Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute and Weekly Webzine Site
Since 1996 ~ Over 10,000 Webpages in Archive

October 2004
Visit our News Archives to see older news events
Readers in more recent years will note that
some of the reference links I've given with these news items
are no longer accessible.
This is a common problem we've found when promoting off-site links.
For this reason I've become a bit more hesitant to promote links from off-site
since our ERBzine pages back to 1996 are all active 
and are still being visited by our readers.

More on the recently found "New" Giant Congo Ape
All hail King Congo
By Michael Hanlon ~ Herald Sun News, Australia  ~ Oct. 17, 2004

A Close and chilling encounter with what is believed to be a new breed of giant killer ape has rocked the science world. The massive apes live in the darkest reaches of the jungles of the African Congo.The reportedly intelligent beasts hunt in packs, silently stalking their prey for hours, before attacking.Wildlife experts and scientists are baffled. They cannot say for sure whether the apes are a more aggressive family of chimpanzees or a new species of great ape.

There is growing evidence -- photographs, videos and even DNA samples, as well as first-hand testimony from a respected primatologist -- that suggests an unknown primate is indeed lurking in the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo.Shelly Williams, a primatologist, has revealed her harrowing encounter with the creatures in the current issue of New Scientist."We could hear them in the trees and four suddenly came rushing towards me. If this had been a bluff charge they would have been screaming to intimidate us," she said."These guys were quiet and they were huge. They were coming in for the kill."As soon as they saw my face they stopped and disappeared."

She described the apes as having rounded, flat faces and greying all-over hair.Her report has been greeted with some scepticism, but the history of this part of the world shows it would be foolish to dismiss out of hand reports of a new great ape.Initial reports of what turned out to be the mountain gorilla in Rwanda and the Congo were not believed.

Indeed, as far back as 1898, there were hints of another large ape existing in the Congo basin after a Belgian expedition returned from the region with three skulls. Initially, they looked similar to that of the western lowland gorilla. But there was something odd about them -- the shape of the brow-ridges and jaw was different to that of a true gorilla.

They remained unidentified until 1996, when Swiss journalist Karl Ammann went in search of these "lost gorillas".He travelled almost 500km from the known ranges of either mountain or lowland gorilla and met locals who told of a huge, ferocious ape capable of hunting and killing wild animals.Ammann told how these apes would come face-to-face with their human cousins, stare intently in alf-recognition, then slide away quietly. No aggression, yet no fear either -- similar behaviour to chimpanzees.

Three years ago, an expedition to the region did not find any giant apes, but scientists discovered abandoned nests on swampy ground. Chimps sleep in trees. Gorillas build nests on the ground, but always well away from water and swamps. Then Shelly Williams made her trip to the Bili region, where the apes were reputed to live. She saw and filmed them close up. The large, black-faced apes are gorilla-like in some ways, but their bodies resemble chimps.

Williams also found and documented footprints and came across an old photograph of a dead ape-like creature captured by hunters. Scientists calculated that it weighed much more than the heaviest known chimp, which has been recorded at a weight of 70kg. Williams concluded that these creatures could be a new subspecies of chimpanzee, a gorilla-chimp hybrid, or a new species. It is possible, though unlikely, that chimps and gorillas could mate and produce viable offspring. Hairs taken from the nesting sites have been tested and DNA evidence seems to point to the apes being a type of chimp. But Williams points out that so far we only have very partial genetic evidence of what these animals are.

 'New' giant ape found in DR Congo
BBC News ~ October 10, 2004
Scientists believe they have discovered a new group of giant apes in the jungles of central Africa.The animals, with characteristics of both gorillas and chimpanzees, have been sighted in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo.According to local villagers, the apes are ferocious, and even capable of killing lions. A report about the mysterious creatures is published in this week's edition of the UK magazine New Scientist. If they are a new species of primate, it could be one of the most important wildlife discoveries in decades. The discovery of these apes "reveals just how much we still have to learn about our closest living relatives," 


