Monthly Archives: August 2019
“I think that it would fascinate me to live in such a place, I have very steady nerves or even an imagination that needs such stimulation, but I have always felt strongly akin and at home in places of this kind. I am not afraid of the dead or of ghosts, the whole store and lore of grizzly fears that have shaken the human race at thought, or apprehension of meeting with the dead, is quite foreign to me, I am not afraid of anything pertaining to the life beyond.” And it isn’t because I don’t believe in it it is because I do, I BELIEVE IN THE SUPERNATURAL I don’t believe there is anything I would or could be afraid of. It seems to me we have more cause to be afraid of the living than of those that have gone on shaking off as they go, the lusts and cruelties of the body. What the average man calls death I believe to be merely the beginning of life itself we simply live beyond the shell. We emerge from out of its narrow confines like a chrysalis. Why call it death or, if we give it the name death why surround it with dark fears and sick imaginings?”
My Private Diary’ by Rudolph Valentino 1929
Several readers have complained because the newspapers devoted more space to the death of Rudolph Valentino. An editor is not a historian who seeks to put happenings into their proper perspective. If the great preoccupation of the public with Valentino is a thing to evaporate in a short time, that is more reason why it becomes news today. It is well to remember also that the story of Valentino’s death is not concerned alone with the individual in question but with the reaction of the public to this event. When thousands stand in the rain for hours seeking a chance to pass the dead man’s bier, that is news beyond any question. It does not matter that many of the people in line were morbid curiosity seekers. The precise extend of morbidity is also a proper subject of journalistic concern. I rather think that some reports have been too severe in judging the motives of the crowd. I saw long lines at a distance in the dripping rain, and it is my belief that if it had been possible for a reporter to investigate the hearts of all who waiting there he would have found in many who trudged the slow march through the doors a profound emotion. Valentino had become that priceless thing – a symbol. It was not so much a motion picture actor who lay dead as Pan of Apollo whom they are to bury from Campbell’s funeral parlor. He was to the thousands the romance which they never knew. He was Prince Charming and came from the other side of the moon. And if a symbol of romance in the lives of many millions fades, that is a not undignified matter of newspaper interest. It is a long sleep to which Valentino has gone, and soon the thousands will have another symbol to take his place. It seems to me a little cruel to deny a dead actor his last full measure of press clippings.
This year’s memorial service a tribute to a great silent film star that brings the Valentino Community under one roof both physically and virtually.
The 92nd Valentino Memorial Service featured a salute to the 100th Anniversary of “Eyes of Youth”. and remembering Jean Acker. From the music selections, to the readers, and guest speakers the audienced was moved and in awe by it all. The time past quickly and it seemed to come and go. My trip was making new memories and enjoying moments with special friends. Another year gone by and as always I am eagerly awaiting the 93rd. Special thank you to Tracy Terhune, Karie Bible, Donald Gardner, and everyone else who tirelessly labored to provide an event worthy.
17 Aug 1927 – Hysteria and Home Truths — An Interesting Comparison— Of Extreme English and American Opinion
Tommorrow is the 57th anniversary of film idol Rudolph Valentino’s death a doubly sad day for the town of Harmony, population 28 located hear San Simeon. For years, an unusual monument to Valentino there was accompanied by a sign that read “In the early 1900’s and in the company of W.R. Hearst and Pola Negri, Rudolph Valentino had a call of nature”. Guilda Williams, who lived here, was kind enough to let him use her bathroom. When the little house was remodeled, the potty was converted into an outdoor planter that disappeared earlier this year. “We heard it had been found by police in Clovis” said Jim Lawrence, who owns the town. But when I called the ID didn’t seem to match up.
Three hundred women and girls, In deep mourning, attended a special Man at St. Orrvals Church to-day. In memory of Rudolph Valentino. Scores of girls waited outside the Late Rudolph Valentino church. The Mass was arranged by a mysterious woman, reputed to be im mensely wealthy, who Is frequently seen al Uie church. She does not reveal her name, but often goes to the church to request a Mass for the repose of the soul of Valentino
Each year, during the months of August and September, the Valentino community comes together mourning the life of Rudolph Valentino. When Rudolph Valentino died everyone was grieving for him. While back at Falcon Lair, Rudolph Valentino’s personal home where all of his horses and dogs lived were daily waiting the return of their beloved owner and friend. Who gave any thought or consideration to the horses and dogs left behind. The answer to these questions is no one gave thought or consideration or reassurance of their feelings of grief or they would be okay and taken care of not to be sold but remain in a familiar place remembered where they were loved and treasured. The animals mourned the loss but one felt that more than the rest Kabar a Doberman Pincher, Valentino’s favorite and constant companion. Kabar was born in Alsace, France on 20 June 1922, given to Valentino during a trip to Europe. Kabar was only a few months old, when he was sent to the French estate of the Hudnut family to be specially trained there. Over time, he was seen constantly at Valentino’s side to even sleeping in his chamber at night. Natacha Rambova often accused Valentino of favoring Kabar and hating on her Pekinese dogs. Not so said Valentino”shes the one I hate”. On 23 Aug 1926, when his best friend died Kabar instinctively knew something was wrong and started howling so loudly that all of the other pets picked up the signal and started howling as well and could not be appeased. Beatrice Lillie was so frightened of what she was hearing that she ran her car off the mountain road and fainted when on her way home from a party nearby at John Gilbert’s house. When Alberto Valentino arrived back at the estate the dog’s grief somewhat subsided but he was constantly sick since Valentino’s death. On 3 Feb 1929, Kabar passed away from a broken heart. Senator Vest of Missouri immortalized Kabar in one of his speeches. The death of Kabar, brought up the question what to do with his remains. Because this was newsworthy he was the first famous pet to be buried in a pet cemetery. Alberto Valentino buried Kabar with a marker that read “Kabar My Faithful Dog” Valentino. To this day, the Valentino community talks about the love and friendship between Kabar and his best friend.
