Posts Tagged With: Falcon Lair

27 Mar 1953 – Gloria Swanson Renting Former Co-Star Home

Gloria Swanson is living in Falcon Lair, the old Rudolph Valentino luxurious mansion while she forgets movies and takes up television.  Miss Swanson was imported again to Hollywood, but this time to narrate and star in a Crown Theatre television film series for Bing Crosby Productions, and for her brief stay she rented the Valentino Home.  In “Sunset Boulevard” the film that sparked her movie comeback, she played a one-time movie queen who lived in a fabulous home of the silent movie era.  Thus, I drove up the hill to the Valentino mansion to see if real life was imitating the movies.  the Italian-style Valentino house looks like a chateau from the bottom of the hill. But its actually a tidy nine-room house and there isn’t even a swimming pool for Bill Holden to float in, as in “Sunset Boulevard”.  But there is an empty guest house, over the garage like in the movie.  Miss Swanson wasn’t wearing dark glasses and a long cigarette holder, but a coat dress billowing with petticoats.  “Yes, I’d love to do another beautiful picture, but it would just be compared to Sunset.  “Three in Bedroom C” was and its like comparing soufflé to steak.  I took “Sudden Fear” to Paramount and they turned it down, but well that’s past.  “I’ll never do another play either and if its a failure its a waste of time and if its a success, your tied up for another year”.  In her television movie, “My Last Duchess” she once again portrays a faded movie star. “This is the tenth actress I’ve played” she smiled. “I’m like the proverbial butler in the movies.  I don’t know why people think of me as portraying actresses”. after the TV series, Miss Swanson will return to New York City to her dress business, which is branching into hats, hosiery, perfume and health bread. Also, she will write her autobiography from 1920-1930 “the rise and fall of a legend”.  The Gloria Swanson the movie studios created is as amusing and startling to me as everyone else.  “You know, the stories about my throwing cats over Pola Negri’s transom But those were exciting days, people had dreams and now the movies have been regimented. Nobody dreams anymore, said the lady of the Valentino house”. The last time, I visited this house, was to attend a séance by some fake mediums who put in a call to Valentino’s ghost and there was no answer.  The next tenant, Miss Swanson said was heiress Doris Duke.  Miss Duke promised parties not séances.

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19 Dec 1926 – The Lair of the Falcon