  • Large, black faces (like gorillas)
  • Up to two metres tall (6.5ft)
  • Weigh 85kg-102kg (187lb-224lb)
  • Males make nests on the ground (like gorillas)
  • Diet rich in fruit (like chimps)
They stand up to two metres tall, the size of gorillas, and like gorillas, they nest on the ground, not in trees. But they live hundreds of km away from any other known gorilla populations, and their diet is closer to that of chimpanzees. Primatologist Shelly Williams is thought to be the only scientist to have seen the apes. During her visit to DR Congo two years ago, she says she captured them on video and located their nests. She describes her encounter with them: "Four suddenly came rushing out of the bush towards me," she told New Scientist. "If this had been a bluff charge, they would have been screaming to intimidate us. These guys were quiet. And they were huge. They were coming in for the kill. I was directly in front of them, and as soon as they saw my face, they stopped and disappeared."

The discovery has baffled scientists. There are three controversial possibilities to explain the origin of the mystery apes:
    * They are a new species of ape
    * They are giant chimpanzees, much larger than any so far recorded, but behave like gorillas
    * They could be hybrids, the product of gorillas mating with chimpanzees. 
So far, researchers have little to go on, but they now plan to return to northern DR Congo to study the apes further. In the meantime, there are fears that unless measures are taken to protect them, poaching could threaten this new group of primates before the mystery of their identity is resolved. "This is a lawless area," says Kenyan-based Swiss photographer Karl Ammann, who tipped Ms Williams off about the apes. 
"The government has practically no control over hunting. If we found something interesting it would attract more investment. People would be more interested in conserving it."

Actor Christopher Reeve dies
Superman star Christopher Reeve, who lobbied for medical research after being paralysed in a fall nine years ago, has died aged 52.

Excerpts from 
From Lion Farm to Jungleland to Thousand Oaks
By Alma (Goebel) Heil
Ventura County Star ~ October 10, 2004

. . . Many people visited "Jungleland" in the early 1960s and fell in love with the Conejo Valley and moved there. I'd like to tell you that there would not have been a Jungleland if there had not been a "Lion Farm" first. 

In 1926, a young man by the name of Louis Goebel, my father, was searching for a place way out in the country to keep some animals. At the time, his job was taking care of and feeding the animals at Universal Studios. When studio executives decided to eliminate their menagerie, Louis, who loved animals, eagerly bought them. Among them were dogs, rabbits, chickens, a fox, other small animals and six African lions.He found what he thought was a nice, quiet place in Thousand Oaks and went down to the county seat in Ventura to get permission to keep lions there. . .

With the county's "OK," Louis bought five lots . . .. He immediately fenced in his property and began building cages for his lions.This was the beginning of Goebel's Lion Farm. It would also have been the end of Goebel's Lion Farm . . . 

Goebel's Lion Farm opened to the public in 1927. People came from all over to see the wonderful animals that Louis trained to perform in future movies, such as the "Tarzan" series and "The Good Earth." It wasn't long before people all over Southern California were asking for the location of the Lion Farm, and the time had come for Thousand Oaks to be put on the map.

Louis leased animal acts to circuses and many of the owners decided Thousand Oaks was a perfect place to stay during the winter. Many of these people bought property and made their homes there, attracted by the beauty of the area with its wide open spaces, clear skies and clean, fresh air. It was real country living. Goebel's Lion Farm eventually became known all over the world, getting as much recognition as Disneyland does today. Its most famous star was Leo the Lion, the MGM trademark. . . .

Louis Goebel first sold the Lion Farm shortly after World War II and again several times after that. It seems each new owner couldn't make a go of it and it would be returned to him. The last owners called it Jungleland, but they, too, had difficulty making a go of it and in the late 1960s, it closed for the final time. The owners auctioned off the animals, except those Louis retained, and returned the land to the Goebel family.

Louis continued to export wild animals all over the world. He supplied many animals to zoos all over the United States, including furnishing many of the animals for the first zoo in Hawaii. In the late 1940s, he supplied most of the rhesus monkeys that were used in the research and development of a vaccine for polio. Louis never was one to brag about his accomplishments nor did he expect any recognition. . . 

Read the entire Goebel Family tribute at:
From Lion Farm to Jungleland to T.O.
By Alma (Goebel) Heil
Copyright 2004, Ventura County Star. All Rights Reserved.

