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Archive for December, 2018

E and thy shadow

13 Dec

Dear fellow Flynn fans,

we all here agree that there never will be another Errol Flynn. But if there ever was another actor, who could pass for a brother, an evil twin at that, it´d have been John Carradine. They were kindred spirits in many ways, both experiencing heights and letdowns of Olympian proportions and even sharing similar mishaps that come with a hell or highwater attitude.

Born Richmond Reed Carradine in New York on February 5 of 1906, the later day John, set his sight on the stage when seeing “The Merchant of Venice” at age 11. Donning different roles and robes seemed a way out of his drab childhood with a distant mother (one of the first female surgeons) and an abusive stepfather. A harsh education in Catholic schools made him direct his spiritual interest into a different direction. The only mass he would attend thereafter would be a black one.

Starting out as a portrait drawer, he studied sculpturing with no less than Daniel Chester French, the creator of the Abraham Lincoln monument in Washington DC. Inspired by his favorite movie “The Golem” he strived hard to model something out of nothing, to give the breath of life to an inert matter- be it clay or play. Subconsiously this also is the plot of a lot of the horror movies he would star in in the future. In addition to that he tried to make a mark for himself as a set designer in Hollywood. But Jack of all trades wanted more and his dream of reciting Shakespeare became an unbearable urge. Enter John Barrymore.

Carradine seeked out the great profile and thespian sans compare at his Bella Vista villa in 1930. He had been prowling Hollywood Boulevard in cape with cane and Fedora hat already for some time and was seeking advice on how to tackle the famous line of Richard III: “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse..”. Barrymore said “Let`s have a drink!” and let him in. First into his home, then into his circle of carousing comrades. John Carradine became a regular of the Bundy Drive Boys with the likes of John Decker, Gene Fowler, Ben Hecht, W.C. Fields and Errol Flynn. After well received performances at the Pasadena Playhouse, his screen career took off as well, starring in legendary films as Stagecoach, Jesse James and the Grapes of Wrath. He bought a Dusenberg, a yacht “The Bali” and started raising a family with the intent to father a whole baseball lineup of sons. At the same time he deemed acting in movies as beneath him. “I never did like `em. Occasionally I got to play in a good one. But mostly I have been in pictures that never got anywhere and never settled anything; that only caused the patrons to waste an hour and a half of their valuable time. Of course if I don`t succeed in Shakespeare, I`ll come back to make some more pictures. After all I do appreciate all the money ($1750 per week in 1942) Hollywood paid me.” Sounds an awful lot like Ol`Errol to me.

By the true nature of Tinseltown things, the major studio bosses didn´t like being needled, not even by the dagger of a critically acclaimed Hamlet. The hand that fed him became an iron fist and pretty soon Carradine found himself offered only scripts where he either played a Nazi, a mad scientist or other freakish creatures. Yet again he managed to capture their maniacal ways in his own magickal manner. “The devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape.” (Hamlet, act II, sc 2)

After his first marriage with Ardanelle, who had lost her mind, wandering around as a real life Lady Macbeth in her nightgown talking to ghosts, faltered, he married his Shakespearian protegé Sonia Sorel, some fifteen years his junior. Sued for back alimony, John Carradine had to sell house & yacht and put up tent with his young muse in the Garden of Allah bungalow complex of silent siren, Alla Nazimova. Sharing the same initials with Jesus Christ, JC accepted bets there and then, that he could walk over the waters of the Black Sea- shaped pool. This messianic antics are reminiscent of Casy the preacher from Steinbeck`s “Grapes of Wrath” or his technicolor deathbed scene of “Blood and Sand”, where he is merely an extension of the crucifix hanging over his head.

Forever remembered for spooking audiences as Dracula, Blackbeard, Captain Satan, Voodoo Man and in his last hoorah as Judge of hell, John Carradine died in Milan, Italy, after climbing the 328 steps to the top of its Gothic Dome. He had set out to ascend his own personal Jacob`s ladder. Son David remembered the funeral at St. Thomas, the Episcopal Church on Hollywood Boulevard as a macabre outing, where the undertakers had given the cadaver a demonic, artificial grin. “…like nothing I had never seen him do in real life, except in his horror films.” He was poured a final drink, but the boys had trouble getting the champagne in the bawdy bard`s sewn- together mouth wetting his dark suit in the process. Not that it mattered much, for he was given a sea burial near Catalina Island, where he did patrol as a coast guard during WWII with his Bali. Sonia, his estranged wife no. 2, died a bag lady down and out in LA in 2004.

