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ERB 100-Word Drabbles
July IIIa Edition :: Days 16 - 31
See Days 1 - 15 at ERBzine 7385
by Robert Allen Lupton
With Collations, Web Page Layout and ERBzine Illustrations and References by Bill Hillman
July 16: On this day in 2000, actor Johnathan Morgan Heit was born. He was the voice of the child Tarzan in the Constantin animated (motion-capture) film, “Tarzan,” released in 2013.
Heit began his acting career at age 6, appearing in two television series, “Close to Home” and “General Hospital.” He appeared with Adam Sadler in “Bedtime Stories.”
Besides numerous television and film roles, Heit has a writing and directing credit for the short film, “It Happens.” Everybody has a horrible day once in a while and the film is about one of the worst days ever.
The drabble for today, "Bad Day," was inspired by Heit’s directing debut and “Tarzan,” the stop motion film.
Tarzan said, “So Jane, how’s your day?”
“Pretty bad. I can’t find my father, I’m lost in the jungle, a gorilla tried to eat me or who knows what else, the Greystoke Corporation wants me dead, I’m sitting in a tree with a man wearing a loincloth and I’m starving. I’ve had better days.”
“Relax. We’ll be fine. My parents died years ago. The apes raised me.”
It started to rain. Jane said, “I don’t see how this could get any worse.”
Tarzan pulled off a chunk of tree bark. “Fancy a delicious caterpillar?”
“Ugg - apparently, I was wrong!”
July 17: On this day in 2010, Frank Frazetta’s children held a memorial service for the artist. Frank had passed away on May 10, 2010. He illustrated comic, book covers and book jackets, poster, record album covers and pretty much anything else he wanted to. He was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of fame in 1995 and the Jack Kirby Hall of fame in 1999.
In 2019, his painting, “Egyptian Queen,” sold for 5.4 million dollars – the most expensive item to date sold by Heritage Auctions.
The man’s artwork was part of my childhood. Thank you, Frank Frazetta.
The drabble for today is “Egyptian Queen.” Kudos to a song by the Youth Underground, a second song by Billy Ocean, and the painting by Frank Frazetta.
I closed my eyes and went to sleep
Early morning hours, a magical dream came alive
While I was asleep a vision came to me
And I wanted to paint an Egyptian Queen.
‘Cause I had a dream, paint an Egyptian Queen
Leaning on a pillar with a guard nearby
Hungry leopard on the prowl – the queen’s ready to cry.
Pretty as picture in the dying light
I’ll paint her today and dream her tonight.
She’s not Cleopatra with an asp
Not Nefertiti, beyond my grasp
She’s my Queen, my Egyptian Queen
Proud and beautiful, you know what I mean.
WHAT GREEN THUMB?
July 18: On this day in 1942, the world’s oldest war correspondent, Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote a letter to his daughter, Joan, in reply to her letter dated June 25, 1942. Mail delivery to Hawaii took more than a couple of days during the war. Burroughs’s letter used the return address, 1298 Kapiolani Boulevard, Honolulu, T H. That address now belongs to the Moana Pacific multi-story condominium building.
Attached is a photograph of the entrance. It didn’t look like this in 1942.
In the letter, ERB addresses Victory Gardens, house sales, and the Businessmen’s Training Corps, where Burroughs volunteered full time teaching drill and marksmanship. He mentioned his frustration with internal strife, jealousy, and petty politics in the organization.
He closed the letter with the comment, “Outside of dat, dere ain’t no news!”
The entire letter may be read at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag10/1024.html#July%2018
The 100 word drabble for today is from the passage in the letter about Victory Gardens, written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Call it “What Green Thumb?”
“If you don't get anything but weeds, exercise, and fresh air from your Victory Garden, you’ll be ahead of the game. You can go to the market and buy radishes for half what it costs to raise them. You’ll recall some of my futile efforts to make Tarzana Ranch self-supporting. The potatoes I planted twenty years ago haven't come up yet. The Angora goats required two full-time guardians with Winchesters and dogs to protect them from mountain lions. We got exercise, fresh air, fun, and excitement. People spend more in night spots, and get nothing but headaches and hob-nailed livers.”
