RSS
 

Archive for the ‘Main Page’ Category

Centennial Tribute to Maureen O’Hara

24 Oct

Maureen O’Hara: August 17, 1920 – October 24, 2015

Queen of Technicolor – Queen of Swashbucklers

“Never did I see a more dreamlike creature. That flaming red hair, glorious Irish complexion, and beautiful bearing,” said Errol.

— Gentleman Tim

 

Viva La El Capitan Blood! Viva La El Capitan Blood!

19 Oct

October 19, 1957

Errol Arrested at the Ballyhoo Ball

Errol Being Questioned at the Lincoln Heights Jail

The Aspiring Irish Lassie/Errol Flynn Date

“The Hat Check Girl”/Policeman’s Wife/Errol Flynn Fan

Errol Flynn/The Usual Suspect

— Gentleman Tim

 

Compliments to the Scheffs

17 Oct

October 17, 1938

Evening Herald Express

Bette Davis was preening herself in front of a mirror one day on the set of The Sisters, currently showing at Warners Hollywood and Downtown theaters, when Errol Flynn asked her why she was gazing at herself with such approval.

“Well, I like that.” Bette pretended to be put out. “I’m admiring my hairdress—don’t you like it? You should.” Bette replied, “because I copied it exactly from the hairdress worn by Fritzi Scheff in a picture made of her when she was at the peak of her career.”


I sure hope Bette didn’t burst out singing Fritzi’s big hit “Kiss Me Again” to Flynn! Arno would have had to come to his rescue! (Song begins at 1:50)

— Gentleman Tim

 

Remembering Errol …

14 Oct

Today is Wednesday, October 14, the day Errol Flynn left the world … We remember and love our dear ol’ Errol …

June 20, 1909 – October 14, 1959

 

The original first posting I wrote on this blog: Published February 4, 2007

Who was Errol Flynn?

He it was who fought the evil-doers up there on the big screen when I was a kid growing up along the banks of the Snohomish River circa 1959. I was ten years old when the great swashbuckler died, and clearly remember the day he died because I distinctly recall saying aloud… Oh, I liked him! when I saw his picture in my father’s newspaper and read that he had died in Vancouver, B.C. the day before. Vancouver was in British Columbia, Canada–less than two hours drive north from where we lived in a little logging community that surrounded a tiny lumber mill resting on the edge of the Snohomish River, near Everett, Washington. Not far to the south was the big city of Seattle–farther south, somewhere, was Hollywood where Flynn lived, I thought then…

All Movie Stars lived in Hollywood, I thought.

Where else would they live?

 


 

As a ten year old kid, my friends and I would play Robin Hood in the marsh between our houses. This area was about an acre of tall grass with a layer of mud and water under it. In the center of it was a tall tree with willowy branches. Nearby this tree was a cement block that was part of the foundation of a house or building long vanished from sight.

This cement block was a perfect place to swing on a rope from the tree, and land Flynn-like on the cement block, saying loudly “…Welcome to Sherwood, Milady!” as the other kids stood watching.

We created bows and arrows from tree branches (long bows) and shot at cardboard targets in a Tournament–and went about robbing the rich to give to the poor…

There were terrific battles between the Normans and the Saxons–in cardboard armor. We had long stick swords with handles that consisted of a short block of wood nailed across the end of the stick where are hands took up these sharply pointed “swords”. It is amazing that nobody lost an eye or was impaled when we whacked each other’s cardboard armor to pieces but we all survived major injury.

It was disconcerting, however, to see the pointed end of a stick come tearing through your head armor (a small cardboard box with eye slits cut in it) and see the sharp tip whiz past your face… We were the Merry Men of Sherwood until dark and our Mothers called out our names to come home for dinner.

The day I read of Errol Flynn’s death in my Dad’s evening newspaper was a sad one for me and for the Men of Sherwood. But soon, I forgot all about him–and moved on to other childhood adventures. We built a two-by-four wide bridge across the swamp from the cement block to the edge of the sawdust pile–a distance of about a half block, for example. It was rickety, held up by posts driven into the soft swamp ground. We scavenged everything we needed from the sawmill nearby. It had tons of discarded stuff to use for our scientific and engineering feats.

