||The ERB, Inc. open house was a packed event. The three office
rooms were packed with fans and many strangers who seemed to appear out
of nowhere. While roaming with my cameras I also helped a bit with
security as many of the displayed items were worth a small fortune and
they were all open to hands-on examination. Another first-time meeting
I was looking forward to was with Patrice Bonnyrat of Griffen films who
was working on a major PBS bio documentary, Burroughs: Master of
Fantasy. Danton had given Patrice our address and we had been corresponding
by e-mail and phone for some time. Patrice was accompanied by actors Lydie
Denier and Bruce Boxleitner who had been commissioned to narrate the show.
Fittingly my meeting with Patrice and Lydie was under the famous black
walnut tree which marked the burial spot of Ed's ashes in the front garden
of the Burroughs office lot.
I had just returned to the office melee and was trying to take shots of the Burian art wall when old friend Billy York and his wife Barbara arrived. Billy had been the perfect host and a real pal during our last trip to California. He is a fellow-educator, and the cross-country team he coaches has won a bushel of awards and trophies, but he finds time to attend the occasional ERB event. He introduced us to his lovely wife Barbara but then, in typical Billy fashion, he mysteriously disappeared. When we eventually tracked him down we found him in the inner office -- buried up to his elbows in a stack of giant sheets of Princess of Mars pre-production art.
An excited group of shutterbugs huddled around a box near the entrance to the second office room. A.Q. Porter, Abner, the Bloody British Hooligan, Henry Franke and many more had discovered a rarity that, up to now, fans had seen only in photos. The most famous photo, the one featured in the Porges biography, shows John Coleman Burroughs with a wooden model thoat that he had just carved. He had constructed this many-legged Barsoomian "horse" with jointed legs and neck so that he could pose it in all manner of positions to give him inspiration for the many John Carter of Mars illustrations he was creating. Son Danton had only recently rediscovered this unusual item.
Clusters of curious fans paraded Sue-On who was still furiously photocopying ERB's scrapbooks of newspaper clippings. To help speed things up a bit, Usha had volunteered to remove pages from the scrapbook rings and pass them over to Sue-On. The clippings had apparently come from a clipping service that had monitored newspapers for Tarzan and Burroughs references and had supplied Ed with thousands of news items throughout the '20s, '30s and '40s.
Meanwhile, in the inner office, Danton had unleashed his dad's Martian
sword from its ornately carved wooden scabbard and was holding the invading
mobs at bay in true John Carter fashion. Finally, after the last man had
retreated into the parking lot, the masses reorganized and followed the
retreating swordsman on his trek up to the Burroughs Tarzana Ranch.
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