Archive for the ‘The Last Years’ Category

Errol’s Elephants

06 Dec

Star Wars Took Charge of Errol’s Elephants



We all know the Star Wars movies are a feast for the eyeballs, but when you think about it, they are also a special treat for the ears, too. According to Mentalfloss, legendary sound designer Ben Burtt got his star on Star Wars fresh out of the University of Southern California’s film school and “was tasked with coming up with a completely new and organic soundscape for the movie.”

Burtt created Chewbacca’s iconic voice by blending the vocalizations of a bear, a lion, a walrus and a badger. The beloved pint-sized droid R2-D2’s endearing chirps were made using loops on a synthesizer matched with beeps and boops modelled after baby coos performed by Burtt. The infamous deep breathing of the evil Darth Vader was created by putting a microphone inside the regulator on a scuba tank.

But our favourite iconic sound, the swooshing shriek of the film’s TIE fighter engines, are — brace yourselves for a shock — the sound of an elephant call mixed with the sounds of a car driving on wet pavement. According to the blog Unidentified Sound Object, Lucas had seen a documentary about the Battle of Stalingrad and told Burtt the sound of the Nazi rockets would make a great laser-gun noise.

That’s when Burtt stumbled on recordings of some stampeding elephants from an old Errol Flynn movie, which he mixed with recordings of cars speeding through puddles in a rainstorm. He slipped the sound in for a screening at the last moment, and everyone went wild. “I’d really put it in because I had no other alternative, but it got great reviews, so naturally it became the sound of the TIE fighters,” the sound legend said.…

— Gentleman Tim


Titchfield Hotel! Grand place owned by an even grander actor!

18 Nov


— Don Jan



24 May

— David DeWitt


One more Berlinale Rock'n'Roll

03 Sep

— Inga


03 Sep

Would anybody have information where and when they were taken?

— Inga


03 Sep

I found this and the next one in a magazine and was pretty touched by them.

— Inga


I feel good…

08 Nov

I had somehow forgotten to include this in my article – it's another Berlinale photo. Hope you like it.

— Inga


Beverly Aadland in Perspective

19 Mar

Beverly Aadland passed on recently. Today, few know her name, but a little more than 50 years ago, she existed amidst a scandal that would have made for a downbeat last chapter to Errol Flynn’s life, except that his Cuban adventure was even worse! Flynn set eyes on shapely, leggy, natural-blonde dancer Aadland on the Warner Brothers lot while he was making Too Much, Too Soon. He was 48 at the time; he figured she was 18 or 20, but her driver’s license said otherwise. Or it would have if she had have been old enough to obtain a driver’s license.
Flynn had always liked younger women, which wasn’t such a problem when he was 25 and a girl, say, Olivia de Havilland, was 19. But when he passed 30 and then 40 and continued to like ‘em 18 or so, it started to get creepy. The funny thing with Flynn was that in the beginning, he found older women attractive, like the society dame he squired in Australia, and like Lili Damita, who claimed to have been born in 1905 but was probably older when Flynn hooked up with her in Paris in 1934—when he was 24 and she was at least 30. Lili became Mrs. Errol Flynn number one. Flynn also went in a big way for the boss’s wife, Dorothy Lamour look-alike Ann Warner, wife of Jack L. Warner. In fact, on his climb up the Hollywood ladder, there were lots of older women who Flynn used, and who used Flynn.
It seems to have been the cunning, manipulative actions of Damita as she steered toward divorce that caused Flynn to make a conscious decision to stick to younger, less sophisticated types. After all, control was the thing with Flynn—control and conquest. Younger girls fit the bill in both cases. Added to that, he liked to love ‘em and leave ‘em, and, on the way out the door, he was less likely to have a shoe or a flower pot thrown at him by a younger girl than an older one.
He was 15 years older than second wife Nora Eddington, whom he married in 1944, and almost 20 years older than his third wife Patrice Wymore, whom he married in 1950. It wasn’t a tremendous surprise, then, when at age 48 he would score with an 18 year old, with the complicating factor being that she was really 16, and an extra complicating factor being that they quickly formed a close emotional attachment. Oh, and one more problem: years of debauchery had left him a bloated wreck who appeared to be far older than 48, meaning that his paramour looked like his granddaughter.
Even today, historians and journalists sneer at the association between Errol Flynn and Beverly Aadland, which went against the social grain of the 1950s in all respects. Flynn himself wrote transcripts of the byplay between the older man and the young girl that was infantile on both sides and tinged with cruelty on his part, but there can be no doubt that Beverly adored Errol and became his caretaker in the last year of his life when he had driven everyone else away.  By now he was a brittle man who had survived many broken bones and a bad back. He had had a cancerous tumor removed from his mouth and perhaps a melanoma from his face. His lungs were shot from smoking and TB, and his liver from drinking. He had no money, was taking every TV appearance he could land, could no longer remember his lines on screen or on the stage, and couldn’t write when he used to be able to make a buck selling words. What a catch!
It was to Beverly’s credit that she stuck with him through the thick and thin of all that, and that she formed relationships with Flynn’s ex Nora and daughters Deirdre and Rory. Flynn’s October 1959 death was a nightmare for Beverly, played out on the world stage and what do you know; she reacted like an 18 year old and threw a tantrum and collapsed. But in subsequent days she pulled herself together and was sturdy through the funeral and aftermath.
Despite the notoriety of her association with Flynn, which led to a Mercury Records contract, TV appearances, and some discreet pictorials in men's magazines (see photo), Beverly Aadland had a hard life marked by diabetes and other ailments. Her passing at age 68 may go unnoticed, which signifies how much the world is changing and how far the flamboyant Errol Flynn, number-one Hollywood bad boy, has himself receded into the pages of history. But back in the day, the Flynn-Aadland scandal matched anything that today’s stars can offer, and at a time when America was far less shock-proof and, in fact, ready to send them both packing.

