Archive for the ‘New Articles’ Category

The Heroine of Hollywood

27 Dec

In the seventh year you shall set them free (Deut. 15:12)

After spending 18 months in legal and professional limbo, de Havilland won the case and her free agency when, in 1944, the California Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that Warner Brothers had appealed: The studio could not extend her seven-year contract. At 5’ 3” and scarcely 100 pounds, de Havilland looked unintimidating, but her iron resolve was draped in velvet and silk.

When I asked her about the suit in 1998, she cited Deuteronomy 15, which stipulates that, in the seventh year, slaves shall be freed. “It seemed to me positively unbiblical to hold me to that contract for more than seven years,” she purred in her mellifluous voice. (By then, she was a lector at the American Cathedral in Paris.)

For the very deep diggers;…

— Gentleman Tim


From the Aussie to the Kiwis, Barbi and Beyond — November 20, 2020

20 Nov

Errol’s Hideaway in Chico

Speaking of Chico …

— Gentleman Tim


Olivia in Chico – Robin to Robbery

01 Oct

Olivia’ s Memories of Chico

Olivia de Havilland starred as Maid Marian in the 1938 “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” which was filmed in fall of 1937 in Bidwell Park in Chico. (Enterprise-Record files)

Chico was charmed by Olivia de Havilland, and she by Chico. She graced Bidwell Park in the form of Maid Marian, but it was not Bidwell Park. It was Sherwood Forest in the 1938 classic “The Adventures of Robin Hood.”

It was in late September 1937 that she descended the train into Chico as a 22-year-old. The trees were aflame with orange, red and yellow tinges.

The train held not only her, but all the stars, technicians and props Warner Bros. needed to create a miniature Hollywood set on the banks of Big Chico Creek.

“I thought Chico a most charming town and its citizens welcoming and kind,” de Havilland wrote in a 1987 correspondence with the Chico Enterprise-Record from Paris.

The headquarters were set up in the form of tents by Sycamore Pool. Bidwell Park became a medieval forest.

According to a Sept. 15, 1937 Chico Record clipping, the park had been discovered by a Warner Bros. location scout and film director William Keighley.

“There was no location in California that could compare with Bidwell Park. I can’t understand why Chico has not been discovered before as a site for movies. I must confess my ignorance,” Keighley said.

“When Robin Hood was named for production, I thought a trip to the East or at least the Midwest would be necessary. I did not have any idea that anything such as Bidwell Park existed.”

More than 100 extras were hired for $10 a day. If someone was willing to let actor and famous archer Howard Hill shoot their padded body with an arrow, they could earn an extra $150 a day.

The film had an original budget of $1.25 million, yet it rounded the $2 million mark, making it the most expensive film Warner Bros. had produced to that date.

In an October 1987 interview with this newspaper, the late television director and producer Rudy Behlmer said, “(de Havilland) was so beautiful then, the rest of the cast, the breadth of the staging. There wasn’t anything you could point to and say, ‘Well, that didn’t work very well.’”

One reason the aesthetic was so appealing was the new three-strip Technicolor process used to create it. Three separate strips of film were exposed simultaneously in the same camera, providing rich color on screen.

“This was the best example of that early Technicolor process with the forest scenes and the costumes and so on. And it is still considered one of the best examples of Technicolor,” Behlmer said.

After six weeks of shooting, de Havilland, as well as the rest of the crew, left Chico on Nov. 9, 1937, to the sight of 500 well-wishers gathered at the train station to bid them adieu. The Chico High band played music for them. The north section of Ivy Street was named Warner Street to commemorate the time of production.

It wasn’t until May 1938 that “The Adventures of Robin Hood” was released to great critical and popular acclaim. On May 14, 1938, it arrived at the Senator Theatre for a three-day run.

The actress came back to Butte County in October 1979 to speak at the Oroville State Theatre.

She remembered Chico as a small, quiet town with an “adorable little hospital.”

A 1987 E-R clipping said that one of the many locals to “fall under the dark-eyed beauty’s spell” was Doctor Newton Thomas Enloe, the founder of Enloe Medical Center. He let de Havilland witness an operation firsthand after she kindly asked.

She and other cast members attended square dances in Paradise on the weekends. The fiddle music delighted them, as did the hospitality of the locals.

“A very kind local gentleman taught me the steps and I joined in with immense pleasure,” de Havilland recalled.

During her stay in Oroville, her motel room was broken into. The doing was not that of Robin Hood. It was at 10 a.m. at the Villa Motel (now Villa Court Inn) that $4,959 worth of clothing and jewelry were stolen and the rest of her belongings scattered about.

Even so, she showed her gratitude to the audience for having her.

“Thank you for recognizing me,” she said.

De Havilland’s acting prowess, among other things, created a fairy tale out of Chico that, like her impact on Hollywood, lasts to this very day

— Gentleman Tim


Errol’s Last Adventure? — In Majorca? – ¿De Verdad?

27 Sep

A New documentary about Errol’s years in Majorca, featuring Michael Douglas, et al

Diana Dill in 1943, six months before she married Kirk Douglas. I believe Errol dated her in 1942.

— Gentleman Tim


Robin in Oregon

17 Sep

This Weekend, Friday and Saturday, 6PM, September 18 and 19, 2020.

