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The Rock-itt : January 2014
HOBART TO HOLLYWOOD .... Errol Flynn b By Pete Johnson Happy New Year to all of you Errol Flynn fans! Now let’s get into it for 2014. As you will recall from last month’s issue Errol has the lead role in the great pirate swashbuckling adventure CAPTAIN BLOOD! But even though Errol was slipping into the role of Pete Blood like a hand into a glove, some ghosts from his past were coming back to haunt him and add more to his already burgeoning roll of the doctor come pirate. As you know, Errol had contracted malaria while working and living in New Guinea and as it happens certain strains of the dreaded disease back in 1935 were impossible to eradicate once its victim had become infected. The virus remains dormant in the liver and on occasions releases eggs into the blood stream which give tremendous hot and cold sensations bringing on uncontrollable sweats which in effect, extremely weaken the body. This happened while Errol was doing an action scene where he was to lead his men swinging across onto the enemy ship and taking control after a full on sword fight. But to Errol’s dismay half way through the scene he became ill and his legs went from beneath him sending him sprawling. Once the hot and cold shakes began to occur Errol knew immediately that his old enemy malaria was back. But being his first real break, it was imperative not to yield to the virus for fear of losing his part and being replaced by an understudy. He asked for a heat lamp and lay down with it to sweat the virus out. Suddenly a bottle of Cognac arrived and Errol quickly drank the bottle then lay sweating profusely as his body battled to rid itself of the malaria virus. Errol managed to finish the scene even with the malaria still rampant and also a bottle of cognac under his belt. But after the day’s shooting was completed, he collapsed from exhaustion and slept right through to the next day. If having had to contend with the malaria wasn’t enough, he received a letter in a blue envelope next morning to report to the head of Warner’s Studios, Jack Warner. Jack Warner was a hard task master and if an employee received a white envelope from him it was time to quake in his boots. But a blue envelope meant disaster. So off Errol went to the boss’s office to possibly get keel hauled for lousing things up on a very expensive and lavish Warner’s production. Once reaching Warner’s office, Errol was asked to take a seat by Warner’s attractive young secretary. As he sat waiting he watched as a procession of apparent employees came and went. They appeared to go into Warner’s office nervous and come out dejected, which made Errol feel a little uneasy as he sat pondering his fate. Eventually Errol was told that Mr Warner would see him now and with all of the bravado Errol could muster, he rose from his chair, straightened his tie, squared off and walked into what he thought would be the last place he would see on the Warner studio’s lot.