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Volume 7595

ERB 100-Word Drabbles
DECEMBER IV Edition :: Days 1-15
by Robert Allen Lupton
See Days 16 - 31 at ERBzine 7595a

With Collations, Web Page Layout and ERBzine Illustrations and References by Bill Hillman

December 1
: On his day in 1921, the first episode of the fifteen chapter serial, “The Adventures of Tarzan” opened. The film was based on “The Return of Tarzan” and “Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar.” Louise Lorraine (at age 16) was the new Jane and Lillian Worth played La. Frank Merrill, who would later star as Tarzan, appeared as an Arab guard.
The first episode was originally titled Jungle Romance, but when the serial was edited down to 10 chapters in 1928, it became “The Return of Tarzan,” and when re-edited with sound in 1935, it became “Tarzan the Fearless."  I doubt they asked Buster Crabbe if he was okay with the new chapter title.
    Details about the serial and several photographs ate located at:
The drabble for today is an excerpt from the comments by director Robert F. Hill concerning the film’s success.


 “I credit the author, Edgar Rice Burroughs, for much of the success of the film. “The Adventures of Tarzan” serial embodies all the mystery, the charm of action for which Mr. Burroughs' novels are noted. The author has been of invaluable assistance throughout the production in securing the proper jungle atmosphere, garbing the various characters correctly and in injecting the proper suspense. Mr. Burroughs spent many days on location and in the studios with us in this work. His expression of keen approval during a recent screening of "Adventures of Tarzan" has well repaid the expenditure of time and effort."

December 2:
On this day in 1941, Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing the story that was intended to be the sequel to “Wizard of Venus.” Five days later Pearl Harbor was bombed, the United States entered WW2, and Burroughs abandoned writing fiction for the next two years.
    The manuscript is only two pages, barely a fragment. Burroughs never returned to it. I’d love to read it or see it made available for other writers to finish. Perhaps an anthology collection, with several writers taking the story in different directions. After all, in the fragment, ERB leaves Carson and Ero Shan excitedly discovering a ship on an unknown ocean beneath them.
    Read about the Wizard of Venus” at:
    The 100 word drabble for today is “Unfinished,” and it was inspired by that fragment.


After World War Two, Hulbert Burroughs and his father visited before they left Hawaii.
“Dad, it’s great you’re writing again. Didn’t you start a new Venus novel right before Pearl Harbor.”

“Yes, Hully, but Tarzan and John Carter reached out with stories needing to be told and I’ve heard from Pellucidar via the Gridley Wave.”

“I always liked Carson Napier.”
“So do I, but he hasn’t contacted me.”
Dad, are you saying you write what Tarzan, Carter, and the others tell you. Save that for your readers!”

Burroughs smiled mischievously. “Why son, you can’t believe I make this stuff up?”

December 3:
On this day in 1984, the Union Carbide Fire in India killed actress, Shakeela Bana Bhopal, along with thousands of other people. Shakeela starred in three Bollywood Tarzan Films, Rocket Tarzan, Tarzan and Hercules and Tarzan aur Jadui Chirag.
Shakeela deserves an annual mention, but she’s not the subject of today’s article.
    On this day in 1935, Edgar Rice Burroughs was recovering from in the Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angles. Admitted under the name, John B. Downs, in order to keep away the newspaper. Burroughs was confined to room 823 and he wrote a poem about it. Irwin Porges shared the first two stanzas in his book, “Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Man Who Created Tarzan.
A number of ERB poems are available at:
Miss Collins comes at seven,
And Fansie comes at three,
The night nurse at eleven
To dear old eight-two-three.
They rub me and they scrub me;
They change my silly shirt;
They jab me with their needles
To ease my every hurt. . . .
    Today’s 100 word drabble, “Good Beat,” was inspired by the poem and Burroughs’s visit to the hospital. A tip of the hat to Chuck Berry.


Miss Collins, the charge nurse at the Good Samaritan Hospital walked into room 823 promptly at seven AM. “Well, how’s Mr. Downs this morning. The night nurse said you were writing all night.”

“The muse was upon me.”
“Indeed, Mr. Burroughs. Your secret’s safe with me. Why John B. Downs?”
“To keep away reporters. I didn’t pick Johnny B. Goode because I’m sick and I wasn’t sick enough for John B. Bad, but I was feeling pretty low, so John B. Downs it is.”

