Robert Matzen, Trudy McVicker & James Stewart!

25 Oct

Robert Matzen has written a new book about the life of Jimmy Stewart and in the book he features someone many of us at The Errol Flynn Blog love very much: Trudy McVicker. Her connections to Flynn go deep. She encountered him as a young girl when he and his wife Pat were staying at a hotel in Germany and he smiled at her as he walked past her and of course she never forgot it. Later, she became great friends with Earl Conrad – the ghostwriter of My Wicked Wicked Ways who worked intimately with Errol to give the world his life story.

Robert writes to us:

David, my new book, “Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe” is being released today and I’ve been meaning to contact you. Could you please let the Flynn network know that Trudy McVicker is featured in Mission because her life intersected with the Eighth Air Force on several occasions. I spent months working with her on her story as a witness to history and she is known by her birth name Gertrud Siepmann in the narrative. There are five short chapters that concern her.


I approached Trudy to tell her story because I knew she was in the war but didn’t know any details. It turns out she remembers Kristallnacht pretty vividly and saw Hitler speak in 1939. She was a witness to the first RAF bombing of Germany in Wilhelmshaven in 1940 (after relentless night bombing the family fled to the country), and in 1944 she lived in Eppstein just northwest of Frankfurt when Jim and the boys flattened it. She remembers a B-17 crew of Americans that was captured and paraded down the Bergstrasse of Eppstein and she watched dogfights between Allied and Luftwaffe fighters. On one occasion she had to dive for cover when a P-47 Thunderbolt detected movement and swept down to “stitch the road.” Her mother and brother were wounded in another P-47 attack on a train they were riding in.

It was a difficult decision on her part to agree to be a part of the book because many of her memories are painful, and she was concerned how Stewart would be portrayed, as well as how her family would be seen given that her father was affiliated with the German Navy. But she did agree and now her precious link to history has been preserved in the book.

There are three supporting characters that help give a 360-degree view of Stewart’s world: Gertrud Siepmann the little German girl (12 when the war ended), Clem Leone, an American radioman from Baltimore, and Dolfo Galland, the commanding general of German fighters. With these three, we get to see not only what Jim saw from the flight deck of a B-24 but also the view amidships from the radio operator’s position, the view of the bomber stream from the German POV, and the effect of bombing on the ground as seen by the Siepmann family.

I have known Trudy for almost 40 years and the fact that she grew up in the middle of WWII was an abstract thing until I started to read some short stories she wrote about it and interview her for details. Last year Mary and I visited Eppstein where she lived and also Frankfurt, a city she still dearly loves. We even saw the very bomb shelter in Eppstein where she and her family would duck–it’s still there, carved into the rocky hillside with the big wooden doors padlocked (photo attached). The more we talked, the more things she remembered and the results are pretty spectacular.


I thought your group would get a kick out of the fact that Trudy is having the spotlight shone on her. After her lifetime of generosity and helping others, nobody could possibly deserve it more.

Today is Mission’s official publication date and it’s already doing pretty well on Amazon. It was just a couple of hours ago rated a “must-read book of the week” by the New York Post. The website is….

Thanks for agreeing to spread the word, Dave.



— You are very Welcome!

— David DeWitt


Robin Hood Matte Painting and Behind The Scenes.

24 Oct

Some of these I have never seen before.

— twinarchers


All Avenidas Led to Caesar’s

24 Oct

Live from Caesar’s, photos for the EFB.

Chaplin, Barrymore, Arbuckle, Keaton, Capone, Hayworth and Flynn, they all came here. A top hot spot for Hollywood luminaries during Prohibition, and, again, during the U.S. gambling ban of WW II.

See if you can see Mickey Rooney and Joe DiMaggio in the photos below.…







— Gentleman Tim


Oh Oh, who should know?

23 Oct


Dear fellow Flynn fans,

who is the famous actor that started his career as an uncredited extra in one of Errol`s London Years films.

He has a strong, rather a non- British accent

won an Academy Award

loves golf

starred as king, spy, robber & space cowboy

alongside Ingrid Bergman, Gina Lollobrigida and Brigitte Bardot

Quiz me if you can,

— shangheinz


Miller Time with Flynn

21 Oct


From American Cinematographer

The Sea Hawk Meets the Six Pack

Hardesty, Mary, American Cinematographer

Miller spot uses classic footage from Flynn adventure to set up clever pitch for product.

Did you ever notice the monkey in the galley scene from the classic film The Sea Hawk starring Errol Flynn? Maybe not, but Miller Beer has cleverly brought him to the foreground with their new Miller Genuine Draft Beer 30-second takeoff. This time the monkey appears monkey appears at one of the portholes and drops a bottle which rolls to one of the rowing men.

“The knife the forced laborers use to extricate themselves and escape [in the film] is now a bottle of beer,” explains cinematographer Curtis Clark, ASC, who collaborated on the ad with first-time director Angus Wall. “The challenge was to link Errol Flynn and the original actors with our new guy. Instead of the knife, he’s handed the bottle of beer.”

To make it appear as if Flynn was actually handed a brew, Clark used motion control and a bottle on a rig to match the actions needed to composite the bottle into the late actor’s hand.

Light, angles and perspective proved to be the biggest worries during the five-day shoot at Renmar Studios in Los Angeles, on a set constructed to match the 1940s set. “We had the original footage with us during the entire shoot, so we were able to estimate the perspective needed,” Clark recalls. Although he didn’t have access to continuity reports of the original footage, he was able to make use of video assist to help him match footage. “We would feed in the original scene and superimpose our bottle over the point where Flynn’s hand was, which allowed us to quickly see if the bottle was at the correct perspective,” explains Clark, who was given one day to shoot two such scenes.

