What’s the Club?

16 Jan

The three men depicted below were all early members of a club that few of their acting colleagues in Tinsel Town joined.

– It involved a skill relatively rare among their acting colleagues.

– Sean later had the skill involved, but was not a club member.

– It was founded in 1944 and is still active.

What’s the Club?

Errol golddiggers


No. 3

— Tim


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  1. David DeWitt

    January 17, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Jim Turiello writes in:

    It was the Hollywood Hellfire Club and it was founded in 1944 coincidentally when I was born, almost to the day!

    My book about Errol doesn’t mention it but my next book about James Dean: Quest for an Oscar does. There is a full chapter in it about Errol complete with rare Errol photos!


    • Gentleman Tim

      January 17, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      Excellent, Jim! I wasn’t thinking of the HHC, nor aware all three of the above actors were in it, but you have earned a Blue Ribbon! And GREAT work on and thanks for your awesome book, too!!

      I have to now adjust my quiz question to:

      “What Club – other than the Hollywood Hellfire Club – did these three actors belong to?”


  2. Gentleman Tim

    January 17, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    – The club’s first meeting was in April of 1944.

    – A police officer showed up at the second meeting, requesting that the club not engage in behavior they apparently did following their first meeting.

    – The club logo includes a blue bulls-eye type target, something like the one below, but without the arrow.


  3. Gentleman Tim

    January 18, 2017 at 1:47 am

    Steve McQueen would have been well qualified to be a club member.


  4. Gentleman Tim

    January 18, 2017 at 3:32 am

    In trying to nail down other prominent members of this club, I came across two more. All three of the fellows about to get hammered in the following photos were members. The two below, with Livvie and Roz, were in a film called The Adventures of Robin Hood. The one above victoriously kissing Lovely Myrna Loy, to the dismay of Dear Mr. Gable, directed a couple of somewhat successful films in 1939 titled The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind.



    Their weekly indoor meetings were held at the Vagabond Isle Café on Santa Monica Boulevard, on Mondays, ~ 8:30 – 10:30, but they often gathered outdoors during daylight hours, as well.

  5. Bob Schaffer

    January 18, 2017 at 3:56 am

    When I read it this morning I assumed a motorcycle club but I never saw Errol on one so I’m stumped. I also thought of HHC but when I read the book I didn’t remember Wynn or Bond being members.

    • Gentleman Tim

      January 18, 2017 at 4:25 am

      First of all, congratulations on identifying Ward Bond and, especially, Keenan Winn, Bob! I have no expertise on the Hollywood Hellfire Club membership whatsoever, so I can’t say about Ward or Winn with respect to membership in that club, but I can tell you that you were absolutely on the right track this morning!

      p.s. Errol did ride motorcycles, and not just the studio scooter type!



    • Gentleman Tim

      January 18, 2017 at 5:07 pm

      By the way, Bob, I don’t recall ever seeing a photo of Errol on a motorcycle either, but I do recall reading that he rode in Jamaica on one, and I think but am not positive I once read he used to occasionally race up Mulholland Drive on one, too. Wish we did have a photo!

  6. Karl

    January 18, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Hello Bob and Tim-

    Not being a fly on the wall witness but only gathering “morsels” from others-

    I seem to recall Gene Fowler named these as the originals: Hartman, Decker, Barrymore, Fowler, (Gene) Markey, (Alan) Mowbray, Fields, (Thomas) Mitchell

    This was a group of OLDER, already accomplished men… you may recall Flynn speaking about John Barrymore being “very generous” by inviting him (Flynn) into his group of friends.

    Flynn and John Carradine (remember the photo of him with some of the group) were more on the periphery.

    Some further history from Hollywood Hellfire Club:

    “Coming together in the late 30’s, by 1947 Fields, Hartmann, Barrymore and Decker would all be dead of premature deaths at the hands of the massive abuse their bodies had endured.

    For a circle now almost entirely forgotten, they were, in their time, individually living legends and collectively, a fearsome set on the Hollywood scene. Joining ranks around Decker – the original master thespian Barrymore, the cantankerous Fields and the swashbuckling rake Flynn, as well as such supporting players as boxer Jack Dempsey, art critic Sadakichi Hartmann and actors Vincent Price, Anthony Quinn and Thomas Mitchell.”

    The late Alan Mowbray, in his recently published posthumous memoir, Up From Central Park, identifies a “group” which sounds familiar and adds some additional names, though he may well have conflated one group with another(?):

    “The last Bohemia was indeed disappearing. So many of the great group has gone: Fowler, Barrymore, Decker, Roland Young, Charlie Butterworth, Errol Flynn, Thomas Mitchell, Bob Benchley, Quentin Reynolds, Fanny Brice, W.C. Fields, and other postulates are no longer with us. The gatherings of the Bohemians were deliciously mad; always much worthwhile discourse, always much worthwhile listening, always fun for the asking or not asking.

    At Decker’s old studio on Bundy Drive in Westwood, Sadakichi Hartmann enlivened one meeting in his own unique manner…”

    And finally, let’s make it official:

    Mona was a member as well.

    • Bob Schaffer

      January 18, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      Great info Karl how about a stunt club most of the people mentioned I remember doing their own stunts Sir Tim

      • Gentleman Tim

        January 18, 2017 at 4:41 pm

        I wouldn’t be surprised at all if stunt people were members, Bob, but I don’t know. Excellent educated guess! Thanks to Karl and David, too. The Bundy Drive Boys, Original Rat Pack, and Hollywood Hellfire Club, may have been some slight overlap of membership, but not anything significant.

