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ERB 100-Word Drabbles
NOVEMBER III Edition :: Days 1 - 15
See Days 16 - 30 at ERBzine 7389a
by Robert Allen Lupton
With Collations, Web Page Layout and ERBzine Illustrations and References by Bill Hillman
TANTOR THE MAGNIFICENT
November 1: On this day in 1937, the first installment of three parts of “Tarzan and the Elephant Men” appeared in the Blue Book of Fiction and Adventure (Blue Book Magazine). Elephant Men was the second half of the novel, “Tarzan the Magnificent.” The cover of the magazine was drawn by Herbert Morton Stoops, aka Jeremy Cannon, who also drew several interiors for the magazine.
I have a hand bound copy made from the excerpts of the story carefully cut from the original magazine and made into a hard cover book, complete with dust jacket. I didn’t cut up the magazines, I bought the excerpts and made them into a book. I did the same thing with the first half of Tarzan the Magnificent,” “Tarzan and the Magic Men,” which was serialized in Argosy Weekly in 1936. Two interesting and one of a kind volumes.
Details about the stories that make up Tarzan the Magnificient are at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0728.html
The drabble, actually a frabble, for today. “Tantor the Magnificent,” was inspired by the story and from a joke from my childhood. In one scene, Tarzan is attacked by a pride of lions and a group of elephant riding warriors from the city of Athne save Tarzan by killing the lions.
Tarzan drew his knife and prepared to fight a dozen lions. He knew he could conquer one, but twelve might be too many.
TANTOR THE MAGNIFICENT
Suddenly a herd of elephants bearing warriors charged the lions. In the enthusing battle some warriors and elephants were injured. After the first encounter, the lions fled with the elephants in pursuit. Not all the fleeing lions escaped.
The warriors took Tarzan to their ruler and Tarzan said, “Thank you, but I’m used to seeing elephants who are meticulous in their hygiene. Yours have red and yellow slime between their toes.”
The king nodded, “Yes, slow lions.”
TIME TO RENEGOTIATE
November 2: On this day in 1996, “Tarzan: The Epic Adventures” episode, “Tarzan and the Priestess of Opar,” was first broadcast. The episode featured the late Joe Lara as Tarzan. Angela Harry played La and Nicole Franco, Zam Nkosi, Renee Avenir and Frank Pereira also had roles. This episode, the 8th of 22, was written by Dennis Kerner and directed by Gino Tanasescu.
In the story, Tarzan is seeking Jane and finds his way to the “Forbidden City,” where he finds a tribe of half ape, half human people, who capture Tarzan and plan to sacrifice him, but La, the high priestess becomes infatuated with Tarzan. Tarzan is forced to fight the head beastman, Cadj, to free Jane and escape. Sound familiar – it should.
A detailed list of the episodes, casts, and production credits are located at; https://www.erbzine.com/mag0/0014a.html
The drabble for today, “Time to Renegotiate,” was inspired by the episode and the original source of the episode, “Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar.”
La, the High Priestess, said, “My people demand your sacrifice to the Flaming God, but I love you. Let’s leave together.”
TIME TO RENEGOTIATE
Tarzan replied, “You’re the High Priestess. Tell them no.”
“I can’t. When the flaming god wants a sacrifice, I must obey.”
“What kind of god orders the death of people who serve him or serve his priests and priestesses? A dead man hunts no antelope, plows no fields, and builds no temples.”
“If I refuse, the acolytes will sacrifice me instead.”
“Sounds like a bad deal. You should renegotiate and either get a new job or a new god.
November 3: On this day in 1927, the Edgar Rice Burroughs’ play, “You Lucky Girl!, was copyrighted by ERB Inc. Burroughs wrote the play intending for it to feature his daughter, Joan, but the play was not performed until April of 1997. It was published in a slipcase edition of 750 copies by Donald M. Grant Publisher, Inc.in 1999 accompanied by a trade edition without the slipcase. There have been no other reprints.