'Mars' man gets green
'Princess' scribe crowned for sci-fier Oct. 10, 2004
 Paramount Pictures has signed Ehren Kruger ("The Ring," "The Ring 2") to pen sci-fi adventure-actioner "A Princess of Mars." Par-based Alphaville Prods. plans to begin shooting in 10-12 months with Kerry Conran ("Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow") helming 

The project is based on the first book in Edgar Rice Burroughs' 11-book series, "John Carter of Mars," which centers on John Carter, a Civil War officer from Virginia who is transported to Mars and finds himself a captive of the savage green men from Thark. Eventually, he rises to become the greatest warrior of all time, marries the beautiful Dejah Thoris, raises a family and embarks on numerous adventures. A previous script for the film had been written by Mark Protosevich (The Cell).

October 7, 2004

"Sky Captain Inspired By Classic Films" Interview
Q: . . . You’re currently working on another project that has classic film elements? 
A: Yes, for Paramount. “Princess of Mars,” based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ books, is a series of books about John Carter and the first book in the series. Those are some of the pulps that inspired and gave birth to the “Lord Of The Rings” and “Star Wars” series. It’s a film project that’s been 50 years in the making and has been too ambitious and complicated until the advances that have been made in technology. We’re going to give it a shot as a combination of special effects and live action.

“Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow” has an amazing never-seen-before look. At times, it’s so beautiful it appears like a painting, and the lighting on each character and aspect of the film seems revolutionary. This is a film that will truly delight classic film fans. 

Sky Captain Production Photo Gallery

October 5, 2004 News Bits
A selection of reviews on 
Kerry Conran's Sky Captain
. . . most with references to his next project: ERB's A Princess of Mars plus a bit of ERB Trivia

CHUD On-set Interview I
CHUD On-set Interview II
Paramount to Tell Believe It or Not! Tales 
. . .  also working on a film based on the action-adventure series  The Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Writer-director Kerry Conran created the first effects of his spectacular homage to '30s serials on a home computer 
Yahoo! Movies Canada
Kerry Conran Filmography
Mickey News
Did you know the Swiss Family Tree House (now Tarzan's Tree House) 'species' of tree is Disneydendron and the construction of the 'trunk' is half as deep as it is tall. . . The music from the Tree House is Swissa Polka also heard at the Matterhorn and lingering in Tarzan's new digs
Sky Captain Review
(next). . . an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrows' "A Princess of Mars." It's scheduled for a 2006 release, and is to be written and directed by Kerry Conran. If the eye-candy of the "Sky Captain" trailer draws you to the film, take a look by all means. It's still a powerful visual experience. But visuals need to serve story and character, not the other way around.
Is It A Bird? Is It A Plane?
Swedish MPs in Superman name row
BBC News
Several Swedish MPs have flown to the Leistens’ defence and are calling for legislation on babies' names to be changed. They say the law is inconsistent as the patent and registration office permits the use of Batman or Tarzan, but not Superman or Asterix. 
Effects Beyond Its Time
 Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (PG) has already secured its place in film history. . .
Writer-director Kerry Conran is set to make Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars next.
Sky Captain Flies to Big Screen
Six Minutes in Four Years
Real Actors Take the Stage
 The unique look of “Sky Captain,” at times the sepia tinge of an old photograph or postcard, at others bright with the unmistakable light of Technicolor, was achieved by running the color film through a diffusion filter, and then tinting it black and white before running the entire film through a final stage, where color was blended, balanced and added back in.,1,5292023.story?coll=hc-ent-headlines-breaking
Provocative Pulp
Publishers Return To Racy Retro Art To Resuscitate A Genre And Entice Readers 
 At about the time of World War I, when books were costly and talkies hadn't yet taken over cinema, the demand for prose that cruised at a quick pace broke a wave of new writers whose stories, published in serialized installments, kept readers coming back for more. Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose "Tarzan of the Apes" first appeared in 1912, helped touch off the genre. Vivid cover art depicting Tarzan's struggles with the beasts of the jungle brought Burrough's exotic tales to life for the readers of a more isolated America
Will Movies Now Be Made This Way
The young director is already working on his next script, based on Edgar Rice Burroughs's John Carter Of Mars series of pulp novels. Filmmakers have been thinking about the novels for over 50 years. Going by his current record, chances are Conran might beat them to it.
Kerry Conran's first film took 10 years of work - sometimes, big dreams take their own sweet time to come true  Barring a most unlikely nosedive of "Sky Captain," the young master plans to use both bluescreen and standard filming for a big movie of Edgar Rice Burrough's "A Princess of Mars" for Paramount, and "it's pretty ambitious. They've tried about 10 times to make it, yet now it should happen.
Dazzling, gorgeous effects can't hide lackluster story
 a technically dazzling showcase that ups the bar on what special effects can achieve. It'll be fascinating to see how Conran applies what he's learned to his next project, which is rumored to be an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars novels. There's no question Conran has a real filmmaking sensibility 
Series Premieres September 22, 2004 On ABC
From the Boston Globe review by Matthew Gilbert