Pressed close to the mountainside lay the home of Rudolph Valentino. Well had he named it Falcon’s Lair, for a wild falcon might have nested there and found security. The long winding road led up to the white rough-plastered house with its gates of Italian Grill work and its fountain where the laughing waters sang of love. Far below lay the city of Los Angeles and in the nearby hills the homes of the favourites of the films were visible. At the foot of the hill lay the place that was dear to the hear of the young actor, the stable where his beautiful horses were stalled; four noble animals, two jet black and two of silvered gray, Firefly and Yacqui, Haround and Ramadan.  Something was missing, something they waited for. The hand of their master was gone and they knew it, sensed it in their wise animal way. A dog barked at the sound of strange feet and all the road echoed his protest.  Up where the open door proclaimed to the world a house without a master the people flocked. They came to see the home of the idol of the screen, Rudolph Valentino lover of lovers. Old men sighed as they looked at the guns upon the walls. Young men saw the glory of armor in all its ancient beauty; fine pierced helmets of the long ago; breast plates and spear and a glove made for a warriors hand. Everywhere the masculinity of the dead star was expressed by armor and the things that are made for warriors. It seemed to fill the house with a low murmur, as if men of old had been urged back to knightly revel with the dead boy who longed for such compassioning.  Lamps stood here and there about the house, and upon the parchment shades a scroll of music met the eye.  The rooms, so closely intimate, were rich with an imperial beauty; for all the wood was master-carved by men long ago. Soft velvets pressed close by years of contact were laid upon the hearth old iron was used to give age as well as beauty.  Upon a block of black marble a sculptured hand gleamed white and ghostly, the hand of the dead boy who came up the ladder of fame so quickly, a strong hand with a long sweep from forefinger to thumb, an artists hand with sensitive fingers, sensitive even in the cold alabaster; fine and strong and of generous lines is this sculptured hand of Valentino by Prince Troubetskoy. There is pathos in its empty palm, for death came as swiftly as fame and folded the strong hands into repose. From the long windows came the great call to the eye of the master: behold the earth how marvelous and how fair.  Music and books were in the room with its beams of oak present close to the low ceiling; but even here swords lay upon the piano swords crusted with jewels and whispering of war and love, and a hand sure and strong. Upon the wall beside the door stood the full-length painting of the men who had called to those sands, and upon his painted picture a gleam of the drying sun shed a tender light.  In the dark eyes was a tenderness, and upon the full lips a little smile as if to say “You are welcome” Living and dead he called them, this mean who has gone into the shadows. Thousands of people pressed the floors of his house. They gazed fascinated at the place where he lived his life. Three rooms upon the top floor and three below. The house was small, yet it held so many treasures and old desk with lovely ivory inserts and little figures standing out in rich, warm tints, each one a gem of carving. The Black Falcon companion picture to Rudolph Valentino seemed to dominate the house, the brooding eyes, the strong, firm mouth and the well-knit figure were a challenge to the imagination. What manner of man was this; and why his name Black Falcon? Books ah yes the books that spoke of the man and his tastes better than all the other things in this house of 1000 wonders.  There they stood, those wonderful books “Wooings and Weddings in many lands”. “Perfume of the Rainbow”, “Costumes of the Courts of Rome”, “Modern Dancing and Dancers”, “Ancient Costumes of Great Britain and Ireland”, and some little books, not costly that were labeled “Italian English Dictionary”. Rows upon rows of beautiful books. The eyes in the painting seemed to rest tenderly upon the volumes there in the cases beside the open fire. Many dreams had the dead actor dreamed there in his mountain home. Many starry nights had he dreamed there of great parts in great plays that would bring men and women in throngs to pleasure in his art. He dreamed his dreams but never had his vision assembled so great a throng as this: men and women, old and young, rich and poor, good and bad, climbing the mountain road, panting and weary to gaze upon his home, and upon his face, there in its frame of gold.  Silently the great crowds passed through the little house, with its garden sundial telling off the hours and little whispers filled the air. “I loved to see him” said an old lady “he was a gallant boy”. Men looked at the guns upon the wall and sighed again.  Young and beautiful girls looked down at the case of little rings and studs longing to possess some token of the lover who rode away from the people too soon. His art called to the women who loved romance. He captured for those some illusion they felt would keep. And men who loved to read of knightly deeds of daring and gay amors shut out their petty cares and lived with him upon the screen. His magnetic force drew them to him and his dynamic force drove him on.  All the possessions of the man bespoke of his desire for something that is slipping away, a knighthood of other days, a questing that calls to men to unsheathe a blade for weal or woe. Cars, and still more cars, climb the winding road, for thousands are determined to seize the opportunity to satisfy their curiosity and peep behind the scenes of the actors life. There is only a quiet grief upon their faces as they look into the dead mans place of retreat; something of the grandeur of death. The mountains creep over them and sudden them; and in this quiet hush is the greatest applause that Rudolph Valentino ever had. The dead actor lives still, and the people come silently thanking him for the gift of his art. In the stable the horse awaits the footstep he will hear no more. Soon they will lead it away. Rudolph Valentino his master, will come no more to the Falcon’s Lair.
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6 Jul 1925 – Close-up

Rudolph Valentino says he is going to install an airplane landing at his new Italian villa named Falcon Lair which is set in the midst of nine acres in Beverly Hills.

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4 Jul 1977 – Falcon Lair Ad

4 jul 77.PNG

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Falcon Lair Furniture – 19th Century Italian Iron & Bronze Items Adirons



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Falcon Lair Furniture

Iron & Bronze settee designed in hammered iron with RV initials. This exquisite piece belonged to Rudolph Valentino. Upon his death, it was  owned by Doris Duke, and then purchased by Rock Hudson’s designer for the late actor’s home.

settee from RB.PNG

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11 May 1929


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11 Dec 1926 – Properties go to Auction

Old Bill McGuire of the range, who was groom for Rudolph Valentino’s horses for years, today stood before the empty stalls in the stable adjoining Falcon Lair in Beverly Hills, home of the late silent film star and mourned for his departed pets. In the first stall “Firefly” magnificent Arabian steed once pawed and whinnied. In those other stalls Yacqui, Haroun, and Ramadan all geldings once dwelt in horsely splendor so to speak. And today they were gone to new masters and new homes. Firefly that once carried the dashing Valentino across the desert sand in “The Son of the Sheik” was bought for $1225 by J. Moran. Cy Clegg horseman of Culver City bought the other three for $1000. Valentino had valued his horses at more than $5000. “Now that their gone I don’t know what to do”? said old Bill McGuire. “Guess I’ll go back to the range no use staying round here. There are too many memories”. Before the horses were placed on the auction block the Valentino home of sixteen rooms and eight acres of ground was sold for $145,000 to Jules Howard, NYC Jeweler, who sent his offer by telegraph from the east. Seven acres of hill-top property and Valentino’s three cars were also sold. “Shaitain and “Sheila” a pair of Italian Mastiff’s brought from Italy and raised by the late star went for $58. And $60. Two western bridles and martingale went for $64. The first pretentious home Valentino built is Hollywood after rise to fame and fortune will be sold at auction this afternoon.

