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ERB 100-Word Drabbles
DECEMBER III Edition :: Days 1 - 15
See Days 16 - 31 at ERBzine 7390a
by Robert Allen Lupton
With Collations, Web Page Layout and ERBzine Illustrations and References by Bill Hillman
GREED FOR GOLD
December 1: On this day in 1941, the film “Tarzan’s Secret Treasure” was released. The fifth film to star Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan also featured Johnny Sheffield as Boy, veteran actor Barry Fitzgerald as O’Doul, and Reginald Owen as Professor Elliot. A pretty good cast, I’d say.
Details about the film and cast are available at
The drabble for today is “Greed for Gold,” and it is taken from a New York Times review of the film published that December.
God Rest ye, merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay and especially the current offering at the Capitol, which is just another Tarzan film and not an anthropologist's nightmare, as a serious person might suspect. Metro calls it "Tarzan's Secret Treasure," and that's as good a title as any, for it tells in comic-strip hyperbole of a shockingly outrageous attempt by a couple of greedy scientists to ravish the ape-man's paradise of its gold. It concludes in the customary fashion with Tarzan conscripting his faithful friends, the beasts, to put the outsiders in their places and to save his African solitude.
GREED FOR GOLD
YOUR TABLE'S WAITING
December 2: On this day 96 years ago in 1925, actress Julie Harris was born in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. She was a five time Tony award winner and also won a Grammy award and three Emmy Awards. She appeared in dozens of stage productions, some thirty films, and several television specials and episodes.
She played Charity Jones, a missionary in four episodes of the Ron Ely Tarzan television series, including the episodes, “The Perils of Charity Jones Parts One and Two.
She won a Tony award for Best Actress in a Play for her portrayal of Sally Bowles in the 1951 production of ‘I Am A Camera,” based on the 1939 novel “Goodbye to Berlin” written by Christopher Isherwood. The book and play were later adapted for the musical, “Cabaret,” Liza Minnelli won an Oscar for playing Sally Bowles in the film version.
Today’s drabble, "Your Table’s Waiting,” was inspired by Cabaret, the film and Charity Jones, who was Sally Bowles in a previous life.
Tarzan said, “Charity, you’re always busy.”
YOUR TABLE'S WAITING
“There’s never enough time or enough hands to do what needs doing. What good is swinging alone on a vine when people need shelter, food and clothing?”
‘You make it sound like I don’t help. I bring meat to the mission and I caught goats for milk.”
“Sorry, I appreciate your help. It’s just been a long day.”
“You should take some time off and go to Nairobi for a night of dinner, dancing and drinks. Go, hear the music play!”
“I think not. Life’s not a cabaret, old chum. Life’s not a cabaret.”
December 3: On this day in 1949, actress, Maria Alekseyevna Ouspenskaya died at age 73 in Los Angeles, California. Maria was born in Tula, in what was then the Russian Empire, and became a successful stage actress. She relocated to American in 1922, and founded the School of Dramatic Art in New York City in 1929. Actress Anne Baxter and Marge Champion, the model for Snow White, were among her students.
She played the unnamed Amazon Queen in 1945’s “Tarzan and the Amazons,” which starred Johnny Weissmuller and Brenda Joyce. Prior to that role she received two Oscar nominations for best supporting actress, one for her role in “Dodsworth” and one for “Love Affair,” She’s best remembered for playing the old gypsy fortuneteller in the Wolfman films.”
Two photos are attached, one from her role in ‘Tarzan and the Amazons” and one reputed to be a much earlier photograph of the actress. I haven’t been able to independently verify the second photo,
Details about “Tarzan and the Amazons” are available at https://www.erbzine.com/mag6/0625.html
The drabble for today is “Good Fortune.” It was inspired by “Tarzan and the Amazons’ and Maria Alekseyevna Ouspenskaya’s portrayal of gypsy fortune tellers.
Johnny Weissmuller, playing Tarzan, spoke to the Amazon Queen, Maria Ouspenskaya. “I’ll recover your stolen treasure if you’ll release my son, Boy.”
