Thursday, October 30, 2014

Strange Experiences at Valentinos Grave

Strange Experiences at Valentino's Grave

Did you know that:
Crypt of Rudolph Valentino

  • Ten people inquire every day for the specific location of Valentino's burial place
  • There are societies all over the world pledged to keep the grave ever fresh with flowers?
  • A woman dressed always in black came to the grave every week for three years?
  • A girl came all the way from Chicago just to get a rose petal from the grave?
  • Over a hundred people visit the cemetery every day
In 1932, six years following the actor's death, New Movie Magazine talked to Roger Peterson, known as Pete, an attendant at Hollywood Cemetery mausoleum. The major part of his duties have to do with inquiries concerning Valentino. He had to assist and clean up after people when necessary.
Wake for Rudolph Valentino August 1926
Pete said there are thousands of people who are genuinely interested in Valentino and they talk with him about the star. Facts above are also from that article called My Strange Experiences at Valentino's Grave.

"Unfortunately he also has to deal with hysterical sometimes unbalanced people who make a Roman holiday of their visits to Valentino's crypt. His handling of such semi-psychopathic cases would do credit to a physician. Pete has kept a diary since he has been on the job at the Hollywood cemetery." The diary began September 7, 1926, the day that Rudolph Valentino was laid to rest in the mausoleum.

The location is now called the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. An annual memorial service is held each August 23rd.

"The crypt in which he now lies belongs to Miss Mathis. In the tier below lie her
June Mathis 1922
mother and stepfather. The space next to Valentino is reserved for Miss Mathis' husband. (Note: upon the death of June Mathis Balboni, July 26 1927 Valentino was moved to the next crypt and she was given her own. She is best remembered for discovering Rudolph Valentino and writing such films as The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and Blood and Sand.)"

There are a few spiritual and somewhat spiritual things from his diary that were in the article. Unfortunately too much of his time was spent with with souvenir hunters and vandals who tore flowers and plants apart. People chiseled pieces off of memorial statues to the point that they toppled over.

"September 10, 1927: Still more people and a particularly violent fit of hysteria. It is a shame that sincere affection for a public figure such as Valentino must be besmirched by exhibitionists.

"September 30: A woman came to the mausoleum today with the wildest delusion yet. She claimed she was about to become a mother and Valentino was the father of her child. This thirteen months after his death. The woman asked permission to have a cot placed before Rudy's crypt where she might stay until her baby was born. She went up to the cemetery office and somehow or other they got rid of her."

A 1961 retrospective article in The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported that "35 women claimed he had fathered illegitimate children by him. All claims came after his death. There was no Valentino heir from the two marriages he had." There were one or two famous cases where women claimed they had been secretly married to Valentino and he had fathered their children. Close friend  George Ullman addressed this in his book.
Rudolph Valentino
18 years old, 1913
Just arrived in America;
He didn't speak any English

"Oct 15, 1928: I met Mrs. Coppola today she is the mother of the baby named for Rudolph Valentino. Of course being Italian, the name is spelled Rudolfo. The baby died at birth September 29 and is in a crypt on the top tier of the Valentino corridor. The mother came today and stayed several hours reading her bible and praying. I wish I could do something to comfort her in her great grief. 

"November 21: Mrs. Coppola was happier today than I have ever seen her. I asked her why and she told me a strange story of Valentino coming to her last night and talking to her. She said his spirit came to her house and knocked on the door. 

"When she let him in he told her that her baby was happy and not to grieve so much. .... Mrs. Coppola and Pete became friends. She came at least 5 times a week. She always brings flowers from her own garden. These she divides equally between her baby and Valentino. ... 

"She tells Pete that she sees Valentino's spirit occasionally in her dreams and frequently hears him walking about the house at night. She met Valentino's brother and sister who come to the cemetery often and they all pray together."

... as the rain fell on me stretched canvas print
... as the rain fell on me stretched canvas print  
*Two panels, side by side; framed or unframed, choose style
Browse for more wall art on Zazzle

The Lady in Black:
"March 7, 1929: The Lady in Black is no longer a mystery. She told me a lot about herself today. She is very poor which explains why she wears the same dress every week. A black and white hat and a long cape, reaching to her ankles complete her costume. Her husband left several years ago with a small child to support. She earns all she can doing housework of the hardest sort. 

"Valentino represents the only romance in her life. She went to the studio once to see him work but was too bashful to ask for an introduction. She says however that he glanced her way and smiled while looking directly into her eyes. That moment she will treasure forever. A few weeks later he left for New York where he died. She failed in her endeavor to meet him while he loved and now she spends what time she be can by his side in death."

August 29 1929: Pete wonders how the Woman in Black is doing. He last saw her several days ago. A note says he would never see her again.

There is no other information about her given. I've read several accounts of Valentino's Lady in Black. The most common is that she was a woman named Ditra Flame. Beyond that the details may vary. Did she or didn't she know Valentino? They may have grown up together, maybe they never met, as the lady talked about in the diary.

Actress Rita Flynn places a wreath at Valentino's grave
Fifth anniversary of his death

Did she bring a single red rose? Twelve red roses and one white rose? A bunch of violets? Flowers picked from her own flower garden? How often did she visit? How many ladies in black were there? Was it all just a publicity stunt?
Were there impostors or could there really have been more women dressed in black visiting Valentino's grave?

Hanging Lanterns, Mehndi Mason Jars for Candles, Flowers
Carry them for light to light your way
Choose color, style use for your next party

"December 16, 1929: We had a real spiritualistic manifestation today. A woman came in and introduced herself as a medium. She said she had spoken with Valentino upon numerous occasions, but he always disappeared before she could ask him anything she wished answered. 

"She had therefore traveled from somewhere in New England that she might hold a seance by his crypt. Perhaps she wasn't asking my permission but I told her to go ahead. I really don't care what people do just so they aren't noisy and don't steal or break anything. 

"The medium ran around in circles crying, 'Hear! Hear! He knocks. Rudy knocks.'

"She behaved like an insane person. Others attracted by her cries came running down the corridor. Sure enough there was a tap, tap, tap to be heard from above. 

"We investigated and found a large yellow-hammer had gotten into the attic of the mausoleum. How that bird had been able to get in remains a mystery today. But he was flying around crazily and making the tapping noise. The bird and the spiritualist left the cemetery about the same time. I don't know which was the most crestfallen, but neither returned."
-- End of New Movie Magazine excerpts

Suicide attempts at Valentino's Grave
January 1936: "Another woman attempted suicide at the grave of Rudolph Valentino the other day. A few people became greatly excited but the story is not new, this was not the first suicide try there. Valentino has been dead nine years, but his tomb is visited by scores every day. 

"Many of these leave flowers. More leave tears. Four have attempted suicide. All four were women who were, to use a coined phrase, Valentino mad. The screen has had its Carlisle Blackwells, Wallace Reids and Clark Gables, all public idols, but no other star has equalled Valentino's grasp on feminine emotions."
-- Reading Eagle, January 27, 1936

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse lobby card 1921
Alice Terry, Rudolph Valentino
Screenplay by June Mathis

Haunting his old studio?

The studios where Valentino's movies were filmed are possible places of hauntings. Early ghost pictures? Have these ever been published?
"A man from a California wayside town visited the old Metro studio, also haunted, where the actor made his first success, in The Four Horsemen. He took Kodak pictures. When the negatives were developed, queer shapes weird figures appeared on the prints. Distinguishable on a post was a shadowy form of Rudolph Valentino."  

An August 1976 newspaper article spoke about how the Valentino mystique lingers fifty years after his death. About his funeral: 

"Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery was strewn with flowers dropped from an airplane overhead. Teeming mobs covering one end of Santa Monica Boulevard to the other stretched their fingers skyward in order to catch some of the petals that descended 'like tears shed from the very heavens themselves.'" 

Photo: Rudolph Valentino Tribute,c1930

Other articles in this series:

The Lady and The Ghost of Valentino
Rudolph speaks to his wife from beyond

Falcon's Lair Rudolph Valentino's legendary Haunted Mansion

Valentino speaks about, "When I Come Back;" Rudolph and Natacha leaving on their honeymoon

Take a tour with a Valentino Fan

Related books and pages of interest:

Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino One of the most popular books about Valentino.

Intimate Biography: Rudolph Valentino - The Great Lover + The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse This DVD set gets good reviews but others do, too. I chose this one because it contains a movie and a biography as well as the audio of his voice. Good extras, good compilation for the price.

American Afterlife: Encounters in the Customs of Mourning 

Lou Costello Memorial Bracelet for his son

Who inherits your affiliate marketing pay & online sales earnings: When our Affiliate Marketing work outlives us :What happens to our online income after we die? Who controls about our social media pages like facebook after we're gone?

1930s Fan Girls chase Clark Gable, tear his clothes, nibble on his ears

Speaking of Ladies in Black, The The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York had an exhibition, Death Becomes Her A Century of Mourning Attire which ran
October 2014 – February 1, 2015.

Sources not cited elsewhere
The Victoria Advocate, August 29, 1976
Screenland 1922 
Motion Picture November 1928
Photoplay November 1926

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

His Haunted Mansion The late Rudolph Valentino

Falcon's Lair Visit a Haunted House

Valentino's Falcon Lair
He built it for his wife, but she would never live there. A larger tragedy, he would die not long after its completion. 

