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ERB 100-Word Drabbles
SEPTEMBER II Edition :: Days 16-30
See Days 1-15 at ERBzine 7016
by Robert Allen Lupton
With ERBzine References by Bill Hillman
YES, IT'S GETTING THICK
September 16, 1911: The Chicago Tribune published Edgar Rice Burroughs’ poem about the Chicago Cubs. “Yes, It’s Getting Thick.” As I write this article, the Cubs are two games behind the St. Louis Cardinals with 13 games to play, but in 1911 The Cubbies finished the season 7 ½ games behind the New York Giants.
The Cubs star pitcher was Mordecai (Three-Fingered) Brown and their infield included possibly the most famous double play combination in history, Frank Chance, Johnny Evers and Joe Tinker. To quote Grantland Rice, ”Words that are weighty with nothing but trouble, Tinker to Evers to Chance.”
This poem and many others by ERB are featured in one of the very first ERBzine Webpages I created back in 1996: ERBzine 0003 -- this and all my ERBzine pages are still in searchable archives.
Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote today’s drabble and it’s 127 words.
Enjoy “Yes, It’s Getting Thick."
My dear, he said at breakfast time,
The Cubs have lost some more;
But as a loser I’m sublime,
‘A Good Game Loser,’ that is I’m;
List’ not, you’ll hear no roar.
Say, what in -----is this-----stuff?
It tastes to me like slops;
As coffee it’s a rotten bluff.
This steak is raw and awful tough;
Those market guys are wops.
Then at the office; “Say, how much
Do you folks think I’ll stand?
That straight front blonde’ll get in Dutch
If she ain’t here on time. Lord, such
A bunch should all be canned.
“My sweet,” he said, at eats that night,
“Although it’s naught to me,
I note the Cubs played outosight
Today. They’ll nail that pennant right.
This is delicious tea”
September 17, 1932: On this day Argosy Weekly published part one of “Pirates of Venus.” The cover was by Paul Stahr.
The issue contained twelve other stories, or parts of serialized stories. The only one I recognize is “Prisoner of War” by Lowell Thomas. I don’t recall ‘Pollywog Pearls” by Ellis Parker Butler, “Superstition and a Haircut” by P. William Zukas, or “England’s Famous Dwarf” by W. I Paddock. I’ve never read “Cat’s-Paw by Ralph R. Perry or “The Unsinkable Goeben” by Carl Maurice Cunningham.
“Pirates of Venus” was also serialized in the “Honolulu Star Bulletin,” “The Toronto Weekly Star, “Passing Show Magazine” in England, and the Dutch “ABC Magazine.”
Carson Napier used his telepathic training from Chand Kabi, an Indian mystic to communicate with Edgar Rice Burroughs.
“Even Money Isn’t” is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble.
Burroughs asked, “If I understand this right, you’re trained in Eastern mystic mental arts of and you built your own spaceship.”
“With that training in mental control and your education level, how did you end up on the wrong planet?”
“I faced a choice, right or left at the moon. One thing I learned in my Eastern studies is that 50/50 choices aren’t. When a man’s got an even money bet, he’ll be wrong 80% of the time. I’m living proof.”
GO THE SPOILS
September 18, 2012: “Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan” by Robin Maxwell was authorized by ERB Inc. and published by Tor Books. The dust jacket art is by Mark Summers. I bought the book the day it was released and mailed it along with a request for an autograph to Robin Maxwell. She returned the book with a personally inscribed book plate, some specialty bookmarks, and a very kind letter. It’s always wonderful to have contact with someone so pleasant and nice. I hope she writes another – how about “Miriam, The Woman Who Love Korak” or “The Secret Life of La.”
Her YouTube video is available and a great deal of information about Robin and her book is available at www.erbzine.com/mag39/3945.html.
The renegade Watusi warrior was a giant, almost eight feet tall. He carried a spear and wore a loin cloth. His shoulder bag style purse taken from a French female victim was filled with money from a dozen countries and stolen Oparian gold.
