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Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

Arno the Arnochist — Raising Hell at the Hotel Del

05 Sep

September 5, 1980 / May 1942

Errol Flynn’s Antic Stay at the Hotel Del Coronado

Excerpt from Esquire Magazine, May 1942. The Writings of Errol Flynn. “It Shouldn’t Happen to an Actor”

Friendship with Arno meant you were a cinch to lose most of your friends. There were times when the only answer seemed to be to change my name or leave the country. Like that time at the Coronado Hotel The Coronado Hotel is an austere establishment where rich old folks go to play until they die. The waitresses get off weekends to visit their grandchildren. You are kept awake nights by the dull thud of guests dropping dead.

Disaster, ever Arno’s sidekick, struck one day in the dining room of that hotel. Eating was always a problem because Arno insisted on eating with me. If you chased him out of the restaurant, he would just come in another door. When the door was shut he would wail for some customers and come in again camouflaged between their legs.

On this particular day I had (I thought) double-locked him in my room upstairs. One of the hotel’s younger set – a quaint little thing of about seventy – always complained that the dining room was cold, in spile of the temperature being a good eighty. She also maintained it was so dark she couldn’t see, though you could take snapshots in there at night and they would have been overexposed. So she announced she would provide her own lighting. Soon a tall stand-lamp arrived and was installed behind her chair. When lit the first night it was found to contain a 200-watt bulb of such brilliance that it temporarily blinded everyone who looked in her direction. The waitresses were the ones who suffered most They would serve her something and turn around to get something else, and everything would immediately go black. They would usually drop whatever they were holding. One of them partially solved the problem by wearing dark glasses. Of course nothing much could be done about the heating arrangements. From the heat generated by her lamp, people at adjoining tables already perspired freely throughout meals, but the frail little old lady sat serenely under her 200-watt umbrella and remarked how cold she was. She . finally achieved some measure of comfort by coming into meals wearing several silver fox furs. This was partly the cause of the trouble.

One night I was sitting in the dining room over a bottle of wine when a cat passed by the table. I knew this cat slightly. He was a prosperous executive-looking kind of cat and apparently had the exclusive use of the kitchen and dining room. Business was good with him. Suddenly there was a commotion at the dining room entrance. There was a scraping of chairs; the head waiters began moving around agitatedly. The hair on the back of the business cat shot up as though someone had got by the secretary he didn’t want to see.

It was Arno. How he got out of the room I don’t know. He had just started to give me a brief nod, a sort of double take, when he saw the cat. That was enough! They broke beautifully from the gate without a second’s difference in the start hugging the rail the cat skidded around several tables three lengths ahead of Arno. At the far turn, Arno had shortened and was coming up on the outside. Coming into the stretch it began to lode like a photo finish when the cat taking a desperate gamble, swerved sharply under the frail little old lady’s table. Arno, trailing by barely half a length now, saw dangling in front of him the fox fur and! It was horrible.

The screams of the waitresses, the hoarse shouts of the men, the smash of crockery, rose to a sudden deafening explosion as the 200-watt lamp crashed to the floor and broke shivering into a thousand pieces. Arno had the little old lady’s silver fox fur by the throat in a killer’s grip. On dark nights, the sounds still ring in my ears. All in all, the hotel was very nice about it After I had paid for the damage the management said I could come and stay there practically any time – alone.

Here’s Errol at the Hotel Del pool … sans Arno

— Gentleman Tim

 

A Flynn Farm Call for Hoppers and Cockatoos

08 Aug

August 9, 1939

The Wireless Weekly

Errol Flynn Wants Australian Pets
Cockatoos and Wallabies For Hollywood Home

Hollywood, the land of milk and honey, the home of plenty. Just everything in the world can be purchased there — except a pair of wallabies and a pair of those good old Australian cockatoos.

Errol Flynn, dashing Australian star, lately seen here in “Dodge City,” has been rushing round lately building and furnishing his new home, which now seems to be complete — but still not to the satisfaction of Errol.

In a letter to Sydney, Errol states that, while his home is all that could be desired, it misses out on just two things, and those things – shades of Australia! — are wallabies and cockatoos.

One would expect Mr. Flynn to favor perhaps a lion cub or a polar bear. But no; a pair of hoppers are his prime interest, with a pair of old yellow crests as second favorite.

