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ERB 100-Word Drabbles
DECEMBER IIIa Edition :: Days 16-31
See Days 1-15 at ERBzine 7390
by Robert Allen Lupton
With Collations, Web Page Layout and ERBzine Illustrations and References by Bill Hillman
TO THE LADIES
December 16: On this day in 1941, the world’s oldest war correspondent’s, Edgar Rice Burroughs’s, column “Laugh It Off” was published in the Honolulu Advertiser. The title of the column “Laugh It Off,” is intended as the way to deal with the inconveniences, shortages, and problems resulting from the war. Just laugh it off and get on with your life. Not unlike ‘keep calm and carry on.”
In his column of December 16th, Burroughs praised the women of Honolulu for their courage and perseverance.
Almost all of the columns are available to read in their entirety at https://www.erbzine.com/mag11/1129.html
The 100 drabble for today is taken from that column. Here’s “To The Ladies.” Written by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
To the ladies! You've got to hand it to them for courage and endurance. And they're all pretty much alike. Our girls, bless 'em, regardless of what walk in life they come from, have won our unqualified admiration. I hope they realize just how much civilian morale depends on their attitude. I think they do.
TO THE LADIES
And then there is the old Scottish woman. "When the air-raid warning sounds, I read the Twenty-Third Psalm. Then I say a wee little prayer. I take a wee drab o' whiskey to steady my nerves. And then I tell Hitler to go to Hell."
RETURN OF THE NATIVE
December 17: On this day in 1923, Edward Gallagher married Anna Luther in Greenwich, Connecticut. The two actors had starred in the 1915 film, “The Isle of Content,” produced by Selig Plyscope Company. The film was released on July 17, 1915. Edgar Rice Burroughs complained that “The Isle of Content” was nothing more than a pirated version of “The Cave Girl.”
Interestingly, the Cave Girl in the film is named Jane. I suppose that makes Anna Luther the first woman to play Jane in a film based on a book by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
The film is listed in the Library of Congress catalogue of Copyright Entries and the July 31, 1015 issue of “Picture Play Weekly” contains an adaption of the film. No surviving copy is known to exist.
Pallette, a leading man in his early career became very obese. He played Friar Tuck in the Errol Flynn “Adventures of Robin Hood.”
ERBzine provides several details about the film, including the entire Picture Play Weekly adaption from 1915 at https://www.erbzine.com/mag23/2380a.html
The drabble for today, “Return of the Native,” is the last two paragraphs from the Picture Play adaption of the film. Ralph and Jane had left the island with a fortune in diamonds. Jane hated civilization and high society and left him. Eventually, he realized that he couldn’t live without her and returned to the Isle of Content.
Here’s the drabble.
And there, waiting for him on the beach, was Jane. Jane clad again in the dress of leaves in which he had first seen her, and with her hair streaming free. As Ralph stepped out of the launch and went to her, a new light had come into his eyes.
RETURN OF THE NATIVE
"I understand, dear," he said, taking his wife into his arms. "I was happier here with you than anywhere else on earth. The world has nothing to offer that compares with this. And here we will stay together till the end of our lives -- on our Isle of Content."
HELLO, DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND
December 18: On this day in 1941, two of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s “Laugh It Off” columns were published, one in the Honolulu Advertiser and one in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. The Star Bulletin column contained the second half of the Advertiser column about Red Cross volunteers and was the subject on my post dated December 18, 2020. You can read that one at https://www.erbzine.com/lupton/
The link to read ERB’s Laugh It Off” columns is: https://www.erbzine.com/mag11/1129.html#18
During WW2, the word “Emergency” was added to the Police Badges.
The post for today concerns the column in the Honolulu Advertiser 80 years ago today. ERB had spent the previous evening doing a ride-along with the Honolulu police. He rode in police car # 60 with Sergeant Gunderson and Detective Honan – who were both pleased with the blackout requirements, which had cut crime down to a minimum.
The drabble for today, “Hello, Darkness, My Old Friend,” was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs for that column. The 100 words are an excerpt from his article.
