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ERB 100-Word Drabbles
MAY IV Edition :: Days 1 - 15
See Days 16 - 30 at ERBzine 7596a
by Robert Allen Lupton
With Collations, Web Page Layout and ERBzine Illustrations and References by Bill Hillman
May 1: On this day 107 years ago in 1915, All- Story Cavalier Weekly published the first installment of “Pellucidar.” The magazine changed its name after the first two installments to “All-Story Weekly” after the second installment was published. Munsey merged “The Cavalier with All-Story in 1914. Later, Munsey would require the rights to “The Argosy Magazine,” and for a brief period combine it with All-Story for Argosy All-Story. The Argosy title would survive to be published for many years.
The issue containing the first installment of Pellucidar had a cover by Modest Stein. It's one of my least favorite Burroughs covers. The woman looks so unhappy, perhaps even angry.
Details about publication of “Pellucidar,” and an electronic version of the book are available at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0742.html
The drabble for today is “Happy Face” and it was inspired by the Modest Stein cover for the first pulp appearance of the novel. A tip of the hat to Buck Owens for the song “Under Your Spell Again,” co-written with Dusty Rhodes.
David Innes returned to Pellucidar after repairing the Iron Mole. When he’d left the Earth’s Core, a Mahar, a flying lizard with mental powers, had controlled his mind and taken the place of his wife, Dian, the beautiful.
“Dian,” he said. “You’re so angry. Aren’t you glad to see me?”
“I’ve been fighting to survive while you’ve been gallivanting with your lizard girlfriend.”
“She’s not my girlfriend. She bewitched me with mental powers. I thought she was you. It’s not my fault.
“I believe you. You’ve got me under your spell again. I gotta take you back one more time.”
CALL MY NAME
May 2: On this day in 1937, the last Tarzan Sunday Comic page illustrated by Hal Foster appeared. The page was the fifty-first page in the saga, “Tarzan and the City of Gold,” which continued for 22 more weeks with art by Burne Hogarth. Don Garden wrote the story.
Hal Foster left to begin his own Sunday Comic, “Prince Valiant,” which is still published in newspapers across America every Sunday.
You can the Hal Foster Tarzan story starting at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag65/6579.html. It has also been reprinted three times, once in NBM, Tarzan in Color Vols. 5-7 and in House of Greystoke, Tarzan Folio #6. The newest reprinting, is in the giant supersize 15" x 20" reprints now available from Dark Horse Books.
Each hard cover volume of Dark Horse's comprehensive collections of Hal Foster's Tarzan Sundays reprints over 120 strips on high-quality paper and in eye-popping color, replicating their appearance back in the 1930s when they were brand new!
The drabble for today, “Call My Name,’ was inspired by Hal Foster’s last Tarzan page, the beginning of Prince Valiant and the motion picture of the same name.
Don Garden said, “I’ll miss your work, Hal, but this Hogarth guy seems pretty good. Good luck with your new strip.”
CALL MY NAME
“I’ll give it a valiant effort.”
“Not that funny. So you’re giving up the jungle for Camelot?”
“Yes, King Arthur, Genevieve, Merlin, Morgan Le Fay, and Lancelot. Prince Valiant, one of the Knights of the Round Table, is the main character.”
“How did you choose the name, Valiant?”
“I told the publisher that the knight would be valiant, and the next thing I knew that was his name.”
“What a great line. They should use that in a movie.”
A FINE LINE
May 3: On this day in 1917, the May 1917 issue of Blue Book Magazine was on newsstands across America. The issue featured one of the “New Stories of Tarzan,” which would eventually be collected in to the book “Jungle Tales of Tarzan. The story in this issue was “The Nightmare.” The cover was a painting of a beautiful woman, as was every Blue Book cover in those days. The artist was Z. P. Nikolaki. Among the other writers represented in this issue was a story by Albert Payson Terhune (Lad, A Dog), titled “The Wish Fairy’s Work.”
In “The Nightmare,” Tarzan has stolen rotten elephant meat from a village. He eats it and becomes very ill. He dreams that a snake with a witch doctor’s head threatens him, but he is carried off by a giant bird. He wakes and realizes he was only dreaming. He is attacked by a gorilla, which he believes is a dream until the beast injures him. He kills the beast, but remains confused about the line between real and imagined events, but he swears to never again eat elephant meat.
For publishing detail, reviews, and illustrations for "Jungle Tales of Tarzan," visit https://www.erbzine.com/mag4/0492.html
The drabble for today, “A Fine Line,” was inspired by “The Nightmare.”
