Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute and Weekly Webzine Site
Since 1996 ~ Over 15,000 Webpages in Archive
Volume 7787

ERB 100-Word Drabbles
FEBRUARY VI Edition :: Days 1-15
by Robert Allen Lupton
Go to Days 16-29 at ERBzine 7787a

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

February 1:
On this day in 1959, Actress Madame Sul-Te-Wan, died in Woodland Hills, California. Born as Nellie Crawford, she was the first Black actress to sign a film contract and her stage, film and television career lasted over fifty years. As for her choice of name, actress Lillian Gish said, “We never did discover the origin of her name. No one was bold enough to ask.
    Her sixty-three screen credits included three Tarzan films, Tarzan of the Apes and the Romance of Tarzan with Elmo Lincoln and Tarzan of the Trappers with Gordon Scott.
She also appeared in The Buccaneer, Carmen Jones, Mighty Joe Young, Island in the Sky, Imitation of Life, King Kong, Maid of Salem, and The Birth of a Nation.
    Although Sul-Te-Wan appeared in The Birth of a Nation as an uncredited extra, Griffith reportedly scripted a much meatier character for her. She was meant to play a rich black landowner, strolling through town in fine clothes and jewelry. When a white woman slights her, Sul-Te-Wan returns the insult by spitting in her face. The scene was apparently cut by censors, relegating the actress to mob scenes. Still, it was a film role, and with a letter of recommendation from Griffith, Sul-Te-Wan was able to book others.
    On September 12, 1953, a banquet was held at the Hollywood Playground Auditorium by motion picture actors and film personalities to honor Sul-Te-Wan.
    The drabble for today is “Hot Summer,” and it was inspired by Nellie Crawford, aka Madam Sul-Te-Wan, the first black woman with a movie contract. Just a quick note, $25.00 in 1915 would be $570.00 today.


D. W. Griffith said, “Miss Crawford, you’re doing great. Meet my assistant. He’ll write you a contact.”

“Will I make as much as Lillian Gish?”
“No. I think she may make more than I do. We’ll pay you twenty-five dollars a week. Everyone else we hired in Kentucky gets paid three bucks a day, six days a week.”

“If you’re paying me that much, will I have to work seven days a week?”
 ‘Lord no! If you work seven days, I’d to work seven days and it looks like a long hot summer.”

“Yes, it does. Probably a sultry one.”

February 2:
On this day in 1969, actor Boris Karloff died in the town of Midhurst in the UK. Born as William Henry Pratt, Karloff portrayed the Frankenstein monster, Imhotep, in The Mummy, Dr. Fu Manchu, and  even voiced the Grinch. He adopted the stage name, Boris Karloff while performing on stage in Canada. Some say he took the name from a character in the book, “The Drums of Jeopardy,” but that book wasn’t published until eight years after Karloff adopted the name. Others claim that he got the name from the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel. “H. R. H. The Rider,” in which the main character is Prince Boris of Karlova, but the Burroughs’ story was published four years after Pratt became Karloff. Perhaps, the influence was the other way around.
    Karloff, who never changed his name legally, signed documents as William H. Pratt aka Boris Karloff.
He performed hundreds of times on radio, well, he had that voice, and had 206 film and television credits. Among them, he played a renegade African native named Owaza in the film, “Tarzan and the Golden Lion.” Edgar Rice Burroughs’ future son-in-law, James Pierce, was Tarzan. Karloff wrote the author and asked for a meeting, but no one knows if such a meeting took place.
    The drabble for today, “Cue the Scary Music,” is a totally fictional conversation between Mr. Pratt and Edgar Rice Burroughs.


“Mr. Burroughs, I’ll have to reschedule. I’ve taken a part that will keep me away from California for quite a while.”

“Should I call you William or Boris?
 ‘Mr. Burroughs, either is fine.”
“Boris, call when you’re back in town. I must admit that I was somewhat afraid to meet with you. I know this sounds silly coming from a grown man, but your voice is so ominous that it frightens me. I can see clouds obscure the moon, hear the villagers, and smell the brimstone.”

“Mr. Burroughs, I get that a lot. Sometimes I sound so eerie, I scare myself.”

