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ERB 100-Word Drabbles
OCTOBER IV Edition :: Days 2&3/19-31
by Robert Allen Lupton
With Collations, Web Page Layout and ERBzine Illustrations and References by Bill Hillman
October 2: On this day in 1912, Edgar Rice Burroughs finished the manuscript for “Gods of Mars,” and posted it to All-Story Magazine, which promptly purchased the novel and serialized it in monthly installments from January through May 1913. The novel not only was not given a cover illustration, but was never mentioned on the covers of any of the five issues –nor was Edgar Rice Burroughs mentioned by name. Instead the cover of the January issue illustrated, ‘Sands o’ Life,’ a pirate novel by William Patterson White, which has never been reprinted, as far as I can tell.
‘The Gods of Mars’ is the story of John Carter’s return to Barsoom to find and save his Princess.” He encountered Tars Tarkas shortly after his arrival and learned that the predominate religion on Mars teaches its believers to journey down the River Iss to reach the hereafter, only to find at the end of their journey that the river to heaven is a hoax and they have been lured into slavery.
It’s been reprinted dozens of time and has had multiple comic book editions. Find countless details about those editions at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag4/0423.html
The drabble for today is “Big Lie” and it was inspired by the Gods of Mars.
John Carter returned to Barsoom and found Tars Tarkas who said, “My Friend, this is the Valley Dor, and the river, Iss. We take our last journey on this river. It leads us to heaven. I hoped to find you there.”
“I still live."
“That’s wonderful news, but I’ve learned we’ve been deceived by lying priests. Only slavery awaits at the river’s end.”
"Interesting. On Earth, to be tricked onto a water-going vessel was one way to be shanghaied, but that was one person at a time, not whole countries. Apparently you can fool all the people all the time.”
MAN OR MONSTER
October 3: On this day in 1913, Thomas Metcalf wrote to Edgar Rice Burroughs predicting that the November 1913 issue of “The All-Story” featuring the entire book, “The Man Without A Soul,’ would be a big seller. He also predicted high sales for the December issue which would begin the serialization of “Warlord of Mars.” P. J. Monahan illustrated the November cover.
Burroughs' working title for “A Man Without A Soul” was “Number Thirteen.” The novel was published in book form as “The Monster Men.” The title “A Man Without A Soul” should not be confused with the 1922 Methuen British edition of the “Return of the Mucker,” which used a similar title, “The Man Without A Soul.”
Details about the book and numerous illustrations are available at:
The drabble for today is “Man or Monster,” and it excerpted from ERB Inc’s blurb about the novel.
They called him Number 13, the latest and best of Dr. Von Horn's attempts to make life from lifeless chemicals. He found himself an almost human on Von Horn's hideaway jungle island off the coast of Borneo. He saw the monsters that preceded him, growing used to the dreadful travesties of humanity. Everyone knew him, but to all he was something different. The Natives knew him as the invincible warrior, the fierce foe of the headhunters of Bulan! Virginia Maxon knew him as the only man who could save her from danger - the The Monster Men man-being she loved.
MAN OR MONSTER
October 19: After a few weeks off to concentrate on hot air ballooning, I’ll pick up on the Edgar Rice Burroughs related drabbles again and on this day in 1962, Canaveral Press reprinted “Tanar of Pellucidar,” which had been written by Edgar Rice Burroughs from September to November in 1928 and dedicated to his granddaughter, Joan Burroughs Pierce II.
The Canaveral edition of the third Pellucidar novel ran 245 pages and contained seven interior illustrations by Mahlon Blaine as well as the dust jacket illustration. The illustrations remind me of underground comics from the 1960s. I included the cover of one by S. Clay Wilson for comparison.
The drabble for today is “Spelling Error,” and it was inspired by the world at the Earth’s Core, Pellucidar.
Jason Gridley, used his invention, the Gridley wave, to communicate between worlds and spoke to Abner Perry, Emperor in the Earth’s Core. “Abner, you keep referring to Pellucidar. What’s that?”
“Pellucidar is the native name for the world within the hollow Earth. I live there.”
“Why name their world after a cider? Pellucid means clear, so a filtered cider, at that. Apple, pear, cherry, peach, plum?”
“Not cider with an E, cidar with an A.”
“I get it. They can’t spell, but that response is as pellucid as mud and doesn’t answer my question.”
