Friday, April 25, 2014

16 Celebrities Predict 2001 for Amazing 's 30th Anniversary Issue April, 1956 (Part 2) - Sid Caesar & Leo Cherne & William Steig

In 1956 for the 30th anniversary of Amazing Stories, editor Howard Browne asked a group of sixteen noted individuals to write about what they thought the world would be like in 2001, then still forty-four years in the future. "Since Amazing Stories holds a firm reputation as a sounding board for prophets of the future," they wrote, "the editors have asked a representative group. of public figures for predictions on what each believes the world will be like in 2001 A.D.You'll find their articles on the following pages. In only forty-five years you will be able to check on their accuracy!" We present their responses with the original illustrations by an uncredited artist, possibly Leo Summers.

 The respondents were:

Sid Caesar, star of TV's #1 comedy show
Leo Cherne, executive director of The Research Institute of America
Lilly Dache, to fashion designer
John Cameron Swayze, TV #1 new anchor
Hubert J. Schiafly, chief electronics engineer for General Electric
Gen. Carlos Rornulo, Philippine delegate to the United Nations
Oliver J. Dragon, world-famous puppet
Herb Score, American-League All Star pitcher
Oliver Read, publisher Radio and Television News
William Steig, New Yorker cartoonist and creator of Shrek!
Philip Wylie, noted futurist
A. W. Zelomek, president International Statistical Bureau, Inc.
Salvador Dali, artist
Dr. N. Gonzalez, director of research at the Eagle Pencil Co.
Steve Allen, creator and first host of The Tonight Show
Dr. Robert Lindner, psychologist and author of The Fifty-Minute Hour

How well did they do at foreseeing the world we now live in? Read this and subsequent installments of this series reprinting their predictions.

In part one Salvidor Dali and Tonight Show's founder and first host, Steve Allen.

In part two comedian Sid Caesar, Research Institute of America director Leo Cherne, and cartoonist Willian Steig offer three very astute portraits of the world of 2001.

In 1956, Sid Caesar was the star of television's top rated comedy show and America's foremost comedian.

