09 March 2012

Fun While it Lasted

Reported this day in 1939:

A Queen Mary Kitchen


Vagabond's Tour of World

In a pair of borrowed trousers, a borrowed waistcoat minus buttons, and tail-coat loaned him by a down-and-out Soho artist, a "busker" crashed the party of a Mayfair countess.

David Wynn, world-crasher No. 1, who has gate-crashed his way from Siberia to Mexico--he was the first stowaway aboard the Queen Mary--took the countess's party in his stride in his vagabond trip around the world.

In London he joined a group of buskers, and with his "sweet and hot" saxophone played along London streets. He slept with the buskers in the crypt of St. Martin-in-the-Fields or on the embankment.

But that was luxury compared with the wilds or snow-covered Siberia, or the tiger-infested jungles of Mexico, he writes in his book, "Up the Other Sleeve" (Rich and Cowan).

Travelling steerage with Japanese, he left Los Angeles for Yokohama, with Moscow as his eventual goal. Determined to win his way in Hollywood, he intended to study at the Moscow Institute of Cinema Research.

From Japan to Korea, and then, with no money and no authority to enter Russian territory, Wynn seated himself in a first-class compartment of the trans-Siberian express.

He was caught. The crack train was stopped to drop off the stowaway "in the middle of nowhere."

"A biting, freezing wind was blowing, the temperature was below zero, no place to eat or sleep." At last he found the G.P. U. headquarters and was whisked to gaol in a reindeer sled.

Finally, in Moscow, Hollywood heard of him. He had gone right around the world to get a job back home. He returned to an elegant office and no work--and promptly boarded a tramp steamer for more adventure.


In Spain, he watched hundreds die in the bombing of Irun. In London he met George Bernard Shaw, wrote a book, starved, and drank free champagne at a countess's ball.

He boarded the Queen Mary without a ticket and without a penny. He danced in the cabin-class ballroom, and spent the rest of the trip washing dishes from the cabin-class dining room.

Home again, he set off for Mexico, accompanied by Gilda Gray, famous movie star and dancer. He shot tigers and alligators.

He went to a Mexican gaol as a spy, and was ordered to attempt an escape so that he could be shot as a "gaol breaker." Again his luck held out.

David Wynn lived through it all to say: "What is to happen next is what I look forward to for the future."

Source: The Central Queensland Herald (Rockhampton, Queensland)
Photo: A Hundred Years of Stainless Steel (http://www.stainlesssteelcentenary.info/)

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