WHAT GREEN THUMB?
July 19: On this day in 1994, I bought my copy of the then current issue of “The New Yorker Magazine. The issue was dated June 27, 1994 to July 4, 1994. The cover illustration was of Miss Liberty and fireworks above 16 American authors holding copies of one of their books. An article, ”Authors With The Most Shouts and the Murmurs” by Frank Gannon,” appeared within. Frank Gannon, a writer and book reviewer specialized in humorous books and articles. I especially liked “Midlife Irish.” That goodness for Guinness and Old Bushmills.
The writers on the cover include Herman Melville (Moby Dick), Margret Mitchell (Gone With the Wind), Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter), Louisa May Alcott (Little Women), Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep), Mark Twain (Title not shown), Mickey Spillane (Kiss Me Deadly), and Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan). The dust jacket illustration for “Tarzan” is one I confess, I’ve never seen, but then I’ve never seen a novel titled simply, “Tarzan.”
The drabble for today was inspired by the cover of the magazine. “Upstaged’ is the title.
Mark Twain complained, “I can’t believe they put me on the back row next to Melville. I hated that damn whale.”
Hawthorne grumbled, “The put me near that Grace Metalious. Peyton Place, indeed. Puritans forgot more about adultery than she ever knew. Margret Mitchell, she stole my title for her character’s name. Scarlett O’Hara instead of “Scarlet Letter.”
Burroughs moaned, “I didn’t get my full title. It’s “Tarzan of the Apes,” not Tarzan. They also got Margret’s Mitchell’s title wrong. It’s “Gone with the Wind,” not “Gone With Wind!” What about that Margret?”
“Frankly Ed, I don’t give a damn!”
STANDARD OF EVIDENCE
July 20: On this day in 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon, 45 years ago Viking One made the first successful landing on Mars, and 140 years ago on this day in 1991, actor Clyde Benson was born in Marshalltown, Iowa. Benson played a lawyer in the silent film, “The Romance of Tarzan,” which started Elmo Lincoln and Enid Markey.
Benson’s film career lasted for nine years, from 1916 through 1924, during which time he made a about a dozen films and several shorts. His three best known films were “The Beast,” “Daredevil Jack,’ and “The Perils of the Secret Service.
The drabble for today is based on Benson’s character as an attorney and Tarzan’s imaginary first encounter with the legal system. Call it “Standard of Evidence.”
The lawyer said, “You claim to be the heir to the Greystoke estate. What proof have you.”
STANDARD OF EVIDENCE
“My father’s knife.”
“So you say. There’re no initials, no name carved on it. It could be anyone’s. What about a diary, some clothing, or a family bible.”
“No, clothing and paper rot you know.”
“Convenient. You have no proof.”
“Jane said that you’re on my side. Don’t you believe me?”
“My belief doesn’t matter. My job is to make the court believe me.”
“Without this evidence, how can you do that?”
“By whatever means necessary. I’ll even tell the truth if required!”
July 21: On this day in 1863, Sir Charles Aubrey Smith was born in London, England. Sir Charles gained fame is a fast bowler cricket player, known professionally as “Round the Corner Smith.” He played only one international Cricket Test Match, captaining the English team to a win over South Africa. A ‘fast bowler’ in cricket is the equivalent of a fast ball pitcher in baseball – sort of.
Smith began acting in films in 1920 (“The Bump” written by A. A. Milne). He moved to Hollywood and developed a career playing an officer or a gentleman.
Among his several film roles, he played James Parker, the father of Maureen O’Sullivan in “Tarzan the Ape Man,” starring Johnny Weissmuller. Smith appeared in over 100 films, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was knighted by King George in 1944, and served on the first board of directors for the Screen Actors Guild.
