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Archive for the ‘Ships & the Sea’ Category

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

 

Storm at Sea

23 Sep

September 22, 1946

LOS ANGELES

SPECIAL TO THE MINNEAPOLIS TRIBUNE

Men, Women and Yachts Don’t Mix

Errol Flynn is reported by some quarters to be a direct descendant of Fletcher Christian, the man who started the mutiny on the Bounty. Mrs. Nora Eddington Flynn, his youthful bride, is believed in other quarters to be a direct descendant of Capt. Bligh, the commander of the Bounty. The other quarter in the case of Mrs. Flynn is John Decker, artist, who comes to this conclusion in explaining the “mutiny” on Flynn’s yacht Zaca while cruising the Pacific off Mexico. Decker and three others of the ship’s personnel left the Zaca at Acapulco, Mexico, because, Decker asserts, Nora had taken on some of the characteristics of a bucko mate in the old days when the clippers sailed around the Horn.

AMONG TILE SHIP’S COMPANY WHEN THE ZACA SAILED. This junket was a combination pleasure-science-professional affair. Flynn wanted to get away from Hollywood. He bought the Zaca last October, as a successor to the Sirocco, where there had been many gay parties which, perhaps, Flynn wanted to forget. To make it all serious, he was going to collect marine specimens. There were 17 aboard when the yacht sailed, and a representative group they were, indeed. There was Dr. Theodore Thomson-Flynn, Errol’s father, who is a zoologist and dean of the school of science at Queens college in Belfast, Ireland. And there was Prof. Carl Hubbs of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at La Jolla, Calif., a noted ichthyologist. Tanks, torch lights, tackle arid enough formaldehyde to pickle half the fish in the ocean. Prof. Hubbs could be dropped blindfold into any part of any sea and tell at once where he was by examining the local fish.
Ted Stauffer, a Swiss composer and erstwhile night club operator in Mexico City, was also aboard. Stauffer took along a camera, planning to make magazine pictures. Howard Hill, the famed toxologist, and Jerry Courmoyay also were present. They planned a color picture of the trip, featuring Hill s archery and the various flora and fauna encountered on the way. Chris Duke and Kurt Hartzog, two Hollywood bit players, were included in this part of the project.

DECKER CAN PAINT. And then there was Decker, really a great painter, who figured on getting a lot of marine life into color. Decker has painted some pretty queer fish in his time and this wouldn’t be a novelty. He hit on a highly-appreciated medium some years ago when he began copying the old masters and putting actors’ faces on them. Two of his most famous in this line are Queen Victoria with the face of W. C. Fields and the famed Blue Boy of Gainsborough with Harpo Marx’ pan. In serious vein, Decker has taken numerous prizes at exhibitions. There were also a professional captain and two working sailors, named Wally Beery (not the actor) and John Vincent. And, in addition, Nora.

NORA GETS HER SEA LEGS. They had been gone nearly a month when the ketch-rigged schooner hove-to at Acapulco, where almost at once it became apparent that there had been a clash of personalities aboard. The main narrative from now on is that of Decker.

THE CRISIS NEARS. It was while they were hanging around Socorro that Decker detected the growth of a quarterdeck manner in Nora. Once, he said, she directed the guests if you could call them guests to pick up their coffee cups after a meal on deck and carry them back to the galley. Another time, life went on, several of the ship’s company were sitting in the saloon and Nora said: ‘Everybody get up on deck.” Anyway, things came to a 5- head right there in Socorro lagoon. Seaman Berry dived into the water “with a spring harpoon gun. He was going after a shark. But instead of harpooning the shark he harpooned his own ankle. The harpoon has a nasty barb and the wound was serious. Dr. Thomson-Flynn and Prof. Hubbs operated on the leg and removed the weapon. However, there seemed to be some danger of infection and Decker finally persuaded Flynn, over Nora’s protests, to proceed to Acapulco, 1,000 miles away and the nearest spot for competent medical aid. So, once in Acapulco, Decker marched ashore with the wounded man, and stayed ashore. Duke and Hartzog, the film players, left with him. He emphasized that his relations with Flynn remained friendly.

FOUR-LETTER WORDS Nora’s comment on all this was that the amateur sailors expected to be treated as guests [rather than working crew.] This was very unsatisfactory, she remarked in a phone conversation with her father.