I was with Sergeant Gunderson and Detective Honan in Car No. 60. They’re delighted with this blackout business. It’s cut their labors almost to the vanishing point. Crime has vanished with the electric light; someone threw a rock at a window somewhere and a couple of prowlers were reported.
HELLO, DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND
It was raining and dark as sin. Visibility was reduced to approximate zero; but Gunderson, evidently being part cat and part owl, could see as well in Stygian darkness as most people can by daylight. He found streets that weren’t there and negotiated curves and corners that had disappeared hours before.
December 19: On this day in 1911, Thomas Metcalf, editor of All-Story Magazine rejected the novel “The Outlaw of Torn,” sending a letter to ERB summarizing the novel’s weaknesses. Burroughs immediately responded in defense of his book, pointing out that all of Metcalf’s issues could be promptly corrected. “I see no reason why I cannot make the story satisfactory to you, for the errors you cite are purely of omission, and they can be easily corrected.”
Burroughs and Metcalf never reached accord on “The Outlaw of Torn.” Metcalf offered ERB $100.00 for the plot and said he would have one of his staff writers write a book based on it. Burroughs refused.
On a personal note, story rejections, at least for me, outnumber acceptances by about an 8-1 ratio. But I am determined not to be discouraged. Recently, I wrote a story at the request of an editor that I called “Farsighted.” She rejected it, a bit unkindly I might add. Undiscouraged, I submitted it elsewhere and it was accepted within a week. This is not an uncommon occurrence. I take heart in Burroughs’s refusal of Metcalf’s offer. Burroughs said, “I shall stick to “The Outlaw of Torn” until it is published.”
Burroughs resistance was rewarded when New Story Magazine published “The Outlaw of Torn” from January to May 1914. ‘Outlaw’ didn’t get the cover, that went to “Allan and the Holy Flower” by H. Rider Haggard. Details about the book, an electronic version of it, and several illustrations grace the pages at https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0754.html
The drabble for today, “Poor Pageant,” is taken from Thomas Metcalf’s letter dated December 19, 1911.
"I am very doubtful about the story. The plot is excellent, but I think you worked it out altogether too hurriedly. You really didn't get the effect of the picturesqueness of Torne. Opportunities for color and pageantry you have entirely missed. The worth of some of the figures of which you might make a great deal, you don’t seem to realize. As, for instance, the old fencer whom you use for about three chapters and then ignore entirely until the very end of the story. In him you have a kind of malevolent spirit who might pervade the whole book."
December 20: On this day in 1951, episode # 51 of the Tarzan radio show produced by Commodore and staring Lamont Johnson as Tarzan was broadcast for the first time. “Congo Christmas” takes place before the Christmas holiday, with Tarzan and his companion N’Kima the monkey vising the village of Karmiki. The village is home to a Christian Mission run by the Reverend Collier. The beliefs of Christianity are at odds with the native religion led by the High Priest of Neomopo, the Moon God. Things are further complicated when two younger members of the tribe from different religions fall in love, and wish to marry. Each of their respective religions are resistant to the marriage. During this conflict, the Eye of Neomopo, a brilliant blue sapphire goes missing, further complicating the climate inside the village. That’s a lot of action in less than thirty minutes.
The entire episode can be heard at https://www.hillmanweb.com/xmas/otr/shows/TARZ_511220_CONGO_XMAS.mp3
The 100 word drabble for today, “Congo Confusion” is based on that episode. Apologies to Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim.
Prima, a maiden of the Karmiki tribe, had converted to Christianity, but wished to marry, Draman, who worshiped the Moon God, Neomopo.
The missionary, Collier, said, “Girl, don’t marry a heathen.”
The High Priest forbade Draman to marry a Christian.
Prima sought help from Tarzan, who counseled the opposing prefects to permit the marriage. He pointed skyward at a silhouetted sleigh. “Tonight, tonight, the stars are shining bright. Marry them.
If Santa only brings lumps of coal, I’ll beat you to death with them.”