The hunters offered Tarzan whiskey one Saturday night.
A FINE LINE
“No thanks. Whiskey blurs the line between truth and fiction. I’ve had enough of that.”
“Lord Greystoke, you can’t mean you drank too much.”
“No, but I once ate rotten meat, not knowing better, and had tremulous dreams. I almost died the next morning before I realized what was real and what wasn’t.”
The hunter laughed. “Scrooge called Marley’s ghost a bit of undigested beef. It’s often the same with whiskey. Many a man's suffered that same confusion. My father always said, “There’s a fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning.”
NEVER SAY NEVER
May 4: Star Wars Day (May the fourth be with you) On this day in 1928, artist Nester Redondo was born in the Philippines. Redondo worked for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, fanzines including ERBdom, and several other publishers. His work included six issues of “Rima, the Jungle Girl” and one page in Tarzan #232 published in 1974.
A nice article and representative samples of his work are at:
Today’s drabble, “Never Say Never” features my old friends Pat and John from New Orleans.
John put a pile of new comic books on the table. “Pat, four of these comics are by Nestor Redondo. I wish he’d do more Tarzan stuff.”
NEVER SAY NEVER
Pat said, “So do I. Loved his ERBdom cover. He’s busy with Swamp Thing and Conan. Conan’s hot right now.”
“Isn’t Redondo from the Philippines?”
“Yes, I think his family came to the US during WW2 about the same time that MacArthur left Corregidor. I saw him at a comic convention and asked him about leaving Tarzan. He said, “I shall return.’
“That’s not funny.”
“Maybe, maybe not, but you know it’s clever!”
TO THE MOON ALICE
May 5: (Cinco de Mayo and the date on which more beer is consumed in America than any day excepting Independence Day) On this day in 1923, Argosy All-Story Weekly published the first installment of “The Moon Maid.” The story, which makes up the first third of the Moon Maid trilogy was presented by Argosy All-Story in five parts. P. J. Monahan drew the cover illustration for the first part.
Burroughs actually wrote the second part three years before he wrote the first part. Part two, AKA, “The Moon Men,” was originally titled “Under the Red Flag.” Burroughs rewrote it and then wrote “The Moon Maid,” to set up the second title. The story features reincarnation, interplanetary invasions, post-apocalyptic survival, flesh eating centaurs, flying women, evil overlords, and revolution. What more could you want.
Publishing history, numerous illustrations, and all three parts (The Moon Maid, The Moon Men, and The Red Hawk) in e-text versions are located at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0767.html
Burroughs wrote himself into the book as “OB” or Old Burroughs. In the story he is the 112 year old head of the US Bureau of Communications and is traveling to Paris when he meets the man who will tell him the story of the Moon Maid.”
The drabble for today, “To the Moon, Alice.” was written by some unknown copywriter at Argosy All-Story and it appeared the week before the first installment of “The Moon Maid.”
Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose remarkable imaginative powers enthralled millions, reaches out into interplanetary space in his latest and most fascinating serial and tells a story of adventurous earth men who brought their loves and hates to the moon.
TO THE MOON ALICE
The earth’s satellite seems a cold, dead thing, spinning drearily in airless space, desolate, barren, forbidding. The keen mind of Mr. Burroughs takes this unpromising bit of stellar waste, uncovers its secret, peoples it with strange races, and relates a vivid gripping story of what happened when the men from another world entered its life. The tale is called “The Moon Maid.”
May 6: On this day in 1914 the last installment of “The Return of Tarzan” was published in “The Fort Wayne Daily News. The serialization of the novel began on April 15, 1914, four years before April 15 would become known as TAX DAY.
Photographic reproductions of every issue are at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag17/1751.html
The newspaper page advertised diamonds on an installment plan, Red Cross Blue laundry detergent, Acme Paint, and chiropractors, among others. It also contained the a space filler stating “Enough English bananas were imported into the United States last year to furnish peelings sufficient to give the people one hundred slides per capita. I’m not sure what a slide of bananas was. The newspaper adaption was edited to be shorter than the magazine version, but Tarzan's final scene remained intact.
The drabble for today, “Leaving Home,” is the last 100 words from the newspaper adaption of “The Return of Tarzan.”
