Monthly Archives: May 2014
Monday – Pola says “Yes” and Rudy says “No”
Tuesday – Rudy says “Yes” and Pola says “No”
Wednesday- Pola says “I go to Europe”
Thursday – Pola says “I do not go to Europe”
Friday – Pola has dinner with Rudy
Saturday – Rudy has dinner with Pola
Sunday – A holiday
Mr. Simon Constable, recently attended the Premio Rodolfo Valentino Italian Excellence Awards, Castellaneta, Italy. He has graciously reported on attending the awards ceremony as well as supply photos of this prestigious event for this blog. I would like to personally thank him on his generosity in sharing his observations for this blogs readers.
The rain that fell on my first full day in Castellaneta was, according to the managers of my accommodation, unusual for the time of year — and I believed them. This was Italy, in early May, what was going on? Why was it so wet? Being British I was, of course, unfazed; besides, it would take more than a gentle pitter-patter to prevent me investigating Rudy’s birthplace. With my main purpose on the 4th – attending the Premio Rudolfo Valentino Italian Excellence Awards – hours away, I aimed (under an umbrella, and with my travel companion) for Valentino’s childhood home. Unsurprisingly, after viewing it from all possible angles, I was overcome with emotion. Here was where the story began. Where he was born, took initial steps, and spent those early formative years. And there was I, was more than a century later, gazing at it, damp but happy. After a walk to the top of Via Roma, snapping and filming as I went; a cappuccino at Bar Valentino; a tasty snack elsewhere; and a wander ‘round the oldest part of town, it was time for the ceremony: at Teatro Valentino, at 7:30 p.m. I was expectant.
By now traffic flow had been restricted with barricades, the local law and medics were in attendance, and a large crowd of spectators had gathered. The air truly buzzed with anticipation. As I understand it, the purpose of the awards is to, in Rudy’s name, recognize and celebrate Italian excellence. Meaning that, annually, the creativity of Valentino’s countrymen will be showcased and rewarded in Castellaneta. I have to say that it is an inspired idea and, obviously, LONG overdue. As we all know, long before The Oscars, Rudolph Valentino was a man who very much felt that achievement in his field should be rewarded. And he was obviously extremely proud of his national heritage and Italian culture in general. A little early (7:15 p.m.), we made our way to the barrier, and I explained that we were on the list, and that our tickets were waiting inside. The theatre that bears his name is a charming one. Like Rudy himself, it isn’t big, but it packs-a-punch. The interior is, like him, elegant. It embodies him somehow — if that’s possible. After collecting our tickets I paused to photograph the charming usherettes, and then we headed up the left-hand stairs to the gallery.
How early we were was apparent once we were upstairs, as there were perhaps only 50 or so people inside, including technicians. Italians being Italian things are more relaxed and leisurely. So, with little else to do, we stood at the gallery rail, chatting (for about an hour) as the venue filled-up. An enjoyable sixty minutes of people watching.
At around 8:30 p.m., an announcement, by its tone, suggested that the start of the proceedings was imminent and so we took our seats. (It was at this late point that Gabriel Garko appeared, something the Ladies present found pleasing.) Sure enough, at about 8:45 p.m. the evening commenced, with a large image of Rudy slowly appearing square by square, on the screen, at the back of the stage, and a voice-over in Italian telling his story. This was then followed by a wonderful dance routine, by an extremely talented troupe, to a song that seemed to be titled: “Oh, Oh, Rudy,” but actually, after an online check, appears to have been “Hello, Rudy” from “Ciao, Rudy” (1966). The presenter, Gabriella Carlucci, then walked on stage to welcome us all properly and to host the evening. (Dressed dramatically in black lace she didn’t drop-the-ball once for the next four hours.) What followed was a series of early awards to excellent Italians punctuated by Jazz music and dancing. First-up was Elisabetta Bedori, a local fashion designer, who received a beautiful Newcomer award and a bouquet. Then, Michele Gaudiomonte, (another designer) joined Gabriella, and he was followed in-turn by Michele Mirabella, famous Actor and Presenter, for the first Rudolph Valentino Award of the night. (He spoke for some time and got many laughs.)
