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ERB 100-Word Drabbles
AUGUST IV Edition :: Days 16-31
See Days 1-15 at ERBzine 7599
by Robert Allen Lupton
With Collations, Web Page Layout and ERBzine Illustrations and References by Bill Hillman
ONLY LOVE CAN MAKE A HEART
August 16: On this day in 1913, Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing “The Mucker.” The story of the adventures and redemption of Billy Byrne, a vicious Chicago street criminal was first published in All-Story Cavalier Weekly in four installments beginning on October 24, 1914. P. J. Monahan illustrated the first issue cover.
This adventure romance featured Barbara Harding, a New York socialite who is greatly endangered after the two are shipwrecked somewhere in the Far East. Billy uses his savage street training to fight for his survival and the survival of the woman he comes to love.
Profuse details about the novel are available at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0757.html
The drabble for today is, “Only Love Can Make a Heart,” and it was inspired by the relationship between Billy and Barbara in the novel. A little thanks to Burt Bacharach and Hal David for writing the words to a song which has been recorded many times.
Shipwrecked on an inhabited island, Billy Byrne fought pirates to save Barbara Mallory, a socialite who wouldn’t have spoken to a street thug like him back in America.
ONLY LOVE CAN MAKE A HEART
Japanese samurai arrived same time as the Lotus, a ship sent to rescue Barbara. Billy saved Barbara from the samurai. Barbara, who’d taunted Billy for weeks, professed her love for him.
Believing Billy dead, she left with a former suitor, Mallory.
Billy was crushed. The captain said, “Go after her. Never give up on a good woman because she’s a little difficult. The best ones ain’t easy, but they’re worth fighting for.”
August 17: On this day in 1918, actress Evelyn Ankers, who starred in several Universal Pictures Horror films, was born in Valparaiso, Chile. In her heyday she was known as “The Screamer.” She appeared with Lex Barker in “Tarzan’s Magic Fountain,” playing Gloria James Jessup, an English aviatrix who is seeking a hidden valley where she had lived for twenty years, imbibing from a youth-retaining fountain.
Details about Tarzan’s Magic Fountain are located at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag6/0629.html
She married Richard Denning in 1942, and after the war starred alongside him in the major release “Black Beauty. Among her horror films were, “The Wolf Man,” “The Ghost of Frankenstein,”, “Son of Dracula," “The Invisible Man’s Revenge,” and “Weird Woman.” She appeared with Lon Chaney Jr. five times but despised him, calling him a brute with bad breath.
The drabble for today is “Pistachio,” and it’s a quote from Evelyn about the wrap party for “Son of Dracula,” in which she appeared with Lon Chaney Jr.
“I recall Lon saying to Dick, "You're in the Navy and still in Los Angeles?" Dick replied, "It's better than not being in the service at all during wartime"--which was Lon's situation. A while later, Lon said, "I've got a little ice cream on my sleeve", and wiped it on Dick's dress blues. That did it. Dick took his ice cream--which was pistachio green, in keeping with the horror motif--and pushed it in Lon's face. With all that green dripping from his face, he looked as if he were in make-up for one of his monster characters.”
IT DON'T COME EASY
August 18: On this day in 1935, Rafer Johnson who appeared in “Tarzan and the Great River” and “Tarzan and the Jungle Boy” was born in Hillsboro, Texas. Rafer won Olympic Gold in the decathlon in 1960, started for UCLA’s basketball team in 1958, and was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1959 NFL draft.
He never played pro football, but in 1968 he made a historic tackle with help from football player, Rosey Grier, and journalist, George Plimpton, when he tackled and disarmed Sirhan Sirhan moments after he had fatally shot Robert F. Kennedy.
He served on the organizing committee of the California Special Olympics and served as President of the organization from 1983 until 1992, when he became Chairman of the Board of Governors. He was the final torch bearer at the 1984 Olympic Games.
