Fan gatherings happen once a year. The kiddies these days call them Cons (as in conventions), but some have been around much longer than that. ECOF is one ... the Edgar Rice Burroughs Chain of Friendship.

The 2018 ECOF in California was very special in having five (5) authors in attendence, each having recent authorized extensions to the Characters and Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Book covers are placed inside this article in no particular order. Go out and buy a copy! Of Each!

—Editor

John Martin's report of the ECOF event in 2018 as first presented in ERB-APA, Autumn Issue, 2018. Minor revisions and illustration updates, 2019

ECOF is "Edgar Rice Burroughs Chain of Friendship", an active fan gathering for remembering American author Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950). Burroughs created Tarzan of the Apes and John Carter of Mars, among other memorable characters.

The Caspak Trilogy covers are by Dan Parsons (obverse and reverse) for a limited book run of 75 copies. That edition is not available for sale anywhere.

—Editor

A Century for The Land That Time Forgot

Adventures in Fandom

John Martin

Caspak, as revealed in The Land That Time Forgot*, was not forgotten at the 2018 gathering of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Chain of Friendship.

* Related: ERB Summary Project

The novelette first appeared a century ago, in the August 1918 issue of Blue Book Magazine. That was followed two months later by its sequel, The People That Time Forgot, and in December of 1918 by the third and final part of the story, Out of Time's Abyss.

Several years later, in 1924, the three parts were put together in a hardbound book titled The Land That Time Forgot, published by A.C. McClurg and Co. on June 14, 1924.

At the ECOF, held May 18-20 out of the Hilton Garden Inn in Folsom, Calif., the centenary of the sweeping Edgar Rice Burroughs saga was celebrated in several ways:

—A new edition of the three stories, retitled The Caspak Trilogy, was issued to ECOF registrants in a trade paperback edition limited to 75 copies.

—Dan Parsons, artist for The Caspak Trilogy, also had for sale three comics from The Land That Time Forgot-At the Earth's Core linkup from the "Fear on Four Worlds" series being published by American Mythology Comics The covers features Caspak "postcard images" which will also be issued as postcards in the near future.

—A special set of handmade cloth drink coasters by Deborah Gray, the wife of Don Gray, one of the ECOF organizers. These were distributed in the ECOF "goodie bags" in a distinctive leopard skin pattern bag of their own.

—A showing of the 1974 Amicus Productions motion picture, "The Land That Time Forgot," starring Doug McClure.

Back and Front (above) covers of special 100-year-anniversasry edition of The Caspak Trilogy, contained the text for the three novelettes from Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Land That Time Forgot, which was first published in Blue Book Magazine in the fall of 1918.

The book was distributed as part of the registration packet at the Edgar Rice Burroughs Chain of Friendship gathering in May 2018. The book includes an introduction by thriller author James Rollins and an afterword on the German U-33 submarines of the type that is used in the book.

Thomas Yeates provided three interior illustrations, one for each of the three parts of the story.

While most ECOF attendees stayed at the nearby Hilton Garden Inn in Folsom, the ECOF itself took place at a rather unusual venue: A nearby church!

Surrounding the Hilton Garden are a variety of restaurants and strip malls and directly behind the Hilton was Disciples Church, which had established its congregation's meeting place in the middle of a strip mall complex. The church was happy to "rent the hall" to the group. The large auditorium became the huckster room, with ERB Inc. and artists Dan Parsons and Thomas Yeates all located on the bandstand-pulpit area at one end of the room and the tables with ERB items taking up the rest of the floor space. The tables were brought over by the hotel.

Another room, usually used by the church's youth group, became an extension of the huckster room as well as a meeting place for several breakout sessions over the two days.

Those breakout sessions included:

FRIDAY

—Steve Baran, a member of the North Coast Mangani, the Burroughs Bibliophiles chapter which sponsored the ECOF, told about the publication of the special edition, "The Caspak Trilogy" that was printed on equipment at the Sacramento Public Library. The new volume features magnificent front and back color covers by Parsons, who has provided art for past ECOF gatherings and has also worked on Star Wars and Game of Thrones projects, plus comic enterprises.

A lot of Dan's art can be seen on his facebook page.

The book also features a new introduction by James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author, who was a special guest of the ECOF and came both days to sign autographs and also led one of the breakout sessions, talking about his interest in ERB and his career as a writer of thrillers.

