Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Nancy Sphinctergritzel: What's In A Name?


A journalist asked me the other day, with reference to the heroine of my trilogy, if Nancy Sphinctergritzel was her real name.
No, silly! As if anyone would really have a name like that! Below is a short extract from Volume One which explains a little about the name this lady (a term I use loosely) was born with:

[[   Nancy was not disappointed about having been born on the wrong side of the blanket—she spent most of her life labeled as illegitimate, or something like that—but she did wonder, if she was a Red Indian child, why she hadn’t been given a name to compliment her looks, such as Pink Orchid, or Yellow Jasmine. She therefore decided to have it out with the Red Indian chief, two days after her seventh birthday.
   “Big Chief Big Cheese,” she asked. “Why was I given such unusual names?”
   She meant the names Nancy and Clarice, but the chief, aware only of her birth name, did not know this.
   “Well, it’s like this,” he explained. “In our culture, when a child is born the father wanders out into the wilderness, sits on the ground, and closes his eyes in deep meditation. One hour later, he opens his eyes, and he names his child after the first thing he sees. But, why are you asking me this, Two-Skunks-Fucking-On-A-Log?” ]]

It therefore would have been very ignoble of me to herald my saga as "The Two-Skunks-Fucking-On-A-Log Trilogy". Somehow, this does not quite roll off the tongue. Sphinctergritzel was her father's name, again rather unfortunate as this is what the German population call the hole in one's bottom, as illustrated by the--ahem--illustration below, which I include not for titillation but purely for educational reasons, though there is a very distinct resemblance to Nancy, I feel, especially around the lips.

I have also been asked of there are more Nancy stories on the stocks. Well, she lived a very long time--from 1904 until 2010, and we knew her well and socialised with her frequently during her final years--so yes, there will. So far, three more are waiting to come out. But will they be as irreverent as the first three, the journalist wanted to know? 

No, they will not. They will be even more irreverent. Nancy's poet lover, Judy Pubstool, has yet to tell her story--as has Hiram Maurice, the 19-year-old she wed at 99, and who she bumped off while they were having an intimate moment. 



Joan Regan: Some Of Us Remember


Interesting that The Sun, our least favourite chip-wrap, forgot to include Joan Regan in its roster of the greats we have lost this year.
When she died in September, the real newspapers~Telegraph, Times, etc--ran full pages while The Sun was too busy with tits and the "yawn" case.
Still, not to worry. If the trio who "got" me happen to snuff it this year (remember the infamous M6 quote they took exception to?) I'll forget to write their names, too...on the toilet wall. 

Freedom Of Speech Laws 2014



Leveson was never going to work~just a load of money, latest estimates suggest around £10 million, wasted on nothing when it could have gone to starving children. The press in this country and we journalists are too powerful to be silenced if the story needs to be told. And how would we have got the Savile story out into the open world if we had had draconic laws such as they had in France? Of course, this is why I have only had one book published in the French language, but that doesn't bother me. 

Good news too for little old me. Three people are currently purporting to be writing my "biography", hoping to tell my story before I do at the end of next year. Could be interesting, seeing as even I don't know much of it! There's already one "story" out there, a phenomenally expensive tome which came out two years ago and which includes my "stablemate" William Hague~we went to the same school. It's little more than Wikipedia entries, most of which are wrong in any case. There's also a couple of "essays" about me in books, along with lots of more legitimate references by writers as opposed to people who think they are writers. I regularly copy these and send them out free to anyone who wants them. The same will apply to any future "unauthorised biographies" me. Don't waste your hard-earned cash buying this shit. Just write to me and I'll send you an attachment for free!  

As for all the other stories out there, some of which have been suppressed for years~just watch how those newspaper headlines are going to zing in 2014!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Moran Of The Lady Letty: Camp As Christmas!


Made in 1922, this must be the campest, gayest silent film I have ever seen!

A weeks ago, someone sent me a restored print of this, one which has a tiny scene put back in--the one on the boat where you can actually see the shape of Valentino's cock hanging down the leg of his trousers--and two colourised sections.

The leading lady is Dorothy Dalton, whose career slumped after this--she made her final film just two years later. Here, she is a tomboy who calls him "mate" and Rudy is gay as the proverbial vicar. She wishes she was a man so that she could get inside his pants, where the ship's captain and crew call him "Lily Of The Valley"and he gives every impression of being the original good time had by all--I kid you not. I won't spoil the story, just to say that it ends with Rudy and Walter Long slugging it out on the rigging, pulling each other's hair and emulating the Tiller Girls in a high-kicking routine. The scene where Rudy---aka Ramon, a name to conjure with--returns to land and all the queens dance around him, then hoist him on their shoulders and sing "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow" while mincing some more, is the bees' knees, as they would say. 

And when Rudy finally finds out that Dorothy is a woman, he kisses her and the boys see this--these include Valentino love-conquests George O'Brien and William Boyd--they shrug their shoulders and conclude that the best "man" won. 

Priceless!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Nigella Lawson: Toujours Elegante


She took her employees to court and they cruelly turned the tables on her, and now the country's biggest liner of cat-litter trays, The Sun, is throwing her to the wolves because if these scum. Most of us have been there at some time or other, and most of us rise above it.

But worry not, Nigella. The world is full of nonentities trying to draw attention to themselves at the expense of our celebrities. These people enjoy their fifteen minutes of glory, trying to bring us down with their tall tales and spite, but at the end of the day they invariably fail and return to being what they always were and always will be in their self-centered little worlds--nonentities.

As always, I wish my friends, fans and loved ones a Very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year--as for the others, only four of you now, as always I hope it will be the year that you curl up your toes.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Romanians & Bulgarian Scroungers: Would THEY Want US?


