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Creator of Tarzan®  and "Grandfather of American Science Fiction" 
Volume 6885

THE LIFETIME RIDE OF A FICTIONEER
By Henry Wadsofwords Longpoemwriter


Listen, O ERB fans, and you shall hear,
Of Edgar Rice Burroughs, the fictioneer,
Born the First of September, Eighteen Seventy-Five,
No one today was then alive
On that monumental day and year.
...
He said to children in Idaho's Yale
"I'll tell you a happy Snake River Tale,"
And he made up a funny bit of hoka
About an earl named Minidoka.
And then there came his family life
And how he was going to support his wife.
When bills and bills began to pile up,
And food was scarce for them to sup.
But he was reading one day through a pulp
A so-so story that made him gulp:
"This stuff is trash, and yet these guys
"Are paid good money for all these lies."
Most of the tales he thought were rotten
And frankly most readers soon forgot them.
But he said, "If others can make a living
"By writing this junk that needs forgiving,
"Then I could create some tall tales too,
"In fact, that's exactly what I will do."
...
So though he boasted a normal bean,
He dreamed up things that no one had seen,
And sent John Carter shooting off to Mars,
Where strange beasts, some known as zitidars,
Were used by the Tharks, men twice and more
As tall as humanoids who did war
Against each other all of the time
In just about any place or any clime.
They rode around on thoats, which had eight legs
And Martian youngsters were hatched from eggs.
Even though his story was full of quirks
The editors said, "Hey! This stuff works!"
And then they announced to him, "Here's the crux,
"We'll purchase your story. Here's Four Hundred bucks."
Now that may not seem like a whole lot to us
But back in his day it was a huge plus
And Burroughs quickly understood the score
And quit his day job to write some more.
...
The editor said, "Now here's a plan:
"Write us a tale about old England.
"Have knights in armor and pretty lasses,
"That's a yarn that will please the masses."
So o'er old annals Burroughs did pore
And learned all about the days of yore.
And soon he had a story formin'
About an outlaw name of Norman.
But to his surprise, the magazine
About his story was no longer keen.
But that didn't make him a hibernator,
He said, "I'll come back to that one later."
...
He started thinking 'bout jungle trails
And penned a story that would not fail!
He came up with a saga about a young lad
Whose parents had died, and that was so sad.
Though he was a helpless babe in a cabin,
A motherly ape was quick to grab him.
She regarded him as her own son
And he grew into the great Tarzan.
They snapped up the story and ERB was paid
Enough to realize he had it made!
The ape man was now his go-to guy,
And many more stirring tales did fly
From his fountain pen and his Remington,
And dictaphone. Yes, a career was begun.
...
A yen for Burroughs seized many readers
Since each of his stories were succeeders,
So he dusted off that medieval tale
And just like that, he had another sale!
So ERB came up with new thoughts galore,
And he sent explorers to the Earth's Core,
Then he wrote of a Cave Girl, and Monster Men,
The Mucker, The Mad King, Nu and then
The Lad and Lion, a Ferris flirty,
A man-eating lion and Beyond Thirty.
The Rider rode and robbed, and Bridge prevailed,
The U-33 submarine to Caspak sailed.
The Soviets changed into The Moon Men,
And Jimmy Torrance showed his keen ken.
Shannon Burke achieved some self-repair,
And Ray Palmer rewrote ERB's "Beware!"
Bull got drunk but still showed some real pep,
While Marcia lingered out on the doorstep.
Shoz Dijiji hassled the white man,
And "You Lucky Girl!" was written for Joan.
Fou-tan fell for clever Gordon King;
Buck Mason resolved just about everything;
While modern pirates roamed the South Pacific
So did Carson (on Amtor, to be specific).
Elmer somehow became Jimber-Jaw,
And Tangor was killed, but then, in awe,
He found himself Beyond the Farthest Star
(It was either him or his avatar!)
...
And all the time betwixt and between
Those aforesaid tales, more Mars was seen,
And many of Tarzan he also unfurled,
As well as Amtor, and the Inner World.
When World War Two came, the patriot ERB,
Wrote a newspaper column with upbeat blurbs.
Then he signed up full-time for he was meant
To be the senior war correspondent.
...
He returned to fiction in his last few years
And used them to explore some new frontiers;
Like sending John Carter, with a rocket boom,
Off to Jupiter, known as Sasoom.
Then on March Nineteenth of Nineteen Fifty,
He died -- too soon -- and it was a pity.
They buried his ashes 'neath a walnut tree,
Where people on sidewalks seldom see.
...
But that didn't mean his books would go away,
For Grosset and Whitman kept some Tarzans in play,
And Dell published Tarzan comic books
And a few that gave John Carter some looks.
Lex Barker played Tarzan in black and white,
And Denny Miller also took a bite
At playing the ape man on the screen,
And Day published two stories seldom seen.
...
In Nineteen Sixty-Two, on the stands
There were new editions that hit the fans,
Ballantine, Dover and Ace came out
With books with new art that carried clout.
Paperbacks of most were easily found
Canaveral did mail order with hardbound.
ERB's heirs were so pleased by all the array
That they published more tales that were locked away.
...
And now it's almost another Seventy-Five
Since Burroughs had ceased to be alive,
But the corporation that he founded
Carries on his legacy, unbounded.
Brand new editions of Tarzan are here
With Joe Jusko paintings that rank as top tier,
And others are writing new authorized tales
With many ERB characters blazing new trails.
...
And it all started more than a century ago
With a man and his family, who needed some dough.
His magic's still working! He still entertains,
As Edgar Rice Burroughs, the fictioneer, reigns.
--John Martin


DIRECTORY OF JOHN'S MANY FEATURES
PUBLISHED IN ERBzine.com
www.erbzine.com/martin



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