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No Pink Tea was This Battle

15 Dec

Eighty Years Ago

Excerpts and Summaries of News Reports from Around the Globe …

An eyewitness to the brawl between Errol Flynn and Aiden Roark says that Roark called Flynn a North Ireland so-and-so.

No pink tea was this latest battle, eyewitnesses said. No fists this time swished through the air past their intended target. This one, ringsiders aver, was a knock-down, drag-our affair.

Flynn was a valiant defender of his birthplace, the north of Ireland, against celebrated polo-player (and executive assistant to Darryl Zanuck) from South Ireland.

Flynn was the victor by a knockout.

All afternoon, Roark had been passing sly remarks about Flynn’s heritage and acting. The star of Robin Hood objected and, according to elite rungsiders, told Roark to “shut up.” When he didn’t, Flynn let him have it.

Late in the day, when fifty or more film celebrities gathered to prepare for dinner, Roark continued his heckling of Flynn. He didn’t think much of Flynn’s Thespian ability, and less of North Ireland, and gave voice to these dislikes several times, punctuating his feelings by grabbing Flynn’s collar.

Flynn countered with a beautifully timed right hook.

Roark went down. He staggered to his feet and went down again under Flynn’s crashing right fist.

Bud Ernst, Hollywood radio man and friend of Flynn, grabbed the actor and Bruce Cabot seized Roark. At this point, one of Roark’s socialite, polo playing friends rushed forward and struck Flynn a hard blow on the mouth.

With a roar of rage, Flynn shook loose, knocked down his second antagonist and turned to meet Roark, who had shaken free. The actor then again landed a looping right hand on Roark’s jaw and Roark topped over – for good this time. He was unconscious for 20 minutes.

The hostess, Mrs. Jock Whitney, then dined with Flynn, Ernst, and Cabot, at
a Beverly Hills nightclub.

This is the first time that Flynn has hit the Hollywood headlines with a fight, although he, and Lili Damita, were mixed up in a fracas in Havana.

A philosophic attitude of Warner Bros. was due to two things: (1) Their he-man star won by a knockout. (2) The story broke a few hours before the preview of Flynn’s war picture, The Dawn Patrol.

Reticent to discuss the incident, Flynn said: “I’m sorry it happened; it’s just one of those unfortunate affairs. But some of the remarks were too pointed, and I had to defend myself.”

— Gentleman Tim

 

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  1. David DeWitt

    December 15, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    Hmmmm …. you wonder. Was this a publicity stunt?

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