Archive for March, 2010
Since Wednesday I am deep in bed with
influenza and last night, awakening
from a sort of marathon sleep, switching on the TV and with in seconds I
was Bright Eyes and what scene do you think is right in front of my
very eyes at this very minute?
The very scene John describes in
his Titchfield article, Errol going accidentally into the ladies'
bathroom I couldn't believe my eyes or my ears – I was stunt and
again I laughed my head off! They actually used Errol's incident in a
movie. There you see, the poor man couldn't even go to bathroom without
a movie being made of it! Ha – ha – ha!
Maybe this is old news
to some of you, sorry, but maybe not to all of you, it
is news to me! Let's Enjoy!
At the time I saw the movie TCM's
schedule was different “The Ruling Class” also with Peter O'Toole, but
as per my research the movie playing was “My Favorite Year” 1982 starring Peter O'Toole in a divine
comedy and parody of Errol Flynn. My research about this movie took me
to You Tube, I thought due to missing the beginning I could maybe see
it there, but what I found instead is an actual presentation of the
passage. What would the British say that? I say, I say old
chap on you tube, you don't say?
is a most delightful movie “A Must Watch It” for an Errol fan, in
addition containing a very profound precious scene when Benjy
Stone is mad at Allan Swann (Errol) for having fears and being in
Stone… I'm afraid. I'm afraid. That's why I couldn't get out of the
car to see my Tess, my child.
Alan Swann, afraid? The Defender of the Crown? Captain from Tortuga? The
Last Knight of the Round Table?
Those are movies, damn you! Look at me! I'm flesh and blood, life-size,
no larger! I'm not that silly God-damned hero! I never was!
To *me* you were! Whoever you were in
those movies, those silly goddamn
heroes meant a lot to *me*! What does it matter if it was an illusion?
It worked! So don't tell me this is you life-size. I can't use you
life-size. I need Alan Swanns as big as I can get them! And let me tell
you something: you couldn't have convinced me the way you did unless
somewhere in you you *had* that courage! Nobody's that good an actor!
You *are* that silly goddamn hero!
I think this is a very beautiful passage, extremely
fitting and to the point!
Movie Review – A Perfect Film
Have you ever watched a film and wished it wouldn't end?
Where you loved
the characters, adored each scene, and laughed at every joke, even after
you'd seen the film so many times that you could quote the dialog? MY
FAVORITE YEAR is that kind of movie!
Directed with gusto by
Richard Benjamin, the film is both a loving tribute
to Sid Caesar's 'Your Show of Show', and the remarkable talents that
it together each week, and a sincere homage to Errol Flynn, whose antics
larger-than-life persona, in the waning years of his life, still had a
of magic that could enthrall a shy young fan, or make a woman
Three dynamic performances dominate the film. Mark
Linn-Baker, as Benjy
Stone, based on the young Mel Brooks, is a shy kid who hides his
insecurities behind a rapid-fire wit. The dazzling young star in a staff
comedy 'pros', Stone suffers from an unrequited love from fellow staffer
C. Downing (Jessica Harper), and has an inspiration, inviting legendary
swashbuckler Alan Swann (Peter O'Toole) to appear on the show. As King
Kaiser, star of the hit series, Joseph Bologna captures much of Sid
legendary physical 'presence' and irreverence to authority. When
by gangsters over a 'too close to home' series of parodies about crime
Karl Rojeck (portrayed with brute menace by veteran actor Cameron
Kaiser 'thumbs his nose' at them, mimicking the gangster mercilessly.
KEEP doing it!” he taunts. “Why? Because it's FUNNY!”
is Peter O'Toole's 'Alan Swann'. With his own career a roller
coaster ride of alcoholism, resulting in the near destruction of his
no actor could have 'channeled' Errol Flynn better. Just as Flynn, by
1950s, O'Toole was a nearly burned-out roué, his classic good looks long
O'Toole's matinee-idol appearance, after years of self-abuse, had aged
a gaunt mask, making Benji Stone's film montage of 'classic' clips more
poignant. What Flynn still had, in abundance, were charm and a ready
and O'Toole's 'Swann' is so enchanting a personality that you can't help
love him, and root for him to succeed.
