Hot Time in Havana

17 May

At one of the world’s most “spectacular” and “phenomenally popular” night clubs in the world, the Eden Concert Night Club, located in the center of town between Sloppy Joe’s and the Hotel Plaza. In 1939, it evolved into the Tropicana.

May 17, 1938

Evening Herald Express

Errol Flynn Friends In Havana Cafe Fight

“I think this all so funny”, quoth Lili Damita, stage and screen beauty, who was a spectator while fists and bottles flew in a free-for-all-fight at the Eden Concert Night Club with Errol Flynn taking a prominent part in the fighting.

The fight started last night when one of the members of Flynn’s party got into an argument with a man at a nearby table. A minute later, chairs and bottles began to fly.

Flynn, who often plays rough and tumble parts in the movies, joined in with two or three effective punches at those who got in his way. The only casualty was an unidentified American who received a broken nose and a cut eye. Flynn and the others were unhurt and continued their party.

Flynn’s only loss was the disappearance of a valued cigarette lighter.

May 17, 1938

Los Angeles Examiner

Errol Flynn Aids American In Fight

Errol Flynn, Hollywood film actor, received the thanks today of an unidentified American he saved from serious injury during a fight in a night club here last night.

Fists, bottles and chairs were flying when Flynn intervened. The American who was involved escaped with a broken nose. Flynn was not hurt.

He was accompanied by his wife, who refused to take the matter seriously.

Before the Eden Concert, there was the Zombie Club, at the same location on Zuluetta Avenue, two doors down from Sloppy Joe’s.

— Gentleman Tim


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  1. Selene Hutchison-Zuffi

    May 17, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    Thats Errol..he never started fights unless provoked and he actually jumped in to defend ppl.
    Read some PNG papers with the recollection of a man that witnessed Errol saving a man from a bully.
    Thats why we love him

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    • Gentleman Tim

      May 17, 2020 at 9:24 pm

      Yes, in school days too, Selene. As one witness put it:

      “If a small bud was being bullied it was Errol that would kick the bigger bud’s pants.”

      Errol was indeed part Robin Hood – a man who cheered for and aided underdogs.

      For many boys and men back in Errol’s day, fighting was sometimes a sport of sorts. Often fights would be athletic contests, often without any malice,. Gentleman Jim depicts how that was prevalent among Irish Americans. I certainly witnessed it in my youth. For multiple reasons – legal and social – that’s rarely seen today (at least not in America.)

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      • Selene Hutchison-Zuffi

        May 18, 2020 at 10:57 am

        Do you know where i can find more about his early days?
        And where was that quote from?
        Yes indeed you are corect, it was very common back then. Normal.

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        • Gentleman Tim

          May 19, 2020 at 8:37 am

          Here is my first recommendation, Selene:

          THE YOUNG ERROL FLYNN by John Hammond Moore.

          “A fascinating account of the early life of one of Australia’s most colorful and controversial sons. John Hammond Moore trace film star Errol Flynn’s turbulent career from his birth in sedate Hobart through his eccentric schooldays and his youth in Sydney and cruising the Pacific to his years as a pioneer tobacco planter in Papua and the discovery that led to Hollywood and stardom. The author comments: ‘While his golden age in Hollywood produced wondrous swashbuckling, Errol Flynn was not really acting at all. He was merely transferring a natural style developed in Sydney, Port Moresby, Rabaul, and London to a much larger audience. Anecdotes, quotations from Flynn’s own diaries and from people who knew him in Australia and Papua New Guinea crowd one upon the other to underscore this truth, and to embellish this rollicking tale of a man who in the author’s words: ‘lived for half a century the sort of life adolescents dream of but men dare not attempt.'”

          Hollywood calls Columbia expert


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          • Selene Hutchison-Zuffi

            May 19, 2020 at 12:49 pm

            I dont particularly like the book. Sure he has some good stuff but he has so much wrong and a lot us just his suppositions.
            As an historian it makes it hard to trust him fully.
            I read a section of the book of his later years and it was all so wrong.
            Sure he wrote the book long ago..but a lot of what he had wrong was public knowledge. Just my 2 cents

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            • Gentleman Tim

              May 19, 2020 at 1:26 pm

              Selene – In your order of preference, what books addressing Errol’s years in Australia and PNG do you believe are the most historically valuable, trustworthy, and praiseworthy?

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              • Selene Hutchison-Zuffi

                May 19, 2020 at 5:57 pm

                Is hard to tell. I dont think anyone can do a safe recollection.
                There were his diaries..his letters.
                I found a paper written in which it is said that he defended that man being bullied. That he wasn’t bad.
                Anyone can guess, reality is we werent there.
                Diaries and letters as an historian are very important. Recollection and memories too.
                But some ppl love to make up stories about ppl even if simply to tear them down. Newspapers articles of the time (even if they can also be wrong). I dont want a recollection..i want what he wrote himself. Letting ppl read it. I dont do assumptions. I have my ideas but i wouldnt put my assumptions and conclusion in a book. I love what tony thomas did in the book he wrote..he just posted what Errol wrote. Thats it.

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        • Gentleman Tim

          May 19, 2020 at 9:00 am

          And here’s the Flynntastic Jack Marino, interviewing John Hammond Moore:

          John Hammond Moore Interview!

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      • Selene Hutchison-Zuffi

        May 18, 2020 at 11:53 pm

        Found the quote.
        Yes indeed Errol aided the underdogs a lot..he liked them better i think
        From what i heard he was down to heart, friendly, and amiable and just spoke to anyone.

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  2. David DeWitt

    May 17, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    Can’t find the exact location of the Eden Concert back in the day except it was located between Sloppy Joe’s Bar and Hotel Plaza. EDen.jpg

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    • Gentleman Tim

      May 18, 2020 at 9:43 am

      Muy difficulte to find, Senor Davido. So, I’ve added above. and here also a photo showing how close the Eden Concert Outdoor Cabaret (which was preceded by the Zombie Club) was to Sloppy Joe’s.


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  3. Gentleman Tim

    May 17, 2020 at 7:48 pm

    This great short features the very band (and similar show) Errol and Lili likely saw, listened to, danced to, and fought to, at the Eden Concert, “Orquesta Alfredo Brito Conjugo Eden Concert”.

    This is the 1944 version of “Tropicana” by Pedro Vargas and the Alfredo Brito Orchestra. The original version of this song (composed in the 30s by Alfredo Brito) was so popular at the Eden Concert that its successor, the Tropicana, was named after it.

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