Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute and Weekly Webzine Site
Since 1996 ~ Over 15,000 Webpages in Archive
ERB 100-Word Drabbles
NOVEMBER III Edition :: Days 16 - 30
See Days 1-15 at ERBzine 7389
by Robert Allen Lupton
With Collations, Web Page Layout and ERBzine Illustrations and References by Bill Hillman
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?”
AGE IS JUST A NUMBER
November 17: On this day in 1911, Edgar Rice Burroughs received a check for $400.00 from All-Story Magazine for “Under the Moons of Mars.” The check was dated November 15, 1911 and drawn on The Second National Bank of the City of New York. Alas, the check is not in my collection. $400.00 dollars in 1911 would be worth $11,645 today.
Great detail about the writing of the novel (A Princess of Mars), several illustrations, and the entire text of the book are located at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag4/0421.html
The drabble for today is “Age is Just a Number” and it’s appropriately the first 100 words from chapter one of “A Princess of Mars.” The chapter is titled “On the Arizona Hills.”
“I am a very old man; how old I do not know. Possibly I am a hundred, possibly more; but I cannot tell because I have never aged as other men, nor do I remember any childhood. So far as I can recollect I have always been a man, a man of about thirty. I appear today as I did forty years and more ago, and yet I feel that I cannot go on living forever; that some day I shall die the real death from which there is no resurrection. I do not know why I should fear death,”
AGE IS JUST A NUMBER
November 18: On this day in 1932, Edgar Rice Burroughs submitted “Lost on Venus,” his second novel about the adventures of "Carson Napier on Venus,” to Argosy Weekly. The magazine requested some revisions to the story and after those were made, Argosy purchased the story and serialized it over seven issues beginning on March 4, 1933. Only the first installment offeatured the novel on the cover.
I always thoughT “Lost on Venus,” was an appropriate title, especially since the hero only arrived on Venus by mistake and continued to bumble through his adventures. The book version was published by ERB, Inc. and reprinted by Grosset and Dunlap and Canaveral Press. Paperback versions were by Ace and Ballantine/Del Rey.
Details about the novel and several illustrations are available at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0749.html
The illustration for today is from the Ace edition of the book. To this day, the Frazetta cover is my favorite.
Today’s drabble, “Do Something,” was inspired by the novel, the illustration, and by Carson’s tendency to bumble his way through life.
Carson Napier and Duare climbed a tree to escape the tharban, which Carson insisted on calling a peppermint tiger. He said, “Well, Duare, it appears that we’re up a tree without a paddle.”
“What does that even mean?”
“It means we’re in dire straits.”
“Straits? We’re in in a tree. We need a plan?
“I rarely make plans. It’s better to be lucky than good.”
“Throw something at it.”
“No, he’s mad enough. No reason to add gruel to the mire.”
“That makes no sense.”
“I’d prefer to leave things well enough alone.”
“Idiot. Problems left alone don’t fix themselves!”
He appeared in less than 20 silent films including “The Inner Man,” in 1922, “The Poison Pen” in 1919 and “Me and Captain Kidd” in 1919 – not to be confused with the short Harold Lloyd film “Captain Kidd’s Kids” released that same year. Wikidata.org lists Mackay as a stage actor, but provides no listings of his stage work.
November 19: On this day in 1935, actor and writer Charles Donald Mackay died in Englewood, New Jersey. Mackay played Reginald Paynter in the lost film “The Oakdale Affair,” a silent film based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’s novel of the same name. In the novel, The Oakdale Affair, Paynter is murdered and thrown from a car in chapter two after being seen with two men and a girl. We can only assume that Mackay’s character suffered the same fate in the film, but since no copy of the film exists …
The drabble for today, "Wrangler,” was inspired by Charles Mackay’s brief career and briefer appearance in “The Oakdale Affair.” A wrangler on set is a person responsible for things that can’t take care of themselves, such as children, animals, and vehicles.
The director said, “Mackay, in this scene you’ll be thrown out of a moving car. I want you to roll and stop face upward. I want a close up of your dead face.”
“Sir, this is barely into the film. Is this my last scene?”
“Yes, you’re dead. Grab some lunch and pick up your check.”
“I need work. What else can I do?”
“Feed the bear. Everyone’s afraid of him. You’re now the bear wrangler. Can you do that?”
“Certainly, but I’ve one question. What’s wrangle mean and what if the bear hates wrangling?”