So, come next week there could be an influx of Bulgarians and Romanians taking advantage of Britain's "we'll have anybody" benefits policy. That's fine if they are going to work here, and not milk the system. Our NHS would be useless if it wasn't for foreigners coming over, and there are many jobs especially here in London--where you can walk the length of Kensington High Street and not hear one English voice--that our own people consider beneath them, which some of these people are not too proud to do, but which Brits, if they're so desperate for cash, should me made to do. Either that or cut the prison population and make lesser offenders clean out the subways, etc.
However, for the president of one of these countries to accuse Cameron (who I support when it suits me, which happens to be in this instance) of giving Britain a bad name by introducing his policy--well, the mind boggles. If this president looked after his own people instead of feathering his own nest and treating them abysmally--I've seen those orphanages--then they would not WANT to come here. And would HE want any of us over there?
Professional people, we need. Scroungers and gypsies we do not. I've had two experiences with these people. Once, when a couple of Bulgarian greaseballs tried to rob my wife in a Lisbon train-station. When this fat man attacked her, I clocked him one and sent him tumbling backwards down a huge flight of stairs. "Don't worry about him," the policeman said. "If he's dead, it's one less gypsy for us to worry about." He wasn't dead, but I guess he might have thought  twice about attacking anyone else. The second time was in Bruxelles, when two children robbed my wife. The police later found the bag, but not the contents. They told us that both kids had been given a good hiding--cheaper and more effective, they claimed, than doing things the legal way. Outside the city, there were over 2,000 of these creatures living in a camp. There they are a pariah. Therefore we don't want that kind of disease infecting our Cherished Isle.
However, if on the other hand Presidents Bulgar and Roma have any professionals going spare--doctors and the like--bearing in mind that their government treats everyone like shit, then they will be more than welcome to invade our shores. Just keep the others where they belong, which is not with us.  



Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Ronnie Biggs: Anti-Hero?

He was something of an anti-hero, a Ned Kelly/Dick Turpin figure who has entered British folklore. As he says himself, he was not a criminal~he never killed anyone~just a crook who got lucky. I can think of a few who would hop on the next plane to Brazil if they could. The trouble today is that the technology to track people down is better now than it was then. Neither was he the mastermind behind The Great Train Robbery~just one of the also-rans who went along for the ride. What added to the legend was his escape from jail and to Brazil, where he flaunted his life of Riley in the faces of the British authorities. He certainly didn't need to be given such a heavy sentence, particularly as cold-blooded murderers can be out on the streets, nowadays, after just ten years.

What's curious is that I'm currently involved with a story about a man who, having been taunted once too often by his enemies and unable to find justice in the conventional way, bumps one of them off in the most hilarious fashion and, aided by a policeman lover, escapes with him to a place where he can't be found! I love it when art replicates fact!

Ronnie Biggs dead: Most memorable quotes of Great Train Robber while on the run



Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs escaped from prison in 1965 and spent 36 years on the run before finally being arrested and jailed in 2001.

His escape and high-profile life in Rio de Janeiro brought him the sort of worldwide notoriety in which he seemed to revel.

Newspaper interviews, an autobiography and even a novelty record with the Sex Pistols kept him firmly in the limelight throughout the '70, '80s and '90s.

Here's a collection of his most memorable quotes while on the run:


"One report said that since my time on the run I've had 2,500 girlfriends. I mean you got to realise, I've been on the run for more than 30 years, I have got to have had more than that."

"There's a difference between criminals and crooks. Crooks steal. Criminals blow some guy's brains out. I'm a crook."


"It has been rumoured that I was the brains of the robbery, but that was totally incorrect. I've been described as the tea boy, which is also incorrect."

"I won a scholarship with the Brixton School of Building. I screwed around, not putting in a proper attendance."

"I used to have a list of things from my school buddies of what kind of art material they wanted. I'd go up to the West End of London and spend the whole day knocking stuff off."

"I don't have any intentions to return to England. I would go back if I could return as a free person. I don't want to return to prison."

"I am no longer a criminal. I gave up that practice years ago." 

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Twenty Years Passes Quickly


Twenty years today since my father died--a horrible, cruel man who had last minute revenge on us by dying on the anniversary of the death of Jeanne's father, who we adored. The only thing that made me sad was that O.B. hadn't died thirty years earlier. It would have seen us avoiding a lot of misery.
We had made a pledge with Marlene. She hated someone as much as we hated him, therefore whichever of these people snuffed it first, the other would buy the champagne to celebrate. Marlene had gone by then, but we took a hip-flask and toasted to his death outside her apartment.
It would be nice if, on this auspicious occasion, if another horrible person could shuffle their mortal coil--you know, as a mark of respect for all the misery they caused. There are a few to choose from--some I know, some I don't. Then at least in the future, while mourning a real loved one--Jeanne's dad--we could have something to really celebrate. I mean, the ones I'm thinking about--at least one of them is in jail for murder--aren't exactly doing much with their lives, only causing misery, and they wouldn't be missed.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Théo Sarapo & The Homophobic Sister Who Found God


Those who know me know that I hate racists, homophobes, and all other bigots. Somewhere slotted between the two come the religious fanatics--Jehovah's Witnesses and Bible-Bashers who claim that they love the world and who, if push came to shove, would not offer a blind man a light.

Enter one Christie Laume, who is the surviving sister of Théo Sarapo, Edith Piaf's second husband. 


For my book, I interviewed several people who knew Théo well. All of them described him as a beautiful young man, kind and gentle as a lamb. All confirmed the fact that he was gay. Indeed, it's a well-known fact that he met Piaf by way of his boyfriend, Claude Figus, who was her secretary. When Piaf brought the painter Doug Davies to Paris from America, he shared Théo's room. Piaf knew, and accepted this. She told her nurse, Simone Margantin--in the book--that no man since Marcel Cerdan had seen her naked. Théo did not marry her for her money--she had none and was in debt. When she died, he inherited these debts and has just cleared the slate when he was killed in a car crash, aged just 34.