‘Never mind. I disavowel my response.”
October 20: On this day in 1923, the lost six reel silent film, “Justice Trail of the Son of Tarzan.” was released. The film was edited from the fifteen chapter serial, “The Son of Tarzan” and much of the editing was done by Burroughs himself, working in his projection room at his Tarzana home. . He had sequestered himself in the tiny room for many days and weeks. Visitors to the room marveled at the maze of cables strung across the room from which hundreds of strips of film were suspended -- numbered and collated in some cryptic system known only to Ed Burroughs, the movie mogul.
Ed debuted the film in his ballroom to scores of visitors admitted for free. Ed's editing job was quite good. Partway into the film the audience erupted into spontaneous applause as they greeted the screen appearance of a familiar-looking rider on a sleek mount. Shouts that filled the room. "Ride him Ed!" "Look at the Colonel!" "Look! It's Mr. Burroughs!" "Gosh, Tom Mix ain't got nothin' on OB!" At the end of the film Ed gave a polite wave from the projection booth in response to the enthusiastic applause of his audience.
More details about “Justice Trail of the Son of Tarzan” may be found at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag10/1043.html
The drabble for today is “Opening Ceremony,” inspired by the long lost film, “Justice Trail of the Son of Tarzan.”
The blue-nosed librarian said, “Throw those Tarzan books away. Tarzan and Jane were never married. They lived in sin.”
“Yes, they were,” said her assistant. “They were married by an ordained minister in the last chapter of the book, “The Return of Tarzan.”
“I don’t care. Weissmuller never married O’Sullivan in the films.”
“Tarzan and Jane, P. Dempsey Taylor and Karla Schramm, married in the opening scenes of “Justice Trail of the Son of Tarzan.”
“Never heard of them or that film.”
“It’s been lost for several years.”
“Lost films don’t put meat in the stew. The books are banned.”
ROOM AT THE INN
October 21: on this day in 1934, Edgar Rice Burroughs, who had separated from Emma, took up residency at the Hotel Apache in Las Vegas. He resided there for six weeks and wrote very little during this time, focusing on his marriage issues. He was writing “Tarzan and Jane,” at the time, the working title of “Tarzan’s Quest.”
The Hotel Apache was opened by the Silvagni family in 1932 and was the first hotel in Vegas to have an air conditioned lobby, an electronic elevator, and a carpeted casino. Guests included Gable, Bogart, and Lucille Ball. The hotel is advertised as haunted by the original owners’ family members.
Emma moved to 10452 Bellagio Road in Bel Air. In late December ERB moved to 7933 Hillside Avenue in Hollywood for a few weeks before moving to 806 Beverly Hills, previously occupied by Maurice Chevalier, where he worked on "Back to the Stone Age."
The drabble for today is “Room At The Inn,” and it was inspired by ERB’s stay at the Hotel Apache.
“My name is Edgar Rice Burroughs and I need a room.”
ROOM AT THE INN
“Yes, we’ve limited availability. How long are you staying?”
“I’m not sure, five or six weeks. I’d like a suite, please.”
“We don’t have any suites available. I have an extended king.”
“But I really need a suite?”
“I’m sorry. No reservation, no suite.”
“I wrote a novel called “Apache Devil” and I know all about reservations.”
“We have reservations about people who don’t make reservations. Extended king room, correct.”
“I may go off the reservation and on the warpath.”
“Fine, but it still won’t get you a suite.”
DEAL OR NO DEAL
October 22: On this day in 1928, Chapter eleven, “A Thief in the Night,” of the lost film serial “Tarzan the Mighty” thrilled audiences in theaters across the United States.
Tarzan, Lord Greystoke, and Greystoke’s secretary were surrounded by natives led by the evil Black John who plans to assume Tarzan’s title and inheritance. Tarzan calls Tantor who scattered the natives. The secretary fled into the jungle while Tarzan overpowered Black John, who ran away.
Black John found the secretary in the jungle and the two agreed to work together. The secretary returned to the village and stabbed Tarzan’s uncle, Lord Greystoke, and once more stole the papers proving Tarzan’s Greystoke identity. He gave them to Black John, who deserted him to the mercy of the jungle.
Back at the village, Black John approaches Mary Trevor with a leer on his face and assault on his mind. Cue the closing credits.
