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. 117
The Cover Monster mailed this cover to me on April 22, 2016, with an ERB stamp and a photo and story from the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movie days. Most ERB fans are well familiar with the problems the cast had working with the chimpanzees who played Cheeta, the chimp, and that clever editing made the beast into the loveable creature he was on screen.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 118
A commemorative stamp in the Legends of Hollywood series honored actress Helen Hayes on April 25, 2011. Helen Hayes (1900-1993) was best known for being one of two women to have received all four entertainment awards: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. She started her career on Broadway at the age of 8 and went on to a movie career followed by numerous guest roles in television shows.
One of those television roles was as Mrs. Wilson in "The Pride of the Lioness," an episode of Tarzan, with Ron Ely, first televised on Nov 17, 1967. In that episode, Tarzan insists that a sick girl be treated by a real doctor instead of tribal medicine. This makes the natives restless. Helen Hayes co-stars with her actor-son James MacArthur, who plays the young doctor, Richard Wilson, who tries to keep his late father's jungle clinic in operation.
So here's the first-day cover I made for the stamp, emphasizing the role Helen Hayes played in TV's "Tarzan," the day "The Lord of the Jungle" met the actress who had been dubbed "The First Lady of American Theater."
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 119
It's a jungle out there, but where's Tarzan? The ape-man and Jane or, at least, their names and initials, are on a couple of the trees. Carolyn Marks used a very fine tip pen to put them there on this cover, postmarked May 3, 2019. I'm posting a larger view of the tree carvings so they can be seen easier. The stamp features Wappi, the antelope, one of Tarzan's favorite meals.
When Edgar Rice Burroughs chose to title one of his westerns "The Deputy Sheriff of Comanche County" he probably didn't have a particular horse in mind, but ERB, a horseman himself, was no doubt familiar with the story of one named Comanche. Comanche was the only survivor of the Battle of Little Big Horn, in which Custer and his 7th Cavalry troops were wiped out by native Americans. Burroughs later spent a year serving with the 7th Cavalry himself, before moving on to other endeavors, such as mining for gold, selling pencil sharpeners and writing popular books.
This cover, postmarked May 3, 2007, was made by The Cover Monster of Ohio and features stamps with scenes by C.M. Russell and Frederic Remington, two of the most famous illustrators of the Old West. The horse in the cachet is Comanche.
Col. Sturgis, E. A. Garlington, First Lieutenant and Adjutant, Seventh Cavalry, on April 10, 1878, issued the following orders concerning the surviving horse:
"The horse known as 'Comanche,' being the only living representative of the bloody tragedy of the Little Big Horn, June 25th, 1876, his kind treatment and comfort shall be a matter of special pride and solicitude on the part of every member of the Seventh Cavalry to the end that his life be preserved to the utmost limit. Wounded and scarred as he is, his very existence speaks in terms more eloquent than words, of the desperate struggle against overwhelming numbers of the hopeless conflict and the heroic manner in which all went down on that fatal day.
"The commanding officer...will see that a special and comfortable stable is fitted up for him, and he will not be ridden by any person whatsoever, under any circumstances, nor will he be put to any kind of work. "Hereafter, upon all occasions of ceremony of mounted regimental formation, 'Comanche,' saddled, bridled, and draped in mourning, and led by a mounted trooper of Company I, will be paraded with the regiment."
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE No. 120
Stamps with images of Mars and the other seven planets were issued by the Postal Service under the title of "Views of the Planets" on May 31, 2016. A separate, smaller stamp sheet was also issued that date, commemorating the exploration of the dwarf planet Pluto, in conjunction with a UFO's eyeview provided by the New Horizons space mission.
The Mars stamp was used for a special postal cancellation to commemorate the launch of Insight, a space mission to the red planet, on that date. Insight landed on Mars on Nov. 26, 2018, so it took less than seven months to get there.
The U.S. craft has a design somewhat similar to flyers currently in use on Barsoom, the name by which the inhabitants of Mars refer to their planet. This version of a one-man, one-Thark, one-calot flyer was captured by award-winning Michael Kutsche for Disney.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 121
A Special Occasion in the Jungle
By John "Bridge" Martin
He read the little bugs upon the pages of the books,
And thus his learning got an early start;
He figured out his ABCs and soon was reading words,
And 'fore too long the orphan boy was smart.
He read a book that told him things the British folk held dear,
And one of them was love for one's own mum.
In fact, on Mothering Sunday, British kids would visit her,
And have a little pudding made of plum.
