The Papyrus Scroll of
Erich von Harben
Terry Alan Klasek
This article appeared first in
ERB-APA #79 Fall 2003
KAOR ERB Friends!!!! Time for the Fall ERB-APA, and I am gathering my display together hurriedly. I am showing an ERB display at the local (Florissant Valley) branch of the Saint Louis County Library. That will be the subject of my winter APA with many photos. Almost as good as being there, eh?
My dad took me to matinees from 1949 through 1956, and we saw several Tarzan films, and dad told of seeing other Tarzan films as a teen and reading books about Tarzan in the 1930s. We listened to the radio and record player until we got a television in 1953 so I learned to use my imagination early.
I started school in 1950 at age 4, and was an early reader. Reading soon became a passion with me especially adventure and historical books. Any book factually historical or fiction with much historical fact and setting were my favorites! Early on I became addicted to reading Classics illustrated, and many I reread numerous times. This is especially true of Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumas, G.A. Henty, and others in the adventure vein.
During grade school from 1950 though June 1961 I was a voracious reader. History was the underlying theme of my early reading. Stories of early America by James Fenimore Cooper, and books that had been graphically adapted by Classics Illustrated. Baseball was another subject I was intense over. Histories of the New York Giants, Brooklyn Dodgers, Saint Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees were the first of many. Biographies of many older ball players fascinated me for hours.
I did read a juvenile edition of the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes edited by the Superintendent of the Saint Louis City Public Schools, William Kottmeyer, Ph.D. and many from Scholastic Books ordered from school. I had come across Tarzan and the City of Gold and Tarzan of the Apes in the juvenile Whitman hardcovers with the painted boards. I vaguely recall reading them in 1957 when I was shipped to a relative's home to spend the summer months as my youngest sister was due to be born.
Dad did take to see a dozen or so baseball games, and brought me several boxes of baseball cards. I was having fun then he brought me about 50 Tarzan comics to help me not miss being home. My favorite summer of my childhood was 1957!
Every summer the Saint Louis City Public Library had a summer reading program. Reading 15 or more books merited a certificate presented by a librarian in class! I did 50 books each summer from 1957 through 1961. Still finding time to play baseball and ride my bicycle (one speed) all over the city. The librarian would not allow me to check out Tarzan books because I had a child's card, and Tarzan required an adult card to check out. DRAT!!
So I settled with many biographies and historical books (fictional and factual). Books I read in my Freshman year of high school were ones I had already read in Classics Illustrated, and reading in school suddenly became FUN! In Sophomore English we read two Sherlock Holmes stories and two Solar Pons stories (pastiches by August Derleth).
I started with Holmes building a personal library obtaining an eight book set of Holmes published by Berkeley and the Ace 35 cent edition of the Exploits of Sherlock Holmes by Adrian Conan Doyle and John Dickson Carr. All the Signet James Bond paperbacks followed after I heard my parents talking about seeing Dr. No, From Russia With Love and Goldfinger at the movie theatres.
As fast as possible I picked them up from the bookstore, and read from cover to cover expeditiously! I got heavily involved in actually reading the BOOKS by ERB during the 1960s ERB Boom. During my high school years an explosion of paperback books vied with titles and the fantastic and astounding covers for the cash of the baby boomers.
Book racks were stuffed with all kinds of science fiction, and vast space was allotted to the very popular, James Bond, books. Then ERB appeared. The Frazetta and Krenkel covers on the small ACE editions, and the basically uniform Ballantine versions of Tarzan and Barsoom making a huge splash.
I was drawn to them immediately! Every time I went by a book rack in Woolworth’s, Walgreens Drug Stores, and all new and used book stores. My walking pace slowed dramatically when viewing ERB book covers! WOW!! The Dover multi storied books got the ball rolling with reasonably priced trade paperback editions, and then the paperbacks arrived. BOOM!
The popularity swept the nation! I worked in the high school lunchrooms so I used the money my parents gave me for books. In nice weather I would walk home in the afternoon stopping by a bookstore (new & used) four blocks from school saving the bus fare. I perused the ERB books in the racks many times before I purchased any. Sherlock Holmes and James Bond being devoured pall mall. Then one day I was in a Walgreens’s drug store by my high school waiting for the street car, and scanning the book racks. There, again, were the Tarzan and Mars books, and I decided to give it a try because I had always enjoyed the comics and films.
I picked up the Ballantine edition of Tarzan Triumphant with the mysterious Arab figure on it by a lonely mountain. The mysterious aura about the scene said, “read me.” I knew I could get the ACE edition later but I wanted the Ballantine because I figured I would eventually obtain the matching set. Nor was I wrong! I had no idea what I was getting into that fateful day as I began reading Tarzan Triumphant on the street car and the bus I transferred to on the way home via the scenic route.
The next thing I heard was the bus driver saying, “Hey kid, this is the end of the line gotta get off da bus!” Damn, I missed my stop getting so engrossed in the Tarzan book!! Well, I stayed on the bus for the return ride, and made it home slightly late lamely saying I was doing some library research. After dinner I read. Under the covers I read all night until I finished the book. WOW, that was a Hell of a lot better than any Tarzan film I had seen or any comic I had read!!!
