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ERB 100-Word Drabbles
JULY V Edition :: Days 1-15
by Robert Allen Lupton
Go to Days 16-30 at ERBzine 7740a
With Collations, Web Page Layout and ERBzine Illustrations and References by Bill Hillman
POSTAGE AND MORE POSTAGE
July 1, 2023: On this day in 1889, songwriter, literary agent, and writer, Otis Adelbert Kline, was born in Chicago, Illinois. Kline was an assistant editor at “Weird Tales,” the agent for Robert E. Howard, and a collaborator with W. Hoffman Price. There is a long-standing rumor that Kline either wrote “Almuric,’ which is credited to Howard in its entirety or wrote substantial portions of the novel.
Much was made about a ‘feud’ between Kline and Edgar Rice Burroughs. They both wrote sword and planet novels that took place on Venus, Mars, and the moon. They both wrote jungle adventures. Kline also wrote a number of adventure stories that took place in the Far East. “The Man Who Limped” is one example.
Richard A. Lupoff investigated the ‘feud’ when writing his book “Edgar Rice Burroughs: Master of Adventure.” The theory allegedly first appeared in the article, “The Kline-Burroughs War” by Donald A. Wollheim. When questioned by Lupoff, Wollheim replied, “I made it up.”
A pretty good biography and bibliography for Kline start at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag0/0036.html
The drabble for today is, “Postage and More Postage,” and it was written by Otis Adelbert Kline for the article, “Writing the Fantastic Story,” which first appeared in the January 1930 issue of “The Writer” and is available to read at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag11/1139.html
Kline’s message is one that’s still true today, if at first your work gets rejected, submit again and again.
I began my first novel in 1921-a tale of adventures on Venus. I called it “The Planet of Peril.” I’d been reading about telepathy, that mysterious means of communication between minds and which seemed independent of time, space, and matter. My hero reached Venus by exchanging bodies with a young man on that planet who was his physical twin.
POSTAGE AND MORE POSTAGE
After writing and rewriting, polishing, and re-polishing, I submitted the story to “Science and Invention.” It was turned down.
After that, I spent enough money on express and postage to buy a good overcoat, sending the story around the country.
A NEW YORK STATE OF MIND
July 2, 2023: On this day in 1941, “Fantastic Adventures” published part two of “Escape on Venus.” The episode was titled “Goddess of Fire,” and the cover illustration was by J. Allen St. John. The publisher considered the St. John illustration to be too racy and asked St. John to modify it. He refused and H. W. McCauley was hired to put some clothes on the nude goddess. McCauley also contributed two interior illustrations.
The issue also contained a short story, “City of Lost Souls” credited to Don Warren, a pseudonym for the team of Ralph Milne Farley (Roger Sherman Hoar) and Al P. Nelson. The duo only wrote on other story, “Holy City of Mars,” published by “Fantastic Adventures” a year later.
In “Goddess of Fire” we learned that the Goddess of Fire is actually an earth woman named Betty Callwell from Brooklyn, who was somehow transported to Venus. Her body was found twenty-five years after the events in the story, perfectly preserved, in an alley in Brooklyn.
The drabble for today, “A New York State of Mind,” was inspired by Betty from Brooklyn.
Carson addressed the Goddess of Fire in English and she responded in the same language. “My God, you sound like you’re from the Bronx.”
A NEW YORK STATE OF MIND
“Brooklyn actually, although I barely remember it. My name was Betty, Betty Callwell.”
“How did you get to Venus, I mean Amtor?”
“We were going to a baseball game. We had to dodge around the electric trolley cars. I didn’t dodge fast enough and baddabing, I woke up here.”
Carson said, “I know how to bridge between the planets. I can take you home or you can stay here.”
“Stay and never see Brooklyn again, fuggeddaboutit.”
