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MY BUSTER WILES STORY

20 Feb


Back in 2004, I met via the Internet a wonderful fellow by the name of David DeWitt. I’d purchased a CD on e-bay for a collection of radio shows from him. We began a correspondence afterward, about Errol Flynn; next thing I know, we become fast friends, separated by miles only, with a seemingly endless supply of things to talk about.
 
David introduced me to other Flynn fans, and also steered me towards several other interesting books, and I was able to obtain copies of each, one of which was written by Errol’s stunt double and friend, Buster Wiles. It was, and is, a great book to be sure. I became curious about Buster, and learned that he passed away two years after the book came out in 1988.
 
One of my hobbies is genealogy. Last fall I answered a request for a lady living in Beaverton, Oregon who was looking for ancestors that lived here. I was able to find the graves at the cemetery for her and send photos. She was very grateful and asked if she could do anything for me. On a lark, I asked her if she could check on Buster for obituary, and possibly locate his resting place. Before long, she wrote back, and sent me the newspaper notice for Buster, and also traveled to Skyline Memorial Gardens in Beaverton, and found Buster’s resting place for me, and sent some great photographs from the cemetery. I thought it rather fitting that we know where one of Errol’s best friends, and true supporters now reposes.
 
 
 
 

— Bob

 

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  1. Anonymous

    February 20, 2007 at 4:15 am

    Hi, Bob! What a great pal you have turned out to be for me! Almost daily we discourse on various things, always with a chuckle and with something new to say. A good sign in a friendship is always having something to say to the other person, innit? What a wonderful pic of Buster's resting place! Thanks for your friendship over the years and for this wonderful rare pic of a great gentleman's Memorial…

     
  2. Anonymous

    July 1, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Hello – it was so pleasant to see mention of Uncle Buster. He was my Mom's brother. I never met him, but have heard much about him. Thanks for posting the picture!
    Rod Adams

     
  3. Anonymous

    July 2, 2010 at 4:29 am

    Welcome to the blog, Rod. I'm sorry you didn't get to meet your talented uncle. I just purchased his book and look forward to reading about him.

     
  4. Anonymous

    July 3, 2010 at 4:13 am

    Hi Rod;
    Your uncle must have been a “Hell of a Guy!” I am laughing my head of about the antics he and Errol Flynn were up to. Funny that your post just comes now as I am in the midst of reading his book. It is so well written and so very entertaining. I am on page 127 and approaching the sad part. What a great pity that you never met him. I have an autographed copy and the inscription reads as follows: “To Lois and Jim – Best of Luck, Buster & Donalda”
    I wonder who were “Lois and Jim”? I am very glad to have this autographed copy!
    My best wishes to you,
    Tina

     
  5. Anonymous

    February 22, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Hi Rod; We must be cousins! Buster Wiles was also my uncle. My dad was Vernus Wiles, Buster's brother. Your mom's name must be Hazel. I went to the racetracks a few times with Hazel. I met Buster on numerous occasions and he was always a “jokester” just like my dad. It must run in the Wiles family. I have some very fond memories of Uncle Buster and his son Don Buster. Steve Wiles

     
  6. Anonymous

    February 23, 2011 at 5:27 am

    Hi Rod;
    You had a wonderful uncle and you should be proud to have had this man in your family; he must have been a hell of a guy! Tell us more!
    All the best to you!

     
  7. Anonymous

    March 3, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    Hi Tina; This is not Rod but Steve Wiles and Buster Wiles was my uncle and I did meet him on numerous occasions. Some very pleasant and some not too pleasant. If you like I can relate a few to you as Buster was a very interesting man. Steve

     
  8. Anonymous

    March 4, 2011 at 2:16 am

    Hi Steve Wiles!
    This is wonderful to hear from you! We all would be very happy to hear your stories about Buster and Errol, it sure would be great treat for all of us on this Blog! Did you ever meet Errol Flynn? If so, tell us also about this encounter!
    By the way, I have your uncles book and it is autographed by your uncle. It has the following dedication: “To Lois and Jim – best of luck, Buster and Donalda”
    I wonder if you know who “Lois and Jim” were? Do you have any details about them?
    We sure are looking forward to your communication with great anticipation!
    All the very best to you,
    Tina

