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Archive for November, 2019

Tribute to Gentleman Tim — Round 3

13 Nov



This time on radio!

— Gentleman Tim

 

Tribute to Gentleman Jim – Round 2

12 Nov

77th Anniversary Tribute

Goin’ In Like Flynn

In for the Kiss with Alexis

In for the Kill with John L.

See, also: Tribute to Gentleman Jim – Round 1

— Gentleman Tim

 

Tribute to Gentleman Jim – Round 1

12 Nov

77th Anniversary Tribute

This week marks the 77th Anniversary of Gentleman Jim, which was released on November 14, 1942. In tribute to this Errol Flynn-Raoul Walsh masterpiece, I will attempt to present two or three posts involving the film’s history.

This first post contains a review of “Fight to the Finish: The Barge Battle of 1889”, a book on the history of the landmark waterfront battle between Jim Corbett and Joe Choynsky that was prominently featured in the film, with a clip in the gif below. It was “The Fight That Launched Boxing’s Modern Era.”

Though not widely remembered now, Joe Choynsky was one of the toughest and hardest-hitting prize fighters ever, having shellacked some of the ring’s greatest heavyweights (even knocking out Jack Johnson, one of only two men to ever do so.)

FIGHT TO THE FINISH: THE BARGE BATTLE OF 1889

“A thrilling account of one of the most brutal fights in boxing history.”

See, also: Tribute to Gentleman Jim – Round 2

— Gentleman Tim

 

Help Rory Flynn Bring Sean Flynn & the Missing Back Home!

10 Nov

Rory Flynn, Mike Luehring and Dave MacMillan have created a GoFundeMe to help bring Sean Flynn, Dana Stone and the other missing journalists home … many efforts over the decades have been undertaken and now it is felt that the answers are close to hand. It will take a financial commitment beyond what has already been made, as well as the emotional cost already spent to bring Sean, and other still missing home again. This is our chance to help make it happen, those who have respect and love for all of them. It is a chance to share in the effort, and the accomplishment of what has been a very long struggle …

You can donate any amount you like, however small, it will become a river ..

Please visit the funding page to see a special video Rory has made to help us understand what is at stake …

Sean Flynn

Dana Stone

Errol & Sean

— David DeWitt

 

Sean’s “unWILLing” Will

08 Nov

“unWILLingly … If me so bad, medivac’acked immediately” and “If cool-aid, celestially unredeemable”.

Edited extracts from the new book,The Bite of the Lotus: An Intimate Memoir of the Vietnam War, by Sean’s friend and photojournalist colleague, Carl Robinson

I’d arrived in South Vietnam in early 1964 as an idealistic 20-year-old who grew up in the Belgian Congo and had spent most of my life as an expat. I’d become enchanted with South Vietnam as a visiting university student from Hong Kong and returned to a job in the US-run pacification program, or winning hearts and minds. Quitting in protest after the Tet ’68 Offensive, I drifted into journalism to stay on with the Mekong Delta maiden who’d captured my heart. I’d seen a lot and my initial idealism was a fast-receding memory.

I’d also met a lot of people. Foreigners and Vietnamese. Military, spooks and aid workers. And now a band of reporters and photographers looking for fame, if not fortune, covering a war that had already turned into a seemingly endless quagmire.

Over at the quieter end of the room, by a large open window, I saw someone about my age sitting quietly and alone in a high-backed rattan chair, observing the scene. Tall and handsome with a thin moustache, he was Sean Flynn, son of the actor Errol Flynn. I wandered over to introduce myself.

We found that we had a lot in common. We were both fluent French-speakers, life-long expatriates and comfortable drifting between different cultures, as well as being constantly curious and well read. Sean had spent time in Africa and wore an elephant hair bracelet.

By April 1969 it seemed like things were starting to unravel. I’d just returned from a memorable motorbike trip with Sean through Laos – in which we’d narrowly avoided the Communists and deepened our friendship in the process – when I rode my bike into a barbed wire barrier strung across a Saigon street.