July 3, 2023: On this day in 1962, The Indianapolis Star newspaper published an article by Jane Allison titled “Tarzan of the Apes ‘Swinging’ Once More.” The article is about the number of book titles available by Edgar Rice Burroughs in the local bookstores. Allison lives in New York City and her article references New York City Bookstores. The article was published during the time period that Ballantine and Ace books were published Burroughs’s titles as fast as the artists could draw the covers.
The drabble, “Lifetime Impact,” is excerpted from her article. The entire article may be read at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag70/7038.html For the record, I’ve read Proust, although I wouldn’t admit it in polite company. Give me a Burroughs title with a Frazetta cover any day.
The children who read Burroughs’ books never got over the impact. One such reader said, “You never get over the wallop. It made me keep reading. So eventually, I got to Proust, but you have to start somewhere.”
Apparently the whole world was only waiting for a cheap re-issue of Tarzan. From everywhere the orders are pouring in.
Mickey Spillane said, “Who’s Shakespeare? I sell more.”
I asked the "Biblo and Tannen Bookstore" owners, “What’s the book of the month?”
“These days the book of the month is by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Last month, this month, next month, every month.”
SIZE IS RELATIVE
July 4, 2023: Happy US Independence Day. On this day in 1907, child actor Gordon Griffith was born in Chicago, Illinois. Griffith was active in the film industry for over sixty years and appeared in over 90 films. He worked as a director and producer after making the transition from silent films to talkies.
He acted with Charlie Chaplin and appeared in early slapstick films directed by Max Sennett at Keystone Studios. He was one of the first child actors and he was the first actor to appear on film as “Tarzan of the Apes,’ portraying the young Tarzan in the 1918 film of the same name. He did his own stunts. He also appeared in “The Romance of Tarzan,” “The Adventures of Tarzan,” and “The Son of Tarzan.”
Later he played Tom Sawyer in the silent version of “Huckleberry Finn.” He was the assistant director on the film, “Terror in a Tiny Town,” a western about a town of little people threatened by an evil gun slinging midget.
Griffith is mentioned in several articles that appear at www.erbzine.com, I’d start with this one: https://www.erbzine.com/mag5/0503.html
The drabble for today is, “Size is Relative,” and it was inspired by Gordon Griffith’s career as an assistant director and producer – after he’d appeared in four Tarzan films.
Gordon Griffith, the assistant director on the set of “Terror in a Tiny Town,” helped actor Billy Curtis with his lines. Billy said, “Gordon, you were about my size when you played the young Tarzan. You played Tarzan three times and his son once. Weren’t you afraid of being type cast?”
SIZE IS RELATIVE
Gordon smiled. “No, I knew I’d grow out of it.”
Billy pushed his hat back and grabbed his fake six-shooter. “You’re making fun of my height. Smile when you say that.”
“I’d never make fun of you. Remember what they say, there are no small actors, only small parts.”
July 5, 2023: On this day 1930, actor Tommy Cook was born in Duluth, Minnesota. Tommy was the original “Little Beaver,” voicing the character on radio and appearing in the 1940s Republic serial, “Adventures of Red Rider,” He also voiced Alexander on “Blondie” and Junior on “The Life of Riley.”
On screen, he portrayed Kimbu, a jungle boy in France’s Gifford’s “Jungle Girl.” In 1946, he played a villain, another jungle boy, this time named Kimba in ”Tarzan and the Leopard Women.” Details about “Tarzan and the Leopard Women” are at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag6/0626.html
Tommy has over 100 credits listed on IMBD, film, television, voice acting for animation, and producer. His career has lasted over 80 years – so far!
He was one of the leading junior tennis players in Southern California at one time and often created/emceed/played tournaments for charity. He instigated the Bobby Riggs/Billie Jean King challenge before it was televised.
Tommy was the guest of honor at the 2023 Edgar Rice Burroughs Chain of Friendship gathering in Palm Springs earlier this year. Charming, spry, and articulate, and over ninety years old. We should all be so lucky.
The 100 word drabble for today, “Second Serve,” was inspired by Tommy’s role in “Tarzan and the Leopard Women.”
