First and Only Weekly Online Fanzine Devoted to the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Since 1996 ~ Over 15,000 Web Pages in Archive
Volume 6367

The Background and Evolution of
Richard Lupoff's ERBzine interview with Michael Chabon,
Screenwriter of the John Carter (of Mars) Film

Richard Lupoff had heard a rumour concerning a new Princess of Mars film
being rushed out before the planned film by Disney.
He asked if I knew anything about Traci Lords starring in a Princess of Mars film.
I responed in a December 2009 letter in which I directed him to a news item in ERBzine
announcing that writer Michael Chabon was working on a script for the planned Disney release:
Presented here are is some of our correspondence that led to

Dick's interview with Michael Chabon and some of the events following that interview.
Re: Traci Lords?
Thanks for this, Dick.
I have a bit of coverage on it in this month's ERBzine Eclectica:
Looks like a real rush job to cash in on the Disney/Pixar film project.
Check the latest casting news on the Disney JC film:
Editor and Webmaster for the
Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute Websites and Webzines
etc., etc.

Re: Traci Lords?
Hah! Shoulda known you'd have this. I'm puzzled by the James Cameron reference. Will have to see Avatar when it's released and look for ERB elements in it.
BTW, Michael Chabon lives just around the corner from Pat & myself. Lovely person.
-- Dick Lupoff

Bill, Sue-On --
Michael Chabon lives just around the corner from Pat & myself. Lovely person.
    Although Michael Chabon is a near-neighbor of mine, he tends to be fairly reclusive these days. Was much more accessible before he became rich and famous. But he's still friendly enough on the rare occasions when we run into each other; e.g., at the local bookstore where my wife works.
    I've sent Michael an email asking him for a comment on the Disney film, or suggesting as an alternative that we get together for a chat which I wd then write up for you as a brief, informal interview. I'll let you know what he has to say.
     A tribute? To me? Reminds me of the comment of a good friend and fellow writer a few years ago when I received a Lifetime Achievement Award from a mystery convention. "That means that you're officially a has-been."
     I think he was kidding. Hope so, anyway.
     But -- my immediate response to the notion of a tribute is dumbfoundment. What do you have in mind?
     Happy Holidays to you both!
 -- Dick Lupoff

Bill --
    Exchanged a couple of emails with Michael Chabon. He and his wife are off to Paris for two weeks (!) but he's willing to do at least a brief email interview. Soon as he gets back....
    Can you give me any citation on Cameron's mention of ERB? "Avatar" is getting an over-the-top reception. This will set a standard that Disney will have to compete with!
    As for your "tribute" idea, of course I'm highly flattered. Have given it some thought, and it just might dovetail with a book I've also got in mind. But I'm up to my ears in projects right now, so I'm afraid I'll have to defer this for several months at least. Sorry about that. I would like to do it, but this is not the right time for it.
    Happy holidays to you and Sue-On,
-- Dick Lupoff

    Looking forward to your interview with Michael . . . should be a good 'un : )
    I've noticed over the last year that Cameron has paid tribute to ERB in many interviews. I've included a few references below . . . there are many more. . . . and probably the majority of the current reviews mention ERB/JC in some way.
    Stanton attended the London Premiere and there are a few interesting observations on his reaction at:
    You've been such a major figure in the resurgence and the promotion of ERB and his works that any memories/notes/anecdotes, etc. that you can share will be very well received by ERB and SF fans and scholars. Of course there is no hurry on this. Do some of your projects include a new book(s)?

The Q&A: Great Expectations
The director James Cameron reveals how he got Fox to greenlight his $195 million technology-driven motion picture
By Jeff Jensen | Jan 15, 2007,,20007998,00.html
How did you come up with this story?
Well, my inspiration is every single science fiction book I read as a kid. And a few that weren't science fiction. The Edgar Rice Burroughs books, H. Rider Haggard — the manly, jungle adventure writers. I wanted to do an old fashioned jungle adventure, just set it on another planet, and play by those rules.

