The Fans Speak:
HOW WE ARRIVED
I've reported before I came to ERB via the Tarzan films. These I saw before reading the books. I collected comics like most kiddies, but was just a tad after the glorious Dells, though have seen them since.
From: VANNEREUX Michel
Hello, I knew of course Tarzan by movies and comics, but at 14 I entered the Burroughs world in reading Tanar of Pellucidar / Tarzan of the Earth's core (in one volume) with an introduction about SF/fantasy in Tarzan. I was also greatly impressed by the movie THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT. A few time later I read Tarzan and the jewels of Opar, then A princess of Mars. I was therefore contaminated and I don't want to be cured! At this time, circa 1977, there was no recent french edition of ERB, the latest was from 1971, and I had to wait years to find another ERB book. So, I had to learn redaing fluently english!
My first exposure to ERB was through the Hogarth comic strip in the Spokane (Wash.) paper during World War II -- but it was not until after the war (1947 to be exact) that I stumbled across the books. My Dad had red G&D copies of APES, RETURN, & SON. They were the ones that got me hooked for life, and I started looking for the others (using the list at the back of RETURN). I came to the Dell comics and the movies later and always regarded them as pale imitations (with the single exception of the original TARZAN OF THE APES with Elmo Lincoln).
Though I vaguely recall seeing (and enjoying) some movies, it was the Dell comic books which introduced me to the ape-man, and filled me with wonder at this indomitable hero and the "worlds" and creatures of darkest Africa. The Dells presented some of those unique qualities which film cannot capture, and though they didn't present the savagery which astounded me (happily) when I discovered the books, they did a good enough job of presenting this immortal character to me, that when I saw an ACE book cover with this man on the back of a lion, I decided to spent forty cents to see if he was as as entertaining and wonderful as he was in the comics.
From: Steve Wadding
I don't specifically remember seeing Tarzan movies as a kid, though I'm sure that I did. I do however remember watching the Ron Ely Tarzan TV show. I consider that to be my introduction to Tarzan. I was born in 1959, so I would have been eight years old or thereabouts? At that time, I don't think I realized that there were books upon which the TV show and movies were based.
The first ERB book I read was either OUT OF TIME'S ABYSS or TARZAN AND THE JEWELS OF OPAR. I remember my father giving me the Tarzan book after a business trip. I asked him about it recently, and he doesn't remember at all. I read OUT OF TIME'S ABYSS in the 5th grade. My teacher had a copy of it in the classroom. I'm not sure which one was first, since I didn't make the connection between them at the time. If you had asked me who wrote either one, I'm sure that I would have had trouble thinking of the author's name. But in any case, when I read my first ERB book, I was no older than 10, since my 11th birthday was in the summer following the 5th grade.
It wouldn't have been until two years later that I started actively seeking out ERB books. In 1972, about the time I started buying books in general, Ballantine and Ace starting pumping out the paperbacks again. I suspect that it was the word "Tarzan" in big letters that caught my eye, though it could have been the Frazetta covers on the Ace books. Since the new editions weren't coming out fast enough, I did wind up finding a few used paperbacks along the way. It wasn't until I started reading the new copy of OUT OF TIME'S ABYSS that I realized that I had read it before, in the 5th grade.
From: David Adams
How I Found Lord Greystoke
It was not my first trip to Africa. I was already an old-hand at exploring those green hills by the age of twelve, so when I came across his photograph on the cover of a Dell comic I knew I was destined to be the one to discover his whereabouts even though he had been missing for many years. We were both savage and disorderly in mind, so I read his broken history in the few G&D’s that became available after a little trouble at the local bookstore. I was on his scent spoor, and he could not escape my plundering. I tracked him through the vines of steaming jungles and into the labyrinths of lost cities filled with bestial men and terrible creatures. When we met at last, he seemed content that I perch upon his broad shoulders. I lifted a thick tangle of raven locks and chattered into his ear, “Lord Greystoke, I presume?” And he replied, “Just 'Tarzan' will do among friends.”
From: Dale (Vandor)
Like many others, I was familiar with the Tarzan of the Movies. I recall watching the Weismuller films on the afternoon movie on one of the local TV stations, along with such features as "Earth vs. the Flying Saucers" and "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms" and many other sci-fi and adventure films. Unfortunately, the Weismuller films turned me off on reading the Tarzan novels. I devoured Andre Norton and Lester Del Rey novels and most any other sci-fi I could find as a kid. Somewhere along the way, I found Doc Savage and the Avenger through Bantam Books and thoroughly enjoyed them. I was looking hard for something sci-fi to read in the high school library and almost stumbled onto Burroughs when I found a copy of The Moon Maid. I flipped through the book, only to find that a number of pages were missing from the end. I put it back. It was another couple of years before I finally met one of Burroughs' creations in print. While visting a used book store and looking for scfi-fi as usual, I found a copy of "The Gods of Mars." I picked it up, since the price was right and since I was intrigued by the cover, which had a man in what I though of as Romanesque attire floating in space next to a space ship. The story was superb and I had to know how John Carter came to Mars and what happened to Dejah Thoris in the Temple of Issus. From that start, I began to scour the bookstores for John Carter novels and then discovered Pellucidar and Carson of Venus. When I'd exhausted all of those, I finally turned to the Tarzan novels. Wow! Tarzan of the Books bore little resemblance to Tarzan of the Movies! I hated myself for holding out on the Apeman for so long. And I was hooked forever!
From: Bob Zeuschner
It was my eleventh birthday. My grandmother sent me two well-used books which had belonged to my father. One was "Son of Tarzan" and the other was "Gods of Mars." Both were old G&D editions without dust jacket. But they had interior art by J. Allen St. John.
I read the first two pages of "Son of Tarzan," and then went out into the front yard, climbed into the tall tree, and sat on the branch reading the rest of the book.