It’s yesteryear once more out in Oregon! See Errol swashbuckle his way to victory over the Sheriff of Nottingham at the historic Granada Theater in The Dalles, 84 miles east of Portland. The theater is showing old movies in a new way: as dinner theater with food matching the themes of the movies. It’s a cinematic and dining time machine!…

— Gentleman Tim


Barrymore’s Last Party

21 Aug

August 20, 2020

— Gentleman Tim


Against All Flags — Blu-Ray On the Way

22 Jul

Could Be Today, July 22, 2020.

“In 1700, the pirates of Madagascar menace the India trade; British officer Brian Hawke has himself cashiered, flogged, and set adrift to infiltrate the pirate “republic.” There, Hawke meets lovely Spitfire Stevens, a pirate captain in her own right, and the sparks begin to fly; but wooing a pirate poses unique problems. Especially after he rescues adoring young Princess Patma from a captured ship. Meanwhile, Hawke’s secret mission proceeds to an action-packed climax.”

— Gentleman Tim


Behind the Green Light

06 Jul

“You’ve done it, Newell, you’ve found a vaccine.”

Before Covid-19, there was Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Before Dr. Anthony Fauci, there was Dr. Errol, I mean Newell, Paige.

“In the 1937 movie Green Light, Hollywood heartthrob Errol Flynn plays a doctor investigating a devastating new ailment plaguing a remote town in Montana. The story of a heroic doctor infecting himself with the disease to find a cure is fictional, but it’s based in truth. In the early 1900s, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a deadly tick-borne disease, was erupting. No one knew exactly what caused it or how to cure it.”

— Gentleman Tim


Errol’s Malaria – Part 3 – Reports of Recurrences

13 May

Ensuing his first year in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Errol suffered frequent recurrences of malaria throughout his life, to the very week of his death.

He appears to have contracted malaria for the first time in 1928, months after he first moved to Papua New Guinea in October of 1927.

Malaria plagued him during 1929, which factored into his decision to return to Sydney, after 25 months in PNG.

On June 18, 1930, the Rockingham Morning Bulletin states that “Captain Flynn” was suffering from a “touch of malaria”.

In 1931 and 1932 Errol had multiple malarial attacks, , including on the “black-birding” trip during which he was ambushed and injured. He reported that during that excursion he was “freezing and sweating at the same time” from malaria.

In March of 1933, newspapers reviewing In the Wake of the Bounty reported of Errol’s malaria in PNG.

In May of 1933, While in China, Errol reports having suffered a bout of malaria, “shaking and shivering” after his brief affair with Ting Ling O’Connor in Macoa.

In 1935, Errol suffered a malarial attack during filming of Captain Blood.

In 1937, Errol publishes Beam Ends, regarding which the Sydney Daily Telegraph reports that Errol was hospitalized in Townsville with malaria.

In September of 1938, Errol was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital prior to opening of The Sisters because of “malarial fever” and respiratory infection.

Circa late September 1940, Errol had a bout with malaria in Mexico City.

In September of 1941, Errol collapsed in an elevator in part due to malaria.

In 1942, Errol was documented to be suffering from recurring bouts of malaria, which contributed to his not being accepted by the Armed Forces for service in WW II. Coupled with heart murmurs and tuberculosis, he was told by doctors he would not survive the decade.

In Vancouver, shortly before his death in October of 1959, Errol had a bout of malaria.

— Gentleman Tim


Errol’s Malaria — Part 1 — Blood-Thirsty Ann

10 May

The lowlands of Papua New Guinea’s north coast have been a flashpoint in the shattering contest of mosquito versus human throughout history. Here people don’t so much die from malaria as endure it, morbidity outstripping mortality. Debilitating sickness reverberates through genetics, culture, prosperity and aspiration.

Malaria is particularly and powerfully entrenched in the communities here on PNG’s north coast and through the surrounding lowlands, where it has afflicted and shaped generations throughout history, a story written into their DNA.

There are four main types of human malaria. By far the most notorious and deadliest is Plasmodium falciparum, the biggest killer globally. By contrast, PNG has the world’s highest prevalence of P. vivax, which is difficult to control because it lingers in the body and relapses.

This type of malaria (P. vivax) inflicts relapsing illness on their carriers. This is the malaria tale familiar to so many travelers and soldiers who returned from the tropics to find themselves mysteriously floored by bouts of illness for years afterwards.…

The location where Errol is believed to have first been stricken with malaria in or near New Britain – and the lifelong recurrent nature of his malaria, is evidence that he obtained it from “Ann” the female Anopheles mosquito, as did soldiers stationed in those same exact locations during World War II.

Conditions in the South Pacific Theater during World War II were harsh — thick jungle, high temperatures, heavy rainfall, swamps, excessive mud, and mountainous terrain made life difficult enough for Soldiers. But the environment was perfect for mosquitos. Disease, especially malaria, was rampant among the troops. Although dysentery and beriberi took their toll, malaria was by far the most devastating disease, causing more casualties than the enemy. In many cases throughout the campaigns malaria played a significant role in determining the outcome of battle.

The primary carrier of malaria was the species Anopheles minimus flavirostris, sometimes nicknamed “Ann” by the Soldiers. This type of mosquito thrived in the Pacific island regions, doing best in regions with swiftly-flowing, clear, shaded water.…

— Gentleman Tim