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Archive for the ‘New Guinea’ Category

Errol Meets Erben — April 14, 1933

15 Apr

On April 14, 1933, in Salamaua, New Guinea, Errol met Hermann Erben for the first time. It was a momentous event in Errol’s life.


— Gentleman Tim

 

It’s Fun Being Broke

20 Feb

Friday, February 19, 1937
National Syndication

Errol Flynn and Anita Louise, stars of the Cosmopolitan production “Green Light” which is now playing at the State Theatre as a First National release, have found in the film based on Lloyd C. Douglas’ famous novel roles that give them the most dramatic opportunities of their careers.

“It’s Fun Being Broke” says Film Star Errol Flynn

“I miss being broke!” Errol Flynn, Irish actor and adventurer, who stars in ”Green Light,” a Cosmopolitan production released by First National, opening at the State theatre today, drove his hand far down in his trousers’ pocket and pulled out a neat little fold of bills, held together with a gold clasp. “When you have money,” he announced, “any money, some of the kick is gone out of life. Money makes a man soft, unwilling to take chances. Being broke sharpens your wits.” “Don’t misunderstand me,” he added quickly. “I’m not saying I want to be broke. I just miss finding myself in that condition once in a while. It used to be a fairly regular discovery in my life.”

Asked to list those lean periods and to tell what he did to cure them, Flynn leaned far back on his dressing room couch and squinted at the ceiling. “There was a time in Sydney, Australia,” he began, “I slept on and under newspapers in a park for four nights. Newspapers make warm bedding. Then on the fifth day I got a job as a bottle smeller.” “Bottle smeller?” “Yes. With a soft drink manufacturer. There was a big pile of bottles and I was to sort them by smell. Those that had had kerosene or turpentine or some thing like that in them, I put on one side. Those that didn’t smell I put on the other. I couldn’t smell anything for weeks after.”

“There was another time in Kavieng, New Guinea, when didn’t have enough money to pay a fine, for knocking down a coolie who had insulted me. I didn’t have any money, but the magistrate didn’t know that. The boat I wanted to catch to another port was due in about a week. I asked the court what the alternative punishment would be if I didn’t pay the fine.” “I’ll have to jail you,” he said, ‘for about a week.’ T said I’d go to jail. He shook his head. ‘You can’t do that,’ he argued, “you know perfectly well there is no jail.’ “But I insisted. So he turned me over to the police master, who was a friend of mine, and I lived with him for a week. It wasn’t any great hardship. But he always urged me to come home early nights.”

“Green Light” is a romantic drama filmed from Lloyd C. Douglas’ best-selling novel of the same name. Some of the others in the cast besides Flynn include Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Anita Louise, Margaret Lindsay, Walter Abel and Henry O’Neill. The adaptation for the screen was made by Milton Krims. Frank Borzage directed.

— Gentleman Tim

 

The Prince, the Pauper, and the Malarial Superstar (Plus a Sick Director)

26 Jan

The Prince, the Pauper, and the Malarial Superstar (Plus a Sick Director)

January 27, 1937

Harrison Carroll

Evening Herald Express

Errol Flynn is back at work on The Prince and the Pauper after days out with the flu and malaria.

January 28, 1937

Elizabeth Yeaman

Hollywood Citizen News

The Prince and the Pauper has been plagued by flu. Errol Flynn, the star, was out of the cast for two weeks with a combined attack of flu and malaria. He finally reported for work on Monday. And todaydirector William Keighley took to his bed with flu. So William Dieterle has been rushed in to complete the picture which should be finished within another week.

HISTORY AND DOCUMENTATION OF ERROL’S MALARIA

Part 1

Errol’s Malaria

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

Part II

Bitten in New Britain

Errol’s Malaria — Part 2 — Bitten in New Britain? … Or was it New Ireland? Or was it New Hanover? Or ….

Part III

Recurrences

Errol’s Malaria – Part 3 – Reports of Recurrences

— Gentleman Tim

 

Flynn Being Flynn

28 Sep

September 28, 1935

Harrison Carroll

One of the years strangest sites in Hollywood may be Errol Flynn acting in the story of his own life.

The new Warner Brothers’ discovery, who’s also the husband of Lili Damita, wants to put the story of his adventures into a scenario and, if the studio accepts it, to play the leading role himself.

Flynn could start the story in 1928 when he boxed for Ireland in the Olympic Games in Amsterdam. He’d include his experiences as a member of the British constabulary in New Guinea, his discovery of gold in the savage infested country, his operations as a skipper of a trading ship in the South Pacific, and his near death in a typhoon.

The young Irish actor, who’ll make his big did for fame in Captain Blood, would collaborate on the scenario with an experienced Hollywood writer.

If the story is carried on to Flynn’s arrival in Hollywood, conceivably, his romance with Lili Damita may be included.

Starting with his time on the Irish Olympic Boxing team might have proven a one-round knockout:

Flynn on Sirocco may have been better place to start, leaving out Amsterdam altogether:

Few men have ever survived adventures like those Errol experienced in New Guinea.
Only unholy matrimony with Lili Dynamita was more perilous.

Here she is, the ultimate Miss Adventure herself, Tiger ‘Lil,
Pre-Code in ’34, and post-Flynn in a few misadventurous years more:

— 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

 

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