Bill Hillman's

Weekly Online Fanzine
Issue 1051
ERB  portrait by John Coleman Burroughs
The Danton Burroughs Archives 
JCB Treasure Vaults
TARZANA SAFARI ~ 2003 ~ Day 1
Danton Burroughs
Larger versions of the thumbnail illustrations featured here are
displayed in the accompanying photo galleries.
Bill and Sue-On in their music room
Dad presenting son Robin with degree at Convocation
Dad and daughter China-Li on grad day
ERB Memorial Plaque on Ventura Blvd
Story of Tarzan booklet by ERB ~ 1920s
Tarzana Ranch in the early days

Tarzana Trek ~ June 17-22, 2003 ~ Preamble

A narrow window opened for my long-planned visit to Tarzana. The tumblers all fell into place for the week of June 17-22, 2003. Previous to this was the windup of a Spring Session course I was teaching was followed by the Brandon University 95th Convocation at which our son Robin was being presented with a 4-Year Honours degree in Computer Science Degree. This I could not miss, especially since one of the perks of being a prof on the Brandon campus is the privilege of presenting offspring with their degrees at Convocation. After this I applied for and received a week's release time in order to go on a research assignment to California. This time could not be extended as I had to be back in time for our daughter, China-Li's high school grad on June 23.

Some of the projects that Danton and I had brainstormed during phone conversations included:

  • The role of Edgar Rice Burroughs in 20 century media
  • The Burroughs family Civil War involvement.
  • A search and collation of the thousands of Burroughs family letters, photos and memorabilia to compile info for Burroughs family genealogy & bios and a possible book on ERB's WWII experiences.
  • Oldest war correspondent in the Pacific Theatre in WWII.
  • The link between the many generations of "George Burroughs"
  • Explore and salvage art and memorabilia from the John Coleman Burroughs storage vaults that had been sealed since 1978
  • Explore the Danton Burroughs residence and grounds which are an incredible story in themselves
  • Visit with old friends, Mary and Stacy Burroughs, Danton's stepmom and stepsister.
  • Meet with documentary producers Bruce Scivally and John Cork who are compiling a documentary on Johnny Weissmuller Sr. as seen through the eyes of his son, Johnny Jr.
  • Contact Penny Singleton's niece to plan expansion of her official Blondie Web site.
  • Contact Nanette Mark, longtime JCB caregiver who is working on a JCB CD-ROM project
  • Help Danton shop for a new digital camera suitable for macro shots and use daughter Dejah Burroughs' state of the art Mac PowerBook for downloads and processing.
Danton Burroughs at work

Danton Burroughs residence

Johnny Weissmuller ad

Lt. Hulbert Burroughs WWII photographer

Charlie G's on Ventura

ERB, Inc. front officeERB Inc. rear entrance

Tuesday morning flight to Denver and on to LAX

The flight from Winnipeg to LA, via Denver, was a smooth one. As always seems to happen, I met an acquaintance at one of the US airports -- this time a former student of mine who was headed to Texas to buy barbed wire for the hardware chain he works for.  Learning from previous lost luggage episodes and long queues at the baggage carousels I travelled light with two carryon bags and a photographer's vest that weighed as much as any suitcase. The only bit of excitement came at American Customs. It turned out that I was "Number 60" through the gates and every 60 was chosen for a random search. The agent was suspicious of a number of CDs I hadn't declared. My response was that they were CDs of music by Sue-On and myself, and I considered them akin to calling cards. He then asked what was on the tape in my video camera. I replied I didn't know I had left a tape in the camera. Suspicious he checked it out. I turned out to be of a harp performance by our daughter China -- pretty subversive stuff. The only other suspicious item in my gear was a CD-ROM made by Danton's secretary, Cathy. It contained scans of old JCB photos, art and documents. Aha! This surely must be secret terrorist stuff... or even... (tongue moistening dry lips in anticipation)... porno! This stalwart guardian of American morals disappeared into a locked sideroom, leaving me with open baggage and standing like a criminal for 25 minutes, while he tried to deciper the material on the disk. I was released from custody in time to catch my flight. 

