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Virginia City - Memories of a Child Actor


TomJH
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Here's a couple of articles on anecdotes from child actor Dick Jones on the making of Warners' western, Virginia City in 1940 (actually filmed in 1939, I believe). What a cast of stars to work to have worked with! 

 

 

Remembering Dickie Jones in “Virginia City”
Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jul 9th, 2014
INTERVIEWS Remembering Dickie Jones in Virginia City

 

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Miriam Hopkins with Dickie Jones in Virginia City (1940)

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By Allan R. Ellenberger

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Actor Dick “Dickie” Jones passed away at age 87 on Monday at his home in Northridge, California, a community north of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley. A few years ago I interviewed Mr. Jones for my biography of Miriam Hopkins, A Really Fantastic B i t c h: The Life of Miriam Hopkins. Dickie Jones, as he was known when he was a child actor, worked with Hopkins in the 1940 film, Virginia City, which also co-starred Errol Flynn. For the short time we spent together, Jones was a delight. He’s one of the few costars of Hopkins that I interviewed that had only nice things to say about her. In fact, it upset him that so many of her coworkers have said negative things.

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Below are excerpts of Jones’s involvement in the making of Virginia City:

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According to eyewitness accounts, the location set of Virginia City was a war zone. John Hilder, a correspondent for Hollywood magazine, went with the cast to Flagstaff. He reported “tempers flared, and feuds raged. For one eventful weekend it appeared that the cast was about to choose sides—the blues and the grays—and re-fight the Civil War with bare hands, rocks or practical bullets.” Columnist Sidney Skolsky wrote that, according to his spies, several feuds were going on simultaneously. “Errol Flynn and Humphrey Bogart are feuding,” he reported, “Flynn and Miriam Hopkins are feuding, and Mike Curtiz and Miriam Hopkins are feuding.”

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Dickie Jones, who played Cobby, was twelve-years-old and recalled there were no tensions on the set, especially between Miriam and Errol Flynn. However, he understood how there could be after working with Flynn a decade later in Rocky Mountain (1950). “He didn’t get along with his leading lady, Patrice Wymore,” Jones recalled. “They fought like cats and dogs and afterward, they got married.”

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Errol Flynn was Jones’ favorite actor. To the young boy he was a professional and was never a “softie” about his work. “On the set he was all professional,” Jones said. “Behind the camera he was a fun guy. I didn’t socialize with him, so I don’t know about the other things that he did, or so they claimed, but I liked him.”

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Jones was very fond of Miriam as well because she treated him as an equal. “She talked to me and not at me,” Jones said. “And we worked together. Never did she throw a tantrum while I was around. Some of them did.”

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In one scene, Cobby falls from the wagon and is crushed by the turning wheels. Jones performed the stunt himself. “I went out of the boot of the wagon and off the back of the horse and rolling over, just dropped into the sand,” Jones recalled. “And then the camera rose up a little, so I was out of range, and that’s when they pulled me out before the wheels ran over the log that would simulate my body. That was the only catch in that shot—pulling me out before the wheels actually rolled over me.”

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As Cobby lies dying in Miriam’s arms, which was filmed later at Warner Bros., he is swabbed with glycerin to simulate sweat as she gently mops his head. “I remember I’m trying to fake dying and Miriam’s carrying on a conversation, I think with the doctor, in the cramped quarters of the bed of the wagon,” Jones recalled. “And that went on for a long time with everyone’s long shots and close-ups, and that was a whole day just for that one scene. It was very boring for me.”

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Jones was disappointed that some have spoken unkindly about Miriam. To a twelve-year-old boy, she made a great impression and, as far as he knew, she got along with everyone. “Maybe that was professional jealousy on their part,” he said. “A youngster can pick out someone that’s nice and someone that isn’t, and not just by their attitude and the way they talk.”

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For performing his own stunt in the film, the director, Michael Curtiz gave Jones a large Concho belt made from silver and turquoise. The director knew that Dickie collected Native American artifacts and jewelry called “Pawn Jewelry,” and it was sold dirt cheap on the reservation. “You don’t get adjusted for stunt work,” Curtiz told Jones, “but I’m adjusting you for doing such a good job.”