I opened "Gods of Mars" and was pulled into a world unlike anything I'd ever read before. It was not the Hardy Boys, and it was not a book about cowboys. It was more amazing than anything I'd ever read. From that day on I sought ERB books in used book shops. Until today, when I still seek ERB books in used book shops. Thanks Grandma. Thanks Dad.
From: Erich von Harben
I read the Dell comics in the 50s and 60s. During the 50s I watched the Weissmueller Tarzan films on TV, and went to matinees every week. There I saw Gordon Scott and Lex Barker as Tarzan.
Reading wise I found a couple of Whitman juveniles :City of Gold" and "Apes" which I read. However, I was more fascinated with history books and playing baseball at that time.
I was browsing an F. W. Woolworth store on my home from school one day, and spotted "Tarzan Triumphant" out of place in the Sherlock Holmes area! I purchased the Ballantine 1st for 50 cents. I went home, read it in a couple of hours forgetting snacks, and lusted for more!!!!
I took my piggy bank and killed it! I took my $17.50 and raided the used book store by my high school getting the first 14 Tarzans and the first Mars book. The next week I took my lunch money and bus pass money and purchased everything else including those fantastic Ace covers!!!! I was most assuredly hooked.
I took a set of Tarzan, Mars, and Sherlock Holmes to Vietnam. Upon transfer to land I ordered another set of each from Ballantine sent to Nam.
Loony Toones ever since.
From: Robert Miller
The only book my mother saved from her childhood was THE ILLUSTRATED TARZAN BOOK #1 - TARZAN OF THE APES, published by Grosset & Dunlap in 1929. She received it as a birthday present, and later would bring the book to school each year on the last day prior to summer vacation to share with her classmates. Then in 1932 she saw Johnny Weissmuller portray her jungle hero on the silver screen for the first time, and was convinced this was how Tarzan really looked and acted. (I think she had a crush on Tarzan.) When I was very young she gave me the illustrated book so I could look at the pictures. And she made it a point to watch with me all the Tarzan movies that were shown on TV. So even at such a young age I became hooked, and all from one story and several films. Soon after this I began collecting the Dell comics, and going to the movies to see Gordon Scott in color. Reading ERB's novels didn't come until later, during the paperback revival of the early '60s. Yes, I had over twenty new (to me) Tarzan adventures to wander through, but I also discovered Barsoom, Pellucidar, Amtor, and The Land That Time Forgot, and what a bonus that was! (That tattered, taped, and yellowed copy of Foster's Tarzan still sits on my bookshelves; I treasure it more than all the McClurg and Burroughs firsts it resides next to. And once I tried to explain to my mother who John Carter was. She merely shook her head in disgust since she hates anything that even resembles SF; to her it was, is, and ever shall be only Tarzan. I kind of go both ways, at least where ERB's heroes are concerned.)
From: Joe McMahon (Val Dor)
In 1947 - 48 I spent almost a year in the hospital during the great polio epidemics of that time. I was left a sort of para and a half - plegic (both legs and part of one arm). THere were a few Burroughs books in the hospital library which I read several times. My dad was a fan also, but at that time there were few or no paperbacks. When I returned home, our local library had a good number of Tarzan (no Mars, etc) as well as Tom Swift, Don Sturdy, Hardy Boys,. Nancy Drew, X-bar-X Boys which I devoured. Several years later when I came home from college the library had moved and when I asked where those books had gone, they said "Oh, we threw that trash into the fire!" I said some unkind things to them which I do not really regret.
My first non-Tarzan book was LTTF, followed by GOM. Money was very tight and my collection proceded slowly. I have retired after almost thirty years of high school teaching, but I still love the books. I have managed to collect almost all of them as well as a huge collection of SF and FAN. Authors come and go, but ERB has never lost his appeal. I still re-read them from time to time and never fail to enjoy them (some more than others). In all my teaching years, I have never been able to convert any of my students to these books, but I think my youngest granddaughter is "getting the bug". Maybe there's hope after all.
From: RDL (Ron)
In the Netherlands we watched Tarzan on the German channel. They synchronize the conversations into German. I Also collected comics but stopped because I thougth there were more then 12000 comics. Later I heard that the 12 in the numbering was a serial number ;( So now I try to complete those series again. In those days I never saw a book of ERB. Since this list and the internet I am so fascinated that I started to create a ERB encyclopedia.
From: Thuvia, Maid of Mars (Dale)
As a small child, I had watched the films of Johnny Weismueller and always admired Tarzan. Throughout my life, I would always watch any Tarzan movie or TV show that came out but never read any of the books until I was an adult. Then I read of two the Tarzan books (Tarzan of the Apes and Jewels of Opar). However it wasn't until I found 'The God of Mars' in a used book store that I became extremely interested in ERB. After reading that book, I was hooked. Searching in used books stores, I located the entire series of the Martian books. I read them and loved them. Since then I have gotten all of the published books of ERB.
From: William H. Hedges
It was the summer of 1973. My father had decided to retire from the US Air Force after 30 years. At the time we were stationed in Anchorage, Alaska. We had been there barely a year when Dad made the decision to leave. Rather than driving us all (5 kids, Mom, dogs, horses) back down the Alaska - Canada Highway, the decided to send my two older brothers and I back by Air. We would spend the summer with my Aunt and Uncle in Arkansas while the rest of the family packed up and moved back.
The house that my parents owned was just across the creek from my Uncle. It was a 3 bedroom A Frame house, Hot and Dusty. We had never really stayed in there for any length of time when I was a kid.
During the times when we were not hauling hay, picking blackberries, playing in the barn, or just fooling around as kids do - we were able to go over to the house. I can still remember poking through a wire, paperback bookrack that was located at the bottom of the stairs. There on the 2nd rack was a old, faded copy of the Thuvia, Maid of Mars (early Ace edition). I picked it up and quickly scanned the contents, and decided that it might be worth reading.