“Go The Spoils” is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs
and Robin Maxwell inspired drabble.
He tracked Jane Porter to an escarpment and climbed after her.
She took a baseball sized stone and threw it. She crushed his temple and he fell to his death.
Jane climbed down, kicked his face, and took his purse.
Tarzan arrived, ‘What happened here?”
Jane continued to count the money. “I rocked and rolled the giant.”
TIME TO DECIDE
September 19. 1936: Argosy Weekly published part one of “Tarzan and the Magic Men.” Hulbert Rogers painted the blonde Tarzan on the cover. Tarzan and the Magic Men published in hardcover as the first half of the novel, “Tarzan The Magnificent.” “Tarzan and The Elephant Men” made up the second half of the novel. The magazine version of “Magic Men” is longer than the book version.
The issue contained an article titled, “The Fame of Tarzan,” and the story, “Hold ‘em Dogieville,” by William Coleman Tuttle, a man who sold more than 1000 western pulp stories. In 1950-1952, Tuttle narrated the old-time radio series, “Hashknife Hartley,” which featured adaptations of his stories.
He was a screenwriter during the silent era and wrote the screenplays for 52 films between 1915 and 1945. Think about it, 1000 stories is a story a week for twenty years.
Tarzan smiled and said to Mafka, “The wizard, Woora, is your twin brother, you aren’t the same person pretending to be two people?”
"Time to Decide" is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble.
A tip of the safari hat to John Sebastian.
“That’s right. We both have strong mental powers augmented by the magic gems, Gonfol and the Great Emerald.”
“You don’t like each other.”
“When you can read a man’s mind, even your brother’s, it’s hard to like him.”
Tarzan nodded. “Can you read Queen Gonfala's mind?”
“There’s more than one woman in her head. Her two personalities fight constantly. An indecisive queen is dangerous. I told her, “You better go home and make up your minds.”
DEAR MR. METCALF
September 20, 2012: Edgar Rice Burroughs penned a letter toThomas Metcalf, the editor at All-Story. Burroughs asked for the originals of fan letters for Tarzan, he planned to use them to support his position when approaching book publishers.
He went on to say that he (Burroughs) didn’t think a sequel to Tarzan would work, but agreed to consider it. I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m really happy he didn’t kill off Dejah Thoris.
Today's illustration is by popular ERB artist, Joe Jusko.
About a sequel to Tarzan. Candidly I don't think it would be a go, although I have a really bully foundation in mind for one. These sequel things usually fall flat.
100 words from the letter are included as the drabble for today, “Dear Mr. Metcalf.”
Speaking of sequels, I have the second John Carter tale nearly completed… I think it will prove as readable as the first. I doubt if I can kill Dejah Thoris though. You know I told you I was purely mercenary in so far as my work is concerned, but when it comes to the characters I find that I develop a real affection for them - funny, isn't it?
RETURN, ROMANCE, REVENGE
September 21, 1918: Apex Pictures Corporation contracted to produce The Return of Tarzan and paid Edgar Rice Burroughs an assistant director fee of $5000.
Things get a little cloudy at this point. Apex Pictures, Plinty P. Craft, never made the film. Craft was furious when “The Romance of Tarzan” was released and eventually sold his rights to Weiss Brothers Artclass Pictures (as Numa Pictures Corporation.)
The film previewed on May 30, 1920, two days after worldwide rights were sold to Samuel Goldwyn, who cut the film by over 20% and renamed it, “The Revenge of Tarzan” before its general 1920 release.
Edgar Rice Burroughs didn’t receive screen credit as an Assistant Director for the film – as far as I can tell. I hope he got to keep the $5000.00.
“Emma, that scoundrel, Craft, sold “The Return of Tarzan” movie rights to the Weiss Brothers. Remember, he threatened to sue over “The Romance of Tarzan” and even asked me to pay him $3000.00.”
