The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on January 22, 1939 · Page 77
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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 77

Cincinnati, Ohio
Issue Date:
Sunday, January 22, 1939
Page 77
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This Week Magazine 5 !wmmmmi'm''mm'mmmmW'yam'"mmmr4-M: - , nmi 11 1 1 n imi iipiiiii. igg i t i imm i imh , ,,m UiL i i A v A : "ft, ; !' 1 o -J .-: . v: ySr r ! , A. , . - ' ; . : .. : i V- ?' fee - T - " ' ' ' r" " ' ' V V V '-: ': -:"'v' The Society of Publicists and Newspaper Correspondents, at their annual Hollywood convention, voted him the most colorful screen personality of 1938. And from the crazy-quilt pattern of his life, you can understand why. Errol Flynn was born in Ireland about ' thirty years ago, and he has seen life and adventure in the far places of the world. His father is the dean of the Faculty of Science at Queen's University. Errol, six feet three, inherits his physique and love of adventure. He got his early schooling in Ireland, England and France. When he was sixteen he went trt Australia with hia familv anil vae straightway expelled from a Sydney school for organizing a rebellion against an instructor. He didn't care to let his father know about the episode, so he landed a job, in secret, "smelling bottles" for a firm that manufactured a popular drink. Returned bottles might contain kerosene, turpentine, or other ingredients. He soon got enough of these exotic fragrances, though, and quit to become a clerk for a wool-buying firm. An old fellow clerk told fabulous tales of gold in the interior of New Guinea. Young Flynn became so obsessed with the notion of going that he could hardly work. At last he told his father of the idea. "Well," said his father calmly, "if you don't find gold, you may locate something else." "What, Father?" asked Errol. "Yourself," was the reply. He shipped as a second cook. "I couldn't boil water." His superior discovered as much. Flynn squared things by promising him a share of the discovered gold. The chief cook thought a moment. "Well," he said, "I've taken chances on everything else." So he did most of Flynn's work for him on the trip. The journey took weeks. Then the ship anchored in a small harbor and Flynn, with a group of the other gold seekers, went into the interior. Slavin, the chief cook, watched them from the ship. "His hopes were higher than mine," said Flynn. After eight months, easy to record but hard to endure, he staked a claim and sold it for five thousand dollars "with the understanding that I was to get twenty thousand a year for five years while it was being developed. There was a lot more gold to be discovered but I figured I'd had enough for the time being." He returned to Sydney, met Slavin and celebrated. When he stopped to get his bearings, he found himself in possession of a creaking boat called Sirocco, and he organized Thai's what Mrs. Errol Flynn says about the man who has been gold prospector, sea cook, shipmaster, prizefighter, author, hunter of head-hunters and Robin Hood a crew with Slavin as chief cook and left again for New Guinea. There they found the claim had petered out. Discouraged, they began the long return journey. The tub was wrecked on a reef and the disheveled crew was picked up by a passing ship and taken back to New Guinea. There he got a job as superintendent on a coconut plantation. As a side duty, he was expected to be medical advisor to the native workers and their families; as such, he helped bring many native babies into the world. "I was a midwife at twenty; my knowledge was cribbed from the Navy Manual." To while away the long evenings, he wrote the story of his adventures for a Sydney newspaper. It became the nucleus of a book that he later published. Fully grown, he became a "member of the territorial constabulary of New Guinea. News of the 1928 Olympic games to be held at Amsterdam reached his far section of the world. An idea came to him. He had learned a great deal about boxing in his long wandering. He would try for the Australian Olympic boxing team. He got to Sydney, went through all competition and was soon on his way to Amsterdam with a greater vision in his head. Once the winner of the Olympic championship, he would turn professional and become the heavyweight champion of the world. In a training bout he was matched with the American amateur Eddie Eagan. "I cracked him with blows that would drop an ox," Flynn sighed, "but he wasn't an ox." Eagan knocked him out in three rounds. Jack Dempsey has rated Eddie Eagan one of the great pugilists of all time. But that was . no consolation to the future film actor. "Better luck next time," Eddie Eagan said. "There'll be no next time," returned Flynn, "so long as there's a man in the world who can knock me out 111 try something else." Leaving Amsterdam, he visited his family, who had returned to Ireland, and was soon on his way to Australia again. With more talk than money, he acquired a trading schooner and again meandered in far Pacific waters. While at Rabaul, he met a stranger on his way up the Sepik River to make motion pictures of head-hunters. Flynn's boat would be ideal for the purpose. A bargain was struck. The future actor accompanied the stranger, who was Dr. Herman F. Erben. When told by Dr, Erben that the source of the Sepik had never been traced, Flynn wanted to make the attempt. Dr. Erben tried to dissuade him, but it took an ambush of head-hunters to put a real stop to the venture. Dr. Erben turned a camera on Flynn in the midst of the one-sided battle. With automatics pouring flame, he managed to escape with his life. They returned to Rabaul. The Doctor went on to Sydney, where he showed his film to an independent producer. Flynn received a cable offering him the lead in the Australian version of "Mutiny on the Bounty," called "In the Wake of the Bounty." He played the roie, "got the dramatic bug,' and went to London. He remained there a year, making the rounds from one stock company to the other, until he lost all hope. A scout from Warner Brothers eventually sent him to America on a small contract. On the way over, he met the glamorous Lili Damita. "We fought from the opening gong, so we got married." Small parts came. His first role was that of a corpse in a story by Erie Stanley Gardner,-called "The Case of the Curious Bride," and directed by Michael Curtiz. Naturally it made little impression. His confidence did not waver. He lifted a glass the next week at a party and said, "Here's to Errol Flynn, a star in two years." The other hopeful stars smiled. Hearing that Warner Brothers were to make "Captain Blood," he asked for the leading role, but it was given to Robert Donat. "That was that I was out as cold as I was after Eagan got through with me." After weeks of uncertainty, Donat decided not to take the part. Again Flynn applied. "Do you really think you can play Captain Blood?" asked Hal Wallis, executive. "Sure thing," was the answer, "all I have to do is be myself." Wallis, half convinced, said, "Let me talk it over with the director." When approached by Wallis, Director Curtiz said, "Flynn I remember him. He's the fellow who played the corpse for me." A test was ordered. Flynn was right. He was Captain Blood. His performance burned the screen and made him a star. "By instinct I'm an adventurer," he says, "by choice, I'd be a writer. By sheer luck, good or bad, I'm an actor who got his first break playing a corpse." Other films that have made him famous -are:-"Robin- Hood," "Charge of the Light Brigade" and "The Sisters." The most active man in Hollywood, he says, "I never run when I can walk, never walk when I can sit, never sit when I can sprawl I'm really a very lazy fellow." His wife smiles, and murmurs, "Lazy as a cyclone."

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