Read all about this lost cinematic classic at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag5/0592.html
The drabble for today is “Deal or no Deal,” and it was inspired by Chapter Eleven of the serial.
Lord Greystoke’s secretary met Black John in the jungle with the papers that would identify the bearer as the heir to the Greystoke fortune. He still had the blood of Tarzan’s uncle, the current Lord Greystoke, on his hands.
DEAL OR NO DEAL
“Here,” he said. “I’ve stabbed Tarzan’s uncle. With these documents, your claim to the Greystoke fortune is beyond dispute.”
Black John snatched the documents and turned to leave.
“You can’t leave me to be eaten by lions. You promised me safe return to England and a million pounds.”
“What about honor among thieves.”
“Whoever said that wasn’t a thief!”
October 23: On this day in 1942, the world’s oldest war correspondent, Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote in his diary that “he was ready to go.” He had applied to become a war correspondent and hoped for assignment to the combat zones of the Pacific theater. He was waiting for approval and for his credentials to arrive from the United Press. They arrived on November 2nd. Approval from the army finally arrived and made him at age sixty-seven, the world’s oldest war correspondent.
This is what ERB wrote: “Am now all ready to go — almost. I know that, at my age, it is probably a fool thing to do. My decision, then, is not based on faulty judgement. I want the experience. If I don't come back, I am at least definitely expendable. So it won't make any difference. . . ."
The drabble for today, "Correspondent,” was inspired by that decision. Earnest Hemingway and Edgar Rice Burroughs were ninth cousins.
“Dad,” said Joan, “You’ve signed up to be a war correspondent, what the devil? You’re sixty-seven years old. You should know better.”
“I’ve wanted to go to war my entire life. I tried to fight the Apache, but I couldn’t handle the Arizona climate. Teddy wouldn’t take me to San Juan Hill. I was a tad too old for World War One. Earnest Hemingway plans to be a war correspondent and I’m older than him and I sell more books than he does.”
“Comparing yourself to Hemmingway?”
“In a way. Men who are too old to fight, write about it.”
WHAT THE MUCK!
October 24: On this day in 1914, All-Story Cavalier Weekly published the first installment of “The Mucker.” P. J. Monahan illustrated the cover. There were no interior illustrations. The issue contained part three of the novel, “Malay Gold,” by H. Bedford Jones and ”The Curious Quest of Mr. Earnest Bliss by E. Phillips Oppenheim. The other dozen stories included “The Terrible Peacock” by Djuna Chappel Barnes and ‘Waking” by Mary Carolyn Davis, author of more than two hundred pulp stories.
For the Mucker, Burroughs abandoned Barsoom and the African jungle to write a love and adventure story that began in the wilds of Chicago and crossed half the world to a South Pacific Island. Unlike “Tarzan of the Apes,” wherein a child of good breeding rises to become Lord of the Jungle (heredity not environment), in the Mucker, a man from the lowest class, a criminal, and a bully, is transformed by love and becomes a good man and to some extent, the master of the strange world where he found himself. Like Tarzan, Billy Byrne, the Mucker, raises himself, a savage reprobate, from the muck and mire of West Chicago to become a noble man. (How’s that for a touch of purple prose.)
For publishing details about “The Mucker” visit: https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0757.html
The drabble for today is “What the Muck!” and it was inspired by nothing more than the title, “The Mucker.” Enjoy it. Don’t be a Mucker’s uncle.
Billy Byrne led Barbara Harding away from danger through the jungles of a Pacific Island.
WHAT THE MUCK!
“Hurry, Barbara. Stop mucking about. The mutineers will catch us.”
“I’ll keep up. Careful where you guide us. Don’t muck this up.”
“I’m following the animal droppings. This deer poop leads to fresh water. This muck is leopard poo. Don’t want to follow that.”
“Are you sure?”
Byrne pointed. “Monkey muck. Parrot poop. Crocodile crap. This here is bat-shit.”
“Bat-shit! Are you crazy?”
‘No, I can even tell how old it is.”
“You sure know your muck don’t you.”
“Been shoveling it my whole life!”
October 25: On this day in 1941, Edgar Rice Burroughs penned the first words to “The Skeleton Men of Jupiter,” which would be published in the February 1943 issue of Amazing Stories, Amazing Story Quarterly Fall, 1943, and included in the Canaveral Press Hardcover book, “John Carter of Mars. The Amazing Story issue had a great cover by J. Allen St. John and featured stories from Stanley G. Weinbaum and Stanton A. Coblenz.
