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ERB 100-Word Drabbles
FEBRUARY IIa Edition :: Days 16 - 29
See Days 1 - 15 at ERBzine 7099
by Robert Allen Lupton
With Collations, Web Page Layout and ERBzine Illustrations and References by Bill Hillman
February 16: On this day in 1955, the film “Tarzan’s Hidden Jungle,” was released. It starred Gordon Scott as Tarzan, Vera Miles as Jill Hardy, and Jack Elam as Burger. Rex Ingram, who had appeared in the 1918 version of “Tarzan of the Apes” with Elmo Lincoln, appeared as the Sukulu chieftain. This could be the longest stretch between appearances in Tarzan Films – 57 years.
While there was virtually no on screen romance in the film, Miles and Scott were married shortly after filming was completed.
“Jungle Love” is today’s drabble.
Gordon Scott said, “So I saved you from the quicksand. How about I show you best part of Tarzan’s Hidden Jungle.”
Vera Miles replied, “Does that line ever work on a real woman? You should be ashamed.”
“I thought it was better than “Cheetahed death again.”
“Not very much. You’re cute, but you’re trying too hard.”
“We should go somewhere and monkey around. I know a swinging little vine bar near the dum dum tree. We’ll have some fawn and then marry. I’ll want a big wedding. We ‘antelope.
“Keep it up and I’ll they’ll bury you in that loincloth.”
February 17: On this day in 1937, Argosy notified Edgar Rice Burroughs that they were changing the story title from “Elmer” to "The Resurrection of Jimber-Jaw," Ed wrote, " `Elmer' may not have been so hot, but I think that `Jimber Jaw' is a hell of a name."
In the original manuscript, Jimber-Jaw, the cave man, was called Elmer Stone. Many assumed that the name "Stone" was a play on words by Burroughs, based upon the Stone Age. The name "Elmer" came from a human skull given to Burroughs’ sons, Hulbert and Jack Burroughs, by Ed's physician, Dr. Elmer Belt. The name was chosen in his honor.
Today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble honors Elmer, the skull. Here’s “Skullduggery.”
Joan Burroughs complained, “Jack, I can’t believe you keep those disgusting skulls in the house. They frighten my friends.”
Hulbert laughed, “Your friends are poopy heads.”
Joan visited a girlfriend’s house that evening. Her father maintained an aviary of seabirds. Joan and her friend took one to the Burroughs’ house and released it where the boys kept their skull collection. The bird hopped from skull to skull leaving a small deposit on each one.
The next morning, Jack discovered the bird-christened collection and not a single skull had been left un-terned. There was a note. “Who’s the poopy head now?”
February 18: On this day in 1946, the film, Tarzan and the Leopard Woman, was released. It starred Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan, Brenda Joyce as Jane, and Johnny Sheffield as Boy. Acquanetta (Mildred Davenport from Norristown Pennsylvania) played Lea, the high priestess of the Leopard Women.
Lillian Molieri Bermudez from Nicaragua appeared in a small role. She was Miss Central American in 1945 and later appeared on several television shows including “I Love Lucy,” where she played "Carlota Romero", Ricky Ricardo's long-lost Cuban girlfriend. She also appeared in “Hopalong Cassidy,” and “The Cisco Kid.” She played a wife of Rex Harrison’s King in the 1946 film, “Anna and the King of Siam.” She died at age fifty-five in Nicaragua. Here’s her photograph.
The film has nothing in common with the 1935 Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel, Tarzan and the Leopard Men.
Today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired 100 word drabble is “Beastly Behavior.”
Boy asked Tarzan, “Why these women called Leopard Women? They got no spots.”
“Tarzan not know. Ask Jane.”
“Boy, I don’t know either. They worship leopards. They dress in leopard skins and wear leopard claws.”
“Don’t they have to kill the leopards to get their skins? Seems strange that people would kill the animals they worship.”
Jane said, “Yes, people are strange. I imagine leopards are easier to control once they’re dead.”
Boy asked, “Does High Priestess choose who to sacrifice to the leopard god.”
Tarzan nodded, “Only man sacrifices other men to animals. That’s why Tarzan like animals best.”
