flynn's character

11 Sep

Hi everyone:

I'm a long-time writer who has just finished my two volume memoirs “Googie's, Coffee Shop to the Stars, and in it have discussed my friendship with Errol.


I knew him well and was a guest at his house for almost a month early in 1950.  I never actually intedned to write an autobiography but then I got angrier and angrier at the heinous bios that came out describing Flynn as a spy and bisexual, etc.

Having spent many a night sitting around yakking in the living room in our bathrobes, with only Marge Eddington on the premises (in her room) I can assure you that if Errol had had bisexual tendencies he would have hit on me.  As the photos in my memoirs show I was attractive and certainly young enough to entice anyone to me.  Never ever once did he suggest, hint or make any moves toward me.

I also helped him home from nightspots many an evening when he was bombed and again he had the excuse of alcohol to get touchy-feely and never did.  And his wives would have attested to his virility.

As for his being a spy, that is so ludicrous it's hardly worth denying.  Errol was certainly generally thinking of Errol, that was his nature, but he had a high regard for the US and thought the world of Roosevelt.  I know, he told me so.

Anyway, I'm here and willing to answer any reasonable questions about The Colonel, so feel fre to ask.  With Buster and Nora gone, and his daughters “distant” to say the least, there ain't too many of us left who actually knew him.  I think his friend and a pal of mine, Patric Knowles is gone too.

That's it for now.  I hope you enjoy my memoirs as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Steve Hayes

— ivan6gold


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  1. Anonymous

    September 11, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    A hearty welcome to you, Steve–our newest member. Having just had the pleasure to meet you and discuss the Baron, I can only say that our fellow members here are indeed fortunate to have someone directly connected with Flynn himself. Welcome!

  2. Anonymous

    September 11, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    I want to extend a heartfelt welcome, too! It is rare indeed to be able to talk to someone who “hung out” with Flynn himself. One of my chief regrets is not seeing Mulholland House when it was empty, and I could have wandered around its rooms as others have done such as Jack Marino, etc. We do have some pics taken by various guests while Flynn lived there and a few from folks who visited it before it was torn down but I wish I had been able to see it! I guess the tennis court still exists! I wonder who Errol played with on that court and thought was an equal player to himself?
    Grand to have you here, Steve! Thanks for coming onboard!

  3. Anonymous

    September 17, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Hi Steve – It's fascinating to read some personal observations from someone who knew Errol. I was wondering about your calling him The Colonel.
    Also, since you spent a fair amount of time with him, I was wondering if you know what cigarettes he preferred (if any)? A strange question perhaps!

  4. Anonymous

    September 18, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Hi Steve,
    Many thanks for your superior memoir, which I'm enjoying a great deal. Lots of fun glimpses of the past greats. But I too am curious about Flynn as “the Colonel.” That's a new one on me. Was this a name that just you had for him? Everyone else, including himself, seemed to use “Baron” to refer to him. Any help on this would be most appreciated.
    I also resonated to you comments re. the Nazi spy business. I think I can say I've studied this subject in about as much depth as is humanly possible, and I've yet to find any credible evidence of it, but plenty in the opposite direction.
    Along these lines I still recall a comment Vince Sherman made to me in 1990. We were chatting and I brought up the Nazi business, and he looked straight at me and said, “Look, if any Nazis had ever approached him about working for them, he would have said 'Ha! How much are you going to pay me?'” He then quickly added, “I don't mean he would have worked for them for any amount of money in the world. I mean he was into maintaining his lifestyle and his hobbies, that was what interested him – not politics.” I was so struck by the comment I remembered it word for word.
    Thanks again for your work, and best regards –
    Linc Hurst
    UC Davis
    Davis, Ca 95616

