5 Aug 1977 – Valentino Revival

It seems possible since the “dream lover” of the roaring twenties Rudolph Valentino is being revived in books, movies, magazine articles and exhibits. Even a few Valentino products have appeared in the marketplace. Women adored Valentino, but men were not too fond of him as he became a legendary star of the silent movies, and one of the first to endorse products, which almost all stars do today. The Valentino craze not only filled movie houses with adoring women but also stocked store shelves with brand-named products such as olive oil, cigars, candy and beauty supply tins. After he made his most famous film, “The Sheik” it became his nickname and it also became a part of the language. A “sheik” was a woman’s man. Several major magazines are reported planning articles on Valentino. The revival of the movie lover contains the staff for setting trends, styles, and fashions. Already a few products have appeared. Some major department stores have sold large beach towels showing Valentino in one of his love scenes. The love scenes from the romantic movies appear ready made for the manufacturers of bed linens and covers. There might have been more Valentino Pictures today if it wasn’t for a fight the actor had with Adolph Zukor, then president of Paramount Pictures. Valentino wanted a raise from his $350 a week. Many stars were making thousands of dollars a week. As a result, Zukor prevented Valentino, at the height of his career, from making films for two years. Meanwhile, Valentino endorsed products and made dancing tours with his second wife. His second wife was cosmetic heiress Winifred Hudnut whose stage name was Natacha Rambova. She became rather demanding of him in public. And she gave him a “slave bracelet” which men didn’t wear in those days. But he was still wearing it when he died, months after their divorce. Despite Valentino’s domestic problems his work as an actor is just as effective today. In the Valentino Era, men wore pegged pants. Spats, stick-pins, four-in-hand ties, collar clasps and suits of several cuts all of which would be a bit of a contrast to the looser more casual clothes of today. The slicked down hair look, though, could be another thing and a great contrast to the long hair of recent years. If it becomes fashionable it could cause a barber boom.

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