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Flynn and Coop Bought Coupes – Rode Bikes, Too

20 May

May 20, 1953 – What Errol Flynn knows Gary Cooper already knows a very long time!: And therefore Gary Cooper did not buy only one but three Mercedes cars of the type 300 and 300S in the Mercedes works in Stuttgart-Untertuerkheim. He took just with himself a sedan car, the 300S cabriolet is to belong to his wife and the third Mercedes 300 is for a movie picture society.



— Gentleman Tim


Errol’s Royal Geek

19 May


New Orleans, May 18, 1950– Errol Flynn is irresistible to Rumanian Princess Irene Ghica
“because he keeps his mouth shut when I want quiet,” she said.

Forty-year-old Flynn
and the 19-year-old princess will probably marry in September – he for the third time.

He brought her to the United States from Bermuda so that he could finish a film based
on Rudyard Kipling’s “Kim.”

Flynn explained that the princess’ nickname, “Geek,” was the first syllable of Ghica.
She commented: “When I found out that a ‘geek’ is a person who, bites off chickens’ heads
at a carnival, I threw a pan at Errol.”

Flynn, who earns about £A89,286 a year, complained that he was going deeper into debt every day.

“There seems to be a lot of people I owe money to, he said. “You would think I had paid enough to one of the
ladies to whom I’ve been paying alimony for 10 years. Those payments are a terrible drain on a man’s income.”

He was referring to his first wife, Lili Damita. He recently asked the court for alimony relief, saying he was
paying £10,357 a year to support her and their nine year-old son, Sean.

Here are the Nearlyweds in November of 1949.

— Gentleman Tim


The perfect speciwoman

18 May

Dear fellow Flynn fans,

what do you see in the picture above?

I know about you, but I see a yacht and I think it was Errol`s.

The smiling siren in front of course is Joan Blondell, his co-star in the 1937 screwball comedy “The Perfect Specimen”.

In her biography “A Life Between Takes” she remembers our Hollywood hero very fondly: “Sometimes we walked in Warner`s Sherwood Forrest, where Errol Flynn gleefully told me untold tales of his youth during the picture we were making.”

Rose Joan Blondell was born on August 30, 1906 (she herself claimed 1909) to a vaudevillain family on the Manhattan Upper West Side and made her stage debut at the age of four months in a play called “The Greatest Love”. Right from the start her father of Jewish- polish descend Levi Bluestein aka Eddie Blondell and her Irish mother Catherine “Katie” Cain, gave her more acting lessons than she saw schooling. Famous for their stage version of the then immensely popular newspaper comic strip “The Katzenjammer Kids” her folks toured the country relentlessly along with her sister Gloria and brother Ed Jr.

At age eight she was shipped to Honolulu and spent a year there, and then six more in Australia. Little Joanie`s upbringing during that time probably was outsourced to some charitable society like for example the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks. The Elks still have a lavish estate on Hawaii, actually very near located to the former “Shangri- La” villa of Doris Duke, where Errol used to roam too. Up to this day the B.P.O.E is very engaged in youth programms, while their boy scout like kiddie club “The Antlers” was disbanded abruptly in 1947. Whatever the ties Blondell had with this hornoray organisation, they proved career defining. In 1931/32 a dinner in her honour was held at the Elk`s Club in Hollywood when she had been elected “Baby Star”. Furthermore she was one of the main hostesses of the Elk`s Motion Picture Electrical Pageant in LA on July 16th of 1936. This extravaganza saw dozens of carriages with local beauty queens dressed as butterfly winged fairies (the Victoria`s Secret formula) carted to the Coliseum, where the parade came to a bonfire end.

A Warner Bros. workhorse in terms of turnout, Joan was making 50 films from 1930 to 1938. Ten in 1931 and another ten in 1932. This cruelling schedule landed the hard working girl in hospital at the end of the year. Starring mostly alongside James Cagney, whom she had met while playing opposite him on Broadway in the show “Maggie the Magnificent”. The film adaptation of their play “Penny Arcade” retitled “Sinner`s Holiday” became the starting point of a lifelong friendship. Cagney stated that she was the only woman other than his wife he ever had fallen in love with. Plus he stated she possessed the most beautiful derriere in Christendom. He should know, when one night on stage a lighting mishap set her asset on fire. Cagney was caught in a laughing fit looking at what seemed like “…two giant owl eyes staring back at me!

