It happened to me again in early January 2019. I went into a local antique store and was roaming around. The lady asked me if I was looking for anything in particular. Even though I knew she probably wouldn't hear me clearly, I replied, "Do you have any Tarzan?"
I went into a bookstore,
Enquiring, "Any ERB?"
The clerk looked somewhat puzzled,
And asked, "Did you say Herb?"
"No, ERB, as in E-R-B,"
I spelled it out for her.
"Arby's?" now she brightened,
"It's 'round the corner, sir."
"No, I don't want a sandwich,"
I tried another tact:
I tried to be exact.
"I've heard of Medgar Evers,"
She said with puzzled air,
"But Burroughs -- You mean William?"
She frowned and scratched her hair.
"I think we have one volume,
"It's more than just a hunch.
"It's on this shelf"...but then she blushed...
"It's called, uh, Naked Lunch."
"Forget the name of Burroughs.
"Do you have any Tarzan?"
Again she wrinkled up her face.
"Do we have any cars...and...?"
"No, Tarzan...of the Jungle!
"The one who goes like this:"
I yodeled out my bull ape cry
And struck my chest with fists.
The clerk now looked quite frightened;
She screamed and sought the door.
"You bully, get away from me!
"And don't come back no more!"
I wondered, while departing,
Should I be more precise?
Would it make any difference,
If I'd said "Edgar Rice?"
Poem originally published at:
- - - - -
"Oh, I have a whole half case of it," he said happily. Whatever it was she had a half case of, it must not have been Tarzan, because she almost immediately asked me again: "What did you say you were looking for?"
"TARZAN!" I said again, even more clearly and perhaps a bit louder.
"Oh, I don't think I have any frying pans," she said.
That's a new one. Usually when I ask for Tarzan, they reply: "Cars?"
Just like a fish story, the python wrestled by Gordon Scott in "Tarzan's Fight for Life," 1958, has sometimes grown. It has variously been described as being anywhere from 18 feet to 25 feet. The 18-foot range is more likely, as evidenced by the fact that Scott survived, although he said it took six men to pull the beast off of him. It would be nice to have a photo of that, but the six men may have included the camera wielders!
Tarzan Cover Art by Joe Jusko
Boots for Superman, along with his cape;
Boots for soldiers to keep in shape;.
Boots for astronauts on a moonscape,
But never for Tarzan, who moves like an ape.
Boots just in case you step on a snake;
Boots called waders for fishin' in a lake;
Boots for John Wayne, playin' Big Jake,
But never for Tarzan, for Pity's sake!
Frilly pink boots can look real cute;
Santa has black ones, covered with soot;
Boots spit-shined by a Marine recruit,
But Tarzan wears only his birthday suit.
For Nancy Sinatra, to walk on you;
To go with saddles for the boys in blue;
To climb up the Andes in old Peru,
But not for Tarzan -- that's plain cuckoo!
SCOTT AND THE SNAKE
There once was an actor named Scott
In Fight for Life, Histah he fought;
The question comes down
Of this feat of renown:
Was he in real danger, or not?
Of one thing I surely am certain:
I wouldn't want, draped like a curtain,
A python that's free
To wrap around me,
And possibly leave me a' hurtin'!
- - - - -
In the trailer, see Tarzan deliberately grab the snake instead of grabbing Jane and getting her away from it! But, in movies, you do what the director tells you to do.
click for full-size splash bar
The 18-foot python is in the Trivia section here:
TARZAN'S FIGHT FOR LIFE
ERBzine Silver Screen Coverage Starts Here:
The 18.5-foot python in IMDB
Fan Review in IMDB
THE KURSE OF KURLYMANJARO
Larry and Moe and his brother named Curly
Went out in the jungle one day
This trio of lackeys
Were dressed in their khakis,
Prepared for an over-long stay.
The ape man was sitting up high in a tree,
As bored as an ape man can be.
When he heard slaps and bonks
And ouches and conks
And "woop woop" and "Why'd you hit me?"
He watched with great interest as down on the trail
They entered the ape man's domain.
Moe, with a tweezer,
Had yanked Curly's beezer,
And Curly was yowling in pain.
Larry was laughing to witness such sport,
Til Moe said, "So you think that's funny?"
He grabbed at ol' Lar'
took a handful of hair
And plugged up Lar's nose (which was runny).
Along about then came a headhunting warrior,
"Those heads will look good on a pole!"
One shiny bald dome,
One needing a comb,
And one with a top like a bowl.