In less than 12 days, generations of fans of the great silent film legend Rudolph Valentino will come from parts all over to the Cathedral Mausoleum, Hollywood Forever Cemetery to celebrate and mourn the life of a talent that lives on in our minds, hearts and celluloid.
The memorial service comes to serve us all as a reminder to pause and remember that he has never been forgotten. The purpose of this blog has always been to give the viewer a glimpse into a yester-year. A bygone era of photos, newspaper headlines, articles that give us something new and different to savor and perhaps bring us all a little closer as a community should. But its important to know there are dedicated and humble people who work behind the scenes each year to ensure the Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service is done in a fitting and respectful manner in tribute to one we all come together and celebrate and mourn the passing of a wonderful silent star whose light will never dim. To Mr. Tracy Terhune, Ms. Stella Grace and others, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the hard work all that you have done and continue to do. On 23 Aug, 1315 PST, Los Angeles California, Hollywood Forever Cemetery 92nd Memorial Service physically and virtually the Valentino Community will once again come together.
The 92nd Valentino Memorial Service
“Before leaving London Valentino went into the Wykham Studio in Victoria Street to have a passport photograph taken when he gave his name, the assistant exclaimed, ‘Oh! My God’, to which remark Valentino replied ‘No not a God, only a mortal’–Rudolph Valentino
Rudolph Valentino gets up at five o’clock and his himself to the beach for a swim before going to work in “The Eagle” which Clarence Brown is directing. When he was making “Cobra” he used to get up at the same hour and box or ride horseback. Rudy changes his sports and hobbies regularly and thus keeps a fresh interest.
Speaking of screen premiers in Los Angeles, the opening performance of the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” was an affair of importance. All the principal players from the cast were there, including Rudolph Valentino, Alice Terry, Derek Ghent and Virginia Warwick. The tango was to have been danced by Rudolph Valentino and Beatriz Dominguez who played the Argentinian dancer in the picture, but she, poor girl, passed away following an operation for appendicitis a few days before the picture was shown. The presentation was somewhat marred by the introductory remarks of a gentleman from Brazil, who although an American, had a limited vocabulary, and a distressing originality of pronunciation. “My friends” he began, “we are about to witness the great dramatically spectacular “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” the –“business of consulting the program) the Apoc-al-ypse–..A titter from the audience checked him and he tried it again. After the roar of laughter had subsided he let the matter of pronunciation go hang, and contented himself with referring to the feature as the greatest “dramatically spectacular”.
According to Beulah Livingstone, who writes publicity for a company sponsoring the revival of “Son of the Sheik” the name of Rudolph Valentino will remain a magic one as long as romance flourishes on the movie screen. “It was the late Valentino”, declares Miss Livingstone “who set the hears of the nation thumping wildly with his forthright technique of love-making, and his rugged he-man characterizations set another precedent in screen acting. Those who remember and love him for his screen contributions, as well as the newer generation who have never had the opportunity to see the great idol of filmdom, will be happy to learn that his last and greatest picture has been booked for local presentation. We have known Beulah Livingstone since back in the good old silent days, when we were young and innocent and the brain-storms that flowed so profusely from her sturdy typewriter were eagerly accepted and passed on without blue penciling to our readers. But a lot of water has shot over the Chaudière since “Son of the Sheik” was produced and released to a clamoring public, and we confess that Beulah’s effusive if well-turned, phrases anent the current revival of Rudolph Valentino productions from the dimly-passed silent days leaves us as cold as one early morning last winter when the radiator on the old bus froze stiff and we bravely ventured forth to walk the two miles to our office. For the information of those who might be interested, and just to keep the record clear, we might add that the rejuvenated “Son of the Sheik” contains sound effects and a newly arranged musical score. Acting, directing, technical effects, and camera work have come a long way, however, from the days when every other girl of teen-age sent in a quarter for her idol’s photograph and mounted it on the boudoir table.