The incident would mark the start of a string of departures and other mishaps in my circle of friends. Most shockingly, (photojournalist/friend) Tim Page was badly wounded by a booby-trapped US-made 105-mm artillery shell west of Saigon. The right side of his brain was blown away, and he was now at the 24th Evacuation Hospital at the huge US base of Long Binh, north-east of Saigon.

Sean heard the news in Vientiane and rushed back to Saigon. Sitting together in the rumble seat of the yellow Citroen convertible of David Sulzberger, son of New York Times columnist Clive, on our way out to Long Binh, Sean was quieter than usual. But when we got there, he purposefully made light of what happened, saying: “You’re crazy, Page, what’d you do that for?” Touchingly, Sean gave Tim a wooden statue from the Cave of One Thousand Buddhas, just upriver from Luang Prabang in Laos, which he’d visited after I left to come back to Saigon.

Clearly, something had happened to our old gang. Just Sean and I were left. He was clearly shaken, and several days later presented me with a handwritten note beginning with the word “unWILLingly”, and including instructions for if he was wounded or killed: “If me so bad, medivac’acked immediately” and “If cool-aid, celestially unredeemable”.

He also noted addresses and to whom I should send his belongings. Sadly, Sean said nothing about what to do if he just disappeared.

Perhaps thinking of our experience in Vietnam and Laos, Sean rented motorbikes for himself and Dana and, along with other journalists in four-wheeled vehicles, headed south-east of Phnom Penh down Route 1, across the Neak Luong ferry over the Mekong River, and then east into the Parrot’s Beak, where the Cambodian border pokes like an arrow into southern Vietnam.

But the Communists, unsure of what would happen next, quickly sealed off the border region and erected roadblocks to halt normal traffic. Just west of a roadblock only a dozen kilometres into Cambodia, correspondents saw a stopped sedan with its doors open. Only the previous day, two French photographers, including my friend Claude Arpin, had disappeared near here, probably a bit further down the road.

What happened next, on that early April day of 1970, is now the stuff of legend – and personal anguish. Eyewitnesses had seen my two friends arguing in a cafe, with Sean trying to talk a reluctant Dana into pushing further down the road. Finally, they hopped on their bikes and, with only a few words, rode past the other waiting journalists straight towards that roadblock.

They were never seen again. Missing, presumably captured.

As reports of their disappearance came into the AP office the next morning, I couldn’t help smiling as I recalled how often Sean and I had fantasized about slipping over to cover the elusive “other side”. It was the holy grail. We’d be welcomed with open arms, take pictures, do interviews and come out with the scoop of the Vietnam War. Sure, I thought, they’ll make it. Just give ’em a few days.

But as days turned to weeks with no news, I was filled with foreboding and despair. And guilt, too. What if I hadn’t been caught and expelled trying to sneak into Cambodia only three weeks before?

It’s certain I would’ve been there too on that fateful day on my own rented motorbike. Would I have backed Dana and refused to go any further? Or would I have followed Sean? I have lived with that torment ever since.

Sean had given me that handwritten will in case he was killed or wounded, but he’d said nothing about what to do if he just disappeared. I was stunned and felt helpless.

— Gentleman Tim

 

Miss Damita

07 Nov

November 8, 1940
Los Angeles Examiner

Damita Files Suit for Divorce from Flynn

On the reef of “grievous mental and physical anguish” tge tempestuous kiss-and-makeup marriage of Errol Flynn and Lili Damita seemed wrecked without hope of salvage, yesterday.

The piquant Miss Damita, who only a few months ago became a mother, filed suit for divorce from the swashbuckling star.

Throughout their six years of marriage, the handsone Ulsterman and the dainty Lili have separated on numerous occasions, and even after they separated last August 1 friends had believed there might be another reconciliation.

The statement accompanying Ms. Damita’s divorce complaint, that an out-of-court property settlement had been effected, indicated that the last chapter in one of Hollywood’s most turbulent love stories had been reached.