The high priest mumbled, “I don’t understand.”
The missionary said, “Quiet! I’ve got this. Dearly Beloved…”
RIDE, RIDE, RIDE
December 21: On this day in 1918, All-Story Weekly published part two of “H. R. H. The Rider.” The entire novel is 38,000 words long and was published in four installments in All-Story. Only the first installment had a cover dedicated to the Burroughs story.
The cover of this issue illustrated the first installment of “The Wicked Streak,” by Edgar Franklin (Stearns) – along with the tagline, “Oh, What A Bad Young Man!” Franklin wrote hundreds of stories from 1907 to about 1930 and is credited with several screenplays prior to 1930.
Other writers with stories in this edition of All-Story Weekly include H. Bedford Jones and Johnson McCulley.
The Rider takes place in the European kingdom of Karlova and features Princes and Princesses, kidnappings, mistaken identities, and general confusions and court intrigues – with mostly a happy ending. (SPOILER ALERT) No one is quite sure whether or not the mysterious Rider married the beautiful Bakla or not.
Details and an electronic version of the book are located at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0764.html
I’ve included the Ace paperback cover by Frank Frazetta – published in October 1974.
The drabble for today, “Ride, Rider, Ride” is kinda inspired by the novel, but it owes a lot to “Mustang Sally” written by Mack Brown and recorded by Wilson Pickett.
RIDE, RIDE, RIDE
Well, I bought me a brand new mustang
Born in nineteen twenty five, huh
Now I come around looking for that Bakla woman
But she don’t never want to ride.
She thinks I’m some kinda outlaw
Cause I like to spend my life outside.
I like to ride around all over town
And keep my flat feet off the ground.
She said “Baby, better listen what I say now
Guess you better slow your mustang down!
All I want to do is ride around, Bakla, (ride, Bakla, ride)
All I want to do is ride around, Bakla (ride, Bakla, ride.)
OUR STORY SO FAR
December 22: On this day in 1913, The Fort Wayne Daily News published the 12th installment of the newspaper serialization of “Tarzan of the Apes.” The serial began on December 9th and ran through December 27th. The newspaper version was condensed from the original All-Story version. Each installment featured a synopsis of about 250 words, which wasn’t part of the original novel and one or two illustrations by ‘G. Busche.” There’s no information about who wrote these synopses, an editor, a copywriter, of perhaps, even ERB.
The serialization still has Tarzan killing a tiger, just like in the original All-Story version. The only tigers in Africa are on holiday. When the novel was published in book form, tiger was changed to lion.
The entire Fort Wayne newspaper serialization, including the illustrations is available in pdf format at https://www.erbzine.com/mag17/1750.html
The drabble for today, “Our Story So Far,” is taken from the synopsis for December 22, 1913.
“The infant son of Lord and Lady Greystoke is mothered by Kala, an ape, after the death of his own parents.
OUR STORY SO FAR
The boy, called Tarzan by the apes finds the skeletons of his parents in their cabin, but still thinks himself a white ape.
Clayton, Tarzan’s cousin, Jane Porter and party arrive in a ship, Tarzan kills a lion, saving Clayton’s life. Jane and her maid are threatened by a tiger. Tarzan breaks the tiger’s neck.
Tarzan falls in love with Jane. He saves her from Terkoz, the ape. She shows him his parent’s pictures in the locket he wears."
ILLUSIONARY FREE WILL
December 23: On this day in 1922. Argosy All-Story Weekly published the third of seven installments of “Tarzan and the Golden Lion.” The novel was not featured on the cover of the magazine for this issue, but it did contain one interior illustration and a foreword written by editor, Bob Davis. The cover illustration by Harry Thomas Fisk, illustrated part one of the novel “Runaway Ann,” by J. U. Giesy, author of the ‘Palos of the Dog Star’ trilogy and co-author of the ‘Semi-Dual’ mystery detective series. An installment of the Max Brand novel, “Kain,” also appeared in this issue.
“Tarzan and the Golden Lion,” the film serial, which featured ERB’s future son-in-law, James Pierce, wasn’t filmed until 1926. ERB supervised the script and the film followed the novel quite closely.
The drabble for today is “Illusionary Free Will,” and it was inspired by the choice of La to love Tarzan. Seems that the High Priestess is supposed to mate, but woe to the High Priestess who doesn’t pick the right man.
Tarzan was captured by the beast men of Opar, but before they could sacrifice him to the Flaming God, La, the High Priestess, who loved Tarzan, freed the apeman and they fled into the jungle. Jad-bal-ja, the golden lion followed the pair.
ILLUSIONARY FREE WILL
Tarzan said, “Cadj, the high priest, is angry. I thought the High Priestess was supposed to choose a mate.”
“Indeed. I have the right to pick the man I want.”
“You know I love another, but he doesn’t know that.”
“You misunderstand. I only have the right to pick whomever I want so long as I choose him.”
I SEE THE LIGHT
December 24: On Christmas Eve in 1983, artist Rudolph Belarski died in Westport, Connecticut. Belarski, a prolific cover artist for pulp magazines and paperback books, specialized in Airplane pulps, drawing covers for Air War, American Eagle, Lone Eagle, and Sky Fighters, War Aces, War Birds, War Novels, and War Stories. He also illustrated covers for Startling Stories, Thrilling Adventures, and Thrilling Wonder. There are many more.
Belarski was born in Dupont, Pennsylvania and at age 12 went to work in the coal mines – where he remained for ten years, while taking mail order art classes.
He drew the cover illustrations for the first pulp appearances of “Carson of Venus,” ‘Synthetic Men of Mars,” and “Tarzan and the Jungle Murders.” His best known ERB cover was the “Red Star of Tarzan.”
The drabble for today, ‘I See the Light,” was inspired by Belarski’s Horatio Algiers life.
“Rudy, we gotta be back in the mine in four hours. Stop drawing pictures and get some sleep.”
I SEE THE LIGHT
“I’m not gonna work in the mine ‘till I’m old. Artists make good money and they breathe cleaner air.”
“Son, men folks hereabouts works they whole lives in the mines.”
“Not me. I can see light at the end of the tunnel.”
“Boy, that light is just mounted on a minecart. Move aside before it runs over you.”
“Nope, Dad. The way I draw it, it’s the dawn of a new day and a new way of life. Here comes the sun!”
GREED TODAY, GONE TOMORROW
December 25: On this day in 1902, actor Barton MacLane was born in Columbia, South Carolina. He was a star on the football field for Westeylan University in Middletown, Connecticut, and his first movie role was “The Quarterback” in 1926.
MacLane played Paul Weir in “Tarzan and the Huntress” with Johnny Weissmuller and Brenda Joyce in 1947, https://www.erbzine.com/mag6/0627.html and Ballister in 1945’s “Tarzan and the Amazons, https://www.erbzine.com/mag6/0625.html .
In his storied career, he appeared in “Torchy Gets her Man,” “Gangs of Chicago,” “High Sierra,” “The Maltese Falcon,” “Nabonga,” “Jungle Flight,” “Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” and ‘Jaguar.” A lot of jungle and western films in his hundreds of credits.
He’s best known for his 35 appearances as General Peterson on “I Dream of Genie.”
Today’s drabble, “Greed Today, Gone Tomorrow,” was inspired by his two appearances in Tarzan films and his career.
Tarzan looked at Paul Weir and said, “I know you, but your name was Ballister. You’re a treasure hunter and you tried to loot the Amazon’s treasure chamber. I would have thought you learned your lesson.”
GREED TODAY, GONE TOMORROW
“The huntress’s tracking skills are magical. We’re capturing animals for American zoos. We’ve permission to capture a male and female of each species.”
“Not from me! You aren’t Noah and she’s not a genie. Animals, ivory, or gold, you’re here to steal Africa’s riches.”
“Right you are. The riches of Africa tempt a man’s very soul. Here’s the stuff that dreams are made of!”
