1888 Meets 1872

I was first introduced to Edgar Rice Burroughs fandom through the 60 cent  editions of Ace paperbacks.  Inside the front cover most had a list of the then current ERB fanzines.  Pete Ogden's ERBANIA and Vern Coriell's Burrough's Bibliophiles, C.E.Cazedessus. Jr.'s ERB-dom, and Paul C. Allen's The Barsoom.  I wrote to each of the four addresses listed and all wrote back except for The Barsoomian.  Scraping up pennies and nickels I managed to subscribe to the three that did.

Chessmen Of Mars

My subscription to the Burroughs Bibliophiles began with issue #20, Fall 1970, and it ran off and on until the Burroughs Bibliophiles ended with issue #66, 67, 68 in 1977.  Number #25, March 1970, was my first Erbania  subscription issue and that subscription remains current until this day.  ERB-dom #43, February 1971, was the first issue of that subscription and it remained current until Caz called it quits with #90 in February 1977.

Burroughs Bulletin #10

The one thing I loved most about the above fanzines was the scholarly articles about the ERB stories themselves.  Until this point my ERB world mainly consisted of collecting the Dell-Gold Key comics, the Ace-Ballantine paperbacks, the old black & white Tarzan movie reruns, and Ron Ely's Tarzan TV show.  Naturally I had read all my paperbacks by this time, most of them twice actually, so I had just always excepted ERB's tales as adventure at its greatest and let it go at that.  Thanks to the fanzines I was suddenly introduced to articles which pointed out numerous inconsistencies in ERB's stories which I hadn't even noticed.  There was the Tarzan-Korak time discrepancy.  Also, the mixing of ERB's true life events into his fictional stories. The author even went so far as to insert true life family genealogy dates and family names into those fictional stories, and the list goes on and on.

Erbania #58 Summer 1988

I learned to respect the research of John Harwood, Allan Howard, Pete Ogden, Philip Jose Farmer, Maurice B. Gardner, Frank J. Brueckel, Michael Resnick, Phil Currie and many others. But of all these superstar Edgar Rice Burroughs researchers there was one who rose above all the others.  Once billed as the ROYal Chronicler by ERB-dom, the phenomenal works of John F. Roy captured and awed my young mind.  He was the sole reason ERB-dom became my favorite fanzine, and why my subscription always remained current.  Even then I used to fantasize about meeting the Canadian and swapping theories.

ERB-dom #61

All things must end as the old saying goes, and as the 70s came to a close so did the ERB world as I had known it for the past ten years.  The Jassoomian, produced by Bill Dutcher, was the first to go and it ceased to exist by 1975.  Then the big blow.  Suddenly and unexpected Caz ended ERB-dom in February 1977 with issue #90.  Although not publically announced the Burroughs Bibliophiles, for all purposes, also ended in 1977 with its three in one publication of #66,67,68. Kevin B, Hancer also shut down The Burroughs Newsbeat.  Only Erbania remained at 70s end, but it soon cut back publication to only twice a year.  George McWhorter's great intentions fizzled with issue #1.

Caz & John

Things in ERB fandom seemed to reach an all time low for the next little while then suddenly a new generation broke loose for a revival.  The 80s brought on Bob Wentiz's Tarzine which was passed on to Bill Ross, Mike Conran's ERB News Dateline,  John Guidry's ERB-APA  (Edgar Rice Burroughs Amatur Press Association) and Frank Westwood's sleeper The Fantastic Worlds Of ERB come alive.  With this new generation of ERB fanzines there also came a generation of researchers.

Tarzine #41

Most of the old time writers I used to read are gone now, and what are left seems to have rallied around the ERB-APA.  Now  more than ever their work is considered as precious as jewels.  This brings me back to the reason I am writing these memories.  Once they are gone these great researchers' knowledge can never be replaced.  Unfortunately for me, I never got a chance to meet any of them in person.  So, when I discovered the ECOF  (Edgar Rice Burroughs Chain Of Friendship) it gave me a chance in a lifetime to correct this misdeed.

ERB-APA #105 May 2010

In 1986  during the weekend of June 28-30 George McWhorter hosted the fourth ECOF at the University of Louisville.  Not only would one of the largest ERB collections in the world be exhibited, but the number one ERB researcher of all times, John F. Roy, was going to be in attendance.  This was my dream come true.  The opportunity to meet the man that had fueled the ERB flame within me for over a decade.  Unfortunately for me fate intervened and at the very last moment my hopes were dashed.  Unpostponable business arose from the murky depths, and instead of finding myself in Kentucky for that splendid weekend, I was in Florida dreaming once more.

ERB News Dateline #21 Feb 1986

The LORD must not have turned his back on me completely, however, for in 1987 Bill Ross announced that he was hosting the fifth ECOF at his home in Arnold, Maryland.  Again this gathering of ERB fans within driving reach.  After a quick check with Bill I discovered that John F, Roy was going to attend, and I quickly made plans.  Wouldn't you know it.  That very weekend the plant had us scheduled to work overtime.  Time and a half on Saturday and double time on Sunday. What is money when you have a once in a lifetime chance to meet one of your boyhood heros.  Doing some heavy pleading I talked my way out of work, and after punching out at 2 AM Friday morning I made my way towards Maryland.

