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Tribute to Tony Thomas

20 Feb

Reminded recently by Jack Marino of his friend, Tony Thomas’s, preeminent contributions to the history of Flynn here is a recollection of his great work:

THE FILMS OF ERROL FLYNN

“This book is a complete record of Errol Flynn’s career from his first starring role in Captain Blood until his untimely death at fifty. All of his 58 films are here, with synopses, casts & credits, reviews of the more important vehicles, and hundreds of photos.”

ERROL FLYNN:THE SPY WHO NEVER WAS

Author of 30 books about movies and movie stars, Thomas here defends Flynn (1909-1959) against the charge made by Charles Higham in Errol Flynn: The Untold Story (1979) that the Hollywood swashbuckler, who played Captain Blood, Robin Hood, the Earl of Essex and Don Juan, was a Nazi spy. Thomas’s detailed examination of Higham’s evidence (including interviews with many original sources) convincingly shows that Higham quoted documents selectively, twisted witnesses’ words and made a flawed case based on guilt by association.

— Gentleman Tim

 

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  1. twinarchers

    February 20, 2018 at 11:33 pm

    I have the films of book and the lp but not the other book. I wonder if the full interview from the lp will ever be available?

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    • Karl

      February 21, 2018 at 11:10 am

      Twin-

      Here was some brief background:

      I remember being in touch with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation who ran the original program. It was “produced” FOR them but they did not retain a copy as they did not “own” it- hence Mr. Thomas’ own release as he DID it.

      And more of the story appears below:

      The Adventures of Robin Hood/Requiem for a Cavalier (Delos,1987) LP (Also CD) Actual recording dates: 5/1938 and 2/1958

      Background:

      ERROL FLYNN 1958 radio broadcast on CBC. A program titled “Requiem for a Cavalier,” in which Tony Thomas conducts a 1958 radio interview with film star Errol Flynn, who was then nearing the end of his life. Thomas also talked with the people who knew and worked with Flynn, including his second wife, Nora Eddington. It is quite interesting to hear Flynn talk about his early days in New Guinea, the Confidential Magazine scandal, and film making in general. Also interesting to hear Flynn avoid Thomas’ questions about his childhood in Tasmania. Originally, the interview was about an hour in length. It was later edited down to fit part of an LP release with a final running time of 24:55. The LP’s original version has also been re-released on CD. Recently, an “extended” version has been making the rounds with an additional 8 minutes of new material from the original interview. The source of this “additional eight”, as well as who combined the two, is unclear, BUT- it may be from The Errol Flynn Album, of1974, which had a recorded interview excerpt which lasted 8:40. Anyway, the approximate running time of this extended version is 32 minutes.

      The Errol Flynn Album, Citadel Records, Circa 1974.

      This 33 and 1/3 LP record has a cover photo of Errol from They Died with Their Boots On,

      It contains commentary of Tony Thomas along with highlights from the radio broadcasts of They Died with Their Boots On and Gentleman Jim. It also has the rest of a “longer version”of the Tony Thomas interview with Flynn amounting to 8:40 minutes in total. This is an extra eight plus minutes and by no means the FULL version of Tony’s interview.

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  2. timerider

    February 24, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    I and all of us thank Tony for his book that clears up the mess of Higham! Many others have written also to confirm the truth, at least what all we know of it. This interview is so meaningful at the end of Errol’s story. I especially like the interview with Nora and all she shared. I have one thought about Errol’s statement that the sword and the member of his mother’s family was Fletcher Christian. I thought it was midshipman Young. I also did see an anthology that a child named Christian was adopted into the Young family way back. I can hear the breath in Errol even at this time before 1959 and the end..
    I heard that before as my dad had half a heart at the end and breathing was hard as emphysema was creeping in.

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