Movie Stars from WWII – Errol Flynn & Martha O’Driscoll

27 Jul

From Russel Ries blog The Only New Thing: a recent correspondence results in an interesting post about Errol and Martha O’Driscoll on a USO Tour and Olivia de Havilland, too! You knew a lot of people must have taken photos of them during these tours but how many have you seen? Thanks to Russel Ries for a nice article and discovery of some rare photos …

— David DeWitt


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  1. Tim

    July 28, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Thanks, David! And thanks Russel!!

    Would love to have seen Errol in action during those USO shows. Suspect the GI’s had great fun seeing him – and especially so with the gorgeous actresses he performed with!! And, by all accounts, Martha O’Driscoll, was abundantly attractive!!!

    • Tim

      July 28, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      As Fr. Robert Wright reports in the site linked below, Errol’s USO Troupe traveled to the Aleutians in the Spring of ’43, apparently immediately following the Battle of Attu, the only land battle of WWII fought on U.S. soil – and infamous for the an exceptionally brutal & bloody “Bonzai attack” by the Japanese.

      In addition to the lovely Martha O’Driscoll, Errol’s troupe included very well-regarded magician Harry Mendoza & future Mouseketeer Jimmy Dodd.

      Please see the second paragraph for a description of one of the show’s highlights, featuring Errol and the “Sweater Girl”!…

      • Tim

        July 28, 2013 at 3:43 pm

        A photo of Errol’s USO Troupe:…

        • Tim

          July 28, 2013 at 3:55 pm

          Pictured hear on that tour, the Sweater Girl was a obviously a big hit with the GI’s!:


          • Tim

            July 28, 2013 at 3:59 pm

            Apparently have lost my edit function somehow – hence hear instead of here above, and the repeat photo immediately. Here’s the Sweater Girl photo I intended to post:


            • Tim

              July 28, 2013 at 4:07 pm

              And another from Ft. Mears on Amaknak Island in Unalaska Bay, “fiercely” bombarded by Japanese aircraft in June of 1942, as part of an Imperial Guard plan to divert America’s attention away from the Midway Islands, which was the real target. … Errol got around!:


            • Tim

              July 28, 2013 at 4:19 pm

              Another try with the Sweater Girl!


              • Inga

                July 29, 2013 at 5:16 am

                Tim, if you send me the links of the other pics, I could try and insert them? Those are great finds again, thanks for sharing!!!

                • Tim

                  August 2, 2013 at 11:55 am

                  Thanks so much, Inga. Just seeing your reply. Greatly appreciate it.

                  Would have liked to have edited my two replies above with repeat photos of Errol’s troupe at the welcome table (photo _ 5a). But possibly not imperative now that I’ve added subsequent replies and images. Please, though, you & David feel free to edit and clarify however you may think best.

                  Here’s Errol arriving at Ft. Mears, Dutch Harbor, Alaska with Martha O’Driscoll, on December 4, 1943. Martha looks like she may be a it cold in the Alaskan winter weather!


                  • Tim

                    August 2, 2013 at 12:18 pm

                    Same date and location. Ft, Smears, 12/4/43. Errol speaking with Commanders Hall & Conn:


                    • Tim

                      August 2, 2013 at 12:51 pm

                      Thomas McNulty provides a wonderfully detailed description of this show with Martha O’Driscoll in his great “Errol Flynn: The Life and Career”. (pp. 178 = 179)

                      In it he recounts how great Errol was in the show – hilariously telling about the 500-person (all lawyers) send-off he he received in LA, his deadpan reading of the poem “The Shooting of Dan McGrew”, his receiving of a summons from magician Harry Mendoza, his playing of an Indian mind reader, and the very-popular-with-the-troops, Sweater Girl skit with Martha O’Driscoll, who later poignantly sang White Christmas & I’ll be Home for Christmas along with Jimmy Dodd and his wife Ruth Carrell.

                      As well as being a tremendous experience for the GIs, this show was extremely personally important to Errol.

                    • Tim

                      August 2, 2013 at 12:58 pm

                      Martha talks about the tour!

                      Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – Google News Archive Search


                  • Inga

                    August 3, 2013 at 11:51 am

                    I think I’ll leave them as they are because the follow-up comments would be deleted otherwise. :-)

  2. David DeWitt

    August 2, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Sorry I have not been available much on the blog – traveling to NYC for two and a half weeks to see my daughter and then the train ride home! I am not sure about why the edit button disappears, someone else mentioned this to me, as well – you should be able to go to your comments and edit them from the dashboard, or is this where you are not seeing the edit button? My dashboard looks considerably different than most so I tend to forget what authors see on theirs; it may be that after a certain number of replies to a comment this function is removed. I will look at this today. I have an appointment to go to this morning! Nice work on Errol and the USO!

    • Tim

      August 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      Thanks very much, David – and welcome back from the Baked Apple! Glad you were able to see your daughter!!

      Regarding my errors in posting:

      The edit button right below the comment does seem to sometimes disappear after some initial replies, but I don’t believe I’ve looked at the dashboard, as you suggest. Will look at that next time.

      Also, I’ve seen in archived posts that actual images (as opposed to links) have been visually inserted within replies, but I haven’t had any success doing that. Is that still doable?

      Thanks, David – no urgency or hurry on my end!

      • David DeWitt

        August 2, 2013 at 4:34 pm

        Tim, Yes, the function to add an image to your comment is still here. See image! You need to find out where your image is hosted (its url) or upload the image to the Media Library, find its URL and after making your comment text use the “Add images to your comment: click here.” link on the lower right-hand side of the Leave a Reply window – you will be prompted to add the image URL – however, if the image is too large it may distort the entire page; in this case resize the image and post it again! Questions on this email me privately! image-in-comments1.jpg

  3. frangipanni

    August 2, 2013 at 8:32 pm