Ralph Brown-James Michael Moody-John F. Roy

I pulled into the local motel parking lot at 11 AM Friday morning and called Bill's.  Kathy answered and told me Bill was gone at the moment, but that he would be by to get me once he returned. She also told me John F. Roy was already checked in and that I might stop and visit him to kill some time. Well, here it was folks.  My once in a lifetime opportunity to meet John F. Roy and what did I do?  I froze like a rabbit.  I mean what could I do?  Was I supposed to go up to some stranger's motel door and knock and when he answered say, "Excuse me John, but my name is Mike Moody and I have been your fan for over ten years.  I have practically every article you have ever printed in an ERBzine, and have actually studied your article contents.  Out of every ERB researcher in the world I have found your works to run the closest  to ERB's stories than any of the others, BUT...how in the world can you justify Tarzan's 1888 birth?

John F. Roy & James Michael Moody

Instead the shy deer just went back over to the van.  I was so full of excitement that the all night drive was the farthest thing from my mind.  My boyhood dreams were about to become a reality. To occupy myself I reviewed past research to prepare myself for a showdown should one come.  I thought it quite funny.  It was just like having two gunslingers in the same town.  You know sooner or later that they were going to  rub shoulders.  The established rock and the new boy.  I did not want to disappoint him.

ECOF 1987 T-Shirt

It was not long afterwards that Bill Ross, Mike Conran and Ralph Brown pulled up, and we all introduced ourselves.  Next we went and rousted out all the other ERB-ites registered at the motel. One of them was my hero, John F. Roy.  What happened?  I just shook hands and tried to act civilized.  No...I did not ask him to autograph my copy of  A Guide To Barsoom... immediately.  And I refrained from bringing all my ERB-doms for him to sign.

A Guide To Barsoom

Bill led our caravan over to his house and Ralph rode with me.  Folks I am here to tell yea, this is one fine gentleman.  You just do not meet people like this everyday.  I was super impressed, and will never forget him.

A Guide To Barsoom

Once there, my box of trades never hit table tops before Mike Shaw was going through it.  After a few quick trades Mike broke long enough to give me a tour of Bill's fabulous collection.  I could not believe it.  It was like owning your own ERB museum.  I envy him.

A Guide To Barsoom

Yes, John F. Roy and I rubbed shoulders several times during these hours of trading sessions. He made no mention of a Tarzan chronology discussion and I did not either.  Do not think I was not dying to do so, though.  I did break down and ask John to autograph A Guide To Barsoom, and I guess he did get kind of tired of my camera always being in his face.

A Guide To Barsoom

This trading spree lasted to the wee hours of the morning before Bill managed to get it broke up. After a few short hours of sleep we were up and at it again.  Bill took four car loads of us to a couple of local book shops and I purchased a few House Of Greystoke publications I had missed.   Again John F. Roy and myself rubbed shoulders, but again nothing was said about Tarzan chronology.

John F. Roy

Later in the afternoon we went to the ECOF  banquet, where all the great things happened that you have read about in everyone's ERB-APA articles.  Guess what?  John F. Roy and I both ACCIDENTLY  ended up in Coleman Richardson's van  for the ride over and back.  Still.there was nothing said about the Tarzan chronology subject.

James Michael Moody

We got back to Bill's, and Mike Conran entertained us with a slide show.  Afterwards the party began to fade, but several of us holdouts ended up down in Bill's basement.  Guess what?  John F. Roy and I rubbed shoulders one more time.  This time the new boy could not let it pass.  He was itching to try the  established rock.

Mike Conran

I had a lifetime of questions built up in me, and time was quickly running out (around midnight).  It was now or never.  Ask or forever hold your peace.  "John, just what exactly is it about the 1872 chronology theory you can not accept?"  That got the ball rolling and the next three hours, or more, was the best time of my life.  I talked to a man that knew his Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Mike Shaw & Bill Ross

We talked about the Clayton's African voyage, Tarzan's birth, the Clayton's cabin, the automobiles mentioned in Tarzan Of The Apes, The Return Of Tarzan, Beasts Of Tarzan and The Son Of Tarzan, and skyscrapers in The Return Of Tarzan.   We by no means discussed all that I would have liked to have asked.  But before you knew it, it was 3:15 AM and we all had to face a drive back home.  Hostering our high powered scholarly sharpshooters, John and I called it round one.

Neal Adams Covers

I know our introductory chat did not convince John of Tarzan's 1872 birth, but at the sametime I know John did not convince me of Tarzan's 1888 birth.  That in itself should say a lot.  If you can talk to this ERB expert and not feel whipped, you have done a mighty fine job.  After all, how could you beat the best that ever was?

John F. Roy

Win lose or draw does not matter.  What matters is that I got to chat Tarzan chronology with the best ERB mind that there is.  I know in my heart that I will be the winner if John F. Roy ever says,  "Yea, I have met Mike Moody, he knows his Edgar Rice Burroughs."

John F. Roy 1913 - 1987

James Michael Moody