2019 – Five Year Blog Anniversary

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All About Rudy Blog is five years old and what a journey of discovery this has been for both you and I.  After all this time, I am amazed finding new and exciting things, I continuously find about Rudolph Valentino an amazing silent film actor. My research takes me to the far wide reaches of the Internet, books, and newspaper archives. I look for items of interest for you in hope you will continue to visit my blog and travel with me back to a time of joy and laughter news articles and pictures of an bygone era.  The news articles  I find may contain either factual or non-factual items.  The fun is in reading what they wrote about Rudy back then. If there is anything you would like to read more of please drop a comment.  Thank you for your support.

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1923

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1923 – Agnes Ayres

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1940’s – Whitley Heights, Villa Valentino

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17 May 1937 – Reunion of Sorts

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Aug 1922 – Not Quite A Hero

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In the heat of discussion about Rudolph Valentino in which everyone who ever goes to the movies seems to be taking part what the man is really like is almost lost sight of in the maze of conjecture, misconception, and exaggeration spread about him. Here he is as he really is. Once upon a time, there was a young man who was not a perfect specimen of American manhood. He was not remarkably dauntless not brave. His appearance did not suggest shining virtue nor impeccable nobility. In spite of the fact that he lacked all the glorious qualities of a real movie hero, Rudolph Valentino went into the movies. The casting director whom he interviewed decided he wasn’t the sort of man who would appeal to an American girl. He did not seem fitted to jump off cliffs, rescue fair maidens, or register high-minded devotion in the close-ups. They admitted however, that he could dance and that he was a good type for what is recognized about the studios, and nowhere else as a “society villain” But they forgot to find out whether or not he could act. Sometimes big movie organizations are careless about such things. I am not, going to tell you about “How One Young Man Made Good” I don’t need to. You probably saw “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” But I am going to set forth my theory of his phenomenal rise to fame, the secret of his success. It is this? He does not look like your husband. He is not in the least like your brother. He does not resemble the man you mother thinks you should marry. He is not the nice boy who takes you to all the high school dances. And so women go to see him in motion pictures because he typifies romance. Out in Hollywood, the men who know him like him. The women who know him but they won’t tell. As for Valentino himself, he doesn’t talk about it. If you happen to be one of those irate fans who have been disgusted with the interviews in which his opinions on love and the ladies have been set forth at wearying length, please accept my word for it that such statements which he really made were wrung from him and that some of them were as new and strange to him when he saw them on the printed page. If he ever saw them as they were to you. Certainly, I found him shy on all such subjects; he honestly does not want to be considered a matinee idol.   You cannot blame him, for where are the matinee idols of yesteryear? I have tried to talk to Valentino about love, women and matrimony. Every time, I broached the subjects he side-stepped them. But let us hasten on to the interview. I met Mr. Valentino on the Lasky lot. With me was the perfect Valentino fan when she saw him come up to us both she said “please introduce me by my maiden name and don’t say anything about my husband and baby”. Whereupon she removed her wedding ring, and slipped it into her handbag. There’s a little bit of bad in every good little girl. Mr. Valentino suggested luncheon and escorted us to his motor. “It needs cleaning” he explained “but it runs beautifully”. In half a minute we were a half mile away. When Mr. Valentino made his entrance into the restaurant every woman in sight gave a moan of joy and all the women tourists were oh so glad they had come to California. Mr. Valentino did not look to the left or the right but at the menu card. Our luncheon was the result of a promise. When I saw the preview of “The Four Horsemen” in New York, June Mathis who wrote the scenario came up to me, “Keep an eye on my Julio. I picked him myself and, if he isn’t one of the coming favorites I’ll eat that film”. After the picture, I saw June and congratulated her. So there I became the perfect fan. He found out the perfect fan loved to dance and so he talked about dancing and orchestras and about the charm of sitting in a pleasant restaurant with agreeable and well-behaved persons all about you. He hates vulgarity and vulgar dancing. Then he turned to me and said June Mathis discovered me and gave me a part when life was not so easy. And now, she will write all my pictures. She is a capable, humorous and generous woman. I am eternally grateful to her. No one realizes how much she had to do with the success of “The Four Horsemen” she was on the set every day. She suggested a hundred small touches. And now she will supervise “Blood and Sand”. I am immensely glad because it is the first picture in which I am in the starring role. And I know that I can trust Miss Mathis advice and good judgement. Mr. Valentino was quite sincere. He is not half-hearted about his praise or his blame. Sometimes when it comes to blaming actors, actresses or directors, he refuses to be politic. Who says that the Italian’s are a suave race? But his greatest virtue is his loyalty to his friends. With all the feminine world accepting him as a romantic figure, he refuses to accept his role; his good qualities are commonplace. I said that he evaded discussing love, marriage and women. Yet, I discovered indirectly what sort of woman he does like.  