Your premise reminded me a lot of the Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter, Warlord of Mars series.
It's definitely got that feeling, and I wanted to capture that feeling, but updated. To be certain, I wanted a film that could encompass all my interests, from biology, technology, the environment — a whole host of passions. But I've always had a fondness for those kind of science fiction/adventure stories, the male warrior in an exotic, alien land, overcoming physical challenges and confronting the fears of difference. Do we conquer? Exploit? Integrate? Avatar explores those issues.
In 1994, director James Cameron wrote a 114-page scriptment for Avatar. Cameron said his inspiration was "every single science fiction book I read as a kid", and that he was particularly striving to update the style of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter series.
June 25, 2009
Inspired by author Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter Of Mars fantasy book series, Avatar is set during the 22nd century on a small moon called 'Pandora', inhabited by the tribal 'Na'vi', ten foot blue humanoids that are peaceful unless attacked.
New Yorker
October 26, 2009
“With ‘Avatar,’ I thought, Forget all these chick flicks and do a classic guys’ adventure movie, something in the Edgar Rice Burroughs mold, like John Carter of Mars—a soldier goes to Mars,”

December 22, 2009
    Thanks for the Cameron citations. Very useful! Michael Chabon is due back from Europe on or about January 1, 2010. I'll get in touch with him asap and get what I can for ERBzine.
     I've been producing books at a fairly good clip in recent years, in part because I love writing, in part because I get ego-boosts when I publish, and in part because they pay so damned little I have to keep working to keep from starving.
     Some are new, some are compilations or reissues of old material. Recent titles include Quintet: The Cases of Chase and Delacroix (Crippen & Landru), Marblehead (Ramble House), The Universal Holmes (Ramble House), Deep Space (Surinam Turtle Press), Terrors (Elder Signs Press), and Visions (Mythos Books).
     Tentatively scheduled for 2010: Killer's Dozen (Wildside Press), Beneath the Karst (Perilous Press), Villaggio Sogno (Tachyon Publications),  Dreams (Mythos Books), and The Emerald Cat Killer (St. Martin's Press).
     All of the latter are of course tentative. And you'll notice that all except the last mentioned are small press/specialty house publications. I love working with these little guys, and even do some editing for a couple of 'em myself, but this is pretty much poverty row publishing.
     Well, thanks again for the Cameron references. Will be in touch again, I hope before too long. Happy days to you and to Sue-On!
 -- Dick Lupoff

From: Richard Lupoff
To: Michael Chabon
Sent: Wednesday, January 06, 2010 10:13 AM
Subject: Interview for Burroughs Fans
Michael --
     Welcome home! Hope that you didn't have too much trouble with the new security rules, you wild-eyed radical you.
     We'd like to get that mini-interview done for the Burroughs fans as soon as convenient. I'd prefer to do it face-to-face. If that's okay with you I'll see if I can rev up my ancient little Sony tape recorder -- do they still make blank cassettes? I haven't used the thing since Martin Van Buren left the White House!
     Will happily trot over to your digs, or you'd be totally welcome at mine. Just indicate your preference and we'll set up a time.
     Or if you prefer we could do it all by email. I'll send you a list of questions and you can zap me your answers. I'd prefer doing it viva voce, though...oh, I already said that, didn't I?
     Let me know when you get a chance -- and a Happy New Year to you and yours!
 -- Dick Lupoff

Hi, Bill --
    Michael Chabon is back from his trip and we're tentatively set for an interview next Monday morning. That will be 01-11-10, a nifty palindrome! Any particular questions you'd like me to ask Michael, pls let me know before then.
    All best,
-- Dick Lupoff