Good night, sweet Prince of Darkness.

Enjoy,

 

— shangheinz

 

Who was the Love of Her Life?

13 Dec

“Who was the love of your life?” She answered immediately: “Errol Flynn!”

Olivia De Havilland Was Able To Search For Love ‘Despite Heartbreak’ Because She Was ‘Bold,’ Author Reveals

— Gentleman Tim

 

Mail Bag! Errol Flynn Film Grosses in North America!

12 Dec

The Mail Bag brings this from our member RobJack …

Hi all,

I’ve been a big fan of EF for over 40 years and regularly check your site and make a few comments from time to time …

One thing that has interested me is the box office grosses of EF’s films in the North American market from the mid 1940s onwards.  Some of these figures in the attachment are from the references sources on Wikipedia (ie Variety and some Journal articles); others (Cross Swords & Big Boodle) are sourced from the greenbriar picture show website.

There are some that are missing – would any of the contributors to the blog have any information on the missing ones??

Thanks!

Thanks for your question …

 

— David DeWitt

 
3 Comments

Posted in Mail Bag

 

Clubbing with Cubby and Cousin*

08 Dec

Reported on December 9, 1938
Eighty Years Ago Today
in the LOS ANGELES EXAMINER

HOLLYWOOD PARADE
By Ella Wickersham

After many false alarms, Franchot Tone actually entrained yesterday morning for New York.

Just prior to one of his “departures,” Pat DiCicco tossed a farewell stag party for him that started with cocktails at Pat’s valley home and then carried on to Club 17, where Franchot’s friends, Joe Frisco and Pat Rooney III, put on a special show for him.

The reveling stags were Errol Flynn, Bruce Cabot, Henry Fonda, Johnny Meyers, Mischa Auer, Bud Ernst, George Peabody Jr. and Cubby Broccoli.

laheyday.blogspot.com…

Note the secret passageway.

* DiCicco and Broccoli were cousins, purportedly connected to Lucky Luciano.

— Gentleman Tim

 

Happy Birthday, George

06 Dec

GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER
BORN DECEMBER 5,1839

— Gentleman Tim

 

Mail Bag! A kid named after Errol Flynn …

05 Dec

I got this message from Jack Marino today, as I was about to go to bed but I wanted to put this on the blog because it is important …

Jack writes:

Years ago, I did some work for Rider Mcdowell and Victoria Knight McDowell. They are the founders of Air-Borne and Pine Bros cough drops. Rider is also a filmmaker and a big Errol Flynn aficionado, so much so that he named his first born son ERROL McDowell.

“Today, I found out that their son Errol passed away last June at the age of 18 of cancer from a brain tumor. Before Errol left this earth he raised over a million dollars for cancer research and his parents are continuing to this very day. Their goal is to raise 325 million for a cure for cancer by raising one dollar per American or anything you feel like giving towards this goal.

“Go to canceragogo.com… and read about this incredibly talented young man and what he went through. I asked all my friends on Facebook, to share this link, and those of you that have lost loved ones to cancer here is an opportunity to help out.

“You won’t find a more determined couple in Rider and Victoria McDowell that can pull this Herculean feat off to raise this money to end cancer once and for all. Let’s all get on an donate not only for Errol but all these young children and adults that have cancer …”

There is a video on the page that is all about how young Errol was (and is, even after his passing) helping others. At the time, he had been cured of his cancer and was full of promise. He wanted to spend a day with YoutTube star Casey Neistat and had that day. Watch the video!

You can help, too, to save others.

— David DeWitt

 

North to Unalaska

04 Dec

75 Years Ago Today

December 4, 1943
Dutch Harbor USO Show

vilda.alaska.edu…

— Gentleman Tim

 

Pauper for a Princely Sum

03 Dec

Reported December 3, 1936

HOLLYWOOD CITIZEN NEWS
by ELIZABETH YEAMAN

The highly publicized reunion of Errol Flynn and Lili Damita and their departure for a “second honeymoon” in Europe may all be called off. That is to say, the trip to Europe may be canceled. Warner’s will decide today if they shall summon Flynn back to take the adult male lead in The Prince and the Pauper</em. This picture is growing daily in budget and production plans. Some enormous sets have been built, and the studio expects the film to be one of its most ambitious efforts. Now Bobby and Billy Mauch, the twin child stars, have the leads, but the are little known to the public and can't be regarded as a box office lure. Errol Flynn is well established with the fans, and while the role for him is of far less scope and importance than any he has been given in the past, it could be built up a little and his presence would insure a certain fan following. The point is, a picture which costs a lot of money needs some star with fan appeal to insure return on the money invested.

