Thomas R. McGurk: Now Here’s an ERB Fan!

Tarzan, The Tarzan Files

On one of the older articles (John Carter, the Flop that Wasn’t a Turkey), a wonderful comment appeared today and I just want to share it.  This is a guy I’d like to have a beer or three with:

My father read ERB’s books as a kid. I took over at 9. Still read Priincess of Mars at 81. Especially like that scene where Carter fights to the death with that Thark and later tells Sola to run with Dejah as the Warhoons come down on them. She says, “Fly Sola, Dejah Thoris stays to die with the man she loves.” It’s got it, Man. Spent my life searching for Dejah Thoris. That John Carter was a lucky guy. Saw the movie twice and watch it every time it’s on Cable. Taped it so I can watch it when it’s not on Cable. Only bad thing is I was almost killed a few times trying to be him. Only other hero is Gen George Armstrong Custer. Course, I’m a dreamer. Waited 60 years for that movie to show. You have to have dreams in this world to appreciate it.  THOMAS MCGURK.

Thomas, you rock — and sound like a kindred spirit.  I too spent my life looking for Dejah Thoris and my blessing is that I found her.  And I also get into a few scrapes that almost had dire results — and although at the time I didn’t think of it as trying to “be John Carter”, I have, as the years have passed, come to realize just how much ERB affected my world view and choices I made.

I wonder how many of us there are with similar stories . . .


  • I have no words to appreciate this kind of lovely movies i love that and want to see all its upcoming sequels, i am a big fan of JCM…

  • What saddens me is that it’s currently impossible for young french readers to discover the Burroughs books the way I did in 1988, by “accidently” buying a paperback edition of A Princess of Mars, without knowing beforehand the treasure I had found. Not everybody can offer buying a 35$ omnibus edition out of curiosity only. When the movie was released, the only other book was a young readers novelization of the movie, without the novel.

    Paperback editions are the best way to discover Burroughs and be hooked in his universes. Even Conan got a paperback new edition when the last dreadful movie was released. Lovecraft paperbacks had never been out of print as far as I know. A shame Burroughs’ works aren’t more well-known in my country.

  • My story doesn’t begin QUITE as long ago as Mr McGurk’s. I first discovered John Carter and Edgar Rice Burroughs at age 15, a mere 5o years ago, but, like him, I have been waiting ever since for the movie to be made. Like him, I saw it at he theater several times, bought the disc set, and have the movie downloaded onto my laptop so that I can watch it whenever I want to.

    But, unlike Mr McGurk, I found my Dejah Thoris,, and I thank God for her every day.

  • That’s a wonderful comment.

    Unlike John Carter and all Burroughs heroes we have to deal with the more mundane aspects of life, that’s what makes the daydreaming part ERB provides all the more important.

    I was sixteen when the first Barsoom novels were reprinted in France, a little too late to play “cops and robbers” with them, but hell, I was doing that as a child without knowing it, when I played the cowboy, the indian, the white knight, Superman in the courtyard, or when I played the paladin at Dungeons and Dragons, I was playing John Carter already!

  • Probably more people out there than you could imagine with similar stories, if not John Carter characters then some other vision. We are the dreamers. I was first exposed to John Carter when I was 10 years old and I also have spent my life looking for him. I did spend about 18 years with a fellow who I wanted to be him, but he wasn’t really, so at 69, I am still searching. Reading the books, watching the movie, and believeing that somewhere he is out there.

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