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Libertines, Lotharios or Bastards?

Filming, Floating and Fooling Around

Filming, Floating and Fooling Around
David Niven 1910 - 1983 Errol Flynn 1909 -1959

Water-skiing - What can go Wrong?

The sea off Catalina 1936

David Niven watches as the speedboat bounces across the waves, leaving him alone in the water miles from shore. Knowing that within minutes the man at its helm will be gleefully having sex with the girl HE invited along for the afternoon, he begins the long, slow paddle home.

The outrageous cad who has marooned him at sea so he can fuck Nivens girlfriend is also his house mate and new best friend……Bloody Errol Flynn.

The two of them had read about a chap in France called D’Arcy Rutherford who claimed to have invented a new sport called “Water Skiing” and Flynn was eager to try it out. He had got the Warner Bros prop dept to knock up a couple of crude skis and the two had zoomed around the ocean off Catalina island with Nivens star struck date watching enthralled.

His turn on the skis over, Niven gave her a cheery wave before sinking down in the water exhausted and waiting to be picked up. Only he wasn’t, the tow rope was pulled in and with the worlds sexiest man’s laughter ringing in his ears, Hollywood’s newest star found himself all at sea with only a plank of wood for company.

“So long Sport”

Bloody Flynn you could always count on him…..to let you down.

Niven and Flynn had met at a house party thrown by Flynn’s fiery soon to be wife, Lilly Damita. Despite both initially thinking that the other was gay it soon became apparent that booze and women were interests that they very much had in common.

During the filming of The Charge of the Light Brigade – in which they both starred – the actors cruised Hollywood Boulevard’s seediest dives cementing their friendship by getting pissed and picking up girls. One morning as Niven was buttoning himself into his 27th Lancers uniform and wrestling with yet another spectacular hangover Flynn appeared.

The last Niven had seen of him he was disappearing into the night with two girls he had met in a club and Niv was eager to know how the evening’s sexual escapades had panned out. He was surprised to learn that it had been a dud.

"I may need a little stiffener" “I may need a little stiffener”

“I needed a few more drinks old sport” Flynn recalled sadly “hadn’t had enough to get the old cock hard enough for two”

Filming was then briefly halted when Flynn beat the shit out of a huge stunt man who had shoved a lance up his horse’s arse as a joke. With “Light Brigade” in the can, Niven continued his relationship with Merle Oberon while Flynn settled into a married life of fighting and fucking.

"Poke my horse up the ass, will ya" “Poke my horse up the ass, will ya”

He called his passionate wife “Tiger Lil” and often said that he had to be nimble on his feet to avoid injury….it was a passionate relationship. When he was an hour late to a party thrown by Lilli in honour of their first meeting she smashed a champagne bottle on his head and then found herself on the receiving end of a Flynn right hook as he sank unconscious to the floor.

Recovering in hospital Flynn bemoaned the fact that while he was perceived as a great womanizer he never had to seduce women as they threw themselves at him day and night “For Christ’s Sake”, he muttered “I come home and they’re hiding under my bed”

With rows becoming louder, more frequent and increasingly violent Flynn decided after two months, to move out.. and as Niven was desperately attempting to avoid marriage with Merle Oberon, the two decided to share a house together. They rented Rosalind Russel’s place at 601 North Lindon Drive – Flynn was the bigger star so paid the larger share of rent and therefore had the master bedroom – except on special occasions.

They immediately immersed themselves in a lifestyle that The Hollywood Reporter called “A trespass against all good taste”

Constant drinking, a merry go round of girls – some looking suspiciously youthful – Drugs (Flynn often popped a pinch of cocaine on the end of his Johnson while Niven wandered around off his face on marijuana) and loud orgies were the domestic routine – particularly on a Sunday.

"MY PENIS!!" “MY PENIS!!”