I HAD to read more! The next day after school I went to the book store by school, and purchased the first 12 Tarzan’s, followed the next Saturday by the next 10 Tarzan's and the first 10 Mars books by Ballantine. The next week I purchased every book by ACE including the Tarzan and Mars books because the different, and superior, covers.
My piggy bank was shattered and despoiled of contents to feed this lust for books. For two months it was a case of long live ERB and Sherlock who? The covers drew me into the book so fast with dinosaurs, mysterious cities, Romans, Knights, Arabs and lost cities. Oh baby, that is my kind of fantastic reading material!! I kept an ERB paperback in my hip pocket all the time so I could read in lines for lunch, standing at bus stops, and on busses and streetcars.
My school books I carried in a brief case which went along with my white shirt, dark trousers and black military oxfords. Yep, I was a nerd - a geek, but an ERB fan in training! With each reading I would read or find something I had not previously noted.
After reading ERB-APAs and ERB biographies I learn more about ERB and his works aiding me to read his books in a different light than my first readings. Despite the fifty plus ERB book readings that have followed there is always something new to me especially pronouncing the various names in the books.
Glad I phoned all those ERB fans and learned how others pronounced those odd looking names! I find I am enjoying my re-readings of ERB as much as my first readings ! Each time I read, or look at the early Ballantine and ACE paperbacks I can instantly remember where I was, and what was transpiring about me during my first reading. Further, I can remember where I purchased the books, and in what groupings! Every day I had some kind of paperback in my left hip pocket during high school. I was not alone either as many other students at Roosevelt High School were reading ERB, James Bond, Science Fiction, and some even Sherlock Holmes.
Reading was not limited to white males, but Blacks and Asians read ERB as well! During high school I personally did not know of any women reading ERB, but I am going to check through the bulletin boards on the Classmates web site. I checked the copyright dates, and read Bond in order as I did with Tarzan, Barsoom and Pellucidar. Tarzan and Pellucidar took my breath away with the lost cities and an inner world! That intrigues me beyond everything!!!
I worked Summers at the Muny opera in St. Louis’ Forest Park as an usher. My friend David Pace and I would read ERB paperbacks by the tiny lights illuminating stairs from the ramps to the landings. Cramped under the low level light I read Tarzan, Mars and Pellucidar trying desperately not to yell when the hero finally won the princess!
The Ballantine editions had numbers on them to indicate proper reading order. That is how I read ERB for decades until I made Professor Archimedes Q. Porter’s acquaintance!! Now I read Tarzan using Huck’s new chronology, and that is fine reading! So during high school, and through my days in the Navy I read the Tarzan and Barsoom books in the Ballantine series, and Pellucidar, Venus, and other books in the ACE editions. I took no books with me to Vietnam, but my first pay was so big with the combat pay that I ordered full sets of ERB from Ballantine and ACE in the Summer of 1966.
I Read them several times I left them to the base library at the Naval Support Activity in DaNang when I returned to the “real world.” When I returned home I looked for my books to help enjoy my 30 day leave with. BUT, no books found. Mom threw out all my books, comics, and my 10,000 plus baseball card collection thinking I was not returning alive from Vietnam. I was incensed!
Then I went out to used book stores, and repurchased all the ERBs available along with the ACE Tarzan and Barsoom books, and including the trashy Werper Tarzan’s. Anything having to do with Tarzan and ERB drew my instant attention! In 1970 I began collecting Tarzan and Mars paperbacks with different cover art. I visited a bookstore with a full set of Tarzans with a white border around the familiar Tarzan art. I just had to have all the different cover art! It was mesmerizing to just take them out and study each cover in relation to the next. Hot Dog!
I also got into pulps and pulp reprints in a fanatic way. The late Earl Kussman (Pulpster, Inc. member) loaned me several hundreds of pulps and hundreds of pulp reprints expanding my reading horizons. For the first time I saw ERB fanzines in Earl’s collection of ERB-DOMs. All that art? WOW!! I saw the ads for the ERB clubs in the ACE editions, but for me it was money for books or money for clubs. I chose the books! The original pulp and hardcover art was fantastic giving me a further, and deeper, appreciation for the world of Edgar Rice Burroughs!
In June 1973 I was recruited by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to infiltrate, and report on, the activities of the National Socialist White People's Party (Nazis). I was earning about $125 per month from June 1973 through August 1977. That was my golden age. I used all the money for books, comics and magazines in the realms of ERB, pulps and Sherlock Holmes. I was reading ten novels per week during that period, and working as a restaurant manager and high school custodian. In 1980 budget cuts caused my job to evaporate, and I ended up selling off my book collections. I did keep one of each ERB, Sax Rohmer, The Shadow and my Doc Savage's. I did not get near what they were worth, but it paid many bills, and kept the family afloat. I was quite sad to not have all those books, but happy that the favorers and Classics Illustrated comics remained.
