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ERB 100-Word Drabbles
FEBRUARY III Edition :: Days 16 - 28
See Days 1 - 15 at ERBzine 7380
by Robert Allen Lupton
With Collations, Web Page Layout and ERBzine Illustrations and References by Bill Hillman
February 16: On this day in 1968, the fifty-first episode of Ron Ely’s television Tarzan series was aired for the first time. The episode, “End of a Challenge” featured guest stars, Woody Strode and Chill Wills.
In the episode, Jai finds an old man (Chill Wills) in the jungle. The man pretends to help and Jai and another boy stay to help the man. Meanwhile, Tarzan and Chief Bantu, believing that Jai and the Chief’s son have been kidnapped reluctantly agree to cooperate and search for the missing boys.
Woody Strode appeared in a number of Tarzan films and episodes, but Chill Wills is the focus for today. Theodore Childress “Chill Wills” was born in Seagoville, TX in 1902. He was a successful screen and voice actor. He was the distinctive voice of “Francis the Talking Mule” and Stan Laurel’s deep singing voice in “Way Out West.”
He received an Academy Award nomination for his role in John Wayne’s “The Alamo."
In 1942, he appeared as Manchester Montford in “Tarzan’s New York Adventure.” His character in the television episode, “The End of a Challenge,” was named Robert Montrose.
There’s an entire generation of people who probably only know Wills’ voice for his Wolf Brand Chili commercials.
The drabble for today is “How Long,” inspired by Wills career, and is always the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Robert Montrose searched the jungle for treasure and overheard Jai and another boy talking about hidden riches. He tricked the boys into helping him.
Tarzan, thinking the boys kidnapped, searched for them. Montrose saw Tarzan. “That jungle man’s always around. I should’ve shot him a long time ago. If he finds the treasure, he’ll be too rich to kill.”
Tarzan chased Montrose into the cave and the old man fell into a guano pile. Tarzan pulled him outside, took one whiff, and said. “Friend, how long has it been since you had a hot steaming bath?
Well, that’s too long!”
February 17: On this day in 1928, the “Van Nuys News” published the article, “Edgar Rice Burroughs Sees Valley as World Mecca For Men At Play.” In the article, Burroughs praises the San Fernando Valley and its weather.
“With our freedom from persistent fog, with ten months without high winds, with our ideal winter climate, the only danger I can see menacing lies in the possibility, which is by no means a remote one, that the San Fernando Valley may eventually become as over-populated as are many of the districts that were formerly the playgrounds of Los Angeles.”
Burroughs was right about the population. As of 2020, the more than 1.75 million people who live in the Valley exceed the populations of all but the four largest cities in the United States – New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston. The Valley's population has increased 3.5% since the 2000 Census. Burroughs also missed the persistent wildfires that have plagued the valley in recent years.
Read the entire article at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag17/1789.html#3The drabble for today, “Ideal Existence,” was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs for that article and is included here. The man could write, whether it was about the African jungle, the moons of Mars, or the valley where he lived. "For ten years I’ve roamed these hills with my family, both afoot and on horseback. I’ve watched my children grow to a sturdier health, achieving cleaner minds and morals because of their close companionship with nature, and when, one after another, the country clubs and golf courses sprang into existence upon our side of the mountains, until now they stretch almost uninterruptedly for nearly fifteen miles along Ventura boulevard, I was delighted for I felt that this meant that the San Fernando Valley was going to be dedicated for all time to the pursuits of play and peace and happiness."
February 18: On this day in 1922, Argosy All-Story Magazine published the first installment of a seven part serialization. A new novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, “The Chessmen of Mars,” without “The” in the title. The cover was by P. J. Monahan.
The book introduced Burroughs’ new game, Jetan, a chess like game played on Barsoom, for recreation in homes across the world, but for like and death in places like the Jetan Stadium in the city of Manator.
The rules of the game are well conceived and presented, and several aficionados have made sets, for personal use and for sale over the years. A quick online search turned up a dozen sets for sale, a Wikipedia article about the game (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jetan), and an article “Exploring Jetan” by Fredrik Ekman, noted ERB researcher and historian. https://www.erbzine.com/mag70/7030.htmlThe drabble for today, “Run Princess,” is based on the rules of Jetan and features John and Pat, Burroughs, collectors, researchers, and publishers from New Orleans. Pat said, “John, did you finish reading the Jetan rules. I’ve set up the board. Let’s play.”
