Jeremiah "Fishbreath" Shreddle thought it was his lucky day when he saw the sun glint off the bottle floating in the ocean alongside his 23-foot fishing boat. He grabbed a net and scooped the object out, eagerly popped the cork and extracted the weathered documents inside. "Probably a treasure map to pirate gold," he thought.
THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA
He found instead a manuscript. The fish weren't biting so he settled down to read it and found it was all about some guys who had taken over a German submarine and ended up on an island full of dinosaurs, cavemen and weird flying creatures.
Fishbreath cackled. "I ought to write this up and have it published as a book," he said. Then he thought again. "Naw, too fantastic. No one would believe it."
So saying, he rolled the manuscript up and stuffed it back in the bottle, re-inserted the cork and tossed it back into the brine. "May as well let someone else find this and have some fun with it," he said.
And that is one reason why you have never heard of Jeremiah "Fishbreath" Shreddle but you HAVE heard of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Just for fun, answer the questions from your own memory or look them up.
TARZAN THE UNTAMED: A QUIZ
Each question is followed by the chapter number which contains the answer and, if you have a first edition or a G&D, the page number.
1-When necessity demands, what does Tarzan do to the “thin veneer of his civilization”?The two Edgar Rice Burroughs is a topic which has come up from time to time in fandom.
A. Peels it off
B. Drops it
C. Sloughs it
D. Divests himself of it
2-What musical instrument was found in the parlor of Lord Greystoke? I-8
A. Baby grand piano
B. Waziri ceremonial drums
3-What is one of the greatest differences between Tarzan and the beasts of the jungle? II-27
4—In addition to his eyes, Tarzan virtually “sees” with what other part of his body? III-46
5-What kind of troops did Tarzan figure he would need to drive the enemy into the sea? III-53
6-What does Lt. Harold Percy Smith-Oldwick do while he is working that Tarzan of the Apes never does while so engaged? III-56, IX-156
A. Uses profanity
D. Takes shortcuts
7-Tarzan knows his knots! What kind does he use to secure Numa? IV-63
8-Who, besides Xanila, is referred to in the story as an “old woman”? XIII-232, XIV-250
9. What violent creature (other than Usanga) tried out the cockpit of Smith-Oldwick’s plane? XV-267
10. Which two of his weapons would Tarzan least like to be without? XX-356
For ERBzine's ERB C.H.A.S.E.R. Biblio Info on
TARZAN THE UNTAMED
Read the ERBzine e-Text for
TARZAN THE UNTAMED
MASTER MIND OF CHESSMEN
On the one hand is the real Burroughs, the one we read about in non-fiction books such as those by Porges, Fenton and Lupoff. On the other hand, there is the romantic Burroughs, the one who emerges from the way ERB describes himself in his books. This is the one who is a personal friend of Jason Gridley, a relative of John Carter, a visitor to the estate of Tarzan of the Apes in Africa, and the recipient of midnight visits from apparitions representing space-traveling story teller Carson Napier.chess; the romantic, or fictional, Burroughs was not.
In the "Prelude" to the 1922 Burroughs' novel, "The Chessmen of Mars," Burroughs begins by writing that "Shea had just beaten me at chess, as usual...."
He continues that "also as usual I had gleaned what questionable satisfaction I might by twitting him with this indication of failing mentality by calling his attention for the nth time to that theory, propounded by certain scientists, which is based upon the assertion that phenomenal chess players are always found to be from the ranks of children under twelve, adults over seventy-two or the mentally defective -- a theory that is lightly ignored upon those rare occasions that I win."
The real life Shea was John Shea who, for many years, served as Burroughs's secretary and, for awhile, piano teacher to two of the three Burroughs children, Joan and Hulbert ("Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Man Who Created Tarzan," by Irwin Porges, p 334.).