“Just grin and bear it.”
WE GOT THIS
November 20: On this day in 1931, Edgar Rice Burroughs Incorporated published its first book, “Tarzan the Invincible.” The book was bound in blue cloth, Joanna Arrestox from the Joanna Western Mills in Kingsport, Tennessee, and had orange lettering. The dust jacket and frontispiece were illustrated by Ed’s nephew, Studley Burroughs. The book was printed and bound by Kingsport Mills. Kingsport Mills was a complete operation, it made its own paper, ink, and glue and it had a cloth finishing plant, a bindery, made its own printing plates and handled its own shipping. It even owned the nearby coal mines and had a controlling interest in the railroad. They did everything from top to bottom and in the 1930s had a daily printing capacity of over 100,000 books. Full coverage of Tarzan the Invincible is found in ERBzine at http://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0722.html
Today’s drabble, “We Got This,” was inspired by the publication of “Tarzan the Invincible.”
Burroughs called the manager at Kingston Press. “I called about the schedule for my “Tarzan the Invincible.”
WE GOT THIS
“Nothing’s changed. It prints Thursday and we’ll bind it Friday."
"Shipping will box them and put them on the train that evening.”
“Have you the dust jackets?”
“Finished. We printed those ourselves."
“The printing plates arrived?”
“No, we make those too. We make our own ink and shipping boxes and control the railroad. We got this.”
‘Is there anything you don’t do?”
“We don’t write the next book, even though I have some suggestions.”
“Thanks, but no. You print ‘em, I’ll write ‘em.”
HERMAN NEWMAN, ESQUIRE
November 21: On this day in 1916, Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote to Bob Davis at All-Story Magazine and told him about a ‘very enthusiastic boy’ in Staunton, Virginia who was forming a “Tribe of Tarzan." Davis made light of the boy’s plans, responding, “More strength to Herman Newman, Emperor of the Tribe of Tarzan.”
Burroughs was unhappy with Davis’s response. He hoped the “Tribe of Tarzan" could become something like the fledgling Boy Scouts of America. He convinced Davis to support the organization and appointed Herman Newman the Acting Chief of the First Tribe of Tarzan. (This organization should not be confused with the “Signal Oil Tarzan Club’ launched in the1030s and with over 100,000 members at its peak.)
While the Tribe did not, as Burroughs’s had hoped, become as popular as the Boy Scouts, but it existed well into the 1930s as the popularity of Tarzan continued thanks to motion pictures and Burroughs' own marketing efforts.
The 100 word drabble for today is “Herman Newman, Esquire,” and was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs in support of the "Tarzan Tribes." The drabble is taken from two issues of All-Story Magazine published in1916/1917.
“The boys of Staunton, Virginia, have organized the first Tribe of Tarzan. They would like to hear from other boys who are interested in forming tribes. The Staunton boys have a Tribe Room where they meet; they have grass ropes, bows and arrows, hunting knives, and the author of Tarzan of the Apes is having medallions struck for them symbolic of Tarzan's diamond studded golden locket. Boys who are interested are invited to write to Herman Newman, Acting Chief of The First Tribe of Tarzan.
HERMAN NEWMAN, ESQUIRE
I rather imagine that Herman Newman, Esq. will be swamped by mail. I hope so.”
November 22: On this day in 1929, the Los Angeles Times published the editorial “Tarzan As An Example" in the column “Lee Side O’ LA, written by columnist Lee Shippey.
Shippey wrote a mixture of gossip, advice, and perspective – always focusing on positive aspects of situations and people. Henry Lee Shippey wrote the column for 22 years. He is famous for his involvement and subsequent marriage to a French woman during WW1, Madeleine Babin. His fight for a divorce and his subsequent marriage to Madeleine in time to prevent her and their son from deportation became a ‘cause celebre’ in American.
For more examples of his columns, which contained the occasional bon mot about Edgar Rice Burroughs, visit: https://www.erbzine.com/mag13/1365.html
The drabble for today is “Table Manners,” and it is a composite created from two of Lee Shippey’s columns in the Los Angeles Times, October 27, 1929 and November 22, 1929. Shippey asked ERB how he came to write the Tarzan novels.