From the opening nostalgic
strains of Nat King Cole's rendition of
'Stardust', through Benjy's futile effort to attempt to keep Swann sober
(Red Skelton loved to tell how he kept Flynn sober on his program…he
emptied all of the actor's bottles of vodka, replacing it with
Flynn couldn't tell the difference!), to a riotous Swann dinner with
family, to the near-disastrous broadcast, with Swann developing stage
fright, and Kaiser brawling with mob enforcers…MY FAVORITE YEAR has
glorious scene after another, each unforgettable!
One of the
AFI's '100 Greatest Film Comedies', MY FAVORITE YEAR will bring a
tear to your eye, even as you laugh. It was a time of legends, and
who would live up to boyhood dreams.
Film comedy doesn't get any
better than this!
Dear Errol Fans,
I apologize for being away for so long. I have been doing research work for a group of families that, curiously enough, have a link to Errol and are almost as fascinating. The group in question is the Mitchell / Tiffany / Bingham family. They are the descendants of the family that built and lived in the Folly Mansion in Port Antonio some 100 years ago.
I myself came to Port Antonio in 1978 to see the Folly house as I had read about it in Nat. Geo. Magazine as a boy and laid awake at night trying to imagine what it was like in real life. I confess I didn't know much about Errol then. (That came later) I was instantly transfixed and vowed to find out as much as I could because the place was so incredible. That vow was put to the test when I simply could not find much of anything about the place except for a few fables and photos. I was stymied, and I hate that.
Fast foreword 3 decades: I, quite by chance, stumbled upon a book; 'The Tiffany Fortune' and hit pay dirt. I contacted the Mitchell family in CT. and made fast friends with Alfreda (Alfie) Mitchell, who sent 2 DVDs with photo's that quite simply were not available anywhere. (They were scanned from a photo album and all were over 100 years old.) I will include some in this posting as I got permission from the family.
Alfred Mitchell, from Salem, CT was a rich traveler who had been just about everywhere when he happened upon Port Antonio. He and his wife, Annie Tiffany Mitchell stayed at the then booming Titchfield Hotel and while there, fell in love with the area. Alfred decided to build a winter home on what was known as 'Folly Point'.(across the bay from Port Antonio) He purchased the land and set about building a Greek-Roman style villa in the winter of 1904-1905. It was a huge undertaking and cost a fortune, but Mr. Mitchell was happy with the outcome and built Horse stables, a 'Grotto' and Greek Cupola on the point to watch the breakers, and a large tropical garden on the property. It was a grand thing indeed. The house even had a steam-powered electrical generator in the basement and electric lights, which at the time, were the very latest luxury indeed. The mansion even had running water and a walk-in sauna bath on the lower level that measured 8' by 10' and 5' deep. Mr. Mitchell even had the first automobile in Jamaica, brought over by ship.(A huge Rolls-Royce touring car) Things were good indeed for the Mitchells. Their son-in-law; Hiram Bingham III was a notable South American explorer who discovered Macchu Picchu in 1912 and many other lost cities in the continent. In fact, the famous film-maker George Lucas was so inspired by Hiram that he used him as the inspiration for Indiana Jones in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'(!)
Not to be outdone, Hiram's Great-grandfather Hiram Bingham I was the main Missionary to settle the Hawaiian Islands in the 1820's and wrote a book;' A Residence of Twenty-one Years in the Sandwich Islands' which inspired the famous author James Michener to pen 'Hawaii' and pattern his character, Abner Hale after Hiram! I don't know about you readers, but to me, that is plenty impressive.
Alas, nothing lasts forever, and in the spring of 1911, Alfred died at the ripe old age of 80. Annie stayed in the mansion for two more winters and sold the home and land to one of Lorenzo Dow Bakers son's who kept it for 4 years before abandoning the property. The JA gov. took over the place eventually and it fell into ruin. There are rumors of the builders mixing salt water into the concrete and that being the reason for the roof falling in around 1935, but that rumor, like so many others, is completely false. First, N.Y. construction firm, James Wilkerson & Co. was a tried and true professional outfit that, because of the remoteness of the location, brought everything with them by sailing ship to construct the house.(including the water) Also the second floor was made from wooden beams. The concrete portion has held up remarkably well considering the location and the 100 years that have passed. Also the local people raided the house shortly after it was abandoned and ripped out the second floor columns which supported the roof, and generally took whatever was not nailed down.