In 1963, Piaf sang "Monsieur Incognito", which tells of Théo, working his beat outside a Métro station in Paris. As a younger man, he was what would today be called a rent-boy. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, nothing to be ashamed of.

Christie Laume has kicked up a bit of a stink over the comments given myself and those who knew Théo, quite obviously better than she did. I would accept her protecting her brother, were it not for her spouting the Bible between every sentence. She married young, she said, and after having two children and divorcing her husband, she found God. 

Therefore that makes it all right for this homophobic old toad to spout her tosh. Check out her Blog and website--and when you do, have a vomit-bag handy. 

Christie Laume hates sinners, she says, and reads the Bible every day. In 1963 the Pope in his infinite wisdom denied Piaf a Christian funeral because he deemed HER a sinner.

I guess Ms Laume, who hovers in cowardly fashion among the sites under an alias, would also as a born-again Christian denounce Piaf as a sinner for her many love-affairs and her lifestyle. I wonder then if she turns her snout up at all the money that comes winging her way from royalties bequeathed to her by this "wicked woman"? I would think not.

This therefore makes her a hypocrite and a bigot, the lowest of the low in my eyes--and the kind of person that Piaf would be the very first to frown upon, were she still with us.

Edith Piaf remains the finest female singer to have ever drawn breath. She sang "La vie en rose", and she WAS a rose. You, Ms Laume, are the dung we would use to mulch our roses, only to regret doing so afterwards because, such is your poison, they would wilt on the vine.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

RUDOLPH VALENTINO: The Screen God Who Loved Men: Review #8

As a new book by David Bret is published about "The World's Greatest Lover"

Read what they said about David Bret's first biography of Rudolph Valentino, generally regarded as the definitive study of the actor.
Valentino was the typical Hollywood martyr. He loved only men, married two rapacious lesbians to curb the rumours, was treated like dirt by the studio chiefs, his manager was an embezzler, his brother a shyster who used the Valentino name for personal gain and failed majestically.
The fans and the men in his life loved him, and that's all that mattered.

This is the Australian serialisation.







Thursday, 12 December 2013

Tallulah Bankhead 40 Years Gone


















It's 45 yearss ago today since this warm, wonderful and above all witty woman left us. She was unique, and I learned so much from her--not least of all never to take any nonsense from anyone. I find it sad that each time there's a tribute to her, it's always "Lifeboat". She did much, much more. her one-liners and put-downs are legendary. She hated bigots, racists, homophobes--any riff-raff who look down on their fellow humans. That's why I admire and respect her so very much.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

India Re-Criminalises Gay Love: Disgusting

India top court reinstates gay sex ban

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community and supporters attend the 5th Delhi Queer Pride parade in New Delhi on November 25, 2012. A 153-year-old colonial law describes a same-sex relationship as an "unnatural offence"

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India's top court has upheld a law which criminalises gay sex, in a ruling seen as a major blow to gay rights.
The Supreme Court ruling reverses a landmark 2009 Delhi High Court order which had decriminalised homosexual acts.
The court said it was up to parliament to legislate on the issue.
According to Section 377, a 153-year-old colonial law, a same-sex relationship is an "unnatural offence" and punishable by a 10-year jail term.
Several political, social and religious groups had petitioned the Supreme Court to have the law reinstated in the wake of the 2009 court ruling.

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The outrage against the Supreme Court ruling is understandable - India's gay community is in shock”
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Correspondents say although the law has rarely - if ever - been used to prosecute anyone for consensual sex, it has often been used by the police to harass homosexuals.
Also, in deeply conservative India, homosexuality is a taboo and many people still regard same-sex relationships as illegitimate.
'Black day' "It is up to parliament to legislate on this issue," Justice GS Singhvi, the head of the two-judge Supreme Court bench, said in Wednesday's ruling, which came on his last day before retiring.

Analysis

The Supreme Court ruling has come as a huge surprise for activists who have described it as "retrograde" and say this is "a black day" for gay rights in India.
They have campaigned for years for acceptance in India's deeply conservative society and many have vowed to carry on the fight for "their constitutional right".
Nobody expected the Supreme Court, often seen as a last recourse for citizens faced with an unresponsive government, to reverse an order many had hailed as a landmark.
As Justice GS Singhvi announced the order, activists and members of the gay and lesbian community present outside the court began crying and hugging each other.
Some asked if after the court ruling, they had become criminals.
"The legislature must consider deleting this provision (Section 377) from law as per the recommendations of the attorney general," he added.
India's Law Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters the government would respect the ruling but did not say whether there were plans to amend the law. Correspondents say any new legislation is unlikely soon - general elections are due next year.
Gay rights activists have described Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling as "disappointing" and said they will approach the court to review its decision.
"Such a decision was totally unexpected from the top court. It is a black day," Arvind Narrain, a lawyer for the Alternative Law Forum gay rights group, told reporters.
"We are very angry about this regressive decision of the court," he said.
"This decision is a body-blow to people's rights to equality, privacy and dignity," G Ananthapadmanabhan of Amnesty International India said in a statement.
"It is hard not to feel let down by this judgement, which has taken India back several years in its commitment to protect basic rights," he added.
However, the ruling has been welcomed by religious groups, particularly leaders of India's Muslim and Christian communities, who had challenged the Delhi High Court order.
National Akali Dal activists hold placards and shout slogans during a protest against an Indian court ruling to decriminalise gay sex in New Delhi on July 5, 2009. Many religious and political groups had opposed decriminalisation of gay sex
"The Supreme Court has upheld the century-old traditions of India, the court is not suppressing any citizen, instead it is understanding the beliefs and values of the large majority of the country," Zafaryab Jilani, member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, told BBC Hindi.
In its 2009 ruling, the Delhi High Court had described Section 377 as discriminatory and said gay sex between consenting adults should not be treated as a crime.
The ruling was widely and visibly welcomed by India's gay community, which said the judgement would help protect them from harassment and persecution.