Shea was also a chess opponent for Burroughs in real life, Porges reports (p. 348). But despite what ERB wrote in the opening to "Chessmen," he was more likely the usual victor in those matches. Porges reports that a Jan. 3, 1921, entry in Burroughs' diary, shortly before he began writing "Chessmen," reads: "Played one game of chess with Shea. Won. If scientific theories are correct it is more of an honor to lose at chess than win. I do not recall ever having lost a chess game -- though I have played but few times...."
Certainly Burroughs' enjoyment of this game which he played little but won often was sufficient to spark his interest in creating the game of Martian chess, or Jetan, which formed the backdrop for the imaginative novel, "The Chessmen of Mars," played not only on a game board but also in arenas with living players battling to the death for possession of squares!
Chess continues to hold a fascination for many today. One area in which this manifests itself is in the plethora of magazine ads which have appeared over the years to sell specialty chess sets, such as the Civil War chess set, the Star Trek chess set, the Warner Brothers cartoon characters set, Marvel comics set, Disney, The Simpsons, Peanuts...far more than can be named here.
Many fans have made their own Jetan sets and there have even been a few Tarzan chess sets made by individuals but never anything professionally manufactured and/or commercially marketed.
AT A FAMILY DINNER ONE EVENING IN ENGLAND
"Jack, clean your plate!" Jane admonished. Little Jack was staring at his plate, stirring his mashed potatoes and gravy with a fork.
“Yes, Jack," ordered his father, John, who had just walked in the door. "It'll make you pretty, like your mommy.”
“I don't want to be pretty," complained Jack. "I want to be a jungle man like you, dad.”
"Well, you'll never grow up to be a jungle man if you don't eat that," said John, sitting down at the table and unfolding a napkin.
If it were possible to smile and frown at the same time, Jane accomplished it. She was happy with the way John supported her decisions, but not thrilled with the mention of the jungle.
"I made something extra special for you tonight," said Jane, walking across the kitchen with a plate piled high with meat and potatoes. John looked hungrily at the pile of food, then frowned slightly. "What's that?" he asked, poking his finger into the middle of a large chunk of meat.
“That's liver," said Jane. "We've never had it, but I'm sure you ate it lots of time in the jungl...er...in the past.”
“Shoulder," said John. "Leg, thigh, chest, neck. But I don't eat the inside stuff. I leave that for the hyenas!”
“Now John, this is very good. And it's rich in iron.”
"I don't care if it's rich in the gold of Opar," said John. "I don't like the smell of liver; I don't like the texture of liver, and I don't like the taste of liver. And furthermore..." Suddenly he glanced at young Jack who was leaning back in his chair, smiling, the pile of mashed potatoes and gravy still untouched.
"Wait a minute...did you say liver?" asked John. "I love liver. I thought you said river. I don't like river water. Too polluted, too full of little creatures and crocodile urine. But liver, I love liver."
John turned to his plate and began carefully cutting off slices of liver and putting them in his mouth and chewing. It seemed that he chewed for an inordinately long time on each piece, but at last his Adam's apple would move and a barely audible "gulp" would be heard.
Jack looked at his father in disgust. Then, resignedly, he leaned forward in his chair and began slowly, and between great gulps of milk, downing his mashed potatoes.
ONE DAY IN OUTER SPACE
Once again the Starship Enterprise had broken the time barrier and Captain Kirk, feeling a bit hungry, shouted: "Ham, porter!"
Commander Spock thought he said "Transporter" and pushed the activator button. A stunning, sparkly shower appeared and from it there emerged a naked young boy stabbing the air with a bloody shank, matted with what appeared to be and smelled like gorilla hair. "Sputtering Sputnik, Spock," spilled Kirk, "you've scrounged a spunky specimen from that spinning sphere."
Spoke Spock: "I speculate, Skipper, that this sparsely clothed species is a bit spartan."
The squirt scowled and squelched speculation, saying, "Me TARZ-an!"
John Carter wrinkled up his face. He was wrestling with a decision. Then, the internal debate over, he precisely and swiftly drew his sword.
THE SWORDPLAY ARTIST
From behind him, Dejah Thoris was watching. "I see you've drawn your sword," she said.
