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Flynn, Errol

(You changed my life ... 'you came in like the wind, like Errol Flynn')
(Foot of pride ... 'your fall by the sword love affair with Errol Flynn')

Date: Mon, 3 Jul 1995 16:40:03 +0000
From: Patricia Jungwirth (

ERROL FLYNN Great movie star of 30's & 40's, sex symbol & womanizer of great notoriety. Born in Tasmania!

Errol was a sailor from his early years, and his beloved yacht 'Sirrocco' was the scene of many of his memorable escapades. See his book 'My wicked, wicked ways'.

Date:    Wed, 26 Jul 1995 15:13:38 +0000
From:    Patricia Jungwirth (tricia.j@AARDVARK.APANA.ORG.AU)
Subject: Re: Ravished by God? (Was: Worst Dylan line?)

On 25 July Neale Paterson  wrote

>"You came in like the wind, like Errol Flynn"
>I find this line (from "You changed my life") particularly amusing,
>since it is presumably addressed to God. The expression "in like Flyn",
>often taken as referring to the Great Errol's notorious romantic
>proclivities, has definite sexual overtones. It certainly expresses the
>love of God for Bob in unconventional (and forcible) terms :-)

Glad you brought this up, Neale, I agree this line is one of the most
amusing, especially from the "religious" songs - and intriguing. I wonder
if this expression is as familiar to Americans as it is to Australians,
and if it means the same thing (ie instant seduction, to put it
politely)? Any input on this matter from the States would be appreciated!
Does the Great Errol hold any particular fascination for Dylan
(he is mentioned also in "Foot of Pride" - "your fall by the sword love
affair with Errol Flynn"), or is it just one of the "old movie buff"
references common to many Dylan songs?