The days moved by quickly during those hot summer days of 1959–we climbed the Willow tree, and jumped off–catching branches to break our fall into the swamp’s knee high muck. We sent expeditions into the surrounding swamp of green scrub, sticker bushes, and  thick-limbed trees to bring back scientific samples of flora and fauna. This was Stink Weed and Dandelions, and all manner of growing weeds. We boiled this up in Terry Sullivan’s mother’s pressure cooker in their kitchen and went out to play on the rooftop of the Sullivan’s garage. When we heard the explosion, it was nearly dark and Terry’s parents weren’t home, yet…

The mess was all over the kitchen walls, and their kitchen stank for a week. We got a real hiding for that one!

Other days were spent riding our bicycles round the two roads that came down into the Mill area–my brother never could stop that heavy framed bike with its oversized tires, so he just crashed into the grass or alongside Dad’s car–or time was spent making tree houses. We had crewcuts in summer, collected bubble gum cards and seven up bottlecaps (to go to the movies when you turned them in) and wore blue jeans all the time with a t-shirt. You could put a playing card held with a wooden clothesline clip onto the wheel of your bike to make it sound like a motorcycle as the card fanned against the spokes!

TV was a little black-and-white set with an arial on the roof of the house. There may have been seven channels including the Canadian channels. Sundays, it seems to me, there were sci-fi movies like the BLOB with Steve McQueen in a starring role. And there were Errol Flynn movies like Robin Hood, The Charge of the Light Brigade, and Dodge City. Red Skeleton was on, and Milton Berle…

I remember seeing Errol on The Red Skeleton Show. He played a bum and held up the remains of his yacht–a porthole!

Errol had a huge effect on young boys of my generation. He was the swashbuckling hero we all wanted to be! He sailed the Seas, he found Adventure and Treasure, and love–that part we could do without. He was always kissing GIRLS!

But he sure could swordfight! He could shoot arrow-after-arrow like you’d pull the trigger on a gun! And every one found its mark!

 


 

As the years passed I forgot about Errol Flynn.

I was in my twenties before he became interesting to me again. I had been reading some biographies of various people–adventurous people like Jack London, Frank Buck, Robb White, and Martin & Osa Johnson. Hemingway fascinated me. It was while reading about Hemingway that Errol’s name came up. Errol Flynn! There was a reference to something Flynn said in a book called “My Wicked, Wicked Ways”. I wonder if I could find that book anywhere, I thought.

It turned out that it was still very much in print and there was a paperback copy of it at my local bookstore. Then began some of best reading I have ever come across in an autobiography. This story had it all… intrigue, mystery, adventure, laughs, tears… and it was all true!

Wasn’t it?

 


 

Well… What wasn’t true made a hellova story, and what was true was not always just a colorful story. You might read “My Wicked, Wicked Ways” as  a terrific novel–or a tall tale, yet, here is a legendary character that captures the spirit of adventure in the hearts of all young people who share the feelings of a young man who takes on more than he can chew at times but has his fill nonetheless of what life has to offer… he drank his fill both literally and figuratively of everything most others only dreamed of or read about in glossy magazines. He was kind, cruel–generous, mean, unpredictable, tormented, creative, foolish, brave, gullible, and had a genius for living larger than life. He was intelligent, self-educated–a businesman, an internationally recognised actor, a writer, an explorer, a raconteur, a drunk, an addict. His life was a Shakespearean drama…

He was a lot of things to many people and he was less to himself than should have been. He was and is the quintessential bad boy–but he wasn’t nearly as wicked as he was thought to be by those who didn’t understand him, or those who envied him. He was dangerous. He was cultured, he was a joker, he was… curious.

He was a scientist, of sorts… that is, he knew the real world and wanted to understand it. To experience it. All of it.

And for nearly fifty years, he did.

 

— David DeWitt

 

Errol Flynn—Voyager Quiz

14 Oct

A Tribute to Errol – Eternal Voyager – June 20, 1909 to Infinity

What is the indirect connection between “The Golden Record” that went into space with Voyager in 1977
and Errol’s death in Vancouver, 1959? (Focus on the brilliantly-played music)

— Gentleman Tim

 

Dressing in the 14th Century

09 Oct

“The big trouble with the 14th century insofar as the movies are concerned is the fact that most of the ladies dressed like nuns.”

