The red swashbucklerette

04 Nov

maureen-in-against-all-flags-jan-1953My dear fellow Flynn fans,

You may or may well know, that Maureen O´Hara shared some episodes about our Hollywood hero in her autobiography “Tis Herself”. She and Errol met for the first time promoting war bonds at a get- together with  money donors. Both were supposed to give speeches and were seated next to each other. They introduced themselves exchanging the usual pleasantries. While awaiting their turn, Maureen noticed that Errol was hiding something under the table. She glanced down and saw he was holding a Whiskey bottle between his knees. With each new speaker he secretly unscrewed the cap of the bottle filling his teacup under the table. He didn`t mind Maureen looking on one bit. At a certain point, still posing as the ultimate gentleman for onlookers, he began to whisper lovely obscenities to her out of the corner of his mouth.

“I moved my chair away from him slightly, but he pressed on anyway, one dirty and lascivious suggestion on top of another. This was crude stuff and not the slightest bit erotic, which I would have expected from this legendary Casanova. They mounted in their vulgarity, yet Flynn never lost his elegant poise and arrogant smirk on his face. I was fuming and would have loved to knock him on his ass, but I knew I couldn´t make that kind of a scene. So I finally whispered under the guise of a smile: Listen Errol, you better get the hell out of here or I am going up to that microphone and tell everybody what you`ve got in that teacup plus I`ll repeat everything you`ve been saying to me- word for word.”

Then and there Errol opted for retreat, not in a swashbuckling way, but still highly innovative- he slid out of his chair crawling on all fours under the long table for the exit. People down the lenght were jumping slightly as he startled them from beneath. When he finally had reached the end of the long line he stood up, looked back and – smirk still intact- waved good- bye playfully. Irish pride O´Hara saluted with a closed fist and returned his smile.

Now everybody here knows this incident culminated in their starring in the pirate movie “Against all flags” almost a decade later. Suffice it to say his teasing and testing somehow broke the ice and they worked up a great chemistry between them. Maureen was full of praise of Errol`s work ethic, saying he came to work prepared and practiced his fencing scenes meticulously with Fred Craven. Yet this was before lunch time, in the afternoon (due to too many juiced oranges) very little was achieved on film with the main male lead. Everything good they got was shot early in the day. Many romantic close ups happened between O`Hara and a X marked on a black flag that was supposed to be Errol Flynn. Needless to say she found her delivery very difficult when flirting with Jolly Rogers.

Maureen O`Hara regretted that she didn`t manage to catch up with Flynn in Cuba later while filming there “Our Man in Havana”. Soon thereafter he had died.

“He had been such an naughty scoundrel the night of our first encounter. But near the end of wrapping up “Against all flags” he had won me over. I respected him professionally and was quite fond of him personally. Deep within this devilish rogue I found a kind and fragile soul. He was the undisputed king of swashbucklers, still is to this day, and I was their queen.”

I hope you like this piece as much as I do. And if so, I will gladly share other Flynnanigans in future with you,

— shangheinz


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  1. Robzak

    November 4, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Seems Miss O’Hara is as capable of telling a cock-and-bull story as was Flynn.

    • shangheinz

      November 4, 2013 at 4:47 pm

      Yep. That lady was a fiery and fierce flamethrower.

      • Inga

        November 4, 2013 at 6:22 pm

        I guess she still IS, don’t ya think? Nice find, Heinzi!

        • shangheinz

          November 4, 2013 at 7:51 pm

          Of course Ginger Inga, but as far as a worthy opponent is concerned, she may have run out of Flynns.

          • Robzak

            November 5, 2013 at 1:07 am

            I really meant it when I said this sounds like a cock-and-bull story.

            • shangheinz

              November 5, 2013 at 7:52 am

              I heard ya´ Rock`n`Rob. But don`t paint the picture all black, just remember MWWW page12/ paragraph last:

              “… Maureen O`Hara…never did I see a more dreamlike creature…the flaming red hair, glorious Irish complexion…I said to Bruce: Isn`t she a darling? Look, I am gonna tell you something- this girl looks so distinguished and ladylike, there`s only one way with her…walk right up, bow from the waist, kiss her hand, grab one of her tits and the girl goes to pieces…but you have to do it quick otherwise she`ll pull the ladylike princess stuff on you…”

              The rest is cock and bull history.

  2. timerider

    November 4, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    HAHAHA! Errol really knew how to get her “Irish” up! I can picture her getting more and more ticked off! LOL!
    Our “Imp” really enjoyed hiself! He enjoyed every minute of it!

    • shangheinz

      November 4, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      Rosey red cheeks don`t always come from blushing. Like in a heads up poker game they went back and forth, each keeping up a straight face and figuring out how to best the other. As I said, great chemistry in the making.

  3. Tim

    November 5, 2013 at 11:22 am

    O’Shang Me’ Lad! Thanks once again for The O’Baron’s Flynnanigans. Always fun and always inspirin’.

    ‘Tis Herself O’Hara was certainly a noted admirer of The Great Flynn’s work. So much so, I believe the “dreamlike creature” even helped edit the second edition of He Himself’s last masterpiece, Me Wicked, Wicked Ways – resultin’ in a slightly shorter and a tad less wicked, work – Celtic goddess that she be.

    So, O’Shang, again, I hereby toast and much look forward to your next edition of Flynnanigans. It’s always so great to learn what has been left in Flynnigan’s Wake.

    … And here’s the Great Errol – with a couple of other Flynns – giving a marvelous nod to the Old Sod:…


    • shangheinz

      November 5, 2013 at 1:01 pm

      Dear Ol` Shiver. me- Tim, I raise my mug to sharing and thereby reliving Errol`s Flynnanigans and predict many more to come. What`s truth and what`s myth in an anecdote lies in the eye of the beholder, but we fellow Flynnions willl always get the spirit that`s in it, right!? I enjoyed your post very much. It was rather sad to see that as late as in 1957 the luck of the Irish was at arm`s lenght of Errol. He could always pull Pat near and had Sean at his side. Cheers to them carefree family moments.