I spent the next five years studying the Bible, and listening to shortwave radio from around the world. Gathered a huge box full of QSL (verification) postcards and letters. Still I found time for reading ERB in particular one of my many favorites. In that case it would be a story had that special touch of humor that caused me hysterical laughter. One can never can get enough laughter I am thinking!
In 1990 my knees gave out, and once again I sold most of my books. A small collection of Tarzan and Mars from Ballantine, and the ACE Pellucidar were all that remained. I did keep a set of Sax Rohmer and some Sherlock Holmes favorites. The five months one must have NO earnings when applying for disability was quite tough. Assistance for the VFW, American Legion, and two ministries helped with mortgage and bills. Food stamps was how we ate.
I went back to college in 1993, and succeeded beyond Vocational Rehabilitation’s wildest dreams! I joined the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, and went to the National Convention in Chicago. During free time I walked downtown to discover a two story used book store with a bargain basement. WOW! Burroughs all over the place, and for $1 to $3 each. I went nuts getting one of every title plus other pulp authors’ books too. I shot over $150 there, and was I happy that I had just gotten a payment from the Agent Orange Settlement Fund!
In August, 1996 I purchased a Power Macintosh computer writing exclusively until mid October 1996. Then I went online. The first thing I checked was Tarzan, and found Tangor. He said many other Tarzan fans were on an mailing list called “Erblist.” He said if I wanted to join he would fix everything. The insanity had begun!!
I jumped in reveling in the Burroughsian waters! Huck, Thoar, Flem, Tangor became fast friends, and I learned more about ERB than my previous readings had produced. The longer I was on this list the more friends I made. I also joined ERBCOF, with the same results.
Then came the spring of 1997. I went to pot! I began working part time as a substitute teacher making certain I earned $500 per month or less to retain my social security disability. I began purchasing large bags of books from local used book stores. I noticed members of Erblist selling and trading ERB books, and the bug fatally stung me!
In late April I began my quest of one paperback copy of each ERB book in first printings preferably. When my two checks arrived in May much went for books. I brokered deals for pulps that featured lost cities and ERB like stories. They were Famous Fantastic Mysteries and Fantastic Novels. By summer’s end I had all save 11 issues.
Huck had prophesied that i would not be satisfied, and the Collecting disease would get me. It did. I soon was after different covers having four sets of Tarzan and three sets of Mars. Every time I saw a cover that I did not recognize I purchased it!
Then I started to reacquire the comics, magazines, pulps, and fanzines. In April 1997 I finally joined my first ERB fan group- The Burroughs Bibliophiles, and I have re-subscribed six times now. I picked up all the back numbers I could, and some of the old series of The Burroughs Bibliophiles and the Gridley Wave.
I joined The Fantastic Worlds of ERB from the UK, ERBania, and obtained a near complete set of ERB-DOMs in three time payments. Suddenly I had a wealth of ERB research material full of erudite essays, fantastic art, and news of that period of time. It was like a time portal to go back in time reading current news flashes decades following the event!
I read every ERB book in 1997 and 1998. Every time I received fanzines I read them cover to cover absorbing all the material like a dry sponge! I was amazed at all the differing slants these articles took at ERB and his works. I wished I had been able to join these groups back in 1964 when I went totally "APE" over Tarzan and ERB! Then it was either Books or zines. Now I go for everything!
The Pirates of mars added to my collections frequently by making available via photocopy oddities and rarities of ERB literature. Flem and Thoar gave of themselves in many ways helping others enjoy ERB in his various little known forms. I, too, got involved, with pass-arounds. Many times I have given books to those needing, but unable to afford because books are a lot cheaper here in the Saint Louis area than the East or West Coasts!
In 1999 I reread the Porges biography, and reading many ERB books took on a new slant due to historical and biographical fact. I also began to take an interest in ERB-APA. I began to purchase of the extra copies. More excellent and erudite articles and essays! A fount of knowledge and entertainment! I wanted to be part of this!
I placed my name on the waiting list with three or four proceeding mine. I looked forward to each issue, and eagerly watched the post for that tell tale envelope. Whatever I was reading was put on hold when the ERB-APA arrived!
I also discovered E-Bay, and won over 75 auctions mostly of ERB variety. I began to telephone ERBlist members and just talking about ERB and other collections applying a voice to a name.
I downloaded fan fiction as soon as it was posted along with anything relating to ERB from ERB web sites. Naturally, I devoured everything ASAP. I copied Tarzan films and documentaries in video, and radio programs on cassette. Huck was right the disease does not abate!
I began to obtain hardcover editions of ERB books in 1998. Mostly Red G&Ds, Green Barsoom G&Ds, and a few tan ERB, Inc.’s. Now I have 48 ERB hardcovers. Three new first edition ERB hardcovers were published, and I entered into collecting First Editions. Oh, HUCK!, where the HELL will this end????? The grave, right?
The hardcovers came to pass after reading a flurry of posts on the ERB mailing lists relative to the politically correct changes in the Burroughs Boom paperbacks. It seems some sensitive wording had been changed in the Ballantine and ACE editions, which I learned was the subject of some fanzine articles.
So, I started building a collection of ERB hardcovers mainly to read ERB’s original words. Then I wanted different versions, pulps, hardcovers, and restored versions. Ant different version of the wording of ERBs books was highly desired.
Then fascination and wonderment over the hardcovers set in. Many of my books were inscribed with an owner’s name. I studied the maturity of the handwriting, any dates, and other inscriptions. I wondered who these people were, and I tried to envision them. One book, a RED G&D copy of Tarzan the Untamed, had “clubhouse copy” written in it! Then I wondered what group had a clubhouse, where was it, and how many books did they have?? It was a delicious musing!
Every month I purchased ERB pbs, hardcovers, comics, and specialty items. Some from friends, dealers, E-bay, and used book stores. “All things come to him who waits!” I have missed out on certain items, but later on I eventually I picked them up usually at a lower price than what I first missed out on them advertised for.
The problem was I kept expanding as Huck has so eloquently stated in his ERB-APA submission on the seven levels of collecting ERB. How erudite! How hysterical too! A perfect blend of the serious and the insane to illustrate the various higher levels one travels in the collecting of ERB. I am DOOMED!
In 2000 First editions of “Marcia, of the Doorstep” and the play, “You Lucky Girl” appeared, and I finally was able to purchase an ERB first edition. Likewise, “Tales of Love and Murder” came out, and another first found a place on my shelves. What a great feeling fellow ERB fans must have felt obtaining ERB first editions in the 40s through 90s! The excitement that engulfs a person when they find a copy of a book they do not have, and aspire to own at a very low price!
Friends and fellow ERB fans is my preference for obtaining ERB items. Fans usually sell for less than “professional” dealers whose food, lodging and survival depends on getting every penny possible for every book, and being on a limited disability income I will not subsidize dealers.
The rare items I want to read, but I cannot hope to afford original copies so I venture into the realm of photocopies. I have obtained a box full of ERB rarities in photocopy form, and I am happy just reading the stories or articles in any form!
Fanzines became a passion for me, and I desired to have at least one of each title for comparison purposes. My largest fanzine collections are ERB -DOM, ERBania, and the Burroughs Bibliophiles Bulletins. These three zines alone provide such a wealth of scholarly, erudite essays sprinkled with pastiches, humor, and lists to knowledgeably entertain a fan for months of exquisite reading!
The many different viewpoints of the authors is quite remarkable. Many times I said to myself, “I wish I had seen that!” Art is another major factor for collecting fanzines. There is reams of fine art plus some OK, good, and poor. We are not all artistically talented, right? I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler!
The various artists visions of Tharks, Calots, Ulsios, Thipdars, Gryfs, and all the beasts and fauna of many worlds is staggering to behold! So many different conceptions? WOW! Then the reprinted articles of ERB, photos, and magazine articles are a gold mine the average collector or fan would never find outside of fanzines.
My hats are off to all the editors and publishers of fanzines for the excess hours of loving work that goes into each issue!!!!
I have several years worth of The fantastic Worlds of ERB from the United Kingdom. I was quite impressed, and renewed my subscription. I have issues of Tarzine, The Barsoomian, Greystoker and the old series of the Burroughs Bulletin. I have a huge stack of old series Gridley waves from BURROUGHS BIBLIOPHILES too.
Reading the fanzines is like going trough that time portal again. The latest news in the zine is now ancient history. Oh boy, do I enjoy reading them as if the events were transpiring as I am reading! It takes me back to the early and mid sixties when I first went fanatic over ERB!
It is still a toss up if I would do it all the same way as I did in the 60s. With limited finances getting the books is the highest priority, but now that I know what was in those advertised fanzines in the ACE paperbacks I think I would have found a way to subscribe to at least two. Maybe less money for baseball cards and tickets to see Saint Louis Cardinals baseball games. Baseball was my life far more than books in 1950s and early 1960s until the explosion of ERB books erupted upon the book stalls across the nation!
Once I got online I discovered web sites loaded with pastiches and parodies. These I printed off and downloaded copies on disc. Many articles appeared, and some were submissions from past editions of ERB-APA. Those I especially enjoyed.
Each August I hit the Back to school sales for items for my collections. I have picked up several dozens of two pocket folders into which I have stored all the ERB articles, pastiches, summaries, lists, and other downloadable material. They are marked with what is enclosed, and placed in several heavy duty boxes (with tight lids) stacked for easy access.
Each year I end up getting two or three dozen more of the two pocket protector binders. Also Sharpies to mark them. I get six new heavy duty boxes each school year for my ERB collections that are uncollected papers from the internet or pass-arounds. These I organize separating into selected categories so I can easily locate anything.
I have labeled boxes for fan fiction, summaries, essays and articles, and special downloads. I have all the ERB stories available on the net saved on disc and one printed hard copy! Talk about overkill??? I did not need the text, but my idiotic need for backup required it.