Kimba swung the clawed club and Tarzan and missed him. Johnny Weissmuller said, “Kimba, put down that club with the leopard claws before you hurt someone.”
Tommy Cook, playing Kimba, said, “If you expected a good boy like Little Beaver, you came to the wrong place.” He swung a second time, but a little slower.
Tarzan ducked and the sharp claws ripped through the brush and sheered three small trees in half. “Weissmuller said, “Damn, that was pretty good swing."
Tommy sneered. “You think so. That was only my second serve. You better brace yourself, I’ve got a killer backhand!”
REMEMBERING FRANK WESTWOOD
July 6, 2023 and ten years ago on this day in 2013, ERB expert, fan, and publisher, Frank Westwood, passed away. Frank published “The Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs for several years. https://www.ERBzine.com/westwoodHe was the Co-Founder of the British Edgar Rice Burroughs Society.” I never met Frank, but corresponded with him over the years and even sent him a couple of ‘articles’ written my a much younger version of myself, articles that he had the good sense to decline, gently and politely. They may not have been the worse ever written, but they belong on the list.
For years he displayed the Iron Mole from the film, “At the Earth’s Core” proudly in his yard. I’m told that the photo of the Iron Mole in Frank’s garden was taken by Lawrence Dunn.
I’ve taken the liberty of excerpting today’s drabble from the article, “Remembering Frank Westwood,” written by Lawrence Dunn. May his thoat be fast, his sword be sharp, and his memory stay fresh in our hearts. Frank was one of the good guys.
Frank Westwood, one of the founders of the British Edgar Rice Burroughs Society and editor of the society's journal The Fantastic Worlds of ERB, has taken his final voyage down the River Iss. Earlier this year he had seen his doctor and told him that his heart was not working properly and had to have surgery for a triple by-pass operation. During his recovery period at home, he suffered a serious stroke and moved into a care home. I was given the sad news this morning he had passed away the day before. His wife Doreen was at his side.
REMEMBERING FRANK WESTWOOD
KING OF THE URBAN JUNGLE
July 7, 2023: On this day in 2003, TV Guide published the article, “Wild Man” by Mary Murphy. The cover has a photograph of Travis Fimmel accompanied by the blurb, “TV’S NEW TARZAN! MEET THE HUNK WHO’S SOON TO BE TV’S HOTTEST STAR.
Mary Murphy has been an on-air correspondent for “The Inside,” and a news producer at “Entertainment Tonight.” In addition to being a staff member at TV Guide, she’s also been a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and Esquire Magazine. She currently contributes freelance Hollywood and human-interest themed stories to several magazines.
The article is short, less than 300 words. It focuses on the physical appeal of Fimmel, a former Calvin Klein underwear model. The entire article is available to read at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag5/0531.html#Wild%20Man
The 100 word drabble for today is “King of the Urban Jungle,” and it is excerpted from Mary Murphy’s article.
Travis Fimmel, a former Calvin Klein underwear model is about to be crowned king of the jungle — OK, urban jungle — in WB's “Tarzan and Jane,” premiering this fall. An updating of the classic character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the series plunks the legendary ape-man in New York City. There are no loincloths, no swinging vines and no Johnny Weissmuller-like yells.
KING OF THE URBAN JUNGLE
“Nevertheless,” says Ivana Chubbuck, Fimmel's acting coach, "Travis is a lot like Tarzan. He's raw and he's primal." Which should come in handy, since this Tarzan navigates a noir world more inspired by graphic novels than Burroughs' pulpy tales.
ALL THE GOLD IN AFRICA
July 8, 2023: On this day in 1959, “Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure” was released. The Solar Films production was produced by Sy Weintraub and Harvey Hayutin. This was Gordon Scott’s fourth Tarzan film and his co-stars included Anthony Quayle, Sara Shane, Scilla Gabel, Al Mulock, and some guy named Sean Connery. Quale had a major role in “Lawrence of Arabia, Sara Shane appeared in “Magnificent Obsession,” and Niall MacGinnis in “Jason and the Argonauts,” Scilla Gabel appeared in over 60 films, including several Italian sword and sandal epics. Mulock had a part in “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” Connery guy made a bunch of spy films. Pretty good cast.
