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Volume 6725d

Envelope Packets 67-71
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.

Ten years ago, on Aug. 11, 2009, we didn’t know that we were just three years from an Edgar Rice Burroughs stamp that would depict both him and his most famous creation, Tarzan of the Apes. The Postal Service knew, since most stamps are planned five years in advance, but it hadn’t been announced, nor would it be, publicly, until early in 2012.

So, we who make cachets for first-day covers often used any excuse at all to put Tarzan or other ERB characters on covers (in fact, seven years after the ERB stamp was finally issued, we still do!!)

Back in 2009, though, the Postal Service came out with a stamp sheet commemorating 20 old black and white TV programs. These were “Early” TV Memories so there was no stamp for the Tarzan television series which aired from 1966 to 1968. But Tarzan managed to show up on a few covers anyway.

One that I made had showed five people giving the Tarzan yell – three of our favorite Tarzans, along with George T. McWhorter, the dean of ERB fandom, and Carol Burnett, famous for her version of the Tarzan yell. In fact, even the guy on the stamp, Milton Berle of Texaco Star Theater, appeared to be joining in with a Tarzan yell of his own, although what was actually coming out of his mouth when the picture was taken is anyone’s guess. I made some of these covers using the Berle stamp and some with the stamp portraying Phil Silvers as Sgt. Bilko, who also looks as if he might be giving the Tarzan yell.

I sent that cover in for the official First-Day-Of-Issue cancellation from North Hollywood.

A year later, at the Dum Dum somewhere near Chicago, I obtained George McWhorter’s signature on the cover.

I also made a second first-day cover with a simpler design, showing the title frame for Ron Ely’s Tarzan series with a random stamp from the Early TV Memories set (Alfred Hitchcock, on this particular cover), and a First-Day-of-Sale cancel from the local post office in Galvin, Wash.

The third first-day cover I’m posting is one made by collector James Frankiewicz, who lives in Shelbyville, Indiana, which happens to be the burial place for Tarzan James Pierce and his wife, Joan, daughter of Edgar Rice Burroughs. James bemoaned the many TV shows which didn’t get stamps, starting his list on the front of the cover and continuing it on the back. Roy Rogers and Gene Autry did get full-color stamps a few years later. The Early TV Memories stamp sheet had two cowboy shows – The Lone Ranger and Hopalong Cassidy.



The third stamp to honor Elvis Presley was issued Aug. 12, 2015, in Memphis, Tennessee, four years ago today. Yes, I made some covers just for Elvis, but I also saw it as an opportunity to do some Tarzan tie-ins.

What did Elvis and Tarzan have in common? Both Elvis and a Tarzan actor had starring roles opposite Juliet Prowse, that’s what! And, for a cover maker, that’s all that’s needed!
And then there was a second tie-in, “that book” published in New Zealand.

Tarzan Presley” was an attempt to combine the fictional life of Tarzan with the non-fictional life of Elvis. Some might have liked the story, but I didn’t care much for it. ERB Inc. didn’t appreciate the author’s use of Tarzan’s trademarked name, either, and the book’s title was soon changed to “Jungle Rock Blues.”
For more information,
But it made a great first-day cover!

The second cover features Denny Miller, star of 1959’s “Tarzan the Ape Man.” Later, Denny was in a situation comedy, “Mona McCluskey,” with Juliet Prowse. He played a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force who was married to a showgirl.

In his biography, “Didn’t You Used to be What’s His Name?”, Denny wrote about his fond recollections of working on the sitcom with Juliet, and spoke admiringly of her dancer’s legs. The same Juliet Prowse had starred in “GI Blues” with Elvis.

Both men were comfortable in uniform, Elvis and Denny both having served their country in the U.S. Army in Germany. No, there was no movie “Our Boys in Uniform” starring all three of them – that’s just a joke I made up to put on the cover, which could actually be said to be a Juliet Prowse cover!

I made this cover a year after Denny passed away. I sure would have loved to send him this one! (I did send one to Nancy, though).
More info on Juliet, Denny and that other guy:

The first Elvis Presley stamp, showing only the name “Elvis,” was issued on a full sheet of stamps on Jan. 8, 1993.

Joe Doles of Rochester, N.Y., sent this cover on Aug. 16, 2004, 15 years ago today, to mark the 112th birthday of Harold R. Foster. If anyone wants to get a postmark today, it would have to be the 127th birthday! Foster was born Aug. 16, 1892, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

He also, of course, created the Prince Valiant strip after doing Tarzan for a few years.

Looks as if this cover took a short detour before it got to me, with a machine cancel from Portland, Oregon, sprayed on at the top on Aug. 20!

