The First and Only Online Fanzine Devoted to the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Many Worlds of
"The master of imaginative fantasy adventure...
...the creator of Tarzan and...
...the 'grandfather of science-fiction'"
THE MAN WHO MADE THE ARGOSY
1. The Men Who Make The Argosy: Edgar Rice Burroughs
Argosy ~ March 12, 1932
2. The Story of Tarzan (short)
First edition dust jacket of Tarzan the Invincible, November 20, 1931
3. The Story of Tarzan (long)
(Could be Birth of Tarzan, by his Poppa - Script 1932) or 1933
4. Success at Thirty-Five
Tarzan Adventure Comic ~ Feb. 16, Mar. 1, Mar. 15, 1952
5. The Citizen and the Police
The Police Reporter - May 1929
The Men Who Make The Argosy:
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Argosy ~ March 12, 1932
Some time during the era between that of the Neanderthal man and the Capone man, I was born in Chicago, Illinois, where I attended public schools to the sixth grade. Thereafter, my education consisted of hopping back and forth between private tutors and private schools in preparation for college, which I never attended.
I tried many things, with more or less, principally less, success until I commenced writing at the age of thirty-five. Having had no preparation for a writing career and knowing nothing whatever about it, I was successful from the start, as success is measured in this materialistic age.
Since that time I have written sixty-five novels and novelettes for magazines, thirty-six of which have found their way into book publications.
My latest book, "Tarzan the Invincible," is the first to be published by my own corporation, which, together with the fact that my corporation is located at Tarzana, California, and, the illustrations were made by my nephew Studley Burroughs, must establish a unique publishing record of some sort, whatever'it may be.
In coming back to Argosy I am reminded that my first plunge into literature was taken in the pages of another Frank A. Munsey publication, the All-Story, in which my first story, "A Princess of Mars," was published many years ago as "Under the Moons of Mars," by Norman Bean, a pen name that I adopted because I was mortified by the thought of having my own name connected with anything as foolish as fiction writing.*
I have learned much since then, however, and though I think even less of the importance of fiction than I did then, I am now glad to have my name connected with anything that gives even a little entertainment to a few people during the sojourn in this vale of tears.
* TARZAN OF THE APES, the first Tarzan story ever written, was fist published in the October, 1912, ALL-STORY, and won immediate, lasting popularity. The present story, TARZAN AND THE CITY OF GOLD, is the eighth Tarzan story and the thirty-fifth work by Edgar Rice Burroughs published in ARGOSY or the magazines later merged with ARGOSY -- ALL-STORY and CAVALIER. -- Ed. Note
TARZAN OF THE APES was my third story. It was written in Chicago in 1912. A PRINCESS OF MARS was the first and THE OUTLAW OF TORN the second. Which reminds me of an amusing review of the latter, which was not published in book form until about sixteen years after it was written. The reviewer commented upon the great improvement and maturity of my style in this "later" work.
Tarzan seized the public fancy almost instantly. Just why he did so, I do not know. It is one of those things, like the Tariff and an Income Tax Statement, that have always been beyond me. In Germany they named chocolates, cigarettes and cabarets after him; in Russia the Soviet government took cognizance of him when they discovered that both the Russian literati were reading him out loud to the rest of the communists in preference to Soviet propaganda; in England, the Prince of Wales named one of his horses Tarzan. Movie horses, movie lions and race horses bear his name. And now there is a United States Post Office called Tarzana.
Tarzan has appeared in newspapers, magazines and books; on the stage and on the screen; over the radio; he has been translated into sixteen foreign languages; in strip form, he is appearing in newspapers the length and breadth of the United States. I am told that it is estimated that twenty-five millions of people see Tarzan every day, in this country, in the newspapers alone.
Why all this popularity? I wish I knew; but not knowing, I can only be happy in the knowledge that he has brought a few hours of entertainment to so many people.
THE STORY OF TARZAN
By Edgar Rice Burroughs
(Author of the Tarzan Stories)
Tarzan of the Apes has had many adventures that are between the covers of no book. Having been pirated in Soviet Russia, he gained such popularity among the proletariat that the Soviet government was forced to take official cognizance of him. Whether they murdered him in a cellar or knouted him to Siberia, I do not know; but they got all het up because groups of illiterate peasants gathered int he street while a more educated fellow, oftentimes a soldier, read Tarzan out loud to them instead of Soviet propaganda or the intriguing dream books of Mr. Marx.
