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ERB 100-Word Drabbles
NOVEMBER IV Edition :: Days 1-15
by Robert Allen Lupton
See Days 16 - 30 at ERBzine 7594a
With Collations, Web Page Layout and ERBzine Illustrations and References by Bill Hillman
KEEP THE DEAL YOU GOT
November 1: On this day in 1967, British actress and star of stage, screen, and radio, Benita Hume, died at age 60 in Egerton, Kent, England from bone cancer. IMBD lists 44 film and television credits for the actress including portraying Rita Parker, Jane’s cousin, in “Tarzan Escapes.” The film was originally called “The Capture of Tarzan,” but the preview audiences found the gruesome violence overwhelming. MGM fired the director and ordered the film reshot and retitled. Rita’s character in the new version was less vicious and sort of made a pass at Tarzan.
Details about the film abound at:https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0401729/
At one time Benita was married to Ronald Coleman and regularly appeared on the radio and television versions of The Jack Benny Show.
The drabble for today is Benita’s (Rita Parker) last line in the film, “Tarzan Escapes.” Let’s call it, ‘Keep the Deal You Got!” She was speaking to Jane.
"We wanted to take you to where we thought you belong. "Civilization" I think they call it. But it's not for you. And even if your coming back meant I'd inherit the world, I couldn't forget the look in Tarzan's eyes when he thought he was going to lose you. Stay here with your jungle flies, your funny little Cheetah and the trouble she gets into, and Tarzan. You've got the grandest possessions any woman can have: peace, comradeship, and perfect communion with a man whose whole strength is devoted to making your life beautiful. Don't you ever lose it."
KEEP THE DEAL YOU GOT
NEW KING TODAY
November 2: On this day in 1914, Edgar Rice Burroughs submitted “Barney Custer of Beatrice,” the sequel to “The Mad King to Bob Davis, the editor of All-Story Magazine, who purchased the story and serialized it in August 1915. The first installment had a cover by W. C. Fairchild.
Barney and his sister, Victoria Custer, are to my knowledge the only characters from Beatrice, Nebraska to appear in a novel.
Burroughs began writing this story of political intrigue in a small European Kingdom barely a month after the beginning of World War One.
Details about the “The Mad King” and “Barney Custer of Beatrice” are located at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0758.html#pulp2
In the story, the conspirators who sought control of Lutha made their way to the Custer homestead in Nebraska and attempted to destroy the home and kill Barney. He survived and took the first ship to Europe. Upon arrival he was arrested as a spy. After adventures and much danger, including leading a cavalry charge against the Austrian army, Barney is crowned King of Lutha. God save the king.
The drabble for today is “New King Today,” and it was inspired by “Barney Custer of Beatrice.”
The old prime minister was on his deathbed. The King of Lutha, his mind in shambles, sat next to him. Barney Custer, the King’s doppelganger and Princess Emma fought their way into the room.
NEW KING TODAY
The prime minister pointed at the mentally ill King Leopold and said, “That man is no king.” He indicated Barney, “That man is the king.”
Emma said, “Barney, Lutha needs a king. Are you brave enough?”
“I’m only brave when I have to be. I don’t go looking for trouble and this is trouble. It ain’t easy being the king, but someone has to do it.”
November 3: On this day in 2003, comic artist, Nick Cardi, passed away at age ninety-three in Florida. Born Nicholas Viscardi, he was best known for his work on Aquaman, the Teen Titans, and Batlash. Nick was the go-to cover artist for DC comics during the early 1970s.
He illustrated the Tarzan daily comic strip from February 13, 1950 until July 22, 1950, working on the story arcs, “Tarzan and the City of Gold” and Tarzan and Hard-Luck Harrigan. He illustrated 138 dailies.
All of his work on Tarzan may be viewed on ERBzine. https://www.erbzine.com/mag49/4952.html is a good place to start. Also, his Wartime Art: https://www.hillmanweb.com/war/2013/1307.html
Cardi (Cardy) left the comics in the mid-1970s and entered the better paying field of commercial art, illustrating film posters among other things.