"Yes," said the Warlord of Mars. "I like to keep in practice. I'm really good at it, but I want to get even better."
"Well, I don't know what we're going to do with it," she said. "You've drawn your sword enough times that we could supply one to every Barsoomian.
“And the refrigerator is already plastered with all of the others," she added. "Can't you think of anything else to draw a picture of besides your sword?”
THE KURSE OF JOHN KITSCHTER:
Dejah Thoris handed the amulet to John Kitschter and said, "Repeat after me...Och...Ohem...Och... Say it."
Kitschter, holding the amulet, started repeating her words somewhat hesitantly: "Och...Ohem...Och."
The amulet lit up.
"Tay," said Dejah. "Say it."
John said it.
"Wyees," she urged.
They could hear the shout of the guards outside and the sound of fists banging on the door.
"Wyees," he said.
"Jasoom," she said through her tears. "Say it. Say it now."
But John Kitschter fell silent, thinking of what could happen if he said that word. Did he really want to go back to Earth? Or did he want to stay here, and fight for Helium...and the incomparable Dejah Thoris?
As he thought, the door began breaking open and Dejah turned to face the intruders.
When she looked back, John Kitschter was gone.
The padwars soon became convinced he was not there and Dejah assumed he had gone back to Earth. All left the room.
Up on a rampart below the ceiling, however, sat John Kitschter, where he had easily jumped in the lesser Martian gravity. He had never felt like this before. His throat had a lump; there was a taste of salt in his mouth; his eyes were starting to blur. Had he really let his true love walk out that door?
He looked down at the amulet, still glowing blue, and snarled, "Crap."
The human mind is a marvelous feat of engineering. John Kitschter had only a millisecond to think, but in that instant he had time to regret opening his mouth and, had he more time, would have attempted a futile "No, I didn't mean...." But it was too late. There was an instant of extreme cold and utter darkness.
Then, he found himself standing waist-deep in a pit of fresh thoat dung in the Zodangan stables.
"Peeee-uw!" said Kitschter, as he crawled out of the muck. "I've got to learn to be careful what I say around this thing."
THE HAIRY TIARA OF LA
There was not much point in being the High Priestess and Queen Bee of Opar if there were not some perks to go along with the job, and La made sure she took full advantage of them.
The sacrificial rite in which the denizens of Opar gathered in fanatical fury to slay and drink the blood of unfortunate jungle travelers was an important facet of the culture of Opar, but even as the blood drained from the veins and arteries of the freshly slain victims, so the adrenalin drained from the bodies of the participants so that, once the "high" was over, La and the others generally experienced physical exhaustion.
For most of the Oparians, that was a "goes with the territory" proposition and, in the admonition of Lady La, they had to just "deal with it." But for La herself, it meant a day or so of R&R, starting with a visit to the baths located above the steam plumes which vented the streams of molten lava that flowed beneath Opar from the underground core of distant Kilimanjaro.
After that, it was a visit to the massage parlor where one of the grotesque but muscular priests would work over the stressed tendons in her lush body for about an hour or so.
Then it was off to the Opar beauty shop, staffed by priestesses who had been schooled in the ancient secrets passed down by the founders of the lost civilization. When conducting her high priestess duties, La usually sported a look that had her long, dark, straight hair swept up into an ornate "do," which she referred to as the "DJ," La's abbreviation for "duju." At other times, La would have her attendants apply bleach to give her hair a blonde caste, known as the "Frazetta Flaxen," or have it dyed red, known as the "Monroe Maggie's Drawers." No one in Opar knew the true color of La's hair as it was a secret she guarded fiercely. There was always an ambitious priestess who was after her job, so La believed it was good to keep her subjects guessing about everything she did.
Tarzan himself had to guess, since he never knew which "La" he would have to deal with whenever his duties took him to or near Opar.
Thus, over the years, he gave conflicting descriptions of La to various ERB artists who had visited him on occasion to try to pick his brain to get accurate ideas for illustrations for Tarzan books.
