Meant to do this last month…

21 Mar

It was on a Sunday in February 2007 that the first post to this blog was put up. I thought it might be fun to repost it in February on the same date but got hung up, and missed the date and forgot all about it. I just remembered:

Published: Sun 04 Feb 2007 03:41 PM PS

Remembering Errol…
Excerpt:     None

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 crew cuts in summer, collected bubble gum cards and seven up bottle caps (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 genious for living larger than life. He
was intelligent, self-educated–a businessman, an internationally recognized 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.

On that Sunday, February 4, 2007 we had 1 article.

Today’s blog has:

1250       Articles

20       Photo Albums
443       Photos

Not bad…

— David DeWitt


Posted in Main Page


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  1. Anonymous

    March 21, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Hi David,
    'Not bad…' Hmmm… I think you do yourself a disservice. This site is an achievement that you can be very proud of, I know the work that can go on behind the scenes on a site such as this and it can be quite daunting. Although I don't post here as often as I would like to I absolutely love this place and the people you have gathered here. I think Inga's 'Fabian' post highlighted everything that is great about the blog and the quality of the information gathered here.
    It would be great to see one or two more faces from the old days here but I'm sure that over time they will pop in. Meantime David, a toast to you and to the blog and to the great joy it brings to a great many people.
    best wishes,

  2. Anonymous

    March 21, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    I second you, Brian – this blog is fabulous, and without you, David, and all the other great people on it, my life would be very dull and very boring! I remember when I first came across it, I thought, “What's that? Blog? … not interested.” But it popped up again and again and its articles seemed to haunt me, as if saying, “Read me, read me.” So I did, and I'm glad I did, and it's just amazing to be part of it. Thanks for sharing the first article again, it reminded me of the fact that I wanted to browse the archives for a loooong time…

  3. Anonymous

    March 21, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Hi David,
    I would just like to extend a personal thank you for the blog. Thank you also for the friendship you have extended to all, as well as the quality of your blog.
    Well done.

  4. Anonymous

    March 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Thank you all so much! I rather unexpectedly had a few small tears reading what you have written. I didn't expect that I would tear up when I began reading…
    The blog is made up of all of you, and you make it what it is every day! It has been my pleasure and honor to have met each of you here and my continued pleasure and honor to be part of this little corner of the Flynn World with you.
    Brian, and Karl Holmberg particularly know what goes on behind the scenes at a Flynn site. Karl and Bri have both “Captained” the Yahoo chat site The Zaca, with Bri the current Captain, that was created 7 years ago.
    This site, The Errol Flynn Blog was created by myself to be an extension of that fine group. I hoped to add more dimensions not to the quality of the chat (which is superb) but to the functionality of the content there.
    I realized that it was possible to add features to the general discussion on a blog that were not available on the good ship Zaca: inserting photos, videos and audio files, for example, directly into posts. Yahoo changed some of their functions and I think eliminated embedding photos in posts. I wanted to add something else to the fun!
    There are 13,452 posts aboard The Zaca. It is a TREASURE TROVE of information and great people. Some of you here are also members there. If you go through their archives you will be overcome by the wealth of information. We are a sort of Flynn-family, altogether…
    Thanks so much for the kind words!

  5. Anonymous

    March 22, 2011 at 12:13 am

    Well done indeed David! I salute you kind sir!

  6. Anonymous

    March 22, 2011 at 12:31 am

    Thank you so much, Tom! You were there, too!

  7. Anonymous

    March 22, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Hi David;
    Congratulations to the Anniversary! I gave my thanks and accolades to you on several occasions and thank you again from the bottom of my heart for all the wonderful times I had on this – your wonderful blog. In addition, you are a most compassionate, wonderful and diplomatic host that ever was!
    My hat of to you – no – I rather say a very nice curtsy to you!
    You are the best!

  8. Anonymous

    March 22, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Tina! Thanks so much and thank you for all the dedication you have shown to the blog to Errol Flynn!