The year 1932 was ushered
in with a scream, as MGM released the first sound Tarzan movie, "Tarzan
the Ape Man" with the now legendary Johnny
Weissmuller. Hollywood did not show a great deal of fidelity to Burroughs'
original story this time around, but the movie's success meant that the
Tarzan books were selling better than ever. But financial success was overshadowed
by the problems in Burroughs' personal life, as he and Emma divorced in
1934. He married Florence
Dearholt the following year and in 1940, with war raging in Europe,
the couple decided to head further west to Hawaii.
Even though he was entering
the last decade of his life Burroughs continued to be physically active,
and still wrote stories for the pulp magazines and his own company. Hulbert
Burroughs came out to Hawaii to visit his father in late 1941, and on the
morning of December 7th, as the two played tennis, the Japanese
bombed nearby Pearl Harbor. Thus began the last adventure of Edgar
Rice Burroughs' life.
Edgar Rice Burroughs was
too old to see active service in World War II ~ he was 66 at the time of
the Pearl Harbor attack ~ but as an established writer he served the war
effort by becoming a war correspondent. He was the oldest
war correspondent to serve in the Pacific theater, flying from island
to island (even bumping into his son Hulbert, who was serving as a war
photographer), reporting on troop activities, even going out on bombing
runs with the 7th Air Force. Burroughs came through this period of life
unscathed, although he would send Tarzan out on a more danger-filled mission
in Tarzan and the "Foreign
With the war's end Burroughs
returned to California and settled into a small home near Tarzana. He and
Florence had divorced in 1942, so Ed devoted his final years to his children.
He died on March 19, 1950. His writings and characters had entertained
three generations of readers and moviegoers. In the 1960s, thanks to a
paperback boom, a new generation discovered the writings of Edgar
Rice Burroughs. And now, at the beginning of a new millennium, another
generation has rediscovered Burroughs through Disney's animated classic
The works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
will endure as classic tales of adventure, romance and wonder. Tarzan remains
one of the best-known literary characters in the entire world. But there
is more to Burroughs than just Tarzan. Take a look around the rest of our
website ~ we're sure you'll discover some surprises here or there! If you
wish to learn more about Burroughs, the best source remains Irwin Porges'
1975 biography Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Man Who Created Tarzan. While
the book is out of print you can still find it in libraries and through
used book dealers.