Decades after his cricket career had ended, when he had long been a famous face in films, Smith was spotted in the pavilion on a visit to Lord’s Cricket Grounds in London. "That man over there seems familiar", remarked one member to another. "Yes", said the second, seemingly oblivious to his Hollywood fame, "Chap called Smith. Used to play for Sussex."
The drabble for today is a compilation of quotations from Sir C. Aubrey Smith, athlete, actor, and gentleman - “Proper English.”
“The first thing a British actor learns is clear enunciation and correct speech. Pure speech has been one of the traditions of the stage since Shakespeare. It’s a good thing because it fosters the love of pure speech in the public. I hope talkies will do the same thing from the screen.
A London audience has a certain psychology and loyalty to the players. It’s common for a London audience to give an ovation to a player who’s been a favorite for years. American favorites pass quickly. Life’s faster in the States. Britishers don’t like being hurried like Americans.”
ONE LAST KISS
July 22: On this day in 2011, actress Linda Christian died. She appeared in Mexican and Hollywood films, mostly in the 1940s and 1950s. She played Mara in the last Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan film, “Tarzan and the Mermaids,” in 1948. She was the first “Bond” girl, featured in a 1954 television adaption of “Casino Royal.”
Her birth name was “Blanco Rosa Welter,’ and she was the daughter of a Dutch engineer and a Mexican born wife of Spanish, German, and French descent. They moved frequently and Christian learned to speak several languages including French, German, Spanish, English, Italian, Arabic, and Russian.
After her divorce from Tyrone Power, she became involved with race car driver, Alfonso de Portago. A famous 1957 photograph shows Christian kissing him before the race where he crashed his Ferrari. The press labeled the photograph “The Kiss of Death.” Tyrone Power died about a year later from a heart attack. He was forty-four.
The drabble for today is “One Last Kiss,” and it was inspired by “The Kiss of Death.” Maybe we should be grateful that Weissmuller never kissed Christian during the filming of “Tarzan and the Mermaids.” Two members of the crew didn’t survive production.
Linda Christian’s ex-husband, Tyrone Power said, “I’m sorry that your new man, Alfonso de Portago, was killed in a horrible racing crash. At least you got to kiss him good-by.”
ONE LAST KISS
“Sad, but not too sad. He told me that he wasn’t going to leave his wife.”
“What did you say to him?”
“Farewell, adieu, adios, au revoir, sayonara, arrivederci, mae alsalama, do syidaniva”
“Linda, the press called it the Kiss of Death!”
“What absolute nonsense. You know reporters, anything to sell a story. I have to leave now, Tyrone. Give me one last kiss for old time’s sake. Auf Wiedersehen.”
July 23: On this day in 1914, artist Virgil Warren Finlay was born in Rochester, NY. Finlay illustrated numerous pulp magazines and books, specializing in science fiction, horror, and fantasy. Finlay did four illustrations for the “The Quest of Tarzan,” published in Argosy Weekly from August 23 through September 6, 1941, one cover and three interiors. I liked the interiors better.
He is credited with more than 2600 illustrations over a 35 year career. During World War II, Finlay served in the US Army and saw extensive combat in the Pacific theater, especially on Okinawa.
The drabble for today is only 94 words long. Here’s “Moon Mist,” a piece of Virgil Finlay’s seldom seen poetry.
Mist that creeps on the valley floor
Fingers the windows, tries the door,
Crawls on my threshold, gropes about-
And strong, stone walls won’t keep it out!
It quiets all the forest things
And covers them with ghostly wings;
Dancing a shroud-like Saraband
It makes a moon-path on the land;
Thick, in chimney and water spout,
It chokes the roaring hearth fire out;
The candles flicker and grow dark –
White fingers snuff the last faint spark.
Mist, on my face, is a skull-like grin
As the fire goes out and the Moon comes in!