ORDERS FROM THE FUHRER
February 19: On this day in 1943, RKO released “Tarzan Triumphs.” Maureen O’Sullivan was under contract to MGM and did not appear in the film with Johnny Weissmuller and Johnny Sheffield. Instead, Frances Gifford (Jungle Girl) appeared as Zandra, a princess whose lost civilization is threatened by Nazis.
This was the most violent Tarzan movie to date with fourteen people killed. Cheta (screenwriters changed the spelling seemingly at random from film to film) kills a man with a submachine gun and Boy shoots a Nazi.
The movie was filmed in Sherwood Forest, California and written by Carroll Young, who also wrote “Tarzan’s Desert Mystery,” “Tarzan and the Leopard Woman,” and “Tarzan and the Mermaids.” He also wrote several Jungle Jim films and “Bomba and the Hidden City.”
In the final scene, Cheta commandeers a Nazi radio and contacts Berlin. The Nazis hear Cheta jabber and believe that they are talking to Hitler.
“Orders From the Führer” is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs and Cheta inspired drabble.
Boy said, “Tarzan, Cheta has the Nazi radio.”
Orders From the Führer
“Better Cheta talk radio than Nazi soldiers.”
Cheta spun the dials and jabbered incoherently. A German voice answered, “Heil Hitler.”
The chimp screamed with excitement and pounded the microphone against a tree.
The Berlin radio operator said, “Captain, it’s the Führer. I can’t understand him.”
The captain listened carefully. “He says to take off our uniforms and dance naked in the streets.”
“Sir, it’s snowing.”
“Better to dance naked in the cold, than to transfer to the Russian front.”
Tarzan turned off the radio. “No more play, Cheta. We go home now.
I'M NOT LION
February 20: On this day in 1928, Edgar Rice Burroughs completed his book with the longest title, “Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins -with Jad-Bal-Ja, the Golden Lion.” It is the second of two tales written about Dick and Doc, the so called "Tarzan Twins." The stories were written specifically for an audience of children rather than for adults.
The book, with a cover by Juanita Bennett, originally sold for twenty-nine cents. Copies in excellent condition sell for hundreds of dollars.
Burroughs dedicated the book to his children – “To Joan, Hulbert and Jack, who were brought up on Tarzan stories, this volume is affectionately dedicated by their father."
Today’s drabble, “I’m Not Lion,” is 100 words long and inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs and a couple songs. Thanks and apologies to Glenn Frey and Don Henley. Also to singer/ songwriter Solomon Linda, who wrote “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” under the title "Mbube" for the South African Gallo Record Company in 1939. He wrote it in Zulu.
Doc and Dick were walking through the jungle when they heard a lion’s roar and climbed separate trees to escape. The lion sniffed the base of the trees, growled, roared, and lay down between them.
I’m Not Lion
The boys became restless by sundown, but the lion never moved.
Doc said, “I guess we stay in these trees until morning, the lion sleeps tonight.”
At sunrise, Dick looked at the jungle floor. “I think he’s gone.”
Doc said, “No, I can see him. Look in the underbrush. His mane, tawny hide, and tail blend right in, but he can’t hide his lion eyes.”
Image may contain: outdoor and nature
A MAN'S GOTTA DO
February 21: On this day in 1971, the Russ Manning written and drawn story, Jane in Pal-ul-don began in the Sunday Tarzan comics. The story ran for 59 weeks. The storyline is also referred to as “Tarzan Returns to Pal-ul-don Part One.”
Here’s a headshot of Jane from the story. Jane appeared in the first five episodes and then not again until December. She’d been promoted to Sun-Goddess while Tarzan and his gathering of freed women prisoners wandered around Pal-ul-don and fought men and beasts.
Russ Manning drew a good-looking Jane.
“A Man’s Gotta Do” is today’s Russ Manning and Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble.
Jane led Samantha and Carla to Pal-ul-don on a photography expedition. A tyrannosaurus attacked them. When they didn’t return, Tarzan and Joiper, an ant man. went to find them.
A Man’s Gotta Do
Tarzan saved Samantha from a dinosaur, but winged men seeking mates took her before Tarzan learned her name. Tarzan saved her, Carla and several tailed Pal-ul-don women. Carla and Samantha said that Jane was dead. Tarzan ignored their message.
“I believe Jane lives and waits for me. If she’s already dead, my searching does no harm. If she lives and needs me, my not searching for her will do great harm.”