The mansion on the hill may rival his grave site for having the most stories of Valentino ghost sightings. Tourist guides, real estate brokers, books and rumors tell of spooky happenings. Have you heard them, have you ever been on a ghost tour, a tour of haunted houses? The address is given as 1436 Bella Dr, Los Angeles, CA.

While some say that Valentino called it Falcon Lair and later owner Doris Duke dubbed it Falcon's Lair, you did occasionally see it called Falcon's Lair before the 1950s.

Stories have circulated around Hollywood of one caretaker who ran down the canyon in the middle of the night yelling that he had seen Valentino. Some even say he is still running.

Young Rudolph Valentino in
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921)
Screenplay by June Mathis,
a close friend who was said to have discovered Valentino

"I slept in Valentino's haunted house"
In 1928 a magazine reporter was assigned to spend the night in Valentino's bedroom. Would she or wouldn't she find a real haunted house? The actor had died only recently. She submitted a story with the title above. An excerpt:

"Now I am neither a scoffer nor a believer. What is beyond the grave is something no living soul has fathomed. Whether a departed soul can return to communicate with those not yet departed has never been  proved, so far as I know to a point of certainty."

Toward morning she was awakened, "feeling as though someone had entered the room above me. ... I looked up. Could I be dreaming? On the stairway was a shadow. I rose, approached. It disappeared. I sat down again. Once more, the shadow. ....

"I rose and approached this shadow. Was I insane or did it retreat up the stairs before me? I turned, picked up my cot, departed. ...

"The caretaker poked his head out of the second story garage window.

"'Did you see anything?' His nightgown billowed in the breeze as he called down to me.

"I shook my head slowly. 'N-n-no,' I answered."  She soon left the haunted mansion.

Harry Carey & Edwina Booth in Trader Horn
Original 8x10" Photo

The Cowboy & The Ghost, Enter Renter Harry Carey: 
I read that legendary Western star Harry Carey stayed there just one night before leaving because he'd seen Valentino's ghost. But newspaper and other accounts from the actor himself prove otherwise.

the ghostly legend continued. In August 1930, upon the fourth anniversary of the actor's death, a woman came to Falcon Lair. She was stopped by Harry Carey's chauffeur. She demanded admittance. 

"I have an appointment with Mr. Valentino. It is his anniversary and his spirits say I will meet him here."

"Not while I'm working here lady," the chauffeur reportedly said before closing the gates and sending her away.

Harry Carey, his wife and daughter 1930
in front of Falcon Lair
In 1930, Harry Carey, his wife and two young children rented Falcon Lair. The house had been empty for years before he moved in.  

Early in the family's stay, night-time sounds, windows banging and strange lights were off-putting and they considered leaving the home. But the actor famously said, "We've been living with lions and cannibals in Africa. No spook can scare us off." (Carey, the father of actor Harry Carey Jr., had been in the film Trader Horn, shot in Africa.) 

He was perhaps known as one of the great old Cowboy actors, and got an Oscar nomination for his role as the President of the Senate in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). John Wayne had paid tribute to him in the movie The Searchers. The film featured Olive Carey and Harry Carey Jr, Harry Carey's wife and son.

"One day by chance I discovered a hidden door that apparently led to a part of the basement. I opened the door and half-a-hundred bats rushed out. That
Harry and daughter
explore the basement
What was stashed in that box?
ended the tapping." 

"Exploring the basement through the hidden door, Carey said he found a large box containing a mass of electrical wires and switches. He traced those wires and found they led up a chimney to a built-in bookcase in the room above. 

"From the bookcase, hidden wires ran to other parts of the house. Investigating further, Carey said he learned that at Valentino's death a caretaker with spiritualistic leanings had been hired to watch the property.

"Carey said the caretaker and his followers held seances in the rooms where electric terminals were found. From various electric connections pale blue and green light mysteriously flashed on and off thru the house. 'We seem to have solved the mystery,' Carey said."

I found versions of this story in a handful of old newspapers and an old
Pola Negri in Woman of the World
8x10 Silver Halide
Archival Quality Repro Photo Print
magazine from mid-1930. Apparently Mr. Carey was able to turn off the flashing lights but they don't say if he disconnected the wire-works or removed them. 

Don't mix up the actor Mr. Carey with Harry Caray who broadcast for the Chicago Cubs for 16 years. They just happen to have the same name.

Pola Negri:

In 1934 Pola Negri, the final lover of Valentino, purchased Falcon's Lair. She said she wanted to live there 'together with him.' It was where they had planned to live after they were married.

"'That first day when I arrived just as the sun was sinking over the last hill and I stepped through the gate he was there to greet me. He was here, Rudy, his vibrations were everywhere, I could feel him, gay and charming telling us not to be sad not to mourn not to grieve.' 

"From the big house came only silence and yet listening with Pola's ears I seemed to hear the vibrations of Rudy's gay laughter, song and revelry and living voices. ..... 

"'He is less a shadow even though he is gone, than men who live in the world as flesh and blood, because he was all things to all women. He had glamour for all women. But he had also the wistful appeal of the boy whom all women want to mother, to scold a little perhaps, to soothe and console and cherish in their hearts. 

"'He was a brother to girls who never had brothers or having them wished their brothers could be as Rudy was. He was the other son of all elderly women whose own sons had deserted them or disappointed them. He was the Sheik, the good comrade ... he was all those things to me and to all women.'

She talked about how Valentino rode a horse. 'You know how Rudy rode, like a god astride some celestial stallion. That was more than eight years ago... Rudy has been gone eight years on the twenty-third of last August... but it is yesterday to me.' ...

"Pola's white hand still clasping a red rose, covered her heart. ... 'We were both very interested in spiritualism. We used to use the Ouija board and we would get the amazing results together.' ... Yes there is something magnificent, something very much in the Grand Manner about this woman who will love Rudolph Valentino for as long as there is Time."
-- Motion Picture Magazine interview 1934

Not too long after she'd purchased the house Negri was off to France and Germany making movies.  Yes, there was a reference to Pola Negri on a recent episode of Downton Abbey.

The house would continue to change hands, some people owning, others renting. In 1945 actress Ann Harding purchased the home for, I believe $75,000. 

Thirty mediums conduct 1948 birthday seance

Seance scene from 1922 German Silent Film
Dr. Mabuse The Gambler
Directed by Fritz Lang
Seances would continue to be held at the mansion. May, for his birthday and August the month of his death are particular times where it's hoped his spirit may appear. 

For your Seance or Party
Set 6 Antiqued
Vintage Deco
Mercury Glass Candle Holders
On the actor's birthday, May 6, 1948, thirty mediums attempted to confer with Valentino in his hilltop home. Members of the press were in attendance. 

While they did not see or hear the star, some of the mediums claimed that they'd heard, seen or felt the spirit of Valentino. Someone reported message had been channeled: 

"This is Rudolph. You are in my house. I am your host. Please be my guests." 

There were other manifestations claimed such as a loud tap on the window and the flickering of a candle on his birthday cake.
-- Spokane Daily Chronicle, May 7, 1948

The Syndicate plans for 1949, Lair for Loveless Women:
In 1949 five wealthy women, referred to only as The Group or The Syndicate bought Falcon's Lair. There were extravagant and innovative plans for the house to become a sanctuary so loveless women from all over the world could come and live with his ghost should it truly live there.

"Plans were made for a meditation sanctum where lovelorn women can worship the actors memory, a wishing well for the loveless. Bursting rockets every night in clusters of red white and blue to represent purity, passion and devotion.

There would be "private showings after vespers of Valentino's most famous film, The Sheik. Their attorney said, 'For tens of thousands of lovelorn women, the only inspiration in life is the worship of Valentino's memory.'"
The Sydney Morning Herald, February 13, 1949

It doesn't look like these plans came to fruition.

Calling Millicent Rogers and Clark Gable to The Mansion...
I've also read that Millicent Rogers who bought the home in 1949, spent only one night there before being chased out by the ghost of Rudolph Valentino. An
Clark Gable
8x10 glossy Photo
August 1953 Sydney Morning Herald article briefly explained that Millicent Rogers, heiress to some of the Standard Oil millions, "leased Falcon Lair for three months and left next morning."

Socialite, fashion icon, jewelry designer and art collector Millicent Rogers craftedjewelry in the home while she lived there. At the time, she was dating Clark Gable, with whom some sources say she was madly in love. 

This was after the death of Carole Lombard and before his 1949 marriage to Sylvia Ashley. Rogers designed special items for him, cuff links and such. The two dated for some time. Gable's dalliances with actress Virginia Grey upset Rogers a great deal. 

She broke it off with Gable with a letter. She sent a copy of the letter to columnist Hedda Hopper and Hopper reportedly printed the letter in her column. The Dear Clark letter has since been reprinted in books about Rogers and Gable such as Clark Gable: Biography, Filmography, Bibliography. Did Clark Gable ever visit Falcon's Lair? Quite possibly. Who out there knows?

After the difficult break up with Mr. Gable, Millicent Rogers left Los Angeles and so left Falcon's Lair. It wasn't Valentino who drove her out but a more contemporary Hollywood sex symbol, Clark Gable. If you get a chance, visit the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, New Mexico.

Gloria Swanson in The Love of Sunya 1927
It is a film Swanson also produced
In the 1950s actress Gloria Swanson rented the home while she was in the area making a film. She had earlier visited the home to attend a seance. If there were any ghostly happenings while Ms. Swanson was there, I've not heard of them.

