NOT AN ACT, pg 3
Modern Screen magazine, March 1936
he get the "Captain Blood" role? Well, Warners had been trying
out a lot of Hollywood leading men for the part, but none of them had
the fire, the recklessness, the to-hell-with-things air that they wanted
the character to have. Flynn, who'd come over on one of those wishy-washy
contracts, itched for a chance at the role, but nobody even thought of
"I'd have given a leg to play it, but I didn't have a chance. I was an unknown," he explained. And then somebody saw him swaggering down one of the streets on the Warner Burbank lot. They saw him rolling along, his eyes sparkling with an indefinable something that has died, long since, in most Hollywood actors' eyes. Some big shot, it was who saw him, and the next thing Flynn knew, he was being tested for the role. He got it!
Here you see all the Flynn fire turned on for this closeup with Olivia deHavilland in "Captain Blood."
so here I was, in the green room of the cafe on the Warner lot, talking
to him. His hair was long, for the role. He came stomping in, hitched up
his leather knee-breeches, picked up a menu, and beckoned a waitress. I
rather expected him to bellow something like, "Yo ho ho! Come hither,
my pretty wench, and bring me a sizzling joint of beef and a bottle of rum,
and bestir your pins, lass!"
Instead, he lifted eyes which were paradoxical in that they snapped with a masculine vigor and fire, and yet were actually beautiful! He turned them on the waitress, and she melted into a fluttery smile.
"What," he asked, "is this egg foo yung?"
"It's a Chinese omelette," she explained, "with bamboo shoots, almonds and herbs and..."
A shudder ran up and down 'Captain Blood.' He gasped.
"Enough, enough! - uh - bring me an egg-yolk, a raw egg yolk - some ketchup - and some Worcestershire sauce..."
She scurried away. I grinned. I know what egg yolk, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup betoken. Flynn smiled wanly at me. "Uh-huh," he admitted, "it was that sort of a night."
After he had swallowed the raw yolk with the burney sauce, he felt better. He rounded out some empty spots in his life story. He told me of the time he and a pal joined up with the Hong Kong Volunteers for the Chinese trouble, a few years ago.
"We thought we'd find some fighting and some looting and some - well, never mind. But instead they made us shovel snow for five days on end, so we deserted and went to Manila, where there isn't any snow, ever."
He roamed the world in his talk. I asked him, finally, how Lili liked his wanderlust.
"She doesn't," he said.
"And what are you going to do about it?" I asked.
"Well, I'm going to stay here, for a while. There's so much money to be made in Hollywood. I want to go places, without having to travel third class. But I do want to go places."
"You can't go places and make a success here, at the same time," I pointed out.
"I know it, damn it," he growled, and that faraway look shown in his eyes. "But after all, life is only what you get out of the living, isn't it? I do want money but I won't pay too much out of myself to get it. But - bosh! - I'll be good for a few years, I think. I hate the very sound of 'settling down,' but I've got responsibilities now! And so I've got to settle down - for a while, anyway. Lili says she'll go with me, to faraway places, some time in the years to come - after I've made good here. She'll go with me to India, where she has some friends. She's never been there. I have, but I traveled third class. Only punks travel third class there. This time I want to go back, first class, and show them. Lili says she'll go with me in a few years. And to Australia, too. She rather imagines when she gets within a mile of Australia, they'll start shooting arrows at her. I want to show her Australia. Maybe New Guinea, too. She's heard a lot about it. But I don't mind telling you, that if I didn't have responsibilities I could go right now, couldn't I?"
And he scratched the sole of one foot with the tip of the other.
go to Article 2 "The Gentleman from New Guinea" || Article 3 "Madcap Love" || Article 4 "Robin Hood Throws a Party" ||
Article 5 "It Takes Courage" || Article 6 "He Does As He Pleases" || Article 7 "Errol Flynn's Madcap Marriage"
Article 8 "Flynn vs. Flynn" || Article 9 "The Sea Hawk" || return to Gallery menu
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