Thursday, March 31, 2016

Order In The Court!!

On November 9, 1925 Rudolph Valentino caused a sensation inside the Manhattan New York Supreme Court when he showed up to defend his friend Olga Petrova, who was being sued on grounds that she had plagiarized William Henry Robert's work "La Rubia" when she wrote her play "The White Peacock"  The below photo was taken 11/9/1925

However the Supreme Court of the state of New York sided with Roberts and the verdict was announced on December 2, 1925.   Later after Valentino's death Petrova tried to get the court to grant a stay of execution for paying the judgment.  This was denied on June 11, 1927 and Petrova had to pay up.

This is an often seen photo of Rudolph Valentino but the details behind it are quite interesting and seldom attached to the photograph.

Former actress and playwright Olga Petrova and Rudolph Valentino
November 9, 1925
Judgment announced in the papers December 2, 1925
June 11, 1927
This is the press snipe that was attached to the back of the
photograph above.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Valentino Estate Items #4 Rudolph Valentino Shirt

Here is a photo of Rudy taken in San Francisco looking dapper as ever, he is wearing a striped shirt.  Below that are some shots of that same shirt he is wearing how it looks today.
Its nice to see an article of Rudy's clothing that we only know from a B&W photo in full color.

Inside the silk shirt it is stitched with his RV monogram


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

1937 Flowers From the Grave of Rudolph Valentino

Here is a vintage handwritten note attached with pressed flowers.  The note reads:

"April 4 - 1937 - In California -

The grave of Rodolfo Valentino, Hollywood Cemetery.  I picked these flowers from his grave, while next to his was Barbara La Marr - actress -"

Then, as now, the faithful still come to lay flowers and pay their respects at the grave of Rudolph Valentino.

Every year the annual Valentino Memorial Service is held to honor his life and legacy.
The Valentino Memorial Service is always held on the date of his passing; August 23rd and the service starts at the exact time of day he died, which was NYC 12:10pm

This year the Valentino Memorial will fall on a Tuesday, August 23, 2016  This year marks the 90th anniversary of his passing.

The motto of the Valentino Memorial is "We Never Forget"

Monday, March 28, 2016

Rudolph Valentino at the Hollywood Bowl

In March of 1922 Will Hays was installed as President of the Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors of America. This was largely in response to the public outcry over Hollywood morals during the recent Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle scandal.  Hays' power was absolute over all studios and he developed "The Code" which determined what could and could not be done in motion pictures. 

Upon his arrival in Hollywood, a large event to welcome him as well as hear his remarks was held at the Hollywood Bowl.  All studios mandated that their stable of stars attend and support this event.  Rudolph Valentino was no exception and this rare photograph shows him shaking hands with Will Hays at the event.

The Hollywood Bowl did not have the shell dome as yet, that didn't come into being until late 1926.  Here are a couple of early shots of the Bowl to show you what it looked like at that time.

Valentino shakes hands with Will Hays at the Hollywood Bowl
Press snipe on back of photo
Hollywood Bowl circa 1926
Hollywood Bowl  Circa1927

Saturday, March 26, 2016

S. George Ullman - It's Not Nice To Steal!

Here is a bow tie that belonged to Rudolph Valentino accompanied by a typewritten and hand signed letter from his former manager George Ullman.  The letter written in just under five months of Valentino's passing shows George Ullman giving away parts of Rudolph Valentino's wardrobe. Interesting to note that he mentions acquiring them at the auction.  Not true!  While Rudolph Valentino's personal wardrobe was listed in the estate catalog - absolutely none of it was sold at auction. It was all removed at the request of Alberto Valentino who stated in Italian customs, it was considered in bad taste to sell a deceased persons clothing.

Apparently when Alberto wasn't looking George Ullman took many Valentino estate items, not just this bow tie.  I will be listing other Valentino estate items that good ole' George Ullman was selling on the side for years.

While George Ullman took the bow tie and gave it away, it is clear that the recipient, Mrs. Oaks of Chicago cherished the item and kept the letter and bow tie for the rest of her life.  A nice provenance  for a clothing piece of Rudolph Valentino

Notice that he is signing his letters with green ink!  What's up with that?!!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Lost Valentino - "Uncharted Seas"

Sadly 72% of all films made in the silent era are lost.  Mostly due to nitrate decomposition and the lack of foresight by the film studios.  When sound came in, anything to do with the silent era was  considered dated and laughed at and mocked.  Mary Pickford actually considered the option of having all her films destroyed upon her death due to that very reason.  Thankfully Lillian Gish talked her out of it.