“The way you walk will be thorny, through no fault of your own, but as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea, so tears run to a predestined end. You will be successful and your son freed.”
“Johnny broke character. “Maria, that’s not your line. Are you a fortune teller?”
“Indeed, I see you in the future garbed in different clothing, Jim.”
“My name’s not Jim!”
“But it will be, young man, It will be!”
December 4: On this day in 1976, “Tarzan and the Ice Creature,” episode thirteen of the animated television series, “Tarzan Lord of the Jungle” was broadcast. The series featured Robert Ridgely as the voice of Tarzan. Producer Lou Scheimer was N’Kima. Ted Cassiday (Lurch) and Linda Gary also provided their voices for the episode.
In the episode, a volcanic eruption melts a glacier and releases a King Kong sized Abominable Snowman named Glakor, who has been frozen in the ice for eons. The creature is immediately pursued by the poacher Norcross and his assistant. Tarzan intervenes to save the jungle animals from the eruption and Grakor from the hunters.
There are several sites where the entire video may be viewed at no cost to the viewer. Some are easier to use than others and I have no specific recomendation.
For a list of episodes for the animated series, “Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle,” I recommend https://www.erbzine.com/mag27/2799.html
The drabble for today is “Central Heat,” and it was inspired by the animated “Tarzan Lord of the Jungle episode, “Tarzan and the Ice Creature.” Apologies to “The Cremation of Sam McGee,” by Robert L. Service.
Tarzan watched Grakor, the giant abominable snowman, staggered from the melting glacier into the warm jungle. Tarzan said, ‘Your fur’s white and your face is blue.”
Grakor said, “I’m cold. You sleep in a glacier for years and see what colors you look.”
Grakor hurried to the lava flowing from the recent volcanic eruption and sat down in the molten flow.
Tarzan called to the creature from a nearby tree. “That’s dangerous. You should get away from there before you burn up.”
Grakor laughed. “I’ll sit here as long as I want. This is the first time I’ve been warm.”
December 5: On this day in 1931, Rob Wagner’s Script Magazine published a letter of appreciation from Edgar Rice Burroughs under the heading, “Tarzan’s Papa Likes Us.” Script published seven of Burroughs’s short murder mysteries featuring Inspector Muldoon.
Wagner published the magazine weekly for twenty years, from 1929 through 1949. Not only did it include the mysteries by ERB, but articles and stories from Walt Disney, William Saroyan, Ogden Nash, Charlie Chaplin, and Ray Bradbury.
All of the murder mysteries may be read online at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag64/6409.html
The drabble for today, “Post Script,” is ERB’s letter to Rob Wagner. I should note that the “Tehachapi,” is a mountain range in California and also a town, but from the usage, I believe ERB refers to the mountains. Harry Carr was a newspaper man and editorialist for the Los Angeles Times. His article about surviving the San Francisco earthquake was especially touching, He wrote “I was one of the hungry who robbed grocery stores for their food, one of the parched thousands who eagerly drank water out of the gutter leakage of the fire engines.” Mrs. Jack Vallely, aka Lorita Baker Vallely reviewed “The Grapes of Wrath” and several other books considered classics today. The photo is of columnist Harry Carr.
“I should like to tell you how much I enjoy THE SCRIPT, particularly your editorials; then there is Mrs. Jack Vallely's "Book Stuff." Anyone who can make book reviews entertaining is an artist. One of the finest pieces of writing I’ve read in a long time is "Memories Aroused On Armistice Day" in your November 7 issue, while the Nobel prize in satire should be awarded your reply to the gentleman who loves his mistress only below the Tehachapi. If you and Harry Carr should stop writing, the world would be, for me, a far less interesting place to live.”
December 6: On this day in 1928, Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing “Tarzan and Pellucidar,” The novel was published as “Tarzan at the Earth’s Core,” first in seven monthly installments of Blue Book Magazine beginning in September 1929. Every installment featured Tarzan on the cover of the magazine. The covers were drawn by Frank Hoban. Metropolitan Books published the first edition on November 28, 1930.