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Jones had the following the say about his other costars:

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RANDOLPH SCOTT

“He was a charming gentleman. He was very quiet. He was too busy reading the Wall Street Journal, making his fortune.”

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HUMPHREY BOGART

“He was just a run-of-the-mill guy. He wasn’t pretentious or anything like that. In his early career, he was really struggling with his work and Black Legion (Jones also appeared in this film) was one of his first serious things. I look back, and I watch Virginia City and there he is with a little thin mustache and he’s the Mexican bandito with a broken accent. It broke me up. It was too phony.”

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MICHAEL CURTIZ

“There were a lot of times we were sitting around doing nothing and waiting. Michael Curtiz was a fanatic for clouds. He called them goobers. ‘We wait here ‘til the goobers to come,’ he would say. It made the film more picturesque with all the clouds floating around the sky out there in Arizona.”

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“I enjoyed Virginia City very much,” Jones said. “It was fun to work on.”

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Thank you Mr. Jones.

 

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Monday, May 9, 2011
Dick Jones Revisits ‘Virginia City’
 
Errol_Flynn_Virginia_City.jpg Dickie Jones (bandaged) with Errol Flynn in Virginia City.
Dick Jones was one of Golden Age Hollywood’s busiest kid actors. At age four he began his career as the “World's Youngest Trick Rider and Trick Roper,” performing roping and riding tricks in “B” movie cowboy star Hoot Gibson’s rodeo. In the early ‘30’s he appeared in a few “Our Gang" shorts and by decade’s end had amassed dozens of credits in both "A" and "B" productions, such as John Ford’s Young Mr. Lincoln and Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (both 1939). In 1940 Jones gained movie immortality as the voice of Pinocchio in Walt Disney's animated classic; later that same year, he appeared in Virginia City, a western starring Errol Flynn and Humphrey Bogart that filmed scenes on location in Sedona. In a 2005 chat, Jones remembered Flynn’s pet tricks, Bogart’s quick exits, and Curtiz’s ‘goobers’––Joe McNeill

JM: Did you stay in Flagstaff while filming Virginia City?

DICK JONES: Oh yeah, I remember it real well. I just about ate myself to death with trout. I loved it. I actually came back to Flagstaff later that year to do The Outlaw.

What can you tell us about the personal appearance you made at Flagstaff’s Orpheum Theater while filming here?

I don’t remember it at all. I probably did a trick roping act, because that was the only thing I knew. (Laughing) I could strum a ukulele but that wouldn’t have been much!

Do you have memories of working with Errol Flynn in Virginia City?

The one thing I can remember was that he had this standard-sized schnauzer. He had that dog trained. [Flynn] had this swagger stick and he’d be slapping his boot with it, then he’d stop to talk to somebody and he’d slap them on their boot with that swagger stick. Then when he walked away the dog would come up and lift its leg up on them. I think [co-star] “Big Boy” Williams almost wanted to kill him!

I really enjoyed working with Errol Flynn. I worked with him again on Rocky Mountain (1950); that was my favorite of all the films I ever made. [Flynn] was one of the best journeyman actors. He knew his trade and worked his craft real well. What he did afterwards, that’s another story.

What do you remember of Humphrey Bogart?

I worked with him again after Virginia City, but he was very quiet and didn’t mess around with kids. It was always very much just work; you’d come in, the director would say ‘I want this, I want that,’ we’d rehearse our lines together one time, then boom – we’d do it and that’s it. I’d go back to school and he’d go back to his dressing room. So I didn’t spend much time with him. I’d have liked to.

What about Michael Curtiz, Virginia City’s director?