Details about the two Tarzan films are to be found at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag19/1962.html and https://www.erbzine.com/mag19/1963.html
He also had a major role in the Ely TV Tarzan Series: The Prodigal Puma: https://www.erbzine.com/mag74/7422.html#7
The drabble, "It Don’t Come Easy,” for today is taken from interviews with Rafer Johnson, athlete, actor, humanitarian, and real-life hero.
“The main thing is that it’s nice to see young people, nine to fourteen years old, take the opportunity to get more involved in their health and fitness. We need kids to be more active. From the very start, I wanted to be a part of helping our Special Olympics athletes succeed, to help them be the best they can be.
IT DON'T COME EASY
“What I tell them is the way you become an Olympic champion is to start working now. I tell them way it’s always worth it to put the time and effort into something you want to be good at.”
August 19: On this day in 1877, artist Frank Schoonover was born in Oxford, New Jersey. Frank illustrated two Edgar Rice Burroughs novels, “A Princess of Mars” and “The Gods of Mars.” He did the dust jackets and the inside illustrations. The dust jackets were used by A. C. McClurg and several Grosset & Dunlap reprints.
Read more about the artist at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag4/0422.html
You can also visit https://www.frankschoonover.org/
From 1903 to 1913 he did illustrations for all the major magazines of the day (Harpers, Ladies' Home Journal, Scribner's, Century, McClures), and soon became recognized as one of the country's premier illustrators. Besides doing magazine illustration, Schoonover wrote articles and stories and illustrated more than two hundred classics and children's books. Throughout his career he illustrated the works of many famous authors: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jack London, Rex Beach, Zane Grey, Robert W. Chambers, Gilbert Parker, Henry Van Dyke, and Clarence Mulford.
The drabble for today is “Warped Reality,” and was inspired by Frank Schoonover’s illustrations for the first two Barsoom novels. It features my old friends, John and Pat, from New Orleans.
John said, “I really like the new paperback cover of “Gods of Mars” better than I liked the hardcover by Schoonover.
Pat shrugged, ‘Why? They used Schoonover’s illustration for over forty years.”
“His Martian flyer, you know the spaceship, it didn’t look like a real space ship.”
“John, how many real spaceships have you seen.”
“Space shuttles and the Apollo and Mercury capsules.”
“John Carter should fly a space shuttle?”
“No, but more like Flash Gordon!”
“Really, John. Flash Gordon? A cardboard spaceship and a paper moon. Appearances should never be confused with reality, nor one fictional world with another.”
RUN BOBBY RUN
August 20: On this day in 1928, the second installment of the film serial, “Tarzan the Mighty,” debuted in theaters across American. “Love Call,” aka, “The Love Cry,” was the chapter title. The episode begins with Tarzan saving Mary Trevor from a crocodile. Black John, the heavy, wants to marry the unwilling Mary and promises her Tarzan’s head as a wedding present.
Her brother, Bobby, escapes, and enters the jungle to find Tarzan, but is chased by a terrified elephant being herded by the natives. Tarzan rescues Bobby and carries him into a tree, but the branch breaks and the two fall into the elephant pit – which is filled with spikes. Cue the ominous ending music!
Summaries of all the chapters and several photos from this lost serial are located at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag5/0592.html
The drabble for today is “Run Bobby Run,” and it was inspired by elephant jokes and the Tarzan the Mighty episode.
Bobby Trevor screamed in fear as he ran from the enraged elephant. Tarzan swung from a tree, grabbed the boy, and swung them upward onto a branch above the elephant’s reach.
RUN BOBBY RUN
The boy cried with relief. “Why is the elephant chasing me?”
“It’s not chasing you. The natives are driving it toward a spiked pit. They hope to kill and cook it.”
The elephant came closer. Bobby gagged at the rotten stench. “It looks like the elephant has some foul fungus growing between its toes. Yuck!”
“Not fungus. Only people who ran too slowly to get out of its path!”
BADGE OF HONOR
August 21: On this day, Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing “Sweetheart Primeval,” the sequel to “The Eternal Lover,” and the two stories were combined to become the novel, “The Eternal Lover,” which was retitled “The Eternal Savage” to attract the young paperback buyer in the 1960s.
Tarzan and Jane appear in the story in supporting roles. The story of reincarnation and eternal love features Nu, son of Nu, and Victoria Custer, sister to the protagonist of the “The Mad King,” Barney Custer.
What a great title, “Sweetheart Primeval!” Publishing details and numerous illustrations abound at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0759.html
The drabble for today is “Badge of Honor,” and it was inspired by the story, “Sweetheart Primeval.”
Victoria Custer introduced Nu, son of Nu, to Tarzan and Jane. “He doesn’t speak English and he hates clothes. I love him, but he has so many scars.”
BADGE OF HONOR
The scar on Tarzan’s forehead flamed red with either anger or embarrassment. “I have many scars.”
Jane took Nu’s hand and traced an old long scar along his forearm. “Victoria, be proud of his scars, they show a full and active life. A man without scars is a man who hid from adventure, from love, and from life itself. Scars, both outside and inside, are the living history of a life well-lived.”
PAIN IN THE AXE
August 22: In 2022 on this date, I received notice from Edgar Rice Burroughs Incorporated that my hardcover copies of “Mahars of Pellucidar” and “Red Axe of Pellucidar” by John Eric Holmes had shipped. “Mahars” was originally published by Ace Books in 1976. ERB Inc. approved the publication of “Mahars,” but reportedly blocked the publication of the sequel, “Red Axe of Pellucidar,” which was only published in a private edition in 1993.
Red Axe contains a bonus story by one of my favorite writers, Jason Gridley of Earth: Across the Moons of Mars,” a tale of the Swords of Eternity Super-Arc by Geary Gravel. "Mahars" contains the bonus story “Tarzan and the Land That Time Forgot” by Joe R. Lansdale.
Holmes left an unfinished manuscript to the third book in the trilogy, “Swordsmen of Pellucidar” unfinished. He also wrote several short stories in his series, “Boinger the Halfling and Zereth the Elf” and “Modred,” a Buck Rogers adventure.
He became friends with John Coleman Burroughs and the two reportedly collaborated on the unfinished manuscript, “Danton Doring.” I’d love to see that!
I bought the Ace paperback in 1976 and later obtained a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy… of “Red Axe.” It had been so badly duplicated over the years that I had to go through it page by page and write in the last few letters of every word on the left side before it could be read.
An excellent article by John Martin about the books and their author is located at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag57/5797.html
The drabble for today is “Pain in the Axe,” and it is 100 words excerpted from the ERB Inc's blurbs for the two novels.
Plunged headlong into a savage world at the Earth’s Core, the young ex-Marine, Chris West, would soon be fighting for his life as a captive of the Mahars. Chris West’s deadly prowess had earned him the name Red Axe in the Stone Age world of Pellucidar. Sentenced to die along with the woman he loved by the merciless Mahars, West had fought his way free of the lethal laboratories and ghastly arenas of their underground city. Now he must lead his small band of fugitives through a primordial landscape teeming with monstrous beasts and brutish men bent on their destruction.
PAIN IN THE AXE
IGNORANCE ISN'T A REFUGE
August 23: On this day in 1966, the daily Tarzan comic strip story arc, “The Rescue of Jane,” concluded after 38 episodes. Written and illustrated by John Celardo, the story arc was preceded by “The Return of I. B. Pompous,” and followed by “Tarzan and the Devil Dogs.”
In the story, a group of mercenaries who are employed to capture Kenyan oil fields have taken Jane prisoner to force Tarzan to comply with their wishes. Tarzan follows them through the jungle, waiting for the right moment. Tarzan blows up one oil derrick and during the distraction frees Jane. Kenyan troops arrive and expel the mercenaries from the country.
The entire story arc and several hundred more Tarzan daily comics are available at www.erbzine,com/comics. You can read this one at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag46/4663.html
The first and last installment are included with this drabble.
The 100 word drabble for today is, “Ignorance Isn’t a Refuge,” and it was inspired by “The Rescue of Jane.”
The mercenary watched Jane after Tarzan yelled his greeting to her from the jungle. “You’re brave to smile when some animal is tracking us. We could be killed.”