The 100 word drabble for today is “Composition” and is an excerpt from an interview with Nick Cardi that may be read in its entirety at: https://13thdimension.com/alternative-fridays-nick-cardy.../
“There’s a saying that a painting needs to direct the viewer as if he were a visitor — take him in the front door, show him around the room, and gradually leading the viewer out the back door. A painting has to compel the viewer to see things the way the painter intends it to be viewed; there has to be an entrance and an exit for the eye. I felt, if I’m going to draw women, I’m going to draw pretty — but nice — women. A nice figure of a girl, just standing, resting on one leg, can be very sexy.”
November 4: On this day in 1928, chapter thirteen of the movie serial, “Tarzan the Mighty,” appeared on theater screens across the United States. “Perilous Paths” starred Frank Merrill as Tarzan and Natalie Kingman as Mary Trevor. There was no Jane in the production. The serial was originally planned to contain 12 chapters but because of its popularity in the theatres it was extended to 15 chapters.
As episode thirteen begins, Tarzan attempts to save Mary from Black John, but is knocked unconscious. When he awakes, a lion is about to attack him, but an elephant drives the lion away and unties Tarzan. Gotta love those elephants!
Black John hides Mary in a cave and returns to the Greystoke camp and demands that he be certified as the Greystoke heir rather than Tarzan. Jungle animals lead Tarzan to the cave where Mary is imprisoned and Tarzan and the guards fight a pitched battle. Black John, carrying false documents proving him the rightful heir, attacks Tarzan planning to kill him.
Details about the film serial are located at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag5/0592.html
The drabble for today is “No Poaching,” and is was inspired by the constant elephant rescues of Tarzan in “Tarzan the Mighty,” and by the unrepentant slaughter of these magnificent creatures by greedy men.
Black John grabbed Tarzan’s hands and forced the ape man against the cave wall. “I’d have killed you long ago if the elephants didn’t keep showing up to save you.”
Tarzan freed his arm and hit Black John in the face. “Ifs don’t feed the tribe.”
John brandished the knife he’d stolen from Tarzan. “Don’t understand why the elephants always arrive just in time. I hate elephants. The only thing they’re good for is their ivory.”
An elephant trumpeted and threw Black John against the wall.
“What did he say,” asked John?”
“He said that only elephants should own ivory!”
TIME ON MY HANDS
November 5: On this day in 1972, British actor, John Reginald Owen died in Boise, Idaho. Reginald appeared as Professor Elliot in the 1941 film, “Tarzan’s Secret Treasure.”
His 146 screen credits include “Marry Poppins,” “A Study In Scarlett,” “Anna Karina,” and “Of Human Bondage.” His Ebenezer Scrooge in 1938’s “A Christmas Carol” is my favorite version of the character. Owen is one of the few actors to play both Holmes and Watson, but in different films.
Details about “Tarzan’s Secret Treasure” are at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag6/0621.html
Here’s a brief bit of dialogue from “Tarzan’s Secret Treasure,” modified into a 100 word drabble for today, “Time On My Hands.”
Philip Dorn, portraying Vandermeer in “Tarzan’s Secret Treasure, said, “There ‘s speed for you, Tarzan. That train goes 100 miles an hour.”
TIME ON MY HANDS
“It gets you there faster.”
“Tarzan want to know why?”
“Well, to save time, of course.”
Tarzan shrugged, “What would I do with time?”
Professor Elliott laughed, “He has you there, Vandermeer. The way we spend time determines who we are. Tarzan’s uses his time are a lot better than you.
Vandermeer growled, “Not very damn likely.”
"Alas, Philip, the only thing you know about time is how to waste it chasing things you’re better off without.”
WITHER THOU GOEST
November 6: On this day in 1936, the film, Tarzan Escapes,” was released. The final title of the film is a spoiler, and the third Weissmuller / O’Sullivan Tarzan film had several working titles, ‘Tarzan Returns,” “The Capture of Tarzan,” and “Tarzan and the Vampires.”
