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The Rock-itt : September 2009
Trudy McVicker is the acknowledged grande dame of Errol Flynn fandom. Friend and confidant to Tony Thomas, Earl Conrad, Lionel Godfrey, Rick Dodd, Don Norman and Lincoln Hurst (to name a few), Trudy is acknowledged in several key books. It is a little known fact that she was instrumental in preparing the manuscript on behalf of Tony Thomas for From a Life of Adventure: The Writings of Errol Flynn. This classic tome might not have seen print if not for her efforts. She does not enjoy the limelight and will undoubtedly chastise me for touting but a few of her accomplishments. Her attendance at Jack's party is due to my wife's influence and Jack Marino's unabashed enthusiasm. Jack calls his friends "The Mulholland Drive Boys" after the infamous hillside home where Flynn frolicked throughout the 1940s. The home is gone, replaced by a modern dwelling currently owned by Justin Timberlake who declined our request to drink a toast to Flynn on the Mulholland property. Timberlake's manager politely informed me via telephone that the property (now subdivided and mapped as Flynn Ranch Road and Torreyson Place) was off limits due to insurance liability issues. Fair enough; but a few of us Mulholland Drive Boys made the trek that morning for a quick photo session outside Timberlake's gated driveway. That morning we also embarked on a whirlwind tour of Beverly Hills where David DeWitt and Karl Holmberg and I hastily snapped photographs of 601 North Linden Drive where Flynn once lived with David Niven. The Linden Drive home was the site of numerous parties that only bachelors of their caliber could have managed. Then we drove on to Forest Lawn in Glendale where we rendezvoused with Jack and documentary filmmaker Kent Hagen. We may have been the first visitors to Flynn's final resting place that day, but not the last. And there would be one fortuitous visit later by a man I think is the luckiest Flynn fan alive. More about him later. These preliminaries all led us down the long hill from Mulholland and into the rolling hills of Glendale before returning to the Marino residence for the main event. The weather wasn't cooperating. What they call "June gloom" had settled over Burbank and the sky spit rain from its gray clouds. And before we could take a breath and say "Bung Ho!" the guests began to arrive. They came from every corner of the United States, this select group of fans. But these were no average film fans. Jack's friends are a fascinating, diverse group -- actors, writers, photographers, artists, singers, and producers. They come from all walks of life and represent a creative nexus of intelligent, caring people. Their presence made the perfect memorial for Hollywood's greatest swashbuckler. I was soon overwhelmed by the number of talented people. I met actor Dick Wieand, (he was Jason in Friday the Thirteenth, Part V, and had roles in the television programs Murder, She Wrote and Knots Landing). Dick is currently featured in television commercials for Advair and is a highly respected professional photographer. Dick is the nicest guy in the world. Actor William Smith, who had the pleasure of battling Clint Eastwood in Every Which Way You Can, attended with his wife Joanne. You've seen Bill in dozens of films and television programs. Bill is a long time Flynn fan and tells a great Flynn anecdote. I found him soft spoken and kind and he still has that killer-grip handshake! Karen Figalis, current owner of the former Flynn-Damita residence on Appian Way, spent several hours at the party. I was thrilled to meet the renowned artist Robert Florczak and his wife Annette who impressed me with their intelligence and kindness. They are truly two gifted, and extraordinary people. Steve Latshaw worked double-time setting up a film projection screen so that everyone could watch Mara Maru after the sun went down. And we did, alongside guest-of-honor Paul Picerni who co- starred with Flynn in the film. Thank you Steve! Louis Kraft, author of Gatewood & Geronimo and Custer and the Cheyenne, who is currently penning Centre is Paul Picerni who acted with Flynn in Mara Maru