Details about the film are at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag19/1957.html
Some notes about thecast. Sean Connery made $5,600 for the movie. His next film was “Dr. No,” Connery was paid $350,000 for “You Only Live Twice.” Anthony Quale didn’t do the next Tarzan film either, he’d accepted a role in “Lawrence of Arabia.” Third, Cheeta appeared in only one brief scene. The chimps, imported from England to Africa, were terrified of jungle. Sara Shane never made another film. She was married to a Hollywood real estate mogul.
Scott made one more Tarzan film, “Tarzan the Magnificent,” and left the series to make more money in Italian films. Scott’s first Italian film was “Goliath and the Vampires.”
The 100 word drabble for today is “All the Gold in Africa,” and it was inspired by the cast in “Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure.”
The cast of “Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure” waited out the rain.
ALL THE GOLD IN AFRICA
Gordon Scott said, “I may do another of these, but I'll need more money.”
Sean Connery replied, “All the gold in Africa is in a vault in the middle of Opar under some high priestess’s name. I’ve taken a role in a spy film.”
Quale replied, “I’ve a role in “Lawrence of Arabia.”
Sara Shane said, “I hate it here. Even the chimps hate it here. I’m out of the movie business. The real money in Hollywood is in real estate. If you guys move, I can sell your houses.”
July 9, 2023: On this day in 1922, Johnny Weissmuller became the first person to swim 100 meters in less than one minute. Today, women routinely swim it faster than Johnny did. That’s not what today’s article is about.
On this day in 1945, The Honolulu Advertiser newspaper printed the article “Laughs At Sea Found By Author Traveling With A Naval Oiler,” written by the world’s oldest war correspondent, Edgar Rice Burroughs. Burroughs was constantly amused by the difficult of transferring personnel from the ship to the motor launch – especially in rough seas. The entire article is located at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag33/3369.html#3
The photo attached is of the USS Cahaba, the ship on which ERB was deployed.
The drabble for today is 100 words written by Edgar Rice Burroughs and excerpted from that article. Let’s call it “Tightrope.”
In harbor, the No. 2 motor launch is moored to a boom rigged aft on the starboard side of the ship. The boom sticks far over the water. From its end a Jacob's ladder extends 10 feet down into the water. Along its upper surface a four-inch board forms the cat walk along which the launch's crew make perilous trips to and from the constantly bobbing and cavorting launch.
Whenever possible, I stood and watched this Ringling Brothers' aerial act, and at last my patience was rewarded. Red missed the boat and fell into the sea. Darn nice of him.
THE LITTLE SAVAGE
July 10: On this day in 1792, Captain Frank S Marryat was born in London. The author of the book, “The Little Savage,” entered the Royal Navy at age 14 in 1806. After 20 years before the mast as they say, he resigned and took up life as a writer, publishing several books, of which “Children of the New Forest” Is the best known.
The novel is about a boy growing up on a deserted island. His best friend is a seal. It was Classic Illustrated Comic Book #137 and made into a film in 1959.
The story is considered by some to be a precursor to Tarzan of the Apes, although there is absolutely no evidence that ERB read the novel or even knew of its existence. Still, a feral child story about a boy semi-raised by a seal – nice.
His novel, “The Little Savage,” is available for free on Amazon Kindle and from Project Guttenberg. You can also read the entire story at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag18/marryat.htm
The drabble for today was inspired by “The Little Savage.”
The Little Savage watched pirates come ashore on the island where he lived with his friend, a seal. “Seal, is it safe to talk to those men.”
THE LITTLE SAVAGE
Seal replied, “They’ve got swords, pistols, and clubs. Such men kill seals. Might be they’ll kill you. Might be they’re friendly. It’s a balancing act.”