Publishing details, lots of illustrations, and more information about the book are at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0721.html
The illustrations with this post are two of the Blue Book covers, the first and the second. The second one is my favorite of the seven.
The drabble “Happy Hunting,” for today was inspired by “Tarzan at the Earth’s Core.”
Tarzan was separated from his expedition party and made his way across the wilds of Pellucidar to reunite with the other surface dwellers. Jason Gridley said, “Glad you’re safe. Your journey must have been difficult.”
“I fought giant flesh-eating birds, dinosaurs, huge wolves, savage tribes, and lions, and tigers and bears. I encountered apes that speak my language. I escaped from spear-wielding reptilian humanoids. I sought civilization, but only found scattered primitive tribes. Where are the cities?”
Gridley smiled. “This is Pellucidar, the Earth’s core. Civilization hasn’t arrived here. There are no cities!”
Tarzan nodded. “I see. Pellucidar is heaven!”
IT'S MY JUNGLE AND I'LL FIGHT IF I WANT TO
December 7: On this day in 1920, actress Frances Gifford was born in Long Beach, California. At age 16 she applied to the UCLA Law School. She’d never considered a career as an actress, but during a visit to Goldwyn Studio, she was signed to a contract.
In 1941, she was cast as the lead in the 15 chapter Republic Pictures serial, “Jungle Girl,” allegedly based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel of the same name.
In 1943, she played Zandra in “Tarzan Triumphs,” and was given second billing after Johnny Weissmuller and ahead of Johnny Sheffield. There was no Jane in the film.
Gifford was almost killed in a car wreck on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1947. Her career came to a halt. She was in and out of mental institutions until sometime in early 1970s. She died of emphysema in 1973.
Details about Frances Gifford and the Jungle Girl film serial: https://www.erbzine.com/mag5/0549.html
Learn more about “Tarzan Triumphs” at https://www.erbzine.com/mag6/0623.html
The drabble for today is “It’s My Jungle and I’ll Fight If I Want To,” inspired by having two jungle film heroes appear in the same film.
Frances Gifford said, “I don’t need Johnny to rescue me. I can take care of myself.”
IT'S MY JUNGLE AND I'LL FIGHT IF I WANT TO
Johnny said, “I always save everyone in my films.”
Frances smirked. “So do I. You know the old saying, ‘Anything you can do, I can do better.’”
Director William Thiele asked, “Can you swing on a vine?”
“I swing just fine.”
“Can you fight an angry lion?”
“I’ll beat him every time.”
“Can you ride an elephant’s back?”
“To Timbuktu and back.”
“Can you swim across the river and kill some crocodiles?”
Frances shrugged. “I can swim with style, but I don’t do crocodiles.”
OUR PARADISE, THEIR FUNERAL
December 8: On this day in 1969, the “Korak and the Elephant Girls” story arc began in the Tarzan Sunday Comic Strip. Written and drawn by Russ Manning, the story concluded after 23 weeks on May 11, 1969. The beautiful half page strip is a prime example of Manning’s finest work.
The first five installments have Tarzan with an ape tribe and end with a Dum-Dum dance. Meanwhile Korak encounters a mysterious redheaded woman in elephant country. He’s captured by ivory hunters, but Tarzan and two redheaded women come to his aid. The redheaded women are sisters and could be described as elephant whisperers – although they don’t whisper to the elephants, they scream at them. Interestingly, the elephants in the story are referred to as “Tembo” rather than “Tantor.”
Learn how the story turns out, read the entire story arc at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag17/1762.html
The drabble for today is “Our Paradise, Their Funeral” and it was inspired by the story arc, “Korak and the Elephant Girls.”
Tarzan said, “It’s not safe for you ladies in the jungle.”
OUR PARADISE, THEIR FUNERAL
The redheaded woman replied, “My sister, Tassi, and I are one with the elephants. We protect them and they protect us.”
“Ivory poachers have found this area. Neither you or your elephants are safe.”
