75th Anniversary of “Robin Hood” on Coronado – News Release

05 Sep

Tim Reid, Historic Researcher

Time Ride Enterprises






Errol Flynn & Olivia De Havilland Stayed At The Hotel Del During the Summer of 1938

“The Adventures of Robin Hood” Played at Coronado Theater During Flynn’s Stay

Long Unpublished Photo of Flynn at the Hotel Pool Has Been Identified

CORONADO – The Summer of 1938 was an especially stellar one in the Emerald City. The Island witnessed a constellation of Hollywood Stars, including the most celebrated adventure star in cinematic history, the legendary Errol Flynn, who arrived at the Hotel Del during the debut of “The Adventures of Robin Hood” at the Coronado Theater. Following Flynn to the Hotel Del later that summer for the purpose of filming “Wings of the Navy” at North Island was Flynn’s equally-luminous ‘Robin Hood” co-star, Olivia De Havilland. Though already extremely popular around the world because of  “Captain Blood” & “Charge of the Light Brigade”, “Robin Hood” launched them both into screen immortality. Seventy-five years later, “Errol & Olivia” are still widely regarded the most beautiful and romantic couple in film history.

Flynn visited Coronado frequently during the 30s, 40s & 50s, often on one of his two magnificent yachts, the Sirocco or Zaca. He was a world-class sailor, a famously talented tennis player, a renowned aquatic athlete and sportsman, and an early expert in the then- new sport of water skiing – the latter of which helped bring him to Coronado in the Summer of ’38.  Even so, there are very few photos of Errol Flynn in The Crown City. As a result of recent research by an international group of Flynn historians, however, including by former Coronado resident Tim Reid, the photo of Flynn attached has been positively identified as one taken at the Hotel Del pool during the star’s stay seventy-five years ago this summer. A sensational, long-unknown poolside photo of his first wife, French movie star, Lili Damita, has also been found, as well as a photo of DeHavilland sunbathing on what is believed to be Coronado Beach, circa 1938.

In 1941, Errol again stayed at the Hotel Del, with Sirocco docked at the Coronado Yacht Club, while he filmed “Dive Bomber”, written by heroic Navy aviator, Hollywood screenwriter, and Coronado resident, Frank “Spig” Wead, who himself was later tributed by John Ford & John Wayne in “The Wings of Eagles”.  Warner Brothers held its world premier of “Dive Bomber” on North Island in August of 1941.

Earl Conrad, co-writer of Errol Flynn’s autobiography, was also a resident of Coronado until his death in 1986.


For further information and imagery, Tim Reid can be reached at the above phone number and/or email address. With his sons, he is researching and documenting the histories of Babe Ruth, Ted Williams & Errol Flynn in San Diego, Baja & beyond.  He has been significantly assisted in his Flynn research by David DeWitt and multiple Authors of the Errol Flynn Blog,  the Coronado Public Library, Coronado Historian Joe Ditler, the Coronado Yacht Club, San Diego State University Library Special Collections, and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography.


Errol Flynn Signing Autographs at North Island


— Tim


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  1. Tim

    September 5, 2013 at 4:00 am

    The above is a news release intended to help propagate Errol’s wondrous history in Coronado. Thank you to all of you who helped inspire, ferret out, confirm, and encourage the documentation of this too-long-forgotten history. I greatly appreciate it! … Now on to La Jolla and Baja!!

    Any one who would like a specific mention and/or attribution, please let me know. I was reticent to include names without permission in this publicly available document. I would be happy to add names and credits!!

  2. Tim

    September 5, 2013 at 4:08 am

    Here’s one take on the story, with more to come:…

    “Original” image photoedited by my son, TR3.


    • Inga

      September 5, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      Tim, you’re doing a very good job spreading the word!

      • Tim

        September 5, 2013 at 7:23 pm

        Thank you, Inga, couldn’t do it with you guys!!

        It’s going to be be particularly fun & fascinating, but exceptionally challenging, to document the details of Errol’s explorations in Old Tijuana, Rosarito Beach, and Ensenada. With my Spanish translator, I’ve established mucho bueno contacts & inroads alreadly, resulting in fantastic anecdotal information. Photographic and documentary evidence is scant, however. Have accounts of Errol at Aqua Caliente Casino & Racetrack, multiple other locations in Tijuana, Rosarito Beach Hotel, and in Ensenada, at both the legendary casino resort(s) there, as well as with both Sirocco & Zaca in Ensenada Bay. I’ll never know all the details, of course, but I believe I can record a good outline of his travels to these then very exotic & exiting locations.

  3. Robzak

    September 5, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    The EF Chronology, when published, will present quite a number of rare candid photos of Flynn in San Diego while filming “Dive Bomber,” including several pics from the “Then & Now” series. Fun stuff!

    • Tim

      September 5, 2013 at 7:25 pm

      Excellent, Robert. Can’t wait to see it!

  4. Tim

    September 6, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    (Having difficulty including here in this reply) I just added in the opening post above one of Errol signing autographs for GI’s was taken at North Island during filming of “Dive Bomber” in August of1941. “North Island” is local shorthand for “North Island Naval Air Station”, located on the northern section of Coronado Island.

    Warner Brothers held the world premier of “Dive Bomber” at the North Island Mess Hall. It was a major event, with a legion of Navy brass in attendance, headed by Senator John McCain’s grandfather, who shortly thereafter famously became the head of all Navy Air operations in the South Pacific. I recently read very rarely seen contemporaneous local news accounts of the event, which was highlighted by the attendance of Alexis Smith and an absolutely visually stunning group of Hollywood starlets, which pleased the sailors to no end. Though expected, Errol did not attend – the studio reporting that he had been hospitalized the day before the event.

    In a set of fascinating contemporaneous articles I also read in old local microfilm how the U.S. Congress was very actively investigating both the War Department and Warner Brothers for using “Dive Bomber” and the immensely popular Flynn as constitutionally prohibited propaganda designed to help sign up GI’s and promote war against the Nazis! Where was that in your stinkin’ book, Charles Pigham!?! Too busy lining up with J. Edna Hoover for your pathetically jealous attacks on Flynn??

  5. Lollie

    September 7, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Wow they are wonderful photos of Errol.Thanks for posting them Tim.

    • Tim

      September 7, 2013 at 3:08 pm

      Your most welcome, Lollie. My pleasure. Before posting, I’m hoping to verify the one of Olivia on Coronado Beach, as well as somehow enhance the quality of a terrific one of Tiger Lil flashing a big smile at the Hotel del Coronado pool. Both in their bathing suits – Lili’s a rather ahead-of-her-time two-piece.