MY WIFE and I have just turned on the wall in our bubble to watch a six-day spectacular on television. I just got back from work in Saipan; and I must say the traffic over Hawaii was murder this morning. It was rocket to rocket all the way across the Pacific.
  After dinner, our grandchildren are running down to Rio overnight in their jet — we keep all our planes in a three-jet garage under the bubble — to see a TV show which is auditioning new South American talent.
  Crazy, you say ? Weird? Unreal ? Impossible ?
   No such thing.
  Well, look at what electronics hath wrought.
  Here we are in the second half of the twentieth century and the entertainment world of today would make our grandparents think they were visiting outer space.
  Fact is, television has moved so fast in the past decade that you can't lie about its progress fast enough to keep up with the truth. And here I am, going way out on a limb talking about 45 years from now.
  Well, let's take a look at what's happened to entertainment in the past fifty years — and then look ahead. I can't remember back that far, but a half century ago it was real big if a family got to the theater three or four times a year. Each of these visits — to see Bernhardt, or Caruso, or Skinner — would give, the family enough to talk about for three or four months. The Bernhardts, the Ellen Terrys, the DeWolfe Hoppers and Otis Skinners were put on a pedestal by their faraway public and distantly admired; the worlds of the public and the entertainer were so far apart that they virtually never met. The theater and the opera were distinct luxuries, not immediately available as they became later.
  Vaudeville helped bridge this gap between the entertainer and the public; as minstrels, chautauquas and other shows started traveling to places where legitimate programs and the opera had never been before. The pedestal became a little lower; entertainers were getting a little closer to the public.
  But entertainment was still a luxury — and it continued to be even in the next several decades when the silent movie flashed across the national scene. The "flickers," throughout their career and continuing even into the present, were never able to break down the barrier. In their early days, they continued to be a family luxury; going to the silents was a ritual; and everyone in the family had their night for attending. The motion picture houses that displayed these pictures were built like palaces — many of them were even called "Palace." It was a privilege, not a right, to be able to go to one — and if you did, it was an event involving much preparation, many hours of an afternoon or evening, and days upon days of discussion afterwards.
  But then it happened — the "music box," as the instrument known as radio was originally called. It changed the whole nature of entertainment; and although future historians will probably call radio just one step on the way to television it wrought enormous changes — changes which paved the way for the performer to walk into your living room and claim your time. The radio shortly became an appliance — like water, or the electric light, or the living room chair. It was a piece of furniture — not a palace like the old opera house or the movie theaters, or the places of vaudeville. It was there. You could touch it. You could even pay for it on time. Imagine.
  But intimate as the new medium became, it still lacked one element. You couldn't see them. You could hear them, you could laugh with them, cry with them, applaud with their unseen audience. But they weren't quite there with you.
  Even home movies — the forerunner of TV — were a rarity. For instance, it was a really big deal for the family who could switch off the lights and flick on the 16-millimeter machine to show hours of movies of salmon swimming upstream.
  Then ten years ago, came television — and suddenly everyone was a millionaire. They could go to the movies seven times a week, laugh with the comedians every night, cry with the daytime heroines five days out of seven. The barriers were down. Entertainers, performers, suddenly became real people. No more aristocracy, heroes-on-a-pedestal. Now the comedian was a person you either liked or didn't. You saw him in your living room and either you invited him back the next week, or you didn't want him around anymore. Not only that, but you began to know him by his first name. When you saw him on the street you walked up to him, shook his hand and said, "Your show last night was a dog, George." But you knew he'd look in on you next week to give him another chance to make friends.
  How does it look from here on out? Well, with the portable, the transistor set, and machines small enough to carry in a briefcase which can project a picture on the wall of a house, it looks pretty good. Fellows like me, who used to be called "stars" in the 1950's, will be called "pals" by 2000 — and in full, natural color.
  After taking a quick peek at the past fifty years, what can we expect of the next? Well, for one thing, the pocket TV set will be so common people will take it for granted. With a tremendous increase in the number of leisure hours available to all of us by Year 2,000 entertainment will tend to become infinitely more important than it is now. There won't be a place, or kind of person on earth that every man will not have seen or listened to by the time he's old enough to understand what it's all about. Programs will be beamed to Earth from Space platforms on a regular basis, making intercontinental television as commonplace as the rocket. The wide, wide world will be the wider, wider universe and Einstein's theory of relativity will be understood by every schoolchild — because he will see it in action on his pocket TV set on the helicopter taking him to school.
  The place of the entertainer in all this? Well, it won't be the same relationship as it once was — or even as it is today. The entertainer will be part of the chain of understanding, the interpreter to the public. He will be a friend whom everyone will know as intimately as he knows his own family.
  It sounds fantastic — but I've designed my bubble and the family has ordered three jets for our new air-garage.
Cherne was then Executive Director of the Research Institute of America.
ONE of the most dramatic elements of the year 2001 will be the virtually free, if not entirely free, accessibility of power. I mean solar power. While atomic power will be in wide use, it will cost some money, and will therefore be essentially limited to those specific purposes in which it is especially desirable, such as ground transportation or flight.
  Power sources constitute an essential element in all economies today. They have been a major factor in the development of Man's civilization and by and large a restricting factor. Power can be furnished by anything from a wooden plow and a pair of shoulders, to coal or oil or water. Think, then, of the significance of free power extracted from the sun.
  In several thousands of years of Man's development, he has been chained to the necessity of laboring with his own physical energy for survival. Not until the last 150 years has his burden been even partially lessened. In most parts of the world Man is no freer today than he was a hundred thousand years ago. In the breaking of these chains lies a revolution — the change which occurs when the earth and nature and the machine and the sun will work for Man, instead of Man working for the earth.
  One effect of breaking these chains of labor will be the reduction of the average American work week to 24 hours. The worker will spend six hours a day four days a week on the job. Three-fourths of his full day will be his own. It takes only a little knowledge of history to know how dramatic this effect will be, for this will be the first generation of Man that will be able to live at leisure — and remember, I am speaking of the average American.
  Agriculture and its problems of surplus will be solved in the U.S. by chemistry with an assist from cheap or free solar power. The chemists will increasingly use greater amounts of farm produce as raw material for their infinite variety of substitutes, synthetics and wholly original materials and products which will be fashioned from them. The same will be true of coal — in fact, coal will become primarily a non-power industry.
  Throughout the rest of the world, the time lag in technology, as it exists currently, will continue. In time, the differential in this area which exists between the U.S. and much of Africa and Asia may well be eliminated, and perhaps even our own technology exceeded. I doubt that this will happen in the next 45 years, but during that time the gap will narrow.

 The famed New Yorker cartoonist and creator of Shrek should need no introduction.
MOST likely, by the year 2001 (perhaps I am being a bit impatient), the majority of people will no longer be the comic strip characters they are today; and "cartooning" (thank God!) will be almost a lost art. Laughter will be an expression more of joy than of ridicule. If things are laughed at, it will be because they deviate from the natural rather than, as today, because they deviate from established ways. Humanity will be on the way to realizing the kind of life we all dream of in adolescence (and give up dreaming of shortly thereafter) — a rational life lived in harmony with nature.