Bill --
    Just got home from a meeting with Michael Chabon. We did an interview about John Carter of Mars and related topics. I'd expected to do about five minutes and out, but instead Michael gave an extensive and -- IMHO -- brilliant interview. The good news is, I brought along a little tape recorder; I thought, just for reference. Good thing I did, because there's so much fine material in the interview that I could only recapture a small fraction of it if I tried to write it up from memory.
    What I'd like to do at this point is dub a copy of the tape and send it to you. It really needs to be transcribed, and I don't have the equipment or the talent to do that job.
    The interview was taped in a little cafe here in the neighborhood, so there's a good deal of ambient sound in the background, but I've just auditioned a little of the tape and I'm happy to say that Michael's voice comes through remarkably well, considering kitchen noises and conversations from adjacent tables.
    If this plan works for you, let me know and I'll dub the copy and snail-mail it to you asap. If you'd then send a raw transcript back to me I'll edit the text, run it past Michael, and return it to you. Just let me know. I think you'll be delighted with this material.
-- Dick Lupoff

Great news, Dick:
If you send the tape I'll do manual transcription -- it might take a while : ) -- and get it back to you.
Do you believe that the bulk of the interview is OKed for general release?
Bill Hillman
41 Kensington Crescent
Brandon, Manitoba
R7A 6M4

Bill --
     Jeez, I just cranked up my old two-port cassette deck for the first time in a couple of decades. Hadn't used the thing for so long, I had to relearn how to make it work. Finally managed to figure it out and the dubbing process is going on right now. I learned a long time ago never to let the one-and-only copy of anything out of my hands. Or, of anything the least bit important <g>. So I'll retain today's original cassette just in case anything goes wrong, like the package getting stolen in a Great Mail Robbery.
     I don't think Michael said anything in our interview that would impinge on trade secrets or sensitive material. However, just to be on the safe side, I will make it a point to run the transcript past him when I receive it from you. When you hear the tape you'll notice that it starts in the middle of some small talk but we get down to business almost at once, and I think you will be delighted with the result.
 -- Dick

Bill --
     FYI, while I didn't actually time the interview, it looks as if it runs almost half an hour. Will get it to the post office within 24 hours.
 -- RAL

     Okay, the check -- I mean, the tape! -- is in the mail. Michael refers to some motion picture people, directors and such, whose names may be unfamiliar. Fortunately he identifies them by prior credits, so it shd be a relatively simple matter of looking them up on based on their credits, to get the spelling.
     I'll look forward to hearing your reaction to this tape once you hear it. Frankly, I was expecting fairly minimal responses from Michael, but he fooled me completely, gave wonderful, extensive answers!
     There might also be a little problem of identifying the two voices on the tape, but they should be distinguished by context.
 -- Dick Lupoff

Bill --
     Man, did you ever work, transcribing that tape! I was just starting to worry that it had got lost, maybe the attempted handoff from the US Postal Service to Post Canada was a fumble, when your transcript popped into my inbox. I've given it a very light once-over and it looks pretty good, although there were a couple of places where I'll offer corrections. Nothing major. For example, the Fred Chappell stories I mentioned involve a rural detective called Aunt Shirley Holmes. A nifty homage to the Great Detective, and an easy fix.
     I hope Michael C. will have the time to go over the transcript and edit his own answers. I recall the reference to Michael's onetime professor who had previously been a student of Fred Chappell's but I didn't really catch her name either. I'm sure Michael can provide this.
     It is really his show. I developed some interviewing skills doing radio work in past years, one of which is to remember who's asking questions and who's answering. Not like one of those hideous Congressional hearings we sometimes see on US TV, where a Senator will use up 4 minutes and 55 seconds of an allotted time slot making a speech, thinly disguised as a question, and then the witness has barely a chance to clear his throat before his time is up.
    So you see that most of the "RL" paragraphs in the interview are very short and most of the "MC" paragraphs are much longer. This was by design. I'll confess that I did get carried away a couple of times, but for the most part I tried to exercise restraint, and I think Michael did a superb job with his answers.
     In re: photos -- I can poke around and see what's handy and send you scans. I'm sure Michael can do the same. Maybe he and I should get together and ask a third party to snap a photo us exchanging punches or toasts or books or something.
 -- Dick Lupoff