One of the few stars from the silent era who retained their rightful place of honor in film history was Rudolph Valentino.  After his death in 1926 the demand for his films continued well into the silent era.  This caused studios (for the most part) to retain and preserve the Valentino films within their libraries.  Because of this, very few Valentino films are considered "lost"   One of them is "Uncharted Seas"  a film he made after the Four Horseman and it stared Alice Lake.  It was released on April 25, 1921 by Metro Pictures.  This was 3 years before they merged and became MGM.  Sadly, a film vault fire in the late 1940's destroyed the original negative and all existing prints of the film.

Come on!  Lets turn back the clock and visit the set to see some rare candid shots taken of the cast and crew as they worked in the cold REAL snow in upstate California.

Click on the photos to make them larger

Close-up view of the cast and crew. Alice Lake (left) and Rudy holding the coffee pot

Full version of above photo
Crew member holds Valentino's cigarette for him while waiting to shoot a scene

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Valentino Estate Items #3

Here is Rudolph Valentino's personal set of binoculars with leather casing.  These come from the estate of Rudolph Valentino and ended up with Valentino's right hand man;  Luther H. Mahoney.   Once Luther Mahoney died, his daughter Madeline Mahoney Reid inherited them and kept them until her death at which time the entire Luther Mahoney Valentino collection was put up for sale.

Here is a 1923/24 photo of Rudy and Natacha in London about to embark in a small plane. Note he is wearing the pair of binoculars over his shoulder.  There is passage in his serialized movie magazine column in Photoplay where me mentions looking out of the  windows of the plane using these binoculars.  




Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Commissioner Gordon from Batman Visits Falcon Lair

In the 1920's Neil Hamilton was a silent film leading man.  An A list actor he gained steady employment even continuing when sound came in. In fact in 1931 he received billing over Clark Gable.  However by the mid-1940's roles dried up and he drifted into budget films and serials.  However he later ventured over to a new medium called television.

Appearing in many guest roles over the years he once again found fairly steady work. Then as luck would have it in 1966 the iconic television series Batman that stared Adam West and Burt Ward was launched.  Neil Hamilton, then 67 was cast as the stoic Commissioner Gordon and appeared in all 120 episodes.   

Here is a photo dated 1945 showing Neil Hamilton visiting Falcon Lair and looking at a coat that Valentino wore in "The Eagle"  he is standing in the living room and you can see the fireplace to his right.  This was during the time when Juan Romero was liquidating the Valentino owned items he had.  Apparently he was trying to obtain press coverage by having actor Neil Hamilton photographed at Falcon Lair with Rudy owned items.

Neil Hamilton at Falcon Lair holding Valentino's "The Eagle" coat
Neil Hamilton in a Silent era portrait
Neil Hamilton (left as Commissioner Gordon) and Adam West as Batman
Batman TV series ran from 1966-1968



Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Valentino - Vintage Collectable

In most cases of the items I post about here I have information & history on the piece which I share with you.  Sadly, with this one I admit I do not.  At first glance one would think such an item was one of the many tribute trinkets produced to cash in directly after his passing.

However, it shows his embossed signature with the date of July 1926, which is a month before he died. That being the case, I am not sure where these were made or what they were intended for.

I can say I have only seen 2 of them in my 20 years of collecting; one of the two I bought and that is what you see here.  I was also later able to obtain the brass mold for the item which is also shown here.  Someone had drilled holes in it and using screws had secured it to a block of wood.  I removed all that once I got it. 

The photos don't do it justice, in person is a perfect likeness of Rudolph Valentino made with some kind of hard 1920's plastic, it measures about 2 1/2" tall and about 2" across.

A rare keepsake regarding Rudolph Valentino! These don't show up very often.



Monday, March 21, 2016

President Coolidge Invited to Valentino Memorial in France

On August 23, 1928, the two year anniversary of Rudolph Valentino's passing a mass was held in France.  Invitations were sent.  Here is one that was addressed to President Coolidge and sent to him in New York, America.  Someone at the post office scribbled "Washington DC" on the envelope and sent it on its way.  Here is the actual invitation sent to President Coolidge along with the front and back of the black bordered envelope.

President Coolidge




Friday, March 18, 2016

Lets Cash In On Valentino! Valentino Re-Issues

As a struggling bit player in 1918 he was signed to play the mustached swarthy villain in "Over The Rhine" which was an anti-German film.  Before it could be released  WW1 had ended and war films were out of vogue.  The film was shelved.  The producers in order to recoup their investment recut the film two years later and in 1920 it saw limited release as "An Adventuress" 

In 1921 Valentino's star rocketed though the sky and once again the producers dusted off the film and recut it to include every scene Valentino (now a major star) had in the film, sometimes just inserting footage for the sake of seeing him again in the film.  No matter if the same footage was repeated over and over throughout the film - the producers thought it would work.  It didn't.  This 3rd attempt at marketing the film - now called "Isle of Love" and was released in 1922

As noted before with other studios, no one lost an opportunity to re-release; re-edit older Valentino films and make it appear his role was the staring part when in fact it was either a bit role or supporting role.  Mae Murray sued Universal when they re-released his films with her and gave Valentino staring credit.  Universal had to give in and put Mae Murray back in top billing.

