John Martin shares articles and commentary originally published in the Edgar Rice Burroughs Amateur Publishing Association (ERBAPA).
ERBAPA, January 2019
The Fabulous Fifties
No. 13 a Highlight of ERBapa’s 35 Years
Number 13 was the one who won the day in "The Monster Men" by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and No. 13 also gets my vote for the most memorable mailing of ERBapa in our 35-year history.
This was the mailing that was produced after the death of ERB fandom pioneer Vern Coriell.
It wasn't the largest APA ever; it wasn't a symposium on an ERB book; it didn't have the most art or the most comprehensive articles. But it contained many refreshingly honest memoirs of one of the most significant personalities in ERB fandom.
There have been many ERB fans who have stood out for one reason or another, and I include George T. McWhorter, retired establishor and curator of the ERB Memorial Collection at the University of Louisville, and Bill Hillman and Bruce Bozarth, webmasters of the greatest websites celebrating the legacy of Burroughs (erbzine and erblist respectively).
I could add the names of many others but will stop at those, for fear of leaving out names that should be included. But among others would be many dedicated fanzine editors as well as those who contributed articles to those fanzines and others who labored to produce excellent reference works on ERB that were published in book form.
But Vern is special because he was the first fan to do something in a major and lasting way, founding The Burroughs Bibliophiles and publishing for many years The Burroughs Bulletin, The Gridley Wave and the Barsoomian Bazaar.
When Vern died, Jan. 14, 1987, ERBapa official editor Leonard Homel notified members and suggested they might want to write memories of him for the Spring issue of ERBapa, which back then was deadlined March 31 instead of April 30.
I had heard of Vern and was a member of The Burroughs Bibliophiles, but I had never met him and never been to any Dum Dums at that time, so it was a real treat for me to read the many reminisces that were in that APA.
But as I read them I realized that many fans were being critical of Vern as well as sharing pleasant memories.
That's why I think that APA was so great. Unlike the average funeral service or "In memoriam" eulogies, these articles did not whitewash Vern. In addition to the well-deserved tributes, there were some who told funny stories at Vern's expense and some who griped about things such as his failure to keep some promises or maintain a faithful publication schedule in later years.
Thus, I thought the APA provided a rare honest and refreshing picture of a man who, like all of us, was human, and made mistakes, but was still admired and appreciated by most fans.
The Edgar Rice Burroughs legacy in the Fabulous Fifties
There is an oversimplification "out there" that had wormed its way into my thinking so much that I had come to think of it as fact. And I wonder how many others think about it that way as well.
The oversimplification is this: When ERB died in March of 1950, ERB activity ceased until the great Burroughs Boom which started in about 1962. In between, there was nothing or, at least, nothing much.
We know this isn't true, of course, because we all know there were comic books and movies during those years, and Vern Coriell’s Burroughs Bulletiin was being published. But, in actuality, there was more than that.
ERB Inc. itself may not have been actively promoting its product, but it was at least responsive in a positive way to issuing licenses for various "authorized" products when approached by manufacturers and publishers. And while we sometimes look at the 50s as a "black hole" for publication of ERB books, there were nine of his Tarzan titles kept in print by Grosset & Dunlap, two titles by Whitman, one by Dell and two stories in one volume by SFFP that had never been professionally published in book form before.
In fact, Tarzan himself remained much before the public eye during that era in several ways, and one other ERB character—John Carter of Mars—stepped onto the public stage to take a bow.
Ever since I started to think about this, I have been searching for and making a list of what all products there might be that would tie in with Tarzan, and then find out how many showed up in the 50s.
I am certain that my list is not complete and would welcome any additions. For simplicity sake, I’m only listing items from the U.S.A. I know there were things going on in other nations too, but to try to track all of them down and list them would be prohibitive.
But here is what I have, so far, for the U.S.
The Tarzan daily and Sunday newspaper strips continued throughout the decade.
