Master of Adventure: The Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs

By Richard A. Lupoff | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
Wieroos and Kalkars

In the years following Beyond Thirty Burroughs continued to turn out a steady stream of widely differing works. These were the years of his great success; the first Tarzan motion picture was made in 1917, and opened in January, 1918. With Elmo Lincoln as the original screen Ape Man and Enid Markey as the first Jane the picture initiated a successful series which continues to this day as a standard Hollywood product.

From poverty and obscurity to wealth and fame, and from his home in Chicago to permanent residence in California, these were eventful years for Burroughs but the production of stories never let up. Burroughs' notebook shows that he kept works in progress almost continuously, sometimes overlapping projects, and generally beginning new stories almost immediately upon the conclusion of earlier ones.

Seven Tarzan books were produced between 1915 and 1925; in the same decade Burroughs wrote two more Martian novels (The Chessmen of Mars and The Master Mind of Mars) and a number of miscellaneous works of little lasting importance in relation to his overall output, but perhaps worth at least a passing note for each.

H.R.H. The Rider was written late in 1915 and serialized in All-Story Weekly three years later. It is a pleasant but extremely lightweight—even by ERB's standards—romance in the derivative tradition of The Mad King. Again a mythical European kingdom is the setting, and the themes are those hallowed in the genre: the bored princeling exchanging personalities with the dashing bandit, the Unwanted Princess, the American millionairess in search of a European title, and a marvelously heroic character: Prince Boris of Karlova!

Although H.R.H. The Rider contains neither supernatural nor superscientific elements, its reading today presents far more feeling of fantasy than

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