— Robert Matzen


The Last Sad Rites of Errol Flynn

06 Feb

Dear Errol fans,

        I have been besieged with negative comments as to why Errol was not buried in Jamaica as was his wish. Most of the comments blame Patrice Wymore Flynn and think she had a plan for an 'evil last payback' of some sort to punish Errol for any and all wrongs that she thought Errol had dealt her. The real reason could be not further from the truth. Errol died in Vancouver, B.C. Canada. That very fact had everything to do with how the events turned out. First; the Canadian law follows British law, i.e. Anyone who loses their life in Canada who is a foreign national is subject to an autopsy.(for obvious reasons) That being done, the remains are lawfully shipped to the deceased lawful address, (this being Los Angeles County, CA. i.e Errol's legal residence) Errol's remains stayed at the Vancouver Morgue for two days until Errol's friend came to claim the body. The remains were then put on a train for the trip to L.A. That trip took four days in an unrefrigerated baggage car, at which it was turned over to the proper authorities.

                The L.A.County Health Dept. then at some point filed an 'immediate burial writ' and the the remains were then buried at Forest lawn within 24-48 hours. Note that this was 1959 and the threat of Cholera and Typhoid Fever was a very real concern. The authorities did not care who it was, only that the public good was to be protected. The story that friends put several bottles of liquor in the coffin at the wake is simply not true. ( It made for good pulp press though) The fact is: Due to the circumstances, the L.A. coroner filed a “closed coffin” order and Errol was buried in that manner. Also, for Errol to be re-buried in Jamaica would have been a logistical nightmare. In L.A. County, a dis-internment order was almost impossible to get. (unless the asking party was the police) There had already been an autopsy (in Vancouver) and no foul play was suspected. Indeed, the results pointed to a massive heart attack, liver cirrosis, and a laundry list of other ailments.(In fact it seems incredible that he lived as long as he did.) To request it for any other reason would have involved a court hearing, etc, that most probably would have dragged on for months. Let's say for argument's sake that it was actually done: The coffin would have to be encased in a airtight container, shipped by boat or air plane to Kingston, JA where customs would have had the final say. Let me tell you,(as I have extensive experience in JA goings-on) Bringing a body into a country such as JA for re-burial would have been another nightmare. All kinds of health concerns would have delayed the transfer, and the coffin would have most likely sat in the air-freight warehouse at the Kingston airport for two or three months while the bureaucracy slowly ground on, and even then, it would be a 50-50 chance that the remains would have been accepted. Let's not forget that the Jamaican people are very superstitious.(and still are.) They call ghosts: 'Duppies' and believe that have great powers, and there is no 'Duppie so evil' as one who is denied his final resting place. This belief exists to this day.(even in 2010)

       To put it all in perspective, Errol lived a great life, and when he died, the portion left behind was not Errol, but just a shell for a soul. (at least, that's how I see it) As for me, when I pass on, I don't care what they do with the body. Hell, get rid of it in the cheapest way possible! What has made me me, is gone to another place.

         Also, I have heard that there is a rumor that Patrice sent yellow roses to Errol's grave as a 'spiteful last insult'. Patrice at that time was almost penniless, and only had the property in JA and was in no position to do anything. The truth is, Errol's friend Bud Abbott (of Abbott and Costello fame, and a close friend) called a local florist and ordered an enormous amount of roses to be sent to the grave site. The florist was short of red roses, but had a line on yellow roses and did not think it would matter, so that is what was sent, much to the later embarrassment of Mr. Abbott.

         I have often said that there is nothing more bitter and chastising as the pure truth, and I believe this is yet one more example. I hope I have not turned away any readers. There is so much more good in Errol's life that remains to be written, and I intend to do it,(with you readers support.) Errol was, at his core, just a man, a human being with all the faults and warts we all carry. He was a great man in his own way, and to quote Shakespeare; “Here, was a Caesar, When comes another?” It is easy to think of him in Hollywood terms, but Hollywood is make-believe. Errol was the real thing. And rather than to hide his true feelings due to some 'political correctness',(a term coined by Josef Stalin) he was his own man and 'let it all hang out' and if you accepted it, fine, if not, you could go to hell. In my humble opinion, that is the attitude of a real man. That is what made him the legend that he was and still is. That, my friends, is how I view him and I admire him all the more for it.

                                                  Thank You All,  John


— john


The Titchfield Hotel, Part III

17 Jan

Dear Errol Fans,

     In this last installment of the series, we see an aging, run-down Titchfield hotel. Although The United Fruit Co. had rebuilt it, and half-heartedly promoted it, World War II and the changing times all played a part in it's gradual downhill slide. Money was scarce, travel by airplane had largely replaced travel by ship, and Port Antonio's remote location combined to create a 'perfect storm' of sorts. It was in this time period that Errol, while traveling to the U.S. east coast by way of the Panama canal on the ZACA suffered storm damage and put into Kingston, JA for repairs. During this time Errol did some exploring and discovered Port Antonio. After the repairs were finished, Errol sailed the ZACA into the now sleepy coastal town and fell in love with the place.

    Timeline: 1951; Needing a base of operations, Errol set about inquiring as to the ownership of the hotel and found out that it could indeed be bought. The owners probably could not believe their luck. Instead of a savvy real estate broker who would have bargained the price down to almost nothing, they had no less than a real-life Hollywood movie star with deep pockets on their hands. And what was even better, he was in love with the place! The words 'ca-ching!' must have came to mind. Needless to say, the deal was quickly struck and Errol was the proud owner of his very own hotel / bar. (Now he could cut out the middle man.)

      Soon after the Titchfield deal was consummated, Errol bought a huge tract of prime land in the Priestman's River / Boston Bay area from the same folks who owned the Titchfield with the idea of setting up a cattle ranch and coconut plantation. There already existed a large 'great house' on the property that was built in the banana heydays and Errol moved right in. The house was to be used as a getaway from the Titchfield until another, more modern one could be built. (to Errol's design, of course) That 'Errol designed' house still exists and is occupied by Patrice Wymore Flynn. Meanwhile, the hotel needed a vast amount of repairs and there still exists a check from Errol for the 'a/c for $10,000. That was a ton of money in those days. (especially in JA) Errol also had the famous artist, Olga Lehman paint a large mural in the reception area depicting Cpt. Morgan, pirates and Cpt. Bligh in a sort of running history of JA.

       Errol brought in his parents to stay at the Titchfield whenever they liked, and stay they did. Errol's mother took over as the defacto manager of the hotel and by all accounts, ran the place with an iron hand. Her word was law and pity those who would try and cross her. All opponents soon 'laid down their shields' and did her bidding, even Errol. Errol had the bright idea of changing the name of the hotel to 'Flynn's Inn'. Mama Flynn put the kabosh to that idea, But Errol succeeded in re-naming the hotel to 'The Jamaica Reef Hotel & Bar. Errol also considered buying the Demontevin Lodge and converting it into a 'New Orleans' style brothel. (and with the fancy gingerbread woodwork, it looked the part)But it never came to be. Errol's father did what he did best and took a position at the Fort George middle school as the master teacher of biology and by all accounts was quite happy. I have a picture of Father Flynn(center) Pat in the foreground and Errol on the Left hand side laughing at some forgotten joke. The lady who provided the photo said Mr. Flynn was a very good teacher who delighted at a student's ability to dissect a frog successfully than most anything else.

       The year is 1958, Errol and his 'small companion' Beverly Aaland (to whom he referred to as 'Dhondi') arrived at the Titchfield. By all accounts, things went smoothly enough in the beginning, although the proper English ladies were soon inquiring about Beverly's 'function' without really seeming to 'inquire'.(in other words, being nosey) They got more than they bargained for when Beverly, a veteren of the cut-throat 'child actor' business in Hollywood, and anything but a 'shrinking violet,' (plus possessing a vocabulary that would do a sailor proud,) smiled sweetly, looked them in the eye, and said “As a matter of fact I'm screwing him, and for 5 bucks each, you old bats can watch us!” This news sent them running like wet hens straight to Errol, who laughed it all off as 'youthful indulgence'. Beverly also had a habit of cavorting through the place dressed in a string bikini.(remember, this was 1958) To the old regulars, she might as well have been stark naked. She would pick out the oldest, most uptight looking pensioner, wait until he was surrounded by his friends and then run up, sit in his lap,stroke his thigh, whisper in his ear and kiss him on the cheek until his face turned beet red. This behavior was 'Errol at his best', who loved nothing more than to put someone on the spot. Once when Errol bought her a goose with goslings for her birthday, she set them loose in the hallways. The reason was (I guess) just harmless fun or to 'raise a little hell'. In that endeavor, she succeeded. The formidable 'Lady's and Gentlemen” of the old order had more than met their match and steered clear of Bev. from then on.