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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Nelson Mandela vs Jeanne d'Arc: An interesting point

A very good and equally influential friend of mine makes an interesting point. This reminds me of Jeanne d'Arc, who is regarded as a national heroine in France, but who effectively was little more than a teenage delinquent terrorist. The ANC were a brutal regime. Mandela was not jailed because of his colour, but because he was dangerous and incited violence. Sadly, too many people today allow themselves to be brainwashed by the sad death of a lovely old man--they don't bother reading the history books. In Britain, you're more likely to make the front pages of the tabloids if you go on a violent rampage than you would if you won £100 million on the lottery and gave it all to starving children. 

Given that most of these World Leaders are gathering in South Africa to remember Nelson Mandela.........................................will any of the dignitaries be remembering or mentioning the 75,000 WHITE people massacred since the Countries "liberation"??

Monday, 9 December 2013

RUDOLPH VALENTINO: The Screen God Who Loved Men: Review #7

As a new book by David Bret is published about "The World's Greatest Lover"

Read what they said about David Bret's first biography of Rudolph Valentino, generally regarded as the definitive study of the actor.
Valentino was the typical Hollywood martyr. He loved only men, married two rapacious lesbians to curb the rumours, was treated like dirt by the studio chiefs, his manager was an embezzler, his brother a shyster who used the Valentino name for personal gain and failed majestically.
The fans and the men in his life loved him, and that's all that mattered.

And the following, written by a priest...




And here's the new one...


Quickly catching up!


Errol Flynn: Satan's Angel: A Review From A Dead Priest

This is one of my very favourite reviews, by Lincoln Hurst, an infamous "Let's-have-sex-with-a- celebrity-from-beyond-the-grave priest. It does go on a bit, though...

Yes, when it comes to cock-hunting among the dead, some of our men-of-the-cloth take some beating. Mr Hurst sent this to me, to my publisher, to my then agent, and to every newspaper in the UK. As a result of which, sales of "Satan's Angel" increased ten-fold. It was serialised in two national newspapers, and has been reprinted seven times. Indeed, only last week there was some very exciting news about my Flynn project...

I said at the time that if Mr Hurst was so in love with Flynn, then maybe he should think about joining him so that they could do a little uphill gardening in paradise. The man was quite obviously as bent as a nine-bob note. 

Lo and behold, miracles do happen--two weeks later, the dear father popped his clogs!

Lincoln Hurst was a dirty-looking man, with unkempt hair and beard, and Jesus sandals. I rather think that Errol's first action upon meeting him would have been to puke up his latest plateful of ambrosia--for sure, he is amongst the gods. 

Of course, there was nothing really seedy about "Satan's Angel". Much of it was copied directly from Errol's own work, so I guess that if Mr Hurst was calling me "dirty bastard" (yes, he called me that) then effectively he was having a go at his idol.

And just think how long it TOOK him to write his review! 

I mean, if I thought any book was THAT un-interesting, I would just ignore it rather than waste a moment of my valuable time crocking it, and helping it to sell more copies!

Still, his was a nice death, by all accounts! And as I explained, the book is still in print--easily available from shops, supermarkets, online retail sites. In fact, anywhere that you would expect a normal book to be sold, and at a price Errol's many fans--70,000 in this instance--can afford!





