Errol Flynn was the greatest action star in the Golden Age of Hollywood: Hard-fighting, hard-drinking, hard-molesting -- Flynn always strived to act first and think later. But as a young man, the actor had more cerebral ambitions. Instead of just wanting to be a danger to himself and the occasional minor, he wanted to be a danger to animals instead.
In his vodka-soaked memoirs, My Wicked, Wicked Ways, Flynn recalled how much he admired his father Theodore, a zoologist and professor of biology at the University of Tasmania. In fact, young Flynn began his own zoological experiments, which lasted until the age of eight or nine, when he both made his first big scientific breakthrough, and broke all the laws of nature and decency.
Flynn observed that if he gave a piece of pork to one of the ducks in his backyard "something in its intestinal make-up caused the bird to pass the pork within a minute or two." So the next day, he tied a juicy bit of meat to a piece of greased string, fed it to a duck, waited for the duck to pass it whole, and then fed it to the next one. After stringing up half a dozen ducks bill-to-cloaca, Flynn closed the loop, creating a "living bracelet" of which he was more proud than any "scientist inventor of an antibiotic."
Warner Bros. Pictures
Always more showman than scientist, Flynn turned his academic freakshow into a more literal one, selling tickets to his friends who could come stare at the ornithological ouroboros in awe. Flynn's father was less impressed. The sight of the abomination caused Pa Flynn to shout "you cruel little devil," and break his umbrella across Errol's back. And so ended the scientific career of Errol Flynn, who vowed never to experiment again -- "unless my experience with women can be counted."
Go check the first paragraph again if you're curious how that worked out for him.
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