Unlike the other contract players Olivia de Havilland and Bette Davies, Joan never gave Jack Warner a hard time for piss pour roles and overexposure.”It takes all the talent you`ve got in your guts to play unimportant roles. It is not degrading, just hard to do.” Even when pregnant she managed to produce six movies, sitting behind desks hiding her growing tummy. Her utmost professionalism and toughness as acrylic nails got her the inofficial title of Studio Dame of the lot. “I just sailed through things, took the scripts I was given, did what I was told. I couldn`t afford to go on suspension.” In 1952 she earned her first and only Academy Award nomination as supporting actress in the “The Blue Veil”. By then she had switched from wisecracking blondie to strong female characters like that of Aunt Cissy in “A Tree  Grows in Brooklyn” directed by Elia Kazan.

Married three times (often time co- star William Powell  being one of her husbands), she never quite found the happiness of those carefree comedies in private life. Clark Gable had proposed to her, urging her not to marry that jealous and violent other guy. He may have meant Mike Todd, the theatre and film producer, who allegedly in a fit of rage hung Blondell out of the window feet last. With doing so he passed himself on to Elizabeth Taylor. In 1972 Joan Blondell lifted the veil on some of her life`s miseries in a thinly disguised fiction novel called “Center Door Fancy”.

I wonder if the book also reveals one of movie history`s all time greatest mystery. If it was her who was on lips and mind of Citizen Kane at his deathbed. Joan entered the 1926 Miss Dallas pageant and promptly won. But she participated under a false first name. Wanna know what it was !?




— shangheinz


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


ERROL & SEAN DOUBLE FEATURE: “Captain Blood” & “The Son of Captain Blood”

16 May

Here is a double feature that is obvious.  The film that made a 26 year old Errol a star and the film that launched his 20 year old son’s European movie career.

What can be said about “Captain Blood” that has not been already said. Every one on this blog should have this film in their collection or they are on the wrong blog. This film is available in its original B & W version, although I personally enjoy the computer colorized version. (Yes I know it’s sacrilege to prefer colorization, but this version was done so well and let’s face it, if color was not so expensive and had been perfected at the time the movie was made it would have been made in color.)

When Sean made his starring debut, he had trained with stuntman and actor Jock Mahoney. Also stuntman extraordinaire Yakima Canutt had acted as second unit director on this film.  While he excelled in the stunt work he did in TSOCB, his acting showed his inexperience in front of the camera. In a  review of the film that appeared in “Variety” (5/18/64), it was said, “that when he learns to act he could be a popular screen personality.” Aside from that, the film has plenty of action and a lovely female lead in the form of Alessandra Panaro. It is also timely with the early civil rights movement because of its depiction of slavery. While it is not available on DVD, here in the U. S., it is available to watch on YouTube in English in a pan and scan version and also in Spanish with fan produced English subtitles. The Spanish version is in a wide screen aspect that shows off its original Dyaliscope aspect. (The wide screen process that was popular in Europe in the sixties.) So here is a fine double feature to enjoy while you are  at home.–A. R.



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Errol Gets Shanghaied — Part 2 — Young Flynn in Deep Egg Foo Yong

14 May

The maps and article below describe the dire situation in China the very month Errol was there, May 1933.

— Gentleman Tim

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Ting Ling the Bell-Ringer … and Heart-Breaker

09 May

On the packet from Hong Kong to Macao, in May of 1933, Errol fell head over heels for a stunning Eurasian beauty named Ting Ling O’Connor.

The young women with Errol in the photo below may be Ting Ling, or his inspiration for the Ting Ling story. It certainly appears Flynn is tingling. Ting Ling, too.

Errol and Ting Ling headed straight for the notorious “Street of Happiness” – Rua de Felicidade – then the city’s main red light district. Since the mid-1800s, during the late Qing Dynasty, the area was packed with hundreds of brothels and opium dens, in addition to fan-tan parlors. Ting Ling seemed to know her way around the Street of Happiness quite well. It was the wickedest street in “the wickedest city in the Orient.”

Errol thought he had found “the love of [his] life”, … until he woke up the next morning and found that Ting Ling had snuck out of town. Worse, he learned she was a prostitute who played suckers for their money, apparently in cahoots with various casinos and gangsters. In fact, her name wasn’t Ting Ling O’Connor at all, he also learned. She used a series of aliases, her last before Flynn being Yok An Lee.