IGNORANCE ISN'T A REFUGE
A second mercenary laughed. “She doesn’t fear the animals. She married one.”
Jane smiled, “Tarzan, my husband, isn’t an animal. The animals obey him. He is the most dangerous creature in Africa and you should fear him more than any beast.”
“We aren’t afraid of an unarmed half-naked savage hidden in the treetops.”
“Ignorance of danger shouldn’t be confused with safety. You can die from stupid. You should be afraid, very afraid.”
RELOCATE FOR SUCCESS
August 24: On this day in 1994, actor Rickie (Ricky) Sorenson died in Lynwood, California at age 48.
Born as Rickie John Sorenson, he had roles in two Gordon Scott Tarzan films, playing Tartu, Tarzan’s adopted son, in “Tarzan’s Fight for Life” and Boy in the made for TV but released in theaters film, “Tarzan and the Trappers.’ He appeared as Tommy Banks in 34 episodes of “Father of the Bride,” and was the voice of Wart in Disney’s “The Sword and the Stone.”
His first role was “Skinny Wilson,” on a 1956 episode of “My Friend Flicka,” and his last was the “Technician” in ‘The Cat From Outer Space.” In between, he appeared on “Perry Mason,” “Whirlybirds,” “The Danny Thomas Show,” “Father Knows Best,” “Dennis the Menace,” “Hazel,” “Gidget,” “The Donna Reed Show,” and several more films and television shows.
Details about “Tarzan’s Fight For Life” are online at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag19/1955.html and Tarzan and the Trappers is at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag19/1956.html
The drabble for today, “Relocate for Success,” was inspired by “Tarzan and the Trappers.” It was also inspired by one of my classmates, who shall remained nameless. He didn't make good grades and he was uncoordinated, but he could eat bugs.
The trappers became mired in a dismal swamp and once they freed themselves, the trappers built their camp in a low place and torrential rains washed it away. Boy said, “Tarzan, the trappers aren’t very smart.”
RELOCATE FOR SUCCESS
“True, the best and the brightest are successful in their home countries. They aren’t willing to wander around a rainforest filled with dangerous animals and poisonous insects.”
“Boy not understand.”
“People who can’t do the things that other people can do, try to do things that other people won’t do.”
“And when they do the other things wrong, we have to save them!”
LIFE AND LOVE
August 25: On this day in 1930, James Bond, I mean Sir Sean Connery, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. His birth name was Thomas Connery. IMBD lists 94 film and television roles for the actor, including the Bond films, The Name of the Rose, The Highlander, The Time Bandits, a Bridge Too Far, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Wind and the Lion, and of course, Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure, where he played the evil hunter, O’Bannion.
When asked by Sy Weintraub to appear in a second Tarzan film, Connery declined saying, “I can’t. These two fellows took an option on me for some spy film and are exercising it. But I’ll be in the next one.”
After filming Dr. No, Connery never returned for another Tarzan film. After all, he was paid $5000 for Greatest Adventure and $350,000 for his first outing as Bond.
For details about Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure, visit https://www.erbzine.com/mag19/1957.html
The 100 word drabble for today, Life and Love, is a compilation of quotations by Sean Connery. Pretty good advice.
“I like women. I don’t understand them, but I like them. Love may not make the world go round, but I admit it makes the ride worthwhile. How peaceful life would be without love. How safe, how tranquil and how dull.
LIFE AND LOVE
‘My first big break came when I was five. It’s taken more than seventy years to realize that. You see, at five I first learnt to read. It’s that simple and it’s that profound.
“There’s nothing like a challenge to bring out the best in a man. It’s never too late to be the person you might have been.”
August 26: On this day in 1941, Edgar Rice Burroughs, the world’s oldest war correspondent, wrote a letter home to his daughter, Joan. ERB was living at 1298 Kapiolani Boulevard in Honolulu at the time. That address is now a high rise building.
Burroughs addressed his recent medical issues and his alcohol consumption.