     
  9. Anonymous

    March 4, 2011 at 6:14 am

    Tina; No I never did meet Errol, but as you will find out in later episodes with my uncle I did meet some movie stars. First episode: In the 1930's Mollie, my grandmother and Buster's mother owned a restaurant in El Monte, California and when me and my twin brother were about 2 years old this mean man put both of us in a deep hole that had been dug behind the restaurant. He pretended that he was not going to let us out but of course he did. This is my first memories of Buster and as you can see, not a very happy one. You will find out that my twin and I got even with him about 13 years later.
    No; I don't know who Lois & Jim are. But I did meet Donalda and she was a very beautiful woman.
    If you go to about page 188 in the book with the picture of Errol,s Casket in Union Station, the young man behind Buster is his son”Don Buster”. The man to Buster's right in the suit and white shirt is my Dad, Vernice. The young man to my Dad's right is Bob Wiles, my oldest brother. Thats enough rambling for tonight, I will send other episodes in another day or so. Steve

     
  10. Anonymous

    March 4, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Hi Steve;
    Thank you for your prompt reply and we all look forward to your next issue!
    Your uncle Buster was definitely a practical joker and a colorful character as was Errol Flynn and they must have had a hell of a time together. I am sure there must be a lot more of their antics they produced in those years, but we most likely will never know all of them.
    It must have been a shocking experience for you and your brother to be stuck into a hole and I am glad you had a chance to even the score later in your life.
    Yes, Donalda was a very beautiful woman and so were his daughters Carol Anne and Laura on page 180, they sure were Buster's joy!
    Like I said – we all look forward to more – many more of your stories!
    Best regards,
    Tina

     
  11. Anonymous

    March 5, 2011 at 7:48 am

    Hi Steve! Thanks for sharing your story and I look forward to more rambling! (Bad Buster for being so mean to two year olds!)

     
  12. Anonymous

    March 6, 2011 at 5:46 am

    Episode #2 Meeting Movie Stars. One morning in about 1953 my brother Stan “twin” and I was in the cafeteria at Del Mar Race Track for breakfast. The California Wiles were always at the tracks( My dad was a horse trainer and owner from way back) and my sister Mary Lou married a jocky named Ray Blair. Uncle Buster was there and called us over to his table with about 6 people. He told them to meet his soon to be famous twin nephews. We were going to be professional Baseball players. Uncle Buster had a way with making people believe anything he said. Pardon the slang” but he was a big bullshiter from way back. Two of the people sitting at that table was Betty and Harry James, otherwise known as Betty Grable and her husband Harry James. They also owned Race Horses. They seemed to be as thrilled to meet us as we were to meet them. That was one morning I will never forget! But of course we never made it to the big times as ball players because of circumstances beyond our control. Both of us wound up going into the United States Marine Corps and making a career out of it. End of episode #2. Steve

     
  13. Anonymous

    March 6, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Thanks fr sharing this story, it must have been so interesting to meet such famous people and I can well imagine how thrilled you were!

     
  14. Anonymous

    March 6, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Steve, what great stories you are telling us! I sent you a second email inquiring about the possibility of your joining the blog as one of our Authors? I don't know if you check the email address you provided to the blog often but we'd love to have you become one of our contributors (you can then write posts to the Main Page and all other pages, too), on this blog as well as leave us these wonderful stories as comments!
    David/Admin

     
  15. Anonymous

    March 6, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Great memory. Did you ever go to Santa Anita track? I remember going with my grandparents and I chose a horse called Fly Up and he won! Sure hope you consider becoming a member–it becomes addictive! I'm ready for #3! Also–big thank you to you and Stan for serving this great country and keeping me safe!!

     
  16. Anonymous

    March 7, 2011 at 5:13 am

    David; I did receive your e-mail but I am just a simple person with some wonderful memories that I am trying to share with other people that have the same feelings about Uncle Buster that I do. I hope the few memories that I share with other people help them to understand my uncle. Only a few more episodes and I will be finished and I believe I can do that by posting like I am. Steve

     
  17. Anonymous

    March 7, 2011 at 5:22 am

    Kathleen; Yes, I have been to Santa Anita many times and one of my greatest memories of Uncle Buster comes from there which you will be able to read in the near future. To me Santa Anita is the most beautiful racetrack in the world with the mountains in the background. Before the “SMOG”. El Monte, which is only a short drive from Arcadia is where I lived for 2 years and went to highschool. As far as serving my country; the pleasure was all mine. Steve

     
  18. Anonymous

    March 7, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Steve, I respect your feelings and you are most welcome to write about anything you like on the blog! Please know that once your stories about Buster Wiles are finished, you are still very welcome to make comments about anything here on The Errol Flynn Blog! We are all enjoying your presence very much!