"I ought to have a good answer, but haven't. I suppose it was because my life was full of business, and I wanted to get away from that. "
Burroughs is convinced his Tarzan stories are good for children because his children grew up on them and he thinks they’re the best children. "We tried to keep the books from them," he said, "but couldn't. They almost know them by heart. And the only bad effect we've ever noticed is that for awhile one of the boys wanted to eat with his hands, because Tarzan did that when a boy."
HOLD MY BEER
November 23: On this day in 1876, Percy Dempsey Tabler, who played Tarzan in the film, “The Son of Tarzan,” was born in somewhere in Tennessee. Tabler, who was also an opera singer, athlete, and business man only played Tarzan in this single film. He was forty-four years old. Johnny Weissmuller played Tarzan at age 44 in “Tarzan and the Mermaids.” Jock Mahoney played the ape man at age 44 in “Tarzan’s Three Challenges.” Mahoney also appeared on the Ron Ely Tarzan television show, the final time in the “The Mask of Rona’ in 1967 when he was 48 years old. He didn’t play Tarzan in that episode.
Tabler’s Tarzan in “Son of Tarzan” had limited appearances in the film. This was fortunate because his costume was ridiculous and his physical appearance was even worse. His well-honed physical condition is on display in the photo included with this article.
Tabler was determined to do his own stunts and suffered broken ribs and other injuries during filming. Samuel Searle, who planed Korak, was injured so badly during filming that rumors of his death on set persist to this day.
Tabler was one of the founders of Paramount studios, but his career in pictures was brief, from 1915 to 1923 and included eleven films.
The drabble for today is “Hold My Beer,” and it was inspired by the insistence of the two actors to perform their own stunts in spite of their lack of training to do so.
“Tabler,” said Searle. “I double-dog dare you to swing from the tree and land on boulder.”
HOLD MY BEER
Tabler crashed into the boulder and broke two ribs. Searle performed the stunt perfectly.
They each fought a lion, hung from a cliff, and dove into a shallow stream. In spite of broken bones, dislocated fingers, bruises, and cuts the two continued to challenge each other.
Searle said, “Watch this,” and allowed himself to be tied and carried by an elephant which slammed him repeatedly to the ground.
Searle smiled from the ambulance. “Top that, old man.”
“You win. Stupid is as stupid does.”
November 24: On this day in 1954, boxer and actor Lee Canalito was born in Houston, Texas. Lee appeared in the films “Paradise Alley,” The Glass Jungle,” and “Emperor of the Bronx.” He was cast by John and Bo Derek to play Tarzan in their film, “Tarzan the Ape Man” and traveled to Sri Lanka and began filming. He left the production shortly thereafter for reasons that have never been completely clear and was replaced with Miles O’Keefe.
Filming and production problems were relentless. The crew slept in tents and there was no running water. The Derek’s fired people every day. Reports were that he injured his knee. Bo Derek said that she and her husband fired Canalito because he was too heavy and looked bad when he ran.
There were rumors that he and Bo were a bit too friendly, but no one really knows why Lee Canalito, a Tarzan who could have been left the production. Whatever the reason, Lee was paid in full.
For more details about Lee, read my article “I Coulda Been A Tarzan” at https://www.erbzine.com/mag71/7147.html
The drabble for today is called “TKO” and it was inspired by Lee Canalito’s brief experience portraying Tarzan.
“Lee, you’re back early. I thought you’d still be filming in Sri Lanka.”
“No, it was a nightmare. Bad food, tents instead of hotels, no running water, and nothing got done on time. We spent hours listening to the Dereks fighting.”
“Sounds terrible. Did you quit?”
“That’s a matter of opinion. I’m not entirely sure myself.”
“Are you upset?”
A little, but I got paid in full. It’s like a boxing match. If I win by a technical knockout in the second round, I make the same money I’d make if the fight went ten rounds. I’m okay with that.”
November 25: On this day in 1933, Liberty Magazine published the third of eight installments of “Tarzan and the Lion Man.” Liberty didn’t feature the novel on any of the eight covers. The November 25 issue illustrated “The Crisis” by Col. E. M. House. The illustration was by Charles Leslie Thrasher.
Burroughs’s wry sense of humor is apparent in this novel when he combines his experiences with Hollywood and Tarzan’s Africa. A movie production is filming in Africa – and the movie’s Lion Man, Stanley Obroski, is an exact double of Tarzan. At the end of the novel Tarzan does a screen test to play himself, but isn’t hired because he isn’t the type.