I loved him; he was a great director and I got along with him fine. I remember he’d say [in Hungarian accent], “I got to vait for der ‘goobers.’ “ He wanted to match the scenes and have the clouds look the same. And sure enough, ten, 15 minutes later, he’d say, “Here comes der ‘goobers,’ ” and we’d say, OK, let’s go do it.
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Thanks for printing the fine articles Tom. I must admit that for a few moments I was getting mixed up thinking of Dickie Moore instead of Dickie Jones (I'll bet I'm not the first to confuse the two names).  About the film VIRGINIA CITY, that prompted me to dig out my WARNER BROTHERS DIRECTORS book (remember that old thread) but unfortunately the book has only a little to say concerning that film.  It could be thought of as a follow  up to the very successful  film DODGE CITY (both have Curtiz, Flynn, several supporting actors and behind the scenes production people) but where everything went well on the earlier film most everything went wrong on VIRGINIA CITY. Mr Curtiz was struggling with personal problems, his daughter had recently attempted suicide. The casting of the film created many issues; some actors like Bogart were poorly cast in their roles, several cast members just did not get along with one another , not to mention the usual tensions between director Curtiz and star Flynn.  The whole storyline/script didn't work very well.  A big budget film with a strong cast but the end result didn't come off very well.  I'm sure from the prospective of the young child actor it was an exciting time and it sounds like the adults all tried to be on their best behavior when he was around.  Maybe if he had been around for all of the film work they (the adults) would have behaved a little more properly.

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You're on the money Dargo.  That's funny, I  also thought about the kid in DODGE CITY but that was Bobs Watson.  These dang kids all look alike!  We need a picture thread  so we can properly identify all of these cute  little whippersnappers.

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Ten years after the big budget, if rather rambling, Virginia City, Dickie (now Dick) Jones was reunited with Errol Flynn in a far more spare western, Rocky Mountain.

 

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That's Jones at bottom left, playing "Buck" Wheat in Rocky Mountain. 

 

This film would later be remade as the premiere episode of TV's Cheyenne, starring Clint Walker. In fact, one of the film's featured players (Peter Coe, second from left at top) would also appear in the television episode. When his character is (once again) killed by Indians, Warners, as a cost saving measure, spliced his death scene from Rocky Mountain into the Cheyenne episode. (Yep, they made sure to have Coe wear the same clothes in both westerns).

 

Jones called Rocky Mountain his favourite film. However, I think that one of his best opportunities was when he played the teenage Sam Clemens in Warners Brothers' Adventures of Mark Twain in the film's earlier scenes. He had a good scene with a gruff Robert Barrat in which he is taught how to pilot a riverboat. His character grows up, of course, to become Frederic March.

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C'mon now, that's FREDRIC ! ;)

 

C'mon now, Mr.R.

 

If Peter Noone can sing " 'En-er-ry The Eighth, I am, I am"...then what's the big deal if Tom wants to add another syllable to Mr. March's first name, RIGHT???!!! ;) 

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Tom JH wrote:

This film would later be remade as the premiere episode of TV's Cheyenne, starring Clint Walker. In fact, one of the film's featured players (Peter Coe, second from left at top) would also appear in the television episode. When his character is (once again) killed by Indians, Warners, as a cost saving measure, spliced his death scene from Rocky Mountain into the Cheyenne episode. (Yep, they made sure to have Coe wear the same clothes in both westerns).

 

It wasn't just Peter Coe that the two versions had in common.  Ann Robinson wore Patrice Wymore's costume, both look to have been shot in the same place, the little dog appeared in both and the Rebel flag looks the same. 

 

They did the same thing when they remade a Kirk Douglas/Virginia Mayo film later that year.  Morris Ankrum played the murdered man's father in each and the scenery looked the same.  Many of those early Cheyenne episodes were shortened versions of feature films and I thought they were well written.

 

Thank you, Tom, for the article.  This is the kind of Hollywood history I love.

 

 

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Dickie Jones died on July 7th this year, at age 87, and I guess that the vast majority of us didn't pay much attention to his passing.

 

Here are a few films of significance in his career, with performances that will register with many fans, even if his name doesn't register automatic recognition today.

 

 

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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, as the pageboy

 

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As the voice of Pinocchio (with Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards voicing Jiminy Cricket)

 

An anecdote from IMBD:

 

[re first meeting Walt Disney in 1939] That's where he asked me the famous question: 'Would you like to do the voice of Pinocchio?' And in my mind I'm thinking, 'What the heck do you think I'm here for?' I didn't say that. I said: 'Oh boy, oh boy, yeah, I really would. I really want to do that.' I was acting.

 

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Adventures of Mark Twain: a highly engaging performance as a young Sam Clemens

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This film would later be remade as the premiere episode of TV's Cheyenne, starring Clint Walker. In fact, one of the film's featured players (Peter Coe, second from left at top) would also appear in the television episode. When his character is (once again) killed by Indians, Warners, as a cost saving measure, spliced his death scene from Rocky Mountain into the Cheyenne episode. (Yep, they made sure to have Coe wear the same clothes in both westerns).

