert driver.
In May of 2012, I placed an Edgar Rice Burroughs exhibit inside the Chiricahua Regional Museum at Willcox, Arizona where ERB had de-trained in May 1896 to begin his cavalry service at Fort Grant, Arizona Territory. The local Sulphur Springs Valley Historical Society had been unaware of the famous author's ever having been in Willcox, or that he'd been a U.S. 7th Cavalryman whose troop had gone on patrol looking for the outlaw Apache Kid. There was a formal dedication ceremony in which I gave a brief presentation followed by an enthusiastic Q & A session. The exhibit was named "Edgar Rice Burroughs A Soldier Stationed at Fort Grant, Arizona." It is the first public recognition of ERB's military service to be found within the state of Arizona, as far as I know. In February 2015, at the Tucson Corral of the Westerners, I gave a power-point presentation titled "Edgar Rice Burroughs, Creator of Tarzan in Arizona." That was a lot of fun too; we had a Tarzan yell contest and I was presented with a beautiful boxed set of 'Tarzan 100 Years' large and small barlow pocketknives.
1. Title page of my ERB presentation to the Tucson Corral of the Westerners on Feb 2nd, 2015.
2. Kathy Klump and Frank Puncer at the dedication of the
"ERB: A Soldier at Fort Grant" exhibit
inside the Chiricahua Regional Museum, Willcox AZ May 2012.
I've attended as many ERB gatherings as I could manage to get to in the past couple of decades. It's easier since being retired. I'm not fond of flying so I usually drive to these events. I've attended several L.A. Sub-ERBs gatherings all of which were great fun. Same for the Texas Hell's Benders ECOFs and the 2014 Dum Dum at College Station, TX where we got to see Brad Vinson's awesome ERB collection. This past June I had a great time at the Hell's Benders Dallas, TX ECOF. The Jim Gerlach family hosted a delicious bar-be-que and we got to view yet another incredible ERB collection. And imagine my surprise when I found on Larry Burrows' huckster room table the original Jesse Marsh Tarzan art for the 1950s Whitman Tarzan and the Forbidden City double flyleaf that I'd owned forty years before. It hangs on the wall of my Burroughs den now, reminding me of The Good Old Days and my friend Dale Manesis, as well as evoking the halcyon days of my youth when I first fell under the spell of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan. Also in June I was able to meet Joe Lukes in person for the first time, 45 years after we first began corresponding via his classified ad in ERB-dom. Another high point of a great ECOF!
In spring of 2016 I was asked by Jim Gerlach and Dr. Robert B. Zeuschner if I'd like to take a shot at proofreading the manuscript of Bob's new 620 page Edgar Rice Burroughs The Bibliography to be published by ERB, Inc. I accepted this rather daunting task and did my best in the time alloted. A few weeks ago, Jim Gerlach contacted me again and asked if I'd care to proofread the manuscript of the upcoming special limited edition of Land of Terror to be published under the imprints of both ERB, Inc. and Grosset & Dunlap, similar to the 2015 special editions of Back to the Stone Age which Jim also masterminded. I accepted this task (a pleasure really) and was able to help out again in a small way.
Also, on May 27, 2017, I was invited by moderator Bob Leeper to be a guest panelist at the Phoenix COMICON on his panel "Arizona's Early Connections to Popular Culture." Several panelists discussed ERB's early days in Arizona at Fort Grant as well as the Percival Lowell influence of ERB's Mars novels. Bob Leeper's website is evermorenevermore.com. He also hosts a Facebook fan site "Arizona Cave" that promotes the seminal influence of ERB's A Princess of Mars on modern popular culture.
My current ERB-related plans include organizing a Burroughs gathering in Willcox, AZ in August of 2019. This would probably be a Dum Dum. Several ERB fans have been suggesting this to me for quite some time and, basically (for me anyway), it's boiling down to a 'now or never' scenario. Willcox is situated about 60 miles east of Tucson International Airport along a scenic stretch of Interstate 10. This may make it a tad remote but I'm betting that some determined ERB fans who would like to visit the town where ERB spent his first night in Arizona, see historic Fort Grant and the Pinaleno Mountains that ERB crossed with his troop, and enjoy the ERB and other interesting exhibits inside the Chiricahua Regional Museum, will find their way there. I hope so.
Well, it's time to get back to reading some Edgar Rice Burroughs. Many thanks to Bill and Sue-On Hillman for encouraging me to submit my reminiscences. You're the greatest. Hope to see everyone soon!
PART III: Photos and Links
Remembers ERB I
Remembers ERB II
& ERB Letters I
& ERB Letters II
ERBzine 6284 Introduction
1st Edition Published by Frank Puncer
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