As the cruiser steamed slowly out to sea a tall man and a graceful girl leaned against her rail watching the receding shore line upon which, danced twenty naked, black warriors of the Waziri, waving their war spears above their savage heads and shouting farewell to their departing king. "I should hate to think that I am looking upon the Jungle for the last time, dear," he said, "were it not that I know that I am going to a new world of happiness with yon forever," and, bending down, Tarzan of the Apes kissed his mate upon the lips.
LOOK ON THE SUNNY SIDE
May 7: On this day in 1962, the John Celardo daily Tarzan comic strip story arc, “Tarzan and the Poachers,” began in newspapers across America. The story ran for 132 days and concluded on October 6, 1962. Celardo illustrated the daily comic from January 9, 1954 until December 9, 1967. Thirteen years and over 4000 daily episodes.
Tarzan and a young boy, Ito, Mr. Peter Crisp, to battle unlicensed hunters, who hunt ivory, rhino horns, and other trophies illegally in Africa.
The drabble for today, ‘Look on the Sunny Side,” was inspired by the story arc, “Tarzan and the Poachers,” though it has nothing to do with the story.
Ito, a native boy, and Tarzan joined with Peter Crisp to protect jungle wildlife.
LOOK ON THE SUNNY SIDE
Ito said, “Excuse my English. Why do we care about poaching? I like fried eggs, Mr. Crisp likes boiled, and Tarzan eats them raw.”
“Poaching has other meanings in English,” said Mr. Crisp
“In our language, a word one thing. Who cares how people cook breakfast. Poached, fried, or boiled, an egg is still an egg.”
Tarzan said, “Poachers kill animals illegally. When I catch these poachers, I’ll scramble them, stake them sunny side up on an ant hill, and baste them in the hot sun.”
TOMORROW THE STARS
May 8: On this day in 1975, writer Ray Bradbury penned a tribute to Edgar Rice Burroughs, who had inspired him. Bradbury’s short story, “Mars is Heaven,” was featured in his best seller, “The Martian Chronicles. The short story was transcribed and broadcast on the “X-ONE” radio production and was published in Esquire Magazine in December 1950.
See the full coverage of these features in ERBzine at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag37/3744.html
Today’s drabble, “Tomorrow the Stars,” is 100 words selected from Bradbury’s tribute. It’s interesting to think that without Edgar Rice Burroughs, there would have been no Martian Chronicles or Fahrenheit 451.
Edgar Rice Burroughs’ greatest gift was teaching me to look at Mars and ask to be taken home. I went home to Mars often when I was eleven and twelve and every year since then, and the astronauts with me, as far as the Moon to start, but Mars by the end of the century for sure.... We have commuted because of Mr. Burroughs. Because of him we have printed the Moon. Because of him and men like him, one day in the next five centuries, we will commute forever, we will go away...And never come back....And so live forever.
TOMORROW THE STARS
IT TAKES A JUNGLE
May 9: On this day in 2013, the animated feature film, “Tarzan,” starring Kellen Lutz and Spencer Locke was released in the United States. The film, produced in Germany was a 3D computer-animated motion capture film, produced and directed by Reinhard Kloose.
The film received mostly negative reviews, but grossed 44 million worldwide. It’s available to watch on several streaming services.
The film features meteorites, volcanos, gorillas, evil corporations (Greystoke Energies) and, of course, the story of Tarzan and Jane modified to suit the producers version of the legend.
The drabble for today is “It Takes A Jungle,” was inspired by the storyline of the film.
Jane, disgusted by the behavior of William Clayton, abandoned the safari and wandered into trouble in the jungle. Tarzan rescued her and took her to his home, where they fell in love.
IT TAKES A JUNGLE
Clayton tracked them and discovered Tarzan was heir to Greystoke Energies and tried to kill him. Tarzan and Jane escaped again and hid with the tribe of apes who raised Tarzan.
Jane asked, “How could you survive in the jungle from childhood?”
“Family. The apes, elephants, and the rest of the animals are my family. They took care of me. It takes a jungle to raise a child.”
May 10: On this day in 1929, Edgar Rice Burroughs finished dictating the novel, “The Fighting Man of Mars.” He began the story on February 28th and finished it in 71 days. Hadron of Hastor, a padwar or soldier, who served John Carter goes in serch of the beautiful Sanoma Tora, who was kidnapped by the evil Tul Astar. Along the way, he rescues a slave girl named Tavia. He learns that Sanoma Tora’s beauty is only skin deep and she isn’t being held as a slave, she has married her alleged captor. Hadron eventually realizes that he loves Tavia.