 

Rocky Mountain was also remade for Maverick, and yes, James Garner claimed he wore the same jacket as Flynn so the footage would match (you'd think Jim's shoulders would be too big for a good fit).

 

Whether the Maverick remake used footage from the Cheyenne remake I don't know, but I'd never put anything past Warners.

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Rocky Mountain was also remade for Maverick, and yes, James Garner claimed he wore the same jacket as Flynn so the footage would match (you'd think Jim's shoulders would be too big for a good fit).

 

Whether the Maverick remake used footage from the Cheyenne remake I don't know, but I'd never put anything past Warners.

Actually, Richard, Garner appeared in that Rocky Mountain remade episode of Cheyenne in the role of a Union officer (the part played by Scott Forbes in the movie).

 

It was another Errol Flynn western, Silver River, that was the basis for the premiere episode of Maverick. Outtakes or shots from the film can be seen in the TV episode, including a shot of a saloon with a sign "McComb's" visible. (Mike McComb was the name of Flynn's character in Silver River).

 

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Maverick shot lifted out of Silver River

 

Character actor Leo Gordon (with his own attempt at an Irish accent) was named "Big" Mike McComb in the Maverick episode and appeared in a few more early episodes of the series as that character.

 

I don't know whether or not Garner ever wore a jacket once worn by Flynn but, if he did, it wasn't because he was playing the same character. On the other hand, both Brett Maverick and Flynn's Mike McComb were gamblers.

 

One thing that Garner did say that he had in common with Flynn was that Jack Warner was physically intimidated by both of them and thought they were both capable of physical violence against him if suitably enraged. Garner said he never would have harmed Warner but, at the same time, he didn't want Warner to know that.

 

As far as Flynn is concerned, I don't believe that he ever touched a hair on JL's head. However, he had a ferocious temper when aroused (particularly if drinking) and was a good man to avoid under those circumstances. I did read of one incident (not certain how true it is) in which Warner was said to have fled his office because he had been warned that an angry Flynn was on his way there to confront him.

 

This is a side of Flynn that it is apparent young Dickie Jones never saw. I don't think that Flynn of 1939-40's Virginia City (when he was at the peak of his career) had as much bitterness and anger in him as did the Flynn of 1950's Rocky Mountain, for a variety of reasons.

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Actually, Richard, Garner appeared in that Rocky Mountain remade episode of Cheyenne in the role of a Union officer (the part played by Scott Forbes in the movie).

 

It was another Errol Flynn western, Silver River, that was the basis for the premiere episode of Maverick. Outtakes or shots from the film can be seen in the TV episode, including a shot of a saloon with a sign "McComb's" visible. (Mike McComb was the name of Flynn's character in Silver River).

 

mccombs11_zps49432fea.jpg

 

Maverick shot lifted out of Silver River

 

Character actor Leo Gordon (with his own attempt at an Irish accent) was named "Big" Mike McComb in the Maverick episode and appeared in a few more early episodes of the series as that character.

 

I don't know whether or not Garner ever wore a jacket once worn by Flynn but, if he did, it wasn't because he was playing the same character. On the other hand, both Brett Maverick and Flynn's Mike McComb were gamblers.

 

One thing that Garner did say that he had in common with Flynn was that Jack Warner was physically intimidated by both of them and thought they were both capable of physical violence against him if suitably enraged. Garner said he never would have harmed Warner but, at the same time, he didn't want Warner to know that.

 

As far as Flynn is concerned, I don't believe that he ever touched a hair on JL's head. However, he had a ferocious temper when aroused (particularly if drinking) and was a good man to avoid under those circumstances. I did read of one incident (not certain how true it is) in which Warner was said to have fled his office because he had been warned that an angry Flynn was on his way there to confront him.

 

This is a side of Flynn that it is apparent young Dickie Jones never saw. I don't think that Flynn of 1939-40's Virginia City (when he was at the peak of his career) had as much bitterness and anger in him as did the Flynn of 1950's Rocky Mountain, for a variety of reasons.

 

 

My bad on the Garner. I remember reading (I think in his Playboy interview) that he claimed he wore the same jacket as Flynn to match some shots, but I guess I (or even he?) got mixed up on some of the other details.