Details about the book and it's editions are located at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0726.html
The drabble for today is “Mirror, Mirror.” It was inspired by the events and confusion in “Tarzan and the Lion Man."
Tarzan found actor, Stanley Obroski, hiding in the jungle. Stanley was in his lion man costume and he could have been Tarzan’s twin. Stanley said, “Help me. I’m starving.”
Tarzan said, “Starving. There’s honey in this tree. Those berries are edible and so the eggs in that nest. Can’t you feed yourself?”
“I can order wine and food in a four-star restaurant, but I don’t know nuthin’ about finding food in no forest.”
“But you look like me, like the king of the jungle.”
“Yea, well I played Casey Jones once, but that don’t mean I can drive no train!”
November 26: On this day in 1963, ‘The New York Times published a report about finding unpublished manuscripts in Edgar Rice Burroughs’s safe. Unlike the debacle about Al Capone's empty safe, the article was mostly true and there were unpublished manuscripts in the safe, including “Marcia of the Doorstep.”
Other ‘new finds’ were published by Canaveral Press, including parts of the books “Savage Pellucidar,” “Tarzan and the Madman," and “Tales of Three Planets.” Another unpublished manuscript, “You Lucky Girl!” has since been published.
Three others, “More Fun, More People Killed,” “Murder at the Carnival,” and “Two Gun Doak Flies South” remain unpublished. We can only hope.
The drabble for today is “Midway Murder,” and it was inspired by the unpublished manuscript “Murder at the Carnival,” found in the safe at ERB Incorporated. I haven’t read the manuscript and have no idea what it contains. My 100 word drabble is not based on the storyline, at least I don’t think so, I haven’t read it. Hope it’s more amusing than the clown, Bumbo.
Bumbo the clown was annoying. He put sneezing powder on the strongman’s equipment, itching powder in the trapeze artists’ tights, and switched the dancing girls’ costumes about so they had to scramble to find the right clothes at show time.
He tooted his horn during the lion tamer’s show and almost got the man killed.
After a week of these shenanigan’s he was found dead. He been stabbed, poisoned, shot, hung, and trampled by an elephant. A load of manure covered his body.
The detective asked, “Who would want to kill a clown?”
The ringmaster snarled, “Everyone who met him.”
THE ETERNAL LOVER
November 27: On this day in 1913, Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing “Nu of the Neocene,” a 25,000 word story that was published as “The Eternal Lover” in All-Story Weekly on March 7, 1914 and eventually became the first half of the novel “The Eternal Lover.” The book has also been published in several editions under the title, “The Eternal Savage.”
A recurrent undertheme that appeared in several Edgar Rice Burroughs stories is immortality. Burroughs explores immortality by reincarnation in this novel. He uses long lives in the Barsoom books and potions in the Tarzan and Venus books. For my detailed article on the subject, visit: https://www.erbzine.com/mag67/6776.html
Details about “The Eternal Lover and its publishing history are located at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0759.html
This book could be considered a ‘Tarzan’ novel. The heroine Victoria Custer, is a guest of Tarzan and Jane in Africa during parts of the story. Victoria is also the sister of Barney Custer (The Mad King). An early hint of an Edgar Rice Burroughs Universe?
The illustration from 1916 is by Dorothy Dunn and it advertised the upcoming serialization of “The Eternal Lover” by the Chicago Herald.
The drabble for today was inspired by the many titles of “The Eternal Lover,” and it features my old friends, Pat and John, from New Orleans. Let the good times roll.
John said, “I bought a copy of a new Burroughs book, “The Eternal Savage,” yesterday. It seems familiar.”
THE ETERNAL LOVER
Pat laughed. “It should. It’s “The Eternal Lover” with a new title. Fan boys like jungles and fighting. More will buy a book about savages than one about lovers.”
“That can’t be right.”
“Burroughs originally called the story “Nu of the Neocene” but the editors changed it to “Eternal Lover” in 1914. They knew their audience.”
“So they just retitle the book and publish it again and again?”
“Works like reincarnation. The book’s soul stays the same, but the outside looks different.”
WHAT HAPPENED HERE
November 28: Cathy Mann Wilbanks was born on this day. She is Vice President of Operations of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. Cathy joined ERB, Inc. in 1984. She is currently responsible for all internal operations and assists in marketing. Happy birthday and happy publishing.
