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Archive for the ‘New Guinea’ Category

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

 

Rough-Cut History

19 Jul

July 19, 1935

Harrison Carroll
Evening Herald Express

Filmland learned for the first time today the romantic history of the diamond that Errol Flynn, dark-haired Irish actor, put upon the finger of Lili Damita, who is now his bride.

It was five years ago that Flynn came into possession.

A young adventurer, he was working as a British agent in New Guinea to help preserve peace among the native tribes. One day, he made a gold strike in the jungle.

Trekking back to civilization, Flynn sold his discovery for $10,000 in gold. He decided to leave New Guinea, but couldn’t carry his new found riches. So he put the money into rough-cut diamonds.

It was one of these diamonds that the young actor soon to play the starring role in the Warner film, Captain Blood, had made into the engagement ring his new bride now wears.

— 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 2 — Bitten in New Britain? … Or was it New Ireland? Or was it New Hanover? Or ….

13 May

Errol arrived at Raoul, Papua New Guinea (PNG), on October 1, 1927, at the age of 18. He came in search of gold and adventure. It’s not clear how many ounces of gold he found, but he certainly did find tons of adventure. For his first two years in PNG, Errol worked at a series of many different jobs and endeavors, at many different locations, for many different employers. He regularly changed jobs and residences, quitting and getting fired frequently.

It’s difficult if not impossible to identify all of Errol’s work and travels during this time period. Likewise, it’s difficult if not impossible to identify exactly when and where he first contracted malaria. However, timing and evidence indicate that he first met “Ann” (the Anopheles mosquito) on New Ireland (while employed at the Kenabot Plantation) or at New Britain (while at the Kokopo Plantation) or at New Hanover, or perhaps on one of the small surrounding islands, such as on Umboi (at the Gizarum Plantation), on Lemus, or on New Hanover (at the Matanalaua Plantation.) And not just the remote jungles and plantations were perilous, all the lowland cities, villages, and settlements, he traveled to and through were malarial hotspots, also – Aitape, Bulalo, Kavieng, Lai, Laloki, Madang, Port Moresby, Rabaul, Salamaua, Wau – all of them. Only the highlands of PNG were safe (from malaria, that is, not from headhunters and other nuisances.)

Errol’s time on these Ann-infested islands included very high malarial risk work as a government cadet patrol officer, as a plantation overseer, and as a recruiter of native PNG workers for plantations, et al. It was in one of these activities that, in 1928, he most likely first became a casualty of malaria. Moreover, Errol was very likely bitten more than once, at the same locations and possibly also on subsequent trips to malaria danger zones on mainland New Guinea, including possibly during his adventures up the infamous Sepik (“aka Septic”) River.

This map shows the locations where Errol likely first became stricken with malaria.

The following two maps show how extremely malarial it still is in the locations where Errol worked. As bad as it is now, it was far, far worse when Errol was there.

Though it has receded elsewhere in the world, malaria is still extremely prevalent and dangerous in PNG.

Note from this map, also, that it is not likely Errol would have contracted malaria in mainland Australia or Tasmania.

www.theerrolflynnblog.com…See, also: Errol’s Malaria – Part 1 – Blood-Thirsty Annwww.theerrolflynnblog.com…

— 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.

cosmosmagazine.com…

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.

www.armyheritage.org…

— 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

 

Cary In For Flynn

30 Sep

September 27, 1938

Evening Herald Express

ERROL FLYNN TAKEN TO HOSPITAL IN SERIOUS ILLNESS

Still seriously ill, Errol Flynn, motion picture actor,  rallied sufficiently today to permit his being transferred from his Beverly Hills home to the Good Samaritan Hospital.

The change was made under the direction of his physician, Dr. T. M. Hearn. Dr. Hearn said the actor needed care and attention more readily available at the hospital.

Flynn is suffering from influenza, complicated by an infection of the throat and respiratory organs and a recurrence of malarial fever, which he contracted five years ago in New Guinea.

