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ERB 100-Word Drabbles
AUGUST IV Edition :: Days 1 - 15
See Days 16 - 30 at ERBzine 7599a
by Robert Allen Lupton
With Collations, Web Page Layout and ERBzine Illustrations and References by Bill Hillman
August 1: On this day in 1919, Edgar Rice Burroughs hired John A. Shea as his secretary. He resigned briefly in 1923, but returned to the position in 1924. Shea made a brief appearance in the novel, “The Chessmen of Mars.” In fact his name is the first word in the novel. The opening line begins “SHEA had just beaten me at chess. Shea also taught piano to Joan and Hulbert.
The drabble for today. “Chess Prodigy,” was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who was an excellent chess player and highly unlikely to lose a game with John Shea. It’s taken from the first paragraph in “The Chessmen of Mars.”
"SHEA had beaten me at chess, as usual, and, also as usual, I’d gleaned what questionable satisfaction I might by twitting him with this indication of failing mentality by calling his attention to that theory, propounded by certain scientists, which is based upon the assertion that phenomenal chess players are always found to be from the ranks of children under twelve, adults over seventy-two or the mentally defective--a theory that is lightly ignored upon those rare occasions that I win. Shea had gone to bed and sat there idly blowing smoke at the dishonored head of my defeated king."
August 2: On this date in 1858, actor Forrest Robinson was born in Rochester. New York. He played Charles Porter in the short-lived 1921 stage production of “Tarzan of the Apes” at New York’s Broadhurst Theatre. Ronald Adair played Tarzan and Ethel Dwyer played Jane. Real lions were used on stage.
Forrest was leading man at the Boston Museum Theatre for eight years before moving to Broadway. His stage and screen credits included “The Meanest Man in the World,” “Adam’s Rib,” “Tess of the Storm Country,” and “A Jungle Gentleman.”
Details about the 1921 Tarzan play are available at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag15/1568.html
Ethel Dwyer said, “Forrest, this Tarzan thing will close before our costumes need washing.”
“Indeed, my dear. Some plays go on for months and some never see a second week.”
“I thought our acting was excellent.”
“Perhaps, I for one, am always excellent,” said Forrest, “but it’s hard not to be upstaged by roaring lions. When the audience is concerned that they might be eaten by lions, they don’t care for a soliloquy, no matter how well it’s delivered.”
“You blame the lions?”
“Not necessarily, but roaring lions and bad theatre both make the audience run away like frightened wildebeests!”
LYING IN WAIT
August 3: On this day in 1926, Gordon Merrill Werschkul was born in Portland, Oregon. Using the screen name, Gordon Scott, he starred as Tarzan, Hercules, and Goliath, and other fictional and real heroes.
Scott’s Tarzan was articulate and intelligent. He played Tarzan the way Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote the character. Scott was in six Tarzan films, “Tarzan’s Hidden Jungle,” “Tarzan and the Lost Safari,” "Tarzan’s Fight for Life,” “Tarzan and the Trappers,” “Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure,” and “Tarzan the Magnificent.”
Scott attended the University of Oregon for one semester before joining the US Army in 1944, where he served as a military policeman and drill instructor.
You can read more about the man and his films at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag17/1793.html
The drabble for today is “Lying in Wait,” inspired by “Tarzan and the Lost Safari.” Lions, spiders, and even bad people often lie in wait for the unsuspecting.
Betta St. John and Wilfrid Hyde-White wandered near the lions on the set of “Tarzan and the Lost Safari.
LYING IN WAIT
Betta stopped, “Lions frighten me.”
Wilfred laughed, “A quiet lion is a safe lion. Watch, I’ll show you.”
He approached a lion lying on the ground and stroked its whiskers. The lion roared and pinned Hyde-White to the ground.
Gordon Scott, dressed as Tarzan, shouted the Tarzan yell to attract the lion. He gently took its mane and led it away.
“What’s wrong with you he said to Wilfred, “Lions, like bad men, often hide in silence to trap the unwary!”
GALLANTRY IN ACTION
August 4: On this day in 1947, Edgar Rice Burroughs received a letter from Brigadier General Truman Landon from the War College in Washington DC. The general thanked Burroughs for the dedication in “Tarzan and 'the Foreign Legion'” but like generals everywhere made a few technical criticisms.