When I signed on ERBlist in late October 1996 I was a fledgling collector and a raving fanatic ERB reader. I stated I was going to begin rebuilding my collection. Doctor David Oxford of Columbia, Missouri sent me two boxes of ERB paperbacks free for a hungry fan.
Dr. Oxford had had a fire that smoke damaged some of his collections some time previously. So he sent about 40 paperbacks suffering from smoke inhalation as I was desperate, and thirsty, for ERB reading material! In like manner I have mailed paperbacks and other copies free to fellow ERB enthusiasts at no cost. This being in the spirit of the Pirates of Mars.
The Pirates of Mars I met early online. I would hear mention of non book published items like Tarzan on Mars, Red Axe, and ERB stories not book published yet discussed on the lists, and I would express the usual query, “ What is that?” Several ERB fans would make photocopies of these, and sent them to me for free.
They also did pass-arounds. A photocopy of an ERB oddity or rarity would be sent to a list of people desiring to read them. Each person would make a copy, and then send it along to the next, and eventually home. Many fans of ERB got to read many fine stories because of the Pirates of Mars. I joined them in their fine efforts.
What has struck me the most about ERB fans besides their family like friendliness is their willingness to share. Fans would offer books at lesser prices than dealers to fellow fans. Fans would loan books, tapes, and films amongst each other so they can enjoy them before making a purchase. ERB fans, thus far, are the BEST! Better than the Sherlock Holmes fans, the comic fans, and the pulp fans in my humble opinion!
So, here I am not just a mad reader, but a collector as well. I started with paperbacks moving to first printings of all the paperbacks. Then all the different covers of the pbs. About the same time I started replacing the comics. I quickly filled out collections of Marvel, DC and Dark Horse Tarzan, Korak and John Carter. Dark Horse had a few Carson of Venus books too.
The harder comics are the Dells and Gold Keys, which I have been making substantial headway into collecting. I located the Maibu’s, and special magazines with ERB stories or interviews. Tapes of radio shows and ERB books on cassette soon found their way into my many shelves and numerous boxes.
After downloading every pastiche on the ERB websites I hungered for more. I obtained pastiches from the UK and Australia. These were of varying lengths, with a mixture of good and not so good. Still, it was ERB characters, and I just had to read them (own them too).
I picked up a red G&D copy of Tarzan of the Apes, and after reading was hooked. I wanted a full set of hardcover titles for easier reading and handling. Besides they had one very important item that the paperbacks did not - illustrations.!!! Oh, WOW, do I love looking at the illustrations while reading the story.
Of course, I had read many e-mails and a few articles on the politically “cleansed” editions that the paperbacks became, and desired to read ERBs original versions. I read every hardcover I could get, and have 46 hardcovers at present. I also read the pulp magazine versions. I have about 15 pulps with ERB stories or serials in them. Sometimes the hardcovers were differing versions that their pulp predecessors. I liked reading the different versions of the stories.
Then came the doodads. The posters from the Tarzan and the Lost City film. The Happy Meal toys from the McDonalds promo of the Disney Tarzan film. Then all the store displays, and all the merchandise from the Disney film escalated the doodad mania.
Early in my internet tenure AMC cable channel did a Tarzan movie marathon. We enjoyed 48 straight hours of Tarzan!! Some films were aired twice, and there were introductions by Brandon Frazier, who was playing George of the Jungle (Tarzan spoof) at the time. First a documentary about Tarzan and ERB was shown, and that was fantastic! I re-watch that frequently still. Many list members video taped those films they did not have yet on tape, while others taped every film!
I joined the ERB-APA waiting list purchasing as many back numbers as possible. I am still amazed at the wealth of information in each issue. I finally made it to an opening, and have enjoyed just over two years of membership, and all those fine essays and differing viewpoints. Now I have another collection of a foot and a half of ERB-APA issues! I wonder where it will end or if it ever will?? Only way to find out is by living through the future, and seeing what happens.
ERB-APA is an unbelievable expansion of my involvement in ERB fandom, and it has passionately enriched my ERB reading pleasure!! So many fans writing about many of the same subjects within the ERB fan realms. Many differing views, and ways of looking, and reading, ERB novels. I wish I would have placed my name on the waiting list when Huck first told me about it during APA #44! What a wealth of excellent reading I have missed! DRAT!!!!
I must be slipping into 'mental-pause' that dotage of the mind reducing memory in males! <G> I was a fool not to recognize this fine offering, but I am quite fortunate that I finally did see the light!
I keep upgrading my paperbacks and hardcovers always on the lookout for improving my collections. Naturally, I still locate ERB books and items that I do not own, and some I had never seen or heard of previously! I still have a few holes in my fanzine collections, and I am thinking of expanding into more fanzine titles.
Everytime I venture into a new level (for me) in Professor Archimedies Q. Porter’s “Seven Levels of ERB Fandom and Collecting!” Huck laughs chortling snide comments in the, “I told you so!” vein! He keeps telling me I am DOOMED to advance to the seventh level eventually. I keep hoping I will plateau, and stop climbing ladders.