But the apeman was there to rescue the three,
And made the poor headhunter bungle.
"With stooges like these
"To watch from the trees.
"I'll have comic relief in my jungle."
TARZAN ON TROUBLE TRAIL
Tarzan woke up in the jungle one day,
And stretched in the fork of the tree where he lay.
He reached 'neath his loincloth and scratched his behind,
Then let out a bull-ape yell, just to unwind.
He felt a bit hungry, so, grabbing his rope,
He dropped to the ground and took off at a lope;
His nostrils soon told him that breakfast was near,
As he caught the fresh odor of Bara, the deer.
He leaped to a tree limb with greatest of ease,
And in upper terraces soared through the trees.
'Til Bara he found in a clearing below,
And dropped 'round its head a grass rope lasso.
He tightened the noose as the deer gave a start,
And Lord Greystoke hauled up his meal, a la carte;
As he reeled in the deer, Bara wiggled and lurched,
All the way to the tree limb where Tarzan was perched.
A flash of the knife Tarzan's father once wore,
And Bara the deer was a livin' no more;
Then he cut out some steaks and, settling back,
Savored his type of a Big Mac attack.
And when he had eaten as much as was wise,
He wiped off the grease from his hands on his thighs;
Then he toted the deer like a tuxedoed waiter,
And buried it deep for another meal later.
The Ape-Man's keen ears then picked up a sound,
So he listened more closely, with head to the ground;
The thuds and the thumps from a faraway trail,
Were read by the Ape-Man like we read our mail.
He could tell a safari was coming his way,
With two evil men who had quite an array
Of ivory stolen from elephants killed,
And pockets which jewels from Opar had filled.
Along with the men was a pretty French lass,
Who wasn't a thief: She had too much class;
Twenty-two natives were toting the loads,
The white men exhorting the bearers with goads.
All of this, Tarzan could know for a truth,
By the way that the noises were sounding: Forsooth!
He leaped to his feet with the grimmest of looks,
And set off to deal with this party of crooks.
Now, Tantor the elephant, Tarzan's best friend,
Encountered the men as he rounded a bend;
One man gladly shouted, and grabbed for his gun,
And quickly as elephants can -- Tantor spun.
He let out a bellow and poured on the speed;
This kind of people ol' Tant didn't need;
As he ran from the men in his natural fear,
A bullet nicked Tantor up high in the rear.
The bullet bounced off, but the pain settled in,
And Tantor saw red, and it made Tantor sin;
His pain overwhelmed him; his mind it did fill;
And Tantor desired but one thing: To kill.
He roared down the trail like a lumbering freight,
Where the Ape-Man approached with a jungle-bred gait;
Tarzan knew by the scent that his pachyderm pal
Was not far away, so he let out a yell.
Now, Tarzan's yell usually made Tantor feel good,
But, clouded by rage, it was not understood;
They both saw each other about the same time,
And Tarzan, quite suddenly, felt like a climb!
But 'ere he could leap for a low-hanging limb,
The elephant smacked full-bore right into him;
The force of the blow sent the ape man a flyin'
And soon in a bush he was, unconscious, lyin'.
Tantor's insanity left him like -- Zap!
But he wandered away with a memory gap;
He didn't realize he had decked Tarmangani,
And waded a river to cool off his fanny.
Tarzan, conked out, in the bush by the trail,
Was found by the men who were on Tantor's tail.
"Look, Jacques, a wild man!" said Slipp'ry Pierre.
"I'll grab his feet, and you grab his hair!"
So, Tarzan was trussed up and tossed in a cage;
At sideshows back home, he'd be all the rage;
They'd earn lots of money as, week after week,
People would pay for a look at the freak.
They camped out that night in a tree-shaded glen,
And drank so much whiskey, they slept in 'til 10;
All morning the natives were playing some tricks,
And poking the "wild man" with spear points and sticks,
But all this attention the Ape-Man ignored,
And sat like a stoic as the two white men snored;
Finally, the natives gave up on their sport,
And turned to adjusting the packs they would port.
With others ignoring the cage for a spell,
The pris'ner saw coming, a mademoiselle;
Her lipstick was red and her eye shadow blue,
Tarzan's eyes stuck to the woman like glue.
Her golden hair shimmered beneath the bright sun;
In spite of the jungle, her socks had no run;
Like a queen from the movies, so pert and so perky,
But, best of all, she brought a fistful of jerky.
Now, a free meal the Ape-Man was not one to fault,
And he ate all the jerky in spite of its salt;
The maiden sat watching the Ape-Man's repast,
And her little French ticker began beating fast.