Tassi replied, “We shall lead the herds to a safe and hidden location. It’s this way.”
Korak said, “The elephant graveyard lies where you journey. Would you lead the elephants to their death?”
‘Not at all. The elephants will be perfectly safe, but it will be a graveyard for any evil men who follow us!”
THE ICEP-TRUCK COMETH
December 9: On this day in 1916, W. A. Somerville, the head advertising executive at the Republic Motor company wrote Edgar Rice Burroughs and requested him to write a small booklet about his cross country trip. ERB had purchased a ¾ ton Republic Truck in South Bend Indiana to carry the family’s luggage. Weather, illness, and mechanical problems caused the trip from Indiana to Los Angeles to last 99 days. 2090 miles in 99 days, or about 22 miles a day. “An Auto-Biography” is written in first person, from the perspective of the Republic Truck.
Burroughs agreed and the pamphlet was published in 1917. It was reprinted by the Burroughs Bibliophiles in 1996. The original was bound in brown suede and held together with a piece of string. The reprint is bound in cardboard and is stapled.
Details are available at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag0/0030.html
The 100 drabble for today is an excerpt from that pamphlet. “The Ice-Truck Cometh,” was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It takes place when the protagonist, the Republic Truck, came out of the factory and arrived in a showroom. The truck wasn’t purchased by an ice-man, but rather by an author.
THE ICE-TRUCK COMETH“We were hustled out into the world to do our share in maintaining the commercial supremacy of a nation. I dreamed great dreams in those days. Nothing less than Chicago entered my mind, for I had some twelve hundred brothers there. I wanted to show them what a new Model F could do. Doubtless I’d be purchased by some great packing company and thereafter be the envy of all my less fortunate fellows. It was in the midst of one of these day dreams that I was told I’d been sold to an ice-man in South Bend. I wept bitterly.”
December 10: On this day in 1992, Olympic swimmer Josephine Eveline McKim died in Woodstock, New York. Kim won a total of three medals in the 1928 and 1932 Olympics. She set five world swimming records during her career.
Kim’s acting career was brief, but she was the body double for Maureen O’Sullivan in the infamous nude swimming scene in “Tarzan and His Mate.” The scene was deleted from the theatrical release in 1934, but has been restored in most home video versions. She also appeared in “The Bride of Frankenstein,” “Dr. Pretorius,” “The King Steps Out,” and “Lady Be Careful.” She appeared on stage in the plays, “Dance Night” in 1938, “Family Portrait,” in 1939 and “The First Crocus” in 1942.
Details about the film, “Tarzan and His Mate,” are located at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag6/0615.html
I’m not posting a picture of the nude scene, it’s readily available online. The picture here is of Josephine, the Olympian.
The drabble today “Swimming Hole,” was inspired by her swimming career and her appearance in “Tarzan and His Mate.”
Director Cedric Gibbons said, “Josephine, I want this scene to be realistic. I believe Tarzan and Jane would swim naked together. Are you comfortable with that?”
“I don’t see why not.”
“It’s not just swimming. You and Johnny will swim together, actually touching each other, but you won’t be wearing any clothes. I envision this as sort of an underwater ballet.”
“I can do that. I was at the 1928 Olympics with Johnny. He’s my hero. Of course, I’ll do the scene. After all, how many girls from Oil City, Pennsylvania can say that they’ve been skinny-dipping with Johnny Weissmuller?”
December 11: On this day in 1918, Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing, “The Debt.” The day before he’d finished “When Blood Told,” “The Debt” became the fifth installment of “Tarzan the Untamed,” and it was published by “Red Book Magazine” in July 1919. The Haskell Coffin cover drawing of a young woman was typical of Red Book in those days and it has nothing to do with Edgar Rice Burroughs.
The issue contains 14 other stories or parts of stories, none by anyone that recognize. For example, “The One Road Out,” by Katharine Holland Brown, “The Little God in the Square,” by Walter Prichard Eaton, and “The Rider of the King Long” by Holman Day. It seems that I should know about Holman Day, he wrote hundreds of stories for the pulps.
