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Archive for the ‘New Guinea’ Category

Dr. Flynn

26 Jul

Eighty-two years ago this week …

Eight years ago when adventuresome Errol Flynn, now Warner’s new film rave, represented the British Government at New Guinea, one of his many odd duties was to act as physician and surgeon.

When a native named Joe Speedie appeared at headquarters with a gangrenous toe as a result of having been bitten by a poisonous fish,it was “Dr” Flynn who performed the necessary amputation of the infected toe. The emergency operation saved Joe’s life.

Last week, “Dr” Flynn received a belated fee for his surgical gesture, a valuable gold-headed cane. Joe explained in the accompanying letter that he had seen Errol in Captain Blood and was most happy to have located his benefactor of long ago. And Errol’s quite proud of his ‘fee.’

Jimmy Starr
Los Angeles Evening Herald Express
Published July 27, 1936

— Gentleman Tim

 

Diamonds are a Damita’s Best Friend

17 Jul

July 19, 1935

Filmland learned for the first time today the romantic history of the diamond that Errol Flynn, dark-headed Irish actor, put upon the finger of Lili Damita, who is now his bride.

It was five years ago that Flynn came into possession.

A young adventurer, he was working as a British agent in New Guinea to help preserve peace among the native tribes. One day, he made a gold strike in the jungle.

Trekking back to civilization, Flynn sold his discovery for $10,000 in gold. He decided to leave New Guinea, but couldn’t carry his new found riches. So he put the money into rough-cut diamonds.

It was one of these diamonds that the young actor, soon to play the starring role in the Warner film, Captain Blood, had made into the engagement ring his bride now wears.

Harrison Carroll
Evening Herald Express

Errol, Lili, and Man’s Best Friend, on the very-appropriately named Lookout Mountain – with a glimpse it appears at Diva Damita’s new diamond:

— Gentleman Tim

 

A PNG BIO

15 Jul

A primer on Flynn’s time and adventures in Papua New Guinea, quoting “Malum Nalu”.

Photo of girl believed to be Tuperselai provided by EFB Author, Tina. Thank you, Tina.

…….

Papua New Guinea’s rich and colorful history is littered with the names of likewise gaudy characters that have carved a niche for themselves.

Few, however, have made more of an impact than the flamboyant and swashbuckling Errol Flynn.

With the discovery of very good paying gold in 1926 at Edie Creek above Wau – six days walk from Salamaua – a gold rush of massive proportions started, not only from Australia but from beyond.

With the major discovery of gold came the last two categories of what the White population of New Guinea was divided into: Missionaries, Moneymakers, and Misfits or Fools, Freaks, and Failures.

Not least among the Misfits was the one who became a Hollywood star – Errol Flynn. And none, probably, has done more to promote PNG than this lovable rogue who went on to become the world’s top sex symbol.

The superb scenery, glorious hills and harbours, white beaches, and shady copra plantations are still today as Flynn describes them in his famous autobiography, My Wicked, Wicked Ways.

Places like Salamaua, Wau, Bulolo, Lae, Finschhafen, Port Moresby, Laloki, Rabaul, Kavieng, Madang, and the Sepik River have become famous because of My Wicked, Wicked Ways.

His book remains a bestseller to this day and, in places like Salamaua or Wau – just to name two – people still talk about him.”Flynn used to drink here,”they’ll tell you in Salamaua, or, “this is where he went mining for gold”, they’ll reminisce in Wau.

Legendary Australian patrol officer, JK McCarthy, recalls in his book, Patrol Into Yesterday, how Flynn stepped in once to protect a small man from a bully: “It was done in the most dramatic style and all of us should have foreseen that he had a movie career ahead of him. There was the noisy bar, the crowd of onlookers, the challenge and the hero knocking the loud-mouthed one cold, right on cue.”

The true-life story of movie superstar Errol Flynn was more dramatic and incredible than even the wildest of his many Hollywood-starring roles.

Panoramic portrayals of his amazing past have brought the true legend of Flynn explosively to life, blowing the lid off his rabble-rousing time in the gutters of Sydney, and his death-defying escapades searching for gold in the jungles of New Guinea.

Flynn was simply the sexiest, most charismatic star of the Golden Era of Hollywood.

The epitome of a lusty, virile hero, Flynn turned the World into his stage as millions fell for his wicked, wicked ways.

Superstar and legend, Errol Flynn was Hollywood’s symbol of male virility during the Golden Era of moviemaking.

He was adored by fans worldwide, admired by millions, despised by many.

Flynn was the quintessence of the swashbuckling hero, but his on-screen exploits were pale echoes of his real life adventures.

Flynn’s prowess with women was so infamous that the expression “In like Flynn” became a common phrase used to describe the ease with which a man might conquer a woman.