“Return, Romance, Revenge” is the Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble for today.
“Didn’t Craft pay you $5000.00 to be assistant director? Does he want the money back?”
“No, my contract went with the sale.”
“When do you report to work?”
“I don’t. They said keep the money, attend the premiere, and say nice things.”
“Will you do that?”
“Sure, it’s called publicity. I’ll write a five hundred word review. That’s ten bucks a word and I’m worth every penny.”
THE MAN WHO DIED A THOUSAND DEATHS
September 22, 1972: The Daily Times News of Burlington, Carolina published the article, “Gale Gordon: Lucy’s Foil Now.” Gordon appeared as Cecil Clayton in the first Tarzan radio serial, Tarzan of the Apes (1932), and had a major role in “Tarzan and the Fires of Tohr” -- he probably didn't have a role in the later series: “Tarzan and the Diamond of Asher” and the 1951 Tarzan Commodore series.
In the article, Gordon (born Charles Thomas Aldrich, Jr.) said, “"I became an expert on screaming and yelling in radio," he recalls. "I was on the old Tarzan radio show which was personally written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. "I must have given the last agonizing scream for thousands on that series."
Gordon was on several radio shows including “Fibber McGee and Molly,” “The Great Gildersleeve,” “Speed Gibson,” and “The Halls of Ivy.” He was the first actor to play Flash Gordon, appearing in the 1935 radio serial, “The Amazing Adventures of Flash Gordon.”
The director screamed, “Cut. You call that a death scream. It sounds like someone dumped ice cream down your pants, not like you got shot. I need a little more effort.”
“The Man Who Died A Thousand Deaths” is today’s ERB inspired drabble.
“I’m sorry. My throat hurts when I scream.”
“I want to hear pain and agony, not annoyance.”
James Pierce said, “We’ve only got the studio for another hour.”
The actress moaned, “It’s the best I can do.”
“Gordon, a death scream please. High pitched.”
“I don’t want to be typecast as a dying screamer.”
“Scream. You wanna be typecast or unemployed.”
“Will a ten second scream be long enough.”
A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND
September 23, 1916: All-Story Weekly published part one of “The Girl From Farris’s” with a Modest Stein cover. The story was later serialized in the Tacoma Tribune newspaper in 26 parts beginning February 24th, 1920. A fan edition limited to 250 copies was published by the Wilma Company on 1959 and the House of Greystoke (Burroughs Bulletin) issued the first authorized edition in August 1965. Jerry Schneider, ERBville Press issued an unauthorized on-demand version in December 2002. The ERBzine edition has been online since the late '90s
Officer Doarty was upset with Abe, the owner of Farris’s brothel. He caught Maggie escaping the brothel. “Accuse Farris of murder or be charged yourself.”
“A Good Man is Hard To Find” is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble.
She complied. Farris made his bail. Maggie was incarcerated under witness protection. The crooked grand jury led by a corrupt district attorney and the depraved Reverend Pursen ignored her testimony.
She started over, but her boss, Mr. Secor, believing she was a prostitute demanded sexual favors. She refused, fled, and applied a waitress job in Idaho.
“Why’re you in Idaho?”
“Aren’t any good men in Chicago.”
“You think all the bad ones stay in Illinois?”
WHO YOU CALLING A PIRATE
September 24, 1932: Argosy Weeklypublished part two of “Pirates of Venus.” The Burroughs’ novel received a blurb on the cover, but the Paul Stahr cover illustration was for “A Sultan of Java” by J. Allan Dunn.
Joseph Allan Elphinstone Dunn wrote well over a thousand novels, serials and stories for the pulps. He specialized in pirates, south sea tales, and westerns. I recommend “Barehanded Castaways”, “The Island,” “Boku, and "The Story of an Irish Wolfhound.” I read these about 65 years ago and haven’t reread them to see if they’ve stood the test of time.
September 24 is also a day of celebration for Robert Lupton who was born on this date in 1948 birth.
