My dear fellow Flynn fans,
Errol got immortalized in a book called “More tales from the travellers” published in Oxford 2005. This collection of tales by members of the Travellers Club London features a short story done by Mr. Robin Hanbury- Tenison, who recalls his encounter with our Hollywood hero in Havana 6 months prior his death. Thanks to my Irish friend from Galway, Dr. Alexander O`Hara, who provided me with the book, I can post this tall tale here now.
Invited by Baron Joseph de Biskei Dobronyi, a former WWII Pilot born in Hungaria, this Englishman and his first wife Marika, came to Cuba at turbulent times . “I am afraid there`s been a spot of bother this week, well a revolution actually, but that`s normal in these parts and I promise it won´t affect the fun we are going to have.” Those were the words that the two travellers were greeted with by their Hungarian host, who was known to all islanders as “Sepy”. As it turned out they were the only foreign guests at the Hilton apart from another couple, who was friendly with Sepy. Most of the rooms had been occupied by Castro`s fighters of both sexes wearing their green fatigues draped with weapons. “They had long hair and charming manners, didn`t sleep in beds, but used the floors and according to the bemused staff, left everything immaculate.”
One night they went to Sepy`s suite for cocktails and met the other couple of American descent. “An extemely attractive, suave, older man started making a big play for Marika, while I talked to his beautiful and much younger girlfriend. My wife clearly had no idea who he was, although I had recognised him immediately from the movies. It was Errol Flynn.”
At that time as we know Errol was the sole prominent Westener to identify himself with Casto`s cause supporting it actively. “He claimed to have fought with “El maximo lider” and threatened to show us his wound…” Associated with Errol, Sepy`s gang could do no wrong. Appointed guardians and playmates for his much loved girlfriend Woodsie, they visited the sights, such as Hemingway`s house and the bar he patronized. At night they drank and danced at the legendary Tropicana Nightclub, still functioning with all its gorgeous girls and singers playing to an empty house.
Meanwhile Errol was observing the downside of revolution at close range. “As international figure he was useful to the regime, lending some legitimacy to the nastier things they felt had to be done to secure their hold on the country. Quick trials and kangaroo courts followed by executions took place every evening- Errol was expected to attend.” When he joined the others at the club in the small hours, he was grey with strain of the horrors he had seen, but in his inimitable way ready for party soon thereafter. “I am down to two bottles of vodka a day” he would claim.
“One dawn, as we staggered out on the streets where daylight was just breaking, we saw a sight which stopped the film star at his tracks. A car with two huge wooden barrels filled with milk was trundling past. Between the shafts were six white mules.” “This is my scene!” shouted Errol waving an imaginary sword and leaping onto the cart beside the startled driver. A wad of Dollars dispatched the latter and, as we all climbed aboard, our swashbuckling hero cracked the whip over the astonished mules. Reluctent they broke into a gallop and we careered through the streets of sleeping Havana, milk slopping out of the barrels onto the pavements. El Flynn y sus amigos were doing their thing and reliving a hundred of his film roles.”
I hope you enjoyed this time tavel as much as I did,