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PAGE FOURTEENGilliland left by plane for Melbourne. Ham and I had lunch with him. He is a wild Irishman. After four days, we three were pals. The chances are that we shall never see one another again. One used to like to know something of the background of one's friends. In war time the uniform and insignia of an officer are accepted in lieu of background, They establish a sort of freemasonry among their wearers.
Sydney, Australia: December 28 - 29
Hollywood taught me to take people as I found them and not bother about backgrounds in civilian life. I have had friends who were gangsters, bookmakers, bootleggers, adulteresses, social registerites, tycoons, and pillars of society -- all the way from a member of the old Halsted Street Alky Gang to the Vanderbilts. Bert Weston is the only friend with whose background I am wholly familiar. Perhaps I should have said, Bert Weston is my only friend -- period.
To get back to the 28th. (December 28) (I hope you are as bored as I am.) Ham had an Australian girl and me for cocktails and dinner and then took us to the Minerva Theatre to see Arsenic and Old Lace, which was well done by a local stock company, I had long wished to see this play, but had to fly some 5000 miles to Australia to do so. We ran into our girl companion's father and mother in the theatre. They were substantial, well appearing people. The girl is married to an Australian flying officer who has been fighting in Africa for two years. She will soon have a baby by an American Naval officer. This fact was revealed by one of her bosom friends, who also passed on the interesting information that another of her bosom friends whom we had met had syphilis. This must be the way of life for which we are fighting The husband of our informant was suing for custody of their two children on the grounds that she was unfit to have them. I met some nice people,
December 29th, and the holidays were over! I could send out my laundry and cleaning and get a hair cut. While I was away, I had four haircuts in three months. One by an Australian in Sydney, one by an American soldier in Noumea, one by an East Indian in Suva, and one by a Filipino mess attendant on board the USS Shaw. So what?
Met Pat Robinson of International News Service in Col. Duprez' office. Pat was dean of War correspondents by right of antiquity -- until I came along In my autograph book he wrote: "The Dean until Tarzan showed up."
After dinner, Ham and I went to the Lyceum and saw a Blonde picture and Francot Tone in "A Yank in Dutch" ("The Wife Takes A Flyer"), probably the silliest picture I had ever seen.
The next day, (December 29) while I was talking to Capt. Stanton in Col Duprez' office, the Colonel came in and said that Col. Diller of General MacArthur's staff was in a car down stairs and wanted to meet me. Diller was very cordial. He told me that regardless of priorities he would get me to New Guinea if I would come up to Brisbane. I later tried to get up there, but gave it up when I discovered that I could take only 44 pounds of baggage on the plane I have been kicking myself ever since. Had I known that I was not going to be allowed to go to Guadalcanal, I'd have left my baggage in Sydney.
Capt. Stanton took me to lunch at the War Correspondents' table at Romano's. I met William Dunn, CBS, New York; Stanley Quinn, Mutual, New York; George Thomas Folster, NBC and Chicago Sun; and Barry Young, Mirror - Truth, Sydney. Pat Robinson was also present. That day I was a guest, but thereafter I was free to eat at the table and bring male guests -- no women.
Pat Robinson of International News Service
"A Yank in Dutch" ("The Wife Takes A Flyer")
Minerva and Lyceum Theatres in Sydney
Rare Edgar Rice Burroughs WWII Photos
Col. David Taylor shares eight photos of ERB as a WWII correspondent
from the National Archives in Washington, DC.
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