Then she held up a ribbon, as red as could be,
And tied to the ribbon: A sparkling key.
"I'll open the door and I'll let you go free,
"But first you must promise that you'll rescue me."
"These men are my uncles but, blood ties aside,
"They're scoundrels and villains who've cheated and lied.
"They're not very nice; they ain't no Ralph Naders,
"They're planning to sell me to Arab slave traders."
"I'll help you," said Tarzan. "Just open the door."
She did, and our Ape-Man was untamed once more;
He beat on his chest and let out a roar;
The natives all jumped about 10 feet or more.
"He's loose!" cried the head man, in perfect Swahili.
"We'll have him for supper, or my name ain't Pele!"
The natives launched spears, and blew poison darts and
Shot burning arrows at grim, smiling Tarzan
The Ape-Man quite nimbly sidestepped every missile;
"Ooh la la," said the French girl, and gave out a whistle;
As the final two spears came flying like quips,
Tarzan grabbed one in each of his powerful grips.
Unarmed and outclassed, the natives went white,
And, shrieking and scattering, vanished from sight;
With all of the noise, the drunks finally awoke;
Pierre grabbed his gun and Jacques grabbed a smoke.
"What's going on? It sounds like a fight!"
"Nah, it's the natives; they're restless tonight."
"You idiot! Night? It's already day!
"It's way past the time we should be on our way!"
"Hey listen . . . it's quiet now. Was it a dream?"
"A little TOO quiet, if you know what I mean."
A foot or two outside the tent, Tarzan lurked;
He speared the tent top and then powerfully jerked.
The tent pegs popped out and the canvas went flying;
Jacques froze in mid knot as his shoe he was tying;
Slipp'ry Pierre was more quick to react,
He raised up his pistol, the hammer pulled back.
Now if he'd been smart he'd have fired a round;
Instead, he told Tarzan to drop to the ground;
The Ape-Man just fired his spear like a shot;
It knocked Pierre's gun right onto the cot.
Then Tarzan grabbed Jacques and gave him a boot,
That sent him cart-wheeling right into the loot;
Pierre turned and grabbed for the gun on the cot,
But he stopped when he heard Tarzan say, "Better not."
The French girl ran up and gave Tarzan some hugs.
"My hero," she sighed, "You've stopped those two thugs."
They stood 'neath the trees, so tall and so leafy;
"Who are you?" asked Tarzan; she said, "My name's Fifi."
Just at that moment, there came a new voice:
"Stop hugging Tarzan, the man of MY choice!"
"Good grief," thought the Ape-Man, "it's Jane, with Waziri!"
He pushed the girl from him in one big fat hurry.
Then turning, the Ape-Man dropped open his jaw;
It wasn't his Jane; it was High Priestess La;
And with her were 50 from Opar's elite,
Short, bearded men with bare, stinking feet.
"We've come for our jewels," the high priestess said,
"These fools will soon pay, as their blood will be shed;
"The sun's near its zenith, now bring me those two;
"Stake them out on the ground for the ritual I'll do."
As the 50 Oparians did as she said,
Tarzan walked over to La and he said,
"Hi, La, how's it going? Long time no see."
She smiled at Tarzan and whispered, "Miss me?"
Meanwhile, the high priest, a guy name of Grout,
Was staring at Fifi, with tongue hanging out;
She looked back at him, and as their eyes met,
The rockets went off like the blast from a jet.
She smiled at him, and he smiled at her,
Then she reached out and patted his head full of fur;
He spoke the ape language, and she spoke the French,
But Love is the language that straddles the bench.
La looked at the pair and gave Tarzan a smile;
"I think Grout will leave me alone for awhile!"
"You know, La," said Tarzan, "I really must say,
"In civilized places they don't act this way!"
"They just don't take people without a fair trial,
"And tie them and knife them in sacrifice style;
"These fellows are bad ones; there isn't a doubt,
"But is this the best way to work the thing out?"
"Oh, Tarzan," La chuckled, "for one moment there,
"I almost believed you!" La fussed with her hair.
"Now quit being funny by looking surprised,
"You know very well that I'm NOT civilized!"
"I know," grinned the Ape-Man, "just thought I would see
"If you'd mellowed at all since you tried to knife me.
"Well, I must be going," he said. "It's near noon."
"Oh, Tarzan," said La, "You're leaving -- so soon?"
