1928 – Cult of Valentino Formed

Publication sometime ago in European papers of a story from Hollywood to the effect that the former impresario of Rudolph Valentino was making a collection for the purpose of providing a worthy resting place for the film star’s ashes has produced what German newspapers call “a peculiar echo” in Hungary. It is related that the attention of the Budapest police was drawn recently in the fact that a young man calling himself a moving picture director was organizing Rudolph Valentino Clubs in various parts of the country, with an initiation fee of 10 pengos ($1.75) and annual dues of 25 pengos. The announced object of these clubs was in “cherish the memory and promote the spirit of Rudolph Valentino”.  One of the club by-laws read: “The members are obligated to think of Valentino at least once a day. In go to see all Valentino films and to agitate for the showing of more of his films in the kino houses. Furthermore, on the anniversary of the death of the film star, 23 Aug, each member is to send an annual gift to Hollywood so that the urn containing Valentino’s ashes maybe decorated with flowers”. Despite the fact that pengos do not grow on bushes in Hungary. It is averred in the report that several hundred Valentino admirers mostly young girls have already paid their dues by the time the police began their investigation. In return for their money the members receive Valentino badges entitling them to participate in the annual memorial services to be conducted at the expense of the society. Answering questions by the police, the young organizer insisted that he had forwarded all his receipts to Hollywood and that he was doing this work purely out of admiration for the departed artist. As no charges were lodged against him by any of the club members, the young man was not held under arrest, but was told that he would be kept under observation until information regarding his statements could be obtained from Hollywood. In the meantime, further investigation is said to have revealed the fact that some Valentino Clubs were composed largely of believers in spiritualism and that seances’, with the shade of the film star as the chief attraction, had been on the order of the day, or night, for several weeks. One young girl told police that Valentino’s spirit made frequent visits to his Budapest admirers. This girl, the daughter of a rich industrialist, said that Valentino’s shade complained bitterly at the shortness of human memory and at the failure of his one-time enthusiasts to erect a suitable monument to him. She considered it her special task to carry on a campaign with the object of calming Rudolph Valentino’s uneasy spirit.

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