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29 Nov 1936 – Just a Minute By Jimmie Fidler

The most beautiful Doberman Pinscher of my memory was Kabar, owned by Rudolph Valentino. He was with his master in New York at the time of Rudy’s death. After the funeral the dog vanished, and huge reward offers failed to bring about his return. Four months later he appeared at Falcon Lair, Valentino’s Hollywood Estate. He had walked across the continent and his footpads were worn to the bone, which I will swear too. Unable to find his master, Kabar refused to eat, and within a few days he died surely of a broken heart.

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29 Nov 1936 – Just a Minute By Jimmie Fidler

The most beautiful Doberman Pinscher of my memory was Kabar, owned by Rudolph Valentino. He was with his master in New York at the time of Rudy’s death.  After the funeral the dog vanished, and huge reward offers failed to bring about his return. Four months later he appeared at Falcon Lair, Valentino’s Hollywood Estate. He had walked across the continent and his footpads were worn to the bone, which I will swear too. Unable to find his master, Kabar refused to eat, and it was a matter of time when he died surely of a broken heart..

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1932 – Rudy still speaks to Natacha

This morning, I came down the hill from Rudolph Valentino’s home Falcon Lair where I had slept in his bedroom, reported to be haunted, I was consumed with an intense longing to meet Natacha Rambova, the woman for whom Valentino had built this crag perched nest. I had heard and read about her meetings with Rudolph Valentino’s spirit. I wanted to hear what she would say about them, I was not at all certain but that I had felt that same spirit during the memorable night in his bedroom. I have said I am neither a believer in the return of the spirit. I say now that were I to spend many hours with Natacha Rambova, I should be a believer. I spent several with her in NYC and I believe her to be as assured of her messages from her departed former husband as you and I are assured of what we have eaten for breakfast each morning. Her faith dates back to the time when Rudolph Valentino discovered he was psychic. Until then she had paid no more attention to the occult than the average man or woman who is spending every moment to develop a career and make a living. The insight into Valentino’s powers came shortly after the death of June Mathis mother. The four were constantly together and the three Natacha, Rudolph and June suffered together a the mothers departing. A woman who had been a longtime friend of Mrs. Jenny Mathis was at the funeral. This was the first time Mr. and Mrs Valentino met her. A few weeks later they received a letter from her. Natacha laughed as she recalled this letter. “It was a wild letter. the woman was afraid we would think her a fool. She said something like this ‘I was sitting down the other day starting to write when my pencil suddenly started to go backwards. It was really embarrasses me to write this to you but when I had finished my hand writing automatically I had to hold the paper before a mirror to read it. It was a message for Rudy.’ The message was from an Italian woman who had been his nurse when he was 8 or 9 years of age. It asked if he remembered certain childhood happenings such as rumbling from the porch backwards. All this time he was reading it, Rudy kept exclaiming my heavens. When he finished reading the letter he was frightened. There were things in that message which no one in this country, not even myself, could possibly have known. I don’t want to know anything about it. I don’t want to get into this sort of thing he kept exclaiming. But curiosity overcame that reluctant feeling which most people have in contemplating messages from departed spirits. Eventually Mr. and Mrs. Valentino sent for this woman to visit them. She would take plain yellow paper (yellow is the most psychic color) and a large soft lead pencil. Understand, she had never received messages until the first one for Rudy. We would sit around and talk at random. She would join in the conversation merely holding the pencil. When the writings began she kept right on talking. She made absolutely no effort with the pencil. The first communication was from Jenny Mathis and it was advice for Rudy. As amazed as we were, we could not help but believe it. Throughout the litigation with Famous Pictures we were told four and five days ahead of time what was going to happen. It was as though we were given a warning. And if we, had only followed the advice given by the automatic writings we would have been saved much trouble. But we didn’t pay too much attention to the advice. We had seen too many people go crazy about this sort of thing we were determined to keep our common sense with it all. Then Rudy discovered that he could receive messages through the pencil. I never could. I am not mediumistic. Of course there were other happenings which proved that Rudy was psychic. His handling of animals was nothing short of remarkable. One time we had a pet lion. We took it as a very young cub and it grew as devoted to Rudy as any dog could possibly be. When it was four months old it discovered a way to unlatch the windows and slip out for an outing. The Hollywood neighbors didn’t seem to appreciate these wanderings, so we were forced to send it to the zoo. Some months later we were leaving for San Francisco and went to the zoo to say goodbye. The keeper warned us to keep away from our pet as he had turned