After taking the book back to my Uncle's house, I was hooked. I was 14 years old.
Postscript - the book belonged to my mother who was and still is an avid reader. She had one other ERB in the house over there - Chessmen of Mars. Thuvia was always her favorite she said.
From: William J. Boerst - Ahm
I am a late bloomer. I remember as a kid viewing Tarzan movies with--I think--Johnny Weismuller. I'm sure I read the T comics. Beyond that, nothing. Instead, I was into the LONE RANGER series. So now I am catching up. I wish I had discovered such texts as LTTF when I was a kid. What a mind adventure that would have been!
From: Jeff Kazmierski - Carthoris
My first exposure to Edgar Rice Burroughs was in the PBS series "Cosmos," hosted by the late Dr. Carl Sagan. The scene lasted probably less than 5 seconds and was part of a segment on early impressions of Mars in fiction and art, but it left a lasting impression. A brief shot of the cover of "A Princess of Mars", illustrated by Michael Whelan, was shown. Later as I read the book I found the cover illustration printed in the margin of the book. I was in 7th grade at the time, and the whole scene filled me with an incredible sense of awe. There was John Carter, handsome and strong, holding a beautiful woman and standing over the body of a vanquished green foe, a sword buried in the dead warrior's chest. I knew the old adage, "you can't judge a book..." but I thought that any book that could inspire such incredibly moving art must be worth reading. A few weeks later I went down to the local bookstore (we didn't have Waldenbooks in my hometown) and bought my first copy of "A Princess of Mars." The rest, as they say, is history.
From: The Brooklyn Banth
'tis a sad tale. A tale of my much-abus'd childhood.
When I was but a wee bairn, we lived in the same apartment building as did one set of my grandparents. At bed-time, my father would make up a Robin Hood story to tell me. First thing next morrow, right after breakfast, I was downstairs in my grandparents' apartment, with my grandfather making up Tarzan stories for me.
It wasn't until some time around my 47th. birthday that I sadly learned that my father did NOT create the Robin Hood character, and that Tarzan was NOT a figment of my grandfather's imagination. Though the stories that they told me *were.*
The first Tarzan film that I saw was probably TARZAN AND THE AMAZONS. I do recall my father taking me, circa 1952, to see a double-feature of TARZAN'S SAVAGE FURY, with Lex Barker, and AGAINST ALL FLAGS, with Errol Flynn.
Then, in the early summer of 1960, I made an amazing discovery -- my father's collection of ERB hardcovers, that he had bought and read when he was a bairn. THE WARLORD OF MARS -- CHESSMEN OF MARS -- TARZAN THE TERRIBLE -- TARZAN AND THE ANT MEN -- THE CAVE GIRL -- THE MOON MAID -- OUTLAW OF TORN -- TANAR OF PELLUCIDAR.
Abused childhood -- Robin Hood stories at bed-time; Tarzan stories after breakfast. Then, with the advent of TV -- Hopalong Cassidy and Kimo Sabe.
All fiction -- but characters worth looking up to.
I thank you.
From: William Herr (Mors Kajak)
I've mentioned this before, but here goes again. I got my first ERB book, "The Warlord of Mars" from my brother back in the late 40's as I remember. It was a much used copy, and received much more heavy use over the years. I was grabbed by the opening scenes in particular; what was this rotating room, who were the women locked up in there, was Dejah Thoris killed by the knife of Phaidor? Gads, I couldn't wait to find "The Gods of Mars", or any other Mars book for that matter. After a couple years I located a copy, quite by accident, in my next door neighbors small library. He didn't think much of it so he gave it to me! Now I was set, I had the story leading up to the rotating room, etc. Of course then I had the problem of how did Carter die and then come back to Mars again alive? My God! How can this go on? So now the quest was on for "A Princess of Mars". I was luckier this time as the Burroughs Press editions were getting to be fairly common in book stores and I was more mobile now. I found a nice book store in the next town and there they were! The Mars series, the Venus series, Tarzan, etc. Of course I had to start with Princess first. This finally gave me the whole story of John Carter and Dejah Thoris. WOW!!!! And it's been this way ever since.
From: Bruce Wood (Abner Perry)
It was 1953 when my antique-collecting father brought home a first edition copy of Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar. It was incidental to him having been part of a larger lot of items. I couldn't read it myself but was fascinated by the pictures and had my cousin read it to me. When I was old enough to read it myself I did so. So often, in fact, that the book fell apart.
When ERB started appearing in paperback in 1962 I was already browsing newsstands for science fiction and recognized the author's name. In a short time I was collecting everything I could find, and even though I was interrupted in this for a number of years, I never lost my interest and I am again collecting after liquidating some 10 years ago.
From: Louis Malcangi
It was the mid 70's if I remember correctly and I was a comic book fiend. One day while perusing the newstands I came across "John Carter Warlord of Mars" & I was hooked. Swords, martians, and combat what else could a young boy want. I read every issue I could get my hands on and then, sadly the series went away. Then 20 years later I'm walking through a used bookstore in manhattan and lo and behold the first 5 books in ERB's martian series! At a dollar each I took a risk and read my first ERB book, then my second, third, fourth etc--I'm in the mid fifties now. I then devoured every ERB book I could scrounge up. Strange as it may seem Tarzan was my last series read (the movies ruined it for me) But, once I picked up a Tarzan book I was amazed at what fun these books were. Tarzan ranks right up there with Mars as my favorite series and I'm very glad I stumbled onto those mars books That long-ago lunchtime. ERB has given me hundreds of hours of enjoyment and many an easy train ride home!