IN SEARCH OF TITLES
February 22: On this day, artist Reed Leonard Crandall was born in Winslow, Indiana. He illustrated countless comic books including the original Blackhawk Comics during the war and EC comics prior to the adoption of the “Comics Code.”
Crandall illustrated several superhero comics for Quality Comics including the Ray and Doll Man using the pseudonym, E. Lectron. He inked early Captain America stories for Jack Kirby and penciled several Blackhawk Comics. He freelanced for numerous comics during the 50s and drew several of the EC Comics that no doubt led children like me into a violent and terrifying world filled with crime and horror. He has my thanks.
He drew the first edition Canaveral Press covers and interior illustrations for “John Carter of Mars” and “Tarzan and the Madman.”
Crandall left New York in the 1960s in order to care for his ailing mother in Wichita, Kansas. He drank heavily and developed alcoholism. His health declined and he left art in 1974 to work as a night watchman and janitor for the Pizza Hut general headquarters in Wichita. After suffering a stroke that year, he spent his remaining life in a nursing home and died in 1982 of a heart attack.
The image is from the "Captain Daring" collection published in 2014 by Broadman Books.
Today's drabble is inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs artist, Reed Crandall, and the publisher of EC Comics, William Gaines. It's "In Search of Titles."
William Gaines said, "At EC comics, the only lessons we teach are monsters, who will kill you in a heartbeat, exist, and that evil men always get their comeuppance. I like Good Girl art."
In Search of Titles
Crandall said, "I'm good with monsters and maidens."
"I need at least fifty pages a month."
When Reed Crandall finished his first story, Gaines said, "I'll let you know. You like it here?"
"I'm shocked, but this is an eerie weird fantasy. It's creepy how good this feels. Don't keep me in suspense."
Gaines finished reading. "Don't panic, this is incredible. You'll make a two-fisted impact."
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
February 23: On this day in 1931, Edgar Rice Burroughs and his wife, Emma, went to the moves to see "Trader Horn." They left early when Emma remembered she'd promised to babysit at daughter, Joan's home that evening.
Trader Horn, based on the book by Alfred Aloysius "Trader" Horn (born Alfred Aloysius Smith), was directed by W. S. Van Dyke and starred Harry Carey and Edwina Booth. In 1932, the next year, Van Dyke was selected to direct "Tarzan the Ape Man" starring Johnny Weissmuller.
Today's Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble is "On The Road Again."
Irving Thalberg asked, "Who should we hire to direct "Tarzan the Ape Man?"
On The Road Again
The writer, Cyril Hume, replied, "Van Dyke directed "Trader Horn,' I wrote the dialogue, and you produced the film."
"I like Van Dyke. He understands budgets and schedules. He did well in Africa, even though he and Edwina Booth caught malaria and Carey almost got eaten by a crocodile."
There's lots of unused Trader Horn footage we can use. I'll tell Van Dyke we're putting the band back together and going on the road."
"Short road only. California locations and maybe, Florida. No crocodiles and no malaria."
SOWERS OF THUNDER
February 24: On this day, one of my favorite artists, Roy Gerrald Krenkel died in 1983.
Krenkel served in the Philippines as an U.S. Army private during WW2. After the War, Krenkel attended Burne Hogarth's classes at the Cartoonists and Illustrators School, which became the School of Visual Arts. There he met a group of young cartoonists, including Joe Orlando, Frank Frazetta and Al Williamson. Frazetta noted, "I met Roy Krenkel back in 1949 or 1950, and he has never ceased to be a constant source of inspiration to me—a truly conscientious artist who will not tolerate incompetence."
Krenkel penciled and inked EC Comics for William Gaines. I remember him best for his Ace Books covers of Edgar Rice Burroughs novels (I believe he did 20) and the first edition cover for Canaveral Press's "Tales of Three Planets." I'm always at a lost to decide which piece is my favorite, "A Fighting Man of Mars" or "Pirates of Venus." I included a reproduction of the art for "A Fighting Man of Mars" with today's post. Krenkel won the 1963 Hugo Award as Best Professional Artist.
He also drew a magnificent cover illustration for the Almont Classics edition of the "The Wizard of Oz."
He illustrated several stories by Robert E. Howard. Today's drabble, "Sowers of Thunder," is a selection from what Roy Krenkel had to say about Howard's work in 1972.
