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ERB 100-Word Drabbles
APRIL IIa Edition :: Days 16-30
See Days 1-15 at ERBzine 7154
by Robert Allen Lupton
With Collations, Web Page Layout and ERBzine Illustrations and References by Bill Hillman
April 16: On this day in 1927, Argosy All-Story Weekly published the first installment of five parts of “The War Chief.” The cover of the Frank A. Munsey Company magazine illustrated the Burroughs story. It was painted by Paul Stahr.
The working title for the book was “War Chief of the Apaches.” To write this novel, Burroughs drew on his experience with the U. S. 7th Cavalry and listed the following books and periodicals as references – among others.
“Geronimo’s Story of His Life” by S. M. Barrett
‘The Land of Poco Tiampo” by Charles F. Lummis
“Lives of Famous Indian Chiefs” by Norman B. Wood
“Trailing Geronimo: The Outbreak of the White Mountain Apaches 1861-1866 by Anton Mazzanovich”
Danton Burroughs found a note with the manuscript for “The War Chief” and 100 words from the ERB written note are today’s drabble. The entire note along with other information on the novel may be read at https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0773.html
“Unauthorized Editing” is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs written drabble.
"I’ve gone over the 'copy' carefully and indicated a number of phrases, sentences and paragraphs deleted by them, which I wish to have retained.
The preparation of the manuscript required considerable research work and as it is necessary for the reader to be able to understand the viewpoint of the Indian, if he is to be in sympathy with the principal character, it is essential that much of the matter deleted should remain even though it draws comparisons that may be odious to some people of our own race and sometimes shocking to people whose religious convictions are particularly strong.”
April 17: On this day in 1931, Edgar Rice Burroughs advised George Carlin of United Features against the use of children in the Sunday Comics color page. He wanted it to be clear that his stories were primarily for adults. ERB's secretary, Ralph Rothmund, later met with Carlin in New York to emphasize these concerns. United Features was unresponsive and continued to feature children until Hal Foster took over the strip from Maxon and Carlin.
One such panel is included with this post as an example.
“Children’s Stories” is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble.
“Ralph, that moron, George Carlin, puts little kids in the Sunday Tarzan comic strip. It gives people the wrong idea. My books are written for adults. I asked him to stop and he hasn’t.”
“Ed, I’m going to New York next month. I’ll talk to him.”
“I’m not writing “Katzenjammer Kids” or “Little Nemo.” Jane doesn’t need a little ‘Sweetpea’ to carry about.”
“I’m sure he’ll understand.”
“I doubt it. He hasn’t listened to anything I’ve said.”
“He controls the strip. You signed the contract.”
“Don’t treat me like a child and rub my nose in what I’ve agreed to.”
A ROSE IS A ROSE
April 18: On this day in 1914, All-Story Weekly continued to introduce the literary world to the world hidden inside our planet, Pellucidar, by publishing part three of “At the Earth’s Core.” The magazine’s cover illustration was for a mystical tale by Perley Poore Sheehan, “Queen of Sheba.” Sheehan, a productive pulp writer was quite entertaining. I enjoy his work. He wrote a dozen or so silent film screenplays including “The Way of All Flesh” in 1927, and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1923.
His science fiction novels include ‘The Copper Princess.” “The Woman of the Pyramid.”” The Abyss of Wonders.” “King Arthur,” and the aforementioned, “Queen of Sheeba.”
“A Rose is a Rose” is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble.
“Abner, the locals don’t respect us because our names aren’t descriptive. We need better names.”
A Rose Is A Rose
“David, I don’t understand.”
“The locals are named ‘Dian the Beautiful,’ ‘Hooja the Sly One,’ Jubal the Ugly One,’ and ‘Ghak the Hairy One.” David Innes and Abner Perry mean nothing.”
“What do you suggest?”
“Abner the Smart One for you, and David the Handsome One for me.”
“Works for me, but not for you. Calling a horse’s tail a leg doesn’t make five legs. No matter what you call the tail, it’s still a tail. Calling you handsome doesn’t make you a movie star.”
RUN, LADY, RUN
April 19: On this day in 1928, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ interview with Nellie Tayloe Ross, the 14th governor of Wyoming from 1925 to 1927.