The film was reshot and re-edited, deleting gruesome scenes, such as the Gabonis shooting arrows into the heads of fleeing porters, victims tied spread-eagle on bent trees being split in half when the trees were freed, Ganeloni torture rites, and the lowering of captives into a pit to be slaughtered by a man-killing giant ape. The original scenes were later mostly restored, I remember the captives being split in half by the trees from watching the film on TV as a child.
Details about the film, are available at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag6/0618.html
The drabble for today is, “Wither Thou Goest,” and it is taken from Jane's dialogue in the film, “Tarzan Escapes,”
“I dreamt I was back in London in a horrible, rushing taxi. And the radio was going and I was on my way to play bridge with my three maiden aunts. Thank you for being such a horrible, kidnapping monster and keeping me here.
WITHER THOU GOEST
"Tarzan, you must believe me. When the moon has made safari three times - three times - and when she comes out of the river, big and round, and looks in on us here, she'll find us as we are now. Together. And my safari will be over forever. And I will never go away again.”
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
November 7: On this day in 1961, actress Kathleen Kirkham passed away in Santa Barbara California. She portrayed Tarzan’s mother, Alice Clayton, in three films, the 1918 film, “Tarzan of the Apes,” 1918s “The Romance of Tarzan,” and the 1921 film, “The Adventures of Tarzan,” passed away. IMDB lists 55 credits from 1916 through 1926. Blonde and attractive, she was considered one of the best dressed actresses of the time, often making more than fifteen costume changes in a film. That wasn’t the case in her two Tarzan films.
Read about her Tarzan films at www.erbzine.com. https://www.erbzine.com/mag5/0503.html is a good place to start.
After leaving motion pictures in 1926, she became a bank teller in Southern California. She was working as a cook in a private residence at the time of her death at age sixty-six in Santa Barbara, California.
The drabble for today is “Dress for Success,” and it was inspired by Kathleen Kirkham's reputation as a female clothes horse during the 1920s.
True Boardman, who played Tarzan’s father in the original 1918 film, “Tarzan of the Apes,” looked at Kathleen Kirkham, playing Alice, his wife. “Kathleen, you’ve worn the same outfit in three straight scenes. That’s not like you.”
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
“Well, it’s not like Coco Chanel has a shop in a Louisiana swamp.”
“I never understood why you have so many outfits.”
“You can have anything you want if you dress for it. Fashion is like eating. You should vary the menu!”
True shock his head. “Clothes need to be serviceable, nothing more.”
“No, Life is simply too short to wearing boring clothes.”
November 8: On this day in 1970, the Russ Manning written and illustrated Tarzan Sunday comic story arc, “Tarzan and the Slavers,” came to an end after twenty-three weeks. The story began on June 7, 1970. It was reprinted in Comics Review #s 238-243 and is available to read online at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag21/2124.html The story began as full page installments, but moved to half pages on July 19, 1970.
The drabble for today, ‘Stand Alone, was inspired by the story arc, “Tarzan and the Slavers.”
The tribal chieftain said, “Tarzan, the slave traders have taken our women and children. They had weapons and we couldn’t fight them.”
“I’ll go after them. You contact the authorities.”
“Tarzan you realize how little one man can do against slave traders!”
“Either we all fight or the slavers will take us one by one. If I must fight them alone, so be it.”
‘Why would anyone believe that slavery isn’t wrong?”
Tarzan shook his head, “The American President Lincoln said, “Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally!”
PLAGIARISM OR TRIBUTE
November 9: On this day in 2002, Sarah Schmidt’s article concerning the similarity between “Life of Pi” and Edgar Rice Burroughs’s novel “The Lad and the Lion,” was published in the Canadian newspaper, “The National Post.” The article included quotations from Bill Hillman and George McWhorter.
The drabble for today, “Plagiarism or Tribute,” is an excerpt from that article, which is reproduced at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0760.html
"It's ridiculous to say you can copyright ideas in literature. What hasn't been said? What hasn't been recycled?" said Bill Hillman, professor of education at Brandon University and Burroughs expert. "Burroughs came up with just about any combination you could think of with man and beast."