     
  19. Anonymous

    March 7, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    One More Chapter: Now for Episode #3 called “Getting Even”! In 1953 my Dad managed a “Kiddie Park” at Five Points in El Monte. In this Park we had a Merry Go Round, Airplane Ride, Boat Ride, Car Ride, Ferris Wheel and a Train Ride that went all around the park. Stan and I worked there in the afternoons and week-ends. One day I was running the Merry-go-round and you control it from the center. I was standing there listening to “Shrimpboats are Coming” and all of a sudden this big figure of a man came flying off the merry-go-round right into me and knocked me on the ground. Yep; you guessed it; It was Buster Wiles pulling one of his stunts. I regained my composure and made him get off because he had no ticket. Later that day Buster and Dad dissappeared for about 3 hours and right before closing time they came back feeling no pain. I suspect they had been sampling some booze that Dad kept in his little fire truck. They both said they wanted to ride the Ferris Wheel so Stan and I accomadated them and let Dad get in which was very easy because he was smaller than Buster. We finally got Buster in and turned on the ride. The cages the passengers rode in locked from the outside so the kids couldn't get out. I flipped the little hour glass that timed the duration of the ride and we proceded to watch 2 grown men go around and around. after about a minute they were ready to get out but we told them that time hadn't expired yet and we couldn't stop the ride. Finally we stopped the ride and let the 2 irrate passengers out. Dad was really mad but Buster told him to simmer down because they had it coming. So Buster could dish out fun but he could also take it when it backfired. “Got You Buster” Steve

     
  20. Anonymous

    March 8, 2011 at 2:08 am

    Thank you David; Now for Episode #3 called “Getting Even”! In 1953 my Dad managed a “Kiddie Park” at Five Points in El Monte. In this Park we had a Merry Go Round, Airplane Ride, Boat Ride, Car Ride, Ferris Wheel and a Train Ride that went all around the park. Stan and I worked there in the afternoons and week-ends. One day I was running the Merry-go-round and you control it from the center. I was standing there listening to “Shrimpboats are Coming” and all of a sudden this big figure of a man came flying off the merry-go-round right into me and knocked me on the ground. Yep; you guessed it; It was Buster Wiles pulling one of his stunts. I regained my composure and made him get off because he had no ticket. Later that day Buster and Dad dissappeared for about 3 hours and right before closing time they came back feeling no pain. I suspect they had been sampling some booze that Dad kept in his little fire truck. They both said they wanted to ride the Ferris Wheel so Stan and I accomadated them and let Dad get in which was very easy because he was smaller than Buster. We finally got Buster in and turned on the ride. The cages the passengers rode in locked from the outside so the kids couldn't get out. I flipped the little hour glass that timed the duration of the ride and we proceded to watch 2 grown men go around and around. after about a minute they were ready to get out but we told them that time hadn't expired yet and we couldn't stop the ride. Finally we stopped the ride and let the 2 irrate passengers out. Dad was really mad but Buster told him to simmer down because they had it coming. So Buster could dish out fun but he could also take it when it backfired. “Got You Buster” Steve

     
  21. Anonymous

    March 8, 2011 at 2:46 am

    To let everybody know, I just got a nasty virus on my computer and so my laptop will be in the shop for a few days. This means I will not be quick to fix any posting issues here at the blog such as Steve's in which one of his comments was flagged for moderation and I just caught it! I am using a library computer to tell you about this virus. It will take a few days to fix the problem and hopefully I will not lose a lot of important work. They know which virus this is and it hides itself all over a computer, so will be tough and expensive to remove. But I have been lucky for quite awhile and not had this sort of problem, so I guess the odds caught up with me! I will try to pop in here and check on things but it is not easy for me to do at the moment. So if a problem arises and I am dead silent – it is not because I am ignoring you!

