Archive for May, 2012
I love this fan trailer. It’s made of awesome. Excellent work, krishnashenoi93.
This mashup video cracked me up.
It’s getting pretty active, with discussions among long-time fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs and fans just discovering the Master of Adventure’s work because of the movie “John Carter.” I think the coolest thing about the movie, despite the poor job Disney did marketing it, is that so many people who saw it without ever having heard of ERB are beginning to discover his rich imagination.
It’s so fantastic to watch as newcomers begin reading the books that captured my imagination long ago. Part of me wishes I could be beginning that journey.
The message board is here.
The Land That Time Forgot is the first book by Edgar Rice Burroughs that I ever read, and it remains among my favorites. One character that always stood out to me was the Airedale terrier of Bowen Tyler Jr., Crown Prince Nobbler. Or Nobs, for short.
Tyler and Nobs were crossing the Atlantic to join the American ambulance service during World War I when they were sidetracked by the ruthless Baron von Schoenvorts and his U-33. An ally as important as any who stormed the German sub, the faithful hound would go on to adventures on Caspak as thrilling as any in the trilogy.
I’ve often thought Nobs deserved his own sequel. It could tell what happened between the time he disappeared from the side of Lys La Rue in the Sto-lu village and when Tom Billings found him among the Kro-lu. How did the scheming Galu, Du-seen, come to temporarily possess him?
It seems Nobs was named after a real dog that was well known in the Chicago area when ERB sat down in Oak Park to write The Lost U-Boat in September of 1917.
I found Nobs’ namesake in the archives of ERB’s favorite newspaper and mine, the Chicago Tribune. Burroughs subscribed to the Trib, sometimes contributing tidbits to columns such as A Line ‘o Type or Two and In The Wake of the News, Irwin Porges tells us in his biography, The Man who Created Tarzan. So there can be little doubt that when he began writing the Caspak adventures, Burroughs had seen a story which appeared in the Sept. 2, 1917 Tribune:
Members of the Western Airedale Terriers Club have offered to the war department twenty of the finest specimens of Airedales in the country for use in the war against Germany and for the establishment of a military kennel like those maintained by the allied armies.
The offer was made to Secretary of War Baker yesterday by William M. Reay, secretary of the Western Airedale Club, and treasurer of the International Harvester Company. The list of fanciers who are willing to give their finest international champions to the war department includes Otto W. Lehmann, Phillip R. Brand, secretary of the Brand Brewing Company; Alex Stewart of Highland Park, owner of international champion Abbey King Nobbler, one of the finest ever imported to this country.
It strikes me as perfectly in keeping with ERB’s sense of humor that he would decide “Abbey King” was just a bit too pretentious. Nobs was demoted to “Crown Prince.”
Airedales were popular at the time that ERB turned his imagination loose upon the lost island of Caprona, or Caspak as its inhabitants call their world of dinosaurs and savage men. Theodore Roosevelt had taken Airedales on his big-game hunting trips, which might have been reason enough for ERB to send Nobs along to that land of Very Big Game.
“The Airedale can do anything any other dog can do, then lick the other dog, if he has to,” Roosevelt once remarked, according to the Southern California Airedale Association’s web site. That site also explains:
World War I brought Airedales to the forefront because of their outstanding service. In Germany, Airedales had been used as police dogs since the turn of the century. As the Great War broke out, the German military chose Airedales over German Shepherds for service as messengers and guards.
The entire British War Dog program was developed by Colonel Edwin Richardson. His preference for Airedales soon made them famous as the first official British war dogs. Through battlefield accounts and wartime posters and sketches, the Airedale became a wartime hero. By 1920 the Airedale Terrier was the most popular breed in the United States and England.
Abbey King Nobbler was famous among dog breeders on both sides of the Atlantic. A short section about him is included in the The Modern Airedale, by W.J. Phillips, published in 1921. (I love Google.)
Phillips was apparently well known in the show-dog world of his day, according to Google Books, which has scanned a sample of his lengthy history of the breed.
He notes that Abbey King Nobbler made his debut at the Crufts Show in London.
“Nobbler did not set the Thames on fire on his first introduction into the charmed circle,” Phillips reports. “However, he was spotted by a few of the ‘heads,’ who immediately got in touch with the owner and breeder …”
Phillips sums up the career of Abbey King Nobbler as a show dog this way:
I place him as one of the best of our modern champions, and he claims a right position along with the “top” Airedales that have made history. As a puppy he was very raw and immature, but with age he gained all the attributes that go to make an ideal Airedale.
In Airedale correctness … King Nobbler, as the model, should fill the bill. It would be superfluous to criticize him minutely.
I am not going to place him as the perfect Airedale, always remembering there are spots on the sun, but he is, in the writer’s opinion, as near perfection as any Airedale of the past decade. He sailed to America unbeatable after his first show, in which country he is equally successful, doing much good for the American breeders generally.
Bowen J. Tyler’s Nobs was also unbeatable, conquering both French maidens and prehistoric beasts.
“What I lack of being a ladies’ man, Nobs certainly makes up for as a ladies’ dog,” Tyler wrote in his manuscript, recounting how Lys La Rue stroked the Airedale’s head as they drifted in a lifeboat.
The old scalawag just closed his eyes and put on one of the softest ‘sugar-wouldn’t-melt-in-my-mouth expressions’ you ever saw and stood there taking it and asking for more. It made me jealous.
“You seem fond of dogs,” I said.
“I am fond of this dog,” she replied.
Crown Prince Nobbler escaped Caspak with his master, and they presumably resumed their interrupted journey to ravaged Europe. After The Land That Time Forgot, The Great War must have seemed tame.
I can find no record of whether Abbey King Nobbler survived that horrible conflict, or if he served his masters as nobly as Tyler’s Crown Prince Nobbler.