Guest review by L. D. Hurst


We have apparently sunk to a level in our culture where almost anything can get published. A case in point is David Bret's work of fiction, ERROL FLYNN: SATAN'S ANGEL. This book is so poorly researched, amateurishly written, and lackadaisically edited, it is amazing that any reputable publisher would have the nerve to charge for it.
At the outset, however, there is SOME good news. The writer eschews Charles Higham's theories that Flynn was a Nazi (although he provides no new research to defuse the charges - relying entirely on William Donati and Tony Thomas). Also, it might be said, Bret has a flair for drama - the book is never boring. And most of his descriptions of Flynn's films - with some reservations - are reasonably well done.
That, unfortunately, is all the good news to be found in this seemingly endless procession of blunders, distortions, and outright lies about Errol Flynn. Having rejected Higham's Nazi allegations, the author takes his readers firmly by the scruff of the neck and flings them from the frying pan of 1930's Germany straight into the fire of total sexual perversion. David Bret's goal is clear from the beginning: to portray Errol Flynn as a sick, conscienceless pedophile and sexual predator who used people of both sexes mercilessly to slake his insatiable, selfish thirst for more and more sexual gratification. The number of men (including young boys) the allegedly bisexual Flynn had affairs with in this book is mind-boggling: Ross Alexander, "William Meade" (i.e. Jack Budlong), William Lundigan, Edmund Goulding, Bruce Cabot, Helmut Dantine, Tyrone Power, Rory Calhoun, and on and on and on. (Strangely, Truman Capote is left out - an oversight?) Between them, Flynn and screenwriter George Oppenheimer are said to have had sex with the entire male fencing academy in the 1949 "Adventures of Don Juan" (p. 149)!
This, of course, is just the most recent installment in the disturbing trend that has been dominating popular culture now for two decades: the bringing down of our national icons, demonizing them, smearing them with as much vile and unsupportable innuendo as the market will allow. And why not? These people cannot complain from the grave. Hence distortion, defamation, and outright lies that serve further to incite media bias are routinely accepted as that norm.
A particularly profitable area within this smear-industry has involved the allegation of bisexuality. Cary Grant, Randolph Scott, Robert Taylor, and Barbara Stanwyck are just a few of the names well-known in this connection. But with David Bret's latest contribution to yellow journalism, we are given two new ones: David Niven and Basil Rathbone. According to Bret, Niven was a practicing bisexual, while Rathbone's "sexual preference" is said to have been men. Along these lines an especially lewd comment is made in connection with Rathbone and Flynn on the set of "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (p. 69). Such an ugly and unfounded besmirching of the memory of Hollywood's most memorable screen villain, its greatest Sherlock Holmes, and one of its finest gentlemen is unforgivable.
ERROL FLYNN: SATAN'S ANGEL is a hack-job. And, as with most hack-jobs, it provides little or no documentation. The length and content of its clumsily-constructed bibliography of 22 items (pp. 256-7) is nothing short of bizarre, and demonstrates the author's lack of acquaintance with sound methods of biographical research. Of the 22 items listed, for example, only 10 relate specifically to Flynn. These are the works of Gerry Connelly, EarlConrad, J. V. Cottom, Flynn himself (MY WICKED, WICKED WAYS) and a 1937 PHOTOPLAY article, "What Really Happened to Me in Spain"), Michael Freedland, Charles Higham, and Tony Thomas (Flynn, incidentally, is wrongly credited as the author of FROM A LIFE OF ADVENTURE: THE WRITINGS OF ERROL FLYNN - it should be Tony Thomas, the editor who collected and introduced the various pieces by Flynn). Missing are the names of John Hammond Moore, William Donati (whose appendix to Buster Wiles' MY DAYS WITH ERROL FLYNN is one of the most crucial but least read sources on Flynn), Buster Wiles himself, Raoul Walsh, Vincent Sherman, Peter Stackpole, Lionel Godfrey, Josef Fegerl, Peter Valenti, and Don Norman.
It would appear that the works of these writers were not as crucial to the author's research as were such critical pieces of investigation as Kenneth Anger's HOLLYWOOD BABYLON, PARTS 1 & 2, Hector Arce's THE SECRET LIFE OF TYRONE POWER, Axel Madsen's THE SEWING CIRCLE, David Quinlan's QUINLAN'S FILM STARS, Amy and Irving Wallace's THE INTIMATE SEX LIVES OF FAMOUS PEOPLE (listed incorrectly as THE SECRET SEX LIVES OF FAMOUS PEOPLE), Martin Greif's THE GAY BOOK OF DAYS, and Paul Roen's HIGH CAMP: A GAY GUIDE TO CAMP & CULT FILMS. All of these are included in the bibliography.
The author, furthermore, gives no evidence of having interviewed anybody from Flynn's family or those who worked with him in his films. Nor, would it appear, has he taken the trouble to consult the Warner Brothers' studio memos housed in the archives in New Jersey and Southern California. Had he done so, he could not have related many of the perversely outlandish incidents that he claims took place on the sets of Flynn's films.
The author as well of a highly sentimental biography, MARLENE DEITRICH: MY FRIEND, Bret appears to rely heavily in this book on unsubstantiated statements about Flynn that his friend made to him over a period of years. One continually looks in vain for documentation and/or corroboration of the author's claims, and wonders where all the quotes come from, including many verbatim and highly salacious comments attributed to Flynn and others about male and female body parts. Wholesale fabrications abound. The time and place of events are shifted to suit the author's whims. Page after page routinely record highly suspicious dialogue to which the author could not possibly have been privy. Many conversations look as if they were invented out of whole cloth.
Because of his Adonis-like appearance and swashbuckling panache, Errol Flynn has for decades been an object of gay fascination (see, for instance, Neil Bartlett, "The Voyeur's Revenge: A Gay's Obsession of Errol Flynn," SIGHT AND SOUND , Vol. 2 [September, 1992], p. 41). In David Bret's hodge-podge of truth and fantasy, clearly intended to cater to this market, facts - when they are encountered at all - are little more than conveniences to serve the greater purpose of providing an exercise in titillation and voyeurism. Will some men buy and read this claptrap about Flynn for reasons that have nothing to do with the man Flynn really was? Undoubtedly.