In Germany he aroused the jealousy of a publisher because of his popularity, and this good sportsman dug up a story that I had written during the heat of anti-German propaganda in this country following the sinking of the Lusitania. He had a book written and published, telling all about the two horrible creatures, Tarzan of the Apes and Edgar Rice Burroughs; and he distributed it so effectively that the German press made Tarzan an issue, lambasting him editorially and advising all good Germans to throw their Tarzan books into the garbage cans -- which they did.
A Bulgarian or Rumanian discovered that I had stolen Tarzan, word for word, from a poor French author, who was slowly starving to death in a garret, while a neighbor woman here in the San Fernando valley revealed the secret that I never wrote any of my books, all of them having been written by my father, an old gentleman with a long white beard.
BOYS STUDY TARZAN
Little boys have broken into the newspapers all over the world by falling out of trees and breaking something while emulating Tarzan, and one little boy, Jackie Strong, of Gresham, Ore., who was lost three days and nights on the wooded slopes of Mount Hood, attributed his ability to take care of himself and come through alive and well to the fact that he had been a student of Tarzan of the Apes.
Tarzan of the Apes was not written primarily for children, and my files contain letters of appreciation from men and women of all ages and from all walks of life -- school teachers, librarians, college professors, priests, doctors, lawyers, soldiers, sailors, and business men, among which are names internationally famous; but possibly the greatest pleasure that I have derived from the publication of my stories has come through the knowledge that they have appealed also to children and that I have given them a character, however improbable he may seem, that will set them for a higher standard of manliness, integrity and sportsmanship.
Since Tarzan of the Apes first appeared in the newspapers years ago, a new generation of readers has grown up, and Tarzan is as popular today as he was then.
I have written a total of 18 Tarzan stories, 16 of which are in book form, the latest being Tarzan and the City of Gold.
I wrote Tarzan of the Apes 21 years ago. It was my third novel and the first to appear under my own name, which was unknown outside of a radius of six feet from my back porch.
Bob Davis of the Munsey company liked the story and it appeared in the October, 1912 issue of All-Story Weekly, whereupon I commenced to have visions of earning $3,000 a year and affluence in the writing game.
Sharing a common weakness with 120,000,000 other Americans, I got a great kick out of seeing my name in print, and as an all-fiction magazine is anything but an enduring monument, I commenced to look up the addresses of book publishers.
During the next couple of years every reputable publisher in the United States had an opportunity to turn down Tarzan of the Apes, and did.
I was not surprised; in fact, the only thing about the marketing of my stories that ever surprises me is when they sell. I have never written a story yet but that deep down in my heart I was positive that it would be refused.
It was the newspapers that created the demand for Tarzan. Unless I am mistaken, the New York Evening World started it; and then it was syndicated in cities of all sizes all over the United States. One of the first papers to publish the Tarzan stories was The Tacoma Tribune, now The Tacoma News Tribune.
NEWSPAPERS LIKED TARZAN
The result was that A. C. McClurg & Company had so many inquiries from their retail customers for Tarzan of the Apes that, after having refused the story a year before, they now wrote me asking for the book rights.
The book had about the same experience in England, some 13 publishers turning it down before Sir Arthur Methuen undertook its publication there; but it achieved possibly a greater success in England than in the United States until the death of Sir Arthur.
Contracts have been entered into during the past 12 or 15 years for the translation of Tarzan of the Apes into Arabic, Czecho-Slovakian, Danish, Dutch (Holland), Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Rumanian, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese and Urdu; and it has been printed in Braille for the blind.
All in all, Tarzan has done far better than I possibly could have dreamed at the time that I created him.
Success At Thirty-Five
By Edgar Rice Burroughs
NY World ?
"I have often been asked how I came to write. The best answer is that I needed the money.
"I had worked steadily for six years without a vacation and for fully half of my working hours at that time. I had suffered tortures from headaches. Economise as we could, the expenses of our little family were far beyond my income. Tuppence worth of ginger cookies constituted my daily lunches for months...
"To be poor is quite bad enough. But to be poor and without hope -- well, the only way to understand it is to be it.
"I got writer's cramp answering blind ads and wore out my shoes chasing after others. At last I got placed as an agent for a lead pencil sharpener. I borrowed office space and, while subagents were out trying unsuccessfully to sell the sharpener, I started to write my first story... I had never met an editor or an author, outside of Captain King (Commandant of Michigan Military Academy, which I had attended as a boy), or a publisher. I had no idea of how to submit a story or what I could expect in payment. Had I known anything about it at all I would never have thought of submitting half a novel.
"Thomas Newell Metcalf, who was then editor of the All-Story Magazine, published by Munsey, wrote me that he liked the first half of the story and if the second was as good he thought he might use it. Had he not given me this encouragement, I would never have finished the story and my writing career would have been at an end, since I was not writing because of any urge to write nor for any particular love of writing. I was writing because I had a wife and two babies, a combination which does not work at all well without money.
"I finished the second half of the story and got 140 Pounds for the manuscript which at that time included all serial rights. The cheque was the first big event in my life. No other amount of money has ever given me the thrill that the first 140 Pound checque gave me.
"My first story was entitled 'Dejah Thoris, Princess of Mars.' Metcalf changed it to 'Under the Moons of Mars.' It was later published in book form as 'The Princess of Mars.'
"With the success of my first story, I decided to make writing a career, but I was canny enough not to give up my job. But the job did not pay expenses and we had a recurrence of great poverty, sustained only by the thread of hope that I might make a living writing fiction. I cast about for a better job and landed as a department manager for a business magazine. While I was working there I wrote 'Tarzan of the Apes' in the evenings and holidays. I wrote it in longhand on the backs of old letterheads and odd pieces of paper. I did not think it was a very good story and I doubted if it would sell. But Bob Davis say its possibilities for a magazine publication and I got a cheque; this time, I think, for 250 Pounds.
"Everyone, including myself, thought I was an idiot. But my stories were now selling as fast as I could write them and I could write pretty rapidly, so I bought a second-hand car and became a plutocrat. The Chicago winters were too cold. We went to California and wintered in Coronado and San Diego.
"We were a long way from home. My income depended solely upon the sale of magazine rights. I had not had a book published at that time and, therefore, no book royalties were coming in. Had I failed to sell a single story during those months, we would have been broke again, but I sold them all...
"With my career safely insured -- motion pictures, books, newspaper comic strips and other royalties coming in regularly, and in comfortable figures -- we were soon able to afford to move to California and there I founded Tarzana, where I was to write henceforth.
"I think there is a moral lesson in this story. It might even be a paradox: we win when we are defeated."
The Citizen and the Police
By Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Police Reporter - May 1929
The following article by one of the highest paid writers in the world is a voluntary contribution to The Police Reporter, prompted solely by the author's sense of civic duty.
To the citizenry of Los Angeles the Police Department is the most important branch of the city government. It is, by the nature of its duties and the fact that its members are uniformed, the most obvious. Upon the proper exercise of its functions largely depends the proper functioning of all other departments of government. Upon it depends the "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" of each citizen. At every corner we come in contact with the police.
Naturally, we wish to have a good police department. We demand it. It is our right. It is also our duty, and that is the thing that most of us forget -- that we have any duty in the matter.
The police department reflects us. If it is negligent of duty, it is because we are negligent of ours. If it is rotten, it is because we are rotten. But the Los Angeles police force is not rotten. It is the victim of rotten and vicious propaganda. I have been told something of the source and purpose of this propaganda, but it is immaterial. The thing that interests me most is the fact that this propaganda must eventually react most against us private citizens, for, if not counteracted, it can only result in disrupting our police force. It has not for its purpose say altruistic ends -- it is ruthlessly selfish and political, and we are to be the victims of it.
If we were to lie awake nights for a year trying to evolve the most asinine thing that we could do, we could not achieve a more monumental asininity than that of aiding the present insidious campaign of calumny directed against the police, whereby we are undermining our personal safety and playing into the hands of our natural enemies -- the crooks, criminals and grafters who constitute the organized forces of lawlessness that are a peculiar consequence of present-day American civilization.
I have no desire to pose as a disinterested paladin of the police department. My motives, to, are selfish. I want to do my share as a decent citizen to awake other decent citizens to a consciousness of their responsibility for the safety of the lives and property of us all, and I offer the suggestion that we may accomplish more along this line by constructive rather than destructive methods.
The department is not a perfect organization composed of perfect men. Neither is the church. Each leaves much to be desired. Each has its crooks and rotters.
I am told that a policeman recently slugged an unoffending citizen. Should I demand that Chief Davis be tarred and feathered and run out of town? Should I assume that the entire police force is made up of degenerates and bullies?
Yesterday I read of a theological student who was arrested for bootlegging. The newspaper that published the story did not suggest that the church was, therefore, an evil force, the heads of which should be thrown out on their ears.