At around this time the Great Grand niece of Rudy joined Gabriella Carlucci, which was a lovely surprise and very appropriate. She said something in Italian and apologized for not being able to speak the language. She then spoke about her Great Uncle and how she felt it was a great thing that the awards were being held in Castellaneta. His legacy, she said, was the realism with which he acted. An award for Beppe Fiorello followed. He sang a little of “Volare” but I never heard him mention Rudy or Rudolph Valentino, strangely; which was a shame. Then we had a rendition / version of “Cabaret,” from the musical, by a singer and live band. On reflection I suppose it was appropriate, as Valentino DID go to Germany at about that time: though Chris. Isherwood was more late Twenties / early Thirties, actually. If my memory serves me correctly we then had a wonderful Tango dance by Sebastian Arce and Mariana Montes. And I mean WONDERFUL — especially considering that Montes was clearly pregnant. They strolled-on, and, until they strolled-off again, they were totally transfixing.
The award to Pippo Baudo, the television personality, was of great interest because he talked not just about Valentino, but also of Marcello Mastroianni, and introduced a rare TV clip of his portrayal of Valentino in “Ciao, Rudy.” I have to say, this was one of the highlights of the event for me as I had never seen it, and Mastroianni, dressed and dancing as Julio, was very spectacular and convincing. It was a fantastic and thrilling moment.
MORE awards followed (Maison Gattinoni, Massimo Ghini, Maria Pia Ammirati), there was more Jazz, more talking, then more dancing and yet more awards. Paolo Maria Scalondro spoke. And then it was, finally, at a very late point, time for Gabriel Garko to walk under the lights. Charismatic, tall, handsome – if slightly tired looking – and rather rock-and-roll with his eye make-up, he spoke at length, and sent the females – and some males, too, I’m certain – wild.
And then, so suddenly, it was all over. Having to rush, as I did (due to an early start on Monday), we left after Mr. Garko received HIS statuette; ahead of the crush and into the night air, and to our waiting car. What a day. What an experience. I was privileged indeed to see Rudolph Valentino given the respect he is due and in his hometown of Castellaneta. The tributes had fallen upon him like the many raindrops earlier, they wetted and soaked him, gave him life again and left his image glistening, shining and sparkling. He dries-out now until the next time, when he is showered and praised for his achievements once more. I hope, again, to be there — even if I have to get drenched!
Simon Constable (May, 2014)
Reporter Simon Constable recently attended the 2014 Rudolph Valentino Excellence Awards
Rudolph Valentino is 5 feet and 11 inches in height and weights 155 lbs.
Rudolph Valentino is building himself a desert home in Palm Springs on the edge of the California desert just three and one-half hours from Los Angeles. He says he hopes thus to get away from the noise of the city. Everywhere he goes, he claims, he is recognized and his tired of being the center of attraction. There is a stock farm for the breeding of Arabian thoroughbreds near Palm Springs and this place has a real interest for the sheik.
When Judge Walton Wood learned that Jean Acker, who is suing her husband Rudolph Valentino for separate maintenance is earning $200.00 a week, he excused Valentino from paying her any further alimony until October 17th at which date the case is to be continued. And if you give them the arm they will cry for the moon.
Rudolph Valentino was recently ordered by the Court of Los Angeles to pay his wife Jean Acker, $100.00 a week pending trial of her suit for separate maintenance.
Rudolph Valentino was summoned into court at Los Angeles and charged with an arrearage of $800.00 in alimony due his wife. He promised to pay up at the rate of $50.00 a week.
In honor of the birthday of Rudolph Valentino, I will be publishing an article from 1924 about the secrets of Valentino’s life.
It is all very well, but there is just something special about Rudolph Valentino. Oh no, dear messieurs he is not effeminate, not a particle. Thus do you console yourselves upon an error, condone your envy and misjudge the ladies. None go quick as my sex to resent effeminacy in the male. Not thus can our enthusiastic admiration be aroused. There is no gainsaying that the gentleman has a compelling fascination for me, and should I say it in largely because of his agreeably self-confident masculinity, just as men adore agreeably self-confident femininity. My visit, coincided with the removal of the famous beard, and I met him direct from the hands of his barber. Alas I did not obtain a precious lock thereof. He oozed relief, that pesky beard, grown for the leading role of “The Red Power” had ruined his European vacation. Even a Valentino shudders to be seen in the unlovely early stages of chinful growth. He had the thing for four solid months. His wife had actually grown to like it. But today, Valentino was himself again. A very easy man to talk to is Valentino and to listen to. “Who really found you I asked?” “I have heard so many claimants.” “For seven long years, working hard, playing small parts in sometime atrocious pictures. I labored to be found,” he smiled. “But it was June Mathis who opened the door of opportunity for me. It was she who saw me for the part in the “Four Horsemen”. Ah yes, June Mathis. With Valentino speaking so gratefully of her I wanted to know how it happened that June Mathis had left his employ. Because you know directly he entered independent production he had hastened to attach June to his staff to write the scenario of his first picture. So he frowned unhappily. “I cannot tell you how sorry I was not to be able to accept her script. But it just would not do, and we were wasting too much time. So we just had to postpone that production. I shall make these modern picture Cobra sternly finely resisting Nita Naldi’s wiles. And we shall see him in ordinary modern clothes minus the allurement of the costume pictures. It is good to hear this man talking about his pictures. I too, had heard that Mrs. Valentino provided all the managing ability of the firm. But I don’t believe that now. You see, he met Natacha Rambova when he was earning only an uncertain and precarious $175.00 a week and she was getting $5000 a picture as an art director. Were he employing her now at that figure instead of being married to her he would be a foolish man not to give her full sway in her special department. And he has the shrewd business sense to do that now. “I made Monsieur Beaucaire without interference he said. And was allowed my own way in everything under my contract with Famous Players. But I did not cut the picture myself my wife did that. “She made an exquisite job of it.” I declared. And he accepted the compliment for both of them just as any producer would. “What sort of little boy were you”? “A very troublesome little boy, who occasioned his mother much sorrow, he admitted.” You would never, never, guess what kind of sorrow. His besetting sin, if you please, was falling in love with grown-up ladies as old as his own mamma. “You don’t mean that they fell in love with you that young, do you”? “No indeed, the ladies do not fall in love with me, he insisted modestly.” “That mountain of fan love letters, I reminded him.” Oh they are in love with the characters I play not with me the man.” That is why I do not like personal appearances. In Italy I felt I was in the soup or must fall out of the window, but I made it better by wearing my costume of the play, he explained. “he really managed to look thoroughly modest as he said this “Come tell me, what is your pet egotism’? I asked. “Oh, I have one. Very surely he admitted, laughing gaily, and affectionately stroking that recently revealed chin “and it is that my seven years of hard work and poor pay before June Mathis opened the door for me have been rewarded, that I have proved my ability that I can make good pictures, that I can act, and that I have some good artistic and business judgment are, I am not ashamed to show you my egotism he concluded. Well, maybe he was fascinating me, but he was wearing regular clothes and he says he isn’t fascinating in that way, but anyway I found myself agreeing with him. I think that is a pretty reasonable sort of egotism for him to indulge when he can do it as gracefully as he does. He sighed artfully at this point “Isn’t it dreadful to see those fine old trees being cut down in the street outside he said? Just to make a street wider and they take fifty years to grow to such beauty. Well I just felt as if I wanted to pet and comfort him about it. I asked him for an autograph and this is what he wrote on my picture. “Hoping to be kindly remembered.” Rudolph Valentino. Now wasn’t that modestly, artful and discreet and graceful bearing in mind that I am a newspaper woman.