NORA AND ERROL, ABOARD HIS YACHT. Actor Flynn has always had a yen for the sea. “Women, men and yachts don’t mix,” he said. “Just as soon as Nora got her sea legs she took over command of the boat and started shoving everybody around. I’ve known her ever since she married Flynn but I never really had any conversation with her. The talks I had with Flynn were man talks, and she couldn’t enter into them, so I never really knew her until I went on this boat. “It’s too bad this little mosquito has come between Flynn and me. I can’t really lay my finger on anything important she did. It was a constant pin-pricking process calculated to wear me down. “She greeted me with lhe remark when I went aboard at Santa Monica: ‘You’re not serious about going on this trip? You must be kidding.’ I told her I was serious and I wasn’t kidding and her face fell a mile. “She began at once to make things disagreeable for me, blaming me for everything that went wrong, always yelling around the boat when anything was out of the way: ‘Oh, that’s Decker.’ ” The yacht stopped at Cedros Island, off the coast of Lower California, and then proceeded to the Revilla Gigedo Islands, southeast of the tip of Lower California and pretty well out in the Pacific. The serious fishing began at Socorro Island in that group. Dr. Thomson-Flynn and Prof. Hubbs are dedicated scientists. They have loaded the boat with dredges.

Decker insisted he was right in using four-letter words. Nora has won this time, anyway, if it was her aim to get Decker off the boat. Flynn plans to continue through the canal and to Europe. At present he is trying to assemble a crew of experienced hands for the trip across the Atlantic. All the fuss could be, of course, a vagary such as is often attributed to expectant mothers, who are known to ask for things like strawberries out of season and the like. Nora is expecting another child next March. And, anyway, her influence will soon be gone. She expects to leave the yacht in the West Indies and fly back to Hollywood.

— Gentleman Tim

 

Around the Horn

22 Sep

September 20, 1935

Los Angeles Times

I Cover Hollywood

By Lloyd Pantages

There is a very exclusive club on the Warner Brothers’ lot called “The Cape Horner” and to become a member you must have rounded the Cape at some time or another. So far the roster includes Errol Flynn, Lionel Atwill and Warren William. That IS exclusive.


Back in the days when wooden ships sailed the old trade routes, rounding Cape Horn was an infamous part of many sailors’ lives.

In 1933 a group of sea captains that had all sailed Cape Horn established the Amicale des Capitaines au Long Cours Cap Horniers (AICH). Their aims remain the same today:

“To promote and strengthen the ties of comradeship which bind together in a unique body of men and women who embody the distinction of having sailed round Cape Horn in a commercial sailing vessel, and to keep alive in various ways memories of the stout ships that regularly sailed on voyages of exceptional difficulty and peril, and of the endurance, courage and skill of the sailors who manned them.”

For those who want to join the club!

The AICH welcomes new Cape Horn sailors and honours them with a token certificate of achievement. To be eligible for this certificate one must show perseverance and actively participate in the ship’s watch system for an extended period of time on a sailing ship rounding Cape Horn by sail from 50° South in the Pacific Ocean to 50° South in the Atlantic Ocean (or vice versa). The length of the voyage should be at least 3000 miles under sail alone.

A sailor that rounds the Horn is entitled to wear a gold loop earring. Tradition has it that this should be worn in the ear that faced the Horn as it was rounded.

There are immense privileges to sailors who have rounded the horn. They include being allowed to dine with one foot on the table. If one has rounded the Cape of Good Hope as well then such a sailor would be permitted to put both feet on the table.

In terms of tattoos, one may obtain a tattoo of a fully rigged ship once a true rounding of Cape Horn has been achieved.

And finally, in order to be able to “spit into the wind” one would need to have made three true Cape Horn roundings.

One of the true Cape Horners was Captain James Cook, master of the Endeavour 1766-71 who sailed around the Horn in both directions.

A question remains, however: i.e. when exactly did Errol ’round the horn?

— Gentleman Tim

 

Zacapulco 1946

31 Aug

Late on the evening of August 31, 1946, Zaca arrived in Acapulco. Though Carl Hubbs diligently pressed on with his scientific explorations, he did so predominantly on his own. The scientific purpose and portion of the Cruise of the Zaca was almost entirely abandoned for the sun and fun of Acapulco.

Here’s what Acapulco looked like in 1946:

Compare this Lady from Shanghai shot of the Zaca to the patio images in the above video, ~ 0:39 – 1:20

— Gentleman Tim

 

Mutiny on the ?

30 Aug

In the last week of August many years ago. there was a mutiny on a ship that has a very strong connection to the history of Errol Flynn.

What ship was it, where was it, and who led the mutiny???

— Gentleman Tim

 

Island Cruise Quiz

16 Aug

Circa August 16, 1946, the Zaca was in the waters surrounding this island. What island is it?

