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ERB 100-Word Drabbles
OCTOBER IIa Edition :: Days 16-31
See Days 1-15 at Back in ERBzine 7017
by Robert Allen Lupton
With Collations, Web Page Layout and ERBzine References by Bill Hillman
October 16, 1931: According to ERBzine.com, at http://www.erbzine.com/mag64/6409.html, Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote the Police Inspector Muldoon murder mystery, “Who Murdered Mr. Thomas,” in Rob Wagner’s Weekly Script Magazine on April 16, 1932. The story has been reprinted by ERBzine and eventually included in “Forgotten Tales of Love and Murder,” published in an edition of 1,045 copies by Pat Adkins and John Guidry in 2001.
Inspector Muldoon stories are currently appearing in graphic comic format at www.erbinc.com.
“So Inspector, how did you solve the murder?”
The Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble for today is “Hair’s Breath.”
There were three men and three women. One man and one woman had red hair, one of each hand black hair, and the other couple were blondes.”
“Doesn’t seem like much to go on.”
“Not at first, but I found one black hair on the body and I eliminated four of the suspects. One man and one woman. Two of the people testified that the black haired woman, Miss Mills wasn’t in the room and that left only the man with black hair.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yep. He was the hair apparent.”
OUT OF THE FRYING PAN
October 17, 1938: Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing his penultimate Pellucidar novel, “Land of Terror.” The novel never appeared in a magazine and the first edition was published by ERB Inc. on May 1, 1944 with a print run of 3500 copies. Canaveral Press reprinted the book in 1963. Ace and Ballantine published paperback versions with covers by Frank Frazetta and David B. Mattingly.
The book was printed in Japan, The Netherlands and England. I’ve included one of the Japanese cover for this post. Giant Ants are always a bad thing.
His parents died and George’s mother’s sisters raised him. The mean old unmarried school teachers berated him constantly.
“Out of the Frying Pan” is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble, with apologies to Fredric Brown.
When he was twelve, he visited the carnival and stole a gas balloon. Anywhere the wind blew was fine. He almost froze passing through the polar opening. His aunts took another balloon and followed him.
The balloon crashed in Pellucidar. Huge black insects boiled out the ground, devoured his aunts and chased George up a tree. Their clashing mandibles were like the old women’s strident voices. Things had gone from bad to worse. He was trapped at the mercy of giant aunteaters.
October 18, 1924: This entry marks the 500th post in this series. On this day, Argosy All-Story Weekly published the final episode, part six of “The Bandit of Hell’s Bend.” The cover illustration by Stockton Mulford was for the first installment of “The Dancing Doll” by Frank Condon and C. L. Edholm. The issue contained one part of the serialized novel, “Clovelly” by Max Brand and the short story, “Loot Royal” by H. Bedford Jones.
The names of six western writers are hidden in the drabble. Can you find all them? I’ll post the answer in a future entry.
Bull said, “Cattle keep getting rustled, brand’s too small. They’re hard to see in the cold grey light of dawn. It sounds zany, but we need bigger branding irons. I found half the herd penned up under a wisteria-covered tree over near John Stone Hills”
“Tall Tale” is the name of today’s drabble..
Diane Henders answered. “How much bigger should they be?”
“The law says the brand can’t be bigger than 5 inches square. I’ll tell him we want the max brand."
“Herbie will love that. He charges by the pound. Don’t let him short us on the weight."
“He’s Italian. He’ll probably smile and sing, “That’s l’amour.”
WHO'S GONNA CARRY THE MAIL
October 19, 1945: On this day, Newell Convers Wyeth, known as N. C. Wyeth died in Pnnsylvannia . He was an American artist and illustrator, creating more than 3000 paintings and illustrating 112 books. This student of Howard Pyle is best known for illustrating 25 books for Scribner Classics, of which “Treasure Island” is the most famous to the general public.
Those of us who belong to organizations with names like “The Muckers,” The Panthans,” and the Hell Benders,” know him best for his illustrations for the August 1913 issue of New Story Magazine featuring “The Return of Tarzan.” The illustration was also used as the dust jacket by A. C. McClurg for the first edition of novel. There is only one known copy of the first edition in dust jacket known to exist.