Last week, Dorothy Flukes, of the Warner Bros.’ Australian office, told country listeners of the interest the Flynns are taking in their lovely new home, and she went on to give a few highlights of Errol’s life since reaching Hollywood.

Can Anybody Oblige?

Pearl fishing, prospecting, island trading, and even a little black-birding all supplied the earlier background for this colorful character.

If anybody has a pair of wallabies or cockatoos, or even one of these animals or birds that they would like to send to Mr. and Mrs. Flynn as a present for their new home, then a line to Miss Flukes, care of Warner Bros. Pictures, Sydney, will take care of everything.

Miss Flukes will arrange for cartage, transport, customs, feeding, etc., and at the same time arrange for Errol Flynn and his beautiful wife (Lili Damita) to send to the giver a personal letter of thanks and a photograph of the pets in their new home.

— Gentleman Tim

 

A Speedie Recovery

27 Jul

July 27, 1936

Jimmy Starr
LA Evening Herald Express

Eight years ago when adventuresome Errol Flynn, now Warner’s new film rave, represented the British Government at New Guinea, one of his many odd duties was to act as physician and surgeon.

When a native named Joe Speedie appeared at headquarters with a gangrenous toe as a result of having been bitten by a poisonous fish, it was “Dr” Flynn who performed the necessary amputation of the infected toe. The emergency operation saved Joe’s life.

Last week, “Dr” Flynn received a belated fee for his surgical gesture, a valuable gold-headed cane. Joe explained in the accompanying letter that he had seen Errol in Captain Blood and was most happy to have located his benefactor of long ago. And Errol’s quite proud of his ‘fee.’

The article says that Speedie was bitten on the toe by a poisonous fish. What it likely meant is that he was bitten or injected by a venomous fish.

Venom is injected. Poison is ingested.

“Poisonous fish are fish that are poisonous to eat. They contain toxins which are not destroyed by the digestive systems of animals that eat the fish. Venomous fish also contain toxins, but do not necessarily cause poisoning if they are eaten, since the digestive system often destroys their venom.”

I believe the fish which “bit” (i.e. injected) venom into Joe’s toe may have been a Stonefish. They are prevalent in the waters off Papua New Guinea and are “the most dangerous venomous fish in the world.

They are the most venomous fish in the world. The attack can last as little as 0.015 seconds! When not chasing their prey, they move slowly. But they’re venom is speedy, more speedy than Speedie.

“Stonefish are venomous marine fish classified in the genus Synanceja and the family Synancejidae, found in shallow waters of the tropical Indo-Pacific. They are sluggish, bottom-dwelling fish that live among rocks or coral and in mud flats and estuaries. Thickset fish with large heads and mouths, small eyes, and bumpy skins covered with wart-like lumps and, sometimes, fleshy flaps, they rest on the bottom, unmoving, blending almost exactly with their surroundings in form and color. They are dangerous fish. Difficult to see, they can, when stepped on, inject quantities of venom through grooves in their dorsal-fin spines. Wounds produced by these fish are intensely painful and sometimes fatal.”

Watch your step! They can also live and attack on land for up to 24 hours!!

— Gentleman Tim

— Gentleman Tim

 

Arno and Errol at Ta-Boo

21 Jun

At Ta-boo, an historic haunt of Errol’s on Palm Beach, I had the opportunity to memorialize our 111th Global Toast on one of their famous monkey images. Amazingly, autographing the image before me was “Arno”! …I have no idea who this Arno is, but I know it’s a name I’ve rarely ever known, maybe never other than for the Arno River in Florence and for Errol’s wonderful schnauzer. So, I’ll take this sign and signing as a sign Errol and Arno are still monkeying around together, and in all the best places.

From Ta-boo, it was off to 346 Seabreeze Avenue, the Palm Beach home Errol payed for, where Sean lived for much of his childhood with Lili. Toasted Sean there with a Coca-Cola – age-appropriate for young Sean’s time in PB.

— Gentleman Tim

 

Tibby or No Tibby: Arno was at it Again – June 8, 1939

08 Jun

Tibby of Elizabette dared turn her back on Arno of Essex?

June 8, 1939

Behind the Makeup

Erskine Johnson
Los Angeles Times

Errol Flynn’s Schnauzer (Arno) chasing Bette Davis’s Scotty (Tibby) around the Warner Studio Cafe…


Errol himself was known to have done some chasing around the WB Cafe … but never after dogs

Bette Davis Eyes appeared wary of Arno in a previous caninical encounter.

