Many thanks to David for asking me to post here. I look forward to contributing here and I hope you’ll all forgive some of my hazy recollections. It’s been a while.
Some of you may recall that in the distant past I used to have one of the only Flynn web sites out there. If you never saw it, you didn’t miss much but it was all we had at the time! As I recall, there was only mine and D.David’s excellent site on the web. Thankfully, these days there a whole host of profesional looking pages to browse and I’m sure it doesn’t take about ten minutes to scan and upload a photograph anymore either- which helps!
In the late 90′s circumstances were such that I had to sell off most of my Flynn collection to pay for more pressing needs. At this point I lost heart in the Flynn hobby and to be honest it’s taken me this long to recover from the emotional trauma of having to say goodbye to all that great stuff that I could never replace. To make matters even worse, Lincoln Hurst purchased a lot of my stuff and I could at least console myself that it had gone to a good home but then poor Lincoln passed away before he could finish what would have been a great Flynn book.
I’ll give you a taste of some of the great pieces I’d picked up in the early 90′s when I got the collecting bug (I can talk about it now without sobbing…).
A signed Malvern Festival programme from 1934
A signed copy of Beam Ends
A letter from Errol to Olivia asking her to appear in Never Say Goodbye and her reply to him
A letter from Errol to his Harley Street doctor, the content of which could only be interpreted as being about the supply of cocaine (for Errol’s sinuses…)
A signed photo of Errol and Lili almost certainly taken by Herman Erben
A Charge of the Light Brigade US one sheet
A beautiful Sea Hawk insert (I REALLY miss that one!)
Various original release Robin Hood lobby cards
A 1934 programme from Northampton Rep
The list was a long one including numerous autographs, original posters and hundreds of vintage stills and postcards. As I say, impossible to replace now when even a nice original portrait still seems to cost $50 or so on Ebay.
Another cool thing from those days was that the National Film Theatre in London had an Errol Flynn season, showing his films on the big screen (including They Died With Their Boots On in a cut that had several extra bits of footage that do not appear on any VCR or dvd version I’ve ever seen!). The highlight of this event was a panel session with Pat Wymore and the late, great, Jack Cardiff. Jack also showed some of the rushes from William Tell and spoke with great affection about Errol.
It’s great to see that the Flynn literature has moved on since those days. Tom McNulty’s and Jeffry Meyers’ books have really improved the knowledge base compared to 15 years back. Of course, we’re still served up the odd slice of guff in the form of David Bret’s books but I suppose it’s better than Higham, eh? Sad that Lincoln’s book never got finished as I’m sure that would have been THE one as I know he’d got some great original research material together.
It’s a pleasure now to be able to watch most of Errol’s films in relatively clear dvd quality compared to some wobbly VCR copies of copies. In those days I had everything but Hello God and Murder in Monte Carlo. I have to be honest and say that just about everything worth watching is now available on dvd (except perhaps for Another Dawn which I quite enjoyed).
Anyhow, since leaving Errol I’ve become more interested in other stars of the era such as Cary Grant and Bogart and more modern figures such as Oliver Reed and the Indiana Jones films. I’m just a big old geek I’m affraid.
I’ll leave you for now with my personal top five Flynn films for your consideration:
The Sea Hawk
The Dawn Patrol
They Died With Their Boots On
The Adventures of Don Juan
His most underated film for me is Never Say Goodbye. By far the best of his comedies and really gives a flavour of what he could have done in that genre given more of a chance. Also it’s essential Christmas viewing in my house!
Ciao for now
PS- I’m on Facebook if any of you are looking to chat!