To capture the original Forties look, Clark chose Kodak Double X black & white stock. “We took the closest source of the film – in this case a D-1 transfer from Turner Broadcasting’s library –
and used it on the Cineon at Pacific Ocean Post to replicate the look of the original film grain, which was coarser than today’s stock,” explains Clark. “Because we didn’t know the exact steps the filmmakers went through to create the original footage, we had to guess the grain sharpness and diffusion levels.”

To further add to the authentic period feel, Clark and the director decided to recreate the shooting style of the period using the same lighting techniques and lenses.

Fortunately, Clark had found a set of old Cooke lenses that had been rehoused when he was shooting the King Kong Eveready Battery spot [AC March ’94], so he was able to use that gained knowledge to save time and accomplish his lighting tests in only one day.

“From my work on the King Kong spot I knew we needed to use tungsten lighting and traditional studio lamps. The lighting styles used in those days were, in many respects, old-fashioned,” observes Clark, who notes that many older features lack lighting continuity. “They’re not anything like what we would do today. The trick is to always refer back to the reality of the original film and not do what you would normally do to improve the lighting. Making it nicer is not the point: you want to
capture the original Forties look, Clark chose Kodak Double X black & white stock. “We took the closest source of the film – in this case a D-1 transfer from Turner Broadcasting’s library . We had to guess the grain sharpness and diffusion levels [the original filmmakers used.]”

To further add to the authentic period feel, Clark and the director decided to recreate the shooting style of the period using the same lighting techniques and lenses. Fortunately, Clark had found a set of old Cooke lenses that had been rehoused when he was shooting the King Kong Eveready Battery spot.

Publication information: Article title: The Sea Hawk Meets the Six-Pack. Contributors: Hardesty, Mary – Author. Magazine title: American Cinematographer. Volume: 76. Issue: 5 Publication date: May 1995. Page number: 81+. © American Society of Cinematographers.

Is there anyone out there who knows where to find a copy of the Sea Hawk Miller commercial? I’m sure we all would love to see it posted! Thanks.

Here’s the scene stealing Sea Hawk monkey stealing a separate scen from Sea Hawk:

— Gentleman Tim


Live from the Cafe LaMaze

19 Oct

Hangout of Hollywood megastars travelling to and fro Old Tijuana:…

Note images of Veronica Lake, Clark Gable and Lana Turner on the southern wall:



The former secret upstairs casino:



From the official website, here’s interior shot of the current day restaurant, with a commanding image of Flynn:


— Gentleman Tim


Live from Lovely Rita’s

17 Oct

In Celebration of Rita Hayworth’s 98th Birthday

Live from Lovely Rita’s home in Chula Vista, California, where she lived as a young teen, working across the border in Golden Age Tijuana, only fifteen or so minutes away. Rita performed at Hollywood honcho hangouts like the Hotel (Agua) Caliente and the Foreign Club Cafe de Luxe, where she began her entertainment career dancing with her father in The (Dancing) Cansinos.…


In a photo taken this weekend for the EFB, here is Margarita’s former childhood home, a fact her present day neighbors were thrilled to learn.


And here are photos from that era of her early career, when she was Margarita Cansino.



As a young teen, Rita danced at the following famous Hollywood-popular venues in Tijuana, where it is said she was discovered.




¡Adios, Flynnamigos!

— Gentleman Tim


Your Call: Most Handsome Man in The Colony

16 Oct

The most handsome man ever. Errol Flynn?

… Or was it Brooke’s father, and Errol’s former tennis friend, Frank Shields?

Two opinions found in this definitive article on New York’s premier high society haunt. I vote with the Lebanese doorman’s wife. How about you?…





— Gentleman Tim



14 Oct


FIRST PITCH – Right Down the Middle

With the summer season of Cricket beginning Down Under, who was “The Errol Flynn of Cricket”?



What film did both Errol and Lili appear in?

This being a Hall of Fame-level pitch, I provide the following batting tips
(not that they’ll likely help much – this a very, very tough one!):

> It was produced by Howard Hughes.

> Paulette Goddard co-starred.

> E.F.Hutton was involved.

> It was filmed entirely outside California.


— Gentleman Tim


A bloody prelude to Robin Hood

14 Oct


Dear fellow Flynn fans,

the 14th of october 2016 marks the 950th anniversary of the bloody Battle of Hastings.

When Edward the Confessor died without a successor in early 1066, three other noble horsemen claimed the throne of England.

At first Harald Goodwinson proclaimed himself Harald II. His brother Tostig challenged him instantly for the crown with the help of a Norwegian army (the Danes and Norwegians had held larg parts of the British Isle since the 9th century). Harald II. preveiled in the Battle at Stamford Bridge on the 25h September.

Meanwhile William the Conqueror entered the South of England from Normandy. Harald II. marched his weary men all the way down from the North and erected a wall on a knoll, which at first held firm against the furious attacks from the Normans. They were fighting the proverbial uphill battle. When TC William seemed to retreat, the Anglo Saxons left their forification to deliver the death blow. But the Normans suddenly turned and responded with a surprising onslaught. 7000 was the final deathcount at a time when towns averaged 2500 people.
Harald II. got ambushed and lost life, kingdom and ocular globe on the spot. The historic scene is depicted on a famous tapestry, showing him being hit by an arrow into the eye.

Wicked Will became King William I. on Christmas day of that year and abolished landownership immediately. His Normans` Earls and Counts were lent the lands seized from the Saxon aristocracy.

Enter Sir Robin Hood from Hollywood.


— shangheinz