Back after all these years….

04 Aug

Many thanks to David for asking me to post here. I look forward to contributing here and I hope you’ll all forgive some of my hazy recollections. It’s been a while.

Some of you may recall that in the distant past I used to have one of the only Flynn web sites out there. If you never saw it, you didn’t miss much but it was all we had at the time! As I recall, there was only mine and D.David’s excellent site on the web. Thankfully, these days there a whole host of profesional looking pages to browse and I’m sure it doesn’t take about ten minutes to scan and upload a photograph anymore either- which helps!

In the late 90’s circumstances were such that I had to sell off most of my Flynn collection to pay for more pressing needs. At this point I lost heart in the Flynn hobby and to be honest it’s taken me this long to recover from the emotional trauma of having to say goodbye to all that great stuff that I could never replace. To make matters even worse, Lincoln Hurst purchased a lot of my stuff and I could at least console myself that it had gone to a good home but then poor Lincoln passed away before he could finish what would have been a great Flynn book.

I’ll give you a taste of some of the great pieces I’d picked up in the early 90’s when I got the collecting bug (I can talk about it now without sobbing…).

A signed Malvern Festival programme from 1934

A signed copy of Beam Ends

A letter from Errol to Olivia asking her to appear in Never Say Goodbye and her reply to him

A letter from Errol to his Harley Street doctor, the content of which could only be interpreted as being about the supply of cocaine (for Errol’s sinuses…)

A signed photo of Errol and Lili almost certainly taken by Herman Erben

A Charge of the Light Brigade US one sheet

A beautiful Sea Hawk insert (I REALLY miss that one!)

Various original release Robin Hood lobby cards

A 1934 programme from Northampton Rep

The list was a long one including numerous autographs, original posters and hundreds of vintage stills and postcards. As I say, impossible to replace now when even a nice original portrait still seems to cost $50 or so on Ebay.

Another cool thing from those days was that the National Film Theatre in London had an Errol Flynn season, showing his films on the big screen (including They Died With Their Boots On in a cut that had several extra bits of footage that do not appear on any VCR or dvd version I’ve ever seen!). The highlight of this event was a panel session with Pat Wymore and the late, great, Jack Cardiff. Jack also showed some of the rushes from William Tell and spoke with great affection about Errol.

It’s great to see that the Flynn literature has moved on since those days. Tom McNulty’s and Jeffry Meyers’ books have really improved the knowledge base compared to 15 years back. Of course, we’re still served up the odd slice of guff in the form of David Bret’s books but I suppose it’s better than Higham, eh? Sad that Lincoln’s book never got finished as I’m sure that would have been THE one as I know he’d got some great original research material together.

It’s a pleasure now to be able to watch most of Errol’s films in relatively clear dvd quality compared to some wobbly VCR copies of copies. In those days I had everything but Hello God and Murder in Monte Carlo. I have to be honest and say that just about everything worth watching is now available on dvd (except perhaps for Another Dawn which I quite enjoyed).

Anyhow, since leaving Errol I’ve become more interested in other stars of the era such as Cary Grant and Bogart and more modern figures such as Oliver Reed and the Indiana Jones films. I’m just a big old geek I’m affraid.

I’ll leave you for now with my personal top five Flynn films for your consideration:

The Sea Hawk

The Dawn Patrol

They Died With Their Boots On

The Adventures of Don Juan

Gentleman Jim

His most underated film for me is Never Say Goodbye. By far the best of his comedies and really gives a flavour of what he could have done in that genre given more of a chance. Also it’s essential Christmas viewing in my house!

Ciao for now


PS- I’m on Facebook if any of you are looking to chat!


— DerekD


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  1. Inga

    August 4, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Derek, thank you for that great and interesting post! I suppose you did not manage to keep copies of all that great stuff you had to give away back then. What a loss, who knows where the stuff is gone now. Do you remember the contents of the letters re: Never Say Goodbye, why did Olivia refuse? It’s one of my favourites, too. I think it would rank in my top five, which would be topped by Don Juan. May I ask, so you also had the Tell footage?

    • DerekD

      August 4, 2012 at 11:12 am

      Sadly all that stuff was 15 years and several computers ago so I have no copies of anything. As I recall, Olivia was on strike at the time of Errol’s offer (I think that Errol suggested he could sort it out with Warners). I didn’t realise until I had the letters that Never Say Goodbye was part of Errol’s own production deal so he was effecively able to pick the cast. Lincoln had these letters so I don’t know what happened to them after his death.

      As for William Tell, I had a VCR recording of an unaired documentary about the production which included some of the shot footage and behind the scenes film. I got this from a guy called Martin Masheter who was another big Flynn collector in London. He and his twin brother used to run a film soundtracks shop in London. Nice guy.

      • Inga

        August 4, 2012 at 2:02 pm

        Derek, it’s kind of you to speak so openly about your collection, that’s fascinating for me. Not many people do, they keep to themselves what they have and where they get it from. By the way, I looked at facebook, and the one Derek Dubery is located in South Africa – is that you?

        • DerekD

          August 4, 2012 at 3:27 pm

          No he’s the only other Derek Dubery in the world! I’m the older, more handsome one :-)

          • Inga

            August 4, 2012 at 4:50 pm

            He’s the only one I find on FB, seems you can’t be found…

            • DerekD

              August 4, 2012 at 4:59 pm

              Try again -. I’ve just changed my Facebook settings which may help. They keep changing things!

              I’d add you but there are many Inga Klein’s….

  2. Mary Ann

    August 4, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Hi Derek and u have very interesting insight on Errol. I hope to talk to u more about him.

    • DerekD

      August 4, 2012 at 9:51 pm

      Thank you so much Mary Ann

  3. Mary Ann

    August 4, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Derek I am also on facebook myself and I have requested u

  4. themainflynnman

    August 5, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Derek – I have a few photocopies of the Flynn newsletter you used to put together, one of them features the Flynn/De Havilland letter you mention. There was some seriously good content in those newsletters of yours – Brian.

    • DerekD

      August 5, 2012 at 11:29 am

      Brian – thanks so much for the kind words

      I wonder if you could post a copy of the Flynn / De Havilland letters here for reference? It’s a shame that Robert Matzen didn’t know about them when he did his book. An interesting postscript to their film relationship

      • themainflynnman

        August 5, 2012 at 11:58 am

        Derek – I did send Robert a copy of the letter but only after the book had been released. My copy isn’t brilliant, just a poor-ish photocopy but it does make for fascinating reading. I didn’t post it here, on a public forum, just in case Robert had future use for it.
        I’d be happy to dig it out and e-mail it to you privately if you wish.

        • DerekD

          August 5, 2012 at 12:04 pm

          Oh that would be great thanks! My email is Duberyderek at With a @ rather than at

  5. Robzak

    August 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Welcome, Derek, and fear not about the loss of Mr. Hurst’s book. “Errol Flynn-The Illustrated Life Chronology” will have all that his book promised and much much more. RF

    • DerekD

      August 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      Oh that’s good! I shall look forward to it. I suppose I shall miss Lincolns because of my own small contribution of source material toward it though. It eased the pain of selling it somewhat! :-)