  5. Anonymous

    September 29, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Hi, Linc:
    I didn't see this comment from you until today — can't explain why since blogs are still mostly mystery to me.
    But I did email you offering my services should you ever need any answers to perplexing questions — such as the Colonel above. I calle dhim that and on rare occasions he jokingly referred to me as The Early, since as you've read by now, my first wife plunked that false title on me for her own reasons. But I think Colonel was only thrown around between Alan Hale, Big Boy and Flynn — certainly in my presence anyway — and was something of a private joke between them. I did check my files and saw a remark in her diary by my then-wife Gloria (who knew Flynn intimately well) that the Colonel was not going to the Charge premiere unless Jack (she used a stronger expletive) paid him some money he owed him. It didn't say how much or what money was for. But since she calle dhim Colonel as far back as The Charge — it certainly had been around a while. I wish I'd asked Patric Knowles, whomI knew well for a time, if he knew where the nickname stemmed from.
    Anyway, again, my services are available to anyone helping to spread a positive Flynn image. Dave and other blog members have my email if you need it, so we can also communicate that way if you like. Best, Steve

  6. Anonymous

    September 29, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    Missed a typo — it was The Earl, not Early. Sorry. Steve

  7. Anonymous

    September 30, 2008 at 3:46 am

    Hi Steve,
    Great to hear from you! What a coup for us to have you here – you're a walking encyclopedia of Hollywood memories! And I really appreciate your offer of help, which I will happily take up very shortly. I'll email you privately.
    Also, nice to hear from James Darren, whom I've always enjoyed. What a pity that for all those years people used to confuse him with Bobby!
    Are you in touch with Wallace Berry, the boy who was injured during the cruise of the Zaca? He also used to stay up at Mulholland Farm, but perhaps not at the same time you did. Today he lives in Hawaii, and is a nice guy.
    Thanks again, and it's great to have you in our group! I'll be in touch shortly!

  8. Anonymous

    September 30, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Russ — can't recall if I answered your cigarette question or not. But ehre goes anyway: Not being a smoker myself, I never paid much attention to what Errol or anyone else for that matter was smoking — I just tried to ignore they were smoking at all — not easy since Flynn was a chain-smoker. I've tried to think of some connecting event that might trigger my memory and I recall seeing two different packs lying around: one in the house and the other on a bench in the tennis court. One I'm pretty sure was Chesterfields and other, Lucky Strike. But since he always stuck them in a holder, covering the brand name, I can say for sure they were his favorite brand. (Weren't Chesterfields James Dean's favorite brand?). I also remember on the front seat of his Caddy I once saw a pack of English cigarettes: Players. But I'm sure they weren't the kind he favored because they weren't easy to get and he was never without cigarettes — cartons of them. Anyway, I wish I could be more accurate, but it was a fair time ago. Have a great one, Russ. Steve

  9. Anonymous

    October 1, 2008 at 8:08 am

    Hi Steve – It's a delight to share in your memories of times with Errol! It would make sense that he used a cigarette holder with unfiltered smokes.
    Now here's another one, if you don't mind: I read an article claiming Flynn worked his way up to two fifths of vodka a day. That seems like a lot; but spread over a day and night it would be possible, especially for a man of Flynn's size.
    And that leads to the story of him injecting oranges with vodka to take to the set.
    Thanks for replying to my earlier question about cigarettes. =)

  10. Anonymous

    October 5, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Hi, Russ —
    I can't confirm exactly how much vodka the Colonel drank every day — other than it was a LOT! He did carry a small black bag (I've heard people call it a briefcase but briefcases to me are square and flat and Errol's wasn't, it was more like a lunch box shaped a bit like a doctor's bag with a small handle that opened in half). He carried flasks of vodka in it. Each flask contained a fifth, he once told me. Or maybe Gammie (Marge Eddington) told me. And he definitely emptied them by end of each day. But he also would drink from the bar or out in a restaurant (bar and grill types). He once told me that while at MGM on That Forsythe Woman, he and Gable occasionally went across the street (literally) and drank their lunch at a small dive facing the studio. I worked at MGM a lot as an actor and there used to be lots of little cafes and grills to accomodate the bit players who couldn't afford a real lunch — that sound familiar?
    As for spiking oranges. I saw him eat oranges — at home and at Warners — but honestly can't recall if I saw him spiking themn with vodka. But I've certainly heard the stories. Patric Knowles, whom I got to knew quite well toward the end of his career, said Flynn got his “booze bag” from Dr. Nolan. Doc Nolan I knew well in fact I was his patient for a while in the mid-50s. As was my first wife Gloria. His office was over Schwab's — actually there was a little elevated walkway or corridor that led over the tops of Schwab's and the market and other buildings adjacent to Schwab's. Nolan's name was on Errol's prescription drug vials. I read it once on a vial on his bathroom sink as he was shaving and we were arguing about the noise in the morning of the “bloody radio!” Hope that answers your question, pal. Steve

