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Lot #553
Edgar Rice Burroughs

HOLLYWOOD AND VINES: BURROUGHS signs a contract for an early Tarzan serial

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HOLLYWOOD AND VINES: BURROUGHS signs a contract for an early Tarzan serial

DS, signed twice (on the same page) “Edgar Rice Burroughs,” two pages, 8.5 x 13, May 31, 1928. An agreement assigning the motion picture rights for the story Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar. In part: “Said story having been first copyrighted by Frank A. Munsey Company as part of [several] issues of the All Story Weekly ... later copyrighted in book form by A. C. McClurg and Co. under date of April 20, 1918.... The undersigned further give ... the sole and exclusive right to use, adapt and change said story to such extent as they ... may deem desirable in connection with the making of one motion picture photoplay or one serial motion picture production, provided that no such change shall portray, depict or describe any character in the said story as being killed or crippled or disfigured, unless said character is portrayed, depicted or described as being killed or crippled or disfigured in the text of said story, and provided, further, that no characters or incidents portrayed in any other story by Edgar Rice Burroughs ... shall be incorporated in the motion picture....” In the following year, Burroughs’s book was adapted into a 15-part black-and-white serial, with Frank Merrill as Tarzan, released under the title Tarzan the Tiger. The film was notable on a number of counts. As it dated from the “transitional” period of sound films, it was released in both in a silent version and one with sound effects; the latter included the first onscreen instance of Tarzan’s “yell,” which bore little resemblance to the familiar call from the Tarzan films of the following decade. Further, though screen adaptations of the Tarzan stories had been made as early as 1918, Tarzan the Tiger was the first to actually show the jungle hero swinging from a vine. A secretarial letter of transmittal is stapled to the front of the document. Light wrinkling and a few creases, otherwise fine condition. R&R COA.

Auction Info

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  • Dates: #334 - Ended June 18, 2008