In “The Debt,” Bertha, a suspected German spy is captured and take to a forgotten city where the people worship a three hundred year old parrot as their god. She meets and old woman who tells her that the residents, who talk to the parrots are insane and that years earlier she was the queen of the city. Tarzan makes his way into the lost city at the end of the installment.
Details about “Tarzan the Untamed” are available at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag4/0493.html
A beautiful new edition of the book with an outstanding cover by Joe Jusko and previously unpublished archive material is available from www.erbinc.com
The 100 word drabble for today, “Parrotheical” is based on Bertha’s encounter with the Queen Xanila of the parrot people. It’s a tribute to or a parrody of a Monty Python skit.
Bertha asked, “Why are there decorations everywhere? The people I meet are wearing feathers.”
The queen pointed, “This parrot is god. He’s 300 years old.”
Bertha poked the parrot. “This parrot is dead.”
“He’s smart. Came from the brain forest.”
“Smart be damned. The bird’s deceased.”
“He's only sleeping.” The queen poked the roost and the parrot turned upside down. “See, he moved.”
“No, you dislodged him. His feet are tied to the bar!”
“It’s alive. It’s alive.”
“Never mind. Unless the first thing he said was, ‘Help, they’ve turned me into a parrot,’ I’d never have listened to him!”
YES, JOHN, THERE IS A TARZAN
December 12: On this day in 1930, the United states Post Office officially established a post office in Tarzana, California. The day before, December 11, 1930, the southern California community officially adopted the name, Tarzana.
The area residents had been trying to get a local post office established since 1927. The original Tarzana Post Office was a fourth class post office and opened on Ventura Boulevard when the population was about 300 people. E Louise Holmquist was the first postmistress. Tarzana’s first Post Office was in an 8ft. by 8ft. rear room of Holmquist’s grocery, Tarzana’s Red and White Market. The photo is of the Tarzana Post Office later in the 1930s, located near the intersection of Reseda and Ventura.
The photo is from the San Fernando Water and Power webpage and in spite of any resemblance that the man in the photo may have to ERB, I have no evidence that it is him.
The drabble for today is “Yes, John, There Is A Tarzan,” and it was inspired by the Tarzana Post Office. It features my old friends, John and Pat, from New Orleans.
John said, “Some people don’t believe Tarzan is real. I’m gonna write him a letter.”
YES, JOHN, THERE IS A TARZAN
Pat smiled, “You can’t write to Edgar Rice Burroughs? He died when you were four years old.”
“No, I’m going to write Tarzan.”
“Where you gonna send the letter.”
“General Delivery, Tarzana California. Santa Claus is at the North Pole Post Office General Delivery, so Tarzana should work.”
“What’s the point?”
“It’ll be like in “Miracle on 34th Street, when the post office delivers the letter to Johnny Weissmuller, that’ll prove Tarzan is real.”
Pat nodded. “You write the letter and I’ll pay the postage!”
NO SMALL ROLES
December 13: On this day in 1940, Wilfred Van Norman Lucas, a Canadian stage actor/director/ screenwriter, who directed “The Romance of Tarzan,” died in Los Angeles, California.
Lucas appeared in almost 400 films spanning almost forty years and successfully made the transition from silent films to talkies. His first film was “The Greaser’s Gauntlet” in 1908 and his last film was “The Sea Wolf” released in 1941.
Along the way he appeared in “Ingomar, the Barbarian,” “The Lost Jungle,” “The man from Kangeroo,” “naughty Marietta,” “Ls Miserables,” “We Who Are About to Die,” “Sea Devils,” and “Riders of the Purple Sage,” among the 375 plus film total. The ones I listed were because I liked the titles. He also directed and starred in a number of films for Mack Sennett at Keystone Studios.
After his career as a leading man was over, he was very successful for many years as a character actor. Perseverance personified.
Details about the 1918 film, “The Romance of Tarzan,” may be found in abundance at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag5/0504.html
The drabble for today is “No Small Roles,” and it was inspired by actor/director Wilfred Lucas’s long career. The drabble contains the titles of fifteen of his films, see how many you can identify.