“I like Johnny B. Goode. Put it to music, I'm sure I could dance to it.”

December 4:
On this day eighty years ago in 1942, after dinner and poker with his friends, Edgar Rice Burroughs packed to board a C-87 Liberator Express Transport bound for Australia and New Caledonia. He also began writing a journal which would eventually reach fifty pages in length and be titled, “The Dairy of a Confused Old Man or Buck Burroughs Rides Again.
    Danton Burroughs shared the journal and it has been faithfully reproduced at:
Fascinating reading.
    The drabble for today, “All Aboard,” is a 100 word excerpt from ERB’s entry for December 4, 1942. It should be noted that passengers were allowed a strict weight limit on their baggage. Somethings never change.


“After all my care in packing, my gear wasn’t weighed. It never was during nearly 7000 miles of air travel.

The C-87 (a converted B-24, four motored bomber) carried eleven passengers and stacks of baggage and freight making it difficult to move around. I visited the pilots' compartment often during the trip. Had I been carrying the thirty pounds I’d recently shed, I couldn’t have squeezed through the narrow aisle between stacks of baggage and freight. As it was, I stuck a couple of times as the cargo shifted.

Besides myself, there were nine brand new 2nd lieutenant fighter pilots.”

December 5:
On this day 107 years ago in 1915, Edgar Rice Burroughs completed “H. R. H. The Rider,” a European romance of intrigue, mystery, mistaken identity, and love. ERB began the story on October 15, 1915 and it was first published by All-Story Weekly in three installments during December 1918. ERB Inc. published it in a combined edition with the unrelated “The Oakdale Affair” on February 15, 1937 with a John Coleman Burroughs dust jacket. Keeping it all in the family, Jim Pierce, Jane Ralston Burroughs, and Hulbert Burroughs modeled for the cover which illustrated “The Oakdale Affair.” ERB Inc. and Ace books used the title, “The Rider.”
    The Frank Frazetta cover for the 1974 Ace Book publication of “H. R. H. The Rider” no doubt helped sell copies of this 38,000 word story.
    Details about H. R. H. The Rider may be read at:
    The drabble for today, “True Self,’ was inspired by “The Rider.” A tip of the hat to Deborah Harkness, writer of the ‘Discovery of Witches” trilogy.


King Constans of Karlova negotiated a marriage alliance between his son, Boris, and the beautiful Princess Mary of Margoth.

Boris refused and was confined to his room. He escaped only to be waylaid by the Rider, a highwayman. Boris freed himself and occasionally assumed the Rider’s identity.

He saved Mary from bandits and tried to impress the beautiful princess, who saw through his dual roles. “I see that you are behaving like a prince but that doesn’t mean you won’t behave like a devil at the first opportunity.”

“Is that what you fear or is it what you wish for?”

December 6:
On this day in 1917, The New Oxford Item, the newspaper in New Oxford, Pennsylvannia, published an article titled “To The Mother’ by Edgar Rice Burroughs. This World War One article was re-discovered by Burroughs aficionado and researcher, Dale Broadhurst.
The New Oxford Item was published weekly from 1879 until 1967.
The entire article is available online at the magnificent resource ERBzine, go to
    The drabble for today, Thank You For Your Service,” is that patriotic article reduced to 100 words to the best of my ability. I hope ERB’s message is still clear.


One afternoon a boy in uniform came to Chicago on leave. Never in all his life had he felt so alone and lonely.

A woman accosted him. She was a handsome, well-dressed woman, and he shuffled his feet, and stammered, and blushed, but he went with her.

Her family kept him for dinner that night, and all night and all day Sunday.
You can do the same for another boy in uniform and save him for his country and send him on to France with a realization, that American honors "the sacred cloth" in which he marches forth to battle.

December 7: On this day in 1941, Edgar Rice Burroughs and his son, Hulbert, were eye witnesses to the attack on Pearl Harbor. They watched from their hotel tennis court, only realizing it was an attack when they saw the red sun emblem on the low flying aircraft.
    Bill Hillman collated a number of letters written by Edgar Rice Burroughs about his experiences that day and made them available online at:
    The drabble for today, “Guard Duty,” and it is excerpted from a letter that ERB wrote to Whoever Gives a Damn, in the aftermath of the attack.