Bill --
     I've just gone over your transcript of my recent interview with Michael Chabon. A very good job! As previously mentioned, I tried to hold back during our taping session and avoid the error of some interviewers of intruding too much into the exchange. I think the interviewer' job is to ask questions. One hopes, the right questions. And then let the "guest" respond in substance. Certainly Michael's answers were substantial and apt. I think he did a great job.
     I've done a little editing. Didn't touch Michael's answers except to tweak punctuation and style a tiny bit. As for my own participation, I made the following changes:
     1. Looked up the name of the "Oz" person I cited. His name is Michael Patrick Hearn. And he hadn't written a book about Baum; he'd edited an annotated edition of The Wizard of Oz. I corrected the reference.
     2. Since Michael and were discussing Jonathan Lethem's first novel, I added the name of the book, Gun with Occasional Music. And the break he got from Newsweek was in the form of an enthusiastic review, not an interview. I've fixed the reference.
     3. The Fred Chappell detective character I cited is Aunt Shirly Holmes. Fixed this. Also dropped my reference to Fred and myself writing for the same fanzine in 1952. Not really relevant. But I don't know the name of writer who linked Chappell and Chabon. Michael will have to supply that information.
     I'll attach "my" corrected version of the transcript to this email.
     I think that's all from me. I'll write a little intro to the interview if you wish, or Michael might choose to do it. Just let me know. As for photos -- looking at the website, I see that you've got a ton of images of me. Unless Michael wants to get together for a two-shot of us, I'm more than satisfied with your making a choice.
 -- Dick Lupoff

Bill --
     Thanks for sending the link to the Cimmerian piece. My, he certainly took off on Michael Chabon and myself. Very likely he's right -- I'm no expert on the 1842 Afghan Wars, and I don't think Michael claims to be, either. And, of course, he's right when it comes to Barsoomian high-tech weaponry. I suppose that Mr. Buroughs was thinking of long rifles that fired projectiles tipped with teensy-weensy little atomic bombs, rather than actual ray guns, as I erroneously refered to them.
     Nevertheless, I'm pleased to learn that people actually read our interview and seem to have found it worthwhile, quibbles notwithstanding.
     FYI, I'll attach cover scans of my two newest books. Killer's Dozen was published by Wildside Press on March 10, 2010, or at least I'm told as much. I've yet to see a copy. I wait beside the mailbox like a nervous fifteen-year-old hoping to receive an invitation to the Junior Prom, but I suppose I'll receive author's copies any day now.
     The Emerald Cat Killer is the eighth-and-final volume in my series about Hobart Lindsey and Marvia Plum. It's been thirteen years since the previous novel, and the series is completed at last! The book is scheduled for release by St. Martin's Press in September of this year, just in time for Bouchercon in San Francisco.
     Both of these books fit more into the mystery-crime-detection department than into adventure, fantasy, or science fiction, but I imagine that some of your readers, at least, will be interested to learn about them. Please feel free to reproduce the cover images in your e-zine, if you think that appropriate.
     With best regards,
 Dick Lupoff

Bill --
     I taped an interview with Ray Bradbury some years ago, but that concerned only his own career and we didn't go into Burroughs issues. Wd be delighted to do another, concentrating on ERB, but there are several major obstacles.
     First is Bradbury's age. As previously mentioned, he's ninety. I'm not at all sure that he'd be up to this, or that he'd be willing to do it.
     Second is, alas, budget. I'm afraid that Pat and I are on a very tight financial line right now, and the cost of transportation to and from LA (from Berkeley), plus housing, meals, and local transportation wd just not be feasible.
     Third, I'm partway through a series of surgical procedures on my eyes. Already had some old scar tissue surgically scraped from one cornea. Not really as scary a procedure as it sounds, but it was indeed quite an experience. I've got cataract surgery scheduled for one eye early in May, with the other to follow at a later date. While all of this is going on, as you might surmise, I'm somewhat reluctant to take on extra challenges.
     But all of the above notwithstanding, I'm not ruling this out. I'd love to see Bradbury again -- one of my childhood heroes! -- and wd be happy to record such an interview if all the pieces came together. Making it happen, though, is a pretty daunting prospect.
     With all best regards,
 -- Dick Lupoff