“Just a packet of letters tied with a bit of blue. Just a packet of letters that once were read by you. To one who proved unworthy of the love inscribed within. The tiny packet of letters, a witness of my sin.”– Rudolph Valentino, 1924
The blog is all about Rudolph Valentino his life, his family, those who were affected by him and those countless of people who loved him for his craft. Through research and reading there is still a lot of information out there that is still unknown. In this blog, I hope you the reader enjoy through discovery the new and interesting things about Rudolph Valentino.
As a noted book collector on Rudolph Valentino one of my favorite authors is Mr. Tracy Terhune, Producer, Collector, Valentino Memorial Committee Member, and Author I recently reached out to him and he kindly granted me a short interview for which I humbly thank him.
You are a noted Valentino collector, author and authority. What is your favorite item out of your collection and why?Since day one of collecting on Rudolph Valentino I have enjoyed collecting personal items that had a direct connection to him. He had such lavish exquisite taste in his cars and homes and furnishings within the home. I have several favorites but I will say that the ring he wore in The Eagle is my favorite. It was actually worn by him in three films (Sainted Devil, Cobra & The Eagle) However in The Eagle the ring played a minor part of the plot of the story. It was owned by Margaret Strong of the Strong Museum in New York. In the early 1980’s the Franklin Mint created a limited edition semi replica made out of black onyx and silver. Last year the Strong Museum which specializes in dolls decided to put it up for auction to fund their acquisition account. I am glad to say that I won the auction for it in Beverly Hills.
Rudolph Valentino had many films. Could you please tell us what is your favorite Rudolph Valentino film and why?
My favorite is Son of the Sheik. It’s his best in my opinion. But I also enjoy The Eagle, Beyond The Rocks, Camille and Moran of the Lady Letty. The Four Horseman is also another favorite.
Tracy you are very active in the planning process with the yearly Valentino Memorial. Every year it is a monumental success and a true tribute to Rudolph Valentino. What inspires you to continue? What will be in store for this year’s Valentino Memorial Service?
I am very proud of my involvement with the Valentino Memorial. It’s the oldest continuing annual event in Hollywood History. It has taken place every year since 1927, the first anniversary of his passing. This year will mark its 87th occurrence. The thing that inspires me to continue is to keep this charming yet quirky at times service going in a dignified and respectful manor. Yet, at the same time we want it to be fun and enjoyable. We always strive for the right mix. I have never had anyone who actually attended one of the Valentino Memorials ever complain that we did something in poor taste or disrespectful to Rudy. I am pleased that in recent years two members of the Valentino family accepted the offer to be our guest speaker. They openly expressed gratitude and their praise for the Valentino Memorial Service. That meant a lot to me on a personal level.
Tracey why are you such a fan of Rudolph Valentino?The reason I am a fan is that he deserves to be remembered. The fact he had great sadness over him and was so mis-used throughout his life. By studio chiefs, by his wives, business managers. The fact that he became a star in 1921 and by 1926 he was gone. Truly like a comet blazing across the cinema screen. All at 31. That’s why I like the slogan first used at the 1928 Valentino Memorial – “We Never Forget”
Tracey will you be writing any future books on Rudolph Valentino? Or any other projects you would like to share?
I have a couple of projects in the works, but mainly my goal this year is to get my website back up and running again. Its’ been down for a couple years and I’d like to get that done. I have also talked very briefly with Kevin Brownlow’s company about releasing The Eagle on Blu ray. The original camera negative survives and the print from it is razor sharp. It’s almost a crime that it sits unreleased due to the funding it would cost for a high resolution scan and the Carl Davis score.
I hope you enjoyed this interview folks. I am hoping to feature future interviews in this blog of other noted Valentino authors.