"This is a great piece of TV work, a tropical island adventure fitted with more than 40 characters, conceived with an eye to marooned-traveler classics such as "Lord of the Flies," "Castaway," and "Jurassic Park," and overlorded by one of the medium's most energetic and innovative talents, J.J. Abrams of "Alias."
.   .   . 
"It's more demanding than its Edgar Rice Burroughs-like premise might suggest. With Abrams at the helm, the island mysteries will probably involve paranoid government twists and mad-scientist turns that don't reach out to mainstream viewers."

Denny will be promoting his new book (see News Archive 2) at:
September 29: Interview with Shelbyville, IN, talk radio show - WKWH 15:20 AM.
October 2-3:  Ray Courts "Hollywood Collectors Show, in Burbank, CA. 
October 5: Interview on a nationally syndicated show "Connie Martinson Talks Books." 
October 5: A meeting with a writer from UCLA Magazine, for a feature article. 
October 6-10: Guest celebrity at the 15th Annual Lone Pine Film Festival (Northern California) -  5,000 people are expected! 
October 11: Return home, driving through Death Valley
He has added some collectible merchandise for fans: Tarzan and also Western motif... refrigerator magnets, Tarzan canvass totes, and decks of playing cards (obviously influenced by his Nordstrom retail years).  The items each feature a different pose of Denny as Tarzan. 

ERBzine Editor Note:  Shelbyville, IN has special signficance for the Burroughs family. Shelbyville is the hometown of Jim Pierce  -- star of the silent film "Tarzan and the Golden Lion" and husband of ERB's daughter Joan. Both Jim and Joan are buried at Shelbyville with the names "Tarzan" and "Jane" inscribed on their grave markers.
The Gravesite
part of our Louisville Dum-Dum 2003 Web feature:
and our Joan Burroughs Pierce Bio:

Virtual Captain
For computer geek Kerry Conran, 
'World of Tomorrow' part of film's future
By William Booth ~ The Washington Post ~ September 21, 2004
LOS ANGELES -- He is like that guy who worked in your office once, the shy tech-geek, the temp down in IT. Until very recently, that guy was Kerry Conran. For more than a decade, Conran was the computer nerd at a series of temporary jobs at newspapers and magazines. He didn't want money. No, he wanted to barter for his services, for 3-D graphic software and hard drives with mega-capacity. "Every job I took, it was with computer parts in mind," he says. "And that's how I built my Frankenstein."

Conran never cared much about rebooting your system. Rather, he was imagining, with a kind of mad scientist desire, rebooting the entire movie industry. And now the world can see what Conran has wrought, with the release last Friday of "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow," a movie the writer-director began envisioning when he was 10 years old.

Nostalgic yet weird
It is a fantastical and original piece of work that feels at once comfortable and nostalgic but weird and new. Set in 1939, it stars Jude Law as the dashing Sky Captain, Gwyneth Paltrow as the plucky reporter Polly Perkins and Angelina Jolie as the eye-patched Franky Cook. The actors are real. But everything else in the movie has been created on a computer. No locations. No sets. Every backdrop and scene that appears in the movie -- the giant robots marching down 6th Avenue; the hanging gardens of Shangri-La; the undersea lair of the evil mastermind Totenkopf; Radio City Music Hall -- exist only on a hard drive, put together from a melange of photographs, paintings and animation.

