After my holiday trip to Australia and New Zealand I wrote about Errol Flynn’s home town of Hobart, Tasmania and printed some photos of the newly-named Errol Flynn Reserve. But it seems I was under-informed about local interest in the swashbuckling star. Here’s an e-mail I received from Steve Randell:
“My wife Genene and I run the Errol Flynn Society of Tasmania and we still do tours of his haunts around Hobart whenever we can. We just love to share Errol with visitors; I drive a coach and whenever possible let the passengers know that Errol was born and raised here in Hobart and tell a few stories as we travel Tasmania. We started the society because Genene—
Like anyone who’s spent much of his life in libraries and archives, hearing a young person claim that you can find “everything you need” to do research online is upsetting, to put it mildly. One can easily find simple information, and misinformation, but if you’ve devoted hours and days digging through vintage film publications or studio production files you know that acres of primary research materials don’t exist on the Internet.
Even if you’re lucky enough to have access to great collections like the ones held by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills, or the New York Public Library in Manhattan, you’re limited to how many hours or days you can spend taking notes and making photocopies.
One dedicated film scholar and archivist is trying to change all that. David Pierce has initiated a privately-funded project called Media History Digital Library, which is described—
If you attend the new production of Alice in Wonderland, you’ll not only see Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and other well-known performers onscreen; you’ll hear some familiar voices, especially if you’re fond of British actors. I pinpointed Alan Rickman as the Caterpillar right away; his delivery is unmistakable. But it was my wife Alice—the real Anglophile in the family—who identified Stephen Fry as the Cheshire Cat and Timothy Spall as Bayard the hound. (After all, she listened to Fry read the Harry Potter books; he’s on the British audiobooks while Jim Dale did the American versions.) Neither one of us could i.d. Michael Sheen as the White Rabbit, nor did we realize that two distinguished veterans, Michael Gough and Christopher Lee, provided the voices of the Dodo Bird and Jabberwocky, respectively.
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