Publishing, performance details, a summary of the script, and a review by Robert B. Zeuschner are at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0774.html
The photograph with this article is of the members of the Palmdale City Players which made up the cast. The production was directed by Hugh Munro Neely.
The drabble for today, "Lucky Find," was written by Hulbert Burroughs soon after Henry Hardy Heins discovered the ‘lost’ play while researching copyrights. Heins made Hulbert aware of the existence of the play and Hulbert searched for and found the manuscript. I'm glad they found it and glad it was published.
“We paid our law firm a thousand dollar fee for the same information you’ve gathered here for free.
I did learn that it was apparently written at a time when my sister, Joan, was actively engaged as an actress in small legitimate playhouses. My assumption is that he probably wrote this play hoping that it might be produced by the stock company Joan was working for. Joan, however, has no recollection of the play, and there is no indication that anything further ever happened with it. It was probably copyrighted because ERB thought a producer might possibly use it.”
November 4: On this day in 1972, New York Times columnist, Dave Anderson’s interview with Johnny Weissmuller was published. When asked who was the better swimmer, Olympian Mark Spitz or himself, Weissmuller replied, “I was better than Mark Spitz, I never lost a race. Never. Not even in the Y. M. C. A. The closest I ever came to losing was on the last lap of the 400 in 1924 when I got a snootful. But I knew enough not to cough. If you don’t cough, you can swallow it.”
In all, Weissmuller won five Olympic gold medals and one bronze medal, 52 United States national championships, and set 67 world records. He was the first man to swim the 100-meter freestyle under one minute and the 440-yard freestyle under five minutes. He never lost a race and retired with an unbeaten amateur record. In 1934, he swam the 400 meters in four minutes and fifty-seven seconds.
For more information about Johnny, visit: https://www.erbzine.com/mag3/0394.html
Spitz swam the 400 meters in 1968 in four minutes and seven seconds. Recently Katy Ledecky swam the 400 meters in three minutes in 58 seconds. You go, girl!
Different time, different conditions, different training.
The drabble for today, “Match Race,’ was inspired by the 1972 interview with Johnny Weissmuller and is not an accurate account of the interview, except perhaps it does reflect Weissmuller’s attitude, but maybe not.
“Johnny,” said interviewer Dave Anderson, “Mark Spitz won a fistful of Olympic medals. Is he a better swimmer?”
“No, he has better pool conditions and completely different training. Times have changed. The key to being the best is just that, did you win or did you lose. I never lost. Never lost.”
“His times are faster than yours.”
“Not on the same day. Ten years after the Olympics, folks don’t ask about your time. They only care whether you won or lost. I always won.”
“Could you beat him today?”
“It would be close, but hell, I’m sixty-eight years old!”
November 5: On this day, Edgar Rice Burroughs completed one of his seven Inspector Muldoon short murder mystery puzzles, “Murder At Midnight.” Script Magazine published four of the seven mystery puzzles, but “Murder at Midnight” first saw print in Adkins and Guidry’s 2001 publication “Forgotten Tales of Love and Murder.”
You can read the entire story at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag70/7055.html
In the story, the Count de Veny has been murdered at a party at the van Rentz home. There are seven suspects, all who deny knowing anything at all. Muldoon learns that all seven people had good reasons to kill the count, but each has a glib alibi. The inspector carefully identifies conflicting stories and narrows down his list of suspects to determine the guilty party, finally lighting a cigar and saying, “Sheriff, you may arrest the person who murdered de Veny.” He pointed. “There is your prisoner.”
The drabble for today, “Best Option,” was inspired by the story, “Murder at Midnight,” and uses some of the character names, but doesn’t follow the events in ERB’s murder mystery. Call it a hundred word alternate story.
“Let me get this straight,” said Inspector Muldoon. “Count de Veny is really a blackmailer, a thief, and a womanizer. He seduces women and then robs and blackmails them.”
The butler said, “Indeed! The women despise him and the men hate him. He’s a sexual and financial opportunist. If it wasn’t so trite, I’d have killed him myself, but 'the butler did it' has been so overplayed.”