 

The Warners TV remakes deserve a thread of their own.

 

Re Virginia City: everything (aside from Dickie) I've read and heard (including Osborne's wraparounds) indicate Flynn intensely disliked working with Hopkins, for various reasons including: 1) she was considerably older than he was, and he felt this hurt his image, and 2) the part had been intended for Olivia de H, and Flynn was furious when she was replaced.

 

I believe the final shot of Virginia City, instead of a Flynn/Hopkins clinch/kiss, consists of the pair staring off in different directions --  perhaps a comment (intentional? Mike Curtiz is that you?) on their off-screen relationship.

 

Where is our resident Flynn gal to setttle this controversy? :lol:

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Re Virginia City: everything (aside from Dickie) I've read and heard (including Osborne's wraparounds) indicate Flynn intensely disliked working with Hopkins, for various reasons including: 1) she was considerably older than he was, and he felt this hurt his image, and 2) the part had been intended for Olivia de H, and Flynn was furious when she was replaced.

 

I believe the final shot of Virginia City, instead of a Flynn/Hopkins clinch/kiss, consists of the pair staring off in different directions --  perhaps a comment (intentional? Mike Curtiz is that you?) on their off-screen relationship.

Richard, I found Dickie Jones' comments interesting because of their inconsistency with the general perception of the animosity that is said to have existed between Flynn and Hopkins during the making of Virginia City. Their lack of on screen rapport may well be a reflection of this antagonism, as well.

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Pure speculation on my part here, as I said earlier, these are the recollections from the perspective of a child actor. I would believe that everyone treated the kid in a civil manner and also behaved in a civil manner when he was around.  When he wasn't on the set the gloves came off and the real "fun" began.

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Pure speculation on my part here, as I said earlier, these are the recollections from the perspective of a child actor. I would believe that everyone treated the kid in a civil manner and also behaved in a civil manner when he was around.  When he wasn't on the set the gloves came off and the real "fun" began.

Sounds like a reasonable assumption, mrroberts. Flynn liked kids and may well have been on his best behaviour when the boy was around. Certainly Jones appeared to be favourably impressed by him, though this even extended to the Flynn of Rocky Mountain, made ten years later, as well.

 

Jones' comment that Flynn and Patrice Wymore fought while making that film (shortly before marrying)is something that I've never read anywhere else. It's my understanding that Flynn was unexpectedly impressed by the lady during the film shoot, and she, in turn, was gradually won over by him after initially being rather indifferent to meeting him. I have never heard of them arguing while making the film, outside of the comment by Jones.

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Sounds like a reasonable assumption, mrroberts. Flynn liked kids and may well have been on his best behaviour when the boy was around. Certainly Jones appeared to be favourably impressed by him, though this even extended to the Flynn of Rocky Mountain, made ten years later, as well.Jones' comment that Flynn and Patrice Wymore fought while making that film (shortly before marrying)is something that I've never read anywhere else. It's my understanding that Flynn was unexpectedly impressed by the lady during the film shoot, and she, in turn, was gradually won over by him after initially being rather indifferent to meeting him. I have never heard of them arguing while making the film, outside of the comment by Jones.

Not to take this too off course but that's why I would love it if TCM could have snagged an interview with Dean Stockwell before the recent layoffs and budget cuts. He worked with Flynn in Kim and probably would have tales to tell. Alas, he apparently brushed TCM off and wouldn't sit for an interview.

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Not to take this too off course but that's why I would love it if TCM could have snagged an interview with Dean Stockwell before the recent layoffs and budget cuts. He worked with Flynn in Kim and probably would have tales to tell. Alas, he apparently brushed TCM off and wouldn't sit for an interview.

 

HelenBaby, Stockwell has some GREAT (perhaps a bit X-rated with the language used) anecdotes about working with Flynn. The following is from http://www.sheilaomalley.com/?p=6909.

 

Dean Stockwell: 3 Stories About Errol Flynn

Posted on August 26, 2007 by sheila

Speaking of Errol Flynn …

 

 

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In 1950, Dean Stockwell appeared in Kim with Errol Flynn. Stockwell was 12 or 13 when they filmed it, and nearing the end of his run as a child-actor. In Kim, Stockwell is on the brink of adolescence. He has described how he, unlike other normal kids, YEARNED for acne and awkwardness, because that would then mean he wouldn’t have to be a “child actor” anymore. He didn’t particularly enjoy any of it.

