A Very Gracious Olivia — June 3, 2009

03 Jun

Answering by a letter she dated June 3, 2009, questions from Nick Thomas of Tinseltown Talks:

[How many films did you and Errol Flynn appear in together?]

I worked with Errol in eight movies from 1935 to 1941. We appeared quite separately, however, in a ninth film, ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars,’ in which we had no connection whatsoever. This film’s shooting dates extended from October 1942 to early January, 1943. Our first film together, “Captain Blood,” began August 5, 1935 and ended in October, 1935.

[Your final film together was “They Died with Their Boots On.” Did you ever see Errol again?]

After ‘Boots’ was completed in September, 1941, I saw Errol only three times during all the years that followed:

1. At Harvey’s Restaurant in Washington, D.C., in the spring or early summer of 1942 when, perceiving John Huston and me dining there, Errol crossed the room, sat down at our table, and conversed for a while.

2. Very briefly at a soirée in Los Angeles in the spring of 1943.

3. In the fall of 1957 at the Beverly Hilton’s Costumers Ball. Quite unexpectedly, while I was talking to friends during the cocktail hour, Errol left his own group and asked if he could take me to dinner. He seated me on his immediate right and, soon joined by others, took on the role of gracious host with everyone on his left – all the ladies – while I did my best to entertain the gentleman on my right.

[Over the years, Errol has been sensationalized by the press and authors. Has he been mischaracterized?]

His roguish reputation was very well deserved, as he more than candidly revealed in his remarkable autobiography, ‘My Wicked, Wicked Ways.’ However, through this very same book we also know that he was a reflective person – sensitive, idealistic, vulnerable, and questing. But I think he has been incompletely represented by the press: it vulgarized his adventures with the opposite sex and seldom, if ever, touched upon or emphasized the other facets of his life.

[Errol had 4 children, a son and 3 daughters. What were his feelings about parenthood?]

I know that, as a very young man, Errol very much wanted children. Children were, in fact, an issue between Errol and Lili (his first wife) in the early years of their marriage as Lili, influenced by a common belief in those times, was afraid that carrying a child would threaten the perfect figure with which she had been blessed. Later, when the marriage was disintegrating, Lili changed her mind and Sean Flynn, that beautiful child, was born. It may well be that the only steadfast loves of Errol’s life were his love of the sea, his love of his house, and his love of his children.

[Flynn was never recognized for his acting with even an Oscar nomination. Was that an oversight?]

Unfortunately, at the time when Errol enjoyed his greatest success, the adventure film, as a genre, was not sufficiently appreciated and therefore his appearances therein were not as highly regarded as they might. ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’ is perhaps an exception: it was nominated for the Academy Award as Best Picture in 1938. The film was based on an historical legend, and this gave it a certain prestige. As to which of Errol’s performances should have merited an Academy Award, I would have to run all of Flynn’s films to give a proper reply!

However, I do feel he played his roles with unmatchable verve, conviction, and style. In doing so, he inherited the mantle of Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., who was my favorite film star at the age of 9 and whose ‘The Black Pirate’ made an indelible impression on me. No one since Errol has worn that mantle; it is buried with him.

[Olivia concluded her letter with the following post script.}

On June 20th (Flynn’s birthday), I will raise a glass of champagne to Errol, as I always do.

— Gentleman Tim


Flyin Like Flynn — June 2, 1938

02 Jun

— Gentleman Tim


Travelin to Avalon and Fishin Like Flynn

02 Jun

June 1, 2020: Fishin Like Flynn – on the Ranger

History of the Tuna Club of Avalon

Here’s a wonderful 1938 Catalina Travelogue, featuring fishing as Flynn would have fished. (~ Fishing segment is from ~ 15:20 to 18:20)

— Gentleman Tim


The Producer(s)

01 Jun

June 1, 1939

Louella O. Parsons
Los Angeles Examiner

Hadn’t been back but a few minutes when I heard that Jack Warner plans a Westward trek serialization with Mark Hellinger, the well-know Hearst writer, making his debut as a producers, and Michael Curtiz directing. Dodge City, which brought in the shekels, gave Warners the notion. Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, and Ann Sheridan, will star in Tombstone, laid in 1881, starting with the line in Dodge City, let’s go to Virginia City.” That name cannot be used because of the RKO movie. After Tombstone, City of Angels, a history of early Los Angeles in 1889, will be made with same cast and director.

Well, as we Flynnmates know, Tombstone was never made with Flynn, Olivia, or Annie. Nor was City of Angels. Virginia City was made, but not with Mark Hellinger producing. Hellinger, an extremely popular and successful show business figure, known not only for his great writing talent but also for his loyalty and fairness, got fed up and left Warner Bros. in response to Jack Warner’s egomaniacal habit of not giving proper production credit to others. (JW infamously did the same to Hal Wallis over the Oscar for Casablanca.) Hellinger did return, however, to produce his wartime baby inspired by MGM’s first musical (and part Technicolor production,) Broadway Melody of 1929,Thank Your Lucky Stars. So, Hellinger did finally get to produce a film with Errol, Olivia, and Annie, though certainly not how he had originally envisioned. Moreover, he got to act in the film himself, as can be seen in the clip below, in full from ~ 0:50 to 1:50. That’s him with Eddie Cantor.

Here’s Mark Hellinger with Errol’s Man Friday, Alex Pavlenko, at Mulholland Farm’s legendary bar. This photo is from the Deirdre Flynn Collection. A better image of this can be seen in Robert Matsen’s Errol Flynn Slept Here. Thank you, Deirdre.

— Gentleman Tim



31 May


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T minus 22 /// \\\ T minus 33

31 May

T minus 22

Today is 22 days till the Errol Flynn Global Toast on June 20, 2020, the 111th Anniversary of Errol’s birth.

A Toast to Number 1 on His 111

For all those lookin’ to drink like Flynn for this event, here is a post that details dozens of liquid refreshments Errol is known to have enjoyed at various locations throughout his life, around the globe.

How to make an Errol Flynn

T minus 33

Please remember that we are also toasting Olivia d’s birthday on July 1st, her number 104! Olivia herself toasts Errol every year on his birthday with champagne at her home in Paris. So, you may find champagne or French wine apropos on her birthday. But, again, please toast with anything you wish – from Tang to Tangueray – or even, perhaps, some Sake from her birthplace in Tokyo!

— Gentleman Tim


Announcement of USO Tour — May 30, 1951

30 May


— Gentleman Tim


Friday, May 29 Quiz — What was It? Who was It?

30 May

He was in love with a famous swinger …

There was a lot of drinking and skullduggery involved …

And some weekend fun up at the Farm …

Alas, but not least, you know him well

— Gentleman Tim


The Greatest Symphonic Film Composer of All Time — Erich Wolfgang Korngold — Born May 29, 1892

29 May

Freedom: Magnificence on the Mersey

Pioneering and Still-Unparalleled Compositional Precision

The Greatness and Legacy of Erich Wolfgang Korngold

— Gentleman Tim


Flynn Floats an Idea

29 May

TIME Magazine: May 29, 1944



Errol Flynn, well-known Hollywood yachtsman, had a new idea about boats, considered converting a sloop into a floating aquarium.

— Gentleman Tim


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