        These clues will help you win.



      • Karl

        January 18, 2017 at 7:41 pm

        You could say there was a hint of “athleticism” about this group… in fact Flynn referred to them as “The Olympiads”.

        BTW, an additional name from “The Green Book” (hint: by the Magnificent McNulty), who was “channeling” Fowler: Norman Kerry- mostly of silent film fame.

    • shangheinz

      January 19, 2017 at 4:30 pm


      When we are talking Hellfire Club, Don Karlos, let`s not forget Ben Hecht, whom Errol mentions often in MWWW. The reporter turned screenwriter, was the top notch fixer of film dialogues. A resident of NY, he always took his paintings, the maid and his books with him, whenever he came to Hollywood for an engagement. I wonder if Flynn is in in his highly loded biography “A child of the century”- from what I heard practically a blueprint for Errol`s MWWWs.

  7. David DeWitt

    January 18, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Here is a description of the Bandy Drive Boys:…

  8. Gentleman Tim

    January 18, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    This fellow was on the original founders list. Same for Bond and Fleming. But they were also members of the Maraga Spit & Polish Club, co-founded by Howard Hawks (named after the Bel Air Place street Hawks lived on, later bought by Richard Pryor.) I believe many of these stars joined because wartime regulations prevented them from sailing yachts and flying planes as they previously had.


  9. Gentleman Tim

    January 18, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    “The _______ __________ __________ Club was founded in 1944 as a non profit club to provide fellowship among off road motorcycle racers for the purpose of Security ,Safety, Friendship and to host racing events.”

    • Sergio

      January 19, 2017 at 11:43 am

      are we talking about ; Boozefighters Motorcycle Club?
      Which would seem appropriate for the Flynnster group….

      • Gentleman Tim

        January 19, 2017 at 6:44 pm

        No sir, Sergio! But I do recall the Boozefighters had a connection to Lee Marvin, who played Chino in The Wild Ones, based on Wino, the Boozefighter leader who was at Hollister. Marlin was Johnny and Marvin was Chino. According to the Quiet Beatle, The Beatles got their name from the scene in the movie where Brando and Chino go at it over the trophy. (Personally, I think it was probably partially that, combined with an adaptation from (Buddy Holly’s and) The Crickets, mixed with allusions to The Beat movement and the then very unusually heavy/steady beat of rock ‘n’ roll.)…

        • shangheinz

          January 20, 2017 at 10:15 am


          I remember Tiny Dean (Stockwell) recounting that Errol gave a pin to him during Kim. It was the emblem of a club called the “Flying Fokkers”. If that is not the answer it merits a future blog entry.

          • Sergio

            January 20, 2017 at 12:51 pm

            Ok GT, we are talking about a motorcycle club, correct? If this so the I will have to go to the obvious, of which
            I was not going to say in the beginning because as a true Dick would do; ahem, that’s a Private Investigator for those whose mind wonder into darker basements then film noirs Sam Spade… In the early 40’s a few bombardier pilots and crew started a group called the “Hells Angels”, which eventually lead into its motorcycle group, and a few years later got away from it all and into a major gang of misfits…
            Ok GT is this what we are looking for? If not, give us some “Gas”, I am “Exhausted”…….

            • Gentleman Tim

              January 20, 2017 at 11:25 pm

              Here you go, Sergio! This should get you to where you’re going!


          • Karl

            January 21, 2017 at 2:09 am

            I believe this to be the jewelry in question.


            • shangheinz

              January 23, 2017 at 12:29 pm

              Thank you Don Karlos for sharing the phallic symbol pic I only knew from hearsay. Do you know who the members were of this mile high club “The Flying Fokkers”?

              • Karl

                January 24, 2017 at 1:28 am

                Alas, the details escape me at present, Don Heinz, but I call upon the Delightful DeWitt with his PRODIGIOUS memory for any and all things and especially… Flynn!

                • shangheinz

                  January 24, 2017 at 11:15 am


                  Well King Karl I., I hope Witty Dave doesn`t consider this topic too profane and indeed comes up with members of the Club. Tiny Dean remembers the initiation as follows.
                  “Obviously, he knew I hadn’t had my first fuck yet, or he figured that out right after he asked me. Still, he gave me one of the special lapel buttons he’d had made. It had beautiful hand-carved wings. In the center were three F’s, interlocked. It was “Flynn’s Flying Fucker” club, and the part that went into your lapel had a huge erect cock and balls to hold it in. I had it hidden in my top drawer for four years. My mother finally found it. She didn’t tell me until two years after she threw it out.”

                  • Gentleman Tim

                    January 24, 2017 at 11:23 pm

                    Dear Fervent Flynn Fans, Karl and Heinz:

                    This was an assembly of obviously all upright members. Though the pins are hard to come by, we can at very least support the annual FFF Fest, a rather large club comprised of “The World’s Foremost Aficionados of Fun and Fellowship”. FFF members deserve supporters, particularly the most prominent members.



                    • Gentleman Tim

                      January 24, 2017 at 11:33 pm



  10. Gentleman Tim

    January 21, 2017 at 7:56 am

    They were in the news recently.


    • Gentleman Tim

      January 24, 2017 at 5:57 am

      While Karl and Shang have us here considering the very highly questionable (h)ornament above, I should point out that the name of the quizzical club in question is right on target above!


  11. Gentleman Tim

    February 1, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    “[W]as established in 1944 to support and promote motorcycle desert racing.” “[I]ts members are committed to the survival of off road racing and the preservation of the deserts we race in.”

    Will be participating in 2017 National Hare & Hound events…

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