As an actor, Flynn built the foundation for characters later elaborated by Mel Gibson, Arnold Schwarznegger, Harrison Ford, and Kevin Costner.

He died at age 50 of a heart attack, having had a good run in Hollywood with 53 films – some for Jack Warner, others contracted out to MGM – across from great female players such as Olivia De Haviland, Maureen O’Hara, Bette Davis, Greer Garson and others.

Errol Flynn was born Errol Leslie Thompson Flynn on June 20, 1909 in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.His parents were Professor Theodore Thompson Flynn and Lily Mary Young.

Professor Flynn was a well-known marine biologist and zoologist who later went on to receive an MBE for his work at Queens University, Belfast. Errol also was a direct descendant – on his mothers’ side – of Midshipman Young from the infamous HMS Bounty Mutiny of 1789.

The 18-year-old Errol Flynn arrived in New Guinea in October 1927 to make his fortune on the newly discovered goldfields at Edie Creek, Wau.

From his arrival he tried unsuccessfully to bluff himself into money as a cadet patrol officer, gold prospector, slave recruiter, dynamiter of fish, trapper of birds, manager of coconut and tobacco plantations, air cargo clerk, copra trader, charter boat captain, pearl diver and diamond smuggler.

He was also a prolific writer and contributed regularly to Australian newspapers and magazines with absorbing tales about the untamed jungles of New Guinea.

Flynn soon discovered that the Australian government had a severe shortage of patrol officers, and he hoped to bluff his way through in Rabaul, but this colonial career was short-lived when his background was discovered.

He moved restlessly from one job to another, acquiring many different skills but no great competence.

Hoping to get rich fast, he lived by his wits and ran up many debts.

In Rabaul, although considered a likeable and capable young man, his reputation for roguery quickly spread and he ceased to be with the Administration.

His best memory of Rabaul was of “a wonderful saloon where you encountered everything the world could yield up – miners, recruiters, con men, thieves, beachcombers, prospectors – cubicles both downstairs and upstairs, several phonographs playing, cards.”

Long after Flynn had left he was remembered around Rabaul, mostly for the unpaid bills he left behind.

Even after he became famous as a film star, he never paid any of those bills. If people wrote asking him to pay, he would send them autographed photographs of himself, saying these were worth much more than what he owed them.

The story is told of the famous occasion when a film of Flynn’s was showing in Rabaul, and at the end of the credits, a dentist to whom Flynn owned a large account jumped up and shouted: “And teeth by Eric Wein.”

In 1928, with money from his work on a coconut plantation and a loan from a shipping company in Sydney, Flynn bought a schooner and took an American film company to make a documentary about headhunters on the Sepik River.

He recalls: “The last place in the world I wanted to go was the Sepik River, a human graveyard. I cruised to the north-east coast, where the red, muddy Sepik River flowed into the sea.

“We moved into the broad stream, running against a strong current.

“The Sepik is a monster waterway 600 miles long.

“No white man has been up the river more than 200 or 300 miles and the nature of the river or the land beyond that was practically unknown and remains little known to this very day.

“The waterway was heavily populated with mosquitoes, kanakas, and pukpuks (crocodiles).

“As we traveled the garamuts, tomtoms made of crocodile skins, kept up a steady communication: ‘Outsiders, big magic on the water, beware’.

“When we came in close to shore and tried to get film of the natives, we got arrows instead, real ones, and poisoned.

“In 1929, Flynn sailed from the offshore islands to Salamaua, to fulfill his original ambition.

He hired eight men, bought marching gear and gold-digging equipment, and set out for the goldfields at Edie Creek.

The tough march from Salamaua to Wau – through a region filled with blackwater fever and poisoned arrows – tested men’s limitations.

The rigorous walk between Salamaua and Wau took up to a week, Flynn writing of how the gold fields had to be approached from Salamaua by 10 days’smarch through leech-infested jungle, in constant fear of ambush, and at night wondering ‘whether that crawly sound you heard a few feet away might be a snake, a cassowary or maybe only a wild boar razorback…I have seen Central Africa, but it was never anything like the jungle of New Guinea’.

At Edie Creek, temperatures were high during the day and fell steeply at night.

There was an epidemic of dysentery and malaria, with no trained doctors to attend to the sick.

His men left, and Flynn quickly realised that, “I had neither the provisions, nor the money, nor the necessary men to work a claim properly. The competition with other prospectors who were better set up was too much”.

He lost everything he owned and was forced to take a job as manager of a tobacco plantation in Laloki, near Port Moresby.

Six months later, Jack Hides, a flamboyant patrol officer and old Papua hand, turned up at Flynn’s place and noted in his diary that Flynn was doing a creditable job.