Miss Damita, who sued under her legal name of Liliane Carre Flynn, charged that:

“The defendant gas inflicted a course of great and grievous mental and physical anguish and suffering, and has been guilty of extreme cruelty.”

The actress asked custody of their five month old son, Sean Leslie Flynn.

Flynn, who earns $6000 a week now, is limited to a budget of $12,000 a month pending settlement of a financial battle with Myron Selznick, his former agent.

Miss Damita, before her marriage to Flynn at Yuma on June 19, 1935, was one of the most courted beauties in the world. Her admirers included the Duke of Kent, in his bachelor days, Prince Louis Ferdinand Hohenzollern, Hugo Brassey, British millionaire, Sidney Smith, New York broker, and many other men of wealth, fame, or both.

…….

Here is Lili’s Published List of Casualties:

Duke of Kent

Prince Louis Ferdinand Hohenzollern

Hugo Bassey

Lili’s Alleged Engagement with Hugo Bassey

Sidney Smith

— Gentleman Tim

 

Coronado Remembers Rory, Rio & Errol in Advance of Veterans Day Film Festival

06 Nov

“In addition to the many screenings, [the Coronado Film Festival] hosted appearances that have delighted film festival audiences including Errol Flynn’s daughter sharing memories of her father.”

Rio, Rory & Richard Rush (photo taken from seat next to Leonard Maltin)

2019 Coronado Film Festival

“Coronado’s world-class beaches, perfect weather, and proximity to Hollywood have made it a favorite go-to spot for the stars since those halcyon days when Errol Flynn, Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin strolled the Avenue. That same avenue, with its unique shops, blooming gardens and alfresco dining, has been named one of America’s five “Most Romantic Main Streets” by the National Trust for Historic Places.”

Rory & Sean in Coronado!

— Gentleman Tim

 

Coast Guard Arrives in Time

04 Nov

November 5, 1937

Harrison Carroll
Evening Herald Examiner

Didn’t see any mention of the fact that Errol Flynn’s yacht, “The Cheerio,” had to have assistance from the Coast Guard the other day. The star wasn’t aboard at the time. He had flown back from Catalina for scenes on Robin Hood.

The Cheerio was in mid-channel when a Coast Guard boat noticed the craft seemed to be in distress. Its captain, it turned out, had collapsed from a heart attack.*

The yacht was towed to port and the captain was rushed to the hospital.

Here’s current Captain, Dick McNish, pointing out for the Errol Flynn Blog, Cheerio II’s cabin clock. Captain McNish has meticulously restored Errol’s first significant yacht in California, the name of which was Cheerio II (not “The Cheerio”) when he purchased it from a silent movie star friend of Charlie Chaplin. Errol briefly named it “The Bachelor”.

* Who the “captain” was that suffered the heart attack, I do not know. Anyone out there in Flynnland know?

— Gentleman Tim

 

Have They Gone Bananas?

03 Nov

Is the Bombshell from Brazil Bigger Than The Baron of Mulholland?

“The Most Famous Person Born in 1909”

“From presidents and royals to musicians and movie stars, we’ve identified the most famous person born every year of the 20th century, as well as some honorable mentions.”

“Honorable mention Errol Flynn may have been the bigger star of the day, but Miranda’s fruity fashion sense has made her an enduring icon in a way unparalleled by others.”

Is the Baron Not King?

— Gentleman Tim

 

Heard Every Halloween ~~~ Plus Often In Between

01 Nov

What singing-songwriting cowboy?

Began his Hollywood acting career in an Errol Flynn film.

Once played Custer in a movie.

Played the villain in a super dooper Gary Cooper movie.

Performed something for Raoul Walsh still remembered very well in Hollywood.

Acted with Clint Eastwood, on TV and the big screen.

Had a principal role in a great Gene Hackman film.

Made a movie with John Wayne, also.

Was sometimes seen on Hee Haw.

Heard in Star Wars and Indiana Jones, too.

Wrote a monstrously big song heard every Halloween.

Had a long time connection to Roger Miller.

For those who may want to scream after hearing that, here’s this three-second work of art:

— Gentleman Tim