Tarzana Is My Heroine

a poet considers the imaginary and reality of Tarzana

L.A. – Honolulu

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I’m vacationing on Maui at the moment and saw this card with an image of a vintage poster advertising the L.A. – Honolulu steamer. At the bottom it says Los Angeles Steamship Company.

20130122-060213.jpg

I didn’t realize there was a steamer line out of L.A., though early travel between the mainland and the islands was obviously by ship. The first two ships for the L.A. line — “The City of Los Angeles” and “The City of Honolulu” — were repurposed German vessels captured during WWI. The first ship left L.A. harbor in 1922.

Here’s an article about the steamship company:

http://maritimematters.com/2010/08/los-angeles-steamship-company/

Later, Edgar Rice Burroughs–creator of Tarzan and founder of Tarzana–had sold his ranch and moved to Hawaii with his second wife–though she soon left him and returned to the Mainland.

When Pearl Harbor was attacked in ’41, Burroughs was playing tennis with his son at one of the hotels. No one took the antiaircraft gun noise they were hearing as anything more than an exercise at first.

Burroughs’ nonchalant description of that day led to him becoming a columnist for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, and he went on to work as a war correspondent from the Pacific.

Read more about his wartime writing from Hawaii here:

http://hawaiiantimemachine.blogspot.com/2011/11/tarzan-of-waikiki-jungle-edgar-rice.html?m=1

and here, in this chapter excerpt from the book Tarzan Forever: A Life of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Creator of Tarzan:

http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/t/taliaferro-tarzan.html

Here is a photo of Burroughs either leaving Hawaii or arriving by steamer (see all the leis).

http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/1-edgar-rice-burroughs-1875-1950-everett.jpg

I saw a photo on the ERB, Inc. site that showed Hawaiian musicians performing at Burroughs’ ranch in Tarzana. That must have been before he moved to Hawaii in 1940, since he had sold the ranch before he did that. So did he already know some Hawaiians? Had he already visited Hawaii or learned about Hawaiian music and culture?

I’ll do some more sleuthing in the ERB archives and see if I can find that photo again and some more background. When I do, I’ll post it!

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Author: Coco O

I'm a stay-at-home poet, trained as a clinical psychologist, who studies creativity and the relationship between poetry and dreams.

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