A MAN'S MEASURE
December 26: On this day in 2001, Sir Nigel Barnard Hawthorne died. His last role was as the voice for Archimedes Q. Porter in the Disney’s 1999 Tarzan film, although he was featured in the 2001 “Tarzan Untamed” video game and three television appearances after “Tarzan.”
He was a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and was knighted in 1999.
Hawthorne was raised in South Africa and didn’t begin his acting career in 1950. His half century of public performances encompassed stage, film, television and voice. He portrayed King George in “The Madness of King George” on stage and screen. He was nominated for one Academy Award, won one Tony award and over a dozen awards for stage and screen roles in the UK.
The 100 drabble for today, “A Man’s Measure,” is a compilation of quotations credited to Nigel Hawthorne. The two comments are good advice on both persistence and personal integrity.
“I did what every other actor did, there were agents all the way up the Charing Cross Road to St. Martin’s Lane. I would go out each day do the agents- walk into these buildings, along their corridors, bang on these doors and say, “Anything today?”
A MAN'S MEASURE
“I used to bury myself in character parts and put on a lot of makeup and use a lot of props. I thought it was clever to put on false noses and do funny voices, but then, I suddenly thought, no that’s wrong, you don’t do it from the outside, you work from within.”
December 27: On this day in 1961, The Modesto Bee published a newspaper article titled “Tarzan Publishers Stand Behind Jane’s Fair Name.”
It was claimed that an elementary school in the town of Downy, California, near Tarzana, had banned the Tarzan books and the western stories by Zane Grey. The school allegedly reported that Tarzan and Jane had never married and that Jane had born a child out of wedlock.
As for Zane Grey, some of his characters used profanity. They were known to say damn and hell.
Ralph Rothmund, the general manager of Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc. quickly defended Jane’s honor. “They were married. Anyone who has read the books should know they were married.”
Downey, Superintendent of Schools Bruce Boore was under instructions from the school board to investigate the reported banning of the books as soon as teachers and librarians return from Christmas vacation.
Board member Robert Ryan said he was told the books were removed from a school library because some parents thought Grey's books "contained obscene words and that there was no indication that Tarzan and his mate were ever married."
Further investigation proved that the entire story was false. One parent hid two Zane Grey books. No Tarzan books were involved.
Just to be clear, Burroughs had the couple properly married by Jane’s father, an ordained minister, at the end of “The Return of Tarzan.”
Details about “The Return of Tarzan” are at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag4/0484.html
Nevertheless, 100 words of Rothman’s spirited defense of the apeman and his bride make up today’s drabble, “Dearly Beloved.”
“Jane and Tarzan took the marriage vows in the jungle with her father present. The father may not have been an ordained minister, but after all things were pretty primitive in those days in the jungle. It is common practice in some primitive areas for betrothed couples to take their vows of marriage without the presence of an ordained clergyman.
Most churches recognize such marriages. Jane's father had to be - like all white men in the jungle - a jack of all trades. Such a man would be a minister, a doctor, a carpenter, anything you want to name.”
December 28: On this day in 1932, actress Nichelle Nicholes, who appeared in the film, “Tarzan’s Deadly Silence” was born in Robbins, Illinois as Grace Dell Nichols. She is famous for her ground breaking role as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura on Star Trek the original series and several Star Trek films. She played Ruana on two episodes of the Ron Ely Tarzan series, “Tarzan’s Deadly Silence Parts One and Two.” The two episodes were combined into the film of the same name and released in 1970.
“Tarzan’s Deadly Silence” is often listed as Nichelle’s first credited role, however it should be noted that the first US broadcast of Star Trek was September 8, 1966 and the first broadcast of the television episode “Tarzan’s Deadly Silence Part One’ was October 28, 1966.
Details about the film are located at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag74/7422.html
In 1982, Robert Heinlein dedicated his novel, “Friday” to Nichelle Nicholes!
The drabble for today, “Greatest Fan,” is taken from what Wikipedia reports were the words to her from Dr. King that convinced her to stay on Star Trek. The entire quotation is available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nichelle_Nichols.