“Yes, Pat. I have two questions. First, we don’t have to fight over every move like in the novel, “The Chessmen of Mars,” do we?”
“Of course not.”
“In chess, the Queen is the strongest piece. In Jetan, the Princess can’t capture anyone, all she can do is run away.
“Think of her as a damsel in distress.”
“I’ve heard of a devil in a blue dress, but Red Martian women don’t wear dresses.”
“And warriors don’t quibble about clothing. It’s your move.”
STAY IN YOUR LANE
February 19: On this day in 1921, Argosy All-Story Weekly published the second installment of the seven part serialization of “Tarzan the Terrible.” The eighth novel featuring on of the best, if not the best, known literary characters in the world was approximately 94,000 words in length.
The first installment was the only one of the seven issues with a Tarzan cover. The cover of the February 19, 1921 issue illustrated the first part of a new four novel by Richard Barry (Hayes), “Jes’ Sal.” The illustration has a northwest feel to it, but I’ve never read the story. Richard Barry wrote over 100 pulp adventures, sports stories, historical romances, westerns, sea adventures, and critiques of church, state, and the motion picture industry. He was published in Pearson’s Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Detective Stories, and Blue Book, among several others.
The drabble for today is “Stay in Your Lane,” inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs and Richard Barry Hayes.
“Dad,” said Joan Burroughs, “The new Argosy is here. They put “Jes’ Sal” by Richard Barry on the cover. He’s been published in Cosmo.”
STAY IN YOUR LANE
Ed said, ‘Yeah, he writes scathing critiques attacking the movie industry, religion, and whichever party is in power.”
“Those articles get published. You don’t write things like that.”
“I sell my books to Hollywood. Why would I kill the goose that lays the golden eggs? Half the people either love or hate the current government, but both halves buy books.”
“What about the churches?”
“Churchgoers can read. It’s hard to sell books by attacking your customers.”
February 20: On this day in 2013, “Tarzan” the motion capture film by Constantin Films was released in Germany. The computer images of Tarzan and Jane were created from action recorded from the body-suits worn by Kellan Lutz and Spencer Locke, who voiced the characters.
The film claimed to be based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Tarzan of the Apes” and received largely negative reviews. It grossed 44 million worldwide.
Many Tarzan films have taking great liberties with and frequent departures from the story as chronicled by Edgar Rice Burroughs, but few, if any, have changed the core of the story as much as this one.
Tarzan’s parents are in Africa investigating a meteor, when their helicopter lands near volcano – amazingly enough at the site of the meteor crash. While exploring the meteor site, John Greystoke, causes a volcanic eruption with his pick axe. Only the infant child survives, to be found and raised by apes.
The boy names himself, Tarzan, meaning “ape with no fur,” rather than being named by apes and changing the meaning of the name Tarzan – which in the novels means “White Skin.”
William Clayton is now the CEO of the company founded by Tarzan’s parents, but is still a horrible person, arriving in Africa with horde of mercenaries, and still searching for the elusive meteorite. Tarzan and his jungle friends, with the help of a volcanic eruption, foil Clayton’s evil plans. All the bad guys are killed by the catastrophe.
The drabble for today is “Lost Boy,” and it’s inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs and James Barrie – and if you think it makes fun of the screenplay for the 2013 animated Tarzan film, you’re correct.
Tarzan cared for Jane after a viper bit her. In her delirium, she said, “You’re just a boy. How have you survived in the jungle?”
“My family and friends helped me.”
The next morning she awoke alone and stumbled to her father’s camp. Except for the snake bite, she thought the previous day was a dream. “Father, I dreamt I met the strangest boy. He lives in the woods. He’s very clever.”
“You’ve been reading Peter Pan again. Did he sprinkle pixie dust on your arm? Perhaps, he taught you to fly.”
Jane became angry. “No flying. It was too windy!”
THE WONDER OF IT ALL
February 21: On this day in 1935, writer, editor, and publisher, Richard Allen Lupoffwas born in Brooklyn, New York. During his career, he wrote over two dozen novels, several short stories, and was the editorial force behind Canaveral Press, where he guided the publication of several books by Edgar Rice Burroughs including first editions of “Tarzan and the Castaways,” "Tarzan and the Madman,” “John Carter of Mars,” and “Savage Pellucidar.” His short story, “The Scorpion Man of Venus,” appeared in the 2013 anthology, “The Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs.”
Lupoff wrote “Edgar Rice Burroughs: Master of Adventure,” as well as two novels in Philip Jose Farmer’s “Dungeon” series. I recommend “Return of Skullface,” and “The Comic Book Killer.”
Lupoff was not only a writer and editor, he was a lifetime fan of science fiction and space exploration. He reminisced about an evening in 1962, especially poignant this soon after the landing of Perseverance on Mars.
It’s the drabble for today, “The Wonder of It All.” I watched the landing live at www.nasa.gov and for just the briefest of moments, during the excitement, I watched through the eyes of the twelve year old boy who first read “A Princess of Mars.” We landed on Mars and we’re going to bring stuff back – that’s a big deal.
“One evening in 1962, Don and Elsie Wollheim and Pat and I were walking on a Manhattan street. Don put his hand on my arm and pointed at the dark sky. Among the unmoving stars, one brilliant point of light made a brilliant arc, then disappeared.
THE WONDER OF IT ALL
"Do you know what that is?" Don asked.
"It's a Soviet satellite," I replied. I read my New York Times every morning, and knew what was in orbit as well as the next fellow.
Wollheim shook his head. "That's a spaceship, and there's a spaceman in it."
We have eyes, but do not see.”
ANYTHING HE CAN DO
February 22: On this day in 1894, Enid Virginia Markey, the first person to play Jane Porter on the screen was born in Dillon, Colorado. She played the role twice, in “Tarzan of the Apes” and “The Romance of Tarzan.” She prided herself on doing her own stuntwork.
Enid, a star of stage and screen was a silent film star and her career spanned 57 years, beginning with the 1911 short film, “The Fortunes of War,” and finishing with 1968’s “The Boston Strangler.” Along the way she played Mrs. Mendelbright, Barney Fife’s landlady, on “The Andy Griffin Show” and Grandma Pyle on “Gomer Pyle, USMC.
She left Hollywood after filming 1920s, ‘Sink or Swim” for a successful stage career, saying, "I was tired of making faces, I wanted to learn how to act." Twenty-five years later, she returned to the screen, playing Aunt Emily in the film, “Snafu,” in 1945.
An excellent biography of Enid Virginia Markey is occasionally available. “The Remarkable Enid Markey” by Brian J. Bohnett and Karen Coyrell was published in 2012. Today, one copy was available online from both Amazon and EBay, priced at $154.28.
The drabble for today is “Anything He Can Do,” was inspired by the remarkable Enid Markey.
Director Scott Sidney said, “Tarzan will swing through the trees in this next screen. I’ve already got footage of Stellen Windrow. Elmo can’t get the hand of swinging. I’ve a gymnast to do the scenes for you.”
ANYTHING HE CAN DO
“I’ll do my own swinging. I grew up in Colorado.”
“What about the swimming scenes?”
“I expect that I’m the best swimmer on this set.”
“The last take of the day will be when Elmo professes his love.”
“I can do my own love scenes, but if Elmo doesn’t behave himself, I’ll break both his arms and you’ll need a stand-in for him.”
February 23: On this day in 2020, publisher Russ Cochran passed away. Burroughs’ fans know him best for his fantastic trilogy, “Edgar Rice Burroughs Library of Illustration.” He also published boxed sets of every EC comic book, “The Complete EC Library” and the Disney Donald Duck related comic books written and drawn by Carl Barks. Amazing stuff. He collected and published Gasoline Alley and Alley Oop pages and published the heavily illustrated “The Martian Legion” by Buddy Sanders.
Over the years, he was associated with “Another Rainbow Publishing, Gladstone Publishing and Gemstone Publishing.
Today, the complete Library of Illustration was listed for sale on various internet sites, including Amazon, priced from $400.00 to $900.00. As I remember from when I bought them originally, I paid for all three in advance - $225.00 in 1976 dollars, which would make the pre-purchase price $1175.00 today. $400 is a bargain. Not only that, but he threw in a couple hundred pages of illustrations that were left over from the printing process.
He also did one of the best Tarzan yells I’ve ever heard. Take that, Carol Burnett.