From: Jerry Schneider (Number 13)
Even though I had been watching the Tarzan movies on television since the 1950's, it wasn't until the early 1960's that I became aware of the name Edgar Rice Burroughs on the credits. So, in early summer 1963, I began to look for his books. Unfortunately, instead of heading for the local used book store which I frequented in order to trade in comics, I headed for the local Thrifty (now RiteAid) as they carried some books. Hence, I did not find ERB's books until later in the summer of 1963 when I went grocery shopping with my mother at a local Alpha Beta. Lo and behold, in a cardboard display were the first 10 Tarzan paperbacks. I grabbed them up (all 10), but my mother told me to put them back, to take one, read it, and if I liked it, to get another one. Well, within a week's time, I had all 10 of them, and I haven't stopped collecting since then.
From: Robert Burrows (U-Thor of Manatos)
I was introduced to ERB in the 60's with the Ron Ely Tarzan series. On Sundays they would show the Tarzan movies at about 11AM. So I would go to church early and watch the movie. It wasn't until the 70's that I found out that there were actually books! Go figure! I first was give the Pellucidar series in the Ace editions by my brother and I was hooked. I was able to read and procure almost all of ERB's works at that time. Since then I've had to re-procure the set because I can't find my collection. (I hope my mother didn't throw them out in the move. Talk about a nightmare!) I am also now in the rereading stage. I've rediscovered not only friends but my childhood!
From: James D. Bozarth (Barney Custer)
As Tangor will most probably tell you with glee and a wicked smile, his little brother has no memory for dates. I remember things in only three ways: 1. Long ago, 2. Last week sometime, and 3. Today, I think. So I can only say that I seem to remember ERB's works forever. I know the movies must have been earlier than the books because they were on TV long before I could read, but I just don't have any memory of my childhood without ERB. I know I liked the movies but the books grabbed me and I have never been the same.
From: James Rogers
My father taught me how to read using comic books and candy (bribe element). After "we" would read a comic together he insisted on reading something "real" (meaning it wuz just words). Old issues of Weird Tales, Wonder, Astounding. I resisted POM when he started becuase it seemed so slow. He said "No, you're going to love it", and so we slogged our way through. Then, one night, Dad got tired of reading out loud.....but it was right when John Carter had killed that guy defending Dejah Thoris in front of Tars Tarkas and Lorquas Ptomel. Well. You just can't stop there. So I took the book away from him (I don't really know how old I was....somewhere between three and six) and started reading. And it looks like I won't stop till they float my ass down the River Iss.
He also forced my Mother to read the Mars books, though she remained unaddicted. Nonetheless, even today, when she hears a particularly incomprehsible legal/religious/political comment she is prone to sneer; "Tur is Tur".
From: Diana Barbour
How I was first exposed to ERB. Wow, what a concept. I guess I've been waiting 50 years to tell this story, and now someone has actually ASKED me, I'm going to do it. I've been reading this list for over six months now, loving all the back and forth between you all who seem to know each other so well and have so much to say. Now I guess it's time for me to jump in and say a few words of my own. This will probably be long, but if it's worth telling it's worth telling completely.
I'm not a Baby Boomer, I'm all of 63, which I'm sure will equip me with OF'ette status, both age wise, and life experience wise. And I feel like an OF'ette, have for a while now. SO I don't fit into the Baby Boomer category, sorry, I guess I'm just one more of the early ones.
I read my first ERB book when I was 10. My father was in the army, and he was stationed at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, DC. The hospital had a library for patients, and one night my father brought home a book from that library. It had a red cover, and was much thicker than I was used to reading, but he handed it to me and told me that I would like it, and to read it. It was TOTA. A G&D with no jacket, but in really good shape.
I read it. Word by word, page by page. And, of course, I loved it. I gave it back to him and asked for another one. This started not only my method of reading ERB, but also of reading in general. If I love one book, I'll probably love the others of that author, so I read 'em all at once. Which I proceeded to do with ERB over the next 5 or 6 years.
There is a long history of ERB reading (and collecting) in my family. My mother and her brothers and sisters bought them new as they were published, gave them to each other as Christmas and birthday gifts, and even built a jetan game and played. My father read everything, including ERB growing up. So our family actually had ERB books on the book shelves (not too many, actually, but I remember a family 'Cave Girl' -- many had been given away or lost over the years of traveling around the world in the military).
But Walter Reed Army Hospital Patient Library had ALMOST all of them. Eventually my father got tired of bringing me one at a time, and took me with him to the library. I was allowed (because I was a military dependent) to choose my own books, and take them home. I still remember that tall (I was kind of short) book case, with shelf after shelf of red and blue and tan books. I didn't know the different editions then, just came to recognize certain covers as being ERB.
Over the years we were stationed there in DC I went often to that library. It was about 2 miles from my home, and, on a Saturday if I wasn't going to a movie (and sometimes if I was) I'd take off for the library, walking, dreaming of which ones I'd take home with me. Did I want to wander the jungles with Tarzan, sweep across the dead sea bottoms with John Carter, or visit the center of the earth, where, in my opinion, the cave men were bolder and stronger and more exciting than the cave men ERB created else where. Maybe it was the dinosaurs.
So I'd stand in front of that tall book case and look at every title. I'd take down this one, or that one, and open it, read the front piece picture, or the map in the front of the Venus books, read the last page, trying to decide what I was in the mood for that day. And then I'd make my choices and take 3 or 4 home with me, often stopping to sit on someone's lawn and read a few pages from this one or that one because I couldn't wait.
Eventually I graduated high school and left home for nursing school. And thereby lost my connection to all things ERB. I do remember going back once to the library -- my father was in the hospital and I went to visit him. I slipped into the library to see what was there and they were all gone. The library was there, but there were no more ERB books on the tall shelf. I don't know where they came from to begin with, or were they eventually went, but they sure shaped my life and thinking forever.
Over the years I found the occasional ERB book in a library, or, once I discovered 'Cons, at dealer tables. I bought when I could, and tried to take them with me on my travels around the country. Then one day in the early 60's I was perusing a stack of paperbacks in my local drugstore and there it was -- I think it was Thuvia, or Chessmen. The first ACE edition, with those magnificent covers. I just looked, then coughed up the 45 cents. And bought each and everyone that was subsequently re-released. I attended my first Dum-Dum in '63 in DC, I think, and again in '64 in Chicago.
I finally settled down here in California, and was able to accumulate a rather large collection, most of which, for some reason I can't remember now, I sold off in the early 80's. But I still have over 200 different volumes of ERB, mostly paper but some old G&D's or the occasional small Methuen. And I still read ERB, love all that he stood for and taught me, and love hearing about all the others who also still live in his world.
From: Steve "Thoar" Servello
I'm not really sure how, but somehow by the mid sixties, at about the age of 12, I had obtained about half a dozen hard covered Tarzans, which I was re-reading constantly. Among them: TOTA, Return, City of Gold, the Terrible, the Golden Lion and Ant Men. Then I discovered the Ballantine paperbacks and bought all of them. For awhile, I only had ERB's Tarzan (and a hard cover of Monster Men), until I discovered Tarzan at the Earth's Core (small Ace edition) at a seventh grade book fair.I fell in love with Pellucodar and statred added those to my collection. At about this same time, I discoverd the Ballantine Barssom books at the Five & Ten Store in Cushing Square, Belmont, MA (It's still there!).They were on one of those book displays that revolved. I was mystified by the concept of an Earthman on Mars, but quickly caught on. By the time I realized about the Ace and Ballantine releases, I was full-swing into Burroughs. I was ordering anything I could and one day I noticed the first four Gor books located near those of Barsoom. I figured, why not? Again, I was hooked! Since those days I've collected as much ERB and ERB styled writing as I can. I still am!
From: Charles Ryan
I found ERB in the mid 70s. I would take long walks on the weekend the end destination being a bookstore or a movie theater. I forget the name of the bookstore in any event it no longer exists. I found the Barsoom series and have been hooked ever since. I found ERBlist after getting a computer with Internet access at my job. I was surfing the Internet looking for chat boards and fan fiction written in the worlds of authors I was familiar with and ERB was my first author to check. After I found the e-mail address of Tangor I wrote an e-mail outlining the Morgor Wars as a possible pastiche. Tangor surprised me by responding in less than 20 minutes. I knew that I had found a home on the Internet.
From: Mary Margaret
I discovered ERB in the Library. I was 10 years old when I discovered the local Library. I started to read CS Lewis then. My dad had a small collection of Zane Grey books so I raced thru them, finished them and had to have more!!! I went to the library, read thru their collection of Zane Greys ( what a treasure!), and by the time I was 13 I had gone thru Zane Grey, CS Lewis, and a somewhat racey (for the time, and my age!) collection of Frank Yerby that my dad had in his trunk, and about half of the books for sale in every edition of those pb's that schools sell. So,at age 13, I went back to the library, and discovered ERB Pellucidar series and just admired Dian the Beautiful's spunk and courage. A few years later, married and a mom, re-reading my beginning collection of Zane Greys, and after some years, started working at a local department store, had money, went to the local B Dalton and started buying up the Tarzan series. Yard sales and rummage sales brought Pellucidar, still my fav. And now, the internet is bringing me hardback copies of ERB's. How hard they are to find!! Zane Grey hb's everywhere, and sorry folks, I do put him on a par with ERB.
From: Edith Griswold
Well, I guess you really do need a 'late bloomer' story to go with all these nostalgic "I found ERB at a tender young age" stories: dare I confess??? I arrived at ERB by first discovering my son's autism, then getting a computer in 1999, then meeting THOOS who asked me about my childhood in Africa and who then showed me where to find his 'Elmo in space' pastiche at Tangor's site. And when I made the appropriate approving noises he told me I should consider joining this list of kindly ERB fans and he assured me that I would be very happy here. So I did. Oh, need a persona? THOOS?? So THOOS chose La for me and thus began my education of things ERB: yup, it all happened right here on ERBlist, led here & there by all of you. I am happy to say that THOOS was so very correct: ERBlist is a place where kind and fun people are to be found and I feel that I have a Family here, as many of you already know. Oh, my childhood? That was spent reading my older brother's Classic Comics, which is how I taught myself to read & write in English while we were living in Africa. In Europe I read Tintin and Astérix and many wonderful French books; while there, my grandmother introduced me to Madeleine L'Engle and I still have that first book.
From: Andy Nunez
I've stated before how I arrived, but "for those who came in late" as they used to say on the Phantom: I owe my love of ERB to my mother, who read me Tarzan comics (Dell Jesse Marsh's) when I was pre-school. I saw few Tarzan movies until I was in high school, so comics were my only window to ERB until I was in the eighth grade. By then, I had read most Gold Key Tarzans, along with Lost in Space and Turok, Son of Stone, plus lots of Walt Disney (I remain a big Uncle Scrooge fan). My cousin showed me a copy of the Monster Men, I read it, and was hooked. The next was Land that Time Forgot, then At the Earth's Core, and the dam suddenly burst. I read the first two Pellucidars, the first three Mars, plus the already mentioned in Hardcover. By the next year, I bought my first ERB (the same time as my first Doc Savage, the Midas Man), which was the Lost Continent. I read a Whitman TOTA, then it was a steady diet until by 1979, I had read every ERB novel except Marcia, The Efficiency Expert, and the Girl from Farris', which for some reason, even though I have the last two, I still haven't read. The World of ERB remains a special place for me, along with the New York city of the Shadow, the Spider, and Doc Savage, Batman's Gotham City, Collinsport, Arkham, 221B Baker Street and other places that don't exist but should.
How I arrived? This might be a long tale to tell. In 1962 I was fourteen years old. My Dad worked for Western Union here in Kansas City, Mo. He worked with a guy named Manuel Cervello. Manny was a chunky, happy guy who worked late nights with my Dad and read a lot.
I was reading all the SF I could find and of course I read Tom Swift Jr. and the Hardy Boys. One day I was poking around in my Parents bedroom, not doing anything wrong just looking at what was in there. In the closet was a large grocery sack with books in it. The top book really got my attention. On the cover a cave girl was getting ready to hurl a spear at a sabretooth tiger. It's title was PELLUCIDAR in fancy script by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I pulled out the sack and it was filled with paperback books! Science Fiction, Westerns, Adventure and lurid cover Mysteries. There two more books by Burroughs too, At the Earth's Core and Thuvia, Maid of Mars. I grabbed those three and put the sack back. I devoured all three books in a day and a half.
That day I 'fessed up to my Mom and Dad that I had been in their room and saw the sack of books. I asked them if I could read them. (Manny was a voracious reader and when he got done with the books he read, he put them in a sack and gave it to my Dad so he could read them. My Dad was not a big reader. He read the Newspaper and that was about it unless it was a work tech manual. Dad didn't want to hurt Manny's feelings and took the books home and put them in the closet.) They said they would think about it and for me to stay out of their room!
Next day, Dad gave me the sack of books and another full sack of books from Manny. I carried them into my room and showed them to my brothers. I grouped them by author and type and picked up one then another. I had so many I couldn't decide which one to read first!
After that I started to find and read more and more ERB and less and less of Tom Swift Jr. I sent a letter to ERB, Inc via the Tarzana Chamber of Commerce asking questions about ERB and other books. I received a letter in the mail dated June 20, 1963 from ERB, Inc. answering my letter to the Chamber of Commerce. They answered my questions and referred me to Vern Coriell who also lived in Kansas City. He had founded a group devoted to the works of ERB. It was called the, BURROUGHS BIBLIOPHILES. They thanked me for my interest in ERB. It was signed Hulbert Burroughs, Vice President. I wrote many more letters to ERB, Inc. All were answered by and signed by Hulbert Burroughs.
I called Vern Coriell up and went and met him and his wife Rita. I got a tour of his collection/museum and signed the guest book. I made many more trips to Vern and Rita's house before I went into the Military after graduating high school.
We corresponded while I was in the Military. I still have a letter (On Rita's stationery) and the envelope. The letter tells me of ERB doings and info on a few fans (one person mentioned was a girl I knew who also lived in KC. Her name was India Boone, now India Boone-Grow) I knew. But the envelope is the unique item. Rita mailed it in November of 1967. I was in SouthEast Asia. My unit moved around a bit and then I got hit and spent time in a Hospital or home on convalescent leave. In May of 1968 I was in San Diego going to Sea School (to be part of a Marine Detatchment aboard Ship). During Mail Call I received Rita's letter. Almost eight months after she mailed it! I could see how many stamps, marks, and scribbles were on the envelope showing the forwarding history. The envelope was stained and splotched with red/brown spots. I knew the color very well. It was the color of Khe Sanh mud. That's where I was when I got wounded. The dirt was a rusty red color! a brighter red than Oklahoma dirt.
The siege of Khe Sanh is now part of Marine Corps history. My memento from there (scars don't count here)is the letter from Rita Coriell/Burroughs Bibliophiles and the Envelope it came in. After I got out of the Military I had a family to raise and didn't get to see Vern and Rita much.
I still read and collected ERB. I went to the World SF Convention in 1976 here in KC. I saw Vern and Rita at the Dum Dum meeting and Banquet. I kept on reading and rereading ERB and still do. ERB has been an important part of my life in many ways. I'm really glad I found that sack of books from Manny.
Oh! And Manny, he was the nephew of Nick and Corky Civella. They were reputed Mob bosses here in town. One day Manny joins his Uncles for a trip to Florida to play golf. When they get to Florida, the authorities won't let them off the plane. Manny was exciteable. He went off on the Marshals or whatever officer they were and got himself arrested for "resisting....". Manny got hauled off the plane. The others were sent back to KC. Manny got off with just a fine and returned home and back to work at night at Western Union. I got sacks of books from Manuel Cervello til he passed away.
That's how I got hooked.
Until now, I have been one of the dreaded 'lurkers' - but enjoying the information gleaned from the more experienced and committed (meant in the nicest way) list contributors. My involvement with the world of ERB began some 30 odd years ago when my hunger for anything to read was coming to its own. I frequented the then common, in South Africa, book 'swap-shops', where I was an avid collector of the penny horrible War and Battle sketch comics - also the plastic kit models of aircraft/tanks etc.(some of which I still have). On the suggestion of one of the store owners, I moved up to BOOKS (being 10 or so, this was a milestone. Read some Zane, some other stuff on Naval Tallships and a lot of Westerns - Louis L'Amour, J.T.Edson (of which I still have a sizeable box-full). Then it happened, I picked up an ERB (I think it was Tarzan and the Golden Lion) - and that was it. As fast as I could acquire / swap / buy any ERB title I did. At that stage I could only get Ballantine paperbacks of the Tarzan series and one really battered Pirates of Venus. Through school, time permitting I continued my quest for more titles and then a long lull during military service and getting married then starting a family. Even though my appetite for ERB was not quite so voracious, I still managed to pick up additional titles at second hand dealers over the years - once again only Tarzan seemed available. Not being aware that there was an ERB Community out there, until accidentally finding Tangors' site one day... this revived my passion for the writings and so another mission began. Strangely, as my interest picked up again, I began finding more and more titles - including the Barsoom series, so, the long and the short is that this community has brought back many fond and happy memories of a childhood spent hunting the elusive titles to fill a small collection. (my wife looks skywards whenever I bring home a new title these days) Thank you for being the catalyst that renewed my interest in ERB.
Steve (South Africa)
From: Serena DuBois
Re discussion of how we found Burroughs. Like Numa, I have told my story before, and the short version is that I found him in my family's bookshelves. I would have to do a thorough look at the fronts of all the older books to know which by bought by my mother and which by my dad or possibly my grandfather because most of the standards were there waiting for me when I got to be about 12 or 13 and interested in them.
Mother was a big sci fi reader and when she moved back to our family home in Roseville California (NE of Sacramento) where my sister and I were being raised by our grandparents she must have brought her books with her. This was in 1948 when I was 6 and before my interest in reading had gotten past young kids' books.
She had worked in second hand bookstores in Berkeley for a number of years and as a consequence I have a collection of well battered, read to pieces mostly hardback ERB books. I am not sure which ERB book was the first I read, but the first I remember reading because I wrote about it in my first diary when I was about 13 was The Mucker. It was a hot afternoon in mid summer, and I had a cool hideaway near the brick chimney of our house in the shade where I read, dreamed etc. That would have maybe been the summer of '55.
Mother was always one to aid and abet us when it came to reading, and she purchased all the Canaveral Press, ERB Inc Press and other hard backed ERB books as they came out as well as the Hines Bibliography. I found I am a Barbarian in paper at some point, downloaded and printed the Girl from Farris very recently.
I also read some ERB books first in our library which was only a few blocks from our house. I think the War Chief was one of those though we later got a nice hardback copy of it and the Apache Devil as well.
I have always been a text reader and buyer rather than a collector of various editions. At this point I doubt that most of my favorite books would sell for much, particularly the ERB because the backs had been falling off of them due to the number of times they were read. I happened upon some colored "duct tape" or cloth tape in large rolls, in red, blue and green after we moved to the PNW in the early 90's and put new back bindings on them and taped them up. No, not a book binder's dream, but a way of mending old friends. You could tell looking at my shelves which were my favorites since they are the most tattered or the ones that had been rebound.
From: Duane "Lionman" Adams
It was in Africa when I first met OB. (Can one know B?) I remember it distinctly. It was October fourth, 1955. I was ten years old. As far as I know, I have always been ten years old. Dell and Marsh brought me through the backdoor of OB's house. And that was that. We became fast friends. OB was at my side when we hunted lions with broken spears. My spear often missed its mark. But OB's never seemed to miss. It was uncanny.
It was OB who introduced me to Nkima, or was it the other way around? Nkima became like brother to me. A safari without Nkima often resulted in disaster. I remember once cannibals chased us across the entire Serengeti Plains. Most of the bearers said it was because Nkima was not with us. But I digress. OB took us into the trees to meet witch-doctors. Often times the medicine pots of Krenkel and Frazetta stood side by side and we could locate them with easy. The hardened old Monroe was more elusive.
I know some naysayers claim that OB has left the building, and that Gordon Scott's impression of him is a poor one. But I always enjoyed the performance. That all changed when I received a blow to the head and had amnesia for quite some time. Time is meaningless. It doesn't seem to exist because the sun doesn't move.
One day my daughter told me she spotted OB in an antique shop. I experienced an epiphany. My memory returned. He still lives. I rush to his side and paid his bail. He was in surprisingly good shape for a dead man. Suddenly we were in Africa again. Nkima was there chattering about all the foreign places he has been. So I lifted my arms to the red planet. I was transformed to a Dum-Dum and surrounded by silverbacks and young balus. I was home.
Lionman, who will be ten years old on October fourth of this year.
From: Huck Jhuckenp@aol.com
I've also told my story before, and I also found them in the family bookcases.
One of my earliest memories is of my dad reading the Burne Hogarth Tarzan comic strip to me from the Spokane Spokesman-Review, about 1944 or 1945. During World War II he was in the Army Engineer Corps on assignment to the Air Corps at Geiger Field, Wash.) After the war, when we came back east and got our belongings out of storage, I found his red G&D copies of APES, RETURN, and SON, and was hooked. The copy of APES was pretty ratty and has gotten worse over the intervening 55 yrs. I still have all three. Plus a few more that I've acquired since. (Unfortunately, I didn't keep all of them, as for many years I was just trying to acquire the best copy of each book that I could find. It was only in the seventies that the variant bug hit.)
From: Steve "Black Korak" Allsup
I did not discover ERB until my 12th birthday. Before that, my grammar school years were filled with the golden trappings of the sixties-- the British invasion of Bond and the Beatles, Star Trek, Dark Shadows, Peanuts, Batman. However, I was familiar with Gold Key comics like Manning's MAGNUS, Robot Fighter: 4000 AD. I had two best friends on my street-- Mark and Jerry. Jerry was a blond headed prodigy who came up with the elaborate plots for our continuous play pretend epics. Mark was a tall, dark handsome guy from up the hill. We were all the same age to within three months.
What happened was that in the spring of 69 I was looking for some decent reading up in the Penney's book dept, having recently felt that I was graduating from children's Scholastic paperbacks. There was the brand new 2001: a space odyssey paperback right next to the brand new Abbott edition of Tarzan of the Apes. I considered which of the two I preferred for either a couple of minutes or perhaps a couple of days. The Tarzan paperback seemed to be similar to Kipling's JUNGLE BOOKS or KING KONG. Finally I decided to pick up the Tarzan book instead of the Clarke paperback, probably because I had just read Doyle's LOST WORLD.
I took it home and sat in a big chair in the living room and opened up a whole new chapter in my life. Not even Peanuts or 007 had gripped me so totally. This was the supreme kick or fad that I ever knew in my life. I immediately told Mark and Jerry about it, and Mark went down and bought three or four of them right off. He had the misfortune of having to read RETURN OF TARZAN first, but he was just as maniacal about it as I was, he read each volume at least two or three times in the first month.