The seventh Barsoom novel continued Burroughs’ policy to write stories featuring protagonists other than John Carter. Edgar Rice Burroughs and Jason Gridley make brief appearances.
The novel was serialized by Blue Book Magazine and the first edition published by Metropolitan books in 1931.You can read the complete publishing history and the novel as well as see several illustrations at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0735.html.
The drabble for today is “Retirement Plan,” and it was inspired by “The Fighting Man of Mars,” with a little help from the film, “Tora, Tora, Tora,” about the attack on Pearl Harbor. “Tora, Tora, Tora” was the Japanese code to begin the attack on Pearl Harbor. “Tora” is a Japanese word meaning “tiger,” but the full phrase is considered an abbreviation for totsugeki raigeki, which means “lightning attack.” With that in mind, the cover illustration with this article is for the Japanese edition of the novel.
Hadron fought his way across the Barsoomian wastelands to rescue Sanoma Tora. He forced his way into her kidnapper’s throne room and drew his sword. He hesitated.
The evil Tul Astor smiled. “Hadron, I see you recognize my bride, Sanoma. Have you brought a wedding gift?”
Hadron said, “Sanoma, say it isn’t so. I crossed half the world to save you.”
She haughtily replied, “From what, foolish man? From luxury and riches, I hope not.”
“Ah, Tora, Tora, Tora, marrying an old man for his money never works out.”
She smiled evilly, “It will as long as I outlive him.”
May 11: On this day in 1973, actor Lex Barker died in New York City. Born Alexander Crichlow Barker, Jr, Lex enlisted in the US Army almost a year before Pearl Harbor and rose to the rank of major. He fought in the European theater and received two Purple Hearts.
He appeared as Tarzan in “Tarzan’s Magic Fountain,” “Tarzan and the Slave Girl,” Tarzan’s Peril,” “Tarzan’s Savage Fury,” and “Tarzan and the She-Devil.” He made western films in the US before continuing his career in Italy and Germany. He was one of the most popular actors in German cinema and was nominated for Bambi and Bravo Otto awards. He even recorded two German language records.
During his Tarzan days, his likeness appeared on several Tarzan comic book covers.
Details about Lex Barker and his Tarzan films abound at the website www.erbzine.com/mag6/0629.html. Take a look.
The drabble for today is Dream Job,” and it’s a combination of interview comments by Barker about playing Tarzan.
“Mr. Barker, you’ve worn a crew cut since World War Two, how do you feel about changing your hair to play Tarzan?”
“Are you kidding? Why I'd let it grow down to my knees for a job like this!”
Do you think this film will be the only time you play Tarzan?”
“No, if my muscles hold up and my waistline keeps down, I can play Tarzan till I'm fifty.”
“And when you can’t play Tarzan anymore?”
“”Return to Europe. I was there during World War Two and except for getting shot at and injured twice, I liked it fine.”
May 12: On this day in 1907, Leslie Charles Bowyer-Yin was born in Singapore to an Englishwoman, Lydia Florence Bowyer, and her husband, Dr. Yin Suat Chwat. Leslie assumed the pen name, Leslie Charteris and wrote several novels and screenplays. He created the character, Simon Templar, aka ‘The Saint’ in his third novel, “Meet the Tiger”. Over 100 “Saint” novels were published, but Charteris stopped writing them in 1963. The novel, “Vendetta for the Saint,” published in 1964, was actually written by science fiction author, Harry Harrison.
Charteris not only wrote adventure, he lived it. He was a sailor, a bartender, a prospector, pearl diver, a miner, an overseer on a rubber plantation, a bus driver, and even worked in a carnival. However, he wrote all the time, no matter his job.
Leslie helped with the screenplay for “Tarzan and the Huntress,” which starred Johnny Weissmuller and Brenda Joyce. In the credits he was listed as the screenplay constructor.
Details and photos relating to the film are at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag6/0627.html
The drabble for today, “Hunting Permit,” is a slightly modified version of dialogue from “Tarzan and the Huntress.” Tanya, the huntress is attempting to obtain hunting rights from King Farrod. It reminds me of the next to the last line in the play, "Teahouse of the August Moon," "What was true in the beginning, remains true!"
Tanya said, “King, I have a contract to supply animals to zoos across America. I’ll pay you well for a permit to hunt on your land.”
“I have no interest. My jungle today is an unhappy place. It was much more peaceful before woman come. I expect it will be peaceful when you leave.”
“There’s nothing I can offer that would make you change your mind?”