 

Errol Flynn, naturally, was a huge star. The rapport between Stockwell and Flynn seems quite genuine in Kim, and you really believe that these two – one a kid, one a grown man – are buddies.

 

Some background that will be relevant for the Errol Flynn stories: Stockwell’s dad had never really been around when he was a kid, and his parents got divorced when he was quite little. He was raised by his mother, and he grew up on the MGM lot where he was under contract.

 

Child star Dick Moore (or “Dickie Moore”) wrote a book about what it was like for children actors of that era (Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (but don’t have sex or take the car)). I’ve had the book since I was a teenager myself because I always wished I had grown up in that era, in the heyday of child movie stars. Shirley Temple, Mickey Rooney, Margaret O’Brien, etc. etc. Dickie Moore tracks down all of his old child-star friends and asks about their experiences as child actors. Some (like Rooney) were like, “It was delightful!” and some, like Stockwell, were like, “Yeah, uhm, it was NOT so delightful.”

 

 

We are now returning to Errol Flynn and what he meant to Dean Stockwell. Stockwell was a little child, an alien from normal boyhood: he had adult responsibilities, he was carrying movies, he made tons of money, and spent most of his time wishing he was playing football and going to a regular school. He had no father figure in his life, and was, for the most part, surrounded by women at all times.

 

In walks swashbuckling Errol Flynn.

 

I read some interview with Stockwell – it was recently – and he was asked, “So who taught you about sex?” He replied, “I did a movie with Errol Flynn when I was 13. I got quite an education.”

 

From Stockwell’s point of view, Errol Flynn was essential. 

Stockwell talks about Errol Flynn and what it meant to Stockwell to work with him and be in his presence at this particular adolescent moment in his life:

 

I’m not saying I’d recommend him for the rest of society. It just so happened that at that time of my life – I was twelve or something – he was what he was: a truly profound, nonsuperficial sex symbol. He was the f u ck i n g male.

 

Funny (and, to me, moving) stories below.

 

Dean Stockwell:

 

Flynn was a maniac practical joker. I had a horror looming up, one of those crying scenes – a real toughy – with Paul Lukas. He’s a dying lama. The scene is a master shot inside a tent in India and I’m there with the lama and Flynn comes through the tent flaps and gives me food for the lama in a rice bowl, and I’m supposed to be – as the character Kim – on the job and I can’t let the lama eat maggots. So I check the bowl. Flynn has a line and leaves. Then I have this big crying scene with the lama.

 

So we rehearse and do a take. I’m talking to the lama and in comes Flynn and hands me the bowl, piled high with fresh camel dung, still steaming. Now I’m supposed to look at it and say, “Is this okay for the lama to eat?” And he’s supposed to say, “Yes, of course. I promise it’s good.”

I looked at the mess and said my line and he backed out. I played the rest of the scene and it cost Flynn five hundred dollars. He had bet everyone on the crew that he would break me up.

 

Dean Stockwell again:

 

I had a hell of a good time shooting that picture [Kim].

 

Errol Flynn came onto the set one morning a little blurry-eyed, and told me about picking up a girl the night before, a waitress. He really liked waitresses and working girls – secretaries.

So he took this waitress to his place. Next morning, he said, “You know what she did? As I’m f u c k i n g her, she said, ‘Oh, F u c k me, Errol Flynn! F u c k me, Errol Flynn!’ I mean, that really tells you where it’s at. ‘F u c k me, Errol Flynn.’ Not ‘F u c k me, Errol.'”

 

Can you imagine what poor Mrs. Stockwell’s reaction would have been if she had known that this was the kind of story Flynn was regaling her young son? But Stockwell ate it up.

 

Stockwell had grown up in the hothouse atmosphere of the studio which had a vested interest in keeping the kids innocent (sometimes to a fault: most of the girls interviewed in Dick Moore’s book – Jane Withers, Margaret O’Brien, many others – say that they hadn’t even been warned about menstruation. It was as though the studio thought they could stave off eventual adolescence by not letting the girls know about what was coming. Many of these young girls randomly began bleeding one day and had the appropriate response of: AHHHH, WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME!). The studios were particularly intent on shielding their little child stars from the realities of adolescence.