Here are some scenes from 1918 "Over the Rhine"  aka 1920 "An Adventuress" aka 1922 "Isle of Love"

Second Edition of the film 1920

Third Edition of the film 1922 (lobby card)

One Sheet poster  from 1922

 Here are some nice shots from the film.  Some are pretty rare! The film was shot
almost 100 years ago

Thursday, March 17, 2016

George Ullman - Judge Says Ullman GUILTY of "Fraud"

Well, we all know that S. George Ullman wasn't the most honest man around town.  There is more material I will be posting that will show that he willfully did things in his position to being manager of the estate of Rudolph Valentino that was possibly downright illegal.
Now comes this court notice that found that S. George Ullman defrauded an elderly lady while collecting money for the Valentino "Aspiration" statue.

Here is S. George Ullman (left) at the dedication.  Did you know he DID NOT
invite Alberto Valentino to this important unveiling?

Movie Magazine article guessing as to the cost of a Valentino Memorial

Mrs Zunilda Mancini - 77 years old at time of photo whom
Judge Lester W. Roth says "Fell Victim to a Fraud"

Here is the press snipe of the back of the photo.  It reads:




Wednesday, March 16, 2016

RUDOLPH VALENTINO - Photo of Universal Feature Film "The Big Little Person"

Many times its interesting to discover small details of Rudy's early film history.  Here is a vintage movie magazine ad that shows a heavily cropped photo saying that Rudolph Valentino as shown, was a heavy in a Universal film directed by Bob Leonard.

Robert Leonard was married to actress Mae Murray who was the star of the film.  I believe the photo to be from "The Big Little Person" 1919 Universal.   Of the five films Rudy made at Universal, in only one did he have a mustache, and that would be this film.  He was clean shaven in the other four Universal films "A Society Sensation", "Delicious Little Devil", "All Night" and "Once To Every Woman"

                                            Here is the movie ad with the film un-named

Here is a full photo from "The Big Little Person"  1919 Universal

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Pre- Star Valentino Memorabilia

All items related to Rudolph Valentino tend to be pricey. Any personal items from the estate are the most expensive and rarest.  Movie related items are more common however are still quite expensive.  We are now nearing the 100 year mark from when Valentino started in films.   The rarest film items on Valentino are what is called "pre-star" material.  This includes movie heralds, sheet music, lobby cards, posters in which Rudolph Valentino is prominent in said materials if they pre-date the Four Horseman (1921)

Here are two cards which are not re-issue (another thing to look out for) but are original issue lobby cards in which Valentino is shown on the card.  These measure 11X14 inches and were industry standard.

"A Rogue's Romance"  1919

"The Wonderful Chance"  1920

Friday, March 4, 2016

Valentino Estate Items - #2

As I stated before; always rare and thus expensive, authentic Valentino estate items are near impossible to locate very often.  But sometimes you can be at the right place at the right time.

Here is a piece from my collection that I obtained at auction.  It is listed in the estate catalog (compiled by Valentino's trusted right hand man Luther H. Mahoney) as an antique 'iron coffer'. It's the size of a workers lunchbox of the same shape but made of iron and is very heavy.  The inside is lined with red velvet, which is very worn.

The photograph shows the iron coffer sitting in the foreground to the right on Rudolph Valentino's living room table at Falcon Lair

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Valentino Re-Issues

Rudolph Valentino went on strike against Paramount for all of 1923 and a good part of 1924. Other studios which held films in which Valentino played a bit or supporting role lost no time and these earlier films were often re-edited and brought out again to appease the Valentino-starved movie goers.

No one was better at this than Universal.  Rudolph Valentino made five films at Universal

A Society Sensation  1918
All Night  1918
Delicious Little Devil 1919
Big Little Person  1919
Once To Every Woman  1920

Here is a half sheet issued in early 1924 for 'All Night', in which Valentino was now given star billing over the original star; Carmel Myers.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Early Valentino - In Suit of Armor

Here is an in-studio portrait of Rudolph Valentino taken around 1918-1919.  Apparently he rented this suit of armor for a small role, and wanted himself photographed in it.  I believe he later autographed a copy of the photo to the husband of Agnes Ayres. 

The photo has been somewhat altered and changed over the years (including colorized) for the benefit of movie magazines and newspapers.  Here is the photo exactly as it was taken.