Overlooking Cary Grant 1954 ...
In early 1954 the home was rented by Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton for her son Lance Reventlow as a 21st birthday gift. 

Hutton was doing some remodeling for him. The house now overlooked Cary Grant's "half-glass California type home" on a hill below. Hutton had been married to Cary Grant in the mid-1940s.

After Hutton and Mr. Reventlow, the home reportedly sold to Doris Duke. One newspaper described Duke as being 'twice married and breathtakingly rich.' She owned the mansion for years.

Doris Duke was married
to HR Cromwell 1935-1943
I read that in the 1950s Edgar Bergen and family, of course including the young Candice Bergen, lived at Falcon's Lair. Haven't been able to substantiate it. Many people rented the home, sometimes for a short time.

In 1966 Virginia Hill Hauser was renting the home. She was found dead that same year. Ms. Hauser was said to be a companion of gangster Bugsy Siegel.

It's been over eighty years since Valentino's death. The mansion is said to be haunted. Have you visited Rudolph Valentino's former home? What stories have you heard?? 

Villa Valentino
Other sites are said to be regularly haunted by the ghost of Rudolph Valentino. There is the site of home he shared with Natacha Rambova, a home built in 1922, referred to as Villa Valentino; 6776 Wedgewood Place Whitley Heights. The house was razed in 1951 to make way for the Hollywood Freeway but you may be able to see some of the foundation.

Other Pages in this series:
Rudolph Valentino Speaks from Beyond: The actor speaks to his wife Natacha Rambova

When I Come Back: Valentino and Rambova prepare to leave on honeymoon, he says in essence, I'll Be Back

Strange experiences at Valentino's Grave
Valentino's Grave Site: Halt! Who goes there?? The caretaker at his grave kept a diary for years from the day the star was interred. He shared some entries in an article. Ghostly experiences? Did he see The Lady in Black?

Rudolph Valentino's Impact National Lover, Movie Idol, Sex Symbol: Would he be such big a star today?

Related articles and books of interest:

Haunted Places: The National Directory: Ghostly Abodes, Sacred Sites, UFO Landings and Other Supernatural Locations Go on a celebrity ghost hunt

Too Rich: The Family Secrets of Doris Duke

The narrowest house in New York City Edna St. Vincent Millay, Margaret Meade, Shrek ... John Barrymore is said to haunt a former apartment he had in New York City. Legend has it that Barrymore and Cary Grant lived in the Greenwich Village house in the 1920s.

Searching for Beauty: The Life of Millicent Rogers, the American Heiress Who Taught the World About Style

Sources not cited elsewhere
The Ogden Standard-Examiner,  Milwaukee Sentinel, Greeley Daily Tribune,  The Idaho Falls Post  March 31-April 3 1930
The Miami News, September 3, 1946  
Motion Picture 1930 
Picturegoer March 1923
Picture Play September 1926

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Lady and The Ghost of Valentino

Hollywood's first superstar speaks from beyond

Rudolph Valentino
The Sheik
August 1926 Rudolph Valentino was dying in a New York City hospital. The very spiritual Natacha Rambova was not able to be at his side. She later spoke about her communication with him. Here are accounts of his messages and communications to and from some of his family and friends.

Both Rudolph and Natacha, the wife with whom he had recently separated, had been interested in psychic phenomena. The film Ouija is currently very popular. It's based on the The Ouija board used by some as a spirit board to talk to the dead. Simply ghost stories??

S. George Ullman Valentino's manager talked about their spirituality in his book, Valentino as I knew Him. "I had observed that both Rudy and Natacha were interested in something supernatural. Just what I did not know. Afterwards it turned out to be automatic writing and a form of the psychic."

Valentino had built Falcon Lair for Natacha and rumor had it that he wanted her back. (Natacha's real name was Winifred Hudnut. She'd changed it when she went into the movie business.) Though Valentino and Natacha were legally separated, she said she believed they were still spiritually united and that closeness continued even after his passing. This allowed messages to pass between them.

Silent video, news footage Valentino funeral August 1926. Ends w/footage of the star dancing & in his final film, The Son of the Sheik, which was released posthumously

Did messages she received come from her husband? Natacha was sure of it. "When we receive a telephone message from another city, how do we know who is speaking? From mannerisms, from thoughts, from the topics of conversation. Every message from Rudy undeniably has carried authentic earmarks."

Swanson, Valentino 1922 vintage portrait card
Swanson, Valentino 1922 The Valentino Kiss

"Before he died, Rudy talked with us. He was under anaesthetic. An anaesthetic merely releases the astral body from the material one. Rudy kept calling all the time. He was terribly depressing. He had seen Jenny [June Mathis' late mother] and knew he was going to die. His messages were incoherent.

