PUSHING THE ENVELOPE II
by John Martin
My "other hobby," buying, exchanging, making and mailing postal art covers,
ties in with my Edgar Rice Burroughs hobby quite a bit.
I enjoy making covers featuring Tarzan or other ERB characters,
and friends of mine have made and mailed me such covers as well.
I thought it would be fun to
start scanning and sharing such covers
on the anniversaries of the dates they were originally postmarked.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE: No. 16
I can't recall the occasion for this particular cover, sent to me by James Frankiewicz, known as ACE 490 of the Art Cover Exchange. The cancellation date is lost in Maureen O'Sullivan's hair but closer examination makes it appear to be Feb. 19, 2009.
Perhaps the creator of this cover had seen an article about the Palm Springs Cheetah, whose name was Mike, who died a couple of years later:
Cheetah: Alive and Well ~ Huffington Post
Here's an article which seems to have a pretty good rundown of all of the chimps who played Cheeta over the years:
Cheetah's Scrapbook in ERBzine
The John Wayne stamp is a commemorative issued in 2004. It's an appropriate stamp to use with a cover featuring Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan since John Wayne was among Weissmuller's friends. Together, they owned the Hotel Los Flamingos in Acapulco, which they ran as a private club for their friends. See Photo 2 of 21:
The Duke's Private World ~ Hollywood Reporter
Photo with Wayne and Weissmuller on Santa Catalina Island
1. Postal cover of Feb. 19, 2009, features a Cheeta with the Tarzan family,
but perhaps not the same Cheeta which was alive and well in Palm Springs in 2009,
as a number of chimps played the role over the years:
2. Forrest Tucker, John Wayne, Johnny Weissmuller and unidentified man on Santa Catalina Island
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE: No. 17
On Feb. 20, 1999, the Covermonster of Elyria, Ohio, struck again, with a cover cachet featuring Clinton Pettee’s first-ever public portrayal of Tarzan, with the cover painting for The All-Story of October 1912. The magazine contained the story, “Tarzan of the Apes,” in its entirety. Since ERB mistakenly placed tigers in Africa in that first yarn, it was appropriate that the Covermonster used the Year of the Tiger stamp from 1998, adding a one-cent stamp featuring the American Kestrel to bring the payment for the letter up to the 33-cent rate that had gone into effect since issuance of the tiger stamp.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE: No. 18
This is one of the first postal covers I ever received from Charlie Delgado, ACE 20, of Elyria, Ohio.It was mailed on Feb. 21, 1998,. The stamp was issued along with 14 others on a “Celebrate the Century” sheet for events of the 1900s. It was the first in a series of 10 stamp sheets issued over the space of a few years to honor events of the 20th Century. This stamp, which looks a lot like Tarzan himself bashing a skull, was to mark the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act, which prohibited the interstate sale of any adulterated or misbranded food or drug. The image on the stamp is the label from a bottle of patent medicine which claimed to cure diseases of the bladder, liver and urinary organs.
Charlie’s cover reminds me that Tarzan does have a mailbox and sometimes gets mail-order products, but probably not patent medicines.
And one day, there was that incident on…
THE TURTLE MAIL TRAIL
Bobonga the jungle mail carrier pulled up to the leopard skin-covered mailbox in front of the driveway that led to the Greystoke estate and thumbed through the mail, unaware that a great lion was in the nearby bushes, watching him hungrily with baleful eyes.
But just then Jane came skipping merrily down the driveway with some letters in her hand. "Oh Bobonga," she said. "I guess my timing is good today! I have these letters to mail...and...here you are!"
Bobonga frowned. How many times a day did he hear some variation of that phrase about "good timing"? It seemed that whenever someone showed up at the mailbox the same time he did, they felt it necessary to make what they believed was a clever remark about "good timing."
“Good timing, huh?”
“How's that for good timing?”
“Well, I timed that just right.”
Bobonga, just like every other mail carrier in the universe, had heard them all.
"Thank you lady," (he managed a smile), taking her letters and handing her the batch in his hand, along with a large package. "Looks like your man has gotten another shipment of turtle food for your pond."
"Oh, he'll be delighted," said Jane. The last time when we ran out we had forgotten to order more. But luckily we managed to find some at a garage sale."
"I didn't think they had many garage sales in the jungle," said Bobonga.
“Well, I guess it was more of an elephant hut sale," said Jane. "But it was kind of the same idea.”
Just then, the ear-splitting roar of the great feline split the air.
“Oh no!" said Jane. "I just realized we forgot to order more cat food.”