“Wilfred, how did you get into acting?”
“Through the back door. I thought I was what every woman wants, the idol of the crowds and that the girls would love me forever, but my fatal mistake was not knowing that pride is a beautiful liar.”
NO SMALL ROLES
“You said a mouthful.”
“Yes, another face came along, and I’d thought that fans would love me forever, but with hearts divided, they dumped me like human cargo.”
“But you’ve worked for thirty-five years.”
“Gladiator acting, you know we who are about to die. Easy money. I just hope I’m a man to be remembered.
MAYHEM ON THE MOON
December 14: On this day in 2017 “Swords Against the Moon Men” by Christopher Paul Carey was released according to the author. Amazon shows the date as February 18, 2018, but Amazon publication dates can be misleading, often they show the day the book was first offered for sale on Amazon. I received my copy of the book before Christmas 2017.
Christopher Paul Carey is the Director of Publishing and Creative Director of the ERB Universe at Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
The book, the sixth novel in the ‘Wild Adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ series, is available in hardcover, Ebook, and audio book formats at https://edgarriceburroughs.com/store/product/swords-against-the-moon-men/ and https://www.amazon.com/Swords-Against-Moon-Christopher-Carey/dp/1945462124/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0
Chris Peuler created a beautiful wraparound dust jacket for the novel and Mark Wheatly did the interior illustrations. For full info on ERB's original Moon Maid novel visit the ERBzine ERB C.H.A.S.E.R. entry
An interview with the author and more details about the book are available at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag62/6289.html
The drabble for today, “Mayhem on the Moon,” is taken from the blurb for the novel posted on the ERB Inc. website. I have edited it to 100 words to fit the drabble format and any errors resulting therefrom are entirely mine.
"In 2076 AD, Earth has been conquered and humanity brutally enslaved under the cruel tyranny of the Kalkar invaders. Julian 7th, descendant of the great hero nearly defeated the Kalkars—receives a mysterious transmission from the planet Barsoom.
MAYHEM ON THE MOON
The desperate plea swiftly hurls Julian upon a lonely quest into the heart of Va-nah where he launches a daring rescue to save a lost Barsoomian ambassadorial mission. The success of this mission depends on an unlikely alliance with the Warlord of Mars.
If Julian fails, humanity—and the entire solar system—will never escape the iron grip of the Moon Men.”
December 15: On this day in 1934, actress Mimi Dillard, who played Nione in the Ron Ely Tarzan episode, “The Prisoner,” was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Mimi appeared in numerous television shows in the 1960s including “The Flying Nun,” “The Man from UNCLE,” “Perry Mason,” “The Fugitive,” and “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.” Her film roles included appearances in “South Pacific,” “The Cincinnati Kid,” and “The Ballad of Andy Crocker.”
In “The Prisoner,” Tarzan’s friend, policeman Khobi was severely wounded by the diamond smuggler, Spooner. Tarzan captured Spooner, played by Robert J. Wilke, and is taking him to trail, but Spooner’s gang is tracking them through the jungle.
Nione came to the apeman’s aid and helped hide him from the smugglers and then guided him to safety.
For information about all the episodes of Ron Ely's Tarzan, go to https://www.erbzine.com/mag74/7420.html
The drabble today is “Jungle Justice,” and it was inspired by the storyline of “The Prisoner.”
Nione asked. “Tarzan, why this man handcuffed?”
“He’s a diamond thief and he injured my friend, the policeman Khobi.”
“In our tribe we kill those who steal or hurt our guards. He’s done both. I’ll kill him for you.”
“No, he has to stand trial.”
“Okay, trial then. You say he did. He says he didn’t. He lies. I kill him.”
“No killing. His men are trailing me. Can you slow them down?”
“Slow them? We’ll kill them.”
“No killing, no maiming. Just distract them."
“That’s no fun. You sure don’t know how to show a girl a good time!”
See Days 16-31 at ERBzine 7390a
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