Visit us again for part three of this series.

And visit our website at for classic pulp science fiction and fantasy novels and anthologies.

(Amazing Stories is still with us today. You an check out its newest incarnation at

Tuesday, April 15, 2014




(writing as John Bloodstone)

CHAPTER 1: Destiny For Two

La, High Priestess of the Flaming God, looked disconsolately at her own reflection in a full-length mirror of polished silver which had been set in the ancient wall of her living quarters by remotely remembered ancestors. She saw a tall, white-skinned woman, nearly naked but for a jeweled girdle wrought mostly of masterfully strung pearls of another age, and breastplates of golden wires spun into finer filagree than ever had been seen even in the old world jewel markets of the Middle East. In her copious raven black hair rested a jewel-set circlet of gold and platinum. In all, she wore a fortune in precious elements and gems which seemed only appropriate to grace the exquisite perfection of her natural feminine endowments.

But La, who had not in her long recollection ever contacted the civilization of men, only sensed but dimly the tremendous value of her accoutrements. Save for the few lesser priestesses of Opar who yet assisted her in the rituals of the crumbling Temple of the Flaming God, she had no basis for comparing her great beauty of face and form with the standards of that outer world which lay somewhere beyond the age-old granite ramparts of this hidden valley in East Central Africa. Only instinctively did she guess that she was well formed, as it seemed to her primitive logic that, as it was true in all the other manifestations of Nature, so it must be with the human body -- that symmetry of feature and form were the mark of perfection.

"I am beautiful!" she exclaimed. "So why should he not love me? Why does he never return from his accursed forests to claim me -- before it will be too late? Is he such a blind and ungrateful fool that he will forever spurn the love of La? -- who spared him from the sacred knife of the sacrifice?"

Before her mind's eye there formed the vision of a tall, handsome giant of a man, bronzed from a lifetime of exposure to the equatorial sun, an incomparable lord of the jungles whose mighty muscles had gained him supremacy over the great apes and even Numa, the erstwhile King of Beasts. She saw herself borne in his irresistible arms into the sanctuary of the trees on that long-gone day when he had rescued her from Tantor the bull elephant. She not only remembered but had relived that precious night a thousand times when she had implored him to save them both by giving her his love. Bound hand and foot beside her within the privacy of the thorn boma which her priests had constructed, he had lain there in stoic, maddening indifference both to the imminence of death by sacrifice to the Flaming God and to her tearful importunities and the avowals of her pent-up desperate love for him. Unashamed, she had caressed him and loved him through that cruelly fleeting night, seeking to capture one moment of response from him that might save him from the sacrifice which it devolved upon her to make when the sun arose. For should he have chosen to join the dwindling community of Opar and become a priest, it would have lain within her vested authority as High Priestess to select him for her mate.

And in Opar it was law that she should have chosen a mate long ere this! But in comparison to the gnarled and stunted half-human atavisms that were the native priests of Opar, Tarzan of the Apes emerged as a shining god. She saw him through the veil of memory, standing there in the forest after he had overcome her priests in furious combat, a towering wild thing of breath- taking masculine perfection and terrifying strength, as his gray eyes blazed in anger, and clearly she would always hear his parting words to Cadj, the high priest.

"La goes back to her temple under the protection of her priests and the threat of Tarzan that whoever harms her shall die. Protect her so that when Tarzan comes again he will find La there to greet him."

"La will be there to greet thee!" she had exclaimed. "And La will wait, longing, always longing, until you come again. Oh, tell me that you will come!"

"Who knows?" he had answered even as he swung effortlessly into the lower terraces of the jungle and disappeared from her sight.

Her thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the appearance of one of her few remaining assistant priestesses. This one had been once fair to look upon, but the passage of years in the time-stranded ruins of Opar had wrought two fatal changes in the woman. She now displayed the marks of age which slashed at the once firm contours of her face with wrinkles and withdrew the bloom of youth from her flesh. But the environment of Opar had also added to this a dereliction of the human attributes, reducing her to an unkempt, primordial female with the wary, shifty eyes of the wild and untamed. In fact, she had abandoned the ancient tongue of her ancestors in favor of the gutteral speech of the apes which had infested Opar for ages.

"Cadj awaits you with the other priests in the council chamber," she announced. "He says he has something of great importance to tell you." The knowing look in the savage eyes of the lesser priestess apprised La only too readily of the nature of the impending conference. Her time had come. The priests would not wait any longer for her to choose a mate among them. Especially Cadj, son of Cadj, the new high priest, who had inherited his father's jealousy of Tarzan. In view of his superior station above the others he felt that he had a particular priority in this matter, and of late his beetling eyes had gazed upon her with ill-concealed possessive lust.

It nauseated her to think of his gnarled and stunted body, the low, slanting brow and the graying shaggy hair of his body and his matted, lice-infested beard that reached to his sagging belly. Nor were any of the others more prepossessing, with the possible exception of A-tun, who at least was cleaner than the others and slightly more intelligent.

"Tell Cadj," she said, "that La would prepare herself for the occasion. I shall be there presently." It was a well-calculated reply which, coupled with a sad expression of resignation, seemed to carry with it the connotation of acceptance. It was by this ruse that she hoped to obtain time to think of some alternative to this long-impending fate.

Excited by the prospect of change in the changeless monotony of the miserably limited society of Opar, the lesser priestess withdrew at once from La's quarters and hastened away to advise the others.

When she had gone, La no longer looked at her reflection in the silvery mirror. Instead, she walked out onto her vine-grown balcony which overlooked the barren valley and gave her a view of the distant cliffs which barred her from the mysterious outer world she had never really known. From that direction had come Tarzan on various occasions which had been separated by many long years.

Yet on each visit he had appeared to be as invulnerable to the arrows of time and the talons of death as was she, herself. Could it be that both of them shared the guarded secret of immortality in common? And if this were so, then did not Fate itself decree that they were meant for each other? La bit her lip to fight back the tears which were generated by conflicting emotions, tears of unrequited love, yet tears of jealous rage and deeply hurt pride -- as she realized that she had been deliberately deceiving herself with the false hope that Tarzan was destined to come back to her. For did she not remember Tarzan's mate, the same woman whom he had rescued from the altar of the Flaming God, even from under the point of La's descending knife?

"Who is she?" La had asked him.

And Tarzan had wounded her with the simple statement, "She is mine."

The words had struck her down as effectively as if he had hit her with the blood-stained bludgeon in his mighty hand. The distant cliffs that cut off her view of the savage African jungle seemed to give her the answer to her plight. As barren of hope as they were of vegetation, those boulder-strewn slopes and ledges seemed to say, "Thy dream is done. Go, thou, and face the fate to which thou wert born."

For the first time since she had laid eyes on Tarzan, La was freed from the debilitating defense mechanism which had caused her to depend upon the fulfillment of wishful thinking rather than upon herself for salvation. Now that circumstances had at last forced her to face the reality of her situation alone and unaided, she groped subconsciously within the depths of her mind and spirit in an ettempt to take inventory of whatever faculties or powers she might possess with which to meet the impossible alternative which Cadj was waiting to inflict upon her.

La, to her own self, was a mystery, a mystery compounded of certain dreaded secrets which were known to her alone, and by other secrets which she had not had the courage to penetrate, so stupendous and incomprehensible was the nature of them. But one sustaining certainty emerged before all other considerations. She was different from the others of Opar, both from the degenerated priestesses and from the weird, half-human male inhabitants who were the progeny of a twisted ethnic evolution. In her was a subconscious awareness of exalted origin, though veiled by years too numerous to recall, as though her soul, rather than her mind, had become afflicted with amnesia. And more important and tantalizing still, she had long been aware of a certain distant call to tremendous destiny, as though it were muffled by intervening years yet to come. If this were so, she asked herself, then why should it be possible for Cadj or any of the other priests to succeed in defiling her? On the other hand, was this sense of greatness but another hallucination to spare her mind and heart the cold shock of facing a fruitless reality?

But no!

She straightened her lithe, graceful body and lifted her perfectly molded chin disdainfully, her blue eyes flashing in regal anger. She was different. She was a chosen child of destiny. And she was not for the likes of Cadj! Neither would she run away from Opar and risk the ignominy of being overtaken by them and dragged back to the obnoxious fate which they sought to impose upon her, nor would she accede to their demands this day.

"La will take her own mate!" she exclaimed aloud, stamping her sandaled foot. "And on the day when La chooses, not they!"

"La is wrong. She will take her mate today, and it is too late for her to choose. I, Cadj, have spoken!"

She whirled about, startled by the gutteral voice, her full lips parting in a muffled shriek as she saw the high priest standing in the doorway of her private quarters. Beyond him she could see the other priests. She also saw the angry scowls on their faces and heard them grumbling and threatening. In Cadj's wide, gnarled fist was a short golden bludgeon which glistened with fresh- spilled blood. As he stood there, several deep-red drops fell to the floor suggestively.

"A-tun said you were his," growled Cadj, brandishing his weapon and baring yellowed fangs. "Now A-tun is dead, because you belong to Cadj!" His small eyes were bloodshot, his heavy brows lowering ominously. Already the restraining wall of age-old religious code had broken under the violent pressure of primitive emotions. La's trained eye and senses forewarned her of what was impending. They had started to fight among themselves over her, but in a few moments every last vestige of human refinement in their reasoning would be blotted out by murderous, bestial rage. And at least one of them -- perhaps Cadj -- would run amok, killing blindly and indiscriminately. If she could but deflect the direction of this menacing tide back among the others, she might --

At that moment, three of the other priests roared out their defiance to Cadj and charged him, but in the same instant he whirled with lightning swiftness and slammed the heavy door of iron wood and plated gold in their faces, throwing the great bar in place.

While the muffled shrieks of frustration and rage sounded beyond that barrier, Cadj now turned slowly to face La. Far from being subtle, which was beyond the scope of his mentality, he was now gloatingly obvious concerning his intentions, but sadistically he was making it clear to her that he had plenty of time to accomplish the inevitable without interruption.

"Now," he growled, the while he trembled and slavered in anticipation, "you are Cadj's she!"

As he waddled toward her on his short, hairy legs, his long arms reaching out to grasp her, La knew that his mind was fully blocked to any appeal to reason. This was a horribly clear and simple circumstance which called for self-defense. She wore between her breasts the slim golden knife of the sacrifice, but that she might have a chance to use it effectively on this evilly aroused brute was doubtful. Though Cadj was stunted in stature, he was half as strong as the great apes and weiged fully two hundred pounds. La backed away from him, and instantly his eyes widened in lustful triumph. Her demonstration of fear made her the more enticing. He leaped at her . . .

Tarzan rode his horse disconsolately after the other members of the hunting party. Ahead of him were his wife, Jane, and two important guests who were attached to the British Consulate staff in Nairobi. They were laughing and chatting together just as though the official summons the men had brought to him had been an innocent invitation to attend a Sunday church picnic.

But perhaps he could not blame them for failing to sense that which only he could feel. At least his Waziri warriors who were guiding the party ahead must have known what was burning in the depths of his heart and spirit, for their quiet mood seemed but to reflect his own. Like the primordial dumb beasts of the jungle, Tarzan chose to lick his secret wounds alone and in silence, and particularly was he resolved not to inflict his private unhappiness upon his wife, whose long unexpressed life's dream was about to be fulfilled.

They were to leave Africa, possibly forever. War clouds had long been gathering in Europe, and at last Mussolini's ruthless invasion of Ethiopia had marked the beginning of the inevitable. As John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, Tarzan now had responsibilities in London. He had been requested to organize a certain secret advisory committee, for, as the diplomatic message advised him, there was "no citizen of the entire British Empire who might be considered a more qualified authority on Central Africa" than himself. He was urgently needed, and he would go, because duty demanded it.

To Jane the summons had come in the guise of a long-awaited opportunity. At last Tarzan would join her again in the civilized world that had been a normal part of her life before she had met him. Nor would there be much purpose, he told himself, in trying to return to Africa after the war, for already the dark continent had changed for him, considering the steady advances of modernism and the growth of organized social ideologies which left few corners of the jungle in the olden spell of timeless peace and pristine beauty to which he had been accustomed during the more vigorous years of his life.

Tarzan did not consider himself to be old. On the contrary -- thanks to a lifelong exposure to that same natural environment which guarded all other creatures of the wild from the effects of disease and senility -- he was an astonishing example of perpetuated virility and strength. But at last he had been forced to face the fact that the old days were over with and gone. There were no more frontiers of adventure and mystery, only the political concept of the world remaining, and he felt that the age of individual contribution to the welfare of his particular area of Africa had been replaced by a rather inevitable historical transition to group effort. Much as he was saddened to close the book on all those blissful and exciting chapters of the "good old days," he realized that the die was cast. Adventure was done. He would retire to the carpeted salons of civilized society and begin to atrophy in the smog-laden atmosphere of the metropolis.

The hunting party was passing leisurely along an open trail on the edge of the jungle. The unforested side of their path slanted upward several hundred yards and ended abruptly. Tarzan knew that this was the low Muwansa Ridge marking the northern boundary of the Waziri country. Beyond lay some of the lesser known territory of the African interior in which many a strange adventure had befallen him as well as Jane. Just as memory was beginning to draw his thoughts far away into that mysterious land and into another almost forgotten day, he was startled to see little Manu, the monkey, come scuttling and screaming toward him over the top of the ridge. Attracted by the little creature's loud, excited chatterings and chirpings, the rest of the party stopped and turned to look.

"Oh, John!" exclaimed Jane Clayton, with a delighted smile of recognition on her patrician face. "Isn't that little Nkima? The poor little thing wandered off somewhere and was lost," she explained to her guests. "We haven't seen him in months!"

The two rather pasty faced gentlemen from he British Consulate laughed at the antics of the monkey as it sprang unhesitatingly to Tarzan's knee and screamed at him hysterically. "My word!" exclaimed one of them, laughing. "Here is an opportunity to see whether it is fact or fiction that Lord Greystoke can actually converse with the children of Nature! What is the little beast saying to you, Greystoke?"

Only Jane and several of the Waziri interpreted the quick passing shadow of concern which crossed over Tarzan's face before he looked up at them and smiled.

"Only what your dog might tell you," he answered. "When a dog barks or growls he is telling you what a mighty fighter he is. Or when he licks your hand or wags his tail he is saying simply that he loves you. Little Nkima here is telling me that same old story which is ever new in the jungle -- that he's a mighty hunter and a mighty fighter, but that he is at the same time tremendously glad he has found me -- and he wants to know if I have anything to eat."

The two government employees laughed understandingly and turned to continue on their way, but Jane paused, her delicate brows contracting slightly as she saw Tarzan's smile fade suddenly and his gray eyes turn toward the ridge. When he guided his mount in that direction, she followed him.

"Do you see what I see?" he asked her as she drew alongside him.

He pointed out across the rolling plains that stretched away before them, and Jane strained her eyes to discover the cause of Nkima's excitement. Above the distance-purpled horizon rose mighty mountain peaks. Then came the broad green mat of the jungle, followed by the semi-forested plain in the foreground, broken here and there by the meandering silvery band of an unnamed river. At first she could discern nothing that might be regarded as unusual, but suddenly she stifled a gasp of astonishment. And then she gripped her husband's mighty arm in fear -- a fear which memory brought to her out of the distant past.

"Oh no, John!" she exclaimed.

"Nkima says that I am the objective. You'd better get our guests back to the bungalow for dinner. Tell them I have gone to track down some hartebeests for them and that if my hunch is right I'll take them out to get some of them tomorrow."

"But John -- " Jane started to protest.

"There is no danger," said the apeman, patting her arm where it rested on his. "But I am going to have to strip down and revert to the primordial, dear. Our guests are not accustomed to hearing an English lord converse in the language of the first men." As she hesitated to leave him, he added,

"You can tell Muviro about it, if it will ease your mind. Half of his Waziri can remain here to watch how I get along."

"All right, John," she answered. "But promise me you will take no chances."

"I promise. But go now. I must hurry."

As she left him, Tarzan looked down at little Nkima and smiled. "In this last hour," he said to the monkey in English, "you bring Tarzan yet another call to adventure."

Yes, it was adventure that called Tarzan of the Apes down there beyond the ridge, but at a price which he would never have been prepared to pay. Nor could he know that little Nkima, by finding him, had affected the destiny of an entire world . . .
Copyright 2014 Stuart J. Byrne

Fascinated? Read Stuart J. Byrne's novels written as John Bloodstone. Was Palmer right? Was Bloostone a "worthy successor to Edgar Rice Burroughs"?

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Writer/fan Joe Gibson spoke for many, likely most, fans in 1955 when he accused former Amazing Stories editor Raymond A. Palmer of operating a "medicine show." Palmer, who had published several Edgar Rice Burroughs's novels in Amazing, had known the late author's son Hulbert for years. Starting with a large headline on the cover of his current magazine, Other Worlds, that proclaimed "Tarzan Never Dies!" Palmer, who had successfully authored several tarzanesque novels in his Toka, King of the Dinosaurs, series,  claimed there could never be enough Tarzan stories to satisfy the author's current fans or new ones that would develop over the years and that it would be a crime for the character to die with the passing of his author. Palmer asked fandom, or at leas his readers, to join him in a crusade to persuade Hulbert and the Burroughs estate to license Palmer to appoint a new writer to carry on the famous apeman's adventures. The book was sure to garner world wide publicity and windfall sales. Palmer urged fans who agreed to send him enthusiastic letters to show the Burroughs interests, stating they supported his endeavor and would buy such a book if it were published. Plus a ten cent contribution to help defray his mailing expenses. The buying power of a dime in 1955 was about that of a dollar today, and a stamp was 2 cents. So the cash strapped Palmer, whose magazine was not flourishing, could potentially net several hundred dollars in today's terms. And there was definitely a P. T. Barnum side of Palmer that had helped build Amazing Stories to number one in sales among science fiction magazines during his tenure. Just consider the Shaver Mystery. Or hi later playing up of the flying saucer fad. And not every story he had ballyhooed had necessarily lived up to its billing. So some, perhaps many, fans felt they justifiably viewed his antics with a jaundiced eye. His efforts to have new Tarzan novels written, therefore were met with skepticism by them.
 A letter by Joe Gibson headlined "Ray Palmer's Medicine Show" kicked off the letter column in the November 1955 issue of Other Worlds: 
    "There's a legend kicking around," Gibson had written, "out somewhere in my country, which is the wild and woolly West, about the character who rambled around in an old wagon with "Meddicin Show" burnt on the tailboard by a hot running iron. He had a little she-jackass that could dance to a [harmonica] (when she was a mind to) and he peddled a cure-all remedy that was guaranteed to take the warts off a toad or foal a dry mare, among other things. The thing was, this feller actually believed his remedy did some good because it sold well—and it did, too, but not for that reason. Thing was, this feller was from back East someplace and was kind of ignorant. So some feed merchant sold him some stuff to mix in his remedy because it "pepped up" animals. So this feller's remedy had a pinch or two of Spanish Fly mixed in with the thin molasses, red pepper and beet juice. It "pepped up" humans pretty well, too. And everybody knew it but this medicine-show feller. Was a regular side-splitter every time he got up to start selling the stuff. The womenfolk finally got wind of what was gain' on, tho, and some of the boys had to hustle the "doc" out of the country on a fast bronc one night to save him from a female lynching party.

"Ray Palmer hasn't been lynched yet, but I've been, laughing at him for years. Certainly, his Amazing sold. It topped the circulation of all the other s. f. prozines for several years before Ray ever met Dick Shaver. But the reason for Amazing's popularity during that period was never what. Palmer thought it was—or anyway, what he says it was. Ray Palmer's instinct sold Amazing; his personality or ingenuity had nothing to do with it."

 In a follow up letter, Gibson took on the notion of having a new series Tarzan directly, suggesting it was both folly and unnecessary:

"Consider," he wrote, "it's not Sam Spade, Private Eye—instead it's Joe Friday, Robbery
Detail. And it's not Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, King of, Apes. Don't call him Tarzan.

"I would figure a postulate like this: an infant survivor of an air crash in the African bush is weaned by a childless mama gorilla. But as yet a crawling brat, it is captured by a tribe of bush natives who adopt it in their village. The ape-child is considered a magical. being, made a pet by the village witch-doctor, and a theory is concocted that his mother was a native girl kidnapped and raped by a giant white gorilla, and that's why he's white, and that's how the white race began—though, of course, he's a First mutant, still more animal than human, still not fully perverted into -a white man. And he grows up in the midst of that legend. The bush natives won't touch him. He learns to live in the African bush by its laws and the dictates of that legend about him—that he's more than half-animal. As a `teen-age boy, he gets a bevy of native girls, ape-style. He's a magical being.

"A 'Jane' type white girl makes the scene, gets tossed in with his bevy of wenches and treated quite adulterously. She escapes, runs back to civilization. He chases after her, gets captured, studied, psycho-analyzed, modernized, educated and completely fouled up. All his education conflicts with his childhood training and he runs back to the African bush. And the girl follows him.

"There you have a guy that knows the African bush as no bush native does, who lives there quite comfortably. You have a strange man, a violent character. Known to white men, slightly feared by them, still a magical being to the bush natives. A hard-headed, common-sense character finding himself to be nothing society or superstition claims he 'is, finding instead that nobility of the human individual in himself.

"But don't call him Tarzan!

"If you kept Burroughs' Tarzan, you'd have to prove his King-of-the-Apes title by having him (naughty word) a bevy of furry babes like any self-respecting king bull would properly do.

"Sure, you can sell wildly improbable romantic adventures to the small segment of the reading public who want 'escape from realism' to mentally unhealthy lengths. You can sell 'magic cures and potions' to the same lunatic fringe, the group who's afraid to grab the real world by its very real set of horns. This bunch is a very faithful group of subscribers, too — and they number in the tens of thousands in a national population of 70 million. But you're not a professional magazine editor, then, and it's stretching a point to even call you a semi-pro editor. And it reeks of perversion for a man who's proved he can be a darned good professional editor. He's catering to a small bunch when he could play the multitudes."

Palmer responded some what heatedly:
Well, after we read Joe's letter, it took us four hours to realize the world hadn't turned red, but it was just blood popping our eyeballs to three-times size. Then we went outside (it was 8° above zero), chopped a shallow trench in the frozen soil of Wisconsin, wrote Joe Gibson on a sheet of Northern Tissue, and buried it. At the head of this impromptu grave, we erected an inverted cross. Then we stood on our head and muttered a fiendish incantation, and tore back into the house to get at our own typewriter.
So that's realism, eh, Joe? All we can say is Thank God Joe Gibson Didn't Write Tarzan!
Joe, we hate to do this to Roberta Collins' husband, but you've got it coming. She should know what she married. A little late to discover the truth, but somebody shoulda told her. You've just identified yourself with the cursed tribe I've sworn to gain revenge upon for what they did to science fiction! You, sir, are the enemy.
We'll get right to the king-size punch in our own argument, and let you have it plumb in the kisser. You say we're a semi-pro editor, and we should write Tarzan like you just laid him out, and aim at the 70 million multitude. Joe, where have you been? Isn't that exactly what has been done in science fiction in the past few years? Haven't they given it the "Joe Friday" treatment? And hasn't it FLOPPED as miserably as anything could!
No, for Pete's sake, don't call him Tarzan. Not the guy you dreamed up! Not that "hard-headed, common-sense" real character. He's a soulless animal who never will be human! He'd be too realistic to weep a tear, or be a gentleman, or kiss a lady's hand — much less die defending her honor. Nobody'd get goose-pimples of romance over him. Nobody'd love him. Nobody'd want to be him! Nobody'd like to name him as one of their friends. Nobody'd care if he lived or died. And nobody'd want him to propagate his kind and become the future ruler of Earth's history.
Escapism? We can just see you mouthing the word. You'll howl that what we've just said is escapism. No indeed, Joe. This is the thing inside us that makes us cry at a movie we know darn well isn't real. This is the thing that makes our heart pump faster when a band goes marching by. This is the thing that makes us go cold with compassion when we see a kid get hurt. This is all the things that don't cotton .to the rules of realism. This is all the things that cause our emotions to prove that they are more powerful than our brain cells. This is the thing that makes us lay our cape in the mud-puddle so our queen can walk across (when realism and common-sense dictate that she walk around the. puddle, and save both her dainty shoes and our coat).
This is the way in which real progress is made, by our emotions driving our brain cells to accomplish what otherwise would be meaningless. Whatever man does, Joe, he does emotionally. It is some emotion that drives him, not his hard head. Not his common-sense. Not realism. A dream, Joe, a fantasy, something unreal. Idealism. And when you take that out of science fiction, you've got your stinking mutant — and you can have him! We certainly don't want him.
And you can have your 70 millions too — which you just don't have. Stand on the record; Joe. Be
realistic. Your method has proved only to be madness. Psycho-analyze Tarzan? What ever for! So that he becomes a machine, all explained in his parts, stripped of the last vestige of mystery? So we don't "kid" ourselves that he is King-of-the-Apes?
It is a mentally unhealthy segment of our civilization which has grasped upon this handy "escape" from responsibility, this psychiatric bombast, this hellish attempt at destruction of human emotion, this blueprinting of the carcass at the expense of the spirit. The man who makes a regular trip to his psychiatrist is mentally unhealthy, nobody would deny that. Even .if he only goes to "be a showoff," or to get "attention", or just to be "with the crowd." He's sick, mentally. We wouldn't brag about our psychiatrist, Joe. We'd hide him like a plague. We'd sure not lie down on a couch and shamefacedly admit that we like to think that Tarzan actually was King-of-the-Apes! Not with the tacit admission that it is a symptom of mental sickness to entertain the idea, even as a fantasy! To you, Joe, indulgence in fantasy, or imagination, or the weakness of emotions, is good cause to visit your psychiatrist — or so you seem to say. Our diagnosis is simple, Joe; you should see your psychiatrist! But confidentially, we don't think it will help! You see, we don't believe in psychiatrists. Except that they are undoubtedly King-of-the-Bull!
-Raymond A. Palmer
Click here to read Raymond  A Palmer's own Tarzan homage, Toka, King of the Dinosaurs for only $2.99 for Kindle and iTunes. 

Click here to read Palmer's legendary pulp novel of a female space pirate, Black World.

With some fans extolling him and others denouncing him, how did Palmer's attempt to get someone appointed to continue the fictional exploits of Tarzan ultimately play out? Visit us again for the next installment of this literary saga, when the ERB Estate finally hears and responds to Palmer's proposition.