Shortly after lunch Sunday a radio call came in for all able-bodied men to report and we signed up for guard duty. Hulbert and I guarded twenty-two enemy aliens in a wire enclosure on the wharf. Hulbert was at the back. I was at the front where the gate was. The gate wasn’t locked.

A police car came for them and I wouldn't let them have them until an officer came and O.K.'d it. We had our orders and we were going to obey them; and as we were able to convince everyone. We guarded the prisoners for an hour.

December 8:
On this day in Chapter two of the new Tarzan film serial,  “Adventures of Tarzan” was released in 1921. The serial starred Elmo Lincoln, Louise Lorraine, and Lillian Worth. Chapter two was originally titled “The City of Gold,” and retitled “The Sun Death” when the serial was reedited into ten chapters in 1928, and once more into “Tarzan’s Hideout” in 1935.
No matter what the title, the city of gold is Opar, ruled by the high priestess, La, played by Lillian Worth.
Shipwrecked in a dangerous, lion-infested part of Africa, Professor Porter, and his daughter, Jane, find themselves trapped in the heart of the jungle. After evading capture by duplicitous Clayton and his wicked ally, Rokoff, Tarzan rescues Jane from Arab slave-traders, unbeknownst to him that Queen La, the temptress priestess of the hidden city of Opar, and her minions are watching their every move. Now, as Tarzan saves, once more, beautiful Jane from certain death by the hands of the evil ruler, Clayton and Rokoff set their sights on abducting Jane, whose intricate tattoo on her back can lead them to Opar's immense riches. Who knew Jane had a tattoo!
    Details about the film may be read at:
    The 100 word drabble for today is  “My Tattoo, My Business” and was inspired by the tattooed Jane, Louise Lorraine, who appeared in 1921’s “Adventures of Tarzan.”


Immediately prior to “Adventures, she portrayed Helen in the lost film serial “The Flaming Disc,” which opened on November 21, 1920. Elmo Lincoln played Elmo Gray in the same film. After finishing Tarzan, she starred in “With Stanley in Africa.”

Elmo, playing Tarzan, asked Louise, playing Jane. ‘Why is that villain, Rokoff, after you?”
Jane barred her shoulders. “A map to the treasure vaults of Opar is tattooed on my back.”
“Tattooed? Where did you get a tattoo?
“A girl’s gotta have some secrets. You should have paid attention when we filmed “The Flaming Disc” last year!”

“I didn’t think you knew about La, I mean about Opar. I don’t like my wife having secrets.”

“I knew about La. I don’t like my secretive husband having an attitude. Next time I come to Africa it will be with Henry Stanley.”

December 9:
On this day 89 years ago in 1933, Liberty Magazine published the fifth installment of “Tarzan and the Lion Man.” The cover illustration of a lonely cowboy was by John Newton Howitt and it illustrated the first installment of “The Fighting Jew” by Tex O’Reilly –alternately titled “Wildcat Sam Dreben’s Story at Last.” The issue also contained a non-fiction article, “Roosevelt’s Place in History,” written by some guy named H. G. Wells.
    The novel pokes gentle fun at the movie industry, Burroughs himself, and perhaps a little jab or two at “King of the Jungle,” the Buster Crabbe lion man film, that was released about a month before ERB began writing this novel. Publication details for “Tarzan and the Lion Man,” are at:
    The drabble for today, “Comrades of Necessity,” was inspired by the novel “Tarzan and the Lion Man.”


Tarzan and Major White, a big game hunter, worked together to save Naomi Madison and the entire Lion Man cast from the perils of Africa.

White lit his cigar. “Well, Tarzan, this adventure has drawn us closer. We’re two men of the jungle, comrades, so to speak, working together to save the endangered. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Tarzan shook his head. “No. We’re nothing alike. Our sharing a common goal doesn’t make us friends. The lion and the antelope will flee the same fire, but once the flames go out, the lion will be hungry.”