Errol was also fascinated by the mansion and planned to refurbish it and turn it into a resort. Nora refers to Folly house in her book 'Errol and Me' by saying her and Errol visited the 'old fort' at lighthouse point. I suppose it does look like a fort in some ways. Patrice Wymore Flynn told me at Errol's centennial birthday that her and Errol tried to buy the property but the JA gov. would only lease it to them, so they had the lease for a number of years.
The old place is rapidly declining now and is fenced off from the public. That little bother didn't stop yours truly from scaling the 10 ft. tall fence and almost breaking my neck to get some photos. I took some 'before and after' photos using some of the old photos provided by the family and taking the 'after' shot from the same position. I tried to get the very same camera angle as the Daguerreotype camera that was used in 1910 but things like aperture size and focal plane are tough to duplicate exactly with my digital camera. I did my best though. What good luck that Alfred Mitchell was a camera buff and took over 800 photos of the house and surrounding property!
In closing: When I go there, I feel, or imagine I feel the traces of what it was like all those years ago, and how I am walking the same path as Errol did way back when. It sounds a little silly when you think about it but it makes me feel just a little closer to our hero. I'll leave it at that.
P.S. Note on photo 016. bmp Hiram III (standing) posed with the Mitchell family on the seaside porch of Folly only days before Alfred Mitchell's (on the left) death.
Beverly Aadland passed on recently. Today, few know her name, but a little more than 50 years ago, she existed amidst a scandal that would have made for a downbeat last chapter to Errol Flynn’s life, except that his Cuban adventure was even worse! Flynn set eyes on shapely, leggy, natural-blonde dancer Aadland on the Warner Brothers lot while he was making Too Much, Too Soon. He was 48 at the time; he figured she was 18 or 20, but her driver’s license said otherwise. Or it would have if she had have been old enough to obtain a driver’s license.
Flynn had always liked younger women, which wasn’t such a problem when he was 25 and a girl, say, Olivia de Havilland, was 19. But when he passed 30 and then 40 and continued to like ‘em 18 or so, it started to get creepy. The funny thing with Flynn was that in the beginning, he found older women attractive, like the society dame he squired in Australia, and like Lili Damita, who claimed to have been born in 1905 but was probably older when Flynn hooked up with her in Paris in 1934—when he was 24 and she was at least 30. Lili became Mrs. Errol Flynn number one. Flynn also went in a big way for the boss’s wife, Dorothy Lamour look-alike Ann Warner, wife of Jack L. Warner. In fact, on his climb up the Hollywood ladder, there were lots of older women who Flynn used, and who used Flynn.
It seems to have been the cunning, manipulative actions of Damita as she steered toward divorce that caused Flynn to make a conscious decision to stick to younger, less sophisticated types. After all, control was the thing with Flynn—control and conquest. Younger girls fit the bill in both cases. Added to that, he liked to love ‘em and leave ‘em, and, on the way out the door, he was less likely to have a shoe or a flower pot thrown at him by a younger girl than an older one.
He was 15 years older than second wife Nora Eddington, whom he married in 1944, and almost 20 years older than his third wife Patrice Wymore, whom he married in 1950. It wasn’t a tremendous surprise, then, when at age 48 he would score with an 18 year old, with the complicating factor being that she was really 16, and an extra complicating factor being that they quickly formed a close emotional attachment. Oh, and one more problem: years of debauchery had left him a bloated wreck who appeared to be far older than 48, meaning that his paramour looked like his granddaughter.
Even today, historians and journalists sneer at the association between Errol Flynn and Beverly Aadland, which went against the social grain of the 1950s in all respects. Flynn himself wrote transcripts of the byplay between the older man and the young girl that was infantile on both sides and tinged with cruelty on his part, but there can be no doubt that Beverly adored Errol and became his caretaker in the last year of his life when he had driven everyone else away. By now he was a brittle man who had survived many broken bones and a bad back. He had had a cancerous tumor removed from his mouth and perhaps a melanoma from his face. His lungs were shot from smoking and TB, and his liver from drinking. He had no money, was taking every TV appearance he could land, could no longer remember his lines on screen or on the stage, and couldn’t write when he used to be able to make a buck selling words. What a catch!
It was to Beverly’s credit that she stuck with him through the thick and thin of all that, and that she formed relationships with Flynn’s ex Nora and daughters Deirdre and Rory. Flynn’s October 1959 death was a nightmare for Beverly, played out on the world stage and what do you know; she reacted like an 18 year old and threw a tantrum and collapsed. But in subsequent days she pulled herself together and was sturdy through the funeral and aftermath.