These should not be seen as comments borne out of any form of homophobia. They arise out of a desire to find the historical truth. Many people would like to know what really happened. Was Flynn straight or bisexual? Those looking for an answer to this legitimate question, sadly, will not find it in David Bret's travesty of Errol Flynn's life. The book is so staggeringly incompetent it is also difficult to imagine how the cause of tolerance for gays and bisexuals will in any way be helped by it.
The dust jacket describes Flynn as, among other things, "a pervert and a lecher," and warns the readers that its contents are "not for the faint-hearted." This should immediately alert the public to the writer's agenda - to pack the book with as much salacious and prurient material (real or imagined) as possible - obviously to sell copies. It should, however, have read, "not for the weak-stomached." That Flynn made a disgustingly crude joke about his wife's most private body part (p. 81), that he liked to turn his back on Michael Curtiz in front of the entire cast and "loudly break wind" (something, we are told, the young Olivia de Havilland "appreciated," p. 42), that he enjoyed masturbating in omelettes which he then served to his guests (p. 159), or that he used mortuary instruments for cutlery ("I feel just like a corpse. Let's go eat one!" - p. 168), is nauseating, and is clearly meant to nauseate. But the nausea attaches to the writer of this farrago, not to Flynn. The suspicion is created that the person responsible for ERROL FLYNN: SATAN'S ANGEL may be a rather sick person.
Errol Flynn is a complex subject - a challenge to the most formidable historian or biographer. Writing the story of this man's life would involve reconstructing not only an extremely convoluted man, but a whole period of 20th-century history. Within his short span of 50 years, Errol Flynn managed to contain with him the emerging history of three continents, the burgeoning of the twentieth-century's most successful art-form, and still-debated questions of international security.
Such a huge canvas would make even the bravest biographer hesitant to take on the task. Researching Flynn's life would involve considerable travelling, interviewing, and long hours of library research. It would not be something undertaken casually or in haste, in the expectation that it could be done in a year or less. Also, a life of such notoriety and controversy would have to involve the constant checking and re-checking of sources in order to avoid misstatements of fact. The public has no way of knowing precisely how much time went into the making of David Bret's ERROL FLYNN: SATAN'S ANGEL. But if the number of mistakes in the book is any gauge, it could not have been terribly long.
Even a partial list of Bret's factual errors is appalling:
  • Errol Flynn's mother's name was never "Lily Marelle Young" (p. 1). It was Lily MaryYoung. After her marriage, she dropped "Lily" and changed "Mary" to "Marelle," allegedly because it was more "exotic."
  • Errol was fined ten pounds for hitting a Chinaman who called him by his surname, not thirty (p. 9 - or has Bret adjusted for inflation?).
  • William Donati never interviewed Hermann Erben for ABC's "20/20" Program in 1980 (p.65). He went to Vienna and interviewed him independently, several months later. (Bret is also unaware that Donati's research is the basis of Tony Thomas' ERROL FLYNN: THE SPY WHO NEVER WAS - Donati did not come "to the same conclusion as Tony Thomas".)
  • The name of the man in MY WICKED, WICKED WAYS (p. 213; cf. Bret, p. 98-99, 123) who was fatally injured during a Civil War charge sequence in "They Died With Their Boots On" (NOT the "Little Big Horn" sequence, as erroneously claimed by Flynn, and followed by Bret), and identified in Bret's picture section as "the lover killed whilst making the film," was Jack Budlong, not "William Meade."
  • Lady Marion does not give Robin "encouraging glances" during the banquet hall sequence at the beginning of "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (p. 71).
  • Nora Eddington Black and Patrice Wymore Flynn will be surprised to learn that Flynn is survived by one wife and four daughters (page 225). (Although Bret's book was published in June of 2000, the author appears to be unaware that Arnella Flynn - the youngest of Flynn's three daughters - had died nearly two years prior).
  • Flynn's notorious two-way mirror was on the ceiling of the main guest bedroom, not Flynn's own bedroom, at Mulholland House (p. 153).
  • Cary Grant and Judy Garland did not rely on their "looks and physiques" rather than their talent (p. 140).
  • John Decker's body did not "explode" in the crematorium (p. 147).
  • The "borrowing" of John Barrymore's corpse from a funeral home (with the details added that the body was "unembalmed" and that Flynn "rushed into the garden screaming") is uncritically accepted as fact (p. 106 - cf. Buster Wiles' true account in MY DAYS WITH ERROL FLYNN, pp. 124ff).
  • Flynn never threatened to "slit his [Michael Curtiz's] throat" with a razor on the set of "Captain Blood" (p. 42).
  • The male lead in "King Solomon's Mines" is a white explorer, not a "white missionary" (p. 155).
  • Flynn's 1954 Last Will and Testament did not leave a "bequest" to Lili Damita or Nora Eddington (p. 223).
  • Flynn's food poisoning in Jamaica from spoiled meat was not "near-fatal" (p. 214).
  • There is no "rare," "original black-and-white footage from "The Adventures of Robin Hood" in Mark Massari's documentary "Portrait of a Swashbuckler" (p. 255). (The footage was taken from low-grade 16mm copies of the black-and-white 35mm version of the film released to theatres in the mid-50's.)
  • Betty Hansen and Peggy Satterlee were not "redoubtable character[s] well known in society circles" (p. 169).
  • The last time Olivia de Havilland saw Flynn was at the Costumers Ball in 1957 - not at a party several weeks before his death in 1959 (p. 218f.).
Throughout this exercise in biographical fiction, the reader is continually bombarded with such cases of fabrication, exaggeration, and distortion.
Other examples of the book's fast-and-loose approach to the truth are the following:
1. According to Bret, Flynn did the leap down the stairway himself in the final duel to the death with Robert Douglas in "Adventures of Don Juan." Claims Bret: "And finally he confronts de Lorca in a duel ... culminating in an astonishing leap down a steep flight of steps (executed by Errol himself and not, as has been stated, by a stuntman" - p. 150, italics his). The film's director, Vincent Sherman, will be among those surprised to learn that Errol did the leap. Sherman, who was there, hired the six foot, four inch Jock Mahoney for the job (no other stuntman in Hollywood would touch it, including Buster Wiles). On this see Sherman's 1996 memoir STUDIO AFFAIRS (p. 167), of which Bret makes no mention. Had he read it, he might have been less willing to make such a silly, undocumented, and easily refutable claim.
2. A particular hash is made of Flynn's 1943 rape trial. According to Bret, Flynn testified on the witness stand that he could not have had sex with Peggy Satterlee because "entertainment was the last thing on his mind during this particular trip: not only had he been mourning the recent death of William Meade, but en route to Balboa his beloved dog, Arno, had gone overboard. One of the crew members from his yacht had already confirmed this, and that Errol had stayed at the helm of the Sirocco all the way back to Hollywood (p. 123, italics his)." This alleged statement of Flynn will puzzle anyone who knows the facts of his life.
The Satterlee "rape" trip took place Friday through Sunday, August 1 - 3, during a trip to Catalina Island. Arno drowned some time afterward. Errol could hardly have testified at the trial that he was mourning Arno during the Catalina voyage, since the dog was clearly on board during the entire trip - he is visible in a number of the pictures taken by veteran LIFE MAGAZINE photographer Peter Stackpole over that weekend (Charles Higham erroneously claimed that Arno was lost in June or July, and buried on August 1 - the day the Catalina trip began). Stackpole's pictures were later published in his book LIFE IN HOLLYWOOD, 1936-1952 - another crucial Flynn source missed by Bret. However, on p. 99, Bret seems to state that Arno was drowned in the middle of August - i.e. AFTER the Catalina trip - during a voyage to Balboa. That such an obvious discrepancy could escape the editors at Robson Books is remarkable.
Also, Flynn could hardly have been mourning "the recent death of William Meade" (i.e. Jack Budlong) during the August 1-3 Catalina trip. It is true Budlong was impaled during the "Boots" Gettysburg charge scene filmed on July 30, but he was taken to Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, where he lingered until August 5, when complications set in and he died - two days AFTER Flynn's return from Catalina Island. Here, speaking of the editors at Robson Books, Bret's own words (p. 35) might be quoted: "Again - no-one checked up on the facts."
3. In the book's picture section there is a photo of Errol with this strange caption: "Errol's favourite photograph - a self portrait naturally! - taken in 1945 but unseen until a French newspaper used it in an obituary (author's collection)." Favourite photograph? How Bret would know this is a mystery. In fact Flynn generally disliked studio photographs of himself. His favourite photo was taken by Peter Stackpole when they both climbed atop the mast of the "Sirocco" on Aug. 2 or 3, 1941. He kept it framed in his den at Mulholland House next to his signed photo of FDR. And was the photo Bret refers to "unseen until his obituary"? Actually, it appears on the cover of a French magazine in the early 50's. A "self portrait"? What? Errol held the camera? Those who take any of this at face value will probably believe as well Charles Higham's claim that there was only photo ever taken of Flynn with Jack Warner.
4. Flynn did not ask G. P. Putnam's Sons to replace Earl Conrad (p. 213) as his ghost-biographer. That was simply one of Errol's cruel jokes on Conrad - as Conrad clearly states.
5. William Donati will undoubtedly want to respond to Bret's vicious, unfounded claim that Buster Wiles was Flynn's "official pimp" who supplied him with "girls and young men" when Flynn was "unable to go looking for his own" (p. 127).
These five examples are chosen at random; as stated, more fabrications, distortions and blunders could be cited. The reader, however, should by now be aware that anyone who wishes to learn about the life of Errol Flynn should steer clear of works like this, and go instead to Flynn's own account of his life in MY WICKED,WICKED WAYS.
The number of misspellings of names similarly erodes all confidence in this author's skill in handling information:
  • The name of Flynn's trial lawyer Jerry Giesler is misspelled "Geisler" 32 times.
  • "The Garden of Allah" is five times spelled "Garden of Alla" - apparently a confusion of the place with the first name of Russian actress Nazimova (p. 35).
  • The costume designer Orry-Kelly is repeatedly "Orry-Kerry" (pp. 84, 232-4, 269).
  • The last name of Flynn's legal counsel Justin ("Jud") Golenbock is spelled "Golenblock" (pp. 190, 222, 264).
  • Blanca Rosa Welter (Linda Christian) is "Bianca Rosa Welter" (p. 108).
  • Hermann Erben's first name is "Herman" (pp. 55, 62, 156).
  • S. Z. Sakall is "S. Z. Sakal" (pp. 137-8, 271 ).
  • The screenwriter Howard Koch (who co-wrote "Casablanca") is "Howard Kock" (!) (p. 236).
  • Peter Stackpole, one of the key witnesses at Flynn's rape trial, is "Peter Stackmore" (p. 120).
  • Award-winning cinematographer Tony Gaudio is "Tony Gaudlo" (p. 234-5).
  • Character actor G. P. Huntley Jr. (who played "Queen's Own Butler" in "They Died With Their Boots On") is "G. P. Hartley Jr." (p. 232).
  • "Mara Maru" is "Marau Maru" (p. 246).
  • L.A. District Attorney Burton Fitts is "Buron Fitts" (p. 113).
  • Owen Cathcart-Jones' name appears unhyphenated (p. 122).
  • Shirley Evans Hassau is "Shirley Evans Hassan" (pp. 130, 265).
  • Flynn's major domo Alex Pavlencko is "Alex Pavlenckov" (pp. 101, 130, 140, 269).
  • Peggy Satterlee's middle name - LaRue- is repeatedly spelled La Rue (pp. 123-4).
  • Charley Bell in "San Antonio" (played by John Litel) is "Charley Rell" (p. 138).
  • "Bushdinkel" is "Bushdinkell" (p. 244).
  • Lynne Fontanne is "Lynne Fonatane" (263).
And on and on. Even Errol's name is spelled Erroll (twice on p. 252) and "Flyn" (p. 82). An ordinary word like "wagon" is "waggon" (p. 98).
All of this leads to the conclusion that this book was done in haste - sloppily researched, carelessly written, and just as carelessly edited. The author's knowledge of the life of Errol Flynn can at best be described as superficial, at worst horrendous. Certainly such shoddiness in dealing with facts and details falls well below the standards of professionalism the public has come to expect from Robson Books.