Details about the story and its publications abound at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0739.html
The drabble for today is “Thin Skinned,” and it was inspired by the novel, “The Skeleton Men of Jupiter.” A little shout out to George Thorogood.
A Morgor war party from Sasoom, the planet Jupiter, captured John Carter. The Morgors had translucent skin and looked like human skeletons. Carter fought his guards and tried to escape several times. Upon arrival, Carter was tried for striking his captors.
Carter said, “You people look like creatures from a pirate novel. The lot of you wouldn’t make a decent meal for a single banth.”
The judge replied, “Man can’t be too thin or too rich. You’ll die in the arena.”
“I’ll kill all of you.”
“Barsoomian, you aren’t that tough!”
Carter smiled, “Trust me, I’m bad to the bone!”
CRAZY AND ANGER
October 26: On this day in 1913, Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing the “The Mad King of Lutha,” which was first published as “The Mad King” in All-Story Weekly on March 21, 1914. Burroughs was paid $800.00 for the story. The 40,000 story was combined with “Barney Custer of Beatrice” for the McClurg book, “The Mad King” published in 1926 by A. C. McClurg.
The publishing history, several illustrations, and the entire novel are available at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0758.html
The illustration included herein is from the 1937 French version of the novel and the title translates as “King in Spite of Himself.”
The drabble for today is “Crazy and Anger” and it was inspired by the story, “The Mad King.”
Barney Custer, a doppelganger for Leopold, rightful king of Lutha, substituted himself for the injured Leopold and was crowned King of Lutha.
CRAZY AND ANGER
The Regent Peter of Blentz discovered Barney’s impersonation and wanted Leopold dead and his puppet prince, Ludwig, crowned king. Meanwhile Custer fell in love with the king’s fiancée, Emma, while he sought to save the king.
The weak and confused Leopold arrived in time to prevent Ludwig’s coronation. Emma spurned Custer for the real king.
Custer said, ‘The king doesn’t seem well.”
“He’s mad, you know.”
“I just lost a throne and my love. I’m pretty angry, myself.”
SMOKE ON THE WIND
October 27: On this day in 1992, Melvin L. Koontz, actor, stunt double, and animal trainer died less than a mile from where he was born eighty-two years earlier in Fort Scott, Kansas. Koontz was he trainer of Jackie, the MGM lion. He worked on over 600 movies and appeared in over 300 of those. He doubled for Mae West in “I’m No Angel,” and for Frank Merrill in “Tarzan the Mighty.” He had an animal act in 1939 at the New York World’s Fair.
Read all about “Tarzan the Mighty” at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag5/0592.html
The 100 word drabble for today, “Smoke on the Wind," was inspired by one stunt scene in the long career of Melvin Koontz.
Westley Ruggles, the director of “I’m No Angel,” asked, “Mel, the script calls for Mae to put her head in a lion’s mouth. She’s afraid of the lion.”
SMOKE ON THE WIND
“Think the audience will believe me as Mae West. I usually double for men.”
“You were great in “Tarzan the Mighty.” You’ll look fine in sequins with shaved legs, no moustache and a wig. I’ll edit out any bad angles. I promise the illusion will be perfect.”
Mae West laughed, “I believe that when I see it. Undelivered promises vanish like smoke. One ounce of performance is worth of pound of promise.”
October 28: On this day in 1928, Chapter twelve, “The Enemy of Tarzan,” from the movie serial, “Tarzan the Mighty,” was shown in theaters across the United States.
Mary agreed to go with Black John if the villain would leave Tarzan alone. Tarzan searched unsuccessfully for the documents that would prove him Lord Greystoke and decided that Black John had stolen them. Tarzan, seeking the documents and wanting to save Mary from a fate worth than death, attacked Black John, who overpowered Tarzan and tied him to a tree. A large lion comes for Tarzan as the credits roll.
Learn all about the lost film serial at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag5/0592.html
The drabble for today, “Whaa-ha-ha” was inspired by chapter twelve and by melodramas everywhere.
Black John twirled his mustache and said, “If you don’t give me the deed to your ranch, I’ll tie you to the railroad track!”