I NEED SOME ME TIME
July 24: On this day in 1940, Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing “The City of Mummies,” part one of Llana of Gathol. The story had two working titles, “The Frozen Men of Mars” and “John Carter and the Pits of Horz.” It was published as “The City of Mummies,” in the March 1941 edition of Amazing Stories. When ERB Inc. published ‘Llana of Gathol” of March 26, 1948, this portion of the novel was called, “The Ancient Dead.”
After the foreword for the novel, John Carter begins to tell the story to Edgar Rice Burroughs, beginning with a soliloquy about solitude. The first 100 words of that soliloquy are today’s drabble. Written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, here’s “I Need Some Me Time.”
No matter how instinctively gregarious one may be there are times when one longs for solitude. I like people. I like to be with my family, my friends, my fighting men; and probably because I’m so keen for companionship, I’m at times equally keen to be alone. It’s at such times I can best resolve the knotty problems of government in times of war or peace. It’s then I meditate upon the various aspects of a full life such as I lead; and, being human, I’ve plenty of mistakes to meditate on that I may fortify myself against their recommission.”
I NEED SOME ME TIME
HERE WE GO AGAIN
July 25: On this date decathlete, football player, professional wrestler, and actor, Woodrow Wilson Woolwine Strode, was born in Los Angeles, California. Woody Strode served in the United States Army during World War 2.
Strode appeared in several Tarzan films and Tarzan related films, including “Tarzan’s Fight for Life” and “Tarzan’s Three Challenges.”
He appeared in two Bomba films, “African Treasure,” and “The Lion Hunters,” One Jungle Jim television episode, “Jungle Man-Eaters,” several episodes of Ron Ely’s “Tarzan,” and a number of jungle related adventure films made in the United States and abroad.
His television and film credits are many. I would be remiss not to mention, “Spartacus,” “Sergeant Rutledge,” and “Pork Chop Hill.” His final film was “The Quick and the Dead,” with Gene Hackman, Sharon Stone, Russell Crowe, and Leonardo DiCaprio. The closing credits dedicated the film to Strode.
The drabble for today is “Here We Go Again,” inspired by Woody’s many roles in Tarzan and Tarzan related films.
Ron Ely said, “Ready, Woody? In this next scene you and I fight on the river bridge.”
HERE WE GO AGAIN
“I’m always ready. You aren’t the first Tarzan I’ve fought. Don’t matter if I win or lose, there’ll always be another Tarzan.”
“Why would you say that?”
“There was Gordon Scott and Jock Mahoney. Before them, there was Johnny Weissmuller, but he was calling himself Jungle Jim, but I knew he was Tarzan.” His son, Boy, pretended to be a man called Bomba, but he couldn’t fool me. Tarzans come and Tarzans go, but Woody will always be ready for the next incarnation.”
HOW BIG IS MAY CALOT
July 26: On this day in 1942, “Futile Daring,” the 34th installment of the “John Carter of Mars” newspaper comic strip appeared in the Sunday ‘funny papers.’ The strip was written and illustrated by John Coleman Burroughs. His wife, Jane Ralston Burroughs, not only modeled for Dejah Thoris, she drew backgrounds and buildings and did all the coloring and lettering. The strip ran for 73 Sundays.
This installment featured John Carter, Dejah Thoris, Woola, the calot, a green man, and an evil robotic scientist.
The drabble for today is “How Big is My Calot,” inspired by the Sunday page, “Futile Daring.”
Vovo, the evil scientist had developed an enlarging ray. Dejah Thoris and Woola, the calot, were trapped inside the chamber. John Carter arrived just as the ray was activated.
HOW BIG IS MAY CALOT
Carter and Oman, a mechano-man, watched in horror. Dejah and Woola doubled in size and then doubled again. Vovo laughed in triumph.
Oman said, “Don’t worry, John Carter, I know Vovo’s secrets. I’ll reverse this process.
The princess and the calot doubled once more. Carter groaned. “Please. Dejah Thoris was more woman than any man could want at her normal size, but Woola. Help me, Woola thinks he’s a lap dog.”