W. Young Louis was William Randolph Hearst’s projectionist at San Simon. At the age of 84 he runs the Freemont Theater in downtown San Luis Obispo six nights a week. He recalls becoming acquainted with Hearst and was asked to be his personal projectionist for private showings at the castle. After San Simeon was built, I was on call for Hearst. He’d call me at all hours of the night sometimes 2 or 3 a.m. A taxi would pick me up and drive me to San Simeon a good one-hour’s drive away he said. “Sometimes I’d stay a week and my wife would come along. I loved it”. I showed just old movies starring Marion Davies. “We had a basement full of Miss Davies films, and she’d come down and help me choose which ones to show”. Some people would say she was aloof, but she wasn’t. Hearst’s guests included Presidents, writers, singers, actors, actresses, movie producers all famous people of the day. Louis met them all there was: Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Gloria Swanson, Mae West, Shirley Temple, Clark Gable, Maurice Chevalier, John Barrymore, Will Rogers, Rudolph Valentino, Loretta Young, President Hoover and Calvin Coolidge. “Oh that Rudolph Valentino was a very congenial slender dapper man” Louis said. Autographed pictures, souvenirs of their visits still fill every available space on the walls of the Freemont Theater. One of the stars who visited the castle turned out to be a relative. “I met Anna Mae Wong, a silent screen actress and we talked for a long time. We found out we were related 16th cousins. Louis has stayed put in the Freemont projection room since those days in the early 1940’s. He helped design the place and it fits him to a T. It’s equipped with a small wooden desk and padded vinyl chair so Louis can read and write letters while the reels roll. No, he doesn’t always watch them. “Some of them, I …he started to say and then shrugged”.
Alice Terry, former Silent Film blond beauty became the first woman in Rudolph Valentino’s life Thursday to announce he was no Romeo to her. The ex-actress filed a $750,000 libel suit charing the recent movie “Valentino” pictures her having a clandestine love affair with the slick haired sheik. But she says, when Rudy was her leading man back in the days of the flickers and quivering piano she never gave him a second thought. “Valentino? Why he was a good-looking man and a very nice fellow but that’s all” she shrugged. “I never had any interest in him”. He didnt look like a great lover at all, and it never occured to us that worked with him that he’d be known as that. “No body thought about him in those days as a great lover. In fact, it wasn’t until after he died that he got that reputation”. Miss Terry was the star of Valentino’s first movie, “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” directed by her husband Rex Ingram. Rex Ingram died last year.
Rudolph Valentino has been gone almost 18 years and I am still being asked: What was it like being Rudolph Valentino? Every famous person more or less the victim of his own legend and none more so that Rudolph Valentino who came to be called “The Sheik” and Rudy hated that tag, especially after it became a byword for what is known as wolfing today. Valentino’s outstanding characteristic when away from the camera was shyness. He hated dancing for that reason. His career with Bonnie Glass and later Joan Sawyer, doing ballroom dances, brought him too close to his audience. He was an eternal boy but understood his capabilities. He knew he registered best in romantic roles. He was a failure when he departed from them, although he was persuaded to do so more than once. Valentino was practically a chain smoker. He drank red wines, loved good food, ate voraciously, cooked well and liked to cook. He appeared almost ordinary in golf or business clothes; was superb in anything approximating a costume such as riding clothes, fencing apparel, or lounging robes. Kept a large library of books with costume plates which he studied religiously. Remainder of his library was distinguished with rare volumes mostly in foreign languages which he understood. He hated sets of books and never bought them. Al Jolson was instrumental in bringing Valentino to Los Angeles. Norman Kerry who was a life-long friend, helped him over tough days. Rudy was hopelessly extravagant and died broke. He bought a Mercer with his first permanent salary of $125 a week spent most of it on repairs. Later cars were Voisins and Isotta Frashchini’s. He loved machinery and had a workshop in his garage. Once took his car apart and put it together again. Was a typical small boy in this respect. His most enduring business friendship was with Joseph Schenck of Fox Studios for whom he made “Son of the Sheik” and “The Eagle” two of his greatest successes. Valentino attributed much of this to his ability and judgement. Valentino danced in Gauman prologue’s before he made good in his movies. Mae Murray gave him his first chance and they were always good friends. He was deeply interested in supernatural things during his marriage to Natacha Rambova – chiefly automatic writing. Had no small superstitions. He never permitted anyone, even his wife to see him disheveled. He had no shabby, comfortable old clothes. Spent a fortune on his wardrobe which was always new. Kept himself in superb physical condition result of two disappointments. As a boy he was turned down by the Royal Naval Academy because he lacked one inch in chest expansion. Air Force turned him down in World War I because of defective vision. Physical routine included sparring with Gene Delmont and Jack Dempsey, who was a good friend. Loved horses a white Arabian Stallion Ramadan, was his favorite. A Harlequin Great Dane, Doberman Pincher, and a Celtic Wolfhound, were all with him constantly as was a black cocker spaniel given to him by the Mayor of San Francisco at the time. He was sincere about his trade as an actor. But he had problems trying to find what he felt was his greatest goal his own family.