Glad to hear that such a project might be possible considering all the difficulties that it would present.
I hope your health problems all work out OK.
We've had a busy health year - our daughter graduated from Med school around the time Sue-On had a heart attack following the death of her 101-year-old mom and I had two months of cancer radiation treatments. But we're still going strong : )
 Considering Ray Bradbury's oft expressed appreciation of ERB's work and his own major contributions to lit, film, TV, etc. I can't think of anyone else who could better handle such a tribute to these two great writers than yourself.
 Have you ever considered doing an "interview" with yourself in which you could cover all your various ERB projects over the years. . . and the amount of influence - if any - that you owe to ERB in your own writing?
 I believe that you had met ERB fan Bruce Salen from Brooklyn . . . perhaps you are aware that he died last month.

Bill --
     Your health problems and Sue-On's make my own situation seem like a hangnail by comparison. I wishyou both well, and will hope for good news in future.
     I had not known of Bruce Salen's death and I'm sad to learn of it. We had corresponded sporadically for a number of years, and he did visit Pat and myself when he was in Northern California severl years ago. He was a great railroad enthusiast, and was interested in the various railroads that traverse this area.
     An odd coincidence: I was thinking of Bruce just yesterday. Nothing mystical involved. I'd run into another longtime friend whom I hadn't seen in some time. This fellow's name is Bruce Simon. Seeing him reminded me that I hadn't been in touch with Bruce Salen for a while.
     I knew that Bruce Salen's mother was suffering from some serious health problems, and Bruce was concerned about looking after her. He didn't mention anything about health problems of his own.
     And on a continuing morbid note, I wonder if you were aware that Dave Van Arnam died several years ago. He was a longtime Burroughs enthusiast and chief author of The Reader's Guide to Barsoom and Amtor, which I edited and published back in the 1960s. I'd been out of touch with Dave for a long time but our paths finally crossed again and we discussed a number of publishing projects.
     I did get the book that he and Ted White wrote together back into print. That's Sideslip, a kind of cross between a hardboiled private eye caper and a science fiction novel. Dave had wanted to revise and expand RGBA and now I'm in position to publish it, but he died unexpectedly. He was born in 1935. I'm not sure of the date of his death, but I believe it was 2001.
     Well, enough sadness for one afternoon. As John Carter would say, "I still live!" And as for that "self-interview" notion -- candidly, it never entered my mind. However, I did write a short story a few years ago that is a thinly disguised memoir of my relationship with Jack Biblo and Jack Tannen, the owners of Canaveral Press. I'll attach a copy to this email in case it interests you.
 -- RAL

Michael and Richard:
I've just read the novelization of the John Carter film from Disney. . . really enjoyed the fresh life that Michael has pumped into ERB's classic tale that has been re-told so many times. . . . and we are so looking forward to seeing the film. There has been wonderful buzz around the interview that you two shared with ERBzine.
Sue-On and I fly to LA tomorrow to attend the ERB ECOF 2012 TARZANA  convention:
We've been invited to a special pre-release showing of JC on the Disney Campus.
We're also assisting Danton Burroughs' widow and daughters with an open house event at Dan's house.
 Were either of you planning on attending any part or all of the convention?
. . . would be wonderful to meet you.
     Finally bringing Barsoom to life in such a colossal undertaking is a major event in the history of SF . . . I guess we're all hoping for blockbuster success. . . and, of course, a sequel(s). There have been rumours that a GODS OF MARS outline has been started by you, Michael, and Andrew. The excitement builds : )
     Thanks again for all that you both have contributed to the world of imaginative fiction.
Bill Hillman
Brandon, Manitoba, Canada