His first two cover commissions were for westerns and Wyeth went west and worked as a cowpuncher for a while. He visited the Navahos. Later when his money was stolen, he worked as a mail carrier until he earned enough money to go home.
The illustration is the cover art for ERB's The Return of Tarzan
The proprietor at the Two Hills trading post fired a glob of tobacco at the spittoon. “You look a little green to carry the mail. Can you even ride?”
Today’s ERB inspired drabble is “Who’s Gonna Carry The Mail.”
N. C. Wyeth said. “I’ve have my own horse. I was robbed last week and need to earn enough to get back home. Is carrying the mail safe?”
“You’ll be fine. The soldiers at Ft. Defiance want their mail. They keep the pass clear of bandits and the like. Pays two bucks a trip.”
“What about the lions, bears, and wolves?”
“Tenderfoot, don’t worry about them. They don’t get much mail.”
DON'T BE A CRAB
October 20, 1939: Released on this day, Big Little Book #769, “Tarzan the Fearless,” based on the Buster Crabbe movie of the same name was copyrighted by Whitman publishing. The cover is a full color still from the movie and the interior includes 50 black and white photos – also from the film. The 432 page book has a storyline that is slightly different than the 12 chapter movie serial. It was later released as a 61 minute movie. I could tell you the difference, but where’s the fun in that?
Buster Crabbe later starred in ‘King of the Jungle,” an adaption of “Kaspa, the Lion Man,” by C. T. Stoneham. He later played some dude named Gordon and then Captain Gallant of the French Foreign Legion.
“Lessor, this is Burroughs. I really liked the Weissmuller guy, and I guess the Crabbe fellow isn’t bad, but I’m not comfortable with him.”
Today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble is “Don’t be a Crab.”
It includes our semi-hidden references to Buster Crabbe’s career.
“Did you like the film?”
‘I’d considered “Tarzan the Fearless” for a book title, but now I’ll have to let it go. I thought the serial was hard to follow and the short movie version made no sense. Crabbe is gallant enough, but I think he’d be more believable in westerns.
“Bonny idea, I’ll tell him, but I’ve a news flash for you, I’ve got other plans for Buster.”
“Trust me. I’m not lyin’, man.”
October 21, 2009: “Ain’t It Cool Magazine” reported that Wiliem Dafoe said in order to learn movements and language of Tharks for the movie, ‘John Carter, he and the other actors we’re going to Thark school. If it walks like a Thark, looks like a Thark, and talks like a Thark – it’s a Thark.
It’s a shame that the people in charge of marketing and publicity for the film didn’t have a school to go to.
Mr. Dafoe, welcome to Thark School.”
"Thark 101" is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble.
“Mom said eat your vegetables and you’ll grow up to be a big green bug.”
“It’s important everyone speak Thark properly. Otherwise, the illusion of reality will be shattered.
“So, is Thark like Klingon?”
‘It’s a blend between Middle Earth Elvish and Harry Potter’s Parseltongue.”
“And walk with your knees high like this. Pretend you’re stepping over things.”
“God help me. Is that from the Ministry of Funny Walks?”
“I don’t understand.”
“I know you don’t and you don’t have to do it on screen. As Shakespeare said, “Ay, there’s the rub.”
THE CHICKEN AND THE EGG
October 22, 1921: On this day, Argosy All- Story Weekly published Part Three of The Efficiency Expert. The cover illustration by Stockton Mulford was for part one the story “The Wolf of Erlik” by J. U. Giesy and Junius B. Smith. The title of the first section was entitled “Prince Abdul Omar of Persia.”
Part four of the Max Brand novel, “The Seventh Man,” also appeared in the issue. Born Frederick Schiller Faust in 1892, Brand is well known for his western novels and stories. He also created a fictional doctor, the young intern named Dr. James Kildare. Kildare spawned a mini-industry appearing in films, on radio, two television series, and comic books.
After college, Jimmy Torrance placed an ad seeking employment as “General Manager of a Large Business.”
The Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble today is “The Chicken or the Egg.”
Surprisingly, there were no takers.
He complained to his friend, known only as the Lizard. “No matter how smooth I talk, they won’t listen to the fact that I’m a genius. The owners say, “We’ve got all the management they can use.”
“That’s too bad. What experience do you have?”
“None. That wouldn’t be efficient. This is stupid. You can’t get a job with experience, but you can’t get experience if you don’t have a job.”
“I know. It’s steadily depressing. Have some wine.”
PRAY TO THE MOON
October 23, 1919: On this day, Methuen published he first British edition of Jungle Tales of Tarzan. The British publication used the same J. Allen St. John illustration for the dust wrapper used in America for the A. C. McClurg, Burt, and Grosset and Dunlap editions.
Jane asked Tarzan about his faith. Tarzan replied, “In my childhood, I searched for god. The native gods were pretty rocks, statues, or feather and hide-cloaked shamans. I wanted a real god.”
“Pray to the Moon” is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble.
“People want real gods.”
“I saw the sun and the moon. They watch us every day. I chose the moon. The sun gave light in the daytime when we don’t need it and the moon lights the night’s darkness, but the moon never listened to me. What good is a god that doesn’t answer? Are other gods different?”
“Most god have a lot in common with the moon.”
COLORBLIND ON MARS
October 24, 1940: On this day, Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing “Escape on Mars,” not to be confused with “Escape on Venus.” Escape on Mars was first published as “Yellow Men of Mars” in Amazing Stories in August 1941, with a J. Allen St. John Cover and two interior drawings. It was reprinted along with ‘Invisible Men of Mars” in the Spring 1942 Amazing Stories Quarterly. The story became part three of “Llana of Gathol, published by Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc. in March of 1948.
Ray Palmer, editor at Amazing Stories called Edgar Rice Burroughs. “Don’t get me wrong, I like the new Mars story, but Roosevelt’s trying to keep the peace with the Japanese and the bad guys are called “Yellow Men.” Folks might think that’s offensive.”
The Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble for today is “Colorblind on Mars.”
“I hope not. The story before was about “Black Pirates. Remember the Green Men, especially Tharks and Warhoons. The Holy Therns are white. The Red Martians fight each other all the time.”
“What’s next, purple men?”
“Maybe, colors aren’t inherently good or bad. I shake a box of crayons and use the first color that falls out.”
I REMEMBER YOU
October 25, 1959: On this day, the Lincoln Evening Journal in Lincoln, Nebraska published a short three-paragraph article which described, with a bit of wit, the plot of the newly released film, "Tarzan, the Ape Man," starring Denny Miller.
The review: "Cesare Danova and Joanna Barnes star, with Denny Miller, in the title role. The new Tarzan is 6' 4" and a former UCLA basketball star. The story revolves about the attempt by Jane, her father and white hunter to find the ivory wealth of famed Elephants Burial Ground.
Quoting directly from the review, “Village, him burned by frenzied natives. They mad! Jane, she saved from elephant by Tarzan. She glad!" Those last two paragraphs are witty enough that they could have been written by Denny Miller himself!
See the article in its original clipping format, plus other articles on ERB films in ERBzine 1196.
I had the privilege of meeting Denny twice. He was charming, friendly, and signed autographs for anyone who asked. He was kind to everyone, even people who were beyond obnoxious. During a long career, Miller appeared in over 200 television series, several movies, and played the Groton Fisherman for 14 years. His autobiography is entitled, “Didn’t You Used To Be What’s His Name?”
The photograph attached is of Denny Miller as Duke Shannon in “Wagon Train.”
“Say, I know you. Didn’t you used to be, uh, what’s his name?”
“I Remember You” is today's Edgar Rice Burroughs and Denny Miller inspired Drabble.
“Could be. Do you mean Tarzan?”
“Naw, Tarzan’s that Olympic swimmer guy, Johnny whatshisname.”
“I played Duke Shannon in Wagon Train.”
“No, you aren’t John Wayne. You’re that guy.”
