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Master of Imaginative Fantasy Adventure
Creator of Tarzan®  and "Grandfather of American Science Fiction" 
Volume 6886


(An Alternate Universe Tale?)

"So you're the new Tarzan, eh?"
"Yes sir, I am."
"Don't you know we already have a Tarzan?"
"Well, yes. I know about Johnny Weissmuller."
"He seems to have pretty well nailed down the role in the public's mind."
"I understand that, sir, but this is my big chance. The public is fickle. You can't tell. The fans might warm suddenly to me."
"Well, hold still for a minute. Let them get what they came for in this photo op. Then I've got to get back to my new Uranus novel."
A flash bulb popped and the photographer smiled and said, "Got it!"
Morris hopped off Ed's desk, where he had been sitting. "Well, back to the studio," he said.
"Yes," said Ed, noting the streaks of perspiration on his desk where Morris had been perched. "You have a good day."
Morris waved and headed out the door.
Ed waited until he heard the outer door slam, then touched the intercom button and barked, "Rothmund, get in here. And bring that bottle of disinfectant and a clean rag."

Jim Thompson asked me if I'd ever written a poem about exploring a bookshop.

I had written something similar to this one as a piece of flash fiction years ago;
I've now transformed it into an embellished, poetic version. Thanks for the idea, Jim!

Pennypincher's Bookery looked like my kind of store;
A little bell was jingling as I ventured through the door;
The spoor of aged paper seemed to beckon from the racks;
I nodded to the owner and then prowled among the stacks.
I didn't ask for Burroughs; I figured if he knew
That he would jack the prices up before I'd found a few.
So, nonchalantly browsing, I wandered all around,
Picking up a book or two then putting it back down
I soon had found the sci-fi books displayed majestically
Aligned by names of authors, alphabetically,
And so I quickly worked my way along the row of B's
Yikes! There were a lot of books; among them I saw these:
Balmer, Bear and Benford, before Bester, Binder, Blish,
Bloch and Boucher, Boulle and Bova, Brackett and then this:
Bradbury, Bradley, Brin and Brooks, Brunner, Budrys, Bujold,
Busby, Butler -- wait a minute! How'd I miss Ed Burroughs?
My eyes went back along the shelf but Burroughs I found not;
I looked around; perhaps his works were in another spot.
I searched 'neath T for Tarzan, and M, and V and P.
Nowhere among the many books an ERB tome could I see.
Well after all, what'd I expect? Burroughs fans are many.
Others probably scarfed them up as soon as there were any.
You usually must be "first in line" to firmly get your hooks
Into some neat editions of the Edgar Burroughs books:
The daring deeds of Tarzan! John Carter's flashing sword!
Pellucidar and Amtor! The tribe! The girls! The horde!
The dinosaurs and savage beasts, the fliers, the balloon,
The streets of old Chicago, invaders from the moon.
I sighed and turned to leave the store but couldn't help but see
Pennypincher grinning as he rubbed his hands with glee.
"Say young man," he caught my ear. "Would it be E-R-B
"That you are looking for today? Hmmmm. Now let me see..."
He thought for just a moment, while screwing up his face,
Then said, "Oh yes, I think we have a few. They're in the safe."
The safe? Oh no! I now realized, no bargains would he sell!
If they were in the safe that meant he knew their value well.
He spun the dial quickly, casting back a glance or two
To assure the combination was hidden from my view;
He turned the handle as his fingers ended the last spin,
Then opened up the iron door and thrust his claw within.
He hauled out four A.C. McClurgs that came from Burroughs' pen,
Thuvia, Beasts, The Mucker and a pristine Monster Men;
Each had a stunning jacket inside a mylar sleeve,
Such a batch was not a thing of which I could conceive.
"Thirteen hundred each," he said, "but I'll make you a deal:
"Five grand to buy all four of them; believe me, it's a steal."
I gulped, but reached into my pouch and out the money came.
I handed him the last five thousand dollars to my name.
He took an old receipt pad and wrote down every book;
He kept the carbon for himself; the original I took.
He found an old brown paper bag that had been used before,
And placed within the volumes I'd just purchased in his store.
Before I left, I hesitated -- something on my mind.
I turned back to the owner, saying, "Would you be so kind
"To tell me how it was you knew what I was looking for."
He made a sly expression and then he looked me o'er.
His eyes surveyed my jet black hair, the locket that I wore,
And dropped down to my shoeless feet which gripped his wooden floor.
"It isn't often," he replied, "that people come in here,
"Clad in just a leopard skin while carrying a spear."

Edgar Rice Burroughs smiled all the way to the bank.

“Good morning, Mr. Burroughs," chirped Maizy, the sparkling red-headed teller. "Another big deposit today?”