vicious and would not recognize us. We stopped to the cage and were met with a snarl and a growl. We went on to inspect other cages. Suddenly, I missed Rudy. I turned back to the lion’s cage. Sitting on the inside, on the floor, was my former husband. Crouched across from him was the lion. Would he spring? I stood rooted to the spot. There were several moments of suspense then the lion crawled over and placed his shaggy head in the man’s lap Rudy had conquered. Naturally there were other examples of Rudy’s ability to communicate with those on the astral plane. Jenny always told him she would be the first one to greet him when he passed from this place of existence. People wondered why Rudy called ‘Jenny’ when he was so desperately ill at the hospital. They hunted for an unknown girl. He was calling to Jenny Mathis with whom he was in constant communication. He had seen her. And he knew, during those dreadful hours of his illness, that since he had actually seen Jenny, he himself was really departing. I was in Paris. By the time, of Rudy’s death I had become seriously interested in the occult and had taken it up as a study just as you investigate any science. To me it is no more unusual for people on this plane to talk with those on the next plane. Just so you must have, unless you yourself are psychic a medium through which you can listen to those who are on the astral plane. There is nothing weird, uncanny or religious about it. It is just as much a science as the radio or telephone or aeroplane. Only in communicating with those who have passed on, you require a person as a medium. There are few really developed mediums in existence. I realized that there are many people who use what they call occult powers unscrupulously to misguide gullible people. Because there have been so many fakes, people are accustomed to pooh-pooh the idea without investigation. A medium must be a vacuum. He or she must have the power to allow the conscious call to pass from the body. He must become as negative as possible. He must be the paper upon which a thing is printed, never the one who does the printing. George Wehner of Detroit is such a man. He is the most negative of any medium I have known. He chanced to be in France when Rudy was dying. We knew everything that was happening in New York two and three days before it happened. Before he died, Rudy talked with us he was under an antistatic He was terribly depressed. He had seen Jenny and knew he was going to die. He did not to die the answers were incoherent. A few days before he actually passed on George Ullman sent a cable saying Rudy was better. A message from Mesolope an old Egyptian who used to communicate with Rudy through automatic writings reversed the decision of the doctors in New York City. We had hoped that Mesolope was wrong that there had been a mistake in the communication. This was on a Friday. Monday Morning, I awoke to find the atmosphere of my room heavy with tuberoses. Then I knew
Rudy had passed on. When the delayed cable gram arrived, I was glad Mesolope warned us. His message from beyond that Rudy was coming to them somewhat softened the cruelty of the news for us. Rudy began communicating with us at once. At first he was wretched at sea in his new life. He hadn’t wanted to
die. His own writings will some you something of his attitude. For convenience Miss Rambova read the early message from Rudolph Valentino to me from her book “Rudy” printed in Great Britain. She has, however, all of the original copies as sent by Valentino through the medium and taken down by her as delivered. We
give only a few of the number she gave to us.” “There are so many things to learn it is pretty confusing at times I have to let go, it seems of the old way of looking at things. Is the earth world, I or we, I think I had better say, looking only at the outward appearance of things and events. But here, we
are the outside of the world and the inside as well. It is strange but since I am in this new plane of life I do not feel hurried or rushed anymore. So much love I have never seen before. Everyone seems to beam with it. Caruso whom as you remember I always admired so, comes to see me frequently. I am not sure
whether he comes to me or I go to him. He does not look just as he used to either. He looks more as his music sounded, if you can imagine what I mean. You see, there does not seem to be the right kind of words to tell these things with understanding. Because I knew something about life after death before I came over, it has not taken me long to find myself. That is, to acclimate myself to these new conditions. My automatic writings which you enjoyed so much Natacha taught me a great deal. We did not pay attention to them as we should. It was so easy just to find them interesting. It is difficult to put real help and advice into our daily lives, isn’t it? I have seen many lovely houses over here. The houses are built by spirits who have learned how to mould this thought force. It is all done by the thought process. These are numerous other messages dealing directly with his experience on the astral plane. He has foretold her of coming inventions. The most recent is a sled-shaped affair upon which we will sit pull a lever and fly through the air via radio control. People often ask Miss Rambova how she knows so certainly that it is Rudolph Valentino talking to her? She answered ‘But if your husband called you on the telephone would you not recognize his voice’? In his enthusiasm he often misused certain English expressions. He uses the same semi-Italian semi-American phrases in talking now. Naturally, we could write a book on this subject. She talked to us for more than 2 hours as unaffectedly as though she were discussing the Presidential elections. We may believe or scoff, but we could not but believe that she was sincere. “And do you think that Rudolph Valentino stalks at Falcon Lair?” We had waited until the end to put that question forth. Miss Rambova replied he returns there of course. It was his home. It was only natural that he should come back, is it not? As for the dogs naturally they could see what you could not. Animals have more psychic than persona.

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