Carson and a fellow prisoner, Kamlot, mutinied against the Thorist naval ship. The prisoners and crewmen joined the revolt.
“Who You Calling a Pirate” is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble.
Kamlot said, “I’ve never taken over a ship. What do we do now?”
“First, we find Duare and free her. After that, we live on the ship. We answer to only ourselves and take what we want or need. On my world, we’d be called pirates.”
“We do whatever we want with no regard for others?”
“Exactly, it’s a pirate’s life for me.”
“So, we behave like priests or kings.”
“Hadn’t thought of it that way, but yes. Yes, we do.”
A LITTLE HELP
September 25, 1939: Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc. published the first edition of “Tarzan The Magnificent.” The novel was originally written and published in two parts, “Tarzan and the Magic Men,” and “Tarzan and the Elephant Men.” The 318 page book had a print run of 3,500 copies. The dust jacket and five interior illustrations were by John Coleman Burroughs.
The book was included as one of the 1948 ERB, Inc. hardcover reprints and issued in paperback by Ballantine in 1964 with a Richard Powers cover, and again in 1977 with a cover by Boris Vallejo.
"I included the Japanese cover by Motoichiro Takebe with this post. I liked the artwork and I finished writing my short story, “Son of a Son of a Samurai” about an hour ago and I’m still a little bit focused in the land of the rising sun."
Tarzan rescued a bull elephant with one darkened tusk from a deep pit. It trumpeted its thanks.
“A Little Help” is the Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble for today.
Later, the Athenians captured Tarzan. The evil usurper, Menofra, seized power and sentenced Tarzan and his friend Valthor, to death. “The apeman and Valthor will face a rogue elephant.”
The dark tusked elephant and Tarzan recognized each other. The elephant picked up Tarzan and Valthor and smashed through the city wall.
Valthor asked, “Why is the elephant helping us.”
“You can call me Androcles.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Don’t worry about it. I helped him once and elephants make better friends than most people.”
MISERABLE IN THE SEWER
September 26, 1914: On this day about five weeks after World War One began, Edgar Rice Burroughs started writing Barney Custer of Beatrice, the second half of the novel, “The Mad King.” The story appeared in All-Story Weekly in August 1915 and was published in London’s Penny Magazine retitled “The King and the Woman” as an eleven part serial from March 4 to March 13 in 1922.
Barney Custer survived the firing squad and escaped into a manhole. He made his way into the dank, dark, and dirty sewers. He fell and the swift fetid water carried him to a rapidly flowing river. He crawled ashore and drove to the border in a stolen car.
“Miserable In The Sewer” is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble.
Later Princess Emma von der Tann said, “A sewer? Are you mad?”
“No, I read about it. It worked for Jean Valjean.”
“That was just a story. What’s next, are you going to ride a giant bird like Sinbad, the sailor?”
“Maybe, that sounds like more fun than swimming in the sewer.”
September 27, 1919: “The Warlord of Mars” was published by A. C. McClurg on this date. There were two printings of this book by A.C. McClurg, the first state has "W.F. Hall Printing Co., Chicago" on the bottom of the copyright page whereas the second state does not. Otherwise the two printings are identical. J. Allen St. John provided the dust jacket illustration which was also used as the frontispiece. There are no other interior illustrations. For both the 1st and 2nd state a total of 20,000 copies were printed.
Grosset and Dunlap issued many printings during the twenties and thirties.
John Carter and Woola journeyed for many days through the dark underground passages and finally stumbled upon the hidden chambers where Dejah Thoris, Thuvia, and the evil Phaidor were imprisoned.
The Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble for the day is “Big Kitty.”
Matai Shang, a Holy Thern, ordered twelve banths to attack, but Thuvia used her mental bond with the Barsoomian felines to countermand his order.
Woola bared his teeth and growled at the massive golden banth that didn’t obey. John Carter looked questioningly at Thuvia.
“Banths do what I tell them.”