So Tarzan went and gathered up some beetles and some grubs,
And picked some fruit he found along the way,
And dropped them into Kala's lap and hugged her hairy head,
And told his mommy: "Happy Mothers Day!"
In Disney's "Tarzan," there are some images depicting events in the life of young Tarzan that may have been pretty close to what actually happened. Here, the curious she-ape Kala does a bottom to top inspection of the little balu she decided to adopt on the spur of the moment.
On May 10, 2000, just a few days before Mothers Day that year, the Postal Service issued a stamp saluting and promoting adoption. The small phrases on each side of the stamp read: "Adopting a Child," "Shaping a Life," "Building a Home" and "Creating a World." All four of those sayings apply to what was true in the life of Tarzan when he had the good fortune to be adopted by Kala after the death of both of his parents.
This is an add-on cachet, with the image of Kala and baby Tarzan glued to a first-day cover purchased from the Postal Service.
Mothers Day is this year is May 10 in Canada of America and the United States of America and Mothering Day falls on May 22 in Great Britain.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 122
Actresses Margot Kidder and Doris Day died one year apart, Margot going first on May 13, 2018, and Doris checking out exactly a year later. Neither were in Tarzan movies but Doris did appear as a brunette Jane in a publicity shoot with Rock Hudson clad as Tarzan, so that's enough reason for me to make a Tarzan-related "In Memory" cover postmarked the day of Doris's death. The photo is by Leo Fuchs and was taken during the shooting of "Lover Come Back" for a seriese called "Old Couples," which celebrated famous movie twosomes.
Margot played Lois Lane to Christopher Reeve's Superman, I know a lot of ERB fans like Superman as well. And, after all, John Carter's enhanced ability in the lesser gravity of Mars is one of the concepts which inspired the creation of Superman, who enjoys even greater enhancements in the lesser gravity of Earth as compared to his home planet of Krypton!.
So, both covers work for me as far as slight ERB tie-ins and, if there's even a slight tie-in, you can be sure I'll try to figure out a way to make a postal cover out of it.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 123
Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan made it onto two covers mailed to me on May 14 of different years.
The first one, sent May 14, 2003, was made by Charles Beery of Tennessee, who made most of the scene with his original art and lettering, and then clipped out a photo of the actor and glued it onto the envelope.
The other cover is by Charlie Delgado, who used his Mailer's Postmark Permit device on May 14, 2016, for a cover with two scenes of Weissmuller as Tarzan clipped from a magazine and affixed to the envelope with clear tape.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 124
Charlie Delgado had some Tarzan magazine clippings left over after making the cover he mailed to me on May 14 (image posted in previous No. 123), so he made another one to mail on May 15, 2016. This one features two images of Glenn Morris as Tarzan and one with Bruce Bennett. Plus, Charlie added his own art in the form of an imaginary postage stamp. He left room for six genuine postage stamps to pay the freight on this 6x9 cover.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 125
Clint Walker's first screen role was as a Tarzan-like character in a Bowery Boys movie. His next role was in Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments." Walker, had been in the Merchant Marine in World War II and then held a vareity of jobs, including a doorman and a bouncer. But he became a client of Henry Willson, who renamed him "Jett Norman" (he was born Norman Eugene Walker) and got the job as the jungle man who shows up at the end of the movie, "Jungle Gents."
But his most well-known role was his eight-year ride as drifting cowboy Cheyenne Bodie, the first hour-long western made by a major studio. "Cheyenne" was televised every three weeks on Warner Bros. Presents, with two other non-western rotating shows. Soon, Cheyenne was popular enough to be a series all by itself.
Walker played in a variety of other roles over the years, including as Posey, one of "The Dirty Dozen" with Lee Marvin, and he would get into a fistfight in "Night of the Grizzly" with Ron "Tarzan" Ely. That movie also had parts for two character actors who also showed as villains in Ely's Tarzan series -- Leo Gordon and Jack Elam.
Walker died of congestive heart failure a few days before his 91st birthday, on May 21, 2018.
I made two "In Memory" covers for Walker -- one featuring him as Cheyenne and the other in his inaugural role in the comedy, "Jungle Gents," with The Bowery Boys, who were originally called the "Dead End Kids."
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 126
They’re not the Pellucidarian azdyryth and not the Amtorian rotik, but the giant monsters from the depths are known to be stalking the big lakes and live sea bottoms of Earth as well as more exotic locations.
Samuel de Champlain not only explored the lake that would be named for him, but also claims to have spotted a strange creature that was five feet long and had teeth two and a half feet long. A bit out of proportion to what is normal, perhaps, but then monsters are not required to conform to any norms.