     
  22. Anonymous

    March 8, 2011 at 6:37 am

    OOOH, bad thing about the virus, David – hope they can remove it easily and completely. Steve, I have to agree with David, it'd be great to have your stories compiled as a real article because it's not always sure that people read the comments. Your stories are so enjoyable, thanks again for sharing them!

     
  23. Anonymous

    March 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Hi Steve;
    Thank you so much for relating your memories of a great man to us!
    Keep it up we are in awe to hear about it all!
    Best wishes – Tina

     
  24. Anonymous

    March 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Hi Steve;
    What a great story! I hope you and your brother let them dangle in the air on the Ferris Wheel for a long time!
    And the conclusion of this episode sounds just like Buster – a very fair man!

     
  25. Anonymous

    March 11, 2011 at 12:22 am

    David; do you have your virus problem repaired yet? Steve W.

     
  26. Anonymous

    March 11, 2011 at 12:31 am

    Yes, just got it back today. $225 out of pocket! But back in business! :)

     
  27. Anonymous

    March 11, 2011 at 3:16 am

    Thank you David for your fast actions on the Virus. A good program for virus protection that is free to download is Microsoft Security Essentials. My wife and I have used it for quite a while with excellent results.
    NOW FOR EPISODE #4 This episode takes place at Santa Anita Racetrack in Dec of “I think” 1952. I remember being at Buster's house in Arcadia on Christmas Eve and Donalda fixed some sandwiches for me and Don Buster. We were going to the racetrack with Buster. I believe one of his daughters was just a baby at that time. Buster drove to Santa Anita and we went directly to one of the stable areas. We hadn't been there five minutes and Buster disappeared into one of the Tack Rooms where there was a Christmas Party going on. Now I know why Donalda fixed sandwiches for us. This pary lasted all afternoon and Don Buster and I were not allowed in. We had to find something to do all afternoon. But after a while there was singing coming from the Tackroom. and this singing lasted for what seemed to us for hours. Who was singing? “Buster” and boy was he good! He would finish a song and the stablehands would convince him to sing another. I must have heard “Ol Man River” 4 times. That was Buster's favorite and man, he could really blast it out just like any Pro! This was one of Buster's Talents that not too many people knew about. Don Buster told me that he did it at home quite often. Even though we didn't get back home till after dark, it turned out to be a very memorable afternoon for me and as you see, I have never forgotten it. Steve

     
  28. Anonymous

    March 11, 2011 at 4:11 am

    Hi Steve;
    Your story is most delightful, giving you such wonderful memories and to us an inside to a man, which never should be forgotten. Buster, with his great voice and his humor must have entertained many hordes of people in his lifetime, which must have been in many ways amazing times for all who were associated with him. He most certainly was one of a kind and a very talented person.
    I am looking forward to your next episode!
    Best regards,
    Tina

     
  29. Anonymous

    March 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Wonderful story again, thanks for sharing. Buster told about his singing talent in his book, and I guess that's why he also got that part in “Thank you lucky stars” where he did a great job, too.

     
  30. Anonymous

    March 12, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Steve, Wonderful memories and thanks for the tip about downloading Microsoft Security Essentails! You're the best!

     
  31. Anonymous

    March 14, 2011 at 4:34 am

    David; I don't know if you know it or not but Buster appeared on the Geraldo Rivera Show not long before he died. They discussed his book and more on the life of Errol Flynn. If anyone is interested, I have a copy of that show on DVD. It is my last view of my late and great uncle. I VCRed the show and converted it to DVD. If anyone wants a copy, I will send them one for free. Just forward your E-Mail to me and we can swap addresses. My e-mail is swiles@ecarthage.com…. Steve

     
  32. Anonymous

    April 17, 2011 at 6:55 am

    I just had the pleasure of viewing the video and it was a real treat. Buster had some real zingers that made me laugh out loud. To see Buster after reading his book and hear the straight story about Errol was icing on the cake. Thank you so much Steve.

     
  33. Anonymous

    April 17, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Hi Steve;
    I received your video and I wish to thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is wonderful to watch, what a treat and what a laugh a real balsam, a valuable piece for my memorabilia. Well done I wish more people could see it.
    I will be in touch with you via a letter and wish you and your loved ones all the very best and thank you again for your kindness to send me a copy.
    I sincerely hope that we will soon hear again from you on this blog!
    My very best regards,
    Tina

     
 
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