October 8, 1937

The Evening Herald
Klamath Falls, Oregon

DREARY DUDS IRK STYLIST AT FILM LOT
By Frederick C. Othman
Hollywood Citizen News

The big trouble with the 14th century insofar as the movies are concerned is the fact that most of the ladies dressed like nuns. This is particularly bad for movies in full color, and it explains why Milo Anderson, Warner Brothers costume expert, is cheating on history today in dressing the folks appearing in Hollywood’s latest version of Robin Hood.

This picture first was made in 1922 by Douglas Fairbanks, when movies were black and white and noiseless. Warners’ version calls tor full color and a couple of million dollars to make it realistic. Nearly $500,000 of this money went to Anderson for fancy clothes. He was ready for a real spree in silver cloth and slashed velvet and whatnot, when he discovered that all the women of Robin Hood’s time. from the queen on down to the lowliest peasant, dressed mostly in black and dark brown. They all wore coifs, such as nuns still wear, and shoes which look a lot like gymnasium slippers.

CHEATS A LITTLE

“So we had to cheat a little.” young Anderson said. “We put In a spot of color here and a splash there. We had to.”

His spots and splashes looked pretty gay to us. One bolt of cloth, with silver threads running through the gold, cost Warners $25 a yard. “But it looks too fine,” he said. “So I had it dyed a light blue and I told the dyer to be a little careless. The result looks like it may really have been made six centuries ago. He had to make 45 costumes for the ladies in the picture, of whom Olivia de Havilland, as Maid Marian, is the most important. Each dress took about 40 yards of velvet and other rich cloth, which cost an average of $4 a yard.

The result was inclined to depress Anderson. He cheered up only when he got the chance to rig out the men in the film. “They were the gay sex in those days,” he said. “They went in for slashed silks and doublets and whatnot, all in the brightest color combinations available.”

Anderson displayed the costumes he’d built for Errol Flynn as “Robin Hood”; Ian Hunter as “King Richard”; Claude Rains as “Prince John”; Basil Rathbone as “Sir Guy”; Alan Hale as “Little John”; and Eugene Pallette as “Friar Tuck.” These garments really were something with long tight pants of rainbow hue and doublets and tabards and curves of spots and stripes and curlicues.

On the same movie lot we met Mrs. Felix Mauch, wife of the general agent in New York city of the Toledo. Peoria, and Western railroad, and her two 13-year-old sons, Billy and Bobby. Mrs. M. stands by to keep an eye on her famous twins, who now are starring in “Penrod and His Twin Brother.” But it doesn’t do her much good. “I can’t tell them apart myself,” she confessed. “When one of them needs a whipping. I have to spank both of them to make sure I’m punishing the right one.”

Milo Anderson designs for Robin Hood:

— Gentleman Tim

 

Helping the Old Sol in Chico

07 Oct

October 7, 1937

Elizabeth Yeaman

Hollywood Citizen News

Old Sol is being amplified by electrical generators on the location site of The Adventures of Robin Hood at Chico. When the sun failed to beam, the company employed the generators. Then the generators failed. At least one of them blew out yesterday afternoon. Al Alborn, the company manager, promptly called the studio to order another generator to be sent out. Fifteen minutes after his call was received, the new generator was on its way to Chico, 600 miles away. It arrived in time for the regular shooting schedule this morning.

— Gentleman Tim

 

First Blood, Then the World

05 Oct

October 2, 1935

Los Angeles Examiner

I Cover Hollywood

By Lloyd Pantages

After Captain Blood is released Warners are a cinch to tear up Errol Flynn’s contract and slip him a new one. They originally signed him literally on a shoe string and they did nothing about him until the other studios started bidding for his services. Now that he’s doing so magnificently in the Blood epic, he’s sure fire for better consideration.

August 27, 1935

— Gentleman Tim

 

When, Where, and Why Quiz

03 Oct

When and where was this photo taken, and why is he acting like that???