Unfortunately, my expectations of stopping at each new plateau lives up to the same low results set by my previous expectations! What is this incredible pull upon me by the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs??
The blend of many variables in ERB's stories is a simplistic answer. I am a person who was born about 75 years too late. I prefer stories WITHOUT foul nasty language commonly referred to as vulgar slang. I also dislike reading explicit sexual encounters and scenes. Modern fiction seems froth with these, and Pulp fiction has some suggestive wording but no explicit junk.
Then there are the stories. The noble hero and heroine surmounting overwhelming odds to save the day. I like the humor that runs like a river through nearly every ERB story. Some have more humor than others, but all have some fun. Having the heroines more often than not turn to be, in point of fact, a princess or other exalted station!
The romance and the nobility of love gets my blood coursing faster through my veins. In the Barsoom stories when the hero unwittingly calls the woman he is protecting, 'My Princess' that excites me beyond words. I frequently jump up and say, “YEAH!” The same when the heroine finally calls the hero, “My Chieftain.” My spine tingles as an electric chill surges up and down my spine! It really sets my motor in overdrive! I just plain LOVE IT!!!!
ERB has a perfect talent for making villains that are purely detestable, repugnant, and evil. Just the mention of Rokoff, Hymer, Thurid, Ortis, Hooja, and many others makes my skin crawl at their evil. Some die in a manner that makes me cheer! Some I think get off with a death too easy. Villains you love to hate!
Another aspect is the historical element in ERB's novels. The plot of many stories have a basis in historical periods as in the Lost Cities, Opar and the Inner World. I am a high functional autistic, and my major obsession has always been history in all forms! Lost cities are my favorite of all of ERB’s tomes. The stories that take place in the time period that ERB wrote them are most enjoyable also. They are my Time Portal into the past to view things as they were. A real hoot for me!!
Then there is the usual suspects; action, adventure, exotic locales, other planets, other worlds, Atlantis, Caprona, and all those exotic locations and lost cities. While sometimes ERB seems to be streching his word count the stories flow well especially with action verbs.
The level of ERB Fandom and collecting that I have not attained, but desire to reach the most is to attend a convention of fellow enthusiasts! I came close to making it to Louisville, and I am planning now for 2004 in Colorado.
While I have telephoned and mailed correspondence with other ERB fans I have to date actually met only two in person. I am looking forward to meeting fanatics (EVENTUALLY) who I have corresponded with from 1996 to the present! So many great friends, and Thoar being my brother in all manner save by birth. I had no idea the calibre of friendship that would come through ERB fandom!
So many new friends made through ERB fandom have freely shared insights and knowledge about ERB and his works, and for this I am beyond grateful! I even participated writing a chapter for an on-line pastiche, which I enjoyed immensely. Now, I have expanded into ERB-APA, and members freely talk and share just for the pleasure of it! It is like a very large family, eh?
I made many ERB book and comic purchases from list members, and several of them generously offered me the luxury of making several payments over an agreed upon period of time. I was struck by the members of the ERB fandom family going to great lengths to help and aid a fellow fanatic, reader, and collector in furthering their desires in the various forms of collecting they were engaged in then.
Many incidental publications found their way into my personal library over the past seven years! Waziri Press published a collection of essays under the title, “Heritage of the Flaming God.” This was an in depth search for the location of Opar and Atlantis, the Mother nation. They also published volumes on the Words of ERB, and a Tarzan Chronology. All great!
Several fan / collectors wrote and published privately entertaining pastiches, and alerts on articles, essays, and other info re ERB was announced on the mailing lists and fanzines. NONE of which I would never have been aware of without being involved in fandom! Everyone shares in some form with list members, and that is how word of ERB publishing makes it way around the world.
Another item, in the form of resemblance, makes me enjoy ERB novels. That form of resemblance is identity! Many of ERB’s heroes are blind at interpreting body language of the damsel the are fighting for. John Carter, Julian, David Innes, and even Tarzan do not know when a woman is send body language signals of love. Neither did I even through the early 1990s!
Recently, I found the first woman I fell in love with in sixth grade (March, 1957). We talked a lot of those days, and discovered that we both loved each other but did not recognize the signals sent by the other.
That must be why I get such a charge out of “My Princess,” “My Chieftain,” etc. The woman gets piqued at the hero when the dummy ignores her slight motions and gentle hints. I have lived that scene more times than I care to remember!!! I don’t know if it is the Deja vu thing or just that vague familiarity of the past that brings home an identification with the hero (and the situations) in such a forceful manner!
Everything all combined has made me a such a rabid fan of the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs! This is now the longest APA submission I have written, and the easiest as I have experienced all that I have written.
As a high school student in the early 60s, and through the late 60s and the 70s I was just too poor to afford BOTH books and fanzines. Everytime I opened a book by ACE and the later books by Ballantine I sadly read the ads for the ERB fan clubs wishing I could join both. Just the allure of the exotic names drew me to desire membership, but one must have books before expanding into fan magazines.
