Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Friday, May 3, 2013


Tarzan, Jr. by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1937)

Colleen Moore (born Kathleen Morrison, 1898-1988 -- although she claimed to be born in 1902) was a silent film star who first auditioned for D. W. Griffith when she was fifteen.  Although she may have had walk-on roles in several films before she went to Hollywood, her first known role was an uncredited one as a maid in 1916's Prince of Graustark.  From there she worked her way up in the industry, from bit roles, to westerns, then to light comedy and more substantial films.  As she gained experience, she grew in popularity, becoming a major star as well as a fashion icon.

She left film with the advent of sound motion pictures.  She was shrewd with money and invested well.  Her later careers included being a successful real estate broker, a partner in Merrill Lynch, and a partner (with King Vidor) in a television production company.

In 1928 her father made a large doll house for her.  The house, a "fairy c.astle" was nine feet square and towered to twelve feet.  The interior was designed by Harold Grieve, a set designer and noted interior designer.  The doll house toured the country and is now on exhibit at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, where some million and a half people view it yearly.

The detail in the house is amazing and its contents...its contents are rarely and expensive. Moore
continued to add to the house for the rest of her life.  The library, for example, contains around a hundred books -- real books, many by prominent authors.  One such author was Edgar Rice Burroughs.

You thought I'd never get around to ERB, didn't you?

In 1937, Moore asked Burroughs if he would contribute a book to her fairy castle.  He came up with an original, pretty silly, and simplistic story.  His son, illustrator John Coleman Burroughs, came up with (again) original, pretty silly, and simplistic drawings to complement his father's work.  The book itself was one inch square, hand-written.  It is a one-of-a-kind book.  The only copy resides in the Fairy Castle in Chicago. 

Known mainly to Burroughs completists, Tarzan, Jr. is a truly forgotten book, if not a dang-I never-knew-it-existed book.  On the positive side, book displays the author's whimsy.  On the negative side...well, there really can't be a negative side to such a trifle (unless you count the author's hasty poor spelling).

First, a little more information on Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle, Check out this link, which includes a fascinating slide show of the various rooms in the castle:

Then, it will probably take you under a minute to read Tarzan, Jr.  The link eliminates all that time-consuming page turning replacing it with a slightly less time-consuming downward scroll:


For links to today's Forgotten (and more substantial) Books, visit pattinase, the wonderful blog of the wonderful Patti Abbott.

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