Mary Trevor replied, “Deed, ranch, railroad track? I don’t have a ranch and there’s no railroad. You’re not Snidely Whiplash and I’m not Little Nell!”
“Sorry, if you don’t marry me, we’ll hang your father at curfew.”
“My father’s dead, you idiot!”
“Last chance. Run away with me or I’ll feed Tarzan to the lions.”
“Are you that stupid? Threatening Tarzan with jungle animals is like throwing Brer Rabbit into the briar patch!”
“Curses, foiled again.”
October 29: On this day in 1921, All-Story Weekly published the fourth and final installment of “The Efficiency Expert.” The issue’s cover by Modest Stein was for “The Super-Swing,” a novel by David Fox. The interior headpiece for the installment was drawn by Roger Morrison and featured “Lizard” with a flashlight.
The issue included an installment of a Semi-Dual novel, “Wolf of Erlik,” by J. U. Giesy and Junius B. Smith, and fifth part of a novel, “The Seventh Man,” by Fredrick Faust, better known as Max Brand, who used the pseudonym, Dan Barry.
The drabble for today is, “Recommendation,” and it was inspired by the short novel, “The Efficiency Expert.”
Jimmy Torrance, who wished he was managing a large business, was driving a milk truck thanks to a friend of questionable contacts and virtue.
He delivered supplies to a large manufacturing plant where two men argued. One said, “Don’t care if your dad owns this place. I’m the GM and your idea is stupid.”
“No, it’s great. Ask the milkman.”
The GM explained the plan. “Whatdaya think?”
Jimmy said, “Brilliant.”
“I’m an expert. A man from elsewhere who doesn’t understand your business with no responsibility for implementing his recommendations. Of course I’m sure."
“That’s different. We’ll do it.”
October 30: On this day in 1931, aspiring actress Maureen O’Sullivan was chosen by Irving Thalberg, the head of production at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, to star as Jane to Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan in “Tarzan of the Apes.” (Tarzan the Ape Man) Maureen was given a studio contract and paid $300.00 a week. Weissmuller was paid $250.00 a week.
Seven films in which she appeared were released before “Tarzan of the Apes” including “So This is London,” Song o’ My Heart,” “Just Imagine,” “The Princess and the Plumber,” “A Connecticut Yankee,” “Skyline,” and “The Big Shot.” When her career ended she had over 100 credits to her name. Her last appearance was as Eleanor Biddlecomb on an episode of Hart to Hart.
Read about Maureen’s career and her six Tarzan films at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag45/4569.html
Today’s drabble is “Equal Pay,” and it was inspired by the salary discrepancy between the lead actors in “Tarzan the Ape Man.”
Weissmuller and O’Sullivan took a break from rehearsing a scene for “Tarzan the Ape Man.” Weissmuller said, “I talked to the purser and you’re getting paid more than I am. I don’t think that’s fair.”
“I’ve got more lines than you do and have more costume changes.”
“I have to climb trees and fight animals.
“Little boys do those things all the time. That’s not acting, it’s regression.”
“That’s not it. They’re paying you more because you’re a woman.”
“As they should. I wouldn’t worry about it. The day will come when male actors are paid as much as women.”
October 31: On this day, Halloween, in 1942, the world’s oldest war correspondent, Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote a letter to his daughter, Joan Burroughs Pierce. ERB was living in Hawaii and Joan had moved to Nogales, California.
Burroughs was excited about his son, Hulbert’s, experiences at Guadalcanal and was chaffing at the bit to be assigned somewhere. His correspondent credentials had come through and he was ready to go.
You can read several letters that ERB wrote during WW2 at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag4/0429.html#31.10.42
The drabble for today is “Professional Writer,” and it was excerpted from ERB’s letter written to his daughter, Joan, on Halloween 1942. Burroughs is overly modest, at one time in his life, he was a professional soldier.
I’m impatiently awaiting to be sent "somewhere". My correspondent's credentials finally came through and I’m now fully accredited as a United Press correspondent. The UP bureau chief is only waiting for a spot to send me and a place on a plane. If my lifetime experience runs true to form, the war will be over when I arrive. I always get to a fire after it is out.
All my life I’ve wanted to be a war correspondent -- to really see things first hand and write about them. After all, I’m a professional writer; not a professional soldier.
See Days 16 - 31 at ERBzine 7593a
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