PLAGIARISM OR TRIBUTE
"Burroughs himself said that there's nothing new under the sun and the best we can do is put new clothes on old ideas," said George McWhorter, curator of the Burroughs Memorial Collection.
Some of his contemporaries accused him of stealing from Romulus and Kipling. I guess we should also accuse Kipling of copying Romulus,"
MOTHER WAS A LOVELY BEAST
November 10: On this day in 1933, an article in Film Pictorial, a UK publication reported that twenty-five typists in the Paramount steno pool voted for Buster Crabbe to be the lead actor in “King of the Jungle. Dozens of young men, including boxers Max Baer and George Carpenter were up for the role, but the women chose Buster Crabbe, virtually guarantying him the role in the upcoming film, “Tarzan the Fearless.”
The article focuses on the similarities between Buster Crabbe and Johnny Weissmuller.
The entire article is at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag3/0311.html You can also read about the film, “King of the Jungle,” at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_of_the_Jungle_(1933_film) and several other sites.
The drabble for today is “Mother Was a Lovely Beast,” a title stolen directly from Philp Jose Farmer, and it is excerpted from that newspaper article.
Tarzan said, “So you were raised by lions. They teach you to roar and sleep all day.”
MOTHER WAS A LOVELY BEAST
Kaspa snarled. “Your mama was an ape. She teach you to eat bugs and dance in the moonlight?”
“Don’t you be talking about my mama. My mama taught me to climb trees and to throw sticks at lions like your mama.”
“My mama taught me patience.”
“Well, Tarzan, patience is bitter, but it’s fruit is sweet. Sooner or later, apes have to come down from the trees. We lions have a word for that.”
Kaspa growled, “We call it dinnertime!”
November 11: On this day in 1966, the 10th episode of Ron Ely’s television series, premiered. Titled, “The Figurehead,” the episode featured Anthony Caruso as Grundy and Ricky Cordell as Prince Sharif.
Caruso made a career playing hoodlums, racketeers, mobsters, and all-around bad guys. Cordell had a very limited career with only five credits over two years. In addition to “The Figurehead,” he appeared in “The Singing Nun,” “The Flying Nun,” “The Spirit is Willing,” and ‘Kenner,” with Jim Brown.
The episode has a common theme for the series, an entitled prince (a boy) encounters the real world and has to face up to the realities of being a man, rather than a figurehead.”
The drabble for today is “Reality Check” and it was inspired by the storyline in “The Figurehead.”
Tarzan and Prince Sharif waited outside the village. The prince complained. “Everyone tells me what to do. I hate it.”
Tarzan said “When you won’t make your own choices, someone else will make them for you.”
“I obey my advisors.”
“You are responsible for your own actions no matter what anybody else says.” Tarzan continued, “Humans are the only animal that are afraid to be what they are. A lion is a lion. A monkey is a monkey.”
“What does that have to do with me?”
“Don’t blame others. A man, a prince, makes and lives with his own decisions.”
NEVER GIVE UP
November 12: On this day in 1928, chapter fourteen of the Universal Pictures’ film serial, “Tarzan the Mighty,” graced the silver screen for the first time. Directed by Jack Nelson and Ray Taylor, episode fifteen was titled “Facing Death.” To be clear, Tarzan literally faced death in every episode, but in this one Tarzan tracks the evil Black John to Greystoke’s yacht, where John holds Mary Trevor and her young brother, Bobby, captive. Once more, John threatens to kill Bobby if Mary doesn’t marry him. Tarzan arrives as John is forcing himself on Mary. Tarzan attacks, but the crew of the Greystoke yacht mistakes the ape man for an enemy and helps Black John throw Tarzan into the sea.
Details about the film, “Tarzan the Mighty,” of which no copy is known to exist, are readily available at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag5/0592.html
The drabble for today is “Never Give Up” and it was inspired by the storyline from “Tarzan the Mighty.”
Black John captured Mary Trevor and her brother again and held them on the Greystoke family yacht which John, being the son of pirates had also captured. “Mary,” said John, “if you don’t marry me your brother dies.”
NEVER GIVE UP
“A thousand times no! You should leave me alone.”
“Never! You can’t beat a man who won’t give up.”