Errol was badly hurt (emotionally and financially) by Ting Ling’s betrayal, calling it “one of the worst heart drops that had ever happened to [him]”.

So it was back to Hong Kong for Erben and Flynn.

— Gentleman Tim


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FLYNN STAY AT HOME DOUBLE FEATURE #2: THE FLYNNS GO WEST: “Dodge City” & “Seven Guns for Timothy”

08 May

When I first picked up a copy of “My Wicked, Wicked Ways”, I was not that familiar with who Errol Flynn was as I did not remember having seen “Adv. of Robin Hood”, but I remembered the one about the guy who cleans up a town as one of my favorites from childhood. “Dodge City” may not be on every one’s list as a classic western, but it is definitely one of the top three favorite westerns on my list. ( Along with “The Searchers” & the original “The Magnificent Seven”).

Errol always felt he was miscast in westerns, but Wade Hatton is one of those characters that fit with the types of heroes he portrayed. He also said his westerns feature a scene where it is explained how he came to be out West. In “Dodge City” it is one of the best scenes when Dusty played by Alan Hale explains to Col. Dodge how Wade came to be out West.

Sean in his “spaghetti western” “Sette Magnifiche Pistole” (“Seven Magnificent Guns” aka “Seven Guns for Timothy”) plays a tenderfoot and intellectual man of peace, who has inherited a gold mine sought after by villain, Rodrigo Rodriguez (played by popular Spanish actor, Fernando Sanchez) who will stop at nothing to force Sean to deed him the mine. The foreman of Sean’s mine enlists the aid of four former soldiers who served under him to train Sean to be a rough and tough hombre and go up against Rodriguez. At first Sean is reluctant, but when his pet dog is killed after a raid by Rodriguez on Sean’s ranch he gets with the program. Standing by her man as Sean’s love interest is Italian beauty, Ida Galli. Also on hand is Spanish actor, Daniel Martin who was a staple in these Euro Westerns as one of the seven guns along with the five mentioned above.

“Dodge City” is available on DVD and if you do not have this film in your collection you can not call yourself a fan of Errol Flynn. “Seven Guns for Timothy” is the only film of Sean’s available in English on legitimate DVD in the U.S. It is available as one of many euro westerns in the collection, “10,000 Ways to Die: The Spaghetti Western Collection”.–A. R.



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At the Lido in Londontown

06 May

The Lido Club was near Picadilly Circus, on Swallow Street, a short block long known as a hotspot for nightclubs, from the early 20th Century to the Swinging Sixties (George Harrison himself once co-owned a nightclub at 9 Swallow Street.)

A Shot from Right Rear Side, with Errol Smiling

— Gentleman Tim


A FLYNN FAMILY STAY AT HOME DOUBLE FEATURE (“Desperate Journey” & “Five Ashore in Singapore”)

03 May


Previously I have posted about possible Flynn and son double features such as, “Uncertain Glory” and “Stop Train 349” and “The Big Boodle” and “Mission to Venice”. Today I have put together what I feel is another interesting combination, that of Errol’s “Desperate Journey” and Sean’s “Five Ashore in Singapore”.

Released in 1942, “Desperate Journey”, has Errol and his team after a successful bombing raid over Nazi Germany, having their plane shot down by enemy fire. Then he and the surviving four of his crew must make it out of Germany alive and get back to England. Errol’s crew includes; the ever reliable Alan Hale, Arthur Kennedy and a future US president, Ronald Reagan. Also included is the beautiful actress, Nancy Coleman. While most of the action is of the tongue in cheek kind, the film still has plenty of good thrills under the able direction of Errol’s favorite director, Raoul Walsh.

“Five Ashore in Singapore” (aka “Cinq Gars Pour Singapour”) had its world premiere in 1967 and was Sean’s last starring role. He had as his leading lady the very sexy, Marika Green who also happens to be the aunt of Bond girl, Eva Green. For more on this film, one can read the excellent article by Raphael Millet previously posted on this site.  Suffice it to say Sean also leads a team of five men here to solve the mystery of missing US marines in that capital city.  While not a classic, it still has a lot of action and is a document of its time.   –A.R.




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