  11. Anonymous

    October 5, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Hi, Linc:
    To answer your question about Wallace Beery — no I never met the young man. Never heard the Colonel talk about him either. Maybe it came after me or before me. Only Wallace Beery I knew of was the famous actor of the same name. I never met him. I believe he died early in 1949 and I didn't arrive in Hollywood until the later months. But when I lived at Don Staley's villa on Caheunga Don loved to go to movie star homes and knock on the door and ask to see the house. Literally. I only went with him twice as it kind of embarrassed me — though I must admit he seldom got refused. I met Jon Hall (at his house above Highland — Ocean View I think it was called). Anyway, one day we drove over to Beery's old home which was a big brown job on the hillside facing us — just below the big cross on the hill belonging to the Easter sunrise ceremony theater. Don knocked and said he'd like to see the house. The maid or housekeeper hemmed and hawed but finally agreed and we went through it. Lot sof memorabiliea of Beery in boxes (someone was packing things up after his death). It was quite amazing. Wish I'd met Beery though. Margaret O'Brien, who used to hang out at Googie's when she was older and had a crush on James Dean (I met her again last week when my wife and I went to a party at Tara Gordon's house in Shadow Hills, Sunland (Tara is Leo Gordon's daughter; I wrote my first screenplay Escort West with leo, tho ended up with only story credit) — O'Brien told me that Beery was the most sadist human being she'd ever met. He used to pinch her all the time at MGM. She had to be protected from him, she said. Don't forget, Beery was accused of beating some guy named Healy to death in an argument — he and two others — was Cubby Brocolli one of them?. So Beery was a mean old bastard. Talk soon, Steve

  12. Anonymous

    October 5, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    Hallo, Russ! Please contact me at Admin if you will? I have something to ask you! And no, you are not in trouble! Ha!

  13. Anonymous

    October 6, 2008 at 6:36 am

    Hello, Steve
    I believe the young man in question spelled his name Wallace BeRRy–two r's, not two e's.
    Your pal,

  14. Anonymous

    October 7, 2008 at 6:14 am

    Thank you very much for the reply about the Colonel's drinking habits! A lot of people might consider alcohol the main contributor to his untimely demise; but I think it was a variety of other factors, maybe mostly his heart which was undoubtedly weakened by malaria and of course tobacco.
    I like knowing about his “doctor's bag”. Some people might be cool having a hip flask, but not as cool as Errol with his portable bar! =)

  15. Anonymous

    October 22, 2008 at 3:48 am

    Robert: Thanks for correcting my spelling of Berry. Makes it even clearer why I never heard of him. But then, in the early period after EF returned from bumming around Europe with Patrice, the only person I spoke to who knew Flynn was Stewart Granger (real name Jimmy Stewart — wonder why he changed his name???). Granger said he bumped into EF in Monte Carlo. Was overwhelmed with his animal magnetism — strange way to describe another guy but what the hell, it fits. Personally, I never like Granger (off the screen) anyway; he was abusive to one of the loves of my life, his wife Jean Simmons; heard but did not see him slap on the set at MGM. Can't verify this so have never advertised it. But the source was a grip whom I knew fairly well and he said several of the crew warned Granger that if he touched her again, they'd cripple him. Much like the wranglers did to Roger Moore on Diane, when he got snotty with them. He had to ride out of the palace courtyard with “knights” who were wranglers and they crowded his horse over to a round stone fountain and almostc rushed his leg. Just a warning, chum.
    G'night all.