The actors spent 26 days on a soundstage in London, performing their scenes against a completely blue background, blue from floor to wall to ceiling, a blank canvas. And then Conran and his team added everything else -- the Zeppelin docking at the Empire State Building, the tiny elephant that could fit into the palm of your hand, the flying aircraft carrier, the undersea monsters.Many action adventure movies today employ computer-animation and special effects, but they also use real locales, build elaborate stage sets and create their monsters out of plastic, foam, paint and wire. "Sky Captain" is different; it is one giant special effect.

Conran believes that his techniques -- the live-action movie taking place on a virtual set -- will usher in "a renaissance of independent filmmaking." With a computer-generated world for the actors to move through, Conran says a film can take place anywhere one's imagination can go, ancient Egypt or Mars in 2054. For a fraction of the cost, he says. "The studios today are in this awkward and horrible position where films cost so much money to make, they have to be cautious so they can appeal to the broadest audience, so that is half the point of this experiment, to see if independent filmmakers and studios can both take chances again, to think differently."

Creating an animatic
The industry trades estimate the movie eventually cost $70 million to make. Not cheap. Conran says he is not an accountant, shrugs and says, "What the movie cost is one-quarter to one-third of a live-action summer movie like `Van Helsing' or `Spider-Man."' In a warehouse in Van Nuys, Calif., Conran and crew used the script to create a series of hand-drawn storyboards for the whole movie. Then they transferred those images into the computer and made a moving motion picture, a rough draft called an animatic, where the planes fly and cartoon characters move.

Conran and team could decide, from the animatic, all their virtual camera angles and virtual shots. In London, they built a huge blue soundstage and placed numbered dots on the floor. "The dots would be this grid, and when we filmed a scene, say at Radio City Music Hall, we'd tell Gwyneth to walk from G1 to H5 to J17 and the camera would be set on F12 filming." Before shooting the take, Paltrow watched the animatic of her character walking through Radio City. So she could react to things that weren't there, like Giant Robots. As Conran filmed Paltrow, he could also watch another screen that allowed him to see Paltrow moving through his computer-generated sets. Conran says: "The benefit for the actors was they could watch the movie, the scene, in the animatic version before we shoot it on the soundstage."

After the principal filming was completed in London, Conran and his illustrators could then tweak every scene, changing the lighting, making the monsters bigger, smaller, brighter or darker. "We would generate backgrounds, literally making paintings on glass canvas," scanning them into the computer, "then adding photographs we'd alter or enhance and 3-D imagery we'd create from scratch."

"The beauty was we could do anything we wanted," he says. Conran is already writing the script and imagining the visuals for his next movie, based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' "John Carter of Mars" series of pulp novels.

Copyright © 2004, Chicago Tribune
'Sky Captain' tops B.O. with $16.2 mil
Variety Box Office News ~ Sunday September 18, 2004
During a tepid weekend at the box office, Paramount's "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" debuted in the top spot at $16.2 million. The Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow starrer played at 3,170 theaters.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Saturday September 17, 2004

After being delayed from its summer debut because the special effects shots were incomplete, Paramount made the bold decision to open this potential franchise in the dead zone of September. That move appears to have been a bad decision, as Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow managed only $5.1 million on its first day of business. It probably will have a decent multiplier since the film is upbeat family fare the likes of which hasn't been seen for awhile. Give it a 2.9 and $14.8 million for the weekend. There's no way Paramount is going to come anywhere near recouping the $70 million budget of this film domestically, which probably means that director Kerry Conran's involvement in the Princess of Mars saga might become an uncertainty.
Box Office Prophets

A note from:

. . . BONJOUR . . . 

I am going back on stage in the play 
in which I will again play Greta Garbo.

The opening night is on October 2nd
and the production will run for 5 weekends. 

Main Stage
6773 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA
(corner of Highland and Hollywood)
Parking $3 in the back of the theater, entrance on Highland.
Regular admission in advance: $25 ~ At the door: $30

For friends and family: Sunday matinee at 3 pm: $15
Fridays and Saturdays 8 pm and Sundays 3 pm
Call for reservations at 818-623-9333 
Official Website

Danton Burroughs attended the 
September 14th Press Preview for the film
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
written and directed by Kerry Conran

Conran has been selected by Paramount
to direct the new multi-million dollar
John Carter / Princess of of Mars production.