“Ms. Nichols, I’m your greatest fan. Star Trek is the only show that I and my wife Coretta, will allow our three little children to stay up and watch. You cannot, you cannot leave, for the first time on television, we will be seen as we should be seen every day, as intelligent, quality, beautiful, people who can sing dance, and can go to space, who are professors, lawyers. If you leave, that door can be closed because your role is not a black role, and is not a female role, they can fill it with anybody even an alien”
December 29: On this day in 2009, Asylum Pictures released their unauthorized version of “A Princess Of Mars,” starring ex-porn star, Tarci Lords, and Antonio Sabato Jr. Tharks were human sized and only had twp arms. The movie was produced on a three hundred thousand dollar budget.
The film was a direct to DVD release. The film was later retitled “John Carter of Mars” in 2012 in a deliberate attempt to confuse it with Disney’s “John Carter. It was also released in the UK as “The Martian Colony Wars.” Overall the film is about as faithful/ unfaithful to the book as most movies are.
The drabble for today is “Great Expectations” and it was inspired by The Asylum’s low budget production.
John Carter was astrally projected to Mars where he encountered a troop of Green Martians, the Tharks.”
Carter looked disappointed. “I thought you’d be bigger.”
Tars Tarkas, a Thark, said, ”Be thankful that we’re this large. There was talk of hiring Munchkins.”
A scantily clad Dejah Thoris entered and Carter said, “You need more clothes, Traci, this is a family film.”
“This is all the wardrobe they could afford. I’m a princess on a budget.”
“Okay, I get it. Keep production costs low. We’ll talk later. Where’s the caterer?”
“Learn to manage your expectations. I hope you packed a lunch!”
GO WEST, YOUNG WOMAN
December 30: On this day in 1911, actress Jeanette Nolan was born in Los Angeles, California. One of her roles in her long career was Magra in the radio production “Tarzan and the Diamond of Asher.” The radio show consisted of 39 fifteen minute episodes and featured Carlton KaDell as Tarzan. Don Wilson played Lal Taask.
Jeanette Nolan made over three hundred television appearances including The Virginian, Perry Mason, and Gunsmoke. She was married to John MacIntire, who interestingly enough, was the narrator on “Tarzan and the Diamonds of Asher.” She was regularly cast in western movies and of course, on television.
The drabble for today, “Go West, Young Woman,” was inspired by her career.
Don Wilson met Jeanette Nolan many years after they had both been featured on the radio show “Tarzan and the Diamond of Asher.” She said, “Don, I love your work on The Jack Benny Show, It’s a long way from your character on that Tarzan radio show.”
GO WEST, YOUNG WOMAN
“Well, Tarzan was in Africa. I supposed that’s where I learned to be a second banana. How about you. You make lots of westerns – that’s a long way as well.”
“Don, it’s not so far as that, as I remember most of Tarzan and the Diamonds of Asher took place in western Africa.”
December 31: New Year’s Eve was bad day for two people with strong ERB connections. Woody Strode who played seven different characters in Tarzan film and television died in 1994 and Joan Burroughs Pierce, ERB’s daughter and Jane on the radio died in 1972.
On this day 85 years ago in 1934, Edgar Rice Burroughs looked back and lamented about losing old friends, or people that he thought were his friends, until he and Florence married. His comment about listening to all sides before you make up your mind is as appropriate today as it was 85 years ago.
The 100 word drabble, “Fair Weather,” for today is excerpted from what Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote on December 31, 1934.
I received unjust and abominable treatment from others I thought were my friends. Perhaps they felt that they were justified, for they only heard one side of the story and that garbled and slanderous. I couldn’t tell my side even when I had the opportunity. I had to keep my mouth shut and take it. The fact that some have since acknowledged their errors and apologized did little to lessen the hurt.
My family understand, and acknowledge that my action was warranted. Others have no idea what we went through, though they bombarded us with filthy anonymous letters for years.
See Days 1-15 at ERBzine 7390
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