"The protagonists, like figures of fate, move across a world evoked by nightmare. Black and monstrous deeds, shining heroisms, high courage and vile treachery are here -- and golden cities (with nighted dungeons) and laughter, and lovely women, and death, and -- madness!
Sowers of Thunder
This is no fare for delicate aesthetes, or genteel old ladies. You feel, along with Howard, some portion at least, of that same anguish of loss for kings and kingdoms sold to doom -- for great deeds come to naught, for beauty quenched, and laughter stilled forever.
You won't read these four tales – you will experience them!"
February 25: On this day in 1917, actress Brenda Joyce was born in Excelsior Springs, Missouri as Betty Graftina Leabo. She attended college at USC and UCLA before becoming a model.
She is best-remembered as the seventh actress to play Jane on the silver screen. She succeeded Maureen O'Sullivan in the series and appeared in the role five times.
Her first four appearances as Jane were opposite Johnny Weissmuller. Her last performance as Jane, in "Tarzan's Magic Fountain"(1949), was with Lex Barker as Tarzan. Joyce and Karla Schram, from the silent era, were the only two actresses to play Jane opposite two different actors.
She abruptly retired from films after "Tarzan' Magic Fountain" to raise her family. Following her movie career, Brenda moved to Washington D.C. and worked with the Refugee Services for nearly 10 years where which she helped displaced persons find employment and places to live. This line of work eventually led her to relocate to the Carmel, California area and she worked with Catholic Resettlement in Seaside, California. Besieged by personal and health problems in later years, she endured a painful divorce from Owen Ward, whom she'd known since junior high school in 1960 after 19 years of marriage. She later remarried and divorced twice.
"Exit Interview" is today's Brenda Joyce and Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble.
"No, Mr. Lessor, before you ask, I'm won't play Jane again."
"That's not why you're here. 20th Century Fox wants you for "Down to the Sea in Ships. The cast includes Richard Widmark, Lionel Barrymore, and Dean Stockwell."
"No thanks. My husband fought during the war and now it's my turn. I'm joining the Refugee Services in Washington. The fighting's stopped, but the war isn't over.
"You don't know anything resettling people. Aren't you afraid?"
"Of course I am. But one thing I learned playing Jane is that if people let fear stop them, nothing important would ever get done."
MAN IT'S FUN TO SWING
February 26: On this day in 2006, the headline in "The Journal News" read "THE APE MAN COMETH -- TO BROADWAY"
"When Tarzan learned the ropes for the 1999 Disney movie, principal animator Glen Keane had him glide across vine-covered limbs like Tony Hawk: Tarzan the Skate Man. But when he takes to the stage at the Richard Rodgers Theatre this spring, Tarzan will be more of a rock-climber, says Thomas Schumacher "Everybody wears a visible harness," Schumacher says. "There are visible ropes all over the stage, both for gorillas and for Tarzan — and you see them literally clip in and harness up. It's part of the language of the piece. There's no naturalism in this show, nothing is created to look like the natural world."
"Director Bob Crowley has come up with a set described as a green box lined with vines and rope-climbing apparatus. "We've created a universe on stage, a flexible environment in which the show is staged both on the ground and above the ground… and the characters all sing." Phil Collins has added eight new songs — and has fleshed out a Broadway score, his first."
The play opened about a month later on March 24, 2006 and ran for 486 episodes. One of the major character changes for the stage production was that Terk, Tarzan's gorilla friend, was male in the stage production..
Today's Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble is "Man, It's Fun To Swing."
Director Bob Crawley tested the ropes and harnesses on the set of Tarzan, The Broadway Musical.
Man, It's Fun To Swing
Josh Strickland, dressed as Tarzan, said, "Enjoy playing while you can, Bob. The dress rehearsal starts soon."
Crawly signaled and swung from a tree to a rock. "Can't be too safe."
"Lie to yourself if you want. You just like to fly around the set."
"Got me there."
Strickland said, "Can't say I blame you. It took me twelve rehearsals before I could swing without forgetting my lines or singing off key."
Bob took one more big swing. "Don't brag. You're not there yet."
LIFE LIKE A CLOCK
February 27: On this day in 1913, Edgar Rice Burroughs made a life-changing decision and quit his job to become a full time writer. We're sure glad that he did.