Muldoon said, “Are you saying he deserved to be shot the way he was.”
“Not at all, he deserved far worse, but shooting him was apparently the best means available at the time.”
CALM WINDS AND SOFT LANDINGS
November 6: On this day in 1940, Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing part three of “Savage Pellucidar,” titled “Tiger Girl.” The story was first published in the April 1942 edition of “Amazing Stories” and collected in “Amazing Stories Quarterly" that fall.
Publishing information is available at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0747.html
The first day of the 2021 Burroughs Bibliophiles Dum Dum convention in Albuquerque, NM was held on this date. People were setting up in the hucksters room as I wrote this.
The drabble for today, “Calm Winds and Soft Landings,” is take from the preface to the pulp publication of the story and was written by some unknown editor.
“Down upon this strange land, near the farther shore of the nameless strait, drifted the balloon in which was Dian the Beautiful. It was a strange, a terrifying, land to her, this terra incognita of her people; but she was well received, for the yellow race which inhabited that portion of the country felt that she must be a goddess coming down out of the heavens; and they treated her as such until Hor, the high priest, fearing her increasing power, turned the people against her, and Gamba, the king; and they barely escaped from the city with their lives.”
CALM WINDS AND SOFT LANDINGS
November 7: On this day in 1897, writer and artist Armstrong Wells Sperry was born in New Haven, Connecticut. Sperry wrote several children’s books as well as historical fiction. Many of his stories were set at sea and featured boys from Polynesia, Asia and Native American tribes. Sperry won the 1942 Newberry Medal for “Call It Courage.”
He painted the cover for the Metropolitan edition (the first edition) of “Tarzan and the Lost Empire.”
Sperry’s first book was “One Day With Manu.” His only novel for adults was “No Brighter Glory,” and it was written about the Astor family. Sperry’s older brother, Paul, is credited with inventing the first boat shoe, “The Sperry Top-Sider.”
The drabble for today, “Damn Editor,” a fictional account of a non-existent meeting, was inspired by Sperry’s career as a writer and an artist. The quote about editing was used by ERB in the preface to “Beyond the Farthest Star,” There is absolutely no evidence that ERB and Sperry ever met or even talked.
“Mr. Sperry,” asked Edgar Rice Burroughs, “You’re a successful artist. Why on earth would you start a new career illustrating other writer’s books, especially mine?”
“I can paint a picture faster than I draw and I like your books. When I write, sometimes my stories get edited by three or four people and I can hardly recognize the final product."
“I feel the same way, but what’s a man to do?” replied Burroughs.
“Sometimes,” said Sperry, “I thought that an editor would edit the word of God.”
“Agreed. Would you mind if I used that that someday.”
“Be my guest.”
JOHN CARTER AND THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES
November 8: On this day six years ago in 2015, the late Ray Bradbury was quoted about Edgar Rice Burroughs in “Listen To The Echoes: The Ray Bradbury Interviews"
For more information about the impact that Edgar Rice Burroughs had on the life and writings of Ray Bradbury, visit https://www.erbzine.com/mag37/3734.html
The drabble for today, “John Carter and the Martian Chronicles,” is excerpted from Ray Bradbury’s comments on the website referenced above.
“The Jungle Books are known and read and loved around the world, but they didn’t make boys run amok. On occasion, yes, but more often than not, no. Kipling was a better writer than Burroughs, but not a better romantic.
JOHN CARTER AND THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES
"Burroughs stands above all by reason of his unreason, the color of Tarzan’s blood, the blooded teeth of the lion, and the sheer romantic impossibility of Burroughs’ Mars and its fairy tale people with green skins and the absolutely unscientific way John Carter traveled there. Being utterly impossible, he was the perfect fast-moving chum for any ten year old boy.”
November 9: On this day, Alan Samuel Lyle-Symthe, who wrote and acted and wrote under the name, Alan Calliou, was born in Surrey England. Alan was a policeman, soldier, and professional hunter. Alan played the character Jason Flood in five episodes of Ron Ely’s television Tarzan series – all in 1966. His acting career was extensive and he appeared in Daktari, The Girl From Uncle, The Rat Patrol, Death Valley Days, Five Weeks in a Balloon, Pirates of Tortuga, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Maverick, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Ice Pirates, and The Sword and the Sorcerer.