The Dell Comic books were also published throughout the 50s. The run had begun with two "four-color" editions in 1947, numbers 134and 161. Then the regular series started in 1948 and the Dell comics continued to be published regularly until 1962, when they began wearing the Gold Key Comics label.
In addition, extra Tarzan stories appeared in annual "Dell Giant"-type comics and other stories appeared in Dell's "March of Comics," smaller booklets printed for giveaway to customers by merchants, including many shoe stores.
Grosset & Dunlap's Books for Boys and Girls (BBG) series included Tarzan titles throughout the 1950s, actually starting in 1948. Books were printed and reprinted with various types of cloth and paperboard covers with maps of Africa included in the earlier editions but not in the later ones. These books had dust jackets by C.E. Monroe. The same Monroe images were later used on hardbound printed covers of the same titles but those did not come out until the late 60s.
The books printed by G&D were nine of the first 11 Tarzan books, omitting "Beasts" and "Son." "Apes" was not verified to have been published until 1960, although it is suspected that some editions of "Apes" came out a bit earlier than that. I'll not list these books individually because it would take up a lot of space, but numerous details can be found in the individual listings of "Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Bibliography," by Robert B. Zeuschner, and "Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Descriptive Bibliography of the Grosset & Dunlap Reprints" by Joe Lukes. Both are available from www.edgarriceburroughs.com.
Here's a year-by-year look at some of the other items which came out in the 50s:
Books: "Tarzan and the Journey of Terror," a New Better Little Book, was printed in a second printing after first being published in 1949. Some of the G&D BBG "Tarzan" reprints.
Comics: Dell published six Tarzan comics.
Movies: "Tarzan and the Slave Girl," with Lex Barker as the ape man.
View-Master: Sawyers Inc. came out with a single reel, "Tarzan Rescues Cheta," as well as a three-reel set with a color scene on the outside of the packet, telling the story of "Tarzan of the Apes." The story from "Tarzan Rescues Cheta" is at https://www.jonlinney.co.uk/info/viewmaster/ "Tarzan of the Apes": The clay-sculpted story of Tarzan created by Montyne. It has fully sculpted figures and realistic dioramas. More info here: https://viewmasterinfo.com/articles/artist_montyne ERBzine site: http://www.erbzine.com/mag8/0840.html Links at top of that lead page to the other Tarzan View-Master reels at erbzine. Story Booklet with 1950 View-Master set
Books: "Tarzan and the Lost Empire," published in a Dell mapback paperback. The only other Dell ERB book, "Cave Girl," had been published in 1949. Some of the G&D BBG "Tarzan" reprints.
Comics: Nine Dell Tarzan comic books, issues 19 through 27, were published.
Movies: "Tarzan's Peril," with Lex Barker
Radio: New Tarzan radio program by Commodore productions, starring Lamont Johnson. This is not the same one as the 1940 one starring James H. Pierce and his wife, Joan Burroughs Pierce.
Books: "Tarzan and the Forbidden City" and "Tarzan and the City of Gold" were published by Whitman in editions especially designed to appeal to young people, with full-color dust jackets by Don McLoughlin and interior art by Jesse Marsh. Some of the G&D BBG "Tarzan" reprints.
Comics: Twelve Tarzan comic books, issues 28-39. Dell's "Tarzan Jungle Annual" No 1. Dell's "John Carter of Mars" No. 1
Movies: "Tarzan's Savage Fury" with Lex Barker
Radio: March 22, 1952: First CBS re-broadcast of the 67 stand-alone, 1/2 hour episodes of 'Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle'
Record: Tarzan Song & Jungle Dance
Books: Some of the G&D BBG "Tarzan" reprints.