The Ape-Man just smiled, then took to the trees,
As Fifi told Grout 'bout the birds and the bees;
La stamped her foot and cursed at the air,
Then turned her attention to Jacques and Pierre.
Tarzan, the Jungle Lord, raced through the trees,
'Til there came to his nostrils a spoor on the breeze;
He lifted his voice with a summoning cry,
And heard back the answer, an elephant's sigh.
"Tantor, old boy!" Tarzan saw up ahead,
A massive gray bulk with a friendly gray head.
"Don't worry, old friend, you're forgiven, you know;
"It wasn't your fault, and no other need know."
The elephant ambled, as night followed day,
As Tarzan, at ease, on the great back did lay;
Time to relax and stare up at the moon;
Another adventure was sure to come soon.
- - - - -
This poem is mirrored, with illustrations, at:
This poem is a parody about some ot the characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Tarzan is a Registered Trademark of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The poem above was written back in early 2012 before Disney’s “John Carter” movie was released. Fans had read, and reacted, to many news items about the forthcoming production and there was plenty of discussion here and there online about whether Disney’s plans for the “look” of the movie would be good or bad.
VANS AND VONS
Sometimes Burroughs wrote of Van
And sometimes, wrote of Von.
I guess it just depended
What the story line was on.
Back to stone age Pellucidar
Came one known as Von Horst
The 0-220 left him behind:
He found himself out-sourced.
Seeking treasure was Von Horn
With all he did and said;
It occupied his brain so much
He finally lost his head.
And far away in Lutha
There stood a mighty man
With a mighty pretty daughter,
One Emma Von der Tann.
With Tarzan's "Foreign Legion"
Was Corrie Van der Meer,
Whose eyes for Jerry Lucas,
Soon had him saying "Dear."
Now Billy Byrne was one rough guy,
But he was not a fibber,
As he'd have been if he had claimed
Acquaintance with Van Bibber.
Now if you hear a mighty ape
Cry "Van" amidst his yell,
He's only trying to let you know
That he thinks all is well.
So, Von or Van or Van der,
Or Von der or Vonbulen,
With German, Dutch, or Great Ape talk
Ol' ERB was not a foolin'.
ERBzine References for 'Vans and Vons'
BACK TO THE STONE AGE
TARZAN AND THE FOREIGN LEGION
THE MONSTER MEN
THE MAD KING
THE MOON MAID
ERB FAN LAMENT: IN EARLY 2012
We don't like Kitsch and we don't like his hair
We don't like the flyers as they soar through the air
We don't like the apes to be such big galoots.
We don't like Woola 'cause he's too darn cute.
We don't envision Lynn as Dejah Thoris,
We'd rather she looked like art by Boris.
We don't think Martians wore tats on their heads,
Why can't their skin come in shades of red?
The scripters should use some imagination
As long as the plot sticks to ERB's dictation.
The thoats better look like we think they ought
(Never mind that we each have a different thought).
At least they're keeping the Tharks all green
And letting them keep their streaks of mean.
We don't like the title 'cause they left out "Mars"
But at least two moons hang among the stars.
We don't think there's been enough pro-ERB hype,
But one thing's for sure: We do like to gripe.
- - - - -
Just for fun, I rounded up some of the negative comments back then and put them in rhyme, and the result is what you see above. In reality, the movie “John Carter” actually did disappoint many fans, even though the CGI was great and ERB’s Barsoom was brought to life in ways that would not have been possible in a motion picture years before. However, plot and character deviations were unforgivable in the minds of many.
But, unknown to much of the ERB world, a small “little theater” group in Minneapolis, Minn., had, in 2006, put together a stage production of “A Princess of Mars” which lacked all of the special effects of big bucks movie makers but which did do a major thing that made its production superior to Disney’s and the small-time company, Asylum, which had also turned out a version of “Princess of Mars.”
The big difference: Hardcover Theater stuck to ERB’s story line, which was more important than special effects. The old 2006 production is now available on DVD. Following are links to a page on how to order the DVD plus some background on the theater production and a few pages of the original script, as well as some links with reviews of the Minneapolis play.
Click for full-size collage
ERBzine Editor Note:
Very good idea for verse and well done John Martin . . . but I love the movie and return to it often.
Some people expected a documentary rather than a modern film adaptation.
Read our interview with the scriptwriter Michael Chabon at:
and learn all the good things about the film in our Companion site:
Over 100 Reviews of the John Carter Film
(They are off-site references so some links from media sites may have expired since 2012)
Visit our thousands of other sites at:
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