One account suggests the actor called out Jenny's name shortly before he died. He didn't want to die.

"A few days before he actually passed on we received a cablegram from George Ullman saying Rudy was better. A message from Mesolope an old Egyptian who used to communicate with Rudy through automatic writings reversed this decision of the doctors in New York City. We hoped that Mesolope was wrong that there had been some mistake in his 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 cablegram arrived I was glad Mesolope had warned us. His message from beyond that Rudy was coming somewhat softened the cruelty of the news for us. Rudy began communicating with us almost at once......" 

Rudolph Valentino and Natacha Rambova 1922

She said that Valentino was communicating through the process called mechanical writing or automatic writing. She would take plain yellow paper (yellow being the most psychic color) and a large, soft lead pencil. He would control the pencil and write the messages through her hand. She had never received messages until those from her Rudy. 

"We would sit around and talk at random. She would join in the conversation, merely holding the pencil."

For an issue of Photoplay magazine, Miss Rambova answered questions about Valentino in the afterlife.

Q: Does Valentino know of the sorrow that swept the world at his death?

"Naturally he was conscious of the world's sorrow. It was visible all about him. It tortured him in those earthbound days."

Death turns him into an invisible cold wind.... Valentino speaks: 
Rambova quoted one of Valentino's first messages to her, something she says that he experienced shortly after he died.

"'As you know, Natacha I have always been easily touched by praise and flattery. The struggles I have gone through and the obstacles I have overcome made the pleasure of public attention all the greater. But now I stood alone. There was no one to praise me. There was no one to talk about it. I wandered up and down Broadway. 

"It seemed as real to me as ever it had before. But no one took any notice of me; I could hardly comprehend that they could not see me. I was so real and they were so real that it made the realization of my change very difficult.' He grasped a woman's arm. 'My what a cold wind struck me! she said.'

"'This made me furious. So death had turned me into a cold wind! I would not have it so. I rushed up to a group of actors standing on the corner of Forty-Seventh Street and Broadway. I seized one of the men by the arm and shouted, I am Rudolph Valentino! But he paid no attention and went on laughing and talking. I felt so helpless and useless and yes, I felt dead, too.'"

Q: Does he have a message for us?

"Yes, He wants earth-people to know and realize that there is no death and no separation. He wants earth-people to miss his heartrending experience. He wants them to realize and believe in the beauty and perfection of this afterlife."

Historic Print: Harry Houdini with his wife Beatrice and mother Cecilia Steiner Weiss

A note run by one of the magazines that printed an interview with Rambova: 

"The many questions of spiritualism, theosophy and reincarnation cannot be discussed here. It must be noted however that many scientists and men of world wide prominence, including Sir Arthur Doyle, William James and others, believe in the possibility of receiving authentic spirit messages. 

"On the other hand Houdini, who devoted his life to exposing spiritualistic fakes and who died recently, never has communicated with his wife although a series of signals has been arranged.... Other spiritualists have claimed to receive communication from Houdini but they fail to reveal the secret code the magician had given to his wife."
-- end of magazine article excerpts

"It must not be thought that Valentino was superstitious in any small and trivial way. He had no objection to spilling salt, walking under a ladder, whistling in dressing rooms, beginning a picture on a Friday or sitting down with thirteen at a table. These things he ridiculed.

"The psychic never became a religion to him but he yielded to its mesmerism more than to any other form. This was entirely due to the influence of his wife who was a firm believer in the occult and initiated him into its mysteries. It was for this reason that she changed her name from Winifred Shaunessy DeWolf-Hudnut to Natacha Rambova. She believed that she would achieve fame under this new name."
-- Valentino As I Knew Him, S. George Ullman

Pola Negri
Valentino had an affair with the Polish actress, Pola Negri. She famously kissed him after he'd died and later fainted at his grave. She was in attendance when his crypt was sealed. 

Miss Negri provided the beautiful blanket of flowers that covered his coffin. She claimed that she was engaged to marry him. 

In June 1926 Rudloph Valentino and Pola Negri (above) at wedding of Mae Murray and David Mdivani. Pola Negri would go on to marry David's brother Serge Mdivani (her second husband) on May 14, 1927. 

In an earlier article in this blog, it was mentioned that in 1931 another brother, Alexis Mdivani had been married to Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton. Hutton also was married to Cary Grant.

Their sister Nina Mdivani was once married to Denis Conan Doyle, a son of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Arthur Conan Doyle also had a belief in things spiritual and paranormal. In the very early 1920s Doyle was predicting we would be taking movies of ghosts and spirits. To this day, nearly a hundred years later, people continue the attempt to get ghosts' pictures, to make spirit movies, as they were called.