Errol Flynn bonded with Stockwell as a colleague and friend and (perhaps unconsciously) helped Stockwell separate himself from the childhood-atmosphere of the Little Red Schoolhouse and look forward to being an adult.

 

Dean Stockwell:

 

Okay, so I’m going to play this little Indian kid in Rudyard Kipling’s tale of Kim and Errol Flynn is going to play the other guy. While they’re building the sets, I come onto the sound stage with my mother and the studio teacher, the perfect Norman Rockwell portrait of middle America – sixty-three years old, sweet, giving, a long-suffering spinster with the rimless glasses and high lace collar. She was terrific with her rosy cheeks. Didn’t even have to blue her hair; she had her own natural white hair. She and my mother were flanking me.

 

Errol Flynn came up to me. Somebody said, “This is Dean Stockwell.” Of course, he’s bigger than me, and with this gleam in his eye, he looked down at me. He stuck out his hand and said, “Hi. Have you had your first f u c k yet?”

 

There was a moment, it lasted an eternity, where both my mother and the teacher were going “Brrrr,” like pigeons with a gnat up their a s s, blushing and doing everything but bleeding on either side of me. Flynn is still staring at me, waiting for me to answer him, but I didn’t know what the word meant. I’m just looking at this guy, thinking, I finally found a friend, a father.

Obviously, he knew I hadn’t had my first f u c k yet, or he figured that out right after he asked me. Still, he gave me one of the special lapel buttons he’d had made. It had beautiful hand-carved wings. In the center were three F’s, interlocked. It was “Flynn’s Flying F u c k e r s” club, and the part that went into your lapel had a huge e r e c t  c o c k and balls to hold it in. I had it hidden in my top drawer for four years. My mother finally found it. She didn’t tell me until two years after she threw it out.

 

Dean Stockwell:

 

“There were uglies and there were beauties. For me, Errol Flynn was the best… He was the ultimate father figure for me.”

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James Garner did a Playboy interview?  Is there any way to access this online?  I loved his book, the RO and AFI interviews and would probably feel the same about this one.  Regardless of what he though about himself he was an interesting read/listen.

 

How did you manage to get those Dean Stockwell comments past the administrator?  He censors that word for mammary glands even when the poster's talking about chicken rather than women.  No, it's never been part of my vocabulary, I'm just asking. 

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How did you manage to get those Dean Stockwell comments past the administrator?  He censors that word for mammary glands even when the poster's talking about chicken rather than women.  No, it's never been part of my vocabulary, I'm just asking. 

I bribed him.  ;)

 

Stockwell uses some fairly graphic language, it's true (of which I did supply a warning) but I don't see any reference to either mammary glands or substitute words for them. There are plenty of other words there for a censor to ruminate about, though. Hope you weren't offended. No word is used there that can't be overheard plenty of times when "guys talk." 

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WOW! Now while I knew Flynn could be really "out there" sometimes, I CAN'T believe he would ask a 12 y/o that question WHILE the kid's mother and teacher are standing right there next to 'em!

 

(...hmmmmm...gotta wonder here if just like little Dickie Jones' account of the "Virginia City" set, Stockwell's recollection of this event MIGHT BE juuuuust a tad off the truth)

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WOW! Now while I knew Flynn could be really "out there" sometimes, I CAN'T believe he would ask a 12 y/o that question WHILE the kid's mother and teacher are standing right there next to 'em!

 

(...hmmmmm...gotta wonder here if just like little Dickie Jones' account of the "Virginia City" set, Stockwell's recollection of this event MIGHT BE juuuuust a tad off the truth)

Well, Dargo, while I understand your reaction, young Dean didn't seem to have a problem with it (while guaranteed that his mother would, of course).

 

Flynn was a man who enjoyed shocking people in order to get a reaction. And he's a man who loved to tweak authority figures of any kind, be it Jack Warner, Hollywood establishment or a possibly conservative looking mother of a young boy. I believe Stockwell's account. The Flynn of 1940 wouldn't have done that, I believe, but by 1950, long after the statutory rape trial that forever changed his public image, I think he was capable of it.

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