      Errol was also not without his little quirks: After some drinking, he would remove his clothes in full view of all present and do a little 'skinny dipping' when the mood came over him. One story stands out above the rest: Errol, tipsy after 'one too many', mistakenly stumbled into the ladies restroom at the hotel to take a 'relieve himself'. One of the ladies who happened to be also in the room walked up and said. “Sir! This is for ladies only!” whereupon Errol pulled out his 'member' and replied'”So is this madam! But I must water it every now and again!”

      Errol hosted many famous stars at the Titchfield. A short list would read: Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe, Katherine Hepburn, Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Peter Ustinov, Peter O'Toole, and Truman Capote. All the guests were said to be on their best behavior when at the hotel, save one: Truman Capote. Truman was a curious and irritating fellow. He seemed to be allergic to almost everything,(even sand) had to be carried to and from the beach like an invalid, never dared to venture into water more than 2 ft. deep, would bundle up like he was at the arctic to protect himself from the sun, wear his canvas shoes even in the water, and would constantly whine and bitch about everything and nothing at all. Beverly hated him, and never being at a loss for words, called him a “dirty little fag”. All the more puzzling was why he kept coming back to the Titchfield over and over.(that puzzle would soon solve itself.) Things came to a head when Errol and a group of friends (Truman included) went rafting on the Rio Grande. Somehow, Truman managed to fall off his raft and nearly drowned. Now for those of you who have not participated in this little adventure, the water is never more than 2 or 3 ft. deep and the current is very lazy. To drown there would be akin to drowning in a plastic kiddie pool in the back yard.

     After this episode, Errol had had just about enough of “old Tru”, as he called him. One of the group privately asked Errol just what the hell was wrong with him, to which Errol replied, “The fact is sport, he's absolutely worthless. But don't worry, I'll get rid of him if I have to do it myself.” So Truman, pale and shivering, was bundled into Errol's convertible and Errol, with cigarette holder firmly clenched in his teeth, took his place behind the wheel for the journey to the Kingston airport. Everything was fine until they reach the outskirts of town. It was there that Truman, (who had a huge crush on Errol) lost control of his 'unrequited love', and 'seized' the moment. (by grabbing Errol's crotch with both hands in a vise-like grip) Now make no mistake, Errol was capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time, and even sword fighting at four to one odds, but now he had to juggle driving a twisty, mtn. road, smoking his cigarette, and trying to dislodge love-sick Truman, all the while trying to avoid injury to his 'particulars”. Well, the whole charade ended with Errol plowing through a large wooden wall and into the backyard pool of an unlucky resident. It is said that Errol sprang from the car so fast that his cigarette was still burning when the owners rushed to see what was the matter. One of the owners said that Errol stood for a moment, hands on hips, surveying the carnage, then coolly asked to use the phone, while ignoring the half-drowned Truman.

      After Errol's death, the hotel was purchased by a self proclaimed 'friend' of Errol's. (one Rex Rand) A man of questionable references and reputation. Most referred to him as a 'con man'. He had an old Grumman Goose seaplane and would land it at the beach at the foot of the hotel. He would stage large parties at the hotel and try to get guests to invest in one venture after another and all the while shamelessly dropping Errol's name. Eventually he was broke and his properties were mortgaged to the hilt. It was at this point that one night in 1969, a mysterious fire seemed to spring up from at least two different places in the hotel. The local firetrucks were out of service as a direct result of JA declaring Independence in 1962 and the UK no longer paying for their upkeep. So the trucks stayed in the station and the hotel was pretty much burned to the ground. Mr. Rand immediately packed up and walked away, never to come to the area again. Insurance eventually payed Mr. Rand but only after a protracted court fight.

     Little stands today that would hint of the Titchfields grandeur. Only an open field with the remains of the large foundation and the deck of the bar, the empty swimming pool that Errol and friends frolicked in, and memories, like the breezes that seem to whisper something just out of ear shot. The palms that ringed the hotel are still there for the most part, as is the now enormous banyan tree that graced the entrance, now growing over the long unused concrete pathway. It is a sight worth seeing, and as for me, provokes happiness and sadness at the same time.




— john