The Journey So Far:
Born in Washington, D.C. in 1950 and raised in New Jersey….studied painting at the prestigious Cooper Union, the sole traditionalist in a den off militant modernists….original artworks have found their way into the collections of Mel Gibson, Michael Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Paul Allen, Jimmy Stewart, corporations, etc. etc….donned a professor's coat and taught creative hopefuls at Widener University, The Art Institute Of Philadelphia, and soon at The Laguna College Of Art….authored and illustrated works published by Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, Harcourt, Dutton, Scholastic, including eight picture book….produced art for the entertainment industry, including movie posters and album covers….new horizons beckoned and several albums of original music were recorded in the world's finest studios…..performed shows from nightclubs (The Bitter End) to concert halls (The Aspen Opera House) to radio and TV…..lived closely with 150 wild lions and tigers, and later more safely on the John Barrymore estate….with The National Philharmonic, scored and performed the music for a major motion picture, and filmed related music videos with renowned Hollywood director, Jan Debont….befriended the famous and infamous from legends (Jimmy Stewart), to rogues (Harry Nilsson), to theologians (Dennis Prager)…..scripted and starred with Tippi Hedren in an Academy-considered film directed by “24″ and “Star Trek” producer, Manny Coto…..has traveled the world over, brought two beautiful children into it, and nearly left it by the scalpel……yet continues the journey still.
The Baron and Me:
I've been a serious fan and collector of our hero since that night in November of 1972 when, at the TLA Theater in Philadelphia, I saw “Captain Blood” and “Robin Hood” on the big screen. I was hooked forever.
By 1981 I was living on Tippi Hedren's wild animal preserve outside Los Angeles, writing and performing music for Hollywood. That opportune position began to open doors to the world of Flynn I might otherwise never have entered. On several promotional tours, I was able to visit his haunts in Australia and England, and in 1983 was given a personal tour of Mulholland Farm while it was owned by Rick Nelson. What a treat to be able to stroll from room to room: entering the foyer and being shown the hollow bamboo pole hidden in the ceiling through which Flynn could see from upstairs who had entered; sitting in the paneled study where he used to sit and write; climbing the outside stairs in the back of the house to the room from which he and guests could secretly peer down into the bedroom below; sitting in the oblong, checker-floored dining room; running my hands in the water of the black-bottomed pool and surreptitiously pocketing a piece of flagstone from the pool's edge which I cherish to this day.
I later rented a house on John Barrymore's Bella Vista estate in Beverly Hills–a Flynn fan living in the home of FLYNN'S idol! In fact, on the night of Barrymore's 100th birthday, I lifted a glass of good bourbon to his memory, hoping, in my stupor that he–or Flynn, for that matter–might send some supernatural communique. 'Twas not to be!
In 1990 I had the great fortune of spending a long evening one-on-one with Charlie Burt, one of Flynn's three shipmates from the infamous Great Barrier Reef journey of 1930 aboard the first Sirocco. The reminiscences, anecdotes, and insights made for a unique experience that I will never forget. My only regret is that I honored the old gent's request not to turn on my tape recorder in deference to his concern that the tapes might undermine the exclusivity of the stories he was hoping to publish. I don't think he ever did publish, and I can't imagine he's still with us, but I now wish I had somehow recorded the evening anyway.
Over the years, I have continued to collect, search, and learn as much as I could about Errol, along the way discussing him with a variety of folks from Tony Thomas, to Alexis Smith, to George Korngold, to Gina Lollobrigida; and traveling to film locations like Three Arch Bay (the site of the Flynn-Rathbone duel in “Captain Blood”), Lasky Mesa (site of the Chukoti garrison in “Charge Of The Light Brigade, and the final battle in “They Died With Their Boots On), and soon will be traveling up to Chico, California to photograph locations from the Sherwood Forest of “The Adventures Of Robin Hood”.
It has been a fascinating journey, these three plus decades, and I continue to enjoy every step. It does amaze me that Flynn still isn't really rooted in the general consciousness of the public at large, but perhaps that leaves him a bit more precious for us fans.
One last anecdote: early on in my career as a recording artist, I received a call from my agent, telling me the good news that my first record had finally entered a radio
playlist somewhere in the world. When I asked where, he replied, “I know it's not the most significant place, and you may not have even heard of it, but it IS on a
playlist in Hobart, Tasmania!”. Eerie, but somehow fitting, I think.
Long live Errol Flynn-Baron Of Mulholland!