Tarzana, Calif., was the official location for the First Day of Issue cancellation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs stamp on Aug. 17, 2012, just seven years ago today. It was a gala affair at the Tarzana Cultural Center; a Dum Dum in Woodland Hills made it possible for many ERB fans to attend. The folks from Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., were there, along with three Tarzans – Denny Miller, Ron Ely and Casper Van Dien. Denny was actually the one who was instrumental in persuading the Postal Service to go through the five-year process of approving, designing and issuing a stamp to honor the creator of Tarzan and other fabulous characters.

But Tarzana wasn’t the only place one could obtain a first-day cancel. All across the nation, as the stamps went on sale at post offices, anyone could purchase them and stick them on an envelope and get a first-day cancel.

The challenge for the cover designer is: What aspect of ERB to celebrate on a cover? There’s the man himself, his characters, the books, the movies, the parodies, the doodads, the art. The only answer is: Commemorate as many different things as possible and have fun doing it!

With this post, I am showing covers with some of the various cancels offered that day at Tarzana, as well as some from other parts of the country.

Denny Miller and the ERB stamp:

A cancellation available at Tarzana, Calif., on Aug. 17, 2012, was this Dum Dum cancellation. My cachet featured St. John’s Tarzan and Jad-bal-ja while the cancellation featured the one done later by Roy G. Krenkel

Lloyd de Vries makes “Dragon Cards.” This has the Digital Color Postmark, a Tarzan cancellation not available at the First Day ceremony in Tarzan. This cancellation is applied with special machinery and could only be obtained by mailing covers to Stamp Fulfillment Services.

Dennis Gelvin of Olympia, Washington, obtained a local postmark for this first-day cover featuring the first Tarzan movie.

Pam Frahm of New Zealand made this first-day cover and sent it to a postal hobbyist in Colorado to obtain this unique first-day cancellation.

Charlie Delgado of Ohio drew his own image of Tarzan for this cover, featuring the official pictorial first-day cancellation.

Ted N. Tompkins sent away for the regular “four-bar” machine first-day cancellation for this cover, featuring the jacket image of the first Tarzan book.

My cover, featuring Burne Hogarth art, was “galvanized” with a first-day-of-sale cancellation fro the Galvin, Washington, post office.

I had a 30-day grace period to obtain this first-day cancellation from Tarzan, Texas. I made four designs, this one, for ERB’s “The Bandit of Hell’s Bend,” two with Ron Ely images, and one with a poster for a movie of Ken Maynard with his horse, Tarzan.

Cartoons make good covers! The Cover Monster made this one and had it canceled with the First Day of Sale postmark from Elyria, Ohio.

Award-winning cachet maker Thomas Peluso made this first-day cover and got it canceled with a special stamp show cancel from Sacramento.

The Tarzana Cultural Center was one of those offered at the First Day of Issue ceremony Aug. 17, 2012, in Tarzana, Calif. This cover was my design, made on my computer.

When the Edgar Rice Burroughs commemorative stamp was issued Aug. 17, 2012, seven years ago this month, I made a whole bunch of different covers.

For some of them, I took other stamps and found a connection, however frivolous, with Tarzan, so I could use both the ERB stamp and the character’s stamp on the same cover for the first-day-of-issue cancellation.

The most difficult one was the Beetle Bailey stamp. In 2010, the Postal Service issued a sheet of five “Sunday Funnies” stamps featuring Beetle, Archie, Garfield, Calvin & Hobbes and Dennis the Menace. I wanted to use all five stamps but was able to find pretty good tie-ins for only four so I had to settle for one of Sarge grabbing a vine for the Beetle Bailey tie-in.

I made a few duplicates of some of these but some of them are one-of-a-kind.

Teaming up the ERB stamp with other stamps that, somehow, are connected to Tarzan:
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” wasn’t so lonely with all those people behind the Fab Foursome, including Tarzan himself.

Baseball great Lou Gehrig was interested in playing Tarzan: See:

 Filmation's Tarzan and Batman in a promo.

 Batman moves in on Jane.

Mad Magazine got Tarzan and that Wonder gal together.

One of several visits by Tarzan to DC's lineup.

Teaming up the ERB stamp with other stamps that, somehow, are connected to Tarzan:
Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery but it can also get you a lawsuit.

 The Henry Mancini stamp featured a panther cameo just as the ERB stamp featured a Tarzan image.

 Sarge may not have been playing Tarzan but this vine sure came in handy at Camp Swampy.

Betty is an all-around good gal.

 Betty to the rescue of Archie and the gang.

This cartoon has made the rounds of ERB fans a few times!

Yes, cats climb trees.

When the opportunity came to talk about Tarzan,
Mr. Wilson could temporarily forget that Dennis was a menace.

 USPS stamps celebrating artwork of Romane Bearden.
This one depicts Odysseus but it could be a Waziri warrior as well.

Tarzan and Prince Valiant

 If he can fly air sorties he can swing on a vine.

Steve Irwin captured them; Tarzan knifed them.


Read All The John Martin Features in ERBzine


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