Tricia J

From: MX%"" 4-AUG-1995 00:08:55.07 As a favor to one who is just completely Bolloxed Up by his very limited ability to communicate (man is the only animal unable to communicate with his own species), would you be so kind as to repost this to the group for me? Mel Subject: Re: In Like Flynn Redux? The late Eric Partridge, who hovered near bankruptcy much of his adult life in order to track down such questions, put it thus: In like Flynn (- he's) has two independent usages, the US and the Aus., although with much the same meaning. Of the US, J.W.C. has said, 1977, 'He's an easy winner'; more widely, it means 'He's sitting pretty'; C20. Perhaps, as W & F, 1960, suggests, a rhyming slang extension of *in*, 'inside, safe', by way of *well in*, R.C., 1978, is more specific: 'Originally (1940s) New York City, but some general currency later, probably helped by the rhyme. The reference was to the late Ed Flynn, whose Democratic Party machine exercised absolute political control over the Bronx, N.Y.C. - hence, the candidates he backed were almost auto- matically "in"; and he himself permanently so'. The Aus. c.p. emerged slightly later. It has been defined by Wilkes, 1978, as 'seizing an opportunity offered, especially sexual' in the Dict. Aus. Coll., which goes on to adduce T.A.G. Hungerford, *Shake the Gold Bough*, 1963, for the gen. nuance, and two examples for the sexual: David Williamson, *The Removalists*, 1972, and Alexander Buzo, *Rooted*, 1973, Buzo glosses it thus: '*Flynn, in like*(also *in like Errol*) refers to the athletic and sexual prowess of the late Austral- ian-born actor [Errol Flynn]'. Odd that these two playwrights should be the leaders of the vigorous, frank, disturbing new Australian theatre. (Note of 1 May 1978) from A Dictionary of Catch Phrases American and British, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day, Eric Partridge. Revised and Updated Edition Edited by Paul Beale. New York: Stein and Day, 1986. abbreviations: J.W.C. Professor John W. Clark W & F H. Wentworth and S.B. Flexner, A Dictionary of American Slang, 1960; 2nd Supplemented edn, 1975 R.C. Robert Claiborne c.p. catch phrase Wilkes G.A. Wilkes, Dictionary of Australian Colloqui- alisms, 1978 I am not unaware of the unpopularity nowadays of that once popularly-supported institution, the library. And I know that paper it can hurt you (just like roses), and so most try to avoid using books. Nevertheless, boys and girls...what more outrageous act can you think of, in these dark times, than to LOOK IT UP?! Mel
Date: Mon, 7 Aug 1995 09:53:31 -0400 From: Geoffrey Meyer (elcabong@PANIX.COM) Subject: Re: In Like Flynn From THE FILMS OF ERROL FLYNN by Thomas, Behlmer & McCarty (1969): Warner Brothers were fearful lest Flynn's trial (for statutory rape, in 1943) affect his power at the box office. They soon found his popularity not only had held but had a new spurt of interest. A new phrase was added to the English language: "In Like Flynn."
Date: Tue, 8 Aug 1995 13:32:03 +0000 From: Patricia Jungwirth (tricia.j@AARDVARK.APANA.ORG.AU) Subject: Re: In Like Flynn Redux? Okay, guys, I didn't wanna do this but... Mel's references are interesting, but let's get back to the source: "You came in like the wind, like Errol Flynn! You Changed my life." so can we forget about US politicans for a start? Partridge's assertion that the Aus. usage came later, citing the Williamson & Buzo examples from the, 70's is a red herring. Believe me, in Oz there is no doubt the phrase refers to the sexual prowess of the Great Errol. Both Williamson & Buzo are of similar age to Dylan, so their familiarity with the term actually reinforces the probability of his knowledge of its allusions. Let's not forget we're talking about the boy whose family owned the town cinema, who spent many hours of his boyhood watching movies there. A small-town cinema in the 50's must have been a treasure-house of the kind of posters & other memorabilia which now fetch big money at auction. And don't forget that TV in the 50's recycled the movies of the 30's and 40's relentlessly. As Clinton Heylin said "how eclectic (Dylan) was in his selection of early heroes, musical & celluloid (his catholic influences would be a key factor in his subsequent success)". Geoffrey Meyer's reference adds weight to the prevalence of the sexual metaphor in the US. Aussie Talk (The Macquarie Dictionary of Australian Colloqualisms) has the following: Flynn (phr.) In like Flynn: successful in a particular enterprise, esp. sexual. [ from the popular belief in the sexual prowess of Errol Flynn, Australian-born U.S. movie actor] The Macquarie Thesaurus has this: SEX (adj.):In like Flynn : made. WINNING/LOSING: (adj.): In like Flynn : successful In his book 'Hollywood Babylon' (NY: Dell, 1977) Kenneth Anger, in a chapter entitle "In Like Flynn" details Flynn's 1942 trial for statutory rape of two teenage girls. The prosecution had its basis in political corruption. The newly elected Los Angeles District Attorney pursued the Flynn charges in order to show the damage which could be done if the proper payoffs were not made by studio bosses. Apparently the studios had generously supported the election campaign of his rival, the former incumbent, who had been receiving large payoffs for years. To quote Anger: "As the trial progressed the expression "In like Flynn" became a GI codeword, which amused more than annoyed its namesake. [ ] "Morality" had shifted. Identifying fans liked the idea of being "In like Flynn". [ ] "Morality" had evolved so much by these wartime years that the Flynn case would never have been brought to court had it not been for concealed pressure - not pressure from the public." The jury acquitted Flynn on all charges. Flynn himself in his autobiography "My Wicked, Wicked Ways" (London: Heinemann, 1960), acknowledges the coining of this phrase during the time of his trial, which gained enormous press coverage in the press at the time. Other notes of interest: Errol Flynn was born in Tasmania on June 20, 1909 (a Gemini) At the time of the trial, Flynn was portraying Gentleman Jim Corbett, the boxer, in a movie entitled "Gentleman Jim". He went on to make many more movies, including one titled "Never Say Good-bye" ('46), a comedy featuring Flynn as a husband re-winning his divorce-bound wife. Flynn's book would appeal to any fan of movies of the 30's & 40's ; it would particularly appeal to anyone concerned with the destructive forces of fame, public notoriety and the unwelcome attention of the media. Flynn felt he was destroyed by the trial, forced to put on a 'devil-may-care' face to the public & friends, but robbed of his 'feelings', the only thing he felt an actor could not do without. The eternal conflict of a public 'persona' with the real person. BTW on trying to check the lyrics for the original quote, I found the song 'You Changed My Life' is not in 'Lyrics 62-85' and the version included on the 'Hwy-61 Interactive' is sadly incomplete, lacking any mention of Errol! Are the full lyrics already somewhere on the net, or is this a transcription job I should attempt?

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