The ape-man was not unaware of the confusion created in the minds of some fans as to just what the color or style of La's hair might be. In fact, he rather enjoyed giving out a new description to illustrators who nodded appreciatively and scribbled excitedly on their drawing pads as he gave them details about the wild yet winsome woman who stayed in Opar to avoid the public spotlight.
He was also not above embellishing a detail or two and then grinning mischieviously as the latest reprints of Opar books were delivered to him by a drone from amazon.com.
“I wonder what they would come up with," he smiled to himself one day, "if I told them she wore a purple Afro.”
HAIR SHE COMES, MISS AFRICA
HAIR SHE COMES, MISS AFRICA
Ooh la la, La,
You love to brush your hair;
Your golden locks are oh, so soft,
Around your face, so fair.
What? Do I see dark'ning clouds
Amidst your eyes, so grey?
The grey's becoming smokey
What was it? Wha'd I say?
I see it now, my comment
'Bout your hair of gold;
It must have been the sunlight!
I must be getting old!
I think instead your hair
Is like a pretty shade of bronze.
Oh wait...oh no...it's brunette,
Kind of like "The Fonz."
Or do I see a streak
Of auburn in your mane?
A little color here and there
Could help you outclass Jane.
I think beneath those colors
Lies a secret certainty:
You're a redhead: That best fits
- - - - -
In the previous tale about the hair color of La of Opar, it was suggested that one of the images I used was actually a comic book image of Tarzan saving an Egyptian lass rather than the High Priestess of the Flaming God. I've scanned the whole cover to demonstrate that it actually came from a Tarzan book in which La was featured. The scans are of the front and back of the paperback book "Tarzan el Invencible," which was laid out in the style of the first Ballantine editions but is actually a Mexican edition, published in 1965 by Joyas de Bolsillo.
The same art was used as a cover on the Tarzan Gold Key Comic #137 (See ERBzine 2537).
I'm including a couple of other images of La as a brunette, one from a Gold Key Russ Manning comic page and the other from a British Goulden edition.
- - - - -
Since I had a poem handy about La's hair, I decided to include it.
- - - - -
MORE ERB COVER ART IN ERBzine
Read all the Tarzan Gold Key Comics in ERBzine
Cover art from countries outside the USA featured in ERBzine C.H.A.S.E.R.
The UK Four Square Covers in ERBzine
UK Tarzan Adventures Covers in ERBzine (15 Webpages)
UK Hardcover Editions Checklist
Lord Greystoke's British Editions
Martin Jonker's cover images of British editions
"Check!" Tarzan said, moving his queen knight pawn onto a square diagonal to the king of the dark side.
Bruce Banner looked at the situation and seethed. The pawn was protected by a bishop and Tarzan's rook and a knight covered the other possible avenues of escape. There was only one square to which he could flee and that would be just a temporary respite as he could see that Tarzan's other rook was in a position to move in and achieve mate.
He had seen it coming. One by one his major pieces had been captured and he had been forced again and again into defensive moves instead of the attack he had wanted so badly to make. All of his scientific knowledge seemed to be of no avail as the steely-eyed ape-man, a slight and annoying smile playing across his aristocratic lips, had move by move made him play like a chattering chimpanzee rather than the chess genius that he had fancied himself to be.
It had been decided fair and square that he would play the black pieces or, in this case, the green pieces. Tarzan's chessmen were all of shaped gold, the ape-man's "white" glittering a blinding yellow in the sun that filtered through the bamboo curtain in the sitting room of Greystoke Manor, while Banner's dull "black" pieces were covered with some kind of green grime that was coming off on his fingers.
But wait. Was it the grime that was discoloring the digits of his right hand, or something else? Casually, so as not to tip off his foe, Banner brought his left hand up from where it had been resting on his knee so he could take a quick glance at it. Yes, it was turning green as well, and it had not touched a single chess piece.
It was happening. Once again, the slowly building anger in him was taking over, causing the metamorphosis that would transform him into the humongous and raging Hulk. It wasn't simply that the ape-man was beating him at chess, but the aggravating ease with which he seemed to be doing it and the enjoyment he was getting out of it.