“You bet," said the world-famous author. He endorsed the check and began filling out the deposit slip. "Let's see," he said. "Today is....”

“The first," she replied. "Wednesday, April 1, 1938.”

“I know what year it is," said ERB with a touch of snark. "Just forgot what day in April it was.”

He handed her the check and she glanced at the name at the top. "Hormel Spam," she clucked her tongue. "Isn't that the new meat product they came out with last year? That is good stuff. And what a clever name, rhymes with ham and has pig meat in it."

“Yes," said ERB, "a good name. If I do say so myself.”

“Eh?" said Maizy. "Why do you say that?”

“Because," said ERB, "I made the name up myself, then sold it to Hormel for royalties if they ever actually used it. Finally, they have.”

"How did you ever come up with the name of 'Spam' and what possessed you to offer it to Hormel?" inquired the teller.

“It was 1912," said ERB, "and my family and I were enduring hard times. I decided I would write a rotten story and sell it to one of those cheap pulp magazines to bring in a few bucks to help feed us.”
“Oh," she said, "that would be 'Tarzan of the Apes.' I was in the garage tossing out some magazines the other day and one of them in the pile was 'The All Story' that had that that yarn in it. I don't need it anymore because I have a G&D in jacket.”

“Yes," said ERB. "No point in keeping stuff like that. The pulp paper will probably crumble to dust in a few more years anyway.”

“But back to the subject," said the teller. "How did you come up with the name Spam and what does it have to do with Tarzan.”

“Well," said ERB, "I was trying to think of a name for my character. I was planning to call him Tublat-Zan but then I remembered that this story would be read by unintelligent pulp readers and I thought a three-syllable word would be too much for them to handle. So I decided on Tarspam instead.”

"But you didn't use that, either," Maizy noted.

"Well," said ERB,"I got to thinking that the presence of a 'p' in the middle of a word is hard to pronounce without shooting saliva out of your mouth, whereas a 'z' is much easier to get out. Also, 'z' is more fun to say than 'p.' You know, like in 'zoo,' 'lazy,' and 'crazy.'

"And Maizy?" she asked, batting her eyelids.

“Yes," ERB smiled. "And Maizy. Anyway, I realized that excess saliva was an aid to digestion and figured that if Hormel ever came up with a zesty (another 'z' there, heh heh) tinned meat, that Spam would be a dandy name for it. So I had my lawyers contact their lawyers and we worked out a deal.”

“Wow!" said Maizy. "You sure are smart, Mr. Burroughs.”

“Yes I am," he grinned, sticking the deposit receipt into his wallet. "And well-nourished. As part of the deal, they've also fixed me up with enough Spam to last me another dozen years."

Sunday's Ripley's Believe It Or Not
This 64-page book is filled with black and white photos from the film arranged on pages across from games and puzzles. There are all kinds of pencil puzzles and there's an insert bound in the center which has John Carter stickers.
Several of the puzzles make use of a Martian alphabet, which puzzle workers must use to solve puzzles. I opened the book as far as I dared to scan two facing pages with one of the puzzles that uses the Barsoom ABCs.
An especially nice feature is that the back of the book has answers to the puzzles just in case users aren't as brilliant as Ras Thavas and can't complete the puzzles!!
Here are scans of the front and back covers, one with a ruler alongside to show size, and the two-page spread with the alphabet puzzle. The last two scans are of the two other activity books which were posted in early March: John Carter Battle for Barsoom and John Carter 3-D.
Here's a link to the earlier post with details about the other two books:

John Carter activity book :: Front and Back Covers
Example of John Carter activity book puzzle using Barsoomian alphabet

John Carter Battle for Basroom activity book

John Carter 3-D book comes with two pairs of 3-D glasses

Click for larger size

Back in the last century, before there was a facebook and before email use was as common as it is today, most of us had to wait for the arrival of the mailman to get the latest news on the world of Edgar Rice Burroughs, which came mainly in fanzines and in flyers from publishing companies.

This is a flyer sent out by Donald M. Grant, publisher, who produced a lot of fantasy books by Robert E. Howard and others. He produced the first-ever editions of the ERB tale "Marcia of the Doorstep" and the play, "You Lucky Girl!," the latter being the play Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote when his daughter, Joan, became interested in drama. Although ERB wrote the play in 1927 , it was not actually performed until 1997, two years before the book was published. It was staged at The Palmdale Playhouse in Southern California.

Prior to that, many ERB fans had become aware of the existence of the two previously unpublished manuscripts, and some articles had appeared in fanzines about their contents. But for ERB fans, there was nothing that could equal the actual publication of these books and the opportunity to own and read them.

More on the play, "You Lucky Girl!":
More on the book, "You Lucky Girl!":
A history and assessment of "Marcia of the Doorstep" by Alan Hanson:
More on the book, "Marcia of the Doorstep":


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