~ o ~ o ~ o ~

Pola Negri in Barbed Wire

Having visited his home, Falcon's Lair*, many times, it had been her claim that the two of them were planning on living there as a couple. In late 1934, Negri purchased the property and planned to live there with the spirit of Valentino. She was just one of many people who owned or rented the property over the years.

"'It has long been one of the big dreams of my life to live in the home of Rudolph,' Pola says in that dramatic voice of hers, but with very real tears in her dark eyes, "and now within a month the home will belong to us, Rudolph and me. We shall be happy living there.' ...

"For many years Falcon Lair has been untenanted. Natacha never lived there. Before it was finished she and the Latin star were separated. But to Pola Negri it is filled with memories, memories of that brief wonderful romance with Valentino which death alone interrupted.  .... 

"'I know Rudolph will be happy that the home where we planned to live after our marriage will soon be ours again.'"
-- Movie Classic December 1934 

Ouija Board Clock
Ouija Board Clock Be where you really ought to be -- and on time
by diaboliccreations
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Valentino Premonition?
Occasionally we hear that someone had predicted their own death before it happened. Did the star have a premonition that he would have an early death?

On the day Valentino died, John W. Considine, Jr. co-producer of a couple of his pictures was quoted as saying, "Valentino several times remarked to me 'I shall die young. I know it and I shall not be sorry. I would hate to live to be an old man.' Valentino's prophecy has been fulfilled but it has been a  terrific blow to his friends. I found Rudolph a man of great courage and unquenchable spirit. He will be greatly missed." 

Ghost Portrait, his brother's encounter
Rudolph Valentino died without ever seeing his portrait by Frenchman Gaston Lavrillier. A few years after Valentino's death the ghost portrait was purchased by Ivan Dujan. He was a silent film cameraman who became an artist. On the 50th anniversary of Valentino's death he put the work up for public auction. 

Dujan said Valentino's brother once came to view his brother's image. 

"He knelt in front of it and said, 'Rudy why don't you speak to me?'" 
-- The Miami News, September 3, 1976 

More in the Series:

Rudolph Valentino: When I Come Back  

His Haunted Mansion, Valentino's Home in the Hollywood Hills, Falcon's Lair And how on earth could there be connections between the Valentino mansion and later film icons Clark Gable and Cary Grant? More about Falcon Lair. Is or was the Valentino mansion in the Hollywood Hills a Haunted House? There are stories of people who have spent only one night in the house and fled. 

Rudolph Valentino's Impact National Lover, Movie Idol, Sex Symbol: Would he be such big a star today?

Strange Experiences at Valentino's Grave Rudolph Valentino's ghost is said haunt his grave site. What about messages he's left for other people, those he never even met? There is a virtual bouquet of stories about the Lady in Black. Touch on that from a several-year diary kept by the man who was caretaker at Valentino's grave.

Related Books and Articles of Interest: 

The Death of Jean Harlow, 1936

Valentino as I knew Him by S. George Ullman
Ullman was was a friend and the executor of Valentino's estate. Vintage editions and reprints become available at different times. 

A Curious Life by psychic medium, George B Wehner.
Wehner worked with Rambova in contacting Valentino. You may find vintage editions or more recent issues of this book.

Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino by Emily W. Leide

Rudolph Valentino: A Wife's Memories of an Icon by Natacha Rambova, Adapted edition. Not sure how the adapted version may differ from the author's original work, though this gets good reader comments.

A Good Cry-Off Camera Musicians Help Silent Film Actors Bring TearsYour Director tells you to Cry

In case you were looking for the glorious fashion designer, Valentino Garavani. Here's an amazing book: Valentino: Themes and Variations

Rambova said yellow is the most psychic color. Do you have a yellow legal pad? Yellow paper for your printer or for crafting? Office Depot Colored Copy Paper, Yellow, 8 1/2 Inch x 11 Letter Size, 20 lb., 300 Sheets Pack 
Pola Negri Silent Film Star Vintage Poster
Pola Negri Silent Film Star Vintage Poster  
See another artwork, choose unframed or have framed

Witch Board by Shayne of the Dead table lamp
Witch Board by Shayne of the Dead table lamp 
For with your seance, your party, your theme interior design?
Browse more Witch board Lamp-In-A-Box Lamp at Zazzle

** This is part of a series. Do you believe in spirits, haunted houses? Do you believe that Valentino's ghost would come back walking through his former home, Falcon's Lair? Does he haunt his grave? Does he send messages?

*Please note, I've seen Valentino's home referred to as Falcon Lair and Falcon's Lair in articles, notes and books by a variety of persons from the time it was being built. Today the names are used interchangeably. Both versions of the name in articles here.