Details about the Ron Ely television series are located at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag74/7420.html
Calliou served in the Palestine Police prior to WW2 and served in the Royal Army Intelligence Corps. He was a POW in North Africa and Italy. His 52 novels include “My World is Six Feet Square,” and “Sheba Slept Here.”
The drabble for today is “Old Spies” and it was inspired by Alan Samuel Lyle-Symthe. Let’s thank him for his service.
Ron Ely asked, “Alan, you were a real life spy During WW2. Aren’t you afraid people will recognize you on television?”
“It’s been a long time. I’m older, but I’m better looking. I expect that most folks I encountered in North Africa, if any are still alive, have better things to do than to chase after an old soldier and writer from the those days.”
“Would you do it again?”
‘Certainly. A man’s never too old to spy. I hate stairs and I might fall off a building, but if they want a ground level spy, I’m good to go.”
November 10 and according to www.erbzine.com on this day in 1940, the January 1941 issue of Amazing Stories hit the newsstands in America. The issue contained the story, “John Carter and the Giant of Mars.”
An uproar occurred about the actual authorship of the story. It was written by ERB’s son, John Coleman Burroughs as a Whitman Better Little Book while ERB was in Honolulu. John Coleman expanded the book for Amazing Stories, with input from the editors and possibly some guidance from ERB.
The Amazing Stories cover was drawn by J. Allen St. John
Details about the authorship, the story, and several illustrations are located at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0740.html
The issue contained the story, “Mystery Moon,” by Edmond Hamilton and two stories by Cleo Eldon Wilcox, writing as Don Wilcox, two stories by David Wright O’Brien (one using his own name and one as John York Cabot, one story by Editor Raymond Palmer writing as Henry Gade, and two other stories by writers using pseudonyms. Since, in this case, John Coleman Burroughs was writing as Edgar Rice Burroughs, the only story in the issue published under the writer’s real name was “Mystery Moon” by Edmond Hamilton.
The drabble for today is “Big Minion,” and it was inspired by “John Carter and the Giant of Mars” with a shout out to Blazing Saddles.
Joog, a 130 foot tall giant had been created by the evil Pew Mogel from the flesh of 10,000 Red Martians and was self-healing and virtually indestructible.
Pew rode atop Joog’s head in a glass howdah and ordered the giant into battle against John Carter. Carter and two thousand warriors parachuted into the conflict and Carter confronted Pew and beheaded him. Carter took control of the giant.
The Heliumites encouraged Carter to kill the giant, but Carter refused and freed the creature. “It’s not his fault. He only did as he was told. Joog only pawn in game of life.”
THEY ALSO SERVE
November 11: On this day in 1942, the Honolulu Advertiser published Edgar Rice Burroughs’s article “Saturday Night in Honolulu, Dull." Burroughs, along with Life magazine correspondent, Bernard Clayton, and Brigadier General Thomas H. Green toured Honolulu to evaluate the front line civilian defenses. They were accompanied by a provost marshal and two members of the Honolulu Police Force.
The men visited a few First Aid stations, the Red Cross Motor Corps and the telephone censors at the Mutual Telephone Building. They drove to Alewa Heights and were impressed by the level of compliance with the Blackout regulations.
The drabble for today, “They Also Serve,” is excerpted from that article and it honors the hard working civilian volunteers in Honolulu during WW2.
At the Red Cross Motor Corps headquarters, which we visited after the girls on duty had gone to bed, Miss Mae Simeona received us graciously in her pajamas. There are 47 unpaid volunteers in the corps, each girl furnishing her own car. Twenty-four hours a day they’re on call for civilian or military emergency transportation duty. In the wee hours they have doubled for the stork, insuring that Junior would be delivered to the right hospital. They meet transports at the piers, where they minister to and transport women, children, and the ill. They are grand girls doing grand work.