Danton was very impressed with the production and Conran's work.
He has sent the booklet from this advance showing of Sky Captain
for film buffs who are following the progress of the new ERB film.

Page 1
Page 2
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow cover page
Page 3
Page 4


Be Sure To Visit The
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow Web Site Interview with 
Kerry Conran (John Carter Ref Excerpts)
I’ve been working with Paramount on trying to bring this series of books called “John Carter of Mars” which is Edgar Rice Burrough’s novels, to life, who created “Tarzan.” I think they’ve attempted to make these films for the last 50 years and have failed so far, so naturally of course, I’m the obvious choice to bring it to life somehow. But no, it’s thrilling. I think Burrough’s the father of the pulse. A lot of what I reference for this movie… and the John Carter series, I think even Lucas had mentioned being heavily influenced for Star Wars. Lord of the Rings drew from that I believe. It’s a very fertile landscape to draw from. 

(Are you keeping it the post-Civil War period?): I think the idea is to keep it pretty faithful to what it was but play with the notion that he’s living a bit longer than he should. 
(Harry Knowles is one of the producers right?): I think he’s one of the producers. 
(Have you worked with him at all?): No. I talked to him certainly. 

Will Movies Now Be Made This Way?
Kerry Conran Discusses the "Princess" Project
September 13, 2004
Rope of Silicon
Kerry Conrad
We're moving full steam ahead on that. We don't have a script yet, it's early on obviously, but it's starting. Hopefully in the next couple months we'll start to move. I think we'll have a little more resources available this time out, sort of how Peter Jackson made Lord of the Rings, which used all the available technology, such as miniatures and all that to achieve that. I think there are certain types of images and effects that the computer isn't suited for, and you want to use whatever the best approach is for whatever the thing you're trying to create. So I wouldn't say that we would want to do it remotely like we did World of Tomorrow, but absolutely we would use some of the techniques." 

In truth, Princess of Mars was something that I never could have imagined even agreeing to do, or wanting to do in that regard because I really only wanted to do my own stuff. 


ERB Moment at WorldCon 2004
. . . One of the convention's more popular panels is the one giving tips on how to design and make costumes. Ynhared - a sci-fi-fan for over 35 years - designs fantasy clothes and jewellery. "I got into it when I was 7 after reading Edgar Rice Burroughs," she says. . . .

Artists and the Red Planet
BBC News Online looks at how writers and artists have embraced the theme of Mars during the past century or so as America considers sending men to the Red Planet.
". . . Further sci-fi tales followed in the early part of the 20th Century, most notably with Tarzan author Edgar Rice Burroughs' 11-volume Barsoom series beginning with A Princess of Mars in 1917, followed by The Gods of Mars (1918) and The Warlord of Mars (1919). . . . " 

Children in wolves' clothing
The public has always been fascinated by tales of children who have been raised by animals.
. . . Given humans' close evolutionary relationship to monkeys, it is unsurprising that several "ape-child" stories have captured the popular imagination - perhaps fuelled by Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan books. . .

Entertainment Stars swing in for Tarzan
October 11, 1999
A host of celebrities swung into London's West End for the UK charity premiere of the latest Walt Disney blockbuster, Tarzan. . . .
. . . .Tarzan is the first animated film of the Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic tale about a boy raised in the jungle by apes. . . . 

Tarzan leaps to Disney's rescue 
June 21, 1999
If Tarzan performs well at the box office it could do a lot to rehabilitate Disney's image, which has certainly suffered from the Eisner-Katzenberg row. . . .
. . . Edgar Rice Burroughs' adventure classic Tarzan of the Apes was published in 1914. Since then it has been made into a movie no less than 47 times, but Disney's new offering represents the first full length animated re-telling of this tale of a man brought up among apes. 

Former Tarzan actor not charged
October 26, 2004
Prosecutors in West Palm Beach, Fla., have decided not to charge a former Tarzan actor in the escape of a 600-pound tiger last July. A state wildlife officer shot and killed the tiger July 13 after it allegedly lunged at him following a 26-hour hunt for his capture. Prosecutors filed a court document saying they were unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Steve Sipek negligently allowed the tiger to escape. The state also couldn't disprove his allegation that someone else let the tiger out of the compound. Sipek, who played Tarzan in B-movies decades ago, lives with five other big cats in a compound about 10 miles west of West Palm Beach.