Read the entire letter at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag10/1022.html#Aug%2026
The 100 word drabble for today is “Recovery Time,” and it is excerpted from that letter.
“Don't worry about me. I pop in and out of hospitals the way people go to six day bicycle races, and I have about as much fun. I don't think the doctor graduated yet who can kill me. Many of them tried. Some were experts. Anyway, I haven't been in a hospital since August 10th. You should’ve seen my Korean nurse! Then you’d understand why I spend so much time in the hospital.
“My trouble is the same old thing, I drink. I stopped for months until my doctor told me to start again, and now I don't drink excessively.”
August 27: Tarzan Day ~ On this day in 1929, “The Call of the Jungle, Chapter Three of the “Tarzan the Mighty” film serial played in theaters across America.
Tarzan played by Frank Merrill survived his fall into an elephant pit, but he had to carry the unconscious Bobby Trevor to temporary safety. Mary, after Black John captured brother, agreed to marry the villain to save her brother. At the wedding ceremony that evening, Black John offered to fight any man for the right to marry Mary. Tarzan took the challenge and defeated Black John, only to be overwhelmed by the villagers and tied to a stake. Tarzan called Tantor, but just as the elephant arrived Black John threw a spear at the helpless Tarzan and … the credits rolled.
The drabble for today is based on that episode. It’s called “Lullaby.”
Tarzan said, “Mary, why agree to marry Black John?”
“To save the life of my brother, who the villain threatens to kill if I don’t.”
“A lifetime of unhappiness is a terrible price to pay. I’ll fight him.”
“Tarzan, there’s no need. The price depends on whose lifetime we’re talking about. Like a black widow spider, I expect a very short marriage. I’ll ply him with liquor at the celebration and sooner or later, Black John, like all men, will go to sleep. When he does, I’ll be ready. A sharp machete makes for a quick and final divorce decree.”
ONCE A GENTLEMAN
August 28: On this day in 1879, actor Edward Erskholme Clive was born in Monmouthshire, Wales. He was a prolific stage actor and director and played several supporting roles in Hollywood films beginning around 1933. In 1936, he played ‘Masters’ in ‘Tarzan Escapes,’ which starred Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan.
IMDB lists 95 credits for E. E. Clive including “Raffles,” “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” several Bulldog Drummond films, “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” “Kidnapped,” “Charge of the Light Brigade,” “Dracula’s Daughter,” “Captain Blood,” “The Bride of Frankenstein,” and “The Invisible Man.”
Details about ‘Tarzan Escapes,” abound at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag6/0618.html
The drabble for today is “Once a Gentleman,” and it was inspired by E. E. Clive’s character in “Tarzan Escapes.”
Masters sipped his gin and tonic. “Now that I’ve met this Tarzan chap, I’ve changed my mind about what makes a man a gentleman.”
ONCE A GENTLEMAN
“I beg your pardon,” said the club manager.
“A gentleman should be impeccably dressed, keep his shoes shined and always be well-groomed.”
“Indeed! Another round, sir.”
“Yes, thank you. Being a gentleman is a full time job. He’d never fit in at a London Chop House, but there’s something about Tarzan.”
“As you say.”
“Being a gentleman is a lifestyle, not a façade one adopts when needed. He expects nothing and is always kind to everyone.”
August 29: On this day in 1982, the Mike Grell written and illustrated Tarzan Sunday comic arc, “Space War,” began. It ran for twelve issues, ending on November 14, 1982.
All twelve installments may be read for free at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag29/2973.html
The pilot of a US space probe, the Phoenix, has died, and the unpiloted ship reentered the atmosphere and landed in Africa. The Americans fear that the Russians will find the ship and steal the technology.
Tarzan watched the landing. He encountered American and Russian troops racing to recover the spacecraft. He captured the leaders of both expeditions and took them to the Phoenix. They refused to compromise and Tarzan destroyed the Phoenix. Not sharing cost both nations the ship.
The drabble for today is “End Game,” and it was inspired by “Space War.”