During our conversation, he professed an admiration for only one type; he likes clever, sophisticated, amusing and capable women. He has no eyes for the beautiful and brainless. Although he probably won’t admit if he did. I think he rather likes em’ rather strong-minded. No power on earth can make him speak even tolerantly of his picture “The Sheik”. In vain, do you tell him the movie has made money, that brought him stardom, that it is one of the most popular pictures of the year. Mr. Valentino will simply reply the movie was a fatal error and hopes he will never appear in another picture like it. “What nonsense it was. I neither acted like an Englishman or an Oriental” I was obliged to play like an emotional Italian. It was all out of character. The Oriental is stolid and the Englishman prides himself on self-control. “When the picture came out, I received many letters and some were flattering. But the intelligent critics told me what they thought of my acting. They said that Ihat I had achieved a little success and that evidently I was content to take advantage of that success. Letters like that are not pleasant are they? I am not trying to please those who are easily pleased. I value the opinion of the intelligent critics. This maybe a blow to the Valentino fans, but he honestly dislikes silly letters. “Just now, I need honest criticism and good advice, I appreciate it. Again, Mr. Valentino seemed sincere. Success has made him sensitive and hypercritical of his own work. He is not vain but shrew and careful minded that he takes his popularity with large grains of salt. “Hollywood” said Valentino is a small town not physically but mentally”. A great deal has been said about the frivolous of the movie colony. All of us need honest recreation. We need to forget the studio when our work is finished. I like to dance and I like to go to restaurants with my friends. But I don’t like vulgarity in dancing and so-called wild times I have seen in the cafes in Los Angeles were rather childish and silly. Several years ago, New York had become a delightful and cosmopolitan city. Out here we have to still learn how to amuse ourselves. One cannot escape boredom merely by going out and spending allot of money. No reformer is needed to tell the better-class actors and actresses that they cannot enjoy themselves merely by going out and drinking too much. I am afraid, I have made Rudolph Valentino a serious young man. Most of the time he wears a mask, and he uses his charming manners as a sort of guard. He has no particular pose; he is a dignified and courteous gentleman and is witty in a sharp way. When he spoke of the conventional “happy ending” to movie stories the perfect Valentino fan hung on his words. “The happy ending” has come to be nothing but a rubber stamp. I think the public is tired of it. After all, only one love affair in a thousand ends happily. And an affair of that sort is too dull to be interesting. Romance doesn’t make men and women happy. Human beings are made happy by such things as success, food, a good home, pleasant friends. Romance is something that makes them more than just happy. A refutation of the Pollyanna philosophy. Love doesn’t make the world go round it makes it go sidewise, zigzag, up and down and backward.. In his attitude, toward his art, he reminds me of the adored Caruso. When Caruso made a sensational success in opera, the wise men said that he couldn’t stay a public favorite. Caruso remained a favorite until he died. Valentino and Caruso are much alike in their way of talking and speaking. Caruso was supposed to have a wicked voice whatever that means and Valentino is supposed to have wicked eyes. At heart, Valentino is the same as Caruso and one of the most interesting things about him is the violently contrasting opinions in the outbursts of feeling that his sensational success has caused. If you’ve been reading ‘What the Fans Think’ you know what I mean. I know of no one in pictures the mention of whose name will start so violent a discussion. Hazel Shelly told you, last month that he was vain, calculating, and upstage. She refused to meet him. Hazel is entitled to her opinion, but you missed the chance of your life. Years from now, you’re going to sit down and cry about it. Ethel Sands gave a good impression of him thoroughly honest and to my mind accurate. And now, having given my own appraisal, I wish to add the opinions of some of those who have worked for him. June Mathis “I have worked with Rudy a long time. I can assure you he is a nice boy. He has been the target of professional jealousy. He has kept his head and his temper. He is reasonable and not all temperamental. After finishing “Blood and Sand” Nita Naldi discussed Valentino. “When I came out here, I did not think he could act”. Now I apologize. He is a real actor and I suppose some of our love scenes will look pretty warm. The script called for them. Valentino was courteous and decent. Some actors and I have played with prominent ones like to spoil the scene by putting in little asides. Valentino does not. Said Lila Lee “Blood and Sand” was a real inspiration. Imagine Fred Niblo, Valentino, and June Mathis working on the same picture. Valentino sn’t a bit mean about wanting the star part. Mrs. Mathis “we are all fond of Rudy. I like an accomplished man. He speaks five languages and plays and sings beautifully. The perfect Valentino fan ended up the chorus “I would leave my husband for him but I am afraid I would annoy him.” Mr. Valentino is a wonderful relief he doesn’t flirt, he is quite sincere. By the time you read this you will have known for some weeks that Rudolph Valentino is married again. The lucky lady is Natacha Rambova alias Winifred Hudnut. Valentino’s opinions on his marriage are sound: “it will be the best thing in the world for me. I shall have a clever wife to advise and encourage me. I know that I shall be very happy we have the same friends and same tastes.” Both Natacha and Rudy will be the most charming couple in Hollywood. They have established their own intellectual circle, and they are far from the mad movie set. Is she jealous of his leading women? I don’t think so. She merely smiles as Valentino bows to his favorite heroine. It is easy for a woman to fall in love with her man, but it is hard for her to gain his respect and devotion and this Natacha Rambova alias Winifred Hudnut has done.

 

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Oct 1923 – My Honeymoon by Mrs. Valentino

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Would you consider yourself the luckiest girl in the world if you married a man who owned $60,000? Would you think you were in for a life of bliss if your husband had no position and stood small chance of getting a position for several years? Would you think you stood on top of the world if your husband were dragged from the honeymoon to answer a charge of bigamy? No, you would not and very likely you would go home to father and the certainty of three meals a day. Mrs. Valentino naturally enough won’t admit that she wasn’t the luckiest girl in the world. But she will admit that the first months of their married life weren’t all moonlight and roses. For moonlight please substitute the unbecoming glare of publicity and for roses please substitute legal papers. But it’s all over now. In her apartment in the Hotel des Artistes, Mrs. Valentino prepared for a trip to France and Italy. Another honeymoon, no, just a vacation it will be a rest from the long dreary and lonesome months spent on the dancing tour. There are all sorts of movie wives – frivolous ones who step=out, there are the home-loving ones who do the mending, there are the wives with careers of their own and there are the wives with influence. Mrs. Valentino is one of few wives who has influence – she reminds you of Mary Pickford. She talks  business in a sane, cool-headed way. She is engrossed in her husband’s success and his ambitions. Like Mary Pickford, she is of the Disraeli, the Colonel House and the Charles Evans of the household, and naturally, her husband thinks she is the whole works. Does she care that women mob her husband every time he appears in public? N he’s going to make good o, she doesn’t she is used to it. When Rudolph begins working on his new pictures for Ritz Carlton, he’s going to make good pictures. And, I believe the public will like them, and then, we’ll know that it has been worth all the trouble and all the fights. Substitute the small blond Mary Pickford for the tall dark Mrs. Valentino and you have the same arguments that launched Douglas and Mary on their career as independent artists. Mary, stubborn and contrary, also fought her way through lawsuits, and matrimonial difficulties. A pretty woman with an idea firmly fixed in her mind can battle strong men. Beside their stubbornness, Mary and Mrs. Valentino have another trait in common. They have a shared sense of humor. They can laugh at their husband’s jokes and the grotesque comedy of the rest of the world. They are experts at discovering the silver lining and at making the best of bad situations. The dancing tour may have been bad in many ways, but its made new friends for her husband. The lawsuit was disagreeable but it has proved to the public that he has the courage of his convictions. The more adventures that befall you in marriage, the less possibility is there that marriage will suddenly turn dull and stale. And marriage can weather many storms but it can’t stand a long period of calm. Just ask the man who has the placid wife.

 

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1925 – Rudolph Valentino in New Mexico

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These two rare photos were taken near the Santa Fe Railway Depot, New Mexico. Rudolph Valentino was walking his dog while the train stopped to pickup/drop off passengers.

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1922- Happy New Year

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10 Sep 1996 – Agnes Ayres Caveat

Agnes Ayres died 25 Dec 1940, in Hollywood of a cerebral hemorrhage and her body was cremated interment was at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.  Legend has it that her family disowned her after she appeared in silent pictures.  Beverly Rendleman, Alto Pass, Illinois and a family genealogist has found the opposite to be true.  “Her family was very supportive of her moving to Hollywood once came from California in her own private railroad car to visit he cousins May Rendleman Hammer and Frankie Rendleman McClure of Murphysboro.  “She remained very close to her cousins often sending them her clothes she no longer wore” When Frances Alice the 17 year old daughter of May Hammer was killed in the 1925 Murphysboro tornado, she was buried in a dress provided by Ayres, Rendleman said.

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27 Dec 1940 – Agnes Ayres Buried; Valentino Co-Star

In contrast to the throngs her name once drew when she co-starred with Silent Film Star Rudolph Valentino. Agnes Ayres a star in her own right was mourned by a small crowd at her funeral service late yesterday.  At her funeral there were only ten floral pieces, and of these only one was from the movie colony. A spray from the Screen Actor’s Guild.   The “Kashmiri” song from Valentino’s picture, “The Sheik” in which she played the heroine and “Son of the Sheik” was played during her service.  Miss Ayres ashes were laid to rest near those of the great Latin star at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.  Maria Reachi daughter of Miss Ayres, was the only relative present and only three were connected with the business in which her name had become a household word.  Once a wealthy woman, Miss Ayres lost her fortune in the stock market crash of 1929 and died in obscurity on Christmas Day.

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1929 – Vilma Banky Recipe

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26 Dec 1917 – Vera Fredowa

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