We read in certain newspapers, we hear over the radio and in conversation with our acquaintances many stories of police negligence and corruption. I do not believe that all of these are true -- I have lived too long to be quite that gullible. I do believe that some of them are true and based on truth. That is to be expected.
The outstanding fact is that these stories concern only a negligible fraction of the entire personnel of the department, yet they are so told as to reflect upon every policeman. In retelling these stories, in passing them around from mouth to mouth, we are inflicting a death blow upon the morale of the department, and the efficiency of any organization is dependent upon its morale.
I am, as law abiding goes in these days, a law abiding citizen, and as such I look upon every policeman as my friend, and I do not make it a practice to listen to scandal about my friends. If you will question the next police scandal-monger you will discover that he doesn't know a damn thing, of his own personal knowledge, about the matter.
It is our duty to discourage unbridled criticism of the force that stands between us and utter lawlessness. We have a good police department, headed by a good chief. We should give them our support and assistance so that they can work out their own problems. If, after we have given them our support, they fail to do so, then, and not until then, should we demand a reorganization. Up to the present time we have never given the police department any support.
Under present conditions the department is expected to function loyally in the face of the active opposition of crooks, of most of the politicians and of the vast majority of the citizens. For my part, I am willing to throw my influence on the side of the department against the crooks and politicians, for I am sure to get the worst of it at the hands of the last two.
That the department as a whole is functioning loyally is obvious to any intelligence that can,, even by a stretch of the imagination, be rated as such, for it it were as steeped in crime as some of our notorious radio publicity hounds would lead us to believe, no man's life or property would be safe upon the streets of Los Angeles for fifteen minutes, while as a matter of fact we go about our duties and our pleasures by day and by night in as perfect security as the citizens of any city of our size in any land, in any recorded historical era; and this notwithstanding the fact that Los Angeles, because of the great wealth and prosperity of her people, the beauty of her surroundings and the delights of her climate, has attracted the professional crooks of the entire world.
It seems obvious that the purpose of the propaganda now being directed against the police is to bring about the removal of the present chief for the purpose of substituting another man who can be controlled by the force directing the present campaign of police baiting.
I do not know that Chief Davis is the best police chief in the world, because I do not know all of the other police chiefs in the world, but I believe that he is the best man to head our police department.
He has been a Los Angeles policeman for nearly twenty years, and during that time he has quite evidently lost no opportunity to study his profession and prepare himself for any demands that it might make of him. He also has found time to perfect himself in the use of his revolver, until today he is the outstanding shot on the force and is acknowledged to be one of the best shots in the United States. His example to the members of the force in this respect, in his sobriety and in his knowledge of police matters is of such as exceptional nature that it would be the heighth of folly to replace him.
As a chief, Davis is unique. He neither smokes nor drinks. He is an exceptionally find public speaker. He is a crack shot. He is a trained policeman of long experience. He looks the part. The men believe in him and are proud of him. The final and fatal step in the disruption of our police department would be the removal of Chief Davis at this time.
Probably he has made mistakes, doubtless he will make others, but at that he can run the police department better than we can and better than any other man now available, and he can do a still better job if we will get behind him and his men with our moral support.
What can we expect of a police department, each member of which is being constantly reminded that the public considers his uniform as a distinctive emblem carrying a similar significance to the stripes of a convict? That is enough to discourage good men and turn weak men bad. We should give our support to the good men on the force -- they are overwhelmingly in the majority -- and we should demand of the chief the most rigorous action against the weak, the inefficient and the crooked.
The contrary attitude of the public, as now displayed, must arouse resentment in the mind of every important police official and greatly hinder, if not effectually block, many reforms that would naturally follow intelligent co-operation between the police and the public. for, after all, policemen are human and will serve more enthusiastically appreciative and friendly public than a censorious and antagonistic one.
Presently we shall have a new city government. A very important part of that government, to us, will be the personnel of the new police commission. I believe that each mayoralty candidate should be asked to name the men he will invite to serve on the police commission should he be elected, and that these men should be as much a subject of investigation as the mayoralty candidate himself, for at the present moment there is scarcely any matter more closely affecting the lives and property of all of us than the proper policing of our city.
We have heard so much, recently, of the sins of policemen that some of us, perhaps, have forgotten their many virtues. It shall be my pleasure, as I consider it my duty, to tell you from time to time in these columns little incidents that point the major virtues of the policeman -- loyalty, courage and self-sacrifice.
BILL HILLMAN .
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