In the forward, James Rollins tells of his own early attraction to ERB's stories. This was a limited edition book handed out to ECOF members as part of their signup fee. Only 75 copies were made. Rollins has also written one of the entries in the Indiana Jones paperback book series. His website is jamesrollins.com.

—Jim Malachowski told of his labor of love in using his imagination to come up with answers to some of the questions fans have had about Opar over the years. His book, "Song of Opar," features a cover with the stunning Joe Jusko painting of La about to knife Tarzan, the image which first appeared on the Joe Jusko ERB trading cards which came out several years ago. Malachowski was also selling and signing his book.

Some of Jim's ideas about Opar may be different from what others have thought, but the fun is in the imagining and the telling of it.

—Ralph Brown narrated a slide show of photos of many of the Tarzan doodads that are in his collection, and he told amazing stories of how some of them were acquired.

—David Lemmo read poetry by friend Rachael Wenban, and John Martin read some of his own ERB-related poetry as well as some by ERB.

—The Plastic Mangani Band, with Lemmo, Wenban, John and Paula Pappas, Thomas Yeates and Bob Zeuschner, delivered several ERB-related songs. Lemmo and Yeates did the major vocals, with backup singing by others.

Here are two of the five cloth coasters handmade by Deborah Gray, wife of Don Gray, one of the ECOF organizers. Four were given out with the ECOF packets and a limited number of a fifth was available for sale at the ECOF.

Deborah Gray has done special coasters for past ECOFs as well.

Just a guess: Most of these are probably not used to set drinks on, but rather preserved in some special way by recipients because of the wonderful artwork that they are!

SATURDAY

Jim Sullos, president of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., kicked off the series of meetings this day with his always-fascinating reports on what's current and what's upcoming in the world of ERB.

He began with a history of the Tarzan musical stage play, which opened a few years ago with a run on Broadway which wasn't quite as popular as was wished. But once the play transferred to The Hague in The Netherlands it was hugely successful, and that run was followed by equally popular runs in Homburg, Germany, and then Stuttgart.

And, there was good news back in the states, too, as many drama teachers and students throughout the land were choosing to do the Tarzan musical in their high schools, so the youth of America are getting familiarization with the ape man and his story in that way if no other.

Sullos also said a new Tarzan movie is never far from their minds, and they make contact with the option holders at regular intervals. Many times, he noted, it's a waiting game — waiting on Hollywood, that is.

Another venue for Tarzan is a computer slot machine game in Las Vegas, which has proved extremely popular and helped generate revenue to "pay the bills."

After five years of putting new Burroughs comics on its website, ERB Inc. has plans to add yet more strips, including one on ERB's story, "Beyond the Farthest Star." The purpose of the web comics is "to give visualization to everything Edgar Rice Burroughs created. We want the world to understand this man was incredibly prolific," said Sullos.

He gave a shout-out to Martin Powell, regular writer of about one-third of the current strips, "who talked me into going beyond Tarzan" when the strips were first getting off the ground.   "He's a savior of our program," Sullos said.

Sullos reviewed the titles published thus far in the "Wild Adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs" series. Stories which generally stay within the parameters established by ERB are designated as part of the "Wild Adventures" series. Others, which may not quite fit into that pattern but are still stories worth reading, such as "The Martian Legion," "Tarzan and the Cannibal King," the new "Song of Opar," etc., are not designated as "Wild Adventures" but are still authorized and made available to fans. There is no official designation for stories that fall into that category, although some of them might be considered "alternate universe"-type tales.

Speaking of future books, Sullos mentioned Michael Tierney's ERB Art Chronology, and mentioned that Thomas Zachek will have a story titled "Tarzan and the Revolution" (that book has since become available) and Lee Strong is working on one to be titled "Kirov of Pellucidar," a sequel featuring a character from his just-published "Untamed Pellucidar." He also mentioned that some other new book prospects are in the works.

Another avenue for ERB stories might be television, with mini-series. Discussions are also under way about those possibilities.

ROLLINS ON ERB

Later in the day, it was the turn of James Rollins, the ECOF guest of honor and N.Y. Times best-selling author of 35 thrillers plus some fantasy fiction under the nom de plume of James Clemens.

Rollins said his dream as a young man was to become a veterinarian and that Tarzan helped give him an interest in communicating with animals. He was fascinated with the ape-English dictionary in the back of one of the Tarzan books he had. But he also had become the "de facto" storyteller to his six siblings and would often regale them with tales he had come up with off the top of his head.