When William Bradford Ross, governor of Wyoming passed away, wife, Nellie, was drafted by his supporters to run for governor in the special election to fill the sudden vacancy. Nellie obliged, but did not campaign. She won easily. After her term as governor, Nellie visited to Los Angeles and there she encountered ERB, who interviewed her for an April 19, 1928, article in the L.A. Examiner. The Examiner also syndicated the article to other newspapers and so it also appeared April 19 in The Cincinnati Enquirer.
The entire article is located at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag17/1788.html#rossinterview
Today’s Drabble, “Run, Lady, Run” was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
"By reason of heredity and sex, I’m congenially antagonistic to the idea of lady sheriffs, lady governors and lady everything else except lady ladies. The foundation of my antagonism lies deeply imbedded in the bed rock of intolerance and bigotry and fear. I’m afraid that if women get the reins they may show us up.
Run, Lady, Run
If Mrs. Ross is typical of women making bidding for political leadership, it suggests a far greater sincerity than the “statesmen” that I have met. But can they hold that ideal, untarnished by politics, greed, personal ambition any better than man has been able to?”
April 20: On this day in 1934, the Montreal Star published a report that Nazi Germany had banned the American Film, Tarzan of the Apes. The article is not entirely accurate. The films in the early 1930s were 1932’s “Tarzan the Ape Man,” starring Weissmuller, 1933’s “Tarzan the Fearless, with Buster Crabbe, and 1934’s “Tarzan and His Mate” with Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan. Which film was actually banned? It was “Tarzan and His Mate,” banned in Germany by the National Socialist Party on the grounds that it showed a Nordic man in brutal surroundings.
The photograph of the film included in this post accurately illustrates the Nordic man in the referenced “Brutal Surroundings.”
“Hard Life” is the Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble for the day and it’s taken from that article. The full article, 123 words long, is available at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag11/1118.html.
“Surely nothing but a grossly exaggerated view of Nazi Germany could ever have prompted the Berlin Film Board to ban the American-made picture, "Tarzan of the Apes." The reason given is that the picture is "dangerous to Nazi principles of race-consciousness, offensive to ideals of matrimony and womanly dignity," and "dangerous" because "the German nation's sensibilities have been sharpened as regards questions of hereditary biology." This sort of thing would move to laughter but for the fact that it is obviously intended as no jest but in deadly earnest. When will Hitler's Nazis learn to develop a sense of humor?”
I NEED A BIGGER ROCK
April 21: On this day in 1925, A. C. McClurg published “The Cave Girl,” with a J. Allen St John dust jacket. The book combined “The Cave Girl” and “The Cave Man.”
The first edition or approximately 75,000 word (Heins) was 323 pages in length. The print run was 5000 copies. The book was reprinted by Grosset and Dunlap numerous times between 1926 and 1939. A Grosset and Dunlap wartime edition was published in 1944 and a Dell Mapback in 1949.
The Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble today is “I Need A Bigger Rock.”
Shipwrecked Waldo Emerson Smith- Jones washed up on a Pacific island’s empty beach. The Boston educated dandy encountered a tribe of savages and fled. He climbed a cliff and encountered a half-naked savage female. The men climbed after him. She mimed throwing rocks down on his pursuers.
I Need A Bigger Rock
The savages were undaunted by his onslaught. Waldo rolled a fifty pound boulder to the edge and pushed it over. It crushed a gigantic savage’s face and he rolled down the Cliffside. His followers fled.
Waldo thought, “What have I done.” He smiled. ‘Like David fighting Goliath, I’ve rocked and rolled the giant.”
BROTHER WHERE ART THOU
April 22: On this day in 1924, Edgar Rice Burroughs began his longest novel and also the last of his novels to be published as of 2020, “Marcia of the Doorstep.” The romantic mystery was 125,000 words long and Burroughs submitted it unsuccessfully several times during his lifetime. I think the book would make a great film. We can only hope.
It was finally published by Donald M. Grant in a trade edition and a deluxe edition of 750 copies in 1999. The deluxe edition was signed by Danton Burroughs, Henry H. Heins, who wrote the introduction, and artist, Ned Dameron.
Copies of the deluxe edition are available on EBay, with prices ranging from $250 to $400.
100 words of the blurb from the flyleaf serve as today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble, “Brother, Where Art Thou.” For more information about the book, go to https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0772.html
A novel of blackmail and society, of shipwreck and a desert island, of Broadway and Hollywood, of stunt flying and coyote hunting, intertwined with the life of a "doorstep baby" who grows up to be a fine young lady and falls in love with her brother.
Brother, Where Art Thou
Like all of his other stories, it too is full of coincidences and melodrama. Edgar Rice Burroughs instills autobiographical characteristics in his characters. Clara is based on his wife Emma, who endured his erratic fortunes with grace. Marica's sweet disposition must be based on his daughter Joan, who once wanted to be an actress.
LOOK THE PART
April 23: On this day in 1963, Frederick Peters (born as Frederick P. Tuite, who played Tarzan lookalike, Esteban Miranda in "Tarzan and the Golden Lion," passed away in Hollywood, California. Peters appeared in 17 films between 1918 and 1936, including “A Mother’s Sin,” “Salome,”and “Miracles of the Jungle.” Peters stood 6’6” tall and weighed 250 pounds, almost a twin for “Big Bad John” in the Jimmy Dean song, who stood six foot six and weighed two forty-five.
Is perhaps best remembered for his portrayal of the burly---yet goofy-looking---zombie, Chauvin, in the Bela Lugosi cult favorite, White Zombie. Here’s his picture from that movie.
“Look the Part” is today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble.
James Pierce said to Fred Peters, “Welcome. Playing Tarzan’s lookalike isn’t exactly playing Tarzan, but it could lead to bigger and better things.”
Look the Part
Peters replied, “I hope so. Hollywood sees me as a big clumsy galoot or the bad guy’s henchman. Sometimes being big isn’t a good thing.”
“It’s working out for me.”
“Yeah, but you’re a handsome man. I look like ten miles of bad road.”
“Yep, I've an upcoming part in “The Oregon Trail.” I’m workin’ on my accent.”
“Western Facial expression, then.”
Pierce said, “Let me know how that goofy cowboy grimace works.”
April 25: On this day in 1939, Edgar Rice Burroughs began to expand and revise his story, “Angel’s Serenade,” for the fourth time.
In 1921 Ed sent an outline of the story to the Century Film Corporation in Hollywood. It was rejected. Ed put the story aside until 1936 when he reworked it. Three years later expanded it into a 24,000-word story. The protagonist, Dick Crode, grows up in the rough and tumble slum streets of an unnamed big city. His life of petty crime leads to bigger and better (or worse) things and he becomes the head of a crime syndicate. The title "Angel's Serenade" refers to a haunting song his mother had played on a violin.
Burroughs had originally conceived the story, in outline form, as the basis for a motion picture and hoped Lon Chaney Senior would be cast in the lead. On May 15, 1921, he sent two copies of his rough draft of "Angel's Serenade," to Lewis Jacobs of the Century Film Corporation in Hollywood. A month before, Burroughs had contracted with Jacobs for the production of ten stories, five Tarzan and five non-Tarzan, to be filmed within six years. In offering "Angel's Serenade," Burroughs explained the title:
"If you do not happen to recall “Angel's Serenade,” I may say that it is one of the beautiful old compositions that has survived the ravages of time and the onslaught of many years of popular songs and modern jazz. It was suggested by Mrs. Burroughs, who says that it makes an especially beautiful violin solo." The story was rejected by Jacobs.
Gaetano Braga, an Italian composer and cellist, wrote "Angel's Serenade" around 1883. The piece is a dialogue between a worried mother and a girl who hears an angel's voice calling her; in the end the girl follows the voice. It is mentioned in Anton Chekhov's short story "The Black Monk." As composed, the narrator sings the voice of the mother and girl, while the angel's voice is portrayed through the violin or cello. In the original sheet music printing, the string player was instructed to play from an adjoining room from the pianist and singer, in order to create the effect of a distant angelic voice.
The Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble today is “Angelic Advice.”
“Mr. Crode, you look as though you’ve seen a ghost.”
Crode crossed the room and locked the bathroom door. “Youse mind your own beeswax, you little toady.”
“No disrespect, but should I call the doctor?”