Now I wish I had limited my eclectic collecting of pulps, ERB, REH, Sherlock Holmes and many comics titles to just ERB, pulps and Holmes. Then I would have had money enough for zines. Even when I worked for the FBI I was getting a large, and various, number of subject matter books.
The opportunity of getting online in October 1996 to ERB mailing lists and web sites was a dream come true. All those essays, pastiches, and fellowship fed my years of hunger. I was home.
I began writing with other members, joined several fanzines, and grossly expanded my book holdings! The best part is my fellow fans. I have exchanged e-mails, postal mail and Christmas cards with fellow members both living and deceased. Then I began calling to place a voice to the persona pics and the names.
ERB fans are the best that I have encountered. They share freely to fledgling fans and collectors photocopies of hard to find items. Better deals on ERB books, comics and doodads are more prevalent among ERB fans than from dealers. Several have allowed me to make several payments for large orders over two or three months.
The generosity, camaraderie, and brotherly attitude that exists among ERB fans have made my sojourn on the ERBlist, ERBCOF a complete pleasure. George McWhorter, moving force behind the Burroughs Bibliophiles, has made available many duplicate ERB books and zines to fans and collectors at lower than low prices. He blesses many fans some of whom have started giving of themselves to new members. What goes around, comes around, eh?
Now, after all my experiences I wish I would have joined the BB, ERB-DOM and ERBania when I first noticed the ads in the ACE books in 1963. It surely is costing me more funds to obtain those zines that I could have gotten for much less back then! Sadly, I reflect on how many issues may have been pitched into the trash after the passing of members and former members.
ERB-APA has 33 members and several honorary members who share their feelings about ERB, his works, films, and everything else ERB. They also freely share their personal thoughts and views on all things ERB. Professional zines will not give that save a few in a letters column. That is what makes ERB-APA so special to me!
I hope I can participate here for a long time to come, and always bringing a fresh approach to ERB. Time to wind up this windbag musing. I am honored to be a member with the current cast of members, and to follow in the path of preceding members. I do not see the Odyssey ending until I, too, pass away.
In the next issue my ERB display at the local library. I am not overly wealthy in hardcovers and first editions, but I hope to make a display pleasing to the eye, and informative. Oh yes, keeping the memory of ERB green, and help to lead new readers to the realm of Burroughsiania.
Umgawa and Cheers!!!
Terry aka Erich von Harben
There are many ERB oriented mailing lists on the internet. Even if you do not own a computer most libraries across the nation have computers for the FREE use of patrons. This is a GREAT way to interact with other ERB fans discussing numerous aspects of ERB, his works, pastiches, and selling duplicates. Bruce “Tangor” Bozarth has several sites in his “Empire.” ERBlist has accesss to signing up for his ERBlist, and Jim Thompson’s ERBCOF (Edgar Rice Burroughs Chain of Friendship). There are several on YahooGroups including my erbfans-mensa, which is a special interst group through Mensa.
By Donna Niehoff
North County Journal ~ Suburban Living / Features Section ~ Wednesday 06 February 1980
Terry Klasek can be found daily sweeping the halls of Berkeley Junior High. But that is only a guise. His real reason for being there is to cultivate the ideas of the great classics with the students, be it music or literature. Terry is probably one of the only custodians around who lecture to classes on Science Fiction and mystery literature. And, in some cases, he knows more than the teacher. When it comes to Sherlock Holmes, it's no contest. Terry wins hands down. However, Klasek, who now is a great resource for the Berkeley students, wasn't exactly the perfect student himself.
"I failed English, and did poorly in the subject until I took my first literature class in my sophomore year." he recalls. "The teacher loved the way I read parts in Macbeth and Julius Caesar." Then we were assigned to read Conan Doyle's 'The Red-Headed League' and 'The Speckeled Band'. fdeaturing Sherlock Holmes. "That was the beginning for me," said Terry." I went right out and bought all the stories I could lay my hands on. Classics Illustrated had several comic books out at that time, and if it weren't for them I never would have gotten through book reports," laughed the 33 year old custodian, who used to write as many as 30 book reports per semester in high school.
Unfortunately, Berkeley's custodian never graduated from Roosevelt High School. He did receive a GED in the Navy while stationed in Japan. He scored higher than anyone else taking the exam, and was tested with an IQ of 157. While he was stationed in Vietnam, Klasek subscribed to the London Times, one of the newspapers Sherlock Holmes read. He continued his intrigue with the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle mysteries. But his Holmes interst lay dormant until 1975 when he signed up for a course on Sherlock Holmes at Florissant Valley Community College. He brought in more paraphenalia on mysteries and Sherlock Holmes than did the teacher at the first session. The clue finding custodian is now the founder of his own Sherlock Holmes club called The Naval Treaty, named after Klasek's favorite Sherlock Holmes story. His infatuation with the classic novels is completely inexhaustable. To read five to eight 50,000 word novels a day is elementary for Klasek, who boasts he can actually retain most of the information and can quote verbatim the especially humerous parts of the novels. "And I don't believe in speed reading either," said Terry, who reads every word on every page. "The words wouln't be there if they weren't supposed to be."