Comics: Twelve Tarzan comic books, Nos. 40-51. Dell's "Tarzan Jungle Annual" #2
Movies: "Tarzan and the She-Devil," with Lex Barker
Games: Tarzan frame-tray puzzle with Lex Barker scene
Articles: May 9, 1953: Tarzan article appears in Collier's Magazine
Radio: 1953 June 27: Last CBS radio broadcast of “Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle”
Books: Whitman reprinted "Tarzan and the Forbidden City" and "Tarzan and the City of Gold" with new interior art by Tony Sgroi and color printed covers with the same Don McLoughlin art that had appeared on the jackets of the books published in 1952. Some of the G&D BBG "Tarzan" reprints
Comics: Twelve Tarzan comic books, Nos. 52-63. Dell's "Tarzan Jungle Annual" No. 3
Books: Some of the G&D BBG "Tarzan" reprints. "The Man-Eater," Lloyd Arthur Eshbach's Fantasy Press softcover "Beyond Thirty," Lloyd Arthur Eshbach's Fantasy Press softcover
Comics: Twelve Tarzan comic books, No. 64-75. Dell's "A Giant Comic," "Tarzan's Jungle Annual #4"
Movies: "Tarzan's Hidden Jungle" with Gordon Scott
View-Master: "Tarzan Finds a Son," reel 976-A; "Tarzan Rescues Numa the Lion," 976-C, and "Tarzan Saves the Jungle Explorer," 976-B. These featured images of Gordon Scott.
Books: Some of the G&D BBG "Tarzan" reprints. "ERB: A Bibliography," by Bradford M. Day
Comics: Twelve Tarzan comic books, Nos. 76-87. "Tarzan's Jungle Annual #5," Giant Comic
Books: "Tarzan and the Lost Safari," by Frank Castle (uncredited as author), authorized edition. Some of the G&D BBG "Tarzan" reprints. "Beyond Thirty & The Man-Eater" hardback published by Brad Day's SFFP Publications with DJ and promo art by Gil Kane
Comics: Twelve Tarzan comic books, Nos. 88-99. "Tarzan's Jungle Annual" #6
Movie: "Tarzan and the Lost Safari," starring Gordon Scott
Other: "Tarzan Coloring Book" published by Whitman
Books: Some of the G&D BBG "Tarzan" reprints.
Comics: Ten regular Tarzan comic books, Nos. 100-109. "Tarzan's Jungle Annual" No. 7
Movie: "Tarzan's Fight for Life," starring Gordon Scott and Eve Brent
Articles: Nov. 13, 1958: “Tarzans Creep, Climb, Bellow in Test for Film”appears as an Associated Press story. Feb. 23, 1958: New York Sunday News article on the history of Tarzan films. May 3, 1958: Near-disastrous fire at the ERB, Inc. warehouse
1954 Whitman frame-tray Tarzan puzzle
Books: Some of the G&D BBG "Tarzan" reprints
Comics: Six regular Dell Tarzan comic books, Nos. 110-115. "Tarzan's Jungle World" No. 25 (actually, No 8 in the Tarzan annual series)
Movies: "Tarzan the Ape Man" starring Denny Miller and Joanna Barnes. "Tarzan's Greatest Adventure," starring Gordon Scott.
Articles: Joanna Barnes - “A Jane With a Brain for Tarzan” appears in Nov. 16 issue of Life Magazine
Fanzines: Vernell Coriell publishes the first Gridley Wave
And, just to bring things up to the 1960s…
Books: "Tarzan of the Apes," McCann dust jacket, G&D, to add the original story to the other volumes published in the 1950s.
Comics: Six regular Dell Tarzan comic books, Nos. 116-121. "Tarzan, King of the Jungle, Dell Giant No. 37 (actually Tarzan No. 9)
Movies: "Tarzan the Magnificent," starring Gordon Scott; "Tarzan and the Trappers," Gordon Scott
Record: "Shorty Rogers Meets Tarzan," LP soundtrack for Denny Miller's "Tarzan the Ape Man."
The information and dates used in this article were gathered from a wide variety of sources, including reference books, dates taken off items in my collection, and internet searches on individual items. Not every website provides dates on an item so it is sometimes necessary to search several places.
One of the internet sources used is from Edgar Rice Burroughs: Bio Timeline Beyond ’50 by Bill Hillman at erbzine. If you are interested in what else went on in the world of ERB in the 50s, check out this link: