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Mail Bag! Thomas McNulty: Remembrance of Heroes Errol Flynn

07 Oct

 

Hello David,
Here is some off-track trivia and random thoughts. All of these years later and Errol Flynn comes back to me in bits and pieces; rising from the depths of our cultural swamp with startling clarity. All of sudden there he is staring back at me from a stack of old Life magazines in some faraway antique shop; or grinning mischievously from some faded old movie magazine along with Roy Rogers and Trigger. I believe I own at least four copies of the famous Life magazine issue, last purchased at a flea market in June for five dollars and in perfect condition. I think of these images as “Lost America” which I’ve written about celebrating our remembrance of heroes and icons from yesteryear. I shouldn’t be surprised by this, although I am. A thousand years from now this image of Errol Flynn on horseback from Rocky Mountainwill no doubt find itself under scrutiny in some digital time-stream, lost in the nebulas of a galaxy swallowed by a black hole, perused by alien eyes, celebrated in song by the civilizations of our intergalactic future. This image has come to represent the iconic personification of the ideal Western hero. Of these images, my personal favorite is the Norman A. Fox paperback reprint by Dell in 1973, a fine novel that Fox reportedly wrote after meeting Audie Murphy on the set of Night Passage with James Stewart, based on Fox’s novel. Fox dedicated Rope the Wind to Audie Murphy who had encouraged Fox to write a novel that involved horses. Rope the Wind is a pretty damn good Western, too. They Called Him Calhoonis from the catalogue of Cleveland Westerns out of Australia, which strikes me as appropriate. Cleveland Westerns are the last pulp fiction Western digest magazines worldwide. The author, Brett McKinley, is a pseudonym for Paul Wheelahan, a prolific Australian author credited for writing hundreds of westerns for both Cleveland Publishing and Hale’s Black Horse Western imprint. There are more, but the Rocky Mountain image shows up constantly. I recently showed this still from Rocky Mountain to a young lass who shall remain nameless, and I asked her if she knew who this was and what did she think of the image? She squinted and pursed her lips, and finally said, “I don’t know who he is, but I wish there were men like him around today.” Need we say more?
Best wishes,
Tom

— David DeWitt

 

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  1. Gentleman Tim

    October 8, 2017 at 1:43 am

    What Flynntastic discoveries and observations,Tom! Thank you!

    i.pinimg.com…

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  2. Gentleman Tim

    October 9, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Looks like a bow-tied Errol may have employed an early version of this iconic pose on a Warner Brothers motor scooter, Tom!

    i.pinimg.com…

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