Good doggie, Arno

— Gentleman Tim

 

Flynn’s Fancy Rest Camp

15 May

May 15, 1939

Harrison Carroll

Evening Herald Express

Racking his brain over what to do with eight loose acres up on Mulholland Drive, overlooking San Fernando Valley, Errol Flynn hit on an interesting idea. He will turn his property into a fancy rest camp, with eight guest cabins, three tennis courts and a dozen riding nags available for the nearby Hollywood folk in search of quick relaxation.

Flynn plans to spend a lot of money on the project. Chances are that Bud Ernst, one of his close pals, will manage the place, which will be open to the public.

How Mulholland Scenic Road aka Mulholland Skyline Drive aka Mulholland Boulevard aka Mulholland Highway aka (finally) Mulholland Drive ultimately paved the way for Mulholland Farm.

Mulholland Drive was an Engineering Masterwork by Dewitt Raeburn

Errol pioneered the building of homes along Mulholland Drive. The area does have a prior historic significance, however, in that it was once owned by James B. Lankershim, one of the most notable land owners in the history of Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. Subsequent to Lankershim, the land was co-owned by Harry Chandler, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, who held title to more private real estate than any other person in the U.S..

— Gentleman Tim

 

Young Errol’s Pleasures in Old Hong Hong

08 May

Happy Valley is where one could find Errol most every day in Hong Kong. “But those horrible little ponies wouldn’t behave,” as he put it in My Wicked, Wicked Ways. Originally opened in 1850 primarily for the British ex patriates, is today one of the premier horse race courses in the world.

When he wasn’t betting the ponies, it was a wicked good bet he was in the Hong Kong’s legendary red light district, where it was he and his companions that likely wouldn’t behave. In 1930, Hong Kong had 200 legal brothels with over 7,000 licensed prostitutes. Prostitution was outlawed, however, shortly after Errol’s visit. (Just a coincidence.) Below are Siu Sheung Fei and Fa Yuk Lan of the Tsui Lok Brothel in Hong Kong.

— Gentleman Tim

 

A Kiwi in Hollywood Hog Heaven

20 Apr

April 20, 1936

Harrison Carroll

Evening Herald Express

Errol Flynn and Lili Damita don’t intend to live all the time on the ranch where he expects to raise hogs. They are building a house -n the Laurel Canyon district. One of the most unusual houses in Hollywood, too, for it will be modeled after Flynn’s ancestral home in Belfast. Incidentally, did you know that Errol was not born in Ireland? It was New Zealand while his father and mother were on a scientific expedition.

— Gentleman Tim

 

‘Flynn Flying Through the Air’ – Errol’s Empty Horse

01 Apr

March 31, 1936

Harrison Carroll
Evening Herald Express

Since Saturday, Warners is beseeching Errol Flynn to stay off horses except when the cameras are actually turning for The Charge of the Light Brigade. The Irish actor, not so long out of the hospital for an appendicitis operation, got the idea of practicing jumps for the picture. He went to a riding academy in the valley and was doing very nicely until the horse balked at a four-foot barrier and sent Flynn flying through the air. Landing, he missed a large rock by about an inch. The studio, which had 250 men ready to start to Lone Pine on location the next day, practically did a nipup when the news got around.

— Gentleman Tim

 

Up the Sepik with Young Captain Flynn

14 Mar

March 13, 1936

Harrison Carroll
Evening Herald Express

The most dramatic movie premier of 1936 took place not in Hollywood or in New York, but in Belfast Ireland when Captain Blood opened there the other day with Errol Flynn’s father and mother in attendance. They hadn’t seen him since 1932 and, suddenly, there he was on the screen, their turned into a movie star.

Reporting the incident, the Belfast papers also carried an interview with R. L. Simpson, who adventured with Flynn to New Guinea. He told a story about the actor that not even the studio knew.

Seems that a motion picture troupe hired Flynn to take them in a 20-ton schooner up the unexplored Sepik River, a stream infested with crocadiles and transversing jungles crawling with hostile natives. Sure enough, the troupe was ambushed and five of the police escorts were struck by poisoned arrows. Flynn and the crew were able to repel the attack with rifle fire and to get the troupe back to civilization.

Superb video featuring multifarious primitive tribes and exotic cultures Flynn may have crossed paths with, if not crossed swords with, in Papua New Guinea – headhunters and cannibals included:

— Gentleman Tim