Holmes' detective process of investigation fascinates Terry. "More has been written about Sherlock Holmes than any other fictional character, and I have read it all. He appeals to me because Holes is the type of hero that the everage person can identify with. He is not a superman or bionic man. He is funny but very scholarly."
The curious custodian said that most of the Holmes hounds are indeed very scholarly. They are mostly lawyers, doctors, and other professional people. Like Holmes, Klasek listens to classical music, and has been doing so since age 13. He owns one of the largest collections of classical music in the Saint Louis area.
"While others were out dating, I was curled up with a book on the couch," he said. "I hated rock music then, and I still hate it. When I was 13 I was like a man of 40 regarding my outlook on life. I'm just one of those people who has a feel for music. I prefered talking with people two to four times older than myself when I was in high school. "I'm like Danny Kaye - who can't read a note of music but conducts orchestras. One of my goals is to get in front of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, and conduct a piece of music at a concert."
Although Terry cannot play an instrument or read music, he has been invited to be a guest conductor for the Berkeley Junior High Orchestra this spring. He has also received other requests for his performance as Sherlock's publicity hound. He has lectured four times to students at McCleur Senior High School and has a few invitations from the Berkeley Junior High. Terry said he has played many Shakespeare roles and other characters, and can flip in and out of them at will.He has been in a number of plays and musicals around St. Louis, ans has participated in several college performances. "My mom lived in theatres when I was growing up. She worked at the Muny Opera and the American Theatre. I would help my mom do a lot of promotional work for both places. I also worked as an user at the Muny Opera, and gave tours."
Klasek knows the role of custodian is really a cover-up. "I know I could be doing all sorts of things with my life, and I intend to. But, right now I'm happy with my job. I enjoy being around the students because I feel that I can give them a hand with their education and encourage them to really get down to studying. Terry said there is a great difference in the academic habits of students now, and when he was in high school 16 years ago.
"Kids today are interested in growing up too fast," he said. They don't want to enjoy their childhood. They want to be sophisticated too soon. They prefer to be on the outside getting job training. The education isn't valued the way it should be. The kids don't stick with the studies." "I was looked down upon because I was a drop-out," Terry said. Today it is no big deal."
Klasek said his presence at the school is worthwhile if he can leave a mark on some student's lives. "The kids really don't know what they want. And I want them to stay in school. They may not like a teacher, and want to quit, and I tell them - Look it can't be that bad. Wait until you get out in the real world, and have to earn a living." "I point out how rough it can be if they don't have an education. I tell the kids, "I can do your math and all the things you have to do, and I'm pushing this broom! So if you want to be better than I am, you better get on the ball! I know that has prompted five or six kids to stay in school. even if I help but one kid to get back on track that would make me feel great."
Klasek feels that most of the kids at Berkeley Junior High are really good ids, although some have been persistant in teasing me. "On rare occations, a student calls me names. After about a minute of that kind of cut down, I just say, "Thank you, flattery will get you everywhere." The kid is so flabbergasted that I don't let comments like that get to me." "I know sometimes a kid is immature, so I just write things off until he or she grows up. Since I have that kind of attitude, the kids have been pretty nice. They don't mess up the floors and they put the lunchroom silverware where it belongs, he laughed"
Berkeley's own Holmes surrogate has a real thirst for knowledge. He intends to continue his education again this summer. He would like to be teaching literature in a couple of years. He said as a student he wouyld read encyclopedias and dictionaries for fun. "I know I could end up writing or teaching just by my wits alone," he said.
The Sherlock sluth has written two mystery stories, which he hopes one day to be published. In 1974 and 1975 Klasek taught two different free courses at the University of Missouri at Saint Louis. One on Pulp magazines, and the other, naturally, on Sherlock Holmes. Klasek, who is often seen around school in his trench coat and houndstooth deerstalker cap, owns over 6,000 books and comics. many of which are collector's items. One room of his house has been dedicated almost fully to the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Unlike his wife, who is a television fan, Terry prefers reading and listening to music as his entertainment.
Why should I watch TV, when I have all this?" he asked waving his his arm at the stuffed bookcases and record racks around the room. Terry said one of the reasons he sticks with his job as a custodian is that it is not hard work. "I don't like taking my job home with me, which gives me time to write and do things for the Holmes club and my hobbies. Doing chores by rote leaves my mind free to think while doing the routine tasks. But teachers as well as students wonder what I am doing here at this job? I am around many of the teachers, and they always talk about what they are doing in the classroom. I listen and learn." "After they tell me what they are doing, I'll hunt up some resource material that night from my library, and the next day bring a stack of enrichment material for them. Sometimes teachers will mention they have kids that don't want tyo do certain assignments, and they are unsure how to proceed. I will mention several ideas that come to mind, and I get a smile.
Someday Klasek might be giving his very own students an assignment in literature. Time will tell.
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