Did Errol Do It?

22 Oct

October 20, 1937

Did Errol really shoot this bobcat?

Was he arrested for doing so, as rumor has it?

Or, was it really Howard Hill who did the shooting?

If it was Errol, was he really aiming for that other, far more dangerous cat, Tiger Lil?

— Tim


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  1. Selene Hutchison-Zuffi

    October 22, 2020 at 10:41 am

    No he wasnt arrested, no one was arrested. No he wasnt aiming at lily. The bobcat was on the set and was shot.
    Apparently after further research Errol didnt actually like to hunt or kill thing for sport. So possible that it was Howard that shot it.

    • Gentleman Tim

      October 22, 2020 at 11:46 am

      Errol most certainly hunted in those days, Selene, including for deer and wild pig up around Chico. I wouldn’t doubt if his shooting of the bobcat was staged for publicity, but I believe Howard Hill did credit Errol for the kill. Either version is potentially credible to me, especially as Errol and Howard often hunted together, including up in Chico, as well as on Catalina, in Mexico, among other places

      “In the August 8, 1938, Howard Hill claimed that his toughest shot in the movie was shooting a man off a rapidly moving horse. “‘The target I had to hit,” Hill said, “was moving up and down and coming forward at a terrific speed —— all at one time! ”For the 21 weeks that Hill worked on The Adventures of Robin Hood he was paid $150 per week, plus $100 for every trick shot. In between scenes, he also taught archery to Errol Flynn. “Errol Flynn learned archery so fast that he even went out and bagged a bobcat,” Hill related.”

      And there has long been rumor up in Chico that Errol was arrested for illegal hunting while filming Robin Hood. I believe that was likely an exaggeration, but oral local history should not be dismissed so easily without thorough investigation. After all, Errol is posing with a recently shot bobcat, as if he just shot it, and apparently with out a license, and I believe out of season.

      P.S. What evidence is there that the bobcat was shot on the set?

      Here they are on Catalina. Like many young men, Errol may have ultimately come to dislike hunting. But I believe he did enjoy it during his Robin Hood era. Additionally, I believe he likely ate or assured someone ate, what he shot, which, of course, reveals excellent character. For example, this wild pig (or boar) may well have ended up the star at a Mulholland Farm cookout.


      • Selene Hutchison-Zuffi

        October 22, 2020 at 5:29 pm

        I didnt say he didnt hunt.

      • Selene Hutchison-Zuffi

        October 22, 2020 at 5:30 pm

        I know well enough he hunted, but he expressed the fact that he didnt like it.

  2. Gentleman Tim

    October 22, 2020 at 6:01 pm

    Here is a contemporaneous local news article reporting that Errol shot the bobcat. It appears that it was Errol who shot the bobcat in a wooded area near Richardson Springs, which is northeast of Chico.

    Chico Enterprise, Oct. 18, 1937

    ”Movie Star Kills Cat With Arrow”

    Errol Flynn, Warner Bros. star, yesterday killed a wildcat with a bow and arrow in a wooded section near Chico where he is … filming “The Adventures of Robin Hood.”

    Flynn has become expert with the ancient weapons in preparation to duplicate legendary feats ascribed to the twelfth century outlaw whom he portrays in the picture.

    While hunting near Richardson Springs with Howard Hill, noted hunter and archery expert for the company, his dog flushed the cat and chased it up a tree.

    While the dog kept the snarling animal occupied, Flynn and Hill fixed arrows to their bows. The actor asked for the first shot and … he let fly an arrow which entered the bobcats chest and came out through its back.

    The shock of the steel barbed arrow propelled by a 69-pound bow knocked the animal several feet into the air before tumbling to the ground dead.

    The animal was of the desert wildcat variety with tufted ears …

    Flynn is receiving the thanks of farmers and game lovers as the wildcat prey on young sheep and other small farm animals and on young deer. …

    • Gentleman Tim

      October 22, 2020 at 7:15 pm

      Regarding the rumored arrest, that, if it happened at all, may have been for hunting pheasants out of season, or possibly wild pigs, not for his shooting the bobcat.