Despite the notoriety of her association with Flynn, which led to a Mercury Records contract, TV appearances, and some discreet pictorials in men's magazines (see photo), Beverly Aadland had a hard life marked by diabetes and other ailments. Her passing at age 68 may go unnoticed, which signifies how much the world is changing and how far the flamboyant Errol Flynn, number-one Hollywood bad boy, has himself receded into the pages of history. But back in the day, the Flynn-Aadland scandal matched anything that today’s stars can offer, and at a time when America was far less shock-proof and, in fact, ready to send them both packing.
— Robert Matzen
Hello all. I just finished this book by Earl Conrad. I get that Crane Eden is Errol Flynn and Tishey is Woodsie. A lot of what is in this book was mentioned in Conrad's Memoirs and MWWW (booze, sex, drugs, parties, ex-wife and lovers, the hotel, the island setting, raw hamburger, diving, producers, debt, etc.). What I didn't quite get was the mention of incest. Was this added to notch it up a bit because EC explored this subject with EF or because Earl Conrad was so upset about the cockroaches in his food and pranks played on him while staying with EF in Jamaica??? If you've read this book, can you please give me your thoughts?
This is a wonderful song by Amanda McBroom the daughter of Hollywood actor David Bruce! It is very moving and touching – very worthwhile to listen too. A quite different tribute to Errol, but a very nice tribute! Enjoy!
Attached is David Bruce's picture for you to recall him as Errol's friend and in his movies!
I contacted Amanda McBroom through her website to ask her if she composed the song and if she had some memorabilia to add to the blog:
Thank you for your lovely e-mail.
I wrote the song, called ERROL FLYNN, with a man named Gordon Hunt,
father of actress Helen Hunt, as a tribute to my father, David Bruce.
They did several movies together in the 30's and 40's and were very
close friends. I don't remember ever meeting him. I was quite young when
Errol died, but I know my father was very fond of him. The song is directly connected to “Santa Fe Trail”. that was the movie poster
Gordon and I both had hanging on our walls which inspired us to write
I am glad you enjoy it.
David Bruce (left) in “Santa Fe Trail”!
Now my dear Blog readers one thing is very interesting in Amanda's reply – it is Gordon Hunt her co-composer, father of Helen Hunt. A-ha - was it Helen Hunt who purchased Errol's Mulholland Farm? Did she ordered the removal of Errol's house? Did she build her house on the very spot Errol's house stood? Did she sold it then to Justin Timberlake who owns it now. Anybody have the correct answers???
This unique picture comes to us from our member Elayna, not yet an author, who asked me to publish this picture for your enjoyment!
The rareness is in the hairstyle and dress as Errol doesn't wear them in the movie as pictured in this “Gentleman Jim” photograph! Great find Elayna!
Great Character Actor – No Kidding
(1880 – 1959)
She most often played Cockney and English roles but she was pure Irish. This delightful, diminutive, at 5' 2″, actress was a joy to watch. With a sharp featured face, cackling voice and birdlike mannerisms she was often cast as shrews, maids, spinsters, nagging wives and gossips. She was a most memorable character actress. Born Agnes Teresa McGlade in Belfast, Northern Ireland on October 23, 1880 she began her acting career with Dublin's famed Abbey Theatre graduating on to the London and Broadway stages. She made her film debut in 1929 in “Dark Red Roses” as Mrs. Meeks. Among her other film credits were: “Murder!” (1930) as Mrs. Grogram; “Cavalcade” (1933) which brought her to Hollywood to recreate her stage role as Ellen Bridges; “Timbuctoo” (1933) as Myrtle; “Pleasure Cruise” (1933) as Mrs. Signus; “The Invisible Man” (1933) with Claude Rains, as Jenny Hall; “Mary Stevens, M.D.” (1933) as Mrs. Arnell Simmons; “Orient Express” (1934) as Mrs. Peters; “The Poor Rich” (1934) as Lady Fetherstone; “The Barretts of Wimpole Street” (1934) as Wilson; “All