The two also delighted in pulling pranks on their usually inebriated guests. A wizened and elderly film extra who went by the name of “OK Freddie” had an enormous cock that they encouraged him to show to everyone who walked through the door. At a dinner party, they dressed the hapless stooge as a waiter and got him to lie his vast appendage on a silver platter surrounded by cold cuts of ham and some appetising prawns. All went well until a particularly peckish woman stabbed it with a fork. Freddie ran shrieking to the bathroom definitely not “OK”

Although separated from his wife, Flynn made sure that he stopped orgying at least twice a week in order to visit her. The couple would go to parties where they bitched at each other constantly before disappearing to enjoy loud and energetic makeup sex before returning to the party and being vile to each other again until home time.

Always up for a good scrap, Flynn would keep himself in fighting trim by sparring with various tough guys in the garden. He and director John Huston once pummelled each other insensible for several hours as puzzled visitors sipped cocktails inside. It was good to be prepared as Hollywood womanizing Flynn-style had its risks and Niven was nothing if not the perfect wingman.

One afternoon when he returned from the studio Niven spotted a suspicious figure lurking in the garden. Fortifying himself with whisky he apprehended the intruder who turned out to be an obsessively jealous film producer who had a severe crush on an actress called Joan Bennet. He was convinced she was upstairs having sex with Flynn and it took all of Nivens considerable charm to convince him that this “most definitely” wasn’t the case and he should leave. What Niv didn’t mention however was that Miss Bennet was indoors only waiting expectantly in the living room because Flynn hadn’t come home yet.

"I'm gonna blow your balls off" “I’m gonna blow your balls off”

The film producer left but later approached another man he suspected of having designs on Joan Bennet in a car park and shot him in the testicles, so that day Niven quite literally saved Flynn’s balls.

On another occasion, he watched incredulously as Flynn, outraged by something gossip columnist Hedder Hopper had written about him knocked on her front door and when she opened it began to vigorously masturbate. Despite the fact that she was laughing in his face a determined Flynn managed to achieve orgasm all over her front step before – his point being made- making a dignified exit. So now Niven is floating in the Pacific making slow progress towards Donald Coleman’s yacht that’s bobbing some distance away.

Hang on ….is that a Shark?…….bloody Flynn.

He should have known a combination of Flynn and the ocean wasn’t a good idea.

Captain Blood had recently bought himself a 65 Ketch named “Sirocco” and with a crew of drinking buddies and female guests would go sailing every week. Regular crew members were given a badge emblazed with an erect penis motif and the legend FFF “Flynn’s Flying Fuckers.”

Essentially the vessel was a floating knocking shop or “Bag -Shanty” as Flynn liked to call it and his male friends were always guaranteed a good time. There was consternation once when Flynn invited them to sit around the table in the main salon and with no women present the assembled FFFs thought they were in for a boring weekend of actual sailing….That was until the girls Flynn had hidden beneath the table unzipped their flies and started blowing them, then it was business as usual.

"This sailing lark is great fun...OW MY HAND" “This sailing lark is great fun…OW MY HAND”

One of Nivens jobs aboard the Sirocco was using an ice pick to chip ice from a huge block… to put in people drinks. During a heavy swell, his hand slipped and he managed to impale his index finger on the frozen lump. Flynn was at his side within moments only it wasn’t to help. He burst out laughing and left Niven pinned to the ice while he ran to get the girls, one of whom fainted when she saw Nivens injury.

As he thrashes the water to a foam shouting SHARK, desperately trying to get Ronald Coleman’s attention, Niven begins to wonder if the fun he undoubtedly has with Flynn is really worth the aggravation.

Later aboard Coleman’s yacht, trembling, guzzling brandy and contemplating how close he came to being eaten alive Flynn arrives to take him home and the emotionally drained and recently cuckolded film star expects his fellow actor to be at the very least a little bit contrite.

“Bettie says Hi…Eaten by a shark…Jesus sport I wish I’d seen that”

Bloody Flynn.

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