February 3:
On this day in 1934, the Los Angeles Times published the article, “Tarzan’s Dad Takes To the Air.”  Edgar Rice Burroughs, who hadn’t yet soloed, was successful and earned his pilot’s license. That’s impressive for anyone, but even more so for a man who rode a horse in the US Cavalry. In 1916, Burroughs and his family took a long road trip across America at a time when highways were mostly a thing of the future, roads were mostly an illusion, and service stations were few and far between. They camped out. There weren’t motels at the next highway intersection. ERB was a true renaissance man.
The entire article and more details about Burroughs, the pilot, are located on, along with several photos.
    The drabble for today, The Next New Thing,” is an excerpt from that newspaper article. For the record, Ed got his license. Hulbert crashed during his solo attempt. He had only minor injuries.


Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of "Tarzan" and other stories is learning to fly.

The novelist began flying for an odd reason. His son, Hulbert, had been permitted to take to the air. Mrs. Burroughs was opposed, but he continued to press for their permission.

"I decided that Hulbert wouldn’t be happy until we consented, and so to convince his mother and myself that flying is safe, I made up my mind I’d try it myself.”

Burroughs has ten hours in the air and will solo in three hours more. He’s purchased a Security Airster, manufactured by the Security Aircraft Corporation.

February 4:
On this day in 1939, Argosy Weekly published the five installment of “Synthetic Men of Mars,” the ninth book in the Barsoom series by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Neither the story itself, nor Burroughs name made the cover. The illustration by Rudolph Belarski was for “Help! Murder! Police! By Cleve F. Adams. The other writers mentioned on the cover were Donald Barr Chidsey, Robert Carse, and Cornell Woolrich. Ben David Allen contributed an article under his unfortunately chosen pseudonym, Sookie Allen, a name he used for over an hundred articles and stories.
    Publishing details for Synthetic Men of Mars:
The scientist, Ras Thavas, “The Mastermind of Mars,”  created an army of artificial warriors grown in gigantic vats. He planned to use his army of unkillable hormads to conquer the planet. His constructions aren’t too bright and they’re often misshapen. Sometimes the ingredients just don’t work out.
    The 100 word drabble for today is “Budgeted Out of Business,” and it was inspired by the novel, ”The Synthetic Men of Mars,” and by accountants everyone, the ones that just can’t leave production alone.


Ras Thavas inspected the freshly decanted hormads. He screamed at his production manager, Gan-tun. “They’ve got little arms. They can’t hold a sword. Half of them are missing legs. You followed the recipe?”

“Perfectly, Sir, but the clay looked differently and so did the oil?
“Yes, Har-din, in accounting, substituted goose oil for banth oil. Cheaper, and he ordered the clay from a different pit. Saved thousands in freight.”

“Destroy this whole batch. Cheaper isn’t better.”
“You want me to start another batch.”
“No, I’ve got to cook up a new accountant before this one finishes cooking our goose.

February 5:
On this day in 1943, director Woodbridge Strong Van Dyke II, better known as W. S. Van Dyke, died at age fifty-three in Los Angeles, California. He was known as “One Take Woody,” and was highly respected for his on-time and on-budget approach to film making.
    Van Dyke was a devout Christian Scientist and refused medical treatments for cancer. He committed suicide after saying goodbye to his family. Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald officiated his funeral.
    His films included Tarzan the Ape Man with Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan, Trader Horn, Eskimo, Manhattan Melodrama, The Thin Man and other Thin Man films, Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever, and Dr. Kildare’s Victory.
Trader Horn Film, Booklet and Text
    The drabble for today is “Losing the Light,” inspired by Van Dyke’s reputation and the film, “Tarzan of the Apes.”


Van Dyke said, “Okay, Weissmuller, in this scene, you’re losing a fight with a lion and the elephant will enter stage right and pull the lion off you. You recover, jump on the lion, and kill it. Do the yell thing and ride off on the elephant.”

“That’s pretty complicated. I hope I get it right.”
“You better, you’re a human and the other folks in the scene are animals. Try to look good at all times. Head up and chin out. If the lion and the elephant nail their parts, I’ll scream print, and there won’t be another take.

February 6:
On this date in 1889, actor Elmo Lincoln was born in Rochester, Indiana as Otto Elmo Linkenhelt. Elmo was active in film from 1913 through 1952, and appeared in five Tarzan films, Tarzan of the Apes, Adventures of Tarzan, Romance of Tarzan, Tarzan’s New York Adventure, and Tarzan’s Magic Fountain. Elmo played Tarzan in the first three films listed.
With silent pictures ending, Lincoln left the industry and tried mining. He then operated a salvage business in Salt Lake City for about ten years before returning to the film industry. He had eighty one film credits including two versions of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Elmo, the Fearless,” and “Elmo, the Mighty.” His final film role was in the 1952 film, “Carrie,” no not the one by Stephen King. This one starred Laurence Olivier.
There’s an excellent book by Marci’a Lincoln Rudolph , “My Father, Elmo Lincoln, The Original Tarzan”. You can find copies on various websites including Amazon and EBay. To learn more about Elmo, go to
    The drabble for today is “Wasted on the Young,” and it was inspired by the career of Elmo Lincoln, both on and off stage.