The success of "Under the Moons of Mars" and "Tarzan of the Apes" convinced him that he could make a living as a full time writer. He was right. He not only was able to support his family, but he became a multi-millionaire.
In 1913, he wrote "Warlord of Mars," "The Return of Tarzan," "The Cave Girl," "The Mad King," and "The Monster Men." He also began "The Eternal Lover" and "The Mucker" that year. An amazing volume of work that established a standard he'd approach, maintain, and sometimes exceed over the next few years.
"Life Like a Clock" is today's Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble.
Emma asked, 'How many stories are you writing?"
Life Like a Clock
"I'm doing final edits on another Tarzan, finishing the first draft on a John Carter, and I've started one about a crazy king. I've got three more ideas."
"How can you keep six stories straight at the same time? I've never seen you make notes."
"Writing's my job. I punch in and maintain the same schedule daily – like a clock. Breakfast, Tarzan. Coffee, John Carter. Lunch, Barney Custer. Writing is math. Two thousand words daily is 700,000 words annually."
"Are they good enough to sell?"
"They will be, Emma. They will be."
February 28: On this day in 1913, Edgar Rice Burroughs' son, John (Jack) Coleman Burroughs was born in Chicago, Illinois. At age 23, JCB illustrated "The Oakdale Affair and the Rider." He went on to illustrate all other Edgar Rice Burroughs books that were published during the author's lifetime – a workload that included over 125 cover and interior illustrations.
John, with help from his wife, Jane Ralston Burroughs, illustrated the John Carter Sunday comic strip, the David Innes comic book feature, and several Big Little Book Covers. His novel, Treasure of the Black Falcon, was published by Ballantine Books in 1967.
Perhaps one of the most curious and unique projects that JCB and his father collaborated on came about in 1937. Popular Hollywood actress, Colleen Moore, invited ERB to contribute a tiny Tarzan book for her miniature Fairy Castle Collection at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. What she received was an original fable featuring a princess and Tarzan, Jr., written by ERB and illustrated by John Coleman Burroughs. The unusual thing about this story is that it was printed, by hand, in a one-of-a-kind, one inch by one inch, miniature book.
You can read the smallest Tarzan book written at https://www.erbzine.com/mag0/0042.html.
Small Packages is today's Edgar Rice Burroughs, John Coleman Burroughs, and Colleen Moore inspired 100 word drabble.
"Jack, the actress, Colleen Moore, wants a little Tarzan book for her Fairy Castle Collection."
"I saw her play "Hester Prynne in "The Scarlett Letter." You write it, and I'll draw it."
"Jack, it needs to be very small."
"I've been illustrating Big Little Books."
"Smaller than that. I'm thinking about 50 pages, 25 drawings and 25 pages of story with 25 or 30 words a page. The book can't be bigger than an inch square."
"So not a Big Little Book, but a little little book."
"Tarzan's too big for that small a book. Get ready for Tarzan Jr."
I SEE WHAT I HEAR
Leap Day, February 29: On this day in 1932, in a letter to his niece, Mrs. Carleton (Evelyn) McKenzie, ERB wrote that he was impressed with the sound effects created for the first two preview episodes of the new Tarzan radio show. The show was sponsored by the "Signal Oil and Gas Company," and starred ERB's daughter, Joan Burroughs as Jane, and her husband, Jim Pierce, as Tarzan.
There is no truth to the rumor, however, that the Tarzan yell was a sound effect including the howl of a hyena, the bleat of a camel, the growl of a dog, and the plucked sound of a violin G-string. That false rumor about the Tarzan yell was also spread about the film Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller. Not true. Johnny did his own yell.
You can hear the first 77 episodes at https://www.erbzine.com/mag27/2728.html.
"I See What I Hear" is today's Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble.
"Joan, Jim, I love the sound of those jungle drums."
I See What I Hear
"Yes, father. The sound guy does those on the edge of the effects table."
"The noise of people moving through the jungle is so realistic."
"He scratches the microphone with a cotton towel and taps or rubs a table with an old shoe."
"How about the whoosh when Tarzan swings?"
"He blows through a straw?"
"He's good. Does he do the Tarzan yell?"
"No," said Jim. I do my own yell."
Joan laughed. "I had to pour iced tea down the back of his shirt before he got it right."
Copyright 2020: Robert Allen Lupton
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