The dedication read, “To Brigadier General Truman H. Landon.” Landon had been the Commanding General of the Bomber Command of the 7th Air Force, Hickam Field, Honolulu.
Earlier, On December 7, 1941, while in route to the Philippine Islands in command of the 38th Squadron, General Landon arrived at Hickam Field, Hawaii, during the Japanese attack. For his actions that day he received the Silver Star. He also received a Distinguished Service Medal, A Legion of Merit, a Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, and several more awards.
The ERB / Truman Landon Connection in ERBzine
The 100 word drabble for today, “Gallantry in Action,” is from his Silver Star award ceremony. He was a major at the time.
The Silver Star is presented to Truman H. Landon, Major, U.S. Army Air Force, for gallantry in action and bravery while serving with the 18th Reconnaissance Squadron during the Japanese aerial attack on Hickam Field, Territory of Hawaii, on 7 December 1941. Major Landon, Echelon Commander after an all-night flight and with only a small quantity of gasoline remaining which necessitated an early landing, arrived in the vicinity of Hickam Field during the attack and was attacked by Japanese aircraft. Major Landon's flight was unarmed and unprepared, but he brought about the safe landing of his flight while under fire.
GALLANTRY IN ACTION
ONLY THE STRONG
August 5: On this day in 1963, Marco Giuseppe Salussolia, better known as Mark Strong, was born in London, England. Strong played Matai Shang, a leader of the evil Therns, in the film, “John Carter.”
Strong’s extensive acting credits included, “RocknRolla,’ “Green Lantern,’ and the Kingsman films.
A few articles and interview about Strong and the film are located at: https://www.erbzine.com/news/news28.html and https://erbzine.com/cartermovie.com/news/strong.html
The drabble for today, Only the Strong," is taken from comments that Mark made about the John Carter movie before filming started. He’d signed a three picture deal – but we all know how that worked out.
https://erbzine.com/cartermovie.com/news/strong.htmlI mean getting to play Mati Shang Master of the Universe, it doesn’t get much better than that.
ONLY THE STRONG
Shang is basically John Carter’s nemesis. He comes into his own during the 2nd half of the current movie and then just basically gets bigger and bigger in the 2nd and 3rd. It’s extremely nerve wracking because what you have to do is understand that you’re committing to something in the future and if the first one is a huge success and they want to make the 2nd and 3rd, basically they have first call on you for a number of years.
August 6: On this day in 1892, actor Victor Rodman was born in Augusta, Arkansas. The sun of Hungarian immigrants, his birth name was Victor Rottman. Rodman portrayed the character “Wolf,” in the radio show, “Tarzan and the Diamonds of Asher.” Rodman had over eighty-five film and television credits in spite of leaving the screen from 1925 to 1955 to work almost exclusively on radio. When he returned to film and television, he performed in eight episodes of Dragnet.
All thirty-nine episodes of “Tarzan and Diamonds of Asher” are located at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag31/3140.html
The drabble for today is “Proverbs,” and it was inspired by Rodman’s long, but unusual career.
Jack Webb, the star of Dragnet, asked, “Victor, we’re glad to have you on the show, but I’ve got a couple questions. You made dozens of silent films.”
“Jack, at that time it seemed to me that it was better to be seen, but not heard.”
“Just the facts, please. In 1925 you quit making pictures and moved to radio shows. Why was that?”
“Radio was live. A one hour show took a couple of hours of rehearsal and one live performance. Show up, do the show, get paid, go home. It was better to be heard and not seen.”
August 7: On this day in 1944, the world’s oldest war correspondent, Edgar Rice Burroughs, wrote to his daughter-in-law, Jane, about her choice of Danton as the name for his grandson.
“Danton” is of French origin and it means, “Love From God.” Whatever the source of his name, Danton grew up to become Chairman of the Board at ERB Inc. and a friend to ERB enthusiasts across the world. Danton was a logical choice since Jane's father (Danton's Grandfather) was Danton Ralson.
The illustration with this article is of the adult Danton Burroughs holding a painting of himself as a child. John Coleman Burroughs was the artist.
The drabble for today, "Baby Picture," is the entirety of that letter. Along with several more, it can be read at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag9/0913.html . A tribute to Danton is at: https://www.erbzine.com/danton/
BABY PICTUREEdgar Rice Burroughs
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
Thanks for your note of July 15th and for the snapshots of the boys.
They are very cute.
I did not say that I didn't like the name Danton. I think I just
asked how come? It is an unusual name; so naturally I wondered about it.
Both Hulbert and I have been wondering what Jack is doing since
his Douglas job folded. If it isn't a military secret, we'd like
to know. After all, Hully and I are sort of interested in Jack.
Love to you all,
August 8: On this day in 2019 comic book artist Ernesto Colón Sierra died in Huntington, New York. Known professionally as Ernie Colon, Ernesto he illustrated hundreds of comic book titles, including “Arak, Son of Thunder,” “Amethyst of the Gemworld,” “Casper the Friendly Ghost,” “Joe Palooka,” “The Flash,” “Green Lantern,” “Wonder Woman,” “Magnus, Robot Fighter,” “Richie Rich,” and of course, six beautiful issues of “John Carter, Warlord of Mars.”
His career began doing paste- ups at Harvey Comics. The drabble. “Ghost Riches, is 100 words taken from a 2011 interview with Ernie Colon.
“Harvey Comics was looking for a letterer. I’m the worst letterer in the business. Leon Harvey, took one look and said, 'You're no letterer' and walked away. I went for the door, but Vicky Harvey stopped me. She told me to wait. She advised them not to let me go, because they offered me a job doing paste-ups in the art department. I did that for a year while practicing drawing their characters at night. They then hired me. I worked for them for 25 years drawing most of their characters, but mainly Casper the Friendly Ghost and Richie Rich.”
LIFE'S A BEACH
August 9: On this day in 1931, The Los Angeles Times printing a brief article announcing that ERB had purchased a Malibu summer home. According to an article in the Los Angeles Evening Herald, ERB purchased the seven-room Mediterranean-style house with forty feet of ocean frontage on La Costa Beach for $25,000. A quick look at homes for sale in the area showed prices ranging from $3,00,000 to $15,000,000.
Today La Costa Beach is part of what is called the Great Wall of Malibu, where wall to wall beach houses block the public’s few of the ocean from the highway. When ERB purchased the house, there were only scattered homes and the beach and mountain views were unspoiled.
During the 1930s when ERB was actively living in Malibu, her wrote fifteen novels including “Swords of Mars,” “Pirates of Venus,” “Back to the Stone Age,” and a handful of Tarzan titles.
The 100 word drabble for today is “Life’s a Beach,” and it was inspired by ERB’s living on Malibu Beach.
An aspiring writer approached Edgar Rice Burroughs on the La Costa Beach. “Excuse me. I love your work. Is beach living inspiring or does its beauty detract from your work?”
LIFE'S A BEACH
Burroughs finished his drink. “Time passes differently meandering from moment to moment depending on the weather and my mood.”
“I’d appreciate some advice."
“Certainly, to be a successful writer, avoid pier pressure, come out of your shell, sea life’s beauty and be shore of yourself. Lastly don’t get tide down at work, and remember, were there’s a will, there’s a wave!”
“Are you squidding me?"
“Keep palm and carry on!”
HOPE IN ONE HAND
August 10: On this day in 1982, actor William Albert Henry died in Los Angeles California. He worked in films and television and played Eric Parker, one of Jane’s cousins, in the 1936 film, “Tarzan Escapes.” The film featured Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan.
There’s no way to list all his credits here, IMBD lists 231 credits for William, including: The Six Million Dollar Man, The Omega Man, El Dorado, Texas Across the River, Gunsmoke, Rawhide, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Alamo, Sergeant Rutledge, Yancy Derringer, Dragnet, Red Ryder, Annie Oakley, The Adventures of Superman, Sky King, Jungle Moon Men, Fury of the Congo, and The Thin Man.
Today’s drabble. “Hope in one hand,” was inspired by Henry’s appearance in “Tarzan Escapes.” In the film, Jane’s last name was Parker.