Studio reports attributed Flynn’s illness to the fact that he refused to use a double in flying scenes in the picture Dawn Patrol on which he was working.

September 28, 1938

Evening Herald Express

CRISIS IN ILLNESS OF ERROL FLYNN NEAR

An uncomfortable night, and a crisis expected within 24 hours.

This was the report today on Errol Flynn, film actor, who was confined to Good Samaritan Hospital with influenza and a streptococci infection of the throat.

Flynn was removed to the hospital on the orders of Dr. T. M. Hearn.

Dr. Doyle James, throat specialist, was called in consultation by Dr. Hearn, in an attempt to solve the mystery of the streptococci and the continued high fever which is now 102 degrees.

September 29, 1938

Hollywood Citizen News

Cary Grant is reading the script for the leading role of Dodge City now that Ronald Colman and Errol Flynn have been eliminated.

Sets for the film will be built on the Warners lot and shipped to a location near Brownsville, Tex.

— Gentleman Tim

 

A Top Piece on Errol’s Top-Piece

22 Aug

PAPUA NEW GUINEA – 1996/01/01: New Guinea Highlands, Near Tari, Huli Dancers With Ceremonial Wigs, Bird Of Paradise Feathers. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

August 21, 1937

WHAT THEY DO FOR INSOMNIA
Evening Herald Express

“Errol Flynn, old boy, tell us what you do for insomnia?”

After Errol had exploded and used a little language we convinced him we really meant exactly what we said, and he was surprised to find he did have an insomnia cure. Seemed it rarely is needed, but when it is he remembers a long tiresome trek he took in New Guinea one time, afraid to sleep because the local head-hunters seemed determined to add the handsome Flynn top-piece to their collection. Said Errol:

“It’s like counting sheep, only I count head-hunters.”

Headhunting History in New Guinea:

Headhunting was practised by many Austronesian people in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. Headhunting has at one time or another been practised among most of the peoples of Melanesia,including New Guinea. A missionary found 10,000 skulls in a community longhouse on Goaribari Island in 1901.

Historically, the Marind-anim in New Guinea were famed because of their headhunting. The practice was rooted in their belief system and linked to the name-giving of the newborn. The skull was believed to contain a mana-like force. Headhunting was not motivated primarily by cannibalism, but the dead person’s flesh was consumed in ceremonies following the capture and killing.

The Korowai, a Papuan tribe in the southeast of Irian Jaya, live in tree houses, some nearly 40 metres high. This is believed to be a defensive practice, presumably as protection against the Citak, a tribe of neighbouring headhunters. Some researchers believe that the American Michael Rockefeller, who disappeared in New Guinea in 1961 while on a field trip, may have been taken by headhunters in the Asmat region. He was the son of New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller.

nypost-com.cdn.ampproject.org…

— Gentleman Tim

 

Adventure is Calling

16 Aug

August 13, 1936

Harrison Carrol
LA Evening Herald Express

Adventure is calling again to Errol Flynn.

Instead of sailing to Europe in a de luxe suite as other movie stars do on vacation, the young Irish actor is headed for the wilds of Borneo, where he and a friend will photograph background shots of The White Rajah, Flynn’s own story, in which he will star for Warner Brothers.

The unusual holiday will begin as soon as he finishes one more picture declared the actor yesterday, and will take him away from Hollywood for a period of three months.

As the expedition will penetrate into uncivilized country, the star’s wife, Lili Damita, will not accompany him.

His partner in adventure will be Dr. Hermann Erben, with whom Flynn once sailed up a savage infested river in New Guinea. At that time the thought of Hollywood never enter the actor’s mind. He was the owner of a pearling schooner that Dr. Erben chartered for the expedition.

August 17, 1936

Harrison Carrol
LA Evening Herald Express

Errol Flynn calls up to say he still has not given up hope of persuading Lili Damita to brave the wilds of Borneo with him.

— Gentleman Tim