The drabble for today is “Relative Value,” inspired by Russ Cochran and the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. It features longtime friends and Burroughs’ aficionados from New Orleans, Pat and John.
Pat and John looked at Pat’s complete set of Russ Cochran’s “Edgar Rice Burroughs Library of Illustrations. John said, “I’d didn’t preorder fast enough. My set cost me three hundred dollars. My dad was upset.”
“I told you to order when I did, John. Cochran said the price would go up.”
“My dad said, “John, I could buy a new refrigerator for three hundred dollars.”
“My wife said the same thing.”
“I told him, that’s true, but the refrigerator won’t have full color illustrations by Frank Frazetta and J. Allen St. John.”
“How’d he take that?”
“He sulked all day.”
AGE IS ATTITUDE
February 24: On this day in 2007, actor Herman Brix, aka Bruce Bennett, died at age 100. Brix played Tarzan in the Burroughs Tarzan Enterprise serial, “The New Adventures of Tarzan,” which was cut and also released as “Tarzan and the Green Goddess.”
Gabe Essoe said in his book, “Tarzan of the Movies,” “Brix’s portrayal was the only time between the silents and the 1960s that Tarzan was accurately depicted in films. He was mannered, cultured, soft-spoken, a well-educated English lord who spoke several languages, and didn’t grunt.”
Brix changed his screen name to Bruce Bennett in 1939 in hopes it would stop him from being typecast and went on to appear in over 100 films including “Dark Passage,” “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” “Strategic Air Command,” and “Sahara.”
After Hollywood, Bennett was a successful businessman. He stayed active, parasailing and skydiving into his nineties and made a parachute jump from 10,000 feet at age 96.
The drabble for today, “Age is Attitude,” was inspired by the long and successful life of Bruce Bennett. His quote is real.
The interviewer said, “Mr. Bennett, you’ve been successful at so many different things. You were an Olympic Medal winner, a successful actor, and a businessman. Now, you’re still parasailing and jumping out of airplanes when most men are using a cane.”
AGE IS ATTITUDE
“It has to do with my early experiences in sports. I guess the one thing I really learned from participating in sports was to just never say no, never stop trying, and to always believe that you can do better than the next fellow. I tried to follow this throughout my life, but I always tried to be respectful.”
February 25: On this day, writer Philip Jose Farmer passed away at the age of 91 in Peoria, Illinois. In 2001, Farmer received the “World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement” and the Science Fiction Writers of America made him its 19th Grand Master.
Farmer is known for his Riverworld series. I enjoyed the series, but his World of Tiers series was my favorite.
Farmer wrote several Edgar Rice Burroughs related books. “”Lord Tyger,” “Tarzan Alive,” “Time’s Last Gift,” “The Dark Heart of Time,” and “The Adventures of the Peerless Peer (Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes). His “Secrets of the Nine” novels feature a a character, Lord Grandrith, whom I’ve always considered to be Tarzan. “A Feast Unknown,” “Lord of the Trees,” and “The Mad Goblin.”
He based his Khokarsa series thousands of years ago in the world of Opar, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Christopher Paul Carey, author of “Swords of the Moon Men,” coauthored two of the books in the series with Farmer, as well as other stories about that ancient world.
For details about Farmer and his ERB related works, visitThe drabble for today is “Potential.” It combines three quotations by Philip Jose Farmer.
I believe that man is a rope between animal and superman. But the superman I'm thinking of isn't Nietzsche's. The real superhuman, man or woman, is the person who's rid himself of all prejudices, neuroses, and psychoses, who realizes his full potential as a human being, who acts naturally on the basis of gentleness, compassion, and love, who thinks for himself and refuses to follow the herd. That's the genuine dyed-in-the-wool superman. It’s not what a person says, but what he does that reveals his true character.
Give us power and light to hold love within our breast’s small space.
DO IT ANYWAY
February 26: On May 26, 2018, I posted the first of 1000 consecutive Edgar Rice Burroughs themed drabbles. Streak runners, another of my habits, refer to day 1,000 as “Comma Day.” Bill and Sue-On Hillman have been kind enough to collect those drabbles on www.erbzine.com. Here’s the link:
https://www.erbzine.com/lupton/On this day in 1930, Edgar Rice Burroughs bought side mirrors for his Cord L-29 Cabriolet automobile, the first American front-wheel drive car available to the public. The automobile was built in Auburn, Indiana. Another major innovation on the vehicle was the instrumentation It came with a temperature gauge, oil pressure gauge, speedometer, gas gauge, oil level gauge and Ammeter (battery level.) It came with a 301 cubic inches, 125 horsepower inline 8 aircraft engine.
