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Time Machine

February 2024
1min read

Swashbuckler

On February 6 a Los Angeles jury acquitted Errol Flynn of statutory rape. His accuser, the dancer Peggy La Rue Satterlee, claimed Flynn had attacked her and another underage girl in August 1941, aboard his yacht en route to Catalina. After the film star had entered her room and climbed into her bed, the New York Post quoted Satterlee as testifying, “I believe I slapped him on the nose. … I might have kicked him, but I don’t think so. I cried.”

A certain seaminess clung to Flynn despite his acquittal: there were just too many bad stories, and after the war the Australian-born movie actor never recovered the drawing power that he had shown with earlier films like The Adventures of Robin Hood .

The February 6 New Yorker reported important changes in the debutante ritual, which was surviving the war climate by daintily joining in the spirit. Proud parents were buying War Savings Bonds to amend for the frivolousness of deb balls, and the Arthur Murray school introduced a “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition” dance, complete with stylized “Praise the Lord” and machine-gunning gestures.

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