“No. I hear music and voices from the bathroom. A heavenly voice is whispering while a violin plays my mother’s favorite song, “Angel’s Serenade.”
“I don’t hear anything. Can you understand the voice?”
“Yes, it goes like this.
“Don’t expect heaven.”
“You’ve been a bad guy.”
“Is that the entire message?”
“No, the last thing the angel sings is “Burma Shave.”
ONE DAY WITH MANU
April 26: On this date in 1976, Armstrong Wells Sperry, who drew the cover and frontispiece for the Metropolitan first edition of “Tarzan and the Lost Empire” died.
Sperry had the distinction of both writing and illustrating a number of books, most of them directed at children. One of his books, "Call It Courage," published in 1940 is about the coming of age of a young islander, won the Newberry award. Sperry’s first book was about a native boy on Bora Bora, an island on which he himself had spent some time. It was titled "One Day with Manu." Manu, of course, was the same name that the great apes in ERB's Tarzan stories used to speak of the small monkeys which scampered about in the jungle. Apparently, "Manu" was a name for people in Bora Bora – as in the manu have spoken.
In 1934, Sperry and his family lived in Santa Fe, New Mexicofor a year, inspiring several books, including Wagons Westward: The Story of the Old Trail to Santa Fe in 1936 and Little Eagle, a Navaho Boy in 1938. In 1942, he published his only novel for adult readers, “No Brighter Glory,” about the Astor family.
Today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired 100 word drabble is “Lost in Translation."
“Mr. Sperry, we’d love to publish “One Day With Manu, but we’re concerned that it may violate copyright issues. That Burroughs fellow calls monkeys ‘manu’ in his Tarzan books.”
One Day With Manu
“Manu is the name the natives call all people. No one can copyright facts. To change the name would be inappropriate.”
“A slight spelling change perhaps?”
“Mini sounds like the Disney mouse and mono, a record recording.”
“Perhaps, Nanu would work. It’s only pronunciation translation. Manu and Nanu sound alike."
“Nanu, nanu. Oh, hell no. Sounds like something a hyperactive comedian would shout while he cavorts around on stage. Nanu, nanu.”
RAREST OF THE RARE
April 27: On this day in 1964, Canaveral Press published the first edition of “Tales of Three Planets” by Edgar Rice Burroughs with a cover by Roy Krenkel. Each story is based on a different world. “Wizard of Venus” is on Venus, and “Resurrection of Jimber Jaw" takes place on good old Terra Firma.
“Beyond the Farthest Star” and its sequel, “Tangor Returns” are presented as a novelette. They take place on the planet, Poloda. Poloda is a long way from Earth, hence the title.
This was the first publication for “Wizard of Venus” and also for “Tangor Returns.” “Beyond the Farthest Star” had appeared in Blue Book Magazine in 1942 and “The Resurrection of Jimber-Jaw” originally appeared in the February 20, 1937 issue of Argosy Weekly.
Today’s Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble, ‘Rarest of the Rare,” is taken from the dust jacket. I expect the blurb was written by the editor, Richard A. Lupoff, although it could have been written by one of the publishers, Jack Biblo or Jack Tannen.
“Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of Tales of Three Planets, was one of the most popular writers of all time. From 1912 through 1948 no year went by without his legions of fans thrilling to some new tale of Tarzan, science-fiction saga, or other stirring story. The revival of interest in his marvelous narratives has been led by Canaveral Press’s release of hitherto unpublished Burroughs material, as well as the reissue of his rarest out-of-print books.
Rarest of the Rare
Tales of Three Planets” contains “Beyond The Farthest Star,” half of which was published in 1941- and the other half was only discovered last year.”
OLD MASTER'S ADVICE
April 28: On this day in 1966, animator and comic book illustrator, Jesse Marsh died. He illustrated Tarzan and related books for Western Publishing, Dell Comics, and Gold Key Comics. He was the first artist to produce original Tarzan comic books. Prior to Jesse Marsh, all Tarzan comic books were newspaper strip reprints. If I got the count correct, he drew 153 issues of the Tarzan comic.
Marsh was a Disney animator and worked on Pluto cartoons. Marsh also illustrated the three issues of Dell’s “John Carter of Mars.” Marsh was incredibly prolific, sometimes penciling as many as 100 pages a month.