“I played in Death Valley Days, Emergency, Six Million Dollar Man, Quincy, Battlestar Galactica, Gunsmoke, Gilligan’s Island, The Virginian, I Dream of Genie, and The Brady Bunch.”
“No, I remember a raincoat. Fish Sticks. You’re the fish stick man.”
“Right. Just how I wanted to be remembered. You got an order of fish and chips I can autograph.”
THEY WENT THATAWAY
October 26, 1918: On this day, a positive review entitled “ROMANCE OF TARZAN IS A BOX OFFICE WINNER” appeared in the Exhibitor’s Trade Review. ERB had protested the making of this movie. He hadn’t authorized a sequel to Tarzan of the Apes. Bill Parsons of National claimed they had only used half of the book and the "sequel" was actually the second half of the book to which he held rights. ERB did not agree to release of the film until August 5, 1918 when his previous dissatisfaction and threatened legal actions were eased by a $2,500 advance.
This film was not as popular as Tarzan of the Apes because much of the action took place in the American West. Tarzan in civilization was like an elephant in a china shop.
Tarzan arrived at the Porter Ranch near San Francisco. Professor Porter said, “Thank God, you’re here. Jane’s been captured by outlaws.”
Today’s drabble is “They Went Thataway” and is inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs and the film.
“Tarzan grunted. “Don’t you have rangers, police, or soldiers to deal with outlaws?”
Porter nodded. “We do, but this film is a western and in westerns, the damsel in distress is always captured by outlaws and the hero has to rescue her.”
“Where is she?”
“You’ll find her. The horse knows the way. You can ride a horse, can’t you?”
“Yes, but I usually travel through the trees.”
“People don’t swing in California. Saddle up and ride, Apeman, ride.”
I NEEDED THE MONEY
October 27, 1929: On this day, The World Magazine, the Sunday supplement of the New York World Newspaper, published an article by Edgar Rice Burroughs titled "How I Wrote the Tarzan Books."
Henry Hardy Heins commented on the article. “ERB told an accurate story, yet with tongue slightly in cheek in places, revealing "a very winsome side to his writing and his personal character that has not been too widely known or appreciated in the past."
At the time the article appeared, ERB's 31st novel, "Tarzan and the Lost Empire," had just appeared in book form and his books had passed the eight million mark in American and British editions and had been translated into sixteen languages.
The article was reprinted in Henry Hardy Heins's "A Golden Anniversary Bibliography of Edgar Rice Burroughs." The entire article is available at ERBzine 0052. Five days before the article was published, the stock market crashed on October 24, 1929, dropping 508 points in one day – a swing up and down that happens regularly in today’s economy.
The drabble today is 128 words from that article. I thought it took 128 words for Burroughs’ message to be clear.
"I have often been asked how I came to write. The best answer is that I needed the money."
I call today's drabble – “I Needed the Money.”
I had good reason for thinking I could sell what I wrote. I had gone thoroughly through some of the all-fiction magazines and I made up my mind that if people were paid for writing such rot as I read I could write stories just as rotten. I knew nothing about the technique of story writing… I had never met an editor, or an author or a publisher. I had no idea of how to submit a story or what I could expect in payment.
Had I known anything about it at all I would never have thought of submitting half a novel; but that is what I did.”
YOU LUCKY DOG
October 28, 1926: On this day, Florence Gilbert married Lee Ashton Dearholt. The Ventura County Marriage Records indicate that her name at the time of her was Mrs. Florence Ella Gleistein Smith. Florence started as a double for Mary Pickford and acted in more than 50 films, working with such stars as William Fairbanks, Jack Hoxie, and Janet Gaynor. She appeared with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in the first film where the two appeared together – “The Lucky Dog.”
The photo included with this post is of Florence and Ashton, but not in their wedding regalia. Their marriage certificate is featured in ERBzine
“Ashton, your bride wants a word.”
That’s the title of today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble - “You Lucky Dog.”
Ashton Dearholt said, “It’s bad luck to see her before the ceremony?”
“She’ll talk to you through a door.”
“Bad portent, that is.”