Men Are Enemies” (1934) as Annie; “Stingaree” (1934) as Annie; “Chained” (1934) as Amy, Diane's Maid; “The Perfect Gentleman” (1935) as Harriet; “Father Brown, Detective” (1935) as Mrs. Boggs; “David Copperfield” (1935) as Mrs. Gummidge; “The Informer” (1935) with Victor McLaglen, as Mrs. McPhillip; “Bride of Frankenstein” (1935) as Minnie; “Rose-Marie” (1936) as Anna; “Lloyds of London” (1936) as Widow Blake; “Little Lord Fauntleroy” (1936) with Freddie Bartholomew, as Mary; “The Plough and the Stars” (1936) as Maggie Gogan; “Suzy” (1936) as Mrs. Bradley, Suzy's Landlady; “Personal Property” (1937) as Clara; “Call It a Day” (1937) as Mrs. Milson, the Housekeeper; “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938) with Errol Flynn, as Bess; “Return of the Frog” (1938) as Mum Oaks; “We Are Not Alone” (1939) as Susan; “All Women Have Secrets” (1939) as Mary; “His Brother's Keeper” (1939) as Eva; “It All Came True” (1940) as Maggie Ryan; “The Sea Hawk” (1940) as Miss Latham; “Lillian Russell” (1940) as Marie; “He Stayed for Breakfast” (1940) as Doreta; “Her First Beau” (1941) as Effie; “Three Girls About Town” (1941) as Maggie O'Callahan; “How Green Was My Valley” (1941) in an uncredited bit part; “The Strawberry Blonde” (1941) as Mrs. Timothy Mulcahey; “Kisses for Breakfast” (1941) as Ellie the Maid; “My Favorite Spy” (1942) as Cora the Maid; “Always in My Heart” (1942) as Angie; “Random Harvest” (1942) as Tobacconist; “Forever and a Day” (1943) as Mrs. Ismay; “Holy Matrimony” (1943) as Mrs. Leek; “This Land is Mine” (1943) as Mrs. Emma Lory; “Government Girl” (1943) as Mrs. Harris; “My Pal Wolf” (1944) as Mrs. Blevin; “The Canterville Ghost” (1944) as Mrs. Umney; “Christmas in Connecticut” (1945) as Norah; “The Bells of St. Mary's” (1945) one of my favorite of her roles, as Mrs. Breen; “The Return of Monte Cristo” (1946) as Miss Beedle; “Child of Divorce” (1946) as Nora the Maid; “Of Human Bondage” (1946) as Mrs. Foreman; “Cluny Brown” (1946) as Mrs. Wilson; “Banjo” (1947) as Harriet; “Unexpected Guest” (1947) as Mathilda Hackett; “Lost Honeymoon” (1947) as Mrs. Tubbs; “The Corpse Came C.O.D.” (1947) as Nora; “Ivy” (1948) as Mrs. Thrawn; “The Adventures of Don Juan” (1948) with Errol Flynn, as Duenna; “Fighting Father Dunne” (1948) as Miss O'Rourke; “Ha da veni… don Calogero!” (1952) an Italian film, as Perpetua; and “Witness for the Prosecution” (1957) as Janet McKenzie, her last film. She also guest starred on an episode of “Philco Television Playhouse” in 1948. She died on February 4, 1959 in New York City, New York of a heart ailment at age 78.
May 25, 1974 Donald Crisp, actor and director (Beloved Brat, Dawn Patrol, Sea Hawk), dies at 91
Basil Rathbone: Born: Johannesburg, South Africa, of British parents, 13 June 1892. Education: Attended Repton School, England. Family: Married 1) Ethel Marian Forman (divorced), one son; 2) the writer Ouida Bergere, late 1920s, daughter: Cynthia. Died: 21 July 1967. Captain Blood, Dawn Patrol
Ralph Bellamy, a veteran character actor who appeared in more than 100 movies but who attained his greatest recognition on Broadway as the stricken Franklin D. Roosevelt struggling to walk in “Sunrise at Campobello,” died November 29, 1991 at St. Johns Hospital and Health Center in Los Angeles. He was 87 years old. Ralph Rexford Bellamy was born in Chicago on June 17, 1904. Among his recent films were “Trading Places” (1983), with Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd and Don Ameche, and “Pretty Woman” (1990), with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. He also played a canny defense counsel in “The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell” (1955) and a satanic doctor in “Rosemary's Baby” (1968). In 1987, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented him with an honorary Oscar for his body of work. His autobiography, “When the Smoke Hit the Fan,” was published in 1979.
Dive Bomber, Footsteps in the Dark
Born February 17, 1914 in Worcester, Massachusetts
Died January 5, 1990 in Branford, Connecticut (brain tumor)
They Died With Their Boots On