Sources not cited elsewhere
AP News, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, August 24, 1926 
Motion Picture January 1929 
Movie Weekly August 1922 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Rudolph Valentino When I Come Back

The Big Screen's First Latin Lover
I shall be again the romantic lover, It is what I do best and it is what most people want -- I shall try to be human, understandable

Rudolph Valentino
'Son of Sheik' Poster
He was the first Latin lover of the silver screen, the first order of beefcake, first one to have us stammering, "Hubba hubba."

"The interviewer is confused, frankly, rattled. One has heard so much about this man and dreamed so much more that when one finally is in The Presence, words simply desert or worse still, mutiny and intelligent questions become chaotic stammerings. Yes, one is a little excited. 

"Not so Valentino. He is smoking cigarets in an inordinately long and preposterously slender ivory holder. If the couch is neutral-tinted, he is not. He wears a shining gun-metal grey-satin lounge suit with collars and cuffs and frogs of bright Chinese red. His voice is soft, a little throaty, musical as all Italian voices are. There is only a trace of accent, utterly charming. ... 

"'After all who is this Valentino that he should lord it over others? And so I do not let my head be turned. And that is harder than you think ... so many letters I get ... Such crowds come to watch us dance .... But I cannot forget that once I was nobody.'

portion of Rudolph Valentino Clipping
Magazine photo orig 1pg 8x10
"Valentino smiles once more and when he smiles it is like the sun coming out."

It's the early 1920s. Rudolph Valentino and his wife Natacha Rambova were preparing to leave for a belated honeymoon in Europe. Valentino is giving an interview before the trip, it is to be titled, When I come back. The interviewer is more than a little enraptured with her subject.

Carole Lombard Rudolph Valentino
orig clipping magazine photo 1pg
"'I shall be again the romantic lover. It is what I can do best and it is what most people want. I do not mean the matinee-idol type. Heaven forbid! But romance and drama are what most lives lack and I shall try to supply it. 

"'And above all I shall try to be human, understandable. I shall play characters that may be made comprehensible to everyone. ... I believe I know the thing that universally appeals to people. I promise to give it to them.'"

Sadly in 1926, he was the first film superstar who died suddenly at a young age. To this day, we hear celebrity deaths and funerals compared to his. You certainly did years ago. Not that many years after his came Harry Houdini, Irving Thalberg, Valentino's friend June Mathis, Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard, so many others.

The country mourned, throngs of fans who were able went to see his body and then went to his grave site. Poetry was written for the fallen star. Women claimed to have given birth to his illegitimate children, to have been his secret brides. 

If you've only seen Rudolph Valentino in The Sheik, you owe it to yourself to see his other films to see the actor in different roles. Try to see The Son of the Sheik and Camille.

For years they tried to finance a memorial to Valentino. Plans were drawn up.  One such memorial being designed in the late 1920s was to include the inscription:

His films brought high romance into lives oppressed by harsh realities. A Valentino picture meant music to lives that were monotonous. For millions of men and women he crowned dark days with colorful evenings. 

In Valentino, men and women upon whom life had forgotten to smile, found escape from themselves and their environment. For a fleeting hour he brought to them the priceless boon of bright illusions. 

BOSS Hugo Boss Men's Helion Scarf, One Size 
A warm,soft scarf is a great holiday gift idea for any man;
tell him he's the sheik in your life. This one gets great reviews
and is soft with a cashmere blend.
Choose any pattern, brand or style.


More in the Series:

The Lady and The Ghost of Valentino: Natacha Rambova Rudolph Valentino's wife speaks to him from beyond : Pola Negri buys Falcon Lair so the two of them may live together as they'd planned

Rudolph Valentino's Impact National Lover, Movie Idol, Sex Symbol: Would he be such big a star today? 
His Haunted Mansion, Valentino's Home in the Hollywood Hills Falcon's Lair

Strange experiences at Valentino's Grave: The caretaker kept a diary, how about the Lady in Black who he met? The medium who visited?

Related Pages of Interest:

Actors' Final Films, Final Performances; The Misfits, Final Movie of Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe

Dressing Male Stars of the 1930s and 1940s ; Hollywood male film stars rebelled against high wardrobe costs 

Italian actor, Rudloph Valentino with wife Natacha
Italian actor, Rudloph Valentino with wife Natacha 
Look at another Keychain, Create One

King of the Silents is a great song from the Gallagher and Lyle Pop Duo Legends album/CD. It tells the story of a silent movie star who is sure that talking pictures are just a passing fad. Maybe he isn't sure that he has the voice to be as big a star in the talkies? Enjoy the whole CD or just the song on MP3.

** This is the beginning of a series, one that's appropriate for the season. Do you believe in spirits, haunted houses? Do you believe that Valentino's ghost would come back walking through his former home, Falcon's Lair? Does he haunt his grave? Does he send messages?

Motion Picture Classic December 1923
New Movie April 1932
Photoplay November 1926