Added Saturday, October 3, 9 pm EST:

Added Saturday, October 3, 9:15 pm EST:

Added Sunday, October 4, 12:30 am:

The identification of “the Garden” (i.e. the Garden of Allah) in the World Wide Photos caption above is incorrect.

— Gentleman Tim

 

Olivia in Chico – Robin to Robbery

01 Oct

Olivia’ s Memories of Chico

Olivia de Havilland starred as Maid Marian in the 1938 “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” which was filmed in fall of 1937 in Bidwell Park in Chico. (Enterprise-Record files)

Chico was charmed by Olivia de Havilland, and she by Chico. She graced Bidwell Park in the form of Maid Marian, but it was not Bidwell Park. It was Sherwood Forest in the 1938 classic “The Adventures of Robin Hood.”

It was in late September 1937 that she descended the train into Chico as a 22-year-old. The trees were aflame with orange, red and yellow tinges.

The train held not only her, but all the stars, technicians and props Warner Bros. needed to create a miniature Hollywood set on the banks of Big Chico Creek.

“I thought Chico a most charming town and its citizens welcoming and kind,” de Havilland wrote in a 1987 correspondence with the Chico Enterprise-Record from Paris.

The headquarters were set up in the form of tents by Sycamore Pool. Bidwell Park became a medieval forest.

According to a Sept. 15, 1937 Chico Record clipping, the park had been discovered by a Warner Bros. location scout and film director William Keighley.

“There was no location in California that could compare with Bidwell Park. I can’t understand why Chico has not been discovered before as a site for movies. I must confess my ignorance,” Keighley said.

“When Robin Hood was named for production, I thought a trip to the East or at least the Midwest would be necessary. I did not have any idea that anything such as Bidwell Park existed.”

More than 100 extras were hired for $10 a day. If someone was willing to let actor and famous archer Howard Hill shoot their padded body with an arrow, they could earn an extra $150 a day.

The film had an original budget of $1.25 million, yet it rounded the $2 million mark, making it the most expensive film Warner Bros. had produced to that date.

In an October 1987 interview with this newspaper, the late television director and producer Rudy Behlmer said, “(de Havilland) was so beautiful then, the rest of the cast, the breadth of the staging. There wasn’t anything you could point to and say, ‘Well, that didn’t work very well.’”

One reason the aesthetic was so appealing was the new three-strip Technicolor process used to create it. Three separate strips of film were exposed simultaneously in the same camera, providing rich color on screen.

“This was the best example of that early Technicolor process with the forest scenes and the costumes and so on. And it is still considered one of the best examples of Technicolor,” Behlmer said.

After six weeks of shooting, de Havilland, as well as the rest of the crew, left Chico on Nov. 9, 1937, to the sight of 500 well-wishers gathered at the train station to bid them adieu. The Chico High band played music for them. The north section of Ivy Street was named Warner Street to commemorate the time of production.

It wasn’t until May 1938 that “The Adventures of Robin Hood” was released to great critical and popular acclaim. On May 14, 1938, it arrived at the Senator Theatre for a three-day run.

The actress came back to Butte County in October 1979 to speak at the Oroville State Theatre.

She remembered Chico as a small, quiet town with an “adorable little hospital.”

A 1987 E-R clipping said that one of the many locals to “fall under the dark-eyed beauty’s spell” was Doctor Newton Thomas Enloe, the founder of Enloe Medical Center. He let de Havilland witness an operation firsthand after she kindly asked.

She and other cast members attended square dances in Paradise on the weekends. The fiddle music delighted them, as did the hospitality of the locals.

“A very kind local gentleman taught me the steps and I joined in with immense pleasure,” de Havilland recalled.

During her stay in Oroville, her motel room was broken into. The doing was not that of Robin Hood. It was at 10 a.m. at the Villa Motel (now Villa Court Inn) that $4,959 worth of clothing and jewelry were stolen and the rest of her belongings scattered about.

Even so, she showed her gratitude to the audience for having her.

“Thank you for recognizing me,” she said.

De Havilland’s acting prowess, among other things, created a fairy tale out of Chico that, like her impact on Hollywood, lasts to this very day

— Gentleman Tim