Much press buzz . . . I've had a really busy month of interviews and sending requested scans for mags, Websites, presentations and newspapers. . . check this month's WIRED (they didn't credit me for this one - I think they're doing a follow-up piece on ERB, but you have a credit there), also articles in SFX mag from London, Financial Times, Canada's National Post (in the coming March 9 edition), etc. I nearly always add reference to your Chabon interview which is also featured at our:
 An excerpt from the Chronicle piece you referred to:
I called Berkeley's Dick Lupoff, who in 1965 wrote "Master of Adventure," which, as every fan knows, is the definitive explication of ERB's books, for his opinion. "It looks pretty impressive," said Lupoff, who recorded commentary this month for the future "John Carter" DVD. "I've got my fingers crossed."
I needed more.
So, absent early screenings in time for deadline, I went and got it the only way I knew how.
I sat in screenwriter Michael Chabon's Berkeley house and looked him straight in the eye.
"You guys didn't mess this thing up? You kept to the spirit of Burroughs?" I asked. Chabon nodded his head as vigorously as a thoat in battle. Or something close to that.
"Everything that made the books what they were - red men, green men, warships, tharks with rifles, ruined cities, dry canals - it's all in there, and hopefully a little more," he said. "If nothing else comes out of this movie, I hope that 10,000 12-year-olds will walk out and go into their local Barnes & Noble and discover how these books are really fun. Lasting fun."
OK, so they twiddled the story line a tad, mushing together elements of the opening trilogy of the series and fleshing out the characters. Carter is more contemplative and Dejah Thoris more immediately capable. But as my brother said, "Modern sensibilities don't want the 'Perils of Pauline,' they want Ripley from 'Aliens.' So it's a valid update of the myth."
And then Chabon really sold me. He said that when Stanton asked him to sign on board, "I didn't hesitate a xat."
Only a true Burroughs fan would know that a xat is a Martian minute.
Not that I had much doubt about Chabon's ERB cred.
Read any of his stories - from his Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" to his essays on being a sensitive but thrill-loving man - and you understand where he's coming from. He writes about guys running other guys through with swords, about the joy of running around in backyards making up stories, and about travel to Mars. He scrawled his name as "Mike Burroughs Chabon" in one of his childhood story collections. The man gets Burroughs.

Happy Friday Morning,
     All ! It's likely that you've already seen Roger Ebert's review of JOHN CARTER but just in case it escaped your attention, here it is! Not exactly a rousing cheer for the old guy, nor exactly a pan, either. I haven't seen the whole picture yer but I expect I'll enjoy it.
 -- Dick Lupoff

John Carter
Swordplay on Mars by leaps and bounds
I don't see any way to begin a review of "John Carter" without referring to "Through Time and Space With Ferdinand Feghoot." That was a series of little stories that appeared in the magazine Fantasy and Science Fiction from 1956 to 1973 and had a great influence on my development as a critic. In one of the Feghoot adventures, the hero finds himself on Mars and engaged in bloody swordplay. He is sliced in the leg. Then in the other leg. Then an arm is hacked off. "To hell with this," Feghoot exclaims, unholstering his ray gun and vaporizing his enemies.

Hi, Bill --
     Sorry I missed the LA pre-premiere of John Carter. Can't wait to see the film. What format did they use for the LA event -- flatscreen, iMax, CD, or Real 3D. Speaking of which, what the heck is Real 3D?
     BTW, I had some eye surgery a few months ago, and will be able to wear the special 3D glasses for the first time without having to cope with regular specs at the same time. Always hated that experience. Haven't seen a 3D film since my surgery, but I'm looking forward to it. <G>
 -- Dick Lupoff

    The Disney Theatre viewing was a great experience. . . surrounded by the Burroughs family, ERB, Inc. and devoted fans. We had a similar viewing back in 1999 for the Disney Animated Tarzan.
     JC was in 3D on flatscreen. . . in a large theatre on the Disney Lot. Loved the film. Wish it had been done in Real 3D as Cameron had done. . . but Stanton already had too much on his plate without struggling with 3D cameras in the Utah desert : ). The 3D was imposed on the film by the Disney tech people after the main filming. It was good but without all the depth and realism of Avatar. Only a small quibble since many people don't like 3D of any sort and will view it in 2D (most theatres will offer a choice.)
     We're going to see the film again in a few hours here in Brandon with our kids.
    Looking forward to eventually seeing it in 3D on a large IMAX screen.
    Hope your eyes work well for the viewing.
    I've been collating reviews good, bad, and mediocre from the Web and displaying them at:
 Hope we can get together in August. We're driving to the Dum-Dum event.