Flynn had criticised the Australian administration in a letter to his father in Tasmania.

Writing to The Bulletin soon after his arrival, he protested against a government policy that affected his own plantation, the high import taxes imposed on tobacco: “Papua is one of the natural homes of the tobacco plant, and, as Papua is part of the Commonwealth and is in receipt of a yearly subsidy of £40,000 from the federal government, the obvious market for its tobacco is Australia. But the market is closed by a prohibitive tariff.”

At Laloki, the man who was to become the world’s top sex symbol, wrote about his affair with Tuperselai, a beautiful Papuan girl: “We let ourselves be carried down by the current of the stream and, on the shores, in a secluded nook of shade, at last we made love.

“I can only say that I don’t know when again my heart pounded so.

“I was less alone and soft-aired Laloki River is one of my most precious, poetic memories.”

Flynn later observed that, “If you spend more than five years in New Guinea you were done for, you’d never be able to get out, your energy would be gone, and you’d rot there like an aged palm”.

In April 1933, he sold his property and suddenly left the island with some smuggled diamonds and a case of malaria that would plague him for the rest of his life.

During his years in New Guinea, from the age of 18 to 24, Flynn came to maturity and formed his adult personality. New Guinea brought out the worst and the best in him.

He was willing to try anything, but wouldn’t work at anything for very long.

He said, “There is no thrill like making a dishonest buck” and always expected others to support him when he had no money of his own.

He lived by his wits, bluffed his way through crises, and used his fists when he had to.

One of Errol Flynn’s greatest loves was writing. Apart from his autobiography My Wicked, Wicked Ways, he wrote two semi-autobiographical novels Beam Ends and Showdown and in addition wrote articles for the Sydney Bulletin whilst in PNG under the pen-name “Laloki.”

Errol Flynn loved many women, but he is said to have once confided to a close friend that two of his greatest loves were New Guinea, and writing.

— Gentleman Tim

 

In Like Flynn Will Soon Be Out

08 Jul

“In Like Flynn will be released later this year through Umbrella (Films)”

“[It] will be in cinemas by October 2018 in Australia.”

“It’s a different film and kinda unlike anything that’s come out of Australia.”

— Gentleman Tim

 

My Wicked Wicked Ways — The Legend of Errol Flynn

20 May

www.tcm.com…

— Gentleman Tim

 

The Ides of Flynn

15 Mar

Eighty-Five Years Ago Today (Sydney Time), on March 15, 1933, Errol Appeared Live AND On Film at the Prince Edward Theater in Sydney.

Errol was paid £2 to stand on stage in what he later described as a bad wig and bizarre naval uniform, appearing more like “an elderly keeper at a [Sydney brothel] than Fletcher Christian. The Ides of March ended bad for Caesar, but great for Flynn. It signaled the birth of Errol’s acting career.

A superb assembly of contemporaneous news articles by EFB Author “Isabel Australis”:

“In the wake of the bounty” 1933

An intriguing history with some Errol and errors:

books.google.com…

And here’s the cinematic Flynn himself, just as he appeared at the Prince Edward Theater, eighty-five years ago today, March 15, 1933 – On the Ides of Flynn:

— Gentleman Tim

 

Young Man River

14 Mar

— Gentleman Tim

 

The Mayor of Townsville

09 Feb

from In Like Flynn

www.wenhamania.narod.ru/Films/InLikeFlynn/enIn_Like_Flynn.html…

— Gentleman Tim

 

The Sartorial Flynn

21 Oct

Inspired by the keen observations of timerider – and with his kindly “Carry on, Old Boy” blessing – I hereby start a post for all to post your all time favorite images of Errol at his sartorial best, most fun, interesting, unique, and/or ahead of his time. I expect all of us will have multiple, even numerous favorites.

As timerider would say, “Carry On”! … In that spirit and fashion, I post my first:

— Gentleman Tim

 

Meet the Mayor

04 Jun

Mayor David Wenham – from 300, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

“Last month the hard working Wenham played Christian Travers, the fictional mayor of Townsville in director Russell Mulcahy’s Errol Flynn biopic In Like Flynn, shot on the Gold Coast.

Produced by James M. Vernon and Corey Large, the film follows the early life of the Tasmanian-born Flynn (Red Dog: True Blue’s Thomas Cocquerel) as he and his friends set sail from Sydney to New Guinea in search of gold. The mayor is the local bookmaker and brothel owner. Other cast members include Callan Mulvey, Isabel Lucas, Corey Large, William Moseley and Clive Standen.

Wenham relished the chance to work with Mulcahy, describing him as a great character and an absolute hoot.”

— Gentleman Tim