July 27: On this day in 1916, Edgar Rice Burroughs and family broke camp and left Camp Branch at Morrison Lake, Indiana. They had stayed there for 37 days on their ‘automobile camping tour.’ Edgar Rice Burroughs told the story in his “Diary of an Automobile Camping Tour,” copyright ERB Inc. 2017.
Around noon Burroughs encountered the farmer poet of Indiana, Silas Bettes McManus, author of “Rural Rhymes.”
Other entries about the road trip written by Burroughs may be read at https://www.erbzine.com/mag60/6021.html
The 100 word drabble for today, ”Camp Branch,” is an excerpt from ERB’s entry for July 27, 1916. I left the spelling of the poet, Silas McManus, as ERB spelled it.
Broke camp at 9:15 this morning. Made about 84 miles today, camping at Eagle Lake, Indiana. It’s been excessively hot, the children riding almost naked. I stopped today in front of a pretty little home. An elderly man came to the gate and hailed us, asking if we did not wish to stop there and eat our lunch under his trees or get water. He proved to be Silas Mac Manus, the farmer poet of Indiana. I went in and met Mrs. Mac Manus and a friend. All were very cordial. They had read Tarzan and probably felt sorry for me.
RUN FIRST, TALK LATER
July 28: On this day in 1991, the Gray Morrow, Don Kraar Tarzan Sunday Funnies story arc, “The Compleat Collector” began. The story ran for twelve weeks. Joseph Van Dorn collects many things, including animals, live and preserved by taxidermy. He’s became bored with his collection and added a special specimen – Tarzan of the Apes.”
Gray Morrow took over the Sunday strip on March 6, 1983, after two weeks of Mike Grell reprints, and drew the strip until August 19, 2001, 17 years, 5 months, and two weeks – a total of 906 Sunday pages. Eric Battle took over from Morrow the next week. The Tarzan Sunday strip was canceled nine months later.
Read the entire story at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag35/3538.html
The drabble for today is, “Run First, Talk Later,” and it’s based on the Sunday Tarzan story arc, “The Complete Collector.”
Van Dorn complained, “This Tarzan fellow is a unique addition to my collection, but he isn’t happy. I’ve recreated his natural habitat, but he just wants to escape.”
RUN FIRST, TALK LATER
“Yes, boss,” replied a lackey. “Whatcha wanna do.”
“Alas, there’s nothing to do except add him to the permanent collection. Call the taxidermist.”
Tarzan escaped and threw Van Dorn into the habitat, where a crocodile stalked him. Van Dorn tried to cozy up to it, but it ate him.
Tarzan said, “Stupid man. Crocodiles are easy. They’ll kill and eat you. People are harder, sometimes the pretend to be your friend first.”
WHAT'S IN A MIDDLE NAME
July 29: On this day in 1876, Russian actress and acting teacher, Maria Alekseyevna Ouspenskaya was born in Tula, of the Russian Empire. She was trained by Konstantin Stanislavsky. She decided to stay in New York in 1922 and performed regularly on Broadway for the next ten years.
She’s probably best known as the gypsy fortune teller in Lon Chaney Jr.’s “The Wolf Man” and “Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man.”
In 1945 Maria played the Amazon Queen in “Tarzan and the Amazons, which starred Johnny Weissmuller and Brenda Joyce. Maria was mentioned in the novel, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” written by Truman Capote. Holly Golightly comments that diamonds only look good on the really old girls like Maria Ouspenskaya.
The drabble for today was written for the Dick Van Dyke Show. Buddy Sorrel and Sally Rogers (Dick’s co-writers for the Alan Brady Show) argued about naming babies. The title of the episode, “What’s in a Middle Name,” is the title of the drabble. Thanks to the Dick Van Dyke Show, Maria Alekseyevvna Ouspenskaya, Wolfmen, and Amazons, where ever they may be.