After arriving in LA, I picked up a new Toyota Corolla compact at the car rental at 1:30 and plunged into 405 freeway traffic to 101 and into Tarzana. It was shortly after two when I checked in with Danton at ERB, Inc. The rest of the afternoon was spent chatting while going through warehouse treasures and photocopying.

Anyone who arrives at Danton's house for the first or tenth time is bowled over by the sheer wonder, magnitude and sometimes zanyness of the grounds, house and contents -- a collector's Nirvana. We spent much of the evening going through Weissmuller photos and clippings that Danton had dug out to share with guests Bruce Scivally and John Cork who are compiling a documentary on Johnny Weissmuller Sr. as seen through the eyes of his son, Johnny Jr. (who recently wrote a book about his dad, "Tarzan, My Father")  I had been in touch with Bruce via e-mail and it was a treat to meet someone with so much drive and professionalism. Bruce and John have produced over 40 documentaries for Special Edition DVD releases for MGM Home Entertainment (including the Special Edition DVDs of the James Bond films). They also co-authored the highly successful book "James Bond: The Legacy." In response to their request for information on Weissmuller, Danton brought out an amazing collection of never-before-seen stills and memorabilia from the private the Burroughs collection.

All of this played out against a video backdrop of uncle Hulbert's WWII footage. In his role as an official air force photographer, Hully had compiled incredible scenes of everyday life in Hawaii, aerial combat footage, scenes from US-occupied atolls, and battle scarred aircraft, as well as shots of his famous father, Edgar Rice Burroughs. These images touched the viewers on many different levels. To Danton the footage represented a proud glimpse into his family's history -- Bruce and John appreciated the artistic skill of the documentary maker... and the creative restraints imposed by '40s technology under combat conditions -- To Danton's friend, John Westervelt it brought back memories of his own WWII experiences in North Africa and Europe -- and I, since I have been working on documenting Ed and Hully's wartime experiences in the Pacific, saw suddenly come to life before my eyes, the many faces, places and events that had been so well described in the Burroughs letters and journals.

When hunger pangs struck, we bundled up boxes of Weissmuller publicity stills and albums of on-the-set candid photos and trekked over to one of Danton's favourite hangouts, Charlie G's on Ventura. Patrons were soon startled by the chorus of oohs and aahs and muffled Tarzan yells that wafted from our booth during our long combined dinner and perusal session. The Weissmuller project promises to be a real treat for Tarzan and film fans as the dedicated producers are returning in a few weeks with laptops and scanners to capture the best of these rare images from the Danton's collection.

John Cork ~ Bill Hillman ~ Danton Burroughs ~ Bruce Scivally

Visit the Day One Photo Gallery at
ERBzin-e 1060
A Six-Day Adventure Exploring the Danton Burroughs-JCB Archives
Day 1: Preamble and Arrival Arrival and Search for Weissmuller
Day 2: Burroughs Family Reunion Danton Residence: Entrance Danton Residence: Upper Level JCB Home Movies
Day 3: JCB Treasure Vaults Entering the Treasure Vaults John Carter  & More Danton Doring & Misc
Miscellaneous Art Projects Warner & Universal Film Art I Warner & Universal Film Art II
Warner & Universal Film Art III WWII Projects ~ Propaganda ERB Wartime Memorabilia
Day 4: Jungles of Tarzana Westervelt Classic Cars Tarzana Cultural Centre Tarzana Ranch Today
Day 5: Danton Burroughs Archive Estate Grounds: Outer Archive Hodgepodge Hall Entrance GroundsWalkways and Tiers
Outback Jungle Region
Danton Burroughs Inner Archive 19th Century Art / Projects Ages of (One) Man & More
Early Photo Album Documents & Memorabilia JCB Photo Album ~ Malibu
Hulbert Photos ~ ERB Pipes Hawaii Guest Book & Photos WWII Correspondent
Day 6: Departure Eclectica ~ Scans ~ Maid of Torn
Entire Tarzana Trek Text Tarzana Story: A rare booklet  by ERB  Tarzana Home by Ed & Mom Memoirs of a War Bride Intro
Tarzana Overview John Coleman Burroughs Jane Ralston Burroughs 1091 El Caballero Country Club
Michael Sellers in Tarzana Tarzana Photo Scrapbook

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