Thus was born his desire to write and share his stories with larger audiences. He began doing this even while operating a veterinarian practice and eventually decided to devote himself exclusively to writing.

His first novel was titled "Subterranean," which had an ERBlike flavor with "five characters going two miles deep into the earth. Throw in monsters and shake," he quipped. Forty-nine literary agents rejected his first story but he was persistent and the 50th liked it and his career was on its way.

He noted that ERB didn't confine himself to one type of locale, but "Burroughs was in space, in the jungle and underground. I like being in different places too," he said of the types of settings in which he places his characters.

ARTISTS AND AUTHORS

Two other panels took place, one featuring artists Thomas Yeates, Mike Royer and Dan Parsons, who shared behind-the-scenes stories of working with other famous artists, such as Alex Toth. The other panel featured five authors of new ERB-related books.

The five authors were Jim Malachowski, "Song of Opar," Gary Buckingham, author of a short Tarzan story that is included in the hardbound edition of Will Murray's "Tarzan: Return to Pal-ul-don"; Christopher Paul Carey, "Swords Against the Moon Men"; Lee Strong, "Soldier of Poloda" and "Untamed Pellucidar," and Thomas Zachek, "Tarzan Trilogy." Each explained their own journey of appreciating ERB and eventually being able to write stories including his characters or worlds.

The ECOF ended with the traditional auction of books and other items donated by huckster room dealers, with the proceeds going to the ECOF organizers to compensate for money spent in setting up the ERB event. Those doing Numa's share of the work were Don Gray, Tom Tolley, Steven Baran, Dwayne Covey and Tom Krabacher.

SOME OTHER ECOF OBSERVATIONS

Fighting and Films—At the ECOF, I had the opportunity to watch the Friday night fights. Everything seemed as if it was going well, and then these two guys started bashing each other all over the place, ending up in a pool of mud mixed with oil.

Fortunately, it was not a fight between fans but only a fight between two actors who were playing roles of one of Bradley's crew members and Captain von Schoenvortz's second-in-command. It was the fight scene in "The Land That Time Forgot," one of the movies and television episodes we watched in the evenings at the ECOF in Folsom, Calif.

It was movie night for the second night in a row at the ECOF, with some of the episodes of "The Adventures of Tarzan" playing first. Alas, it ended with a cliffhanger after Elmo Lincoln fell into a den of hungry lions, despite shouted warnings from some ECOF members who tried to alert him that he was walking right into a trap.

After that, we watched some brief clips that were censored from the original "King Kong." Apparently the censors didn't like scenes of Kong grabbing people and sticking them in his mouth and biting off their heads and then throwing them on the ground and stomping them. Even worse, he looked as if he was having fun doing it. The ERB fans were certainly having fun watching him do it.

He also became extremely interested in peeling Fay Wray's clothes off one layer at a time, although the lady's dignity was preserved. But the very idea of the big ape removing even part of a gal's clothing was beyond the pale, as far as the censors were concerned.

It was then time for "The Land That Time Forgot" with Doug McClure and Susan Penhaligon surviving long enough to toss a message in a bottle into the ocean.

Happy Days—Everyone seemed to be getting along quite well with everyone else at the ECOF, and happiness shone from the faces of many who were able to add new treasures to their collections as well as because they were seeing old friends again or making new friends.

The ERB Inc. table was selling all of the "Wild Adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs" volumes and giving out some nifty little ERB notepads.

Conversation With Carey—It was nice to visit with Christopher Paul Carey, who has finished and added to the Opar series of Philip Jose Farmer (with the blessing of the late author) and also written "Swords Against the Moon Men," the account of Julian the 7th, one whose story ERB himself did not have access to. Carey writes an action-filled adventure yarn that could well have been written by ERB himself. In a presentation he gave, he mentioned the possibility of writing another book in the Wild Adventures series some day but, in the meantime, he has a few other writing projects in mind that he wants to get going on. Currently, though, he is involved in another ERB project, writing a Carson of Venus story for American Mythology Comics.

Carey has also just been installed as the new "Director of Publishing" at Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., in Tarzana.

Carey also brought along copies of his latest book, an anthology of past articles he has written over the years about Farmer and his stories.

His website is cpcarey.com.