Two new names came into the world and history of Errol because of Zaca’s trip to this island. What were those two names??

10PM EST – Clue No. 2 – A VERY BIG CLUE:

A Half Hour Past Midnight EST or so:

Monday, August 17, ~ 6PM EST:

Here’s a couple more Cruise Clues. Though physically very small, they are very big quiz clues – even bigger quiz-wise than the elephant seal and fur sea lion above:

Tuesday, August 18 – 10:30AM:

Wednesday – August 19 – ~ 3:10 AM:

The island is infamous for its huge and destructive goats. Here is an old photo of a couple:

— Gentleman Tim

 

“A Tawdry Tale from Tinseltown”

14 Aug

“In the 1950s, Confidential magazine, America’s first celebrity scandal magazine, revealed Hollywood stars’ (alleged) secrets, misdeeds, and transgressions in gritty, unvarnished detail. Deploying a vast network of tipsters to root out scandalous facts about the stars, including sexual affairs, drug use, and sexual orientation, publisher Robert Harrison destroyed celebrities’ carefully constructed images and built a media empire. Confidential became the bestselling magazine on American newsstands in the 1950s, surpassing Time, Life, and the Saturday Evening Post. Eventually the stars fought back, filing multimillion-dollar libel suits against the magazine. The state of California, prodded by the film studios, prosecuted Harrison for obscenity and criminal libel, culminating in a famous, star-studded Los Angeles trial.” Errol was one of those stars. He and others, including Maureen O’Hara, won via settlement, helping to eventually financially bankrupt the morally bankrupt gossip rag, which was said to be the largest read magazine in America (mostly read in grocery store lines, I suppose.)

“Actor Errol Flynn puts his fingers to his nose as he passes opinion on “Confidential Magazine” on arrival in New York City from Paris on Aug. 14, 1957. Flynn is scheduled to testify as a witness in the criminal libel trial of the magazine in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)”

And here are a couple of photos of Francesca de Scaffa and her ex-husband Bruce Cabot – who she divorced the day before! – out on the town with Errol and Pat in 1951. De Scaffa was secretly paid by Confidential for providing information about Errol. Some friends those Cabots.

De Scaffa Dining with/Spying on Flynn

— Gentleman Tim

 

Zaca Cruises into San Diego

14 Aug

August 13, 1946

After Setting Sail Out of Balboa:

The Zaca cruised into San Diego to load dredges, seines, dipnets, lobster traps, gill nets, microscope, aquariums, sorting trays, jars, preservatives, and smaller paraphenalia, collected by prominent Scripps Institute Professor Carl Hubbs for the scientific explorations and studies on what later became known as “Cruise of the Zaca” Errol’s arrival was met with “a flurry of reporters” and a “feminine hubbub on the dock as girls from nearby Navy offices came to beg autographs from their hero.” The athletic actor was limping that day, having somehow sprained his ankle aboard ship on the way down from Long Beach. Errol signed autographs with a flourish while Nora watched with amusement and Professor Flynn remarked on “the depths to which humanity will fall.”

The reporters had already had a field day, by discovering from Nora that she was expecting a child and so would require a doctor on the voyage.

Zaca was manned by a crew of ten and also carried an artist (John Decker), three above-and below-water photographers, Flynn’s manager, Errol and Nora, and Flynn’s father.

Thanks to Betty Shor for her superb account of the Zaca’s scientific expedition from which the above info has been extracted!

These are the downton docks in San Diego, the foot of Broadway, circa the time of Zaca’s arrival. Lane Field (Home of the PCL Padres) is on the right and the Pacific Fleet’s Navy Supply Center (where the flock of Navy girls likely came from) is on the left.

— Gentleman Tim

 

Setting Sail Out of SoCal

13 Aug

August 12, 1946 – Errol’s Cruise of the Zaca begins in Balboa, via La Jolla to Guadalupe Island, Mexico, then, per the map below, along the Baja to Acapulco, through the Canal and the Caribbean to Flynnland in Port Antonio, Jamaica.

— Gentleman Tim

 

“Picture. Picture.”

09 Aug

August 9, 1937

Film Flam with Sidney Skolsky

Errol Flynn, while on a boat returning from Spain, was stopped on the deck by a Frenchman who was carrying a camera. The Frenchman said: “Picture. Picture.” Flynn stopped, stood against the rail and posed.

The Frenchman said: “No. No. You Take picture of me.”

C’est La Vie!

— Gentleman Tim