Jane’s cousins, Eric and Rita, wanted to convince Jane to return to America and claim her inheritance. Tarzan agreed to let Jane go, but the evil Captain Fry captured the three Parker cousins and traded them to a native tribe.
HOPE IN ONE HAND
The tribe captured Tarzan and caged all four together. Tarzan said, “Eric, you’ve been imprisoned for three days. Do you have a plan to escape?”
“I’ve been thinking. I hope they’ll let us go.”
“That won’t work. Wishing and hoping isn’t a plan. When they bring food, I’ll pretend to sleep by the door, Jane will scream ‘fire’ and …”
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
August 11: On this day in 1958, actor Miguel A. Nunez Jr. was born in New York City. Nunez appeared in The Return of the Living Dead, Tour of Duty, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Action Jackson, Carnosaur 2, The Fresh Prince of Belair, Twilight Zone, and Babylon 5, among his hundreds of credits. He also played Detective Sam Sullivan in the 8 episode 2003 Tarzan series that starred Travis Fimmel and Sarah Wayne Callies.
The drabble for today, “Home Field Advantage,” was inspired by Miguel’s role in the 2003 TV Tarzan series.
A gang attacked Tarzan, who after defeating most of them, was cornered. Detective Sam Sullivan arrived and scattered the gang.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
Tarzan said, “I had this.”
“Sure you did. You should wear a shirt. This late at night people are either prey or predators. Long hair and no shirt makes you a mark. Go buy some shoes.”
“I’m the predator.”
“Cemetery’s full of dudes who thought like that. A tough guy in Topeka is dog food in the city.”
“I’m king of the jungle.”
“Some jungle somewhere, but not this urban jungle and not today. I live here. You’re just visiting.”
READ FIRST, COMPLAIN LATER
August 12: On this day in 1909, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ oldest son, Hulbert Burroughs, was born. ERB dedicated “The Son of Tarzan” to his son, but the dedication was left off the first edition. That means a true first edition of “The Son of Tarzan, published by A. C. McClurg is missing that dedication.
During WWII, Hully moved to Hawaii to spend time with his father who was still recovering from the shock of the recent split from Florence. They both witnessed the Jap attack on Pearl Harbor as the attacking planes flew in over their heads while they were playing a Sunday morning tennis match. Hully joined the American Forces and became a well-known combat photographer.
Hulbert wrote stories with John Coleman Burroughs and Jane Ralston Burroughs including “The Man without a World,” “The Lightning Men,” and “The Bottom of the World” These stories are available for download from ERBzine at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag3/0341.html A collection of those stories is also available at: https://www.amazon.com/Bottom-World-other.../dp/1312324937
Articles about Hulbert, electronic version of the stories, and several photographs are available at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag19/1985.html
Hulbert was vice president of ERB Incorporated and in that capacity replied to several letters written to the company.
The drabble for today, “Read First, Complain Later,” and it was taken directly from a letter dated May 7, 1965 from Hulbert to Mr. John Vaughn of Kanas City, Missouri. You can read the entire letter and several more at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag9/0997.html
"I suppose one must first define what one means by literature. Please let me know if your teacher has read any of the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs and which ones. I’ve found from experience that many of those who criticize ERB have never actually read them. They have gained their opinion of him from the distorted Tarzan motion pictures, which bear little resemblance to the original novels. I suggest that you and your teacher come to Tarzana where you and I can conduct a class in the appreciation of ERB. Quite obviously, your teacher’s education has been sadly neglected."
READ FIRST, COMPLAIN LATER
GET YOUR FILTHY PAWS OFF HER, YOU DAMNED APE
August 13: On this day ninety-six years ago in 1928, the first episode of the 15 chapter serial, “Tarzan the Mighty” opened in movie theaters across America. The final episode opened on November 19. 1928. The serial starred Frank Merrill and Natalie Portman. Natalie’s character was named Mary Trevor instead of Jane Porter. She had a younger brother named Bobby and they both appeared in the first Tarzan Sunday page illustrated by Rex Maxon.
Merrill, a champion gymnast, was quite impressive in the trees and he was the first to swing through the jungle on vines – something almost every Tarzan film since has copied. Summaries of the episodes say that every episode ended with one cast member or another threatened by a wild animal.