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE: No. 19
On Feb. 22, 2016, the U.S. Postal Service issued this Global Forever stamp, which will always be good for mailing a regular-size letter to another country despite any rate change. The images on the stamps have varied over the years but when the moon was used a cachet featuring “The Moon Maid” by Edgar Rice Burroughs was a natural choice. The only question then was, which image would I use, since the book has been republished with different art many times over the years. I chose the 1992 Ballantine edition with Lawrence Schwinger art, because it was a bit different than the standard “Moon Maid” cover scene, which is usually Nah-ee-lah astride a Va-gas.
The stamp on the cover was postmarked Feb. 22, 2016, on the first day of issue, at the post office where the stamp was purchased.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE: No. 20
When the Postal Service issued a stamp to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the statehood of Nebraska, I thought of the two ERB characters who hail from the small town of Beatrice, Nebraska. Barney Custer was featured in two novelettes, “The Mad King” and its sequel, “Barney Custer of Beatrice,” and his sister, Victoria Custer, took center stage in ERB’s time-travel romance, “The Eternal Lover.” I used images of old covers from the stories’ first appearances in All-Story Weekly as images for first-day covers. The Barney Custer cover features the official first-day-of-issue cancellation and the Victoria Custer has a first-day cancel from a post office near me.
The Barney cover also features the 3-cent stamp issued in 1954 for the Territorial Centennial of Nebraska.
The Nebraska stamp was issued March 1, 2017.
1. Nebraska Statehood was commemorated on its 150th anniversary with this U.S. Postal Service stamp. The envelope celebrates Barney Custer of Beatrice, Nebraska, featured in two novelettes, "The Mad King" and "Barney Custer of Beatrice." The official first-day-of-issue cancellation is from Lincoln, Nebraska. Also on the envelope is a 1954 stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary of Nebraska's establishmenet as a U.S. Territory.
2. The first-day cancellation was obtained from a local post office. This is known in the hobby as a "UO" -- an "unofficial office" cancellation.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE: No. 21
The Covermonster in Elyria, Ohio, used four Johnny Weissmuller-Maureen O’Sullivan images on this cover and then applied his embossing technique to give each photo a bit of a sheen. Postmark is via handstamp from the Elyria post office on March 7, 2005. The Covermonster sometimes makes custom address labels for the mail he sends to his correspondents. This one includes a scene from the Filmation television series, “Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle.” Postage includes a 32-cent stamp of the Gamarasaurus (no relation to Gamera of film fame) from the 1997 World of Dinosaurs stamp sheet, along with an older, 5-cent stamp honoring John Muir, “Father of the National Parks.”
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE: No. 23
Here’s two Tarzan-themed covers with special pictorial cancellations for March 11.
One is a cover I made to tie in with a special cancellation offered by the Rockford, Illinois, Stamp Club on March 11, 2006, 13 years ago today. The stamp club decided to celebrate Jane, a juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rex who was born and died in Montana. Jane was dug up and reassembled and displayed at the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford.
Naturally, Jane ties in with Tarzan, so I used an image from the cover of DC’s “Tarzan” comic No. 256, which contains the story “The Final Quest,” tagged as “Adapted from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Epic Novel…Tarzan the Untamed.” It’s “adapted, all right, with Oldwick, Bertha, Tarzan…and Jane…all ending up in a lost city, with dinosaur-like monsters to boot!
Art is by Rudy Florese.
The stamps are a 32-cent Stegosaurus from the 1997 “World of Dinosaurs” sheet issued by the U.S. Postal Service, and a “Gibson Girls” stamp from the U.S. Postal Service commemorative sheet featuring stamps with images of the 1900s. The “Gibson girls” were art by Charles Dana Gibson, who created them over a 20-year period at the turn of the century. Gibson Girls were considered by many to be the first national standard for feminine beauty. They personified limited independence, personal fulfillment, and beauty.
- - - - -In 2005 the Covermonster of Elyria, Ohio, sent me one from the Garfield Perry Stamp Expo in Cleveland, The cachet was an image of one of the four Blackthorne Tarzan comic collections, this one featuring two stories by Burne Hogarth. The four paperbacks, each close to the dimensions of a standard comic book, featured black and white reproductions of older Tarzan strips. In addition to two Hogarth volumes, there were volumes for writer-artist Russ Manning and the writer-artist team of Archie Goodwin and Mike Grell.
The stamp is one of 10 featured on a sheet of Northeast Deciduous Forest stamps issued by the U.S. postal Service on March 3 of 2005, just in time for use with the special cancellation authorized for the stamp show.
Once again, The Covermonster used a mailing label he made on his computer using art from the Tarzan Filmation television series.
1. The Rockford, Illinois, Stamp Club obtained a special postal cancellation for March 11, 2006, in honor of Jane,
a juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rex, whose bones were on display in the Burpee Museum of Natural History.
This cover celebrates the "other Jane," the one who is the mate of Tarzan of the Apes.
2. The Garfield Perry Stamp Club of Ohio had a Mexican-themed special cancellation for its stamp show March 11, 2005.
The Covermonster made an envelope with an image of a Blackthorne collection of Tarzan newspaper strips.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE: No. 24
The Covermonster of Elyria, Ohio, is always looking around for Tarzan images to put on covers for me, and I am much appreciative. Here are two of his efforts, both mailed on March 14, the top one having been sent in 2009 and the bottom one two years later.
He printed both images on in black and white and then used markers to color them.
The top cover has a fully-grown Disney Tarzan and the bottom one has the youthful version.
The stamps on the top cover include a 10-cent stamp issued in 1968 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the U.S. Air Mail Service. Last year, the Postal Service issued two Forever Stamps to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Air Mail.
The other stamp is from the 1997 World of Dinosaurs sheet, this one featuring the Ceratosaurus, which looks a lot like a T-Rex in this closeup. It was a medium-size theropod and its bones are hard to find, with the most complete skeleton being discovered in Garden Park, Colorado. If The Covermonster had reversed the placement of the stamps, the airmail plane would have been flying into the mouth of Ceratosaurus, but as it is the pilot is making a getaway.
The Mowgli-Baloo stamp is from the Art of Disney-Imagination four-design sheet issued in 2008. It was the fifth and last sheet issued in the Disney series. The other three stamps on this particular sheet were from “Sleeping Beauty,” “101 Dalmatians” and “Steamboat Willie.”
Each of the five stamp sheets featured one Mickey Mouse stamp plus three other Disney characters. This fourth stamp on the 2008 sheet was the “Jungle Book stamp, which was about the closest the U.S. Postal Service came to a Tarzan-like scene before 2012, when the USPS issued the Edgar Rice Burroughs-Tarzan stamp in response to a suggestion five years earlier by “XTarzan” Denny Miller.
This was mailed on March 14, 2011, when the first-class rate was 44 cents so The Covermonster made up the extra two cents by designing the cover on a vintage franked Postal Service envelope with a two-cent postage imprint.
The Denny Miller-ERB Stamp connection:
1. Disney's Tarzan posed for this illustration on a postal cover made by The Covermonster of Elyria and mailed March 14, 2009.
Stamps are 50th anniversary U.S. Air Mail, with the pilot flying his craft out of range of the Ceratosaurus,
2. Young Tarzan, tantor and Terk are matched with stamps of Mowgli and Baloo and George Washington
for a March 14, 2011, cover mailed by The Covermonster. The Disney stamp was issued in 2008.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE: No. 25
The art cover is by Zuetta of Port Neches, Texas, who mailed it to me March 16, 1998. Zuetta used watercolors for this dinosaur and background and added a 1997 World of Dinosaurs stamp featuring the Camptosaurus, a prehistoric creature known for its loveof camping out.
The “World of Dinosaurs” stamp sheet featured two large landscapes full of the beasts with individual perforations for each stamp. Zuetta include the “selvage” portion next to this particular stamp
A lot of fans probably have envelopes like the one shown from ERB since they show up on ebay from time to time. This one was mailed by ERB to a woman in Lowville, N.Y., on March 16, 1929 and bears a postmark from the Reseda, Calif., post office, the name of the community before it became Tarzana. One year and nine months after mailing this, ERB Inc. would be sending out postcards notifying people that its new address was “Tarzana, California.”
Lowville is south of Dadville, several miles east of Lake Ontario – so now you know. Those were the good ol’ days when you didn’t need to include your box number as part of the address because the mail carrier knew where everyone on Route #4 lived.
The stamp is a commemorative celebrating the International Civil Aeronautics Conference of December, 1928. ERB was interested in aviation and, five years after using this stamp, he took flying lessons and bought a plane, which he had for just a short time since his son Hulbert crashed it two days later.
1. The 1997 “World of Dinosaurs” stamp sheet featured
15 individual 32-cent stamps of creatures one would not necessarily wish to meet in the wild.
2. Zuetta got out her marker pens and water colors and
created this dinosaur to match the stamp on a 1998 “Welcome to the Jungle” cover.
3. This 90-year-old letter mailed by ERB was postmarked Reseda, Calif.
Before two years would go by, the post office was renamed Tarzana.
Read All The John Martin Features in ERBzine
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