December 10:
On this day in 1929, Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote a letter to his son, Hulbert, expressing his views on religion. An article including a summary of the letter is located at:
There will be those who cheer his letter and those who will be offended by it. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, including ERB. In the words of the Big Lebowski, “That’s just your opinion, man!”
    Burroughs makes the observation, “A man can be highly religious, he can believe in a God and in an omnipotent creator and still square his belief with advanced scientific discoveries, but he cannot have absolute faith in the teachings and belief of any church, of which I have knowledge, and also believe in the accepted scientific theories of the origin of the earth, of animal and vegetable life upon it, or the age of the human race; all of which matters are considered as basic truth according to the teachings of the several churches as interpreted from their inspired scriptures.
    The 100 word drabble for today, ‘Church and State” was written by ERB in 1929. Both a prophetic vision and a warning. For further reading on the subject, I suggest a novel by Robert Heinlein, “Revolt in 2100.”


I was pained to discover how sadly you’ve misinterpreted my attitude toward religion. I’ve no quarrel with religion. I don’t like the historic attitude of any of the established churches. Their enthusiasms and sincerity never ring true to me and I think there’s been no great change in them all down the ages, insofar as the fundamentals are concerned. There’s as much intolerance and hypocrisy as there ever was, and if any church obtained political power today I believe you would see all the tyranny and injustice and oppression which has marked the political ascendancy of the church in all times."

December 11:
On this day, artist, Hugh McMillen Hutton was born in Lincoln Nebraska. Hutton illustrated the dust jacket for the first edition of “Fighting Man of Mars” and the first week of the daily comic strip, “The Return of Tarzan,” in 1929.
    Hutton’s first success was with the feature, Nutty Natural History. H moved to New York City. He worked at the New York World from 1930 to 1932 and with the United Features Syndicate in 1932 and 1933, drawing illustrations and comic strips. Hutton relocated to Philadelphia and worked as the cartoonist at the Public Ledger in 1933 and 1934. He became the Philadelphia Inquirer's editorial cartoonist in April 1934.
    Hutton held membership in several professional organizations including the National Cartoonists Society, the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists, the National Press Club, and the Philadelphia Sketch Club. The National Safety Council recognized Hutton's work with awards in 1951, 1954, 1957 and 1961. He was also awarded several times by Freedoms Foundation and he received a Christopher Award.
    His week of “The Return of Tarzan” daily strips are reproduced at:
    The 100 word drabble for today, “Truth versus Fiction.” was inspired by Hutton’s career as an editorial cartoonist. I’m reminded of a quotation by Mark Twain. “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it’s because Fiction is obligated to stick to possibilities; truth isn’t.


Hugh Hutton finished the editorial cartoon poking fun at the President’s efforts to pack the Supreme Court by arbitrarily increasing the number of justices.

His editor read it. “Funny, we’ll go with it, Hugh. How do you write and draw a new editorial cartoon every day?”
“Inspiration is where you find it.”
“I’ve read comic strips you’ve submitted. They aren’t as good as your editorial cartoons. I wonder why.”
“I have to make up the stories in the comics. Editorial cartoons are based on what’s really happening.”
“What’s the difference?”
“Read the news. You just can’t make this crap up?”

December 12:
On this day in 1912, Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote to Thomas Metcalf, editor at All-Story Magazine. He was pleased with Metcalf’s interest in the outline for “Monsieur Tarzan,’ and hoping for a favorable decision about “The Outlaw of Torn,” which alas, wasn’t to be.
    Read the entire letter at:
    Here’s a hundred word for drabble today, “Mediaeval Atmosphere, excerpted from Burroughs’s letter of December 12, 1912. Burroughs continues to campaign for “Outlaw of Torn.” I left the spelling for mediaeval unchanged.


Then there are the opinions of those who’ve read the manuscript, who have no great knowledge as to mediaeval customs, nor has the average reader. Without exception they have liked it far better than either of the Martian stories. I think you will find this true of your other readers.

The publishing of this story means a great deal to me because if successful, as I believe it will be, it gives me a field where I may concentrate my energies to the end that I should be able to turn out several other good tales of the same period.