THEY ALSO SERVE
November 12: On this day-- according to several sources -- in 1983, athlete, actor, and family man, James H. Pierce died in Apple Valley, California. He was interred in his family plot in Forest Hill Cemetary in Shelbyville, Indiana. Pierce, the husband of Joan Burroughs and son-in-law of Edgar Rice Burroughs, played Tarzan on film in “Tarzan and the Golden Lion,” starred with his wife, Joan, in the 1932-1934 Tarzan Radio series. Pierce also played Prince Thun in the 1936 film serial, “Flash Gordon.”
In later life he was a successful real estate agent and outstanding pilot, serving during WWII in the National Airman’s Reserve.
Wikipedia and IMBD both give December 11, 1983 as Pierce’s date of death. www.erbzine.com and https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/13191057/james-pierce list his date of death as November 12, 1983. As I searched through more sites trying to determine which one was correct, I found more listing each date. I decided to use November 12, but look forward to determining the correct date.
Pierce spent years looking unsuccessfully for a print of “Tarzan and the Golden Lion.” A foreign print was discovered in France during the 1990s.
The drabble for today, "Mysterious Ways,” was inspired by Pierce’s casting in “Tarzan and the Golden Lion,” The drabble is adapted from his autobiography, “The Battle of Hollywood.”
After a party at the Burroughs’s, I got a phone call. "We’re casting lead for Tarzan and the Golden Lion and Mr. Burroughs thought you would be great."
I told him. "I’ve no aspirations to become an actor."
Joan pressured me and I finally said, "I’ll do it to please you."
Joan and her father attended the test and were delighted at what they saw. In a few days I was told, "You have the job."
I replied, "I did the screen test, but I don't want to quit my law studies."
But I did and it worked out well.
NEVER GROW UP
November 13: On this day in 1932, child actor Cordell Hickman was born somewhere in Oklahoma. Hickman appeared in films from 1937 through 1946, including “Tarzan’s Secret Treasure” where he played Tumbo, a native boy and friend to Johnny Sheffield’s “Boy.” He also appeared in “The Biscuit Eater” and 1942’s Arabian Nights.” He appeared in the last ‘Our Gang,’ aka ‘The Little Rascals” film, ‘Our Gang Follies of 1938.” His last appearance was an uncredited roll in the 1946 film, ‘Young Widow.”
Hickman left show business in 1946 and details about his life afterwards are vague. He died in Los Angeles, California in 1996.
Almost everything you’ll ever want to know about “Tarzan’s Secret Treasure” is located at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag6/0621.html
The drabble today, “Never Grow Up,” a fictional encounter, was inspired by the two child actors in “Tarzan’s Secret Treasure,” Johnny Sheffield and Cordell Hickman.”
Johnny said, “Cordell, think we’ll get adult roles when we grow up?”
NEVER GROW UP
“Why do you ask?”
Cordell shook his head. “They cast us because we’re young and cute. When we get older, someone younger and cuter will come along.”
“Grow up? I’ll play a jungle boy the rest of my life."
“How’s that gonna work when you’re older than Tarzan?”
“I’ll play Bomba or Mowgli. There’s lots of jungle boy characters.”
“Hope it works out for you. I’ll get a real job. Directors and audiences are fickle. Will they still love me, will they still need me when I’m sixty-four?”
UNDER THE MOONS
November 14: On this day in 2004, Astrobiology Magazine published the article, “Phobos Up Close.” In the article, the writer pointed out Edgar Rice Burroughs referred to the Martian moons as the hurtling moons of Barsoom. The article references the fact that Phobos (Thuria) has an orbital speed of less than eight hours and covers the sky in only five and ½ hours, but that Deimos (Cluros) does not hurtle, it takes almost 60 hours to cross the sky from east to west. The article didn't quite quote Burroughs correctly. Burroughs actually wrote that “Cluros” hurtles.
Not to be confused with the website, “Astrobiology,’ “Astrobiology Magazine, was published by NASA from 1999-2021. It is no longer online.