“And you can’t marry a woman who’ll never give in.”
“When I want something, I persevere until I have it. I won’t let Tarzan or anything else stop me.”
“Perseverance and stubborn are different things. The graveyards are filled with stubborn and stupid.”
TANAR OF PELLLUCIDAR
November 13: On this day in 1928, episode fourteen of “Tarzan the Mighty” was playing in movie houses and Edgar Rice Burroughs finished writing the third book in the Pellucidar series, “Tanar of Pellucidar.” He dedicated the book to his granddaughter, Joan Burroughs Pierce II.
Blue Book Magazine purchased the novel and serialized from March 1929 through August 1929. All six issues had covers featuring the Burroughs’s novel with illustrations by Frank Hoban.
Details about this marvelous book, an electronic version of the novel, and dozens of illustrations are at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0743.html
The drabble for today is the teaser published in Blue Book magazine the month before the first issue serializing “Tanar of Pellucidar” was published.
Edgar Rice Burroughs, the Author of the Tarzan stories and of “Tanar of Pellucidar,” his third novel about the land at the Earth’s core, which begins in the next issue, is a regular fellow. He lives on a ranch, Tarzana Ranch – in California, and devotes his spare time to raising hogs and blooded horses. But chiefly he is occupied in producing the extraordinary and fascinating romances which have won for him a unique place among the writers of the word. And it is the best of these which leads our next, the March issue under the title “Tanar of Pellucidar.”
TANAR OF PELLLUCIDAR
A DREAM COME TRUE
November 14: On this day in 2011, the “Guardian” published the article, “”Disney’s John Carter Adaption Goes Back to the Future of Film. No credit was given to the writer of the article, which is available online at: https://www.theguardian.com/.../disney-john-carter... Alternate: https://www.erbzine.com/mag71/7136.html
The subheading for the article reads as follows: “With suited-up actors playing 12-foot Martians in locations based on Earth's natural sights, this is a triumph for old-style film-making that could make its competitors look prehistoric.”
The one hundred word drabble for today, “A Dream Come True,” is taken from that article, a large part of which is from an interview with the film’s director, Andrew Stanton.
"I spent most of my life imagining what it would be like to talk to these characters, and I wanted it to be instinctive. I felt that if the actor was really there looking into the eyes of the other actor you would sense it. It was an odd-looking set. You had the actor and guys on stilts representing Tharks and you had people in green suits ensuring they didn't fall over. Some days I thought: 'What the hell am I doing?' But it did pay off, and if we were to shoot another one I’d do exactly the same."
A DREAM COME TRUE
November 15: On this day in 1934, actress Joanna Barnes was born in Boston, Massachusetts. She passed away in 2022 in Sea Ranch, California.
Joanna appeared in over 100 films and television shows during her long career, including “The Parent Trap,” “The War Wagon,” “Spartacus,” and the 1959 remake of “Tarzan the Ape Man,” portraying Jane Parker to Denny Miller’s Tarzan.
Barnes was also a writer. Her books included "The Deceivers" (1970), "Pastora" (1980) and "Silverwood" (1985), and were published in Italy, France, England, Sweden, Portugal and Brazil. Her syndicated column, "Touching Home," was for carried for many years by The Chicago Tribune and New York News Syndicate.
The drabble for today is “Untouchable” and it’s taken from a blurb for Joanna’s novel, “Silverwood.” Sounds like she may have based the heroine, Ada Prudhomme, on herself.
She was a regal beauty, wife of a wealthy California financier, devoted mother, and mistress of Silverwood, her glorious estate. For over half a century she welcomed the social elite, the captains of industry, stars, scoundrels, lovers, and opportunists to Silverwood.
Beneath her gracious facade, Ada Prudhomme guarded her life’s secrets with the ferocity of a tigress. To some, she was an imperious beauty...to others, a brilliant actress concealing a past of murder, deception and tragedy. In this novel, the truth behind the legend of Silverwood emerges in Ada Prudhomme's most fabulous creation, the most daring illusion of her life...herself.”
See Days 16 - 30 at ERBzine 7594a
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