Tarzan stood near the spacecraft and addressed the leaders of the Russian and American expeditions to recover it. “I don’t care about this vessel, but I care that you’ve brought war into my jungle. Resolve this peaceably.”
The Russian said “We were here first. We want the technology. We’ll never negotiate.”
The American said, “It’s our spaceship. We’ll never negotiate.”
Tarzan said, “As you wish,” and he destroyed the spacecraft. ‘You behave like children fighting over a toy until they break it. The lesson here is that those who demand all or nothing, usually end up with nothing at all.”
SKIES OF VENUS
August 30: On this day in 2011, according to the author, Neal Romanek, the manuscript for the novel, “Skies of Venus,” was delivered to Edgar Rice Burroughs Incorporated. Amazon lists the date of publication as February 15, 2022. The novel is available in hardcover, limited edition hardcover, paperback, and electronic versions.
I enjoyed the book very much. It takes place years after the original ERB Venus books and time has …, well, you’ll need to read the story.
The cover art is by Richard Hescox and interior illustrations are by Douglas Kouba.
Neal Romanek is an American-British writer whose work includes film and TV, comics, and journalism. He is also one of the UK’s top writers on media technology and speaks publicly on creativity and the media. He was born in Texas, educated at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and now lives in London with his wife, daughter, and several spoiled animals. Skies of Venus is his first novel.
The drabble for today is the blurb for the novel that appears on the ERB INC. website.
An earthman, Virgil Erath, is on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. But he gets a new beginning when he is mystically transported to a planet of hallucinatory landscapes, warring humanoid races, and a cloud-filled sky that has never seen the sun. Its inhabitants of this world call it Amtor—others have called it “Venus.”
SKIES OF VENUS
Captured by a clan of winged warriors, Virgil is brought before the great Jong Kum Kloojong. But this “king of kings” is under attack by a deadly terrorist sect, and Virgil may be his only hope of saving Amtor from an apocalyptic war.
August 30: Normally, I only post one drabble a day, but this one is for 2022 ERB LoveFest. I won't publish this one anywhere else - at least not for a long while.
It features my old friends from New Orleans, Pat and John. It's exactly 100 words and called "Wrong Coordinates."
"John, we're eight hundred feet over Topeka. I'm landing this balloon in Paris."
"Pat, Paris is hours away."
"Not if my teleporter works."
"Why test in a balloon."
"Don't want to take the ground or buildings with us. Don't touch it, it's calibrated."
The balloon hit a wind shear. John stumbled and caught himself on the teleporter and spun the dial. The world flickered.
The sun was too close. The ground rose like the inside of a bowl. Pterodactyls circled nearby. A Mahar landed on the basket. "Land now," it mentally commanded.
John groaned, "Pat, we're not in Kansas, anymore."
August 31: On this day in 1937, Edgar Rice Burroughs finished adding 21,000 words to his 1914 novelette, “The Lad and the Lion.” He used his original title for the working title of this longer version, “Men and Beasts,” but the novel was published by ERB Inc. in 1938 as “The Lad and the Lion.” Beautiful cover by John Coleman Burroughs.
The original novelette was made into a five reel film by ‘Selig Polyscope Company’ in 1917. ERB was paid $100 per reel. It started Vivian Reed. No copy of the film is known to exist.
On March 1, 1938, ERB Inc. sent a letter announcing the new novel addressed to “The Imagi-Nation!’
A portion of the contents of that letter make up the 100 word drabble for today, “Tremendous Adventure.” You can read the entire letter at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0760.html and details about “The Lad and the Lion” at https://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0760.html
We’re pleased to announce a new Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, released February 15 and titled “The Lad and the Lion.” A full-length novel packed with thrills as only ERB can inject them into a story and with a strong love interest unfolding itself chapter by chapter, by the brilliant creative imagination which gave us Tarzan, achieving another triumph in a captivation story of tremendous adventure.
Place your order now for The Lad and the Lion by ERB and essure yourself of a full evening’s enjoyment – with complete relaxation to minds wearied or perplexed with this highly socialized life of ours.
See Days 1-15 at ERBzine 7599
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