Dearholt stood near a partially opened door. Florence said, “The flowers aren’t what we ordered. The minister’s late and your parents haven’t left the hotel. This is worse than the last film you talked me into doing.”
“Another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.”
“I’ll send a car for my parents and find the minister.”
He walked away. A groomsman smirked, “You Lucky Dog.”
“Luck and I aren’t speaking today.”
A MATTER OF FAITH
October 29. 1928: On this day, the fifteen chapter film serial, “Tarzan the Mighty,” starring Frank Merrill and Natalie Kingston was released by Universal Pictures. The film is considered to be a ‘lost’ film.Melvin Koontz doubled for Frank Merrill as Tarzan in "Tarzan The Mighty." The lion in the picture is Jackie, the MGM lion, who was trained by Melvin Koontz specifically for motion picture work. Melvin also doubled for Victor Mature in “Demetrius and the Gladiator,” possibly the worst film of all time, but that’s just my opinion.
Koontz claimed to have worked on 600 films and appeared in 300 of them.
Frank B. Reeves wrote a novelization of the serial and it appeared in several newspapers across the United States while the serial played in theaters. The novelization is available in book form from lulu.com.
“Melvin, we need the lion on set.”
“A Matter of Faith” is today’s 100 word Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble.
“I’ll hurry. Jackie, the lion, needs a bath. His hair’s matted from that fight scene in the mud.”
Frank Merrill complained. “Do something about his breath. I can’t stay in character when he breathes on me.”
Melvin Koontz grunted. “Don’t stick you head in his mouth.”
“Fine, you do the scene. I don’t trust him. He licks his chops when he looks at me. I want to kneel and pray every time he comes near.”
Koontz smiled. “You’ve proved an old African proverb. There are no atheists in front of a hungry lion.”
TASTES LIE WHAT?
October 30, 1920: On this day, A. C. McClurg published the first edition of “Thuvia, Maid of Mars.” McClurg used the same P. J. Monahan illustration for the cover that appeared on the April 8, 1916 cover of All-Story Weekly. The first edition contains ten interior sepia plates by J. Allen St. John.
Henry Heins estimated the word count at 45,000 words, making “Thuvia,” one of the shortest of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novels. The first edition print run was approximately 17,000 copies.
The 100 word Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble of the day is “Tastes Like What?”
A large banth, a Barsoomian lion, threatened Thuvia and her companions. Thuvia made mental contact with the banth and convinced him to attack a party of Therns who were chasing them.
The Therns were self-rightous in their anger. John Carter, father of her companion, Carthoris, destroyed their predatory religion. They never forgave him.
Carthoris sheathed his long-sword. “Why did the banth leave us and attack the Therns.”
“Because I told him to attack the Therns.”
“It can’t be that simple. Do all banths obey you?”
“Well, you have to know what to say. I told him Therns taste like chicken.”
JUST DOING MY JOB
October 31, 1921: On this day, A. C. McClurg published the first American edition of “The Mucker.” Technically, the first half of the book was published by Methuen in the UK on October 6, 1921 and is considered by some as the first book edition but the McClurg edition contained both “The Mucker” and “The Return of the Mucker” making it truly the first full edition. The cover of the McClurg edition is by J. Allen St. John, as are five interior illustrations. The print run was 17,000 copies and the word count was 138,000 words.
In 1922, Methuen published “The Return of the Mucker” under the title, “The Man Without A Soul.”
The bandits surrounded Billy Byrne in the stables. “Tenderfoot, you’ll not interfere with us again.”
“Just Doing My Job” is today’s ERB inspired drabble.
He lassoed Billy. Byrne grabbed the rope and punched the cowboy. Another bandit said, “You’ll wish you hadn’t not hit Bob.”
Billy launched himself at the bandits. He was bloody and bruised when the fight was over, but the bandits lay unconscious with busted noses, black eyes, and broken bones.
Billy tossed them into the muddy street. The stable owner said. “Didn’t know you was a fighter. Thought you was a mucker.”
“I am. I cleaned the horse crap out of this stable, didn’t I?”
See Days 1-15 at ERBzine 7017
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