Monday, March 23, 2015

Movie Quiz Answers Golden Age of Hollywood

The past two articles presented a Movie History quiz. Here are the answers. How well did you do?

1) Director David Wark Griffith invented the close-up, first used 1911. What was it? A wrench! Other characters believed the character was carrying a gun. Some
Rudolph Valentino
& Alla Nazimova in Camille
directors scoffed at the technology. We're paying for an entire actor. Why should we only see part of their body?


2) An iris-in is a photographic trick by which when a scene is shown at first only a small circle appears which grows larger and larger until the picture covers the entire screen.
3) There are sixteen impressions taken by the camera are shown on the screen in a second
4) There are one thousand feet are there in a reel of film
5) $175,000 dollars was the largest sum ever paid for the film rights to a stage play. It was paid by DW Griffith for Way Down East.
6) The names of three women writers given in the 1920 quiz were: Anita Loos, Frances Marion and Ouida Bergere. 

Just a few of the other prominent female screenwriters of the 1920s were June Mathis, Jane Murfin, Jeanie MacPherson, Elinor Glyn, Bess Meredyth, Clara Beranger, Dorothy Farnum, Agnes Christine Johnston, Frances Guihan and Eve Unsell.



7) The woman director given as the answer was Lois Weber. You could add Dorothy Arzner and Alice Guy-BlachĂ©.  Lillian Gish directed her sister Dorothy in the 1920 film Remodeling Her Husband. The costar was Dorothy's husband at the time James Rennie. Cleo Madison and Mabel Normand were among the list of actresses who were directing in the 1920s.

8) Mack Sennett went by the pseudonym Walter Terry



The devices used to create old time radio sound effects were similar to those used behind the scenes of silent movies

9) The man in the photo at right provides sound effects on a variety of devices to enhance silent movies. In the photo, he's operating a wind machine, which
Sound effects man 1922
simulates the sound of a snowstorm or a similar type of weather event. 


**Note: The same sort of machine was used during the making of The Wizard of Oz (1939) to simulate the sound of the tornado.

10) Buster Keaton coined a new word Optience. He suggests we use it instead of the word Audience.  His word refers to people who attend the movie theater vs the stage theater. It's also used to refer to people who attend the movies vs those who listen to the radio.

11) Cecil B. DeMille was called the answer to an extra's prayer.