“Maybe they’re looking for me. Maybe they’ll bury a treasure chest.”
“The seal said, “And maybe we’ll grow wings. Pirates only come ashore for food and water. I look like food and you look like another mouth to feed. Hide. Always trust a pirate to be a pirate.”
A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS
July 11, 2023: On this day in 1918, artist Roy Gerald Krenkel was born in the Bronx, New York. He served as a private in the U. S. Army during World War II. After the war he attended the School of Visual Arts. In the '50s he illustrated comic books for Atlas, EC, and Harvey. He also illustrated pulp magazines. Fantastic Science Fiction, Space Stories, and Amazing are three examples.
In the 1950’s he beginning illustrating covers for Ace Books, including works by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, and Otis Adelbert Kline.
Jimmy Goodwin in his “Edgar Rice Burroughs The Descriptive Bibliography of the Ace and Ballantine / Del Rey Paperback Books,” lists twenty-one Edgar Rice Burroughs by Roy Krenkel, all of which may be viewed at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag33/3330.html The ones I’ve included with this article are some of my favorites. In 1963, he received the Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist.
Danton Burroughs, the grandson of Edgar Rice Burroughs, commented, "Roy Krenkel was a key factor in the 1960s revival of my grandfather's writings. Krenkel's illustrations forever secured his position as one of the all-time great Edgar Rice Burroughs illustrators."
The drabble for today. “A Little Help From My Friends,” is taken from a tribute to Roy G. Krenkel by Sara Frazetta. The entire tribute is on the Frazetta Girls site. Visit https://www.frazettagirls.com/blogs/news/roy-krenkels-legacy
She attributes the following quotation to Roy, who was trying to get Donald Wollheim to hire Frank Frazetta.
A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS
“You gotta get this guy, Frazetta. He’s different!"
"I did the first few covers by myself, and then somewhere down the line, maybe the fourth one, I dragged Frank in to helping me with difficult areas. He knew just how to “pop it.” When I’d get to an area I was unsure of, and didn’t want to kill the thing at that point, I’d say, “You’d better take it, Frank.” And, he would keep it as rigid as the rest of the damn stuff. Frank had great control. I was pretty sloppy in those days, and am getting sloppier now."
July 12, 2023: On this day in 1982, actress and singer Zara Margarethe Kronvall Sigfriesson was born in Karlsborg, Sweden. She played Jane in the Swedish production of “Tarzan,” which opened on February 16, 2008 in Kristianstad, Sweden. Tarzan was portrayed by the show’s producer, Emil Sigfridsson. Tarzan and Jane (Emil and Zara) were later married and have three children.
This was the first independent production of “Tarzan the Musical.”
Erbzine has a nice article on the production: https://www.erbzine.com/europe/news/
The drabble for today. “Wedding Plans,” was inspired by the Swedish production of “Tarzan the Musical.”
Tarzan said, ‘Me Tarzan, you Jane.”
“No, me Zara, you Emil. The actor playing Terk, the gorilla, doesn’t understand a word I say.”
“Well, Terk was female in the film, but she’s a male on stage.”
“And that means Terk can’t speak properly? Gender related language barrier? That’s not a real thing, well except for mansplaining, it isn’t.”
“Terk’s embracing the role. He doesn’t speak Swedish, only speaks gorilla. He’ll be the best man at our wedding.”
“Emil, our wedding will be conducted in Swedish, not in gorilla. If he loses my ring, I’ll bury him in his stupid costume.”
WISH IN ONE HAND
June 13, 2023: On this morning, the entertainment news website, ”Giant Freakin Robot” posted the story, “Exclusive: John Carter Reboot Series in the Works.” The byline on the story is Michileen Martin.
The article goes on to say, ”Disney is about to find out whether or not a concept that didn’t work as a movie will do better as a streaming show. Our trusted and proven sources tell us the House of Mouse is working on a John Carter reboot series for Disney+.