Then during that very early period I was sitting at breakfast and suddenly it occured to me that there might possibly be a Tarzan comic as well. I could not recall ever having read or even seen a Tarzan comic, (though I doubtless had seen them before) so I went off on a quest to the drug store down at the shopping center to see if there was one. To my immense delight, not only was there a Gold Key Tarzan comic, but they were doing authentic adaptations at that time and there was even a companion comic about KORAK.
For the next two years, I fanatically collected and voraciously read paperbacks of virtually all of Burroughs' books, as did Mark. Jerry also made a noble attempt to keep up with us. I never missed a single issue of the comics from the first month I began collecting them ("Tarzan and the City of Gold.") Mark was already too mature to bother with comic books much since they were for kids. And the fact is that it required an incredible amount of footwork back in those days to collect comic titles. We did not have a comic shop in LR, and usually the drug stores did not necessarily carry the same exact titles each month. Too, other kids were also competing for the issues available. So I had to make it a habit to walk to every different drug store virtually each week. I don't blame Mark for giving up on it and saying it was for kids. It took a lot of dedication to never miss an issue.
Anyway, all that is a long tale to lead up to my moment I want to share. Mark and I used to ride our stingrays up to a street that had both several churches on it as well as a lot of vacant wooded areas. This was all out in the middle suburbs. These churches became our lost cities: St. Mark's was OPAR, complete with a beautiful rock garden courtyard, the Christian Church was Pal-ul-don, since it had a sheer cliff along side of its area that we could climb around on. This cliff gradually became less steep as it went back from the street, and it had steep pines along it that we could hide in from the tribesmen below. These woods curved around behind Pal-ul-don and we could cicle back through a vast valley to a large tree house that some kids had built in the woods long before and then abandoned. There were some other churches along there and we were able to find some way into them all except for the Methodist church.
During the hot summer days, we would slip into an open window and explore these cyclopean structures like forgotten temples of old. Not to mention the ice cold water fountains they contained. How the parishioners must have wondered who Jadon and Kotan were in the foyer guest book! Ha ha. We would sneak past the office secretary soundlessly, and tread with marvel down into the inner sanctuary of these ancient "ruins".
Up on the cliff were a circle of trees. These becames useful to us because their arrangement allowed us to practice moving through the trees. In a short time we were able to travel through the trees all the way around the circle and return to our starting place without touching the ground. The more we did this the faster we could travel. I realized then that what Burroughs had written about was entirely possible, though fraught with danger of falling. Once, while Jadon and I battled for Teeka,(our nickname for a girl in our class which we had both fallen in love with) Mark fell and badly broke his wrist.
Finally, later one day Mark and I had mounted up onto the roof of the sanctuary of OPAR and were gazing wistfully at the setting sun as we reclined against the steep roof. We were a picture of suburban barbarity, with our handmade spears, short jean cut-offs and colorful tank-tops. Suddenly, some Oparians in a car came into the asphault parking lot below us and disappeared around to the other side. Immediately we leap down onto a palasade built to shield a large air-conditioning unit, and fled in earnest straight into the forest.
When we had reached cover, we turned to see if we were pursued. Sure enough, here came an entire family across the parking lot looking for us. In fact, it was my neighbors from across the street from my home! They knew my name! Mark and I disappeared deeper into the woods and then fled down a game trail to put as much distance as possible between us and this strange family that could be heard calling my name in an eerie fashion. Mark and I split up to confuse our trail, and the family also spread out through the undergrowth, a father, mother and two girls, calling my name. At length they gave up and left, and we puzzled at the strange, seemingly benevolent pursistence of their pursuit. Perhaps all they wished was to inform us not to climb onto the roof, but they were unable to do so despite their earnest efforts. Jadon and Kotan didn't take orders from Oparians, and that's for sure.
Many nights we spent the night together, plotting how we could slip out the bedroom window and travel through the trees to the coast, where we could stow away on board an ocean liner bound for the Congo. But one time I actually did run away while my family was camping in the Rockies. All day I hiked into the woods, determined never to return to civilization. At the top of the hill I came to a rattlesnake slithering in the grass in front of me. I turned to the left, but a second snake glided past, so I turned cautiously to the right and yet a third snake appeared! Naturally, at that point I decided that perhaps I was too civilized after all. I turned back.
From: Paul Ward
I arrived on Barsoom in the winter of 1963-my older brother having purchased volumes 1-3, 5, 6, and 7 of the Mars books, along with Escape on Venus, during the great publishing boom in the summer of that year.
I was hooked! I read and re-read them, and began a quest to get more ERB! In those days, my only access to books was on rare trips to a store, and I kept my eyes open at all times for ERB's that I didnt have. Was I torn at times, when there were three I didnt have, and I only had enough money for two!
Amazingly, I gobbled up Barsoom, Amtor, Pellucidar, Caspak, the Moon, and the Singles, without ever reading Tarzan!!! I conciously came to the conclusion that Tarzan was 'kid stuff' because of the movies, and avoided them all, except when the Ape Man took his trip to the Inner World.
(I guess rescuing David Innes made him acceptable to me)
I finally broke down and read Tarzan, and despite the bad books, realized that the good books were among the best the ERB ever wrote.
I drifted off to Tolkien in the 7th grade, after 4 years of reading nothing but ERB. (again and again !) Then to Conan, Heinlein, Lin Carter's Adult Fantasies, Zelazny, and so on. I didnt get back to ERB until my mid 20s. I opened up Princess, and in a heartbeat, I found myself once again traversing the red-mossed dead sea bottoms on my trusty thoat with a horde of angry Warhoons at my heels. Last year, (2003) during the closest opposition with Mars for the past and next 50,000 years, I spent an evening on a south facing hillside, with my arms stretched out and hoping for the best.
But I'm still here. Maybe I should tried it from a hill in Arizona....