The automobile was priced at about $3000.00. Unfortunately for Cord, the company didn’t survive the Great Depression. The L-29 was discontinued in 1932.
Today’s drabble isn’t based on the car. Let’s call it, “Do It Anyway.”
Tarzan and the airplane crash survivors camped for the night. The darkness was filled with animal cries and unknown footsteps.
DO IT ANYWAY
A passenger shivered in fear. “Tarzan, aren’t you frightened?”
“No, fear is an illusion, but danger is real. I am attentive and wary, but not frightened.”
The passenger asked the pilot, “Are you ever frightened?”
“Yes, fear may be only an illusion, as Tarzan says, but I don’t always have the discipline to ignore it.”
“What do you do about that?”
“A long time ago I realized that I just had to face whatever frightened me and do it anyway
February 27: On this day in 1931, Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing “Tarzan and the Raiders,” the working title for the novel that was published as “Tarzan Triumphant,” the 15th Tarzan novel, counting “Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins.”
The novel was serialized in six parts by Blue Book Magazine from October 1931 through March 1932 under the title “The Triumph of Tarzan.” The October and December issues had Laurence Herndon covers and all issues had interior illustrations by Frank Hoban. The first issue also had stories by H. Bedford Jones and the notorious Captain Dingle.
The drabble for today is "Rhyme Time,” and is inspired by the novel’s search for a final title.
Donald Kennicott, editor of the Blue Book Magazine, said, “Ed, “Tarzan and the Raiders” doesn’t work for us. Our readers equate “Raiders” with pirates and Vikings.”
“Okay, Don. Change it to “Tarzan Triumphant.” Tarzan always wins.”
“Rather not. Triumphant rhymes with elephant. How about the “Triumph of Tarzan.”
“Sure, but I didn’t know you didn’t like elephants. Perhaps I’ll name the next one, Tarzan the Great to rhyme with snake, or Tarzan the Fine - rhymes with lion.”
“I don’t think so, but perhaps, Tarzan and Cheetah. That rhymes with zebra.”
“Tarzan and Nkima don’t think that’s funny. Neither do I.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
February 28: On this date in 1981, Actress Virginia Huston, who played Jane in the 1951 film, “Tarzan’s Peril,” passed away in Santa Monica, California. Her career lasted from 1946 until 1954. She retired from pictures after marrying in 1952 – her last films were released after her retirement.
Virginia Ellen Huston was born April 25, 1925 in Wisner, Nebraska. Her stage debut at age five was a school production of ‘Helen of Troy’. Her mother was a typical stage mother, and pushed Virginia to become a star and developed a master plan for her success. Virginia stuck to the master plan and became a fixture in the Omaha public life. She acted in the prestigious Omaha Community playhouse (where Dorothy McGuire and Henry Fonda acted early in their careers).
In 1953, Virginia gave an interview to Lydia Lane, the famous beauty columnist, where she made it pretty clear how ill-suited she was for Hollywood. She said how her stomach was often in knots during filming, and she could not eat properly as a result. In order to maintain her strength, she drank a strong beef concentrate with an egg thrown in it. Sometimes, her anxiety would get so intense she would feel she was about to faint. She could reverse the process and not faint by doing a form of self-hypnosis, where she would imagine nice things and tell herself calming words.
The drabble for today is “No Place Like Home.” It’s based on the film work of Virginia Huston and the books of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Dorothy Dandridge, who played Melmendi, Queen of the Ashuba, and Virginia Huston, who played Jane waited to film their next scene for “Tarzan’s Peril.” Virginia meditated trying to make herself comfortable with the African set and scanty costumes.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Dorothy said, “Relax, girl. You’ll give yourself a coronary.”
“Sometimes I hate Hollywood. The costumes are minimal, the dialogue is primitive, and the action is brutal.”
“Isn’t it great? I just love it.”
Tarzan, clad in a loincloth dispatched a lion and gave the victory cry of the bull ape.
Virginia paled and said, “Dorothy, I don’t think I’m in Nebraska anymore.”
See Days 1 - 15 at ERBzine 7380
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