Conran confirms directing A PRINCESS OF MARS 
to press during his SKY CAPTAIN tour!!!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I know it was announced by the trades and has been a sure thing, but it just makes it that much more real that Kerry Conran himself is talking about directing A PRINCESS OF MARS to media during the press tour for SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW. Now, as a new fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs' series (I'm on CHESSMEN OF MARS, but I had to halt my John Carter adventures to brush up on my CHRONICLES OF NARNIA for some really cool reasons I'll fill you in on in the near future) and someone who has seen SKY CAPTAIN I have to say... Of all the directors who have been attached or almost attached to this project, I think that Kerry Conran feels the best. He has an understanding for pulpy adventure filmmaking that is confident, fresh and exciting. Just the kind of person John Carter needs to help him through Barsoom and into Dejah Thoris' heart. Now, if only I could get that Big Red chump to spill more on what he's got up his sleeves...

Conran's 'Sky Captain' could be
the world of tomorrow for Hollywood
(Director Kerry Conran is in negotiations with Paramount to direct the new John Carter movie)
Jeff Strickler ~ Star Tribune
September 10, 2004 
Here's one Oscar prediction you can count on: "Sky Captain the World of Tomorrow" has no chance of being nominated for an Academy Award for its set designs. That's because there are no sets. Everything was "painted in" after the fact, via computers.

A kowtow to the adventure serials of the 1930's and '40s, this is the first feature film to be shot completely on blue screen. George Lucas had a handful of such scenes in the last "Star Wars" episode, and Robert Rodriguez used the technique extensively in his "Spy Kids" trilogy. But this movie, which opens Friday, was made entirely by actors standing in front of a blank wall.

The key to telling what's real and what not: The props that the actors pick up are really there. Everything else -- the doors they walk through, the cars they drive, the maps they point to on tables, to say nothing of the tables themselves -- consists of computer blips.

How does one end up making a such a film? First-time writer-director Kerry Conran, who visited the Twin Cities to promote the movie, laughed as he claimed that it was the work of " a spastic group of nerds out to entertain themselves."

The movie cost about $70 million, most of it going toward computer equipment and the crew of 200 technicians who operated it. Still, Conran figures that the studio got a bargain, calculating that an entirely live-action version of the same movie would have cost two to three times as much. "The biggest pitfall is that the hardware is pricey," he said. "And technology is changing so fast that we had to keep incorporating new techniques."

To help the actors visualize their scenes, Conran and his brother, Kevin, who helped with production design, created an animated version of the movie. "The actors saw the whole movie before we started shooting," he said. "Then, for each shot, we'd run the animated sequence for them. That way, they knew what was going on [around them] all the time. The animated version became a template."

'Super Slinky' Ernie Ball Dies

Ernie Ball, who founded the Ernie Ball Company in 1962, passed away on Thursday, September 9th after a lengthy illness. The legendary string maker provided his product for a host of major stars in the world of music from Hendrix, The Beach Boys, Clapton, Jeff Beck to the likes of Blink 182

The legend started in a small store in Tarzana, a few miles outside of Hollywood in 1958 selling guitars. Ball developed the first ever rock & roll strings, called "Slinkys," in 1962 and further revolutionized the market by offering guitarists custom-gauge single strings

Today In Theatre History: September 7, 1922 ~ NY, NY
By Ernio Hernandez and Daniel Fischer and Robert Viagas
The first stage adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel Tarzan of the Apes is a hit at the Broadhurst Theatre, adapted by namesake George Broadhurst himself and starring Ronald Adair  as Tarzan, Alfred Arno  as Kerchak  and Ethel Dwyer  as Jane Porter.

Edgar Rice Burroughs Receives Award:
"Achievement Award for lifelong dedication to science fiction fandom"
at WorldCon ~ Boston ~2004

Hugo Award Winners 2004
Burroughs Bibliophile member Huck Huckenpohler (front row left)
accepted the award on behalf of the Burroughs Family.

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