When the Postal Service issued a stamp on May 28, 2006, to honor Champlain, I got to wondering if he actually discovered the monster, named Champ, or of it discovered him. Since the Champ he saw was most likely a baby, I asked my son, Daniel J. Martin, to fix me up with this art piece which I used for my first-day cover of the stamp.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 127
There is more than one set of Russian or Russian-type nesting dolls featuring Tarzan. This is one of them. Dave Lemon clipped a picture of these out of a publication and glued them onto the envelope and mailed it to me. The date on the postmark is lost in the stamp it cancels but the note inside is dated June 1 of some year, perhaps in 1999, when the movie was released, or later. The movie was released on June 18 but merchandise with Disney's Tarzan was filling store shelves prior to that.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 128
Romanian philatelists and Tarzan fans went wild on the 100th anniversary of the birth of Johnny Weissmuller. A stamp was issued to honor him and numerous varieties of first-day covers were made. This is one of them. Weissmuller was an ethnic German born on June 2, 1904, in Friedorf, then a part of the Kingdom of Hungary. It became a part of Romania in 1920. To see another of the Romanian first-day covers, go here and scroll down to Pushing the Envelope No. 49:
To see a couple of the country's Olympics covers that featured tie-ins to Weissmuller, go here and scroll down to No. 33:
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 129
The June moon influenced cover-makers in three parts of the country to mail Tarzan covers on the fifth of the month, although they did it in different years. In 2007, Jim Norris of Ohio made a photocopy of a spread for the original Tarzan movie and folded it into a cover and added my address and a stamp. You don't see a postmark because the postal machinery flipped this one over and canceled it on the wrong side.
Seven years late, Miki Brewer of California drew a leopard design covering on the fellow sandwiched amidst the word John. Not sure if that's supposed to be John Martin or John Clayton, but I'll go with Clayton, since I don't own underwear, a swim trunks or a loin cloth like that!
On June 5, 2017, John Visser of Georgia found a page from a Disney Tarzan publication and also did a folding job to make this cover. One stamp promotes Tamales, which Tarzan probably ate while adventuring in "Tarzan and the Valley of Gold." The other is the Tiffany Lamp stamp, showing a light like the one on Lady Greystoke's desk in her study.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 130
Prolific writer and ERB fan Ray Bradbury passed away June 5, 2012, in Los Angeles. This is a mourning cover,by Joe Doles, postmarked June 6, 2012, in North Greece and Rocheseter on a stamp featuring Pixar's "Incredibles."
A "mourning cover" is a specific philatelic term for a cover announcing someone's death. Before the advent of widespread use of quick electronic communications, people were often notified of deaths of friends and relatives when someone sent a letter in a mourning cover, with a black border around the edges giving a clue as to the sad contents within.
A few years earlier, on June 6, 2008, Sue Chaffee of Washington state, did this original Tarzan art on a cover she sent my way, postmarked from the state next door in Oregon.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE NO. 131
As every schoolboy and smarter schoolgirl knows, Indiana was the birthplace of three men who grew up to play Tarzan on the big screen.
I made one first-day cover with all three and three more covers, each devoted to one of the stars. I used a poster from a movie in which they starred along with a photo of an "Indiana" theater from somewhere in the state. I found an Indiana Theater in Denny Miller's home town, Bloomington. The theaters I found for the other two covers are in towns other than the towns where the Tarzans were born.
Elmo Lincoln, star of the first Tarzan movie, "Tarzan of the Apes," was born Feb. 6, 1889, in Rochester, Indiana.
James H. Pierce, star of the last silent Tarzan film, "Tarzan and the Golden Lion," was born Aug. 8, 1900, in Freedom.
Denny Miller, star of the 1959 remake of "Tarzan the Ape Man," was born April 25, 1934, in Bloomington.
Pierce also played Tarzan in a radio series with his wife Joan, daughter of Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs, playing Jane. Both are buried in Shelbyville, Indiana.
The Cover Monster of Elyria, Ohio, also made a cover with an Elmo Lincoln poster which was canceled two years earlier, on June 7, 2014, with a Year of the Monkey stamp.
The Story Behind the Stamp by John Martin
John Martin's Fun with First Day Covers
The Stamp Story by John Martin
ERBzine Stamp Dedication Ceremony Coverage in Tarzana
First impressions of the Stamp
Tarzan Stamp Previews
Read All The John Martin Features in ERBzine
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