Hi Bill -- Well, what did you think of the movie?  I loved it.
My brother and I saw it twice on opening day, and then I saw it again on Sunday. Sure, they monkeyed with the storyline, and I would have kept a few things purer, but my brother and I agreed that the changes were acceptable for the purposes of updating, depth of screen characterization and plot tension in a movie setting.
    The important thing was our favorite words, characters, visuals, and plot tropes were there with a first-class cinematic treatment, and it was all done in the true spirit of Burroughs, just as Michael Chabon told me it was. I got letters from other Burroughs fans who felt the same way, and one of them was the guy who painted the illustrations for the new Barnes and Noble re-issue of the Barsoom series.
My impression is the snarky reviews (and not all of them were bad; some liked the flick) came from critics who didn't understand or appreciate science fiction/adventure/fantasy, or who got sucked into the industry-insider swirl of carping over film company politics, money and ego. This was clearly a labor of love by people who understood the need for a good Burroughs film, and I bet it will wind up doing fine in the long run. Word of mouth, and the cheering in the theaters I sat in, is more favorable than the press clippings.
    But all that having been said, I am curious what YOU -- a far more erudite scholar of the subject than I could ever be -- thought of it.
Kevin Fagan
San Francisco Chronicle Reporter
(415) 777-8810

From: Bill and Sue-On Hillman []
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 7:16 PM
To: Fagan, Kevin
Subject: Re: SF Chronicle reporter liked the John Carter movie
Loved it. . . have seen it twice. . . will see it again Friday and again in IMAX : )
It's been a long wait. . . Major studio, top director/actors/techies. . .
Danton would have been so proud.
Over 100 reviews at:


Ah! I knew you would have the right collection of resources! I love this collection of reviews ... finally, a batch that gets the story. The NY Times and our own reviewer sneered at it, obviously not understanding what was going on. It was like sending a classical music critic to review a country-rock concert.
 Thanks much!  If you are ever in San Francisco, meal's on me.
Kevin Fagan
San Francisco Chronicle Reporter

Re: Movie
   I haven't seen John Carter yet either. Definitely looking forward to it.
     As for the Colbert/Dafoe interview, you need to understand the Hollywood mentality. (I speak as one who has put in several tours of duty in Lalaland.) Movie people are totally self-concerned. Their world starts and ends with motion pictures. Once they get their hands on a property they forget all about the original creator. It's a movie and that's all that matters.
     Disney has his name on anything he touches because Disney is powerful in Hollywood and the Disney credit is included in every contract. Burroughs had his name on his films because he had power and insisted on it. But at this point, once Disney got his hands on John Carter (actually Walt is dead, but still...) it became a Disney project. Period. To a lesser extent, an Andrew Stanton project. Even a little bit of a Dafoe project. But certainly, no longer a Burroughs project.
     See? Once Defoe got involved, it was a Dafoe project (in his mind).
     Anyway, I find it interesting that Burroughs fans have generally reacted enthusiastically after seeing the film, while professional film critics have been luke warm. I haven't seen any major pans, but there's been no whooping and hollering for joy, either.
     The opening weekend box office of $30,000,000 sure sounds like a lot of money to thee or to me, but for a movie that allegedly cost $250,000,000 it's kind of disappointing.
     But rest assured that this movie will make money. The thirty mil is for first-weekend domestic ticket sales only. It's going to run in theaters for a while in the US, it's going to run in other countries, there will be TV rights, DVD sales, merchandise contracts, you name it!
     It may take a while, but John Carter will be profitable and there will be sequels.
 -- Dick Lupoff