He was the Tarzan artist I remember from my childhood. His work was clean, simple, and uncluttered. He illustrated the story and his art didn’t complicate or detract from the tale being told. Russ Manning took over from Jesse Marsh in 1965, when Marsh’s failing health prevented him from continuing with the comic book.
The drabble for today is “Old Master’s Advice.”
“Jesse, I’m sorry you’re going to retire. I’ve always admired your work.”
Old Master’s Advice
“Russ, there’s no one I’d rather turn Tarzan over to. Be nice to the apeman, and he’ll be nice to you.”
“Any more advice?”
“The story is the thing. Pretty pictures are nice, but only draw what’s necessary for the story. Don’t take the time to draw things that don’t matter.”
“But I like drawing beautiful and detailed artwork.”
“I understand, but you get paid by the page. The longer a page takes to draw, the less money you make.”
“I know, but sometimes I can’t help myself.”
DESERVED TO DIE
In May 1918, ERB planned a Tarzan story based on campaign against the Germans in Africa. The influence of wartime anti-German propaganda upon him was strong and his belief in the atrocity reports led him to view the behavior of the German army to be subhuman. Burroughs originally killed off Jane in "Tarzan the Untamed." The public was appalled.
Eventually, ERB allowed himself to be persuaded to ‘resurrect Jane,” modified the book, and the charred body of the woman whom Tarzan thought to be Jane, turned out to be one of the servant girls.
Today's drabble is a combination of the fatal sentence in First Edition version of “Tarzan the Untamed” when Tarzan realizes that Jane is dead. The second paragraph in today’s drabble, “Deserved to Die,” was written by ERB in a letter to his friend, Bert Weston on May 10, 1920.
"He’d hoped that the blackened corpse was not that of his mate, but when his eyes discovered and recognized the rings upon her fingers the last faint ray of hope forsook him."
Deserved to Die
“I left Jane dead up to the last gasp and then my publisher and the magazine editor rose up on their hind legs and roared. They said the public wouldn’t stand for having Tarzan fall in love with Bertha, so I had to resurrect the dear lady. After seeing Enid Markey take the part of Jane in the first Tarzan picture I was very glad to kill her."
April 30: On this day in 1927, Argosy All-Story Weekly published part three of five of “The War Chief.” Stockton Mulford painted the cover illustration for John Holden’s “Faster Than Broadway.” While I confess, I’d never heard of Holden, he wrote over a hundred stories for the pulps, mostly sports and mysteries. I didn’t find any information about him except for one website that lists about 150 of his short stories.
The rest of the issue is filled with stories by people I don’t recognize, “An Ace in the Hole” by Gordon Stiles, “The Pancake Princess” by Fred MacIassac, and “The Cupboard Was Bare” by John P. Hardman are three examples.
I read “Fritz Grubstakes Al” by Mary Ellen Chase because Wikipedia says that she is considered one of the most important writers of the early 20th Century. That may be true, but not for the Fritz and Al story. Chase received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Minnesota where she served as an assistant professor from 1922 to 1926. She taught at Smith College starting in 1926 until her retirement in 1955.
She was the lifelong companion of Eleanor Duckett, a medieval scholar whom she met at Smith, and with whom she lived in Northampton until her death. Two adjoining residence halls on the Smith campus are named for Chase and Duckett.
Chase wrote more than 30 books, many using her cherished Maine heritage as the setting. Her most famous of these works include “Mary Peters,” “Silas Crockett,” “Windswept,” and “Edge of Darkness.”
“Literary Pretensions,” a fictional conversation, is the Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble for today.
Daughter Joan asked, “So, Dad, how does it feel to be published in the same magazine as a literary star like Mary Ellen Chase? She gets great reviews.”
“Literary, I’ve no literary pretensions and no, I haven’t read her work. Has Hollywood made any films based on her books?”
“Not yet. She writes beautiful prose and tells stories of unrequited love, everlasting hope, infinite compassion, and betrayal based in beautiful New England settings.”
“Sounds boring. I expect she sells well, but I’ll wager over the next fifty years, her work will become outdated and windswept over the edge of darkness.
See Days 1-15 at ERBzine 7154
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