“Then why is that one still threatening us.”
“That one only obeys his master, Matai Shang. He’s a one-man banth.”
I'LL CALL YOU JOE
September 28, 1929: Metropolitan Books published the first edition of “Tarzan and the Lost Empire.” This was the first adult Tarzan title not published by A. C. McClurg. The wraparound dust jacket and frontispiece were drawn by A. W. Sperry.
Armstrong Wells Sperry was a writer and illustrator of children’s stories. His books were frequently historical fiction set on the oceans and in Polynesia and Asia. Sperry won a Newbery Medal in 1941 for “Call It Courage.” He worked in an advertising agency, "drawing vacuum cleaners, milk bottles, Campbell's Soup, etc., as an illustrator of pulp romances and magazines, writing south sea yarns for magazines, and finally, illustrating books and dust jackets, including the first edition of Tarzan and the Lost Empire.
Tarzan and von Erich visited Castra Mare and Castra Sanguinarius. “The world has changed during the hundreds of years your people have lived here. “
“I’ll Call You Joe” is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble.
Setimus Flavonius smiled, “Yes, but Rome still rules the world?”
“Rome rules nothing. It houses the Vatican, home of the Catholic Church.”
“Hard to believe the Papists rule now. What happened to Rome?”
Tarzan answered, “Invasion, decadence, and foolishness.”
“So far, I’ve met people named Fulvus Fupus, Caecilius Metellus, Mallis Lepus, and Appius Applosus. Someone gave them long names on purpose. I could walk to Europe faster than I could ask someone for help.”
THE SHOW MUSTN'T GO ON
September 29, 1921: Life Magazine ran a review of the Tarzan of the Apes stage play with Ronald Adair as Tarzan and Edward Sillward as Kala. Lady Greystoke was played by Alice Mosely, and Ethel Dwyer took the part of Jane.
The play received poor reviews and audience acceptance. It had a short, very short, run and closed after 14 performances. If I did the math correctly, only Elmo Lincoln, P. Dempsey Tabler and Gene Pollar were credited as appearing in the adult Tarzan role before Ronald Adair.
Tarzan of the Apes" is almost too bad to be true. To those of our helpful little band of condors who earn their living by making comical cracks about other people's plays it came like a visit from St. Nicholas.
The drabble today written by an unknown theatre critic,
excerpted from the Life Magazine review, is “The Show Mustn’t Go On.”
The English expedition from Greystoke Castle is under the booming guidance of Howard Kyle. We award him undisputed title of America's premier ham.
You are slowly overcome by that ominous drowsiness said to be the prelude to freezing to death. There really can be too much of such a good time as you will have at "Tarzan of the Apes.
SILENCE IS GOLDEN
September 30, 1924: A. C. McClurg published the first edition of “Tarzan and the Ant Men.” Unlike several of his novels, the “Tarzan and the Ant Men” first edition was longer than the serialized pulp edition of the story. Framing chapters were added detailing the fate of Esteban Miranda, the Tarzan imitator who had appeared in the previous book, "Tarzan and the Golden Lion."
The 346 page novel had a print run of 10,000 copies, a wraparound cover by J. Allen St. John, and a four page article by Robert Davis, “How Burroughs Wrote The Tarzan Tales,” in the back of the book.
The photo attached is of a bookstore counter display advertising the release of “Tarzan and the Ant Men” from ERBzine.
Tarzan took First Woman’s son and escaped the female-ruled Alali tribe. The primitive Alali didn’t have a language. Tarzan taught the boy to speak and hunt.
“Silence is Golden” is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble.
The boy joined with Alali adult men and taught them to speak and use weapons. The men, long ruled by the stronger women, began to think and fight for themselves.
Later, Tarzan encountered First Woman, whose son taught her to speak after he seized control of the tribe. She was fetching water.
“Jungle man, everything was fine until they learned to talk. Once men begin to talk together, they can’t stay out of trouble.”
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