December 13:
On this day in 1947, actor Eddie Sturgis died in Los Angeles, California. His first film was “The Lost Bridegroom” in 1916 with John Barrymore. His last film was 1939’s “Beware, Spooks” which starred Joe E. Brown. In between, Eddie, who also used the names, Edwin Sturgis, Ed Sturgis, and Edwin Sturgis, appeared in seventy-one films (IMDB) including The Jungle Princess (1936), King Kong (1936), The Road to Mandalay (1926), Seven Keys to Baldpate (1925) and The Oakdale Affair (1919), based on the novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs and directed by Oscar Apfel.
    Eddie portrayed Dopey Charlie, one of the hoboes, in “The Oakdale Affair.” Edward Elkins played Dirty Charlie and Frank Nelson was Soup Face. No known copy of this 25 minute silent film exists.
    Details about the lost film, “The Oakdale Affair may be found at
    The drabble for today is "No Soup For You," and it was inspired by the names of the hoboes in the novel and film, "The Oakdale Affair."


“So Eddie, you’re playing Dopey Charlie. Easy. Just keep your mouth shut and look stupid.”
“It’s a silent film, Elkins, of course I’ll keep my mouth shut.”
“And look stupid…”
Who comes up with these names? I can look stupid, think about your character. You play Dirty Eddie. It’s easy looking dirty, but Frank’s playing some bum named Soup Face. He does smell like minestrone.
“The names came directly from the novel by that Tarzan guy. Don’t be a critic.”
“Got it. Dirty Eddie, talk about typecasting.”
“Yeah, but I’ll be clean later and you’ll still be a dope."

December 14: On this day in 1941, Edgar Rice Burroughs’s second “Laugh It Off” column was published in the Honolulu Advertiser. It was reprinted in the Star-Bulletin on December 17, 1941. Burroughs, who’d witness the attack on Pearl Harbor wrote the column during WW2.
Read the entire article at:
He led off with a bit of doggerel verse.
Have you heard the Little Bad Wolf, Baron Hee Haw of Japan, who broadcasts daily, ostensibly from Tokyo? He is trying to give us the jitters, but all he gives us is a laugh; so more power to you, little man! You move me to verse:
Your line is horrendous,
Your fancy tremendous,
As it comes to us over the air;
But instead of the gaff,
You give us a laugh;
Little man who is not all there
Which is rotten verse, but you get what I mean -- I hope.”
The entire article is available to read at:
In the article, Burroughs goes on to rib Anton Rost, a dog breeder and famous dog show judge who’d volunteered for duty after the attack and was to say the least, quite enthusiastic about his responsibilities.
    The drabble for today, “Who Goes There,’ is but part of what ERB had to say about the adventures of Mr. Rost.


No one added more to the gaiety of this war than Anton Rost, the famous dog fancier and show judge. We call him D'Artagan. They posted him at the door of a sampan engine room with orders to complete a search of the vessel and to let no one enter. Five men came to work in the engine room -- nothing doing. An officer came, but Rost had a Springfield with five cartridges. The officer didn't get in. Someone even threatened to shoot Rost, but nobody got into that engine room until a regular army officer came and relieved him.

December 15:
On this day in 1991, episode #10 of “Tarzan,” starring Wolf Larson and Lyndie Denier, debuted on American television. The episode was titled “Tarzan’s Christmas.” Sean Roberge and Malick Bowens were also featured. (Episode 10 Review and Screen Captures)
Jane wants to go home and spend Christmas with her sister, but stays with Tarzan because his chimpanzee, “Maya,’ is sick.
Despite help from Jane and Tarzan’s friend, Simon Govier, Maya dies. Tarzan is crushed. Jane misses Christmas with her sister. The episode isn’t very Christmassy and there’s no action. It’s a sad lesson about the cycle of life.
    The drabble for today, “Taking Wing,” was inspired by the episode, a book by L. Frank Baum called “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”


Jane said, “Don’t be sad, Tarzan. Maya, your chimpanzee friend, had a long life.”
“Yes, she did. I’ve known her longer than I’ve known Cheeta. She helped me when I was a child.”
“She was a wonderful friend. She’s crossed the Rainbow Bridge and I’m sure she’s gone to a place called OZ where people and animals never age.”

“She doesn’t like new places. I hope she’ll be happy in this place called OZ”
Suddenly, a bell from the native village rang out. Jane smiled. “She’ll be fine. In OZ, every time a bell rings, a monkey gets its wings.”


See Days 16 - 31 at ERBzine 7595a


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