Unfortunately, no copy of the film is known to exist.
The drabble for today, “Get Your Filthy Paws Off Her, You Damned Ape,” was inspired by the film, or rather taken from novelization of it, written by Arthur B. Reeve. Here’s the end of Chapter One of the novel. The grammar is Mr. Reeve’s, not mine. A little thanks to Charlton Heston.
The powerful arms of an ape grasped Teeka, a beautiful she ape. Teeka screamed in terror.
GET YOUR FILTHY PAWS OFF HER, YOU DAMNED APE
A man lept between them, facing Taug, the bull ape. "Go back. I, Tarzan, command!"
He stretched forth his arm. But it was the voice that would have arrested and held attention. It was a human voice -- but these were no human words.
For of all the beasts he knew the language, knew their names and how to call them, knew their trials and all their dangers; helped them, played and lived and suffered.
This was Tarzan, the Mighty, King of the Jungle!
HOT TIME ON THE BAYOU
August 14: On this day in 1917, shooting began for the film, “Tarzan of the Apes.” It was a hot morning around Morgan City, Louisiana. The cast and crew were up at breakfast before 5 AM They took a steamboat ride to Bayou Teche and began filming at 6 AM. They broke for lunch at 9:30 and took a break because of the heat until 3 PM. The finished filming on day one at 6 PM.
It was so hot the men in the ape costumes could only work for a couple of minutes before removing their masks. Besides the heat, the cast and crew had to deal with chiggers, wasps, alligators, snakes, lizards, flies, leaches, no-see-ums, and mosquitos. A lovely day on the bayou!
Read the "Behind the Scenes" of Al Bohl's marvelous documentary on the making of the film: https://www.erbzine.com/mag31/3110.html
The drabble for today is “Hot Time on the Bayou,” inspired by Elmo Lincoln, Tarzan on the ground, and Stellan Windrow, Tarzan in the trees, in the first Tarzan film. Thanks to Linda Ronstadt.
Elmo Lincoln said, “I’m very upset. It’s bad enough that Stellan does all the scenes in the trees, but now he’s filming the running and swimming scenes.”
HOT TIME ON THE BAYOU
Director Scott Sidney said, ‘It’s hot. You’re the star, I can’t let you have a stroke. Your name will still be on the marque and you get paid the same.”
“I want to race him to which one of us does the running scenes.”
Lincoln and Windrow raced about two hundred yards and Lincoln was blinded by his dripping hot sweat. “Did I win,” mumbled Lincoln.
“No,” replied Sidney. “He blew by you.”
August 15: On this day in 1945, the world’s oldest war correspondent, Edgar Rice Burroughs, wrote a letter to his grandson, Mike, the son of James Pierce and Joan Burroughs Pierce. The letter was on ERB Inc. letterhead, but Burroughs added the Kapiolani Boulevard, Honolulu return address. Burroughs thanked his grandson for his letter and said that he was writing a letter to his son Jack when the air raid sirens announced the end of the war yesterday. (August 14, 1945)
Burroughs congratulated his grandson on being captain of his baseball team and enclosed a check and a 1000 peso note from the Philippines as birthday presents. Like the 1000 peso note was one of the Japanese government issued Philippine bills, called Mickey Mouse Money and reportedly, a 100 peso note would buy a box of matches. During the war, the American government produced thousands of counterfeit notes like these and the Burroughs birthday bill could have been one of those.
Read the entire letter at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag10/1027.html#15%20August
The drabble for today is “Coming Home,” written by ERB in the letter to his grandson.
I’d finished reading letters from you and Jack yesterday and was writing Jack when the air raid sirens announced the end of the war at 1:45 PM. It was wonderful.
Hully is waiting for his ship to sail. He’ll be glad to get home. I know you’ll be glad to see him. I don’t know what I’m going to do. If I were certain I could rent an apartment around Beverly Hills or Westwood, I'd come home right away. But the chances are I’ll shall stay here until there is some likelihood of my being able to build at Tarzana.
See Days 16 - 30 at ERBzine 7599a
AUGUST IV ILLUSTRATIONS COLLAGE
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