With regard to Flynn's alleged bisexuality, Bret relies entirely on hearsay evidence from sources such as Marlene Deitrich and Tallulah Bankhead. He rejects and even ridicules those who deny it, including J. V. Cottom and Flynn's two surviving wives, Nora Eddington Black and Patrice Wymore Flynn. Bret, of course, knows that these women actually LIVED with Flynn, whereas he never met the actor. He foresees the objection, and lamely tries to counter it by quoting from a very late French old radio interview given by Lili Damita just before her death in 1994, coyly implying (without actually saying so) that she supported Flynn's bisexuality. In the radio nostalgia interview Damita is said to question how much time Nora Eddington Black and Patrice Wymore Flynn actually spent with Flynn, adding that "they knew absolutely nothing about Errol's love interests, what went off on his yachts and inside that big house, and they certainly knew nothing about what he did or didn't do in Spain because they weren't even there"
(p. 225, italics Bret's).

This needs to be looked at closely. What, for instance, did Damita mean by "that big house"? It certainly cannot apply to either 8946 Appian Way or 601 N. Linden. It is obviously refers to Mulholland House. But what Damita "knew" about Mulholland House and what went on there is strongly open to question. Although it was awarded to her by the courts, there is no evidence that she ever set foot in the place. And concerning Spain, was did she mean by, "they [Errol's other wives] weren't even there"? Was SHE?
Certainly Damita was with Flynn and Hermann F. Erben in Paris from March 20-24, 1937. After that, things become blurred. She appears to have gone back to London shortly before Flynn and Erben crossed the border into Barcelona on March 26 - cf. Josef Fegerl's ERROL FLYNN [AND] DR. HERMANN F. ERBEN: A FRIENDSHIP OF TWO ADVENTURERS, pp. 28-74. In his lengthy discussion of what Tony Thomas called "the Spanish fling," Charles Higham does not mention Damita as having been in Spain - the exaggerated news of Flynn's death, for instance, is said to have been wired to her in London. Thus her statement is very misleading, and Mr. Bret should have informed his readers accordingly - that is, if he was aware of it.
He might also have informed his readers that in her last years Lili Damita's mind was far from sound. Old age, the tragic loss of her only son Sean, and her prolonged, expensive, and finally fruitless attempts to locate him or his remains in Cambodia nearly unhinged her mind with grief. Those who interviewed her near the end have remarked that she made some very bizarre claims - such as insisting vehemently that Sean Flynn never appeared with his father Errol in an episode of "The Errol Flynn Theatre." She therefore cannot be viewed as a credible witness who had a strong grip on reality. Also, she was hardly a neutral party - someone with no axe to grind. To the end she had a score to settle with "Fleen" - the butt of her wrath for over 50 years.
Bret also does not mention that Hermann Erben vigorously denied Flynn's bisexuality to the end of his life. Erben, of course, might be as credible a witness as Damita. But Bret's silence in this case fuels the belief that he tends to leave out anything that might work against his highly skewed portrait of Flynn.
As stated, a number of other absurdities might be cited in this ill-conceived and poorly executed biography, but what is the point of going on? The book's quality - or lack of it - is evident. Bret's grasp of the facts of Errol Flynn's life, to put it moderately, leaves much to be disired. And anyone who would deliberately shift the time of Olivia de Havilland's last meeting with Flynn from 1957 to just days before his death in 1959, adding (again for dramatic effect?) that Flynn "gatecrashed" the party and held his hands over de Havilland's eyes, saying "Guess who?" (p. 218f.), has little journalistic integrity, and should not be trusted. (Even Charles Higham, who grossly exaggerates Flynn's disintegrated appearance while reporting the same incident in SISTERS: THE STORY OF OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND AND JOAN FONTAINE (p.109f.), correctly records that the meeting took place while de Havillland was filming "The Proud Rebel" in 1957.) Bret's smearing of the memory of Basil Rathbone is also especially harmful and despicable. The reputations of a great many other people will be sullied by this farrago, perhaps permanently. One can only imagine what Flynn's "four daughters" will think.
ERROL FLYNN: SATAN'S ANGEL is David Bret's twelfth biography. Those who read his other works, particularly MARELEN DIETRICH: MY FRIEND, might question whether Mr. Bret has the necessary control and critical tools to be an efficient chronicler of someone like Errol Flynn. Good biography requires patience, doggedness, emotional distance, brutal honesty, questioning instincts, and - above all - critical objectivity. All of these characteristics are especially necessary when attempting the difficult task of writing on a subject about which the author already feels strongly. Sadly, these characteristics are conspicuously absent in ERROL FLYNN: SATAN'S ANGEL. Flynn is too complex a subject, Bret is much too emotionally involved with him, too quick to rely on hearsay evidence, and much too slow to check - and double-check - his facts. Consequently, the final result has proved disastrous.
There is no doubt that Bret feels strongly about Errol Flynn. Having depicted him throughout the book as a grotesque "pervert and lecher," Bret concludes his account by informing his readers the degree to which he appreciates the great swashbuckler: Errol Flynn, so he claims, will "eternally be remembered as an essentially good man" (p. 225).
"An essentially good man?" Bret continues: "We, his admirers, should never regret what Errol was or some of the questionable things he did - only the sad fact that he died so young." How any author could expect readers who have endured 250 pages of this muck to come to the same conclusion is something to ponder. If Errol Flynn had been guilty of half of the things he is said to have done in this book, countries around the world would have been fully justified in barring him from their shores forever.
David Bret's ERROL FLYNN: SATAN'S ANGEL is, in short, biographical ineptitude at its worst, and it will be detested by all true admirers of Errol Flynn everywhere. It is a bizarre mixture of fact, innuendo, clouded judgement, and Highamesque propaganda and smear-fiction at its meanest. Mr. Bret, in fact, actually manages to "out-Higham" Higham- something many would have thought impossible.
Errol Flynn was certainly no "angel" - Satan's or otherwise. He was a tragically flawed but strangely compelling human being - "the living Ulysses," as Earl Conrad called him. He struggled with (and suffered from) his flaws throughout most of his life, not without leaving his fair share of human damage in the wake.
But does Flynn deserve this? The answer is clearly no. Whatever the case, he will continue to be fascinating to millions in the foreseeable future, long after David Bret and amateurish hacks like him have exhausted their fifteen minutes of journalistic fame.
The most appropriate verdict to be pronounced on this mess is provided by David Bret himself. Concerning Channel 4's documentary on Errol Flynn, "Secret Lives" (1996), he writes: "All in all, a dismal, totally unnecessary exercise . . . best consigned to the archives or the trash can!" (p. 254 )
No one could have put it any better.

Publisher:
Robson Books (June 2000)
ISBN: 1861053320
288 pages hardbound






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