Provocative Letter to Young Fan - 1936
Outrageous typed letter signed by swashbuckling superstar Errol Flynn on his personal Warner Bros. Studio stationery, 4 1⁄4″ x 6 1⁄2″, February 5, 1936, to Texas fan Catherine McPolan (whom census records indicate was 16 years old at the time). Flynn was famous for his drinking, womanizing, and brawling. His freewheeling, hedonistic lifestyle caught up with him in November 1942 when teenagers Betty Hansen and Peggy Satterlee accused him of statutory rape. A group was organised to support Flynn, named the American Boys’ Club for the Defence of Errol Flynn (ABCDEF); somewhat shockingly its members included conservative lion William F. Buckley, Jr.
The trial took place in January and February, 1943, and Flynn was cleared of the charges. But the incident served to increase his reputation as a ladies’ man, which led to the popular belief that the term “in like Flynn” was based on the actor’s romantic exploits, though the true origin of the phrase is still unverified. In full, verbatim:
My dear Catherine:
I am very sorry not have answered your letter before, but have been so very busy. Now I am in the hospital and have a little time to answer some of the letters I have wanted to.
Thank you so much for writing, it was very much appreciated, and if you have someplace, a snapshot of yourself, I would very much like to have it.
I am saving photographs of all the people who write me—that is those few letters that sound sensible—and those I think I would like to know better.
My very kindest regards / Sincerely / Errol Flynn
The original envelope is included. It is believed that Flynn typed this letter himself, given the spelling and typographic errors.
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