One Fan's Late Tale
There IS a definite reason. You see, I didn't grow up playing Robin Hood with the neighbour kids, didn't get to watch these wondrous classics on the late show. My closest recollection is from twenty years ago while in high school. A friend at the time invited me over and we watched ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD. She was a dyed-in-the-wool Basil Rathbone fan, so guess who she rooted for?
Not too many years later, excerpts from Charles Higham's notorious book ERROL FLYNN: THE UNTOLD STORY ran in the local paper. It was the talk of the town: Robin Hood slept with Nazis, passed on info, etc etc. Well, I could shake off the alleged wild sexcapades - takes all kinds to make a world - but a Nazi sympathizer? The concept does not sit well with one whose parents are both Holocaust survivors. Robin Hood? A Nazi spy? Not on OUR TV! You'll find that many publishers shared that sentiment, and Flynn is conspicuously absent from Hollywood coffee table books of the time; posters in novelty shops of him went out of print. So much for Herr Flynn...
...In 1993 I came up with the the idea for a comic book miniseries (that was my field at the time - comic books. Some of you might be aware that in the USA there no longer IS a comic book industry). Being a futuristic swashbuckler, a friend suggested that my main character should interact with Hollywood counterparts as computer-generated images. When he mentioned Errol Flynn, I had my reservations, but knew objectively I couldn't omit the epitome of that genre. I agreed to consider it.
I started by renting MY WICKED WICKED WAYS, the TV-movie starring Duncan Regehr (who happens to be my favourite Zorro). I told myself if even half of what I was watching was true, here was a rare one. I made note that although the movie was made after the Higham book was already out for many years, there was no reference anywhere regarding the above allegations. I decided to look a little further...
...I read two books and watched a documentary tape (PORTRAIT OF A SWASHBUCKLER) before even renting a feature; during that time Flynn's movies appeared to run only on Showtime and The Movie Channel here in the USA, so I just couldn't turn on the TV and check out his work. But from the comic's standpoint I perhaps took the best route. I learned about the man first...
...Books were nowhere on store shelves, so I dusted off some library cards. It took very little to discover what a fraud the Higham book was, that I was duped all those years, that you cannot always believe what you read in the papers...
...and what a weird guy this Flynn character was! I co-majored in Cinema Studies in college - I've read bios of movie stars many times before - Errol Flynn was by far the most unusual star who ever graced the silver screen. I never expected the depth and complexity awaiting me when I pursued this.
I decided to rent CAPTAIN BLOOD as my first formal introduction to his career. It was an incredible two hours. Here was a young man with little if any dramatic training, holding his own in his first starring role with only his charm and an ample supply of adrenaline. I was more than impressed: I was hooked! I tried to keep in chronological order with rentals while I continued reading books. I ran into a few nice folks along the way who have shown me many of the more obscure features and loaned me rare books, and slowly the puzzle pieces of a man's life has been falling into place.
December 1996 marks three years since I picked up that first book. Three years following the exploits of an exceptional and unique human being, who lived in a world which neither he could handle, nor could handle HIM.
Flynn now plays a more important role in my comic book series - which has since found a home on the Worldwide Web - as the subject of a subplot which addresses the relationship between idols and their fans.
The search is not over. There have been lies upon lies built to illustrate a life - some perpetuated by Flynn himself, and others who continue to deceive the general public. Sincere studies as to what truly may or may not have happened have been effectively limited; seems as though these findings would serve to rain on a number of parades. Well, we'll be covering all of this on the site. Trust me: there'll be PLENTY of excitement and misadventure left - Errol Flynn was NOT a dull fellow!
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