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Stuck on Thursday Island

11 May

Being that it’s Tuesday, here’s a post on Thursday Island.*

* For those who may not know where Thursday Island is, it’s northeast of Friday Island, southwest of Wednesday Island, with Tuesday Islets east-northeast of it.


May 11, 1936

Harrison Carroll
Evening Herald Examiner

Quarantine authorities have gummed up Errol Flynn’s plan to make a Hollywood servant out of his former house-boy in New Guinea. According to a cable just received by the star, the boy is being held on Thursday Island, following an outbreak of contagious illness on the ship in which he was traveling to California.

A couple of years before Flynn made it to Hollywood, during his last days in New Guinea, Joan Crawford starred as Sadie Thompson in “Rain”, a “shocking” film based on Somerset Maugham’s most famous short story Errol would have definitely known of the film, because Maugham’s story was based on a trip he took to Thursday Island, in the Torres Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea, the film of which came out while Errol was Down Under. Maughman visited the island because a friend of his in Sydney warned him not to go. So he went and stayed three weeks..

“[It’s] the last place made by God, that there was nothing to see there and he would probably have his throat cut if he went there.”

When he arrived at Thursday Island, he was greeted by a woman in her nightgown. That and the island’s many colourful characters inspired him to write a story, about a ship that is forced to stop on Thursday Island because of an infectious disease outbreak!

Rain became Maughan’s most successful short story, a rage on Broadway, a silent film by Gloria Swanson, a talkie in 1932 by Joan Crawford, and remade by Rita Hayworth as “Miss Sadie Thompson”.

“IF YOU ARE EASILY SHOCKED – RUN FOR SHELTER!”

— Gentleman Tim

 

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