Meanwhile, on this day four years ago in 2017, “The Once and Future Tarzan” graphic novel was published in paperback. Written primarily by Alan Gordon and illustrated by Thomas Yeates and Bo Hampton, the story originally appeared in issues 8, 9, and 10 of the anthology comic, “Dark Horse Presents.” Tarzan is in the future, where he and Jane partner with a tribe of Amazon-like women. The future in the story combines elements of “The Time Machine,” “Planet of the Apes,” with a touch of Richard Matheson. It’s filled with what I call “Easter Eggs,” references to several other works of science fiction and fantasy. I counted over twenty, but I’m sure I missed some of them.
The book is available for purchase from Dark Horse and the usual list of online retailers. Don’t miss it.
The drabble for today is “What Happened Here,” and it was inspired by the dystopian future presented in “The Once and Future Tarzan.” We only have one planet. We should take care of it. Credit goes to Joni Mitchell for her song “Big Yellow Taxi.”
Jane said, “Tarzan, this looks more like the old jungle than the future. Where are the buildings, the cities, and the highways? Why aren’t there billions of people?”
WHAT HAPPENED HERE
Tarzan recognized the vine covered remains of ancient structures. “Nature got tired of being abused and took the planet back.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”
“So where’s the parking lot?”
“Apparently paradise grew tired of trash and concrete. It fought back. Mankind shouldn’t have screwed around with Mother Nature.”
KEEP YOUR FAMILY CLOSE
November 29: On this day in 1945, Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote a letter to Marjorie Westendarp, aka Mrs. Charles Westendarp. Marjorie, who lived in Levanon, New Jersey, had given ERB information about walnuts, but ERB was unsure whether or not to boil the walnuts. He commiserated with her about the weather in New Jersey and noted that after six years in Honolulu he thought California was pretty cold. He joked about how close that Joan lived to him and Hubert. Close enough to visit, but far enough to fight all the time. The letter shows a side of ERB dealing with everyday life.
For more this letter and more examples of ERB correspondence from 1945: https://www.erbzine.com/mag10/1027.html
The drabble for today is “Keep Your Family Close,” and it was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs and taken from the letter referenced herein.
“After nearly six years in Honolulu, I find it pretty cold here at times, but I don't mind it.
KEEP YOUR FAMILY CLOSE
Hulbert and Marion are getting into their house Saturday and I’m almost settled in mine, but can't really get to housekeeping until the contractor finishes building servants' quarters for me. We each have a nice little place here in the Valley. Mine is only perhaps a mile-and-a-half from the office, and Hulbert's is quite close to Joan. As Jack lives at Tarzana, we are all quite close to one another but far enough away so that we can't fight too much.”
Click for full letter
November 30: On this day in 1962, Canaveral Press reprinted “The Gods of Mars,” the second book featuring John Carter and Dejah Thoris. The Canaveral edition boasted a dust jacket by Larry Ivie, who had painted covers for early issues of “Castle of Frankenstein.” His art was also featured in “Galaxy Science Fiction.”
“The Gods of Mars” chronicles John Carter’s return to Mars, the rescue of Dejah Thoris, and his battle against a false religion. Dejah Thoris, thinking him dead, had taken the final voyage of life to become one with the ancient gods.
For publishing details and several illustrations, visit https://www.erbzine.com/mag4/0423.html
The 100 word drabble for today is “Bad Priestess,” and it was inspired by John Carter’s battle against the “Gods of Mars.”
Dejah Thoris hugged John Carter. “I believed you dead and I took the final voyage down to the Valley Dor to end my life in the arms of the goddess, Issus.”
“Our love spans the emptiness between the planets. I traveled across space to be with you. Never give up. Suicide isn’t the answer.”
“I’d rather die than live without you. How did you know that our religion was false?”
“Think about it. Religions require the support and participation of living people. Only a false god would want his followers to die. Dead people don’t make offerings or play bingo!”
See Days 1-15 at ERBzine 7389
NOVEMBER IIIa ILLUSTRATIONS COLLAGE
Click for full-size promo collage
Copyright 2021: Robert Allen Lupton
Visit our thousands of other sites at:
BILL AND SUE-ON HILLMAN ECLECTIC STUDIO
ERB Text, ERB Images and Tarzan® are ©Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.- All Rights Reserved.
All Original Work ©1996-2021 by Bill Hillman and/or Contributing Authors/Owners
No part of this web site may be reproduced without permission from the respective owners.