A Few Previous Richard Lupoff e-Mails From Our Mail File

As I've mentioned before, we tend to get fixated on one example of an actor, an artist, a scene from a movie, etc. To me, e.g., Basil Rathbone always has been and always will be Sherlock Holmes. When it comes to ERB's books, I'll never forget the experience of reading my first Barsoomian adventure, "A Fighting Man of Mars." I'm not saying this was the Great Man's greatest book, or even the best in the Martian series, just that it was the one that had the greatest impact on me. My favorite scene in all the canon: the moment in "Tarzan at the Earth's Core" when the airship O-220 tips over the edge of the polar gap and Tarzan gets his first glimpse of the inner world and the inner sun. I can relive it now! And (please pardon the long build-up) of all the great painters and pen-and-ink artists who have illustrated the works of ERB, and that includes the brilliant crew I was privileged to work with at Canaveral Press, there is no one who had the visual impact on me of the great J. Allen St. John!


I had been an avid fan of Richard Lupff since reading his book: Edgar Rice Burroughs: Master of Adventure
I had followed his various e-mail posts through the years but we didn't really start serious correspondence until 2009 when I had responded to his comments concerning a bogus "Pepsi scandal." This led to an ongoing correspondence much of which involved our mutual projects for ERBzine publication.
Back in 2009, Richard Lupoff responded to the many emails he had received that had accused Pepsi-Cola of omitting the words "Under God" from the US Pledge of Allegiance on their Pepsi cans. This had been debunked many times but the accusations kept making the rounds. Dick entered the fray with the following e-mail. 

Friends --
    I'm afraid this discussion is not really for me to get involved in, since I almost never buy soft drinks, whether produced by the Pepsi-Cola Company or anyone else. But if permitted, I'd like to add a little bit of historical perspective to the debate.
    The Pledge of Allegiance wasn't part of our original documents in this country -- the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. It was added somewhere along the way, I believe late in the nineteenth century (certainly researchable), I believe by means of a Congressional resolution. Not a law.
    As originally adopted, there was no reference to "under God" in the Pledge. That didn't come along until the 1950s, when the United States was embroiled in the Cold War against the Soviet Union (USSR).
    Remember that the USSR had a Communist government, and consequently had an official policy of State atheism. In order to gain the upper hand in the proverbial battle for hearts and minds, the US decided to frame the struggle as that of "the peace-loving, God-fearing, democratic" US against "the Godless atheistic Communists." As part of this campaign, Congress passed another resolution (not a law!) adding the words "under God" to the Pledge.
    The Cold War is now over, the USSR no longer exists, the Russian Federation has a policy of freedom of religion similar to our own, so the Cold War element in the Pledge is no longer necessary. But once there, it's not likely to be removed, as it has now become a point of contention in the struggle between crypto-theocrats and secular humanists in our own, domestic politics.
    Personally, I think it's inappropriate because it violates the principle of separation of church and state. Our Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of religion, but it also forbids the government to "establish" religion, and it is clear to me that forcing school children to recite the Pledge with the words "under God" is clearly a violation of the establishment cluase.
    We really do have freedom of religion in this country, and whether one is a Muslim or a Christian or a Jew or a Buddhist or an adhrent of any other religion -- or a skeptic, an agnostic, or an atherist -- or simply not interested in religion as part of one's daily life, being forced to mumble "under God" is offensive.
--Richard A. Lupoff


Richard Lupoff Interview with Michael Chabon: The Backstory

Lupoff's Michael Chabon Interview

The Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs
An Illustrated Bibliography with Mini-Reviews
of Some of the Best-Known Lupoff Works ~ Part I

An Illustrated Bibliography ~ Part II

Some of our favourite photo memories of
Dick and Pat Lupoff :: Together

The Canaveral Press Story

Lupoff of Mars

Richard Lupoff 2012 Dum-Dum Presentation
Tarzan/John Carter Centennial Celebration in Tarzana

SF Recollections by Richard Lupoff

Fourth Avenue Interlude Richard A. Lupoff

Visit our thousands of other sites at:
ERB Text, ERB Images and Tarzan® are ©Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.- All Rights Reserved.
All Original Work ©1996-2020 by Bill Hillman and/or Contributing Authors/Owners
No part of this web site may be reproduced without permission from the respective owners.