Hood Throws a Party, pg.3
Modern Screen magazine, February 1938
The garden is full of talk and laughter. A slim, dark-eyed girl slips through the door and stands watching the scene for a moment before she's spotted.
"What ho! Damita!" calls Flynn. But Sailor gets there before him, arm gallantly crooked. "Boys!" he booms proudly. "Errol's Missus!"
Lili's clear laugh rings out as she spies the carrots. "Did Fleen put a joke on you? When Fleen puts a joke on me, I geeve it right back to heem. Like this. You permit?" Eyes dancing, she takes a bit of carrot from the vegetarian and offers it to Flynn. He nibbles at it gravely from the palm of her hand, then lifts his head and nickers. Wild applause. Damita's struck a homer, first crack. She's in.
He calls her Damita and she calls him Fleen, which is another way of presenting Mr. and Mrs. Errol Flynn.
darling," begs Lili. "Show them Sheff and the captain."
"Well," Errol complies, "I must first explain that Sheff is a landlubber and gets seasick on the boat, which fills the old skipper with disgust. So he takes every chance he can get to show Sheff up. Now here's the captain, bringing the boat along the wharf. Sheff's standing in the bow."
"Dual role impersonated by Muscleman Flynn," someone announces.
Muscleman Flynn bows, then cups his hands around his mouth. "Hi, there! Take a line! Get a line ashore!"
Now he's Sheffield, shoulders hunched, standing miserably in the bow. He turns his head. "Line?" he quavers.
"Don't you know a line when you see one?" he bellows as the captain.
"Not so loud," giggles Lili. But by now Flynn is immersed in his art. A nimble step this way or that turns him from Sheff to the captain, and back again.
"Oh, you mean this thing," says Sheff. He stoops and picks it up gingerly between two fingers, lips curled in distaste.
"It's a rope," shouts the captain, "not a bloomin' caterpillar. Throw it ashore."
With the silly movement of a girl throwing a ball, Sheff casts the rope. It drops into the water. Flinging up his arms, he lurches this way and that and comes to rest with a thud on the deck. The captain strides past him. "Want a lollypop?" he snorts.
"Fleen, you're making it up!" squeals Lili.
here's Sheff getting his own back on the skipper when he comes to the
He shuffles in, twiddling his hat brim between his fingers, a straight old man, self-respecting, a little stiff, a little uneasy in alien surroundings.
Enter Sheff, looking down his nose. He speaks with his lips pursed. "Mr. Flynn is in the garden. You may put your cap there."The captain lays his hat warily on a chair, and starts out. Sheff's eyes dart downward. "Perhaps you'd better wipe your feet," he suggests impersonally.
"Fleen! Sheff would never be so rude," protests Lili, into the gale of mirth that sweeps the audience.
As darkness falls, lights gleam from within the house.
"Mrs. Flynn, do you mind if we turn on the radio? There's a program some of the boys would like to hear."
"But, of course. I like to hear it, too."
leads the way in. A dozen hands move to get her a chair, but she plumps
herself down on the floor, laughing. "Here I sit best."
At the other end of the lamplit livingroom someone strums "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody," on the piano. They start humming it. There is a gradual drift from the canned to the live music. One by one the masculine voices join and swell in the song. Sailor nudges Flynn. "Sing, Errol." The others take it up. "Sing, Errol." Obediently, he lifts up his voice.
At last they've had enough. Or so Sailor thinks. Sailor doesn't believe in hints. "Time to go home, boys."
"A stirrup cup in the garden," suggests Flynn. They troup out into the garden, filled now with the chirp of crickets. The moon sails overhead. They lift their glasses. "To Robin Hood. And Mrs. Robin Hood."
"And to all of you," amends Flynn, his arm around his wife, tiny and childlike-looking beside his tall figure. "Thank you. Good night. We've had a lovely time."
It's the formula of well-mannered children. This is no crowd of Hollywood sophisticates, but a group of men whose mothers taught them long ago how to take leave of their hosts.
Damita and Flynn trail with them through the livingroom and out to the front door. Motors start, purr, drive away into darkness.
Plenty of gals will sigh with envy over Joan Blondell when they see her teamed with Flynn in "The Perfect Specimen."
drops a kiss on his wife's head. "Tired, darling?"
"Oh, no. They are such grand boys." Her eyes turn mischievous. "I theenk I go weeth you to location, Fleen." From far away, its rollicking note undimmed by distance, a singing voice floats back. The two on the lighted threshold break into laughter as they go in, closing the door behind them.
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