"This seems like a strange move for Disney, particularly in light of recent months. Disney, like all of the other major studios who now own and operate major streaming platforms, has been canceling and cutting content as it struggles to figure out how to make its streaming service profitable."
The drabble for today is, “Wish in One Hand,” and it was inspired by the Giant Freakin Robot article. It features my old friends, Pat and John from New Orleans.
Pat was excited. “John, Disney may produce “A Princess of Mars” as a series. That’s great.”
WISH IN ONE HAND
John groaned. “I doubt it. They’ll treat it the same as they’ve treated Marvel superheroes and the Star Wars universe.”
“You didn’t like Star Wars?"
“I loved it, but too many spinoffs. If Princess is a hit, can “Woola the Wondercalot, “Baby Tarkas,” and the “Wee Johnny Warlord” be far behind?”
“John, you’re exaggerating.”
“I hope not. I’d love a good John Carter series, but I’m afraid that “A Princess of Mars” is Rodney Dangerfield to the Disney production people. It gets no respect!
July 14, 2023: On this day in 1912, Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing, “The Gods of Mars,” the sequel to “Under the Moons of Mars,” which was retitled “A Princess of Mars.” The completed novel was serialized in “All-Story” from January 1913 through May 1913. The story was never featured on the cover, but Fred W. Small drew a black/white illustration that was repeated with each monthly installment. The five covers are included with this article. The only cover artist I’m able to identify is for “King and Man,” illustrated by Clinton Pettee.
The 1000 word drabble for today is “God Smacked,” and it was inspired by the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, “The Gods of Mars.” Issus, Goddess of Eternal Life has tricked believers for thousands of years into slavery, making them believe they would find eternal life. It’s kind of like life insurance, the payoff comes after you die.
John Carter and Tars Tarkas defeated the priests of ‘Issus, Goddess of Eternal Life,’ ruler of the false religion worshiped on Barsoom. Carter prepared to kill the priestess and learned she’d placed Dejah Thoris in a vault that only opens annually.
Arriving too late to save her, Carter resolved to wait.
Tarkas said, “Fighting gods and goddess is new for me. Do you fight gods on your world?”
“No, we fight each other over our beliefs in gods. Endless wars over who has the best imaginary friend.”
‘And who does?”
“I’m not sure, but your Issus Goddess is the worst.”
PAY THE PIPER
July 15, 2023: On this day in 1927, the first and only Amazing Stories Annual was published. Titled “Amazing Stories Annual Volume 1, the entire issue consisted of the novel, “The Mastermind of Mars” by Edgar Rice Burroughs and a group of selected reprints including “The Face in the Abyss” and “The People in the Pit’ by A. Merritt, “The Man Who Saved the Earth” by Austin Hall, “The Man Who Could Vanish” by A. Hyatt Verrill and “Under the Knife” by H. G. Wells. The cover and ten black and white interior illustrations were by Frank R. Paul. The iconic cover illustration of a scene in the laboratory of the mad scientist, Ras Thavas, has been recreated by several artists since Paul’s illustration. The cover price was a whopping fifty cents.
Publishing details, several illustrations, and the text of the novel are online at: https://www.erbzine.com/mag4/0427.html
The drabble for today is “Pay the Piper,” and it was inspired by the theme of “The Mastermind of Mars,” the surgical removal of a brain from one body and transferring it to another. Credit to Robert A Heinlein for TANSTAAFL.
Ras Thavas said to his assistant, Vad Varo, “Mind the anesthesia. Both the brain donor and the recipient mustn’t wake during the transfer surgery.”
PAY THE PIPER
“Of course. Does this process extend the lives of those who contribute the most to society?”
“Philosophers, humanitarians, and inventors, people who make the world a better place.”
‘No, contribute means those who give me housing, money, respect, and power.”
“That’s terrible. You should offer your services to everyone.”
“I offer it to everyone. But like the food vendor, only those who can pay are served. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
JULY V 1 - 15 ILLUSTRATIONS COLLAGE
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