Tanya smiled. “In our civilization, we believe in always keeping an open mind.”
King Farrod shook his head. “In your civilization, open mind means that one must agree with what you yourself say.”
TARZAN AND JANE
May 13: On this day in 1934, Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing the novel “Tarzan and Jane.” The name was changed to “Tarzan’s Quest and serialized in Blue Book Magazine in six monthly installments from October 1935 through March 1936. This was Jane’s last appearance as a major character in the novels. The story feature the immortality drug of the Kavuru, a tribe of white savages.
Tarzan obtains a supply of the longevity pills and divides them into six shares, including a shire for Nkima, his monkey companion. He also gives shares to three people who helped save Jane, Neal Brown a pilot, and Annette and Tibbs, servants to Prince Sborov.
Muviro, a lifelong friend, doesn’t receive a share and neither does Tarzan’s son or daughter-in-law. In her last appearance, Jane is a strong resourceful woman who takes the lead in this novel.
The drabble for today is “Strong Medicine,” and it was inspired by the novel, “Tarzan’s Quest,” and any resemblance to current events is only a coincidence.
Tarzan said, “These pills will prolong life. I saved a supply for you.”
TARZAN AND JANE
Meriam, Tarzan’s daughter-in-law, pushed them away. “They look funny. What’s in them?”
Tarzan shrugged, “Plants, glands, berries, and some other stuff. Take them. They’ll make you live forever.”
“Who made them?”
Tarzan swallowed a pill. “A witch doctor. They’re longevity pills. Take them.”
“Maybe the pills are a plot to kill us all.”
“Meriam, maybe they’re a plot to keep us alive.”
Meriam stood up. “I’d rather get sick and die than take these pills.”
Tarzan took back the pills. “As you wish, Meriam, so be it.”
AND HERE'S TARZAN
May 14: On this day in 1934, the first episode of the radio serial, Tarzan and the Diamonds of Asher’ was broadcast The episode, “Mistaken Identity” was the first of 39 episode which were broadcast on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
You can hear all thirty-nine episodes at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag31/3140.html. It’s good stuff. Give it a listen.
ERB didn’t renew the radio contract with American Radio Features in 1934. He took over production of the series himself. He planned a Tarzan script in which Jane would be a major character (for daughter Joan), but Joan Pierce dropped out and Jim Pierce, ERB’s son-in-law who played Tarzan chose not to appear without his wife. Burroughs wrote a new script without Jane.
Stage and radio actor Carton KaDell was signed for the Tarzan role and the cast, included Jeanette Nolan and Don Wilson. Kadell briefly played Red Ryder on radio. At no point in the Red Ryder broadcasts did he ever say, “You’ll shoot your eye out.”
The drabble for today, “And Here’s Tarzan,” is the introduction for the 1940s radio rebroadcast of “Tarzan and the Diamonds of Asher,” written by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
"We bring you Tarzan, that immortal fictional character of Edgar Rice Burroughs, in a new and exciting serial entitled TARZAN AND THE DIAMOND OF ASHER .Deep in Africa rises a mighty cone-shaped mountain, in the crater lies The forbidden city of Asher... Two safaris endure hardships and perils that bring death to some and high adventure to all... One safari is bent on the rescue of the son of its leader... the other, headed by a wily and unscrupulous Oriental, seeks only the Father of Diamonds... And through the danger moves the majestic figure of Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle."
AND HERE'S TARZAN
May 15: On this day in 1943, the world’s oldest war correspondent, Edgar Rice Burroughs, who was stationed in Hawaii wrote a letter to his daughter, Joan. In the letter he complained that as far as he knew, none of his stories (articles) had appeared in the Mainland newspapers. He was worried that they were badly written, but later discovered that war news from North Africa got top coverages.
He also commented on the dangers of malaria. To read the entire letter, and several more, visit: https://www.erbzine.com/mag10/1032.html
The drabble for today is “News Priority” and it’s a 100 word excerpt from ERB’s letter to his daughter written on this day in 1943.
None of my stories appeared in Mainland papers. I thought they were so rotten that United Press wouldn't release them (and they were rotten). Today I received a letter from George Carlin, General Manager of United Feature Syndicate, in which he says: "The United Press reported the stories you sent were swell, but somehow the subscribing papers didn’t come through with the promotion and display anticipated. This was probably due to the press of big war news, especially from North Africa." That made me feel a little better. A few that were run here seemed to be very well liked.
See Days 16 - 30 at ERBzine 7596a
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