Ian Hunter was mentioned frequently for the role now pending for Flynn.

Reported December 14, 1936

by SHEILA GRAHAM

Errol Flynn demanded— and received— a $20,000 bonus for cutting short his European reconciliation trip with wife Lili Damita, returning instead to Hollywood for the leading role in the kiddie story, The Prince and the Pauper*

* A “kiddie story” beloved by adults around the globe.

BTW, I wonder if Errol ever read this advice from Mark Twain? I’d bet he did.

— Gentleman Tim

 

Partying with the Countess

02 Dec

Reported December 1, 1935

LOS ANGELES EXAMINER

“COUNTESS DI FRASSO PARTIES”

Placarded with FOR RENT signs and others announcing ITALIAN FOOD, the Countess di Frasso’s Beverly Hills home gave her guests a few moments of bafflement when they drove up to attend her huge Thanksgiving Eve party.

All of which, of course, were in fun and, as usual, the Countess’ buffet dinner party was truly an artistic production, featuring an autumnal motif with fall fruits and gourds decorating the tables.

Kay Francis was there with Delmar Daves; Dr. Joel Pressman escorted Claudette Colbert, and others were Virginia Bruce, cavaliered by Cesar Romero; Merle Oberon with David Niven, Countess Maigret, Dr. Harry Martin, Louella Parsons and

MESSRS. AND MESDAMES

David Selznick
Cedric Gibbons
Errol Flynn
Louis Lighton
Watterson Rothaker
Irving Thalberg
Charles Boyer
Darryl Zanuck
Walter Wanger
Lewis Milestone
Frank Capra
Donald Ogden Stewart
Charles Feldman
Milton Bren
Frank Lawton
Gene Markey
Myron Selznick
William Goetz
Herman Mankiewicz
Sonny Chalif
Billy Wilkerson
Raoul Walsh
Ricardo Cortez
Frank Chapman
Valentin Parera
Ernst Lubitsch
Mervyn LeRoy
Ben Lyon
Clarence Brown
Steve Roberts
Nigel Bruce

MISSES

Mary Pickford
Marelle Webb
Elizabeth Cobb Brody

MESSRS

Tom Tyler
Clark Gable
Charlie Chaplin
Herbert Marshall
Ivan Leberdeff
Clifton Webb
Michael Bartlett
Irvin S. Cobb
Jack Holt
Jimmy Wallington
Gregory Ratoff
George Cukor
Eddie Lowe
Victor McLaglen
Jack Oakie
Jesse Lasky
Harry Crocker
Robert Taylor
Whitney de Rham
Ronald Colman
Gene Raymond
Lloyd Pantages
George Brent
Rouben Mamoulian
Randy Scott
Eddie Belandi
Marc Connolly
Marion Parsonette
Charles Lederer
Mitchell Leisen
Irving Reese
John Zanft
Jack Moos
Jack Ruben
Brian Donlevy
Fritz Lang
Al Kaufman
Lloyd Wright
Edmund Goulding
John Considine Jr.

Here’s how Countess Di Frasso’s Beverly Hills estate looks, after being lived in briefly (possibly only in 1935) by Marlene Dietrich, and later owned by Jose Iturbi. It was kept in nearly original design, inside and out, until 2007, when its furnishings were auctioned off for the Jose Iturbi Foundation.

lastgoddess.blogspot.com…

— Gentleman Tim

 
2 Comments

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“Errol Flynn with Breasts”

02 Dec

A First Lady of the Vegas Strip*

www.postandcourier.com…

“Her time with Grant was recalled by Deirdre Flynn, Errol Flynn’s daughter, whom Medford had met in Los Angeles.

“I used to see Cary when he came to pick her up,” said Flynn, who now lives in Las Vegas. “She mentioned that he did want her to have his child, but that wasn’t for Lisa. Even to this day, she’s still full of the devil, still feisty.”

* “Medford , 74, shows a real $100 chip from the Riviera Hotel on the Las Vegas strip paying tribute to Kim Krantz (from left), the first dancer signed to a contract at the Riviera; Ruth Gillis, the first showgirl ever signed at the Riviera; and herself, the first semi-nude showgirl ever signed at the Riviera.”

— Gentleman Tim