Buddy Sorrel shouted. "I got it! I got the perfect middle name!"
WHAT'S IN A MIDDLE NAME
Sally Rogers replied, "What is it?"
Buddy smiled and said with a straight face, "Humphrey!"
Sally put her finger in her mouth and pretended to gag. "Get rid of it!"
"What's the matter with Humphrey? Bogart didn't do bad with it," murmured Buddy.
"Well, Maria Ouspenskaya didn't do bad either, but would you name YOUR kid Maria Ouspenskaya?"
Buddy thought carefully for a moment and then shook his head slowly. "No, and for only one reason."
Sally sneered in triumph. "Why?"
"Because my brother named HIS kid that!"
DIAMONDS RISE TO THE TOP
July 30: On this day in 1939, The Burne Hogarth illustrated and Don Garden written story arc, “Tarzan and the Boers, Part II,” began in newspapers across the United States. The story ran for 40 weeks. It has been reprinted in Flying Buttress’s “Tarzan in Color” volumes 8 and 9 and in Titan Books’ Volume One: Tarzan: In the City of Gold.” Both books are regularly available on Amazon and EBay.
The first episode was titled “Net of Destiny,” where we encounter the villain, Klass Vanger, who discovers diamonds on another man’s land and incites the Bulega tribe to help him take the land and the diamonds. The rightful owner asks Tarzan to intercede. The ape-man does and violence on the veldt follows.
The drabble for today, “Diamonds Rise to the Top, is based on that story arc.
Klass Vanger held up the diamonds he’d found. The Bulega chieftain, Kundila, said, “This land belongs to Van Boeren.”
DIAMONDS RISE TO THE TOP
Vanger sneered. “He may own the land, but he doesn’t own the diamonds.”
“Tarzan has guaranteed the boarders and the peace. He’ll kill us.”
“A guarantee is only a little piece of paper. Tarzan can’t control diamonds, they’re a force of nature. Diamonds are like cream and they rise to the top. It doesn’t matter where they were found or who found them, diamonds find their way to the richest and most powerful, to people who deserve them. People like me!”
ONE RINGIE DINGIE
July 31: On this day in 1932, Actor Ted Cassidy (Theodore Crawford Cassidy) was born in Pittsburg, PA. The 6 foot 9 inch tall actor was best known for playing Lurch on television’s 'The Addams Family.'
Ted appeared in three “Star Trek” episodes. His deep voice was a hit in numerous cartoon series including ‘The New Fantastic Four,’ ‘Jana of the Jungle,’ and ‘Space Ghost.” His film work included ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.’
Cassidy’s Tarzan connection is threefold. He portrayed Tarzan in 1969 on ‘Storybook Squares,’ a special episode of ‘Hollywood Squares’ featuring famous people dressed as historical and fictional characters. Ted was the voice for Phobeg in 36 episodes on the animated ‘Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle,’ and he played Samson in the episode, ‘Jungle Ransom’ of Ron Ely’s television Tarzan series.
At age 46, Ted underwent open heart surgery to have tumor removed from his heart in January 1979. He died from complications.
The drabble for today is ‘One Ringie Dingie,” and it was inspired by ‘Jungle Ransom’ and Cassidy’s signature line on ‘The Addams Family.”
Tarzan escorted the criminal Velasquez to prison and boarded a boat for passage. A female passenger’s husband was Velasquez’s hostage. She held Tarzan at gunpoint and demanded he return the criminal to his camp at an abandoned mission, where she hoped to ransom her husband.
ONE RINGIE DINGIE
Tarzan freed himself and fought Velasquez and his gang. He was terribly outnumbered.
Another crewman, the gigantic Sampson, infatuated with the woman, intervened by lurching across the camp and hitting Velasquez over the head with the heavy mission bell.
Sampson said, “Ask not for whom the bell tolls.”
Tarzan said, “You Rang!”
“Yes, I did.
See Days 1 - 15 at ERBzine 7385
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