Banner did have a respect for Tarzan and all that the ape-man had accomplished. For, in the words of his love, Jane, "No man ever started with less." But the brute instinct that mostly lay dormant within his being was now taking over. Banner knew his eyes were turning white and instinctively brought up his left hand to shade them. Then he realized that it didn't matter, for both hands were now a bright green and were starting to puff up with knotted muscles. He heard the sounds of ripping fabric as his shirt split down the back and the seams on his trousers pulled apart.
The ape-man had noticed it too, and glanced up at Banner with a bit of fire in his eyes.
But now Tarzan's foe was no longer Banner. The Hulk had taken over and mild-mannered Bruce Banner was now the Holly Green Giant, his skin the dark green of the prickly plant, his fingernails like the pointy spikes on the leaves, and his veins bulging with blood the color of green swamp slime.
But for the first time in his life, The Hulk hesitated from launching into an immediate rampage of rage. For he could see that the ape man was undergoing a transformation as well. Tarzan's muscles were expanding to the size of a sumo wrestler. Hair was rapidly sprouting from all over his body. His face contorted like a Neanderthal, his nostrils seemed to flare to the size of the twin headlights on an Edsel, and his canine teeth, both top and bottom, grew to the size of some as-yet undiscovered wild, terrible predatory cat. Tarzan was now the Terror of the Jungle in every aspect.
Both mutated men stood staring, contemplating each other's strengths and potential vulnerabilities, gauging the timing for an all-out assault.
At that moment, Jane came in bearing a tray with a steaming pot, cucumber sandwiches and warm scones with clotted cream and preserves. "Afternoon tea time, guys," she chirped. Then, beholding the state of the two behemoths before her, she added, "Oh you men! Well, it'll be sitting right here for you when you're done with your game."
Shaking her head at the mysteries of machoism, she made her way back to the kitchen, smiling as she heard the snarls and snorts and the thuds of huge bodies crashing against the solidly-constructed walls of their jungle hideaway.
ALTERNATE & ANACHRONISTIC ERB HISTORY
NO. 1 -- ARNIE LANDS A ROLE
(Somewhere...at a time unknown, in a parallel universe)
Some fans were happy and others groaned when it was announced that Arnold Schwarzenegger had been signed to play the title role of the ape man in the forthcoming epic, "Tarzan the Terminator."
But what eventually upset ALL the fans was when they learned that, once again, moviemakers were tinkering with the story as originally written by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
In order to account for Schwarzenegger's Austrian accent, the producer changed the name of the character of D'Arnot to Herr Schwietzenhoffen of Vienna, who teaches the ape-man how to speak Austrian with a heavy accent.
Fans also learned they were changing the ending of the film. After Tarzan utters his noble words of self-renunciation in the Wisconsin train station, the script calls for him to add: "I'll be back."
Arnie does stretching exercises before bellowing out his Tarzan yell.
JOHN CARTER'S NEW TOY
Dejah Thoris gasped as John Carter shot through the window and stood before her.
"John, you startled me," she said, placing a hand to calm her throbbing heart. "...but welcome back from Jasoom. Did you bring a new Mars book for me?
“Even better," said the Warlord. "Here's a toy pistol -- it's a prototype of one they planned to market as a tie-in with Disney's 'John Carter" movie, but for some silly reason they changed their mind about any merchandising."
Just then, a Warhoon burst in, leveling a pistol of his own. "Die, John Carter," he snarled.
Carter fired the toy gun and a green ray evaporated the Warhoon.
“John," gasped Dejah, "do they make deadly toys for kids on Jasoom?”
“No Dejah," Carter explained. "The Consumer Products Safety Commission would never let them get away with that. On Jasoom, this just is just a glorified, battery-powered flashlight that has a green lens in the barrel.
"But," he smiled toward the place where the Warhoon had been and twirled the gun on his finger, "Barsoom's lesser gravity makes it deadly here."
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