CineSavant Column

Tuesday April 11, 2023



We wish this social media post circulated by Joe Dante were some kind of fake: it certainly sends the wrong corporate message, especially during the big ‘Warner Bros. Studio 100th Anniversary Celebration,’ when they’re pretending to be so respectful of the studio history and heritage.

I see some ad paper for the movie Penelope. As the studio does maintain an organized archive, are these just mountains of duplicates that were taking up space?  It reminds me of the treasures I saw discarded when Columbia Pictures moved, around 1974.  Those weren’t duplicates — they included the original key still books for all the Harryhausen pictures. Sony now has a well-organized archive, with the negatives for all those stills preserved. At least, that’s what I saw in 2006 or so when I was allowed a peek at their holdings for Major Dundee.

Say it ain’t so!  This image will make poster collectors, and anybody against tossing film heritage out the window, more than a little upset.



A nice report from roving investigator Gary Teetzel, who took an interesting trip to Tarzana on April 7 in response to this announcement and invite from Edgar Rice Burroughs Incorporated. Here’s what Gary had to say about what he found:

Today is the 100th Anniversary of the formation of Edgar Rice Burroughs Incorporated, and a Good Friday half-day work schedule provided an opportunity to head out to Tarzana and take part in a little Open House gathering at the Edgar Rice Burroughs offices, which handle the licensing of Tarzan, John Carter, and other Burroughs properties. A shrewd businessman, Burroughs was the first author to trademark his characters, assuring that they remained protected even as the original novels themselves slip into the public domain.

The Burroughs structure is a modest three-room building recessed a bit from a busy stretch of Ventura Blvd. It was built in 1927 on Burroughs’ sprawling Tarzana Ranch, separate from his home. (The Burroughs home was situated on what is now the El Cabellero Country Club.) The place is packed floor-to-ceiling with Burroughs books and memorabilia, mostly hundreds upon hundreds of editions of his novels, but also paintings, toys, statues, etc. It is a vivid reminder of the enormous popularity of his work and his impact on the culture. The central room features a large, elaborately carved ‘partners’ desk that was used by Burroughs himself.

The Anniversary came with a little celebration. A video was shown outlining Burroughs’ life and career, and featuring greetings and tributes from family members, authors and actors such as Casper Van Dien from 1998’s Tarzan and the Lost City. There were maybe 30 or more attendees of various ages, plus representatives of the office and the Burroughs family. These included a great-granddaughter named Dejah, after John Carter’s favorite Princess of Mars (or Barsoom, as the natives would say). There were a few special guests: actor Wolf Larson, who played Tarzan on a TV series in the early ’90s; Donald F. Glut, who wrote some Tarzan comics; and another author or two. Among the guests I ran into historian C. Courtney Joyner, a frequent contributor to Blu-ray commentaries and featurettes these days, and chatted with him for a little while.    Guests were given a gift bag with a mug, a commemorative coin depicting Burroughs, a bookmark and a flyer or two promoting the company’s current licensing activities. — Gary

Gary is our go-to resource on vintage thriller pulp fiction — when I asked if Edgar Rice Burroughs is a good writer, or fun to read, he sent along two good links, to  Gore Vidal on Tarzan  (Esquire, 2008) and  Ray Bradbury on Burroughs  (ERBzine).  Esquire let me past its paywall, so good luck with that.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson