Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, and Robin Hood

Website & blogs © Louis Kraft 2013-2020
Contact Kraft at or comment at the end of the blog

I’m certain that some of you are fearful that Errol & Olivia (E&O) has fallen between the cracks as I figure out how to survive in the wondrous city of Los Angeles. I like a number of fantastic areas in our great country—New Mexico and Colorado (minus the snow) are front and center—but it is damned hard to know LA as I have for almost a lifetime and not thrill over all it has to offer.


This image captures the beginnings of romance in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). The scene happens after Robin (Errol Flynn) has shown Maid Marian (Olivia de Havilland), who is his prisoner, why he has become an outlaw. It has shocked her, and has opened the door for a major change in her life. I hope this image has caught your attention. If so, read on, for I will share some thoughts about the film below. (Louis Kraft personal collection)

We can talk about the weather, theater, restaurants, culture, and on and on and on, … but it is the people. People make our world move forward and thrive, and in LA we have it all—people wise. Everywhere, people, just people—all colors and races. LA is truly a melting pot, truly a microcosm of what our great country is based upon.

Last night I again saw people from all walks of life as I ventured into Hollywood to view The Adventures of Robin Hood (released 75 years ago this month) at the Egyptian Theatre. I sat the best seats in the house. I don’t have any recent photos here to share (my camera is a dinosaur, and I didn’t shoot an entire roll last night), but soon (I promise). My ongoing project, Errol & Olivia, has moved beyond the ongoing search for two people and their place in time  (Flynn & de Havilland). Now, if I could only add a small friend to the mix.


Film cover art that was originally created for a video cover, and which has since been used on DVD covers. If has also been printed as a one-sheet at least once. (Louis Kraft personal collection)

Whenever I view a Flynn, de Havilland, or for E&O, a Flynn/de Havilland film, it is, of course, for enjoyment, but now more importantly it is for critical review. Simply put, what do I like and what don’t I like. Or, said another way, what works on screen and what doesn’t work on screen. All my book projects are long to reach publication (I began researching Ned Wynkoop and the Lonely Road from Sand Creek in the mid-1980s), and there is a reason for this, my reason. I need to discover the person or people I’m writing about. I must discover them, and it cannot be based upon secondary writing that may or may not be error–riddled. (That said, there are some damn good secondary books that are trust worthy, and which I cherish. Thomas McNulty’s Errol Flynn: The Life and Career, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2004, is one such book.) Each subject has its own built–in pools of quicksand that can quickly kill a book. Of course the general reader may not see the errors, which in turn makes them “truth.” This sentence is key to my writing world, or saying the words differently: this is what drives me, … how to find what is hopefully the “truth,” clean, as much as possible, from errors. Errors can happen, depending what is found in the research and how it is interpreted. Sometimes a key piece of information isn’t found, and its absence can lead to a conclusion that isn’t true.

Those of you who think that I’ll never complete Errol & Olivia, rest assured, for it will see print. Patience is the key. Beginning on May 22, research again resumes at the Warner Bros. Archives, and the project will again consume two–three days per week of my time. Since Sand Creek and the Tragic End of a Lifeway will soon have a three–year delivery deadline, it is safe to say that E&O will dominate a good portion of my time each week except when I’m on the road (no projected trips until September for a Gatewood & Geronimo talk in Tucson and beyond). Progress will make large jumps this year.

Trust me.


Lobby card (1938) depicting a tense moment after Robin Hood climbs into Maid Marian’s room to thank her for saving his life, and it grows to more, much more. This scene, along with almost all the scenes in the film, is memorable.

Back to Robin and Marian (E&O), … Errol and Olivia certainly share some magical moments on screen, but last night it was Olivia’s performance that grabbed me and didn’t let go.


Eyes have so much to do with film acting, and Olivia’s eyes are alive, and offer an entry into Maid Marian’s inner being. (Louis Kraft personal collection)

It’s always good to have time pass before studying a film again, especially when writing about that film. Livvie’s (as she was sometimes called by Errol and others) character development is a wonder to see in the film. The balcony scene, always a favorite of mine, does have a few blips in it, but these were/are director problems; film angles/cuts that pull the viewer right out of the scene. Executive producer Hal Wallis should have jumped on them, and insisted that they be reshot, even though there had been a change of directors. … Over the years Wallis has picked on de Havilland, and often rightly so, but her Maid Marian is one of the acting delights of the film (and there are many … Flynn, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, Alan Hale, and on and on). Her performance is a thoughtful growth from a young woman, who at first refuses to accept that the world she knows is corrupt, into a woman that has fallen into love, which in turn instills her with courage to do what she must. There is an eroticism to her performance, that only last night grabbed my attention.

Oh yeah, research and understanding go hand-in-hand, and they are ever changing.

Those of you who know me, know that I like blades, especially swords. The final duel in Robin Hood between Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone (Sir Guy of Gisbourne) is a wonder, and the reason is multi-faceted, beginning with Flynn and Rathbone’s preparation long before the fight was filmed.


Artwork created from a photo taken during filming. It has appeared in at least one book and has been a magazine cover. (Louis Kraft personal collection)

Sword fights, just like dance, are by the numbers. Everyone knows exactly what the other person is (or people are) doing at all times. If not, a sword fight can quickly spiral toward disaster with someone being hurt (I almost lost an eye once; and I wasn’t a happy camper). It takes a long time to choreograph a duel, with creativity being the key (BTW, it is impossible to duel with broadswords as they did in Robin Hood, but in my humble opinion if the fight had been true to the broadsword, the climatic duel would have been dull or worse, boring). Flynn and Rathbone are never boring in this duel—never, for the duel is a cinematic triumph of dramatic action, and it set the meter of excellence in which all future swashbuckling duels would be compared. It started with fencing master Fred Cavens, who worked with Flynn and Rathbone, and who designed the fight. But it is much-much more, and all of the pieces are intricate and mandatory for a duel to reach full potential on film, and include camera angles and framing, lighting, and editing. These elements take life during filming when the choreographer (fencing master Cavens) works with the actors (Flynn and Rathbone), the director (Michael Curtiz), and the cinematographer (Sol Polito), who in turn works closely with the film crew (lighting technicians, and so on) to create the vision that director Curtiz desires. After the film is in the can (developed and printed), the editor (Ralph Dawson) takes over, but under the keen eyes of executive producer Hal Wallis, whose instinctive feel and magical decisions again and again made the Flynn/de Havilland films shine with life and vitality. And you can bet that Mike Curtiz made his view on the editing known, for he shot what he wanted, and would have vocalized what he wanted the audience to experience in the duel.

Rest assured, some of today’s views have already been added to and expanded upon in the manuscript.

A little long, … sorry, but I wanted to share what one portion of research is like (not all takes place in a lonely archive), and how it can add to a writing project. More updates on Errol & Olivia in the future. Promise.

Buying time … Errol Flynn, Ned Wynkoop, & a bad word

Website & blogs © Louis Kraft 2013-2020
Contact Kraft at or comment at the end of the blog

I thought that tomorrow I would return to the USC Warner Bros. Archives to continue research on the Flynn/de Havilland book. Not to be, for USC has entered finals, which means that the library system shuts down. As the archives is now part of the library system, it also shuts down. I now won’t be able to research at the archives until May 22 and I’ve signed up for all three available days (Wednesday through Friday, May 22-24).


LK, Diane Moon, & Olivia de Havilland. We are at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, Ca., in June 2006. Olivia is being honored. “She,” Olivia would whisper to me upon meeting Diane this night, “is exquisite.” And she washell, Diane is beautiful. I have tried so hard to eliminate her from my past, but she is front and center in much of my writing projects, and I can’t do it. This isn’t because of the memories, for they are good. All I can say, is that we are no longer a couple. Our relationship ended in 2011 (and I hope that this satisfies her). My past is mine, mine, never to be jettisoned to the circular file, and doubly so when related to what I write about. I have stated the truth about Diane’s & my past. Enough said about a relationship that no longer exists. I should add that Diane and Olivia liked each other and spent time together again in 2009.

I’m good with this; hell, I’m good with everything. There is absolutely nothing to get upset over.

Look on the bright side, …

I delivered the final Sand Creek proposal to Chuck Rankin at OU Press last Sunday, April 28. This will lead to him pitching the proposal and us agreeing to and signing a contract. Until that contract is signed, I have time to complete a bunch of articles that are long overdue.

At the moment I’m struggling to remember what I said about Ned Wynkoop in Centennial, Colorado, last month. Read that I’m trying to write an article based on the talk. This is important stuff, for it defines Wynkoop, it defines his guts to stand firm against the press, the military, and the U.S. government, for he absolutely refused to again be what he called an “accessory to the crime” of systematic slaughter of American Indians. This, my friends, took guts.


This image was created during a rally for Grant’s bid to become president of the USA in October 1868 at the Cooper Union in New York City, two months before Ned Wynkoop also spoke before a standing room only crowd at the same hall. Image from Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper (November 7, 1868). (Louis Kraft personal collection)

When questioned about solving the “Indian problem” at the famed Cooper Union in Manhattan in December 1868, Wynkoop dared to say that the best way to solve the situation would be “to extend American citizenship to the Indians and allow their representatives seats in congress.” Oh yes, this man was light years before his time.

And Mr. Flynn—he had to deal with nasty stuff in the 1940s that not only didn’t go away, but after his death worse accusations surfaced that he never had the chance to contest. If you have read a lot about him, you hopefully realize that some of what you may or may not know but have read is not true. Of course, a lot of what you’ve read is true. The good and the bad (don’t know if “bad” a good word choice here), are keys to why people are interesting. (More about this in another blog.)

I’ve told you a little of about Mr. Wynkoop but really nothing about Mr. Flynn. … But my views are strong here and they are going to lead to the usage of a foul word (more than once). If you will be offended, stop reading right here.

And Wynkoop’s reward? The circular file for he refused to march in line with the extermination of a race of people. Fuck that!

Flynn’s reward? Bullshit and lies that his family has not been able to question in court for the simple reason that you can defame the dead in the USA. Great court system we have. I don’t need to repeat the offending phrase here, for you already know what it would be.

New York publishers push the bullshit of the American frontier that the public has knowledge of and buys. There are only a handful of story ideas dealing with the American past (for example: the Alamo, Custer’s last stand, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, among a handful of others). They’re not interested in the truth; rather they’re interested the rewording and reworking of the same stories over and over again. Their goal is to sell books. Since this is the only way they can avoid going out of business, I must agree with their policy. I can agree with it, but I don’t have to like or buy into it. Do you want that infamous word one more time? Why not? Fuck them! (BTW, this four letter word that begins with an “F” is now in the dictionary, so it shouldn’t shock you.) Ladies and gentlemen, some of you (and certainly me) have used this word to the extent that it is now a part of our accepted English slang word usage. Congrats! And thank you, for I’m no longer a gunslinger using a foul and unacceptable word.

In life, we have a choice. What matters, or lies and bullshit that we at times (certainly me) must sell out to and swallow because we want to put food on the table.

There is a lot of crap that has been written, published, and accepted by the public as truth. As the saying goes, “If it is in print, it must be true.” Hog wash! And those of you that believe that if something is published that it must be true—shame on you. Shame on you!


Ned Wynkoop in 1867. (Art © Louis Kraft 1990)

The intent of this blog was simply to say that due to the shutdown of the Warner Bros. Archives I would have the time to complete a Wynkoop article, two shorter articles on Geronimo and the Apaches, and to finally pound away on a Marilyn Monroe article before returning to the land of Errol & Olivia (2 days a week, and sometimes 3, until completion) and Sand Creek and the Tragic End of a Lifeway (4 days a week upon signing of the contract and delivery of the final manuscript three years from the date of the contract signing), along with 1 day a week for talks and articles (thus me needing to get as much of this done now). There is a Gatewood/Geronimo talk coming this fall (and I’m going to have to figure out how to cheat on time here, figure out how to buy extra time). … And I haven’t even mentioned Navajo Blood. Yikes! Perhaps it is good that there is no lady in my life, for I don’t think she’d be very pleased with me.

Other than being lonesome at times, all is good and I’m enjoying walking into my future.

Errol Flynn, Ned Wynkoop, good friends, & reality

Website & blogs © Louis Kraft 2013-2020
Contact Kraft at or comment at the end of the blog

Errol Flynn and Ned Wynkoop … I linked them for all time in Ned Wynkoop and the Lonely Road from Sand Creek. That linking will continue, for even though they lived in different centuries, racial equality has joined them for all time. These are important words, and to know me, you must understand that this is what I write about. Racial equality. People … just people, for that is all we are—people. Without us, people, we do not exist.


LK in Layton & Vicki Hooper’s back yard (April 19, 2013). This image, which has been cropped, shows the view from the back of the Hooper home looking toward the First Range (need to check on this). You are also able to see one of the houses behind the Hooper home. On this day, Layton and I will drive to Centennial for the Order of the Indian Wars symposium on the 20th. All we had to do was get out of Layton’s driveway and onto city streets to I-25. Clear sailing after that. … Oh, I’m wearing my cold weather gear: A hat, sport coat, sweater, scarf, pants, and beaded moccasins. I’ve always wanted to run around naked in the snow, but didn’t want to shock anyone. Perhaps next time. Photo by Layton Hooper (Image © Louis Kraft 2013)

This ol’ boy enjoyed being “snowed in” for the first time in his life in Fort Collins, Colorado. Layton & Vicki Hooper opened their gorgeous home to me. I wasn’t going, “Oh s—t, I can’t research in Denver.” No, sir! Instead I was enjoying their company, enjoying life. My regret? This snow wasn’t the kind you make into snowballs.


Layton Hooper at John Monnett’s home in Lafayette on April 16, 2013. (Photo © Layton Hooper & Louis Kraft 2013)

On April 16, a fellow had cleaned Layton’s driveway so we could get out, and the freeway was scraped. Layton drove me to Indian wars historian John Monnett’s home in Lafayette, for a planned meeting. John and I are linked with much of our subject matter, and this has gotten us together and allowed us to become friends. On this day we not only talked about my upcoming book on Sand Creek and my desire that John become one of my key go-to-people but also the upcoming Ned Wynkoop talk for the Order of the Indian Wars symposium in Centennial, Co., on April 20. John’s research, which he shared with me on this day, changed the direction of my talk. No big deal, for this is what talks are about—change and adaptation.


John Monnett at his home in Lafayette, Co., during a great conversation wherein we discussed Sand Creek and him working with me and reviewing for me, but also discussing information that would add value to my upcoming Wynkoop talk. (Image © John Monnett & Louis Kraft @ 2013)

John had some important information that I needed to work into the talk. Hell, I don’t know what I’m going to say until I say it. Everything depends upon my concentration and my preparation. I’m always open to adding new and important info to my talks. Sharing details of events and hopefully turning people on. If one person hears a talk and decides to dig into the subject, I’ve had one hell of a successful day.

Learning about people, reaching out to people, accepting people is one day at a time.

Unfortunately the press/publishing houses that print most of what is published for general consumption has a narrow view, a view that is dictated by sales. Can’t blame them, for if they don’t hit their sales numbers they are out of business. … I hate to say it, but much of what they sell is pure crap.

I have a choice, … sell crap or what I believe to be the truth. As the “X Files” constantly told us, “the truth is out there.”

We all have decisions to make in our lives. I have made mine. …

I met Mr. Flynn first, not meeting Mr. Wynkoop until the late 1970s. I already knew who I was, but it took awhile to realize what was important in my world. These two gentlemen, that is, their lives, made me realize what was really important in our world, … people. People of every race, color, religion, political belief. People—you, me, the men and women who control what happens in the world, … people, just people control our future. Our future is before us, and it will continue on and on or it will end. People will decide the future of mankind. What is more important? Accepting people from all walks of life or destroying our world? The reality stands before us …

Welcome to Louis Kraft’s writing world

Website & blogs © Louis Kraft 2013-2020
Contact Kraft at or comment at the end of the blog

Chases, crashes, guns, knives, screams, even a surprise package with “SHAME” written in bold red letters on it. Excitement of an unsavory kind that should remain tucked firmly in the closet. “Say, it ain’t so, Joe!”* Is the above real? Did it happen? Are these stories that can be told? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” there’s a little more to my life than the nice fellow you think you know.
(*This quote by a little boy to premier baseball player Joe Jackson in September 1920 when Jackson was indicted for his participation in the 1919 Black Sox World Series scandal is oft repeated but inaccurate.)

How’s that for a teaser?

My bro Glen Williams took this image of LK relaxing at Mission San Fernando Rey de España, San Fernando, Ca., in late spring 2012. (photo © Louis Kraft & Glen Williams 2012)

When I’m lucky enough to have a lady in my life, she is the only one I have eyes for, … but alas, she has to share me with the writing world and with my love for my daughter. In the past this hasn’t been a winning combination. If loving and being with someone for all time is the most important thing in life (other than respecting and accepting mankind), and it is in mine, it must also include acceptance of both lives. I walk my own road and refuse to be caged. (By the way, my daughter isn’t included in this view, for we are linked for all time.)

Obviously there are ups and downs.

Before even beginning to write the next comments I’m chuckling. … I’m not going to tell you how to be successful (I’m the last person on earth to give advice here). Nor am I going to tell you how to write, how to research, or anything else the so-called experts pitch over and over again.

Glen Williams took the photo of Louis Kraft coming in from the light; it was also shot at Mission San Fernando Rey de España. (photo © Glen Williams and Louis Kraft 2012)

Glen Williams also took this photo of Louis Kraft at Mission San Fernando Rey de España in late spring 2012. (photo © Glen Williams and Louis Kraft 2012)

My world is a swirling mix of survival, creativity, physicality, and romanticism, and I have no intention of ignoring it. Sometimes you’ll cringe at my vagueness (for example, I might mention a small friend), but realize that when I’m vague it is out of necessity. Although I have every intention of opening my writing world to you, the goal is to entice, excite, entertain, and if I get lucky gain insight into my research. Beyond that, I’m looking for a chuckle, a tear, an interest in people long gone or still living.

Certainly I’ll talk about writing projects—past and present. I’ll update you with writing status and upcoming events. I’ll also talk about people and happenings that are special, at least to me. Additionally, I hope to invite you into my world, a world that at times seems to be yanked every-which-a-way.

Those of you who have “befriended” me elsewhere know that often I mix and match subject matter. For example, an Errol Flynn discovery, a comment about the mixed-blood Cheyenne Edmund Guerrier, a Navajo Blood teaser, and perhaps a pretty woman saying, “Kraft, you could [… you fill in the blanks].” With the introduction of a blog, there’ll also be invitations to join me as we explore an aspect of Dog Man chief Tall Bull or that special actress named Olivia de Havilland. What am I looking for here? Everything from congratulations to information to sympathy (but not necessarily in that order). Better yet, the fore-mentioned chuckle. Anything you feel like shooting my way. Every day is new, every day is different, every day has a learning curve. The best way to face it is with a smile and with the intention to enjoy each and every minute of the here and now.

Dear people, join me as I open up with hopefully a lively stream of consciousness about my world, a world of my own creation, a world that at times has followed a lonely trail, and finally a world that I have every intention of seeing published in book form. Oh yes, be very careful with what you say for I’m good at documenting information.