“Welcome back to Hollywood, Mr. Lincoln,” said the young agent. “Remind of your previous work.”
“I played Tarzan and Elmo, the Mighty, but I was typecast as a strongman. I picked things up. I put things down.”
“Did you have any speaking parts?”
“No, are you twelve? Silent pictures! I picked things up. I put things down.”
“You worked on the sets?”
“I was a star. I battled lions, saved endangered damsels, and fought for truth and justice.”
“Were you in the war?”
Never mind. I’d best leave before I pick you up and put you down outside the window.”

February 7:
On this day in 1943,  the “John Carter of Mars” Sunday page episode # 62, written by John Coleman Burroughs and illustrated by John Coleman Burroughs and his wife, Jane Ralston Burroughs,  Toward Doom was published. In the episode, John Carter battles a creature called a Gizank, which for all intents and purposes is a gigantic rooster. While John battles the big chicken, Dejah Thoris disappeared.
    The John Carter of Mars Sunday Comic was ready for syndication about the same time as WW2 started and it never really had a chance. It was only in four newspapers. The Burroughs Bibliophiles reprinted the entire run and copies of that printing are occasionally available on EBay and other sites. The entire run is on erbzine, start at:
    The drabble for today, “Fowl Advantage,” was inspired by the battle with the Gizank, not to be confused with a gizzard.


John Carter dodged the gizank, but the creature snatched the warlord’s cloak in its beak. He dodged left and it countered. He shifted and the feathered beast matched him.

“Dejah, it’s reading my mind.”
“John, it’s a chicken.”
‘It has sharp talons, and a huge beak.”
“Chicken, John. A chicken.”
“It’s laughing at me, Dejah. See the smile.”
“Birds don’t smile. It’s a chicken.”
Carter decided that fought by instinct, the beast wouldn’t know his moves. It worked and he killed the beast. He crowed with his success.

“For Issus’s sake, John. It’s a chicken.”
“No, now it’s a casserole.”

February 8:
On this day in 1913. New Story Magazine offered Edgar Rice Burroughs $1000.00 for “The Return of Tarzan.” All-Story Magazine had rejected the story and Burroughs accepted New Story’s offer. New Story serialized the novel from June 1913 through December 1913. Burroughs tried to purchase the art for the June issue from Wyeth, but they two were unable to agree on the price.
    There is only one known copy of the first edition in dust jacket, making it the rarest book by Edgar Rice Burroughs. If someone offers you one for sale, it’s probably fake or stolen.
    My first edition does have a badly torn dust jacket with all the key information missing, it’s no doubt the tattered remains of a reprint.
    Details about The Return of Tarzan, the editions, and several illustrations:
The drabble for today, “Value is Relative,” is a fictional conversation between Ed and his wife, Emma about The Return of Tarzan


“Ed,” said Emma. “I saw New Story Magazine with your new Tarzan story on the stands today. Aren’t they supposed to send you a copy?”

“Sadly no, I left it out of the contract.”
“You want me to buy you one.”
“No, I wrote it. I don’t need to read it. They paid me, I don’t want to pay them anything. I’ll make sure I get a copy of the book if there’s a first edition.”

“You think it will be worth anything?”
“Not a penny. But it will look good next to my Jules Verne collection on the shelf.

February 9:
On this day in 1933, Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing the 17th Tarzan novel, Tarzan and the Lion Man, a book influenced by his experiences with Hollywood. The story begins with Tarzan and Jad-bal-ja wandering into a city of talking gorillas. To keep things interesting, a Hollywood film crew is filming a Tarzan film and the actor who is playing Tarzan is a perfect physical double for the real Lord of the Jungle.
    The story was serialized in “Liberty Magazine,” Neither ‘Lion Man’ nor Edger Rice Burroughs ever received even a single cover mention, but the article, “The Lives and Loves of Jean Harlow,” did.
    The first edition of the book had an unusual dust jacket, instead of a scene from the book, the cover had a stylized cover with two faces of Tarzan positioned back to back.
Publishing details and illustrations:
    The drabble for today is, Where it’s Needed,” is a fictional conversation between Edgar Rice Burroughs and Adela Rogers St. John, whose articles, including the Jean Harlow article, made the cover twice during the run of “Tarzan and the Lion Man.” You may have to think about this one, but don’t give up on it.