The artwork is by artist Douglas Kaluba. Visit his website at: https://www.douglasklauba.com/
The drabble for today, “Under the Moons,” is a bit of doggerel verse related to the moons of Barsoom, and inspired by “The Warlord of Mars.” Pentameter is just an illusion.
UNDER THE MOONS
John Carter fought men, white, green and red
Banths and great white apes who wanted him dead
To reach the side of a woman most glorious,
The beautiful incomparable woman, Dejah Thoris.
But thinking he’d died and left her alone
She gave up all hope and sought a heavenly home.
But the religion was false and heaven was hell
And she was imprisoned in a cold prison cell.
Carter defeated the priests and their temples he burned
The love of false Phaidor he callously spurned
While Thuria and Cluros quietly hurtled above
Dejah Thoris and he pledged their eternal love.
November 15: On this day in 1933, Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing “The Swords of Mars,” which he dedicated to his future wife, Florence Dearholt, by spelling out the dedication using the first letter in every chapter. “To Florence with all My Love Ed.”
The novel was serialized in Blue Book Magazine in six installments beginning in November 1934. I have a bound book created by excising the six installments from the original pulps and combining them into a book. I’d never do such a thing myself, but it’s an interesting item to have – perhaps the real first edition.
Publishing details of Swords of Mars are online at:
The drabble for today is “Assassin Quest.” It was inspired by “Swords of Mars,” and a philosopher and transportation expert from the 1950’s, Ralph Kramden.
John Carter said, “Dejah, I’ll be gone for a while. I’m going to disguise myself as a mercenary warrior, a panthan, and infiltrate the Assassins of Zodanga.”
Dejah Thoris complained, “That’s what you say now. I bet you’re going off to hunt and party with Tars Tarkas and your old war buddies. You should be ashamed.”
“No, it’s my duty to stop the assassins.”
“Duty. You have duties at home.”
“I hate it when you criticize me.”
“Then stay home! How far will you go to stop the Zondangans?”
Carter clenched his fist. “To the moon, Dejah! To the moon!”
I LOVE IT WHEN A PLAN COMES TOGETHER
November 16: On this day in 1925, Edgar Rice Burroughs finished writing “A Weird Adventure on Mars,” The novel was rejected by Argosy, Popular magazine and Elks Magazine before it found a home and was published about two years later in Amazing Annual under the title, “The Mastermind of Mars.” The iconic artwork was by Frank R. Paul and it shows the scientist Ras Thavas removing the brain from the beautiful Valla Dia while the earthman Ulysses Paxton assists. Ras Thavas is getting rich by removing brains from very old men and women who want to live forever and putting their old brains new young bodies. The young brain is installed in the old body.
Burroughs often visited the subject of immortality in his novels. Read my article “Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Quest For Immortality at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag67/6776.html
The surgery scene from the novel has been used for illustrations several times including covers by Roy Krenkel and Michael Whelan. J. Allen St. John and Frank Frazetta drew black and white illustrations of the scene. Here’s Whelan’s cover for Del Rey Books.
Almost everything you wanted to know about “The Mastermind of Mars,” is located at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag4/0427.html
The drabble for today is “I Love It When A Plan Comes Together,” and it was inspired by “The Mastermind of Mars.”
Ulysses Paxton woke Valla Dia, whose brain had been transferred into an ancient woman’s body. “I love you. I have a plan to restore your body.”
I LOVE IT WHEN A PLAN COMES TOGETHER
“Most plans are a way to justify stupid behavior.”
“We’ll escape from here, walk a thousand miles across the dead seas, fight wild beasts and roving warrior tribes, infiltrate the city, find the woman with your body, capture her, and I’ll put your brain back into your body and we’ll live happily ever after. What do you think?”
Valla Dia nodded. “Let’s do it, but remember I’m out of my mind. What’s your excuse?”
See Days 16-30 at ERBzine 7389a
NOVEMBER III ILLUSTRATIONS COLLAGE
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Copyright 2021: Robert Allen Lupton
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