Saturday, September 01, 2007

Happy Birthday, Edgar Rice Burroughs!

Burroughs was a big part of my childhood, through comics, books, and movies. I suspect a lot of guys my age could say the same. Someday, someone will make a movie of A Princess of Mars and do it right. I hope I'm around to see it.

The Writer's Almanac from American Public Media: "It's the birthday of one of the most popular pulp fiction writers in American history, Edgar Rice Burroughs, (books by this author) born in Chicago (1875). He had read Darwin's book Descent of Man, and he was fascinated by the idea that human beings were related to apes. He began to wonder what might happen if a child from an excessively noble, well-bred family were somehow left in the jungle to be raised by apes. The result was his story 'Tarzan of the Apes,' which filled an entire issue of All-Story magazine in October of 1912. It was one of the most popular issues the magazine had ever published, and within six-months, Edgar Rice Burroughs was a full-time writer producing about 400,000 words of short stories every year."

7 comments:

Randy Johnson said...

Happy Birthday, Edgar! I did indeed cut my teeth on his books in my formative years. I was never a huge fan of most of the Tarzan movies because too many of them had him as a grunting imbecile. I know, I know. A real life Tarzan wouldn't have been like the books. But what fun would they have been then? A good Princess of Mars would be nice, but it probably will never happen.

Unknown said...

I'm afraid you're right about the "never happen." Too bad, though.

I saw the Johnny Weissmuller movies before I read the Tarzan books. Loved the movies and was surprised to discover that the "real" Tarzan wasn't like that.

Brent McKee said...

As a matter of fact Disney and Pixar have optioned the rights for a movie based on the John Carter novels as a possible jumping off point for a new franchise. This was after Paramount and John Favreau had done preliminary work on a film that would have been released in 2008. The Pixar film seems likely for release in 2012. Wikipedia has a rather complete summary of the history of the various John Carter film projects:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Carter_of_Mars_(film)

Anonymous said...

Happily, the ERB paperback revival of the early '60s happened around the time I was 12 and 13, which was the perfect age to read him. It seems that everybody from Tom Cruise to Robert Rodriguez has been attached at one time or another to a proposed "Princess of Mars" movie. The possibility of John Carter being Pixar-ed doesn't exactly warm my heart.

I've always been particularly fond of Burroughs' early novels like BEYOND THIRTY (lions roaming the ruins of Picadilly Circus!), THE MONSTER MEN (Frankenstein meets Tarzan), and THE MUCKER. Has anyone else ever thought that THE MUCKER would have made a perfect period-action vehicle for Sylvester Stallone, back in his prime?

Ed Gorman said...

As I've said many times before for me the image of John Carter in the Arizona cave being summoned to another world is one of the most beautiful and mystical images in all of fiction. I still read an on occasional Tarzan novel. No it wasn't the real Africa--it was a lot more fun.

James Reasoner said...

From where I'm sitting I can see the Whitman edition of TARZAN OF THE APES I saved up my pennies to buy in the mid-Sixties. I remember my future brother-in-law loaning me his copy of the Ace edition of A FIGHTING MAN OF MARS one Friday evening. I'd finished it by the time the weekend was over. And I vividly recall sitting in a department store in downtown Fort Worth reading A PRINCESS OF MARS while my mother shopped. You don't get memories like that from many authors. Burroughs will always be special to me.

Anonymous said...

Love ERB. My sentimental favorite to this day. Joe Lansdale