Edgar Rice Burroughs met Adela Rogers St. John and tipped his hat. “A pleasure to meet another writer, especially one who kept me off the cover of Liberty Magazine.”

“You’re too kind. Your works speak for themselves, but a struggling writer such as myself, needs all the help she can get.”

A quick breeze blew off her hat and Ed caught and returned it. She said, “Thank you for catching my Beret.”

“You’re quite welcome. I always wondered what happened to the silent ‘T’ in beret. Now I know. They put at the end of Harlow where it was needed.”


February 10:
On this day in 1939, The Dell Fast-Action Book, Tarzan the Avenger was copyrighted. In an effort to compete with Whitman’s Big Little Books and Better Little Books, Dell Publishing began the Fast-Action Books. The cover was by artist, Dick Moore. The interior contained 95 illustrations by Rex Maxon from his Tarzan daily comic adaption of “The Son of Tarzan,” but the pages were rewritten changing Korak to Tarzan, making for an interesting combination.
    There were two other ERB Dell Fast-Action books, ‘John Carter of Mars” and “Tarzan with the Tarzan Twins in the Jungle.”
Details are available at:
The drabble for today is, “Need a New Title,” and it was inspired by the “Tarzan, the Avenger,” a Dell Fast-Action book.


John Coleman Burroughs tossed a copy of “Tarzan, the Avenger: on his dad’s desk. “They took the comic strip, “Son of Tarzan”, but they changed Korak, Tarzan’s son to Tarzan.”

“You’ve heard like father, like son. This is like son, like father.”
“You’re taking it pretty well?”
‘I signed away editorial control. I’d hoped to use Tarzan the Avenger as a title, but that ship has sailed. Any thoughts?

“Maybe ‘Tarzan’s Quest’ or ‘The Quest of Tarzan.’ The Man without a Soul won’t confuse anyone.”

“If that’s the best you’ve got, I might as well call it “Tom Sawyer.”

February 11:
On this date in 1943, Edgar Rice Burroughs, the world’s oldest war correspondent was on Fiji. He watched a football game between the Deck Force and the Gunners, two teams from the USS Shaw. In his "The Diary of a Confused Old Man,"  Ed said that the game featured an All-American from Texas, but he declined to name the player.
The College All-American team for 1941 featured two players from the Lone Star State, Malcolm Kutner from the University of Texas and James Sterling from Texas A & M. I didn’t find any evidence that Sterling served in the Navy. However, Malcolm Kutner chose not to play his senior year in Austin and enlisted in the Navy. He served until the end of the war. During the war, Malcolm played for pre-flight football teams, aka Deck Force. There’s no doubt that Macolm is Edgar Rice Burroughs unnamed All-American. After the war, Kutner was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals. He was rookie of the year in 1946, and in 1947, led the Cardinals to an NFL Championship. He was the most valuable player in 1948. Burroughs didn’t report who won the game on Fuji, but my money’s on the Deck Force.
    The drabble for today is “Birth of Civilization,” inspired by that football game in Fiji, 81 years ago today.


Ed sat with the captain from the USS Shaw. “Football on Fiji?”
‘Yes, I try to let the boys play whenever possible. It’s good for morale.”
“Whose morale, ours or the locals?”
“Both. Reminds the men of home and teaches the locals about civilization.”
Ed smiled, “So grown men beating each other half to death while trying to move an inflated pigskin across a field is the symbol of civilization.”

“Ritualized warfare. It teaches teamwork, strategy, and perseverance.”
“Can’t say I’ve ever heard the game described with such eloquent piety. I’ll put twenty bucks on the Deck Force boys.”


February 12:
On this day in 1934, Edgar Rice Burroughs took his first solo flight in his new airplane, the Doodad, a Security Airstream. Ed wrote in his diary two days later, “Soloed perfect. Got my wings. Great thrill.
His son, Hulbert, soloed a short time later, but the flight didn’t go as well. The aircraft crashed on landing, but Hulbert escaped injury. Son-in-law, James Pierce, completed lessons and eventually became a commercially licensed pilot. (Side note: Jim Granger died in same ship when the brakes locked and he crashed on October 3rd)
    The drabble for today is “Solo,” and it’s inspired by that first flight alone. I remember mine and I got my wish for that day. I just didn’t want it to be exciting.


Edgar Rice Burroughs’ flight instructor, Jim Grange, said, “Nice flight, Mr. Burroughs, let’s get you signed off to solo.”

“Are you sure I’m ready.”
“Yep. We’ll meet at sunrise, you give me a weather report and your flight plan, and then off to the wild blue yonder.”

“I’ve been wondering why pilots have to fly alone before they get their licenses.”
“No one knows how you’ll react when you’re pilot-in-command. If you freeze, bad things happen. We don’t want baby pilots to kill anyone but themselves.”

“Wow. That’s so reassuring.”
“If you have to crash, try to hit something soft.”

February 13
: On this day in 1983, the Thomas Yeates’ written and illustrate Tarzan Sunday page “The Lion” was published. Mike Grell took over the Sunday comic the next week.
The 100 drabble for today is, “Point of View,” and it was inspired by the ongoing battle between predator and prey, as well as those people who’ve managed to somehow reach adulthood without any sense of urgency or consideration for others. Simply put, death comes to the unprepared and the inattentive.


The new dam’s water filled the valley. Tarzan searched the soon-to-be-submerged village. A man slept under a large sign. “My friend,” said Tarzan, “You must leave now. Flood’s coming.”

“What’s the big rush? I haven’t had time to get ready. I’ve been busy. No one told me.”
Tarzan pointed. “I put this sign up months ago. You’ve had plenty of time.”
“I haven’t. I hate it when people are in a hurry. There’s no need to rush.”
“What you call a rush on our part we call inattention, selfishness, and procrastination on your part. Our time’s as important as yours.”

February 14:
On this day in 1971, the Russ Manning Tarzan Sunday comic story arc, Jal-Bal-Ja and the Apes, concluded. In the short four episode story, Tarzan and Jal-Bal-Ja battle a pride of lions to save the apes. They are both badly injured. The apes nurse Tarzan and their hereditary enemy, the lion, Jal-Bal-Ja back to health.
    The 100 word drabble for today is “The Polls are Closed,” inspired by Russ Manning’s story arc, Jal-Bal-Ja and the Apes.


The great apes knelt around Tarzan and his lion companion, Jal-Bal-Ja. An ape said, “They’re injured. They’ll die if we don’t help them.”

As she-ape nodded. “They were injured saving us from the lions.”
The apes voted and began bandaging the injured warriors.”
One ape, Gaham, shouted. “Stop. I don’t want us to help. You can’t help them unless I say so.”

The she-ape replied. “You should’ve spoken before we voted.”
Gaham screamed, “I speak now. By what right to you do other than what I want?”
The she replied, “By a right we learned from Tarzan. It’s called democracy.”


February 15:
On this day in 1970, the Russ Manning written and illustrated Tarzan Sunday comic story arc, “Korak and the River of Time” began. The beautifully illustrated story ran for 16 weeks and ended on May 31, 1970. It was reprinted in issues 231- 234 of the comics review and was included in Tarzan: The Complete Russ Manning Newspaper Strips Volume 2 (1969-1971).
    In the story, Jane finds an old man who claims to be her son, Korak. She knows somehow that it’s him. Korak says that the elders of a mysterious tribe have stolen his youth and asks Tarzan to place him in the River of Time so that he can regain his lost years. To tell what happens would be cheating. Read the story at:
    The drabble for today is, Once More into the Breach,” and it’s inspired by “Korak and the River of Time.” Three Cousins Press will take submissions for its 2024 anthology of time travel stories beginning on June 1, 2024. Stories should be between 3000 and 5000 words. No fan fiction and don’t hurt any dogs or cats.


Jane said, “A river of time. How wonderful. We could change the past. We could stop wars and prevent assignations. You could save your parents and grow up in England, not the jungle.”

“If I’d grown up in England, the bull ape would have killed you and we wouldn’t have married or have a son.”

“That won’t work. Perhaps we could go back a little ways and live smarter lives.”
“We should leave time alone. There’s a difference in having twenty years’ experience and having one years’ experience twenty times. Watching the same film twenty times doesn’t change the ending.”

Click or Tap

For Days 16-29 Go To ERBzine 7787a


Click for full-size promo collage
ERBzine References
ERBzine C.H.A.S.E.R. Online Bibliography
Publishing History ~ Cover & Interior Art ~ Pulps ~ E-text
ERB Bio Timeline
Illustrated Bibliography for ERB's Pulp Magazine Releases
Copyright 2024: Robert Allen Lupton


Visit our thousands of other sites at:
ERB Text, ERB Images and Tarzan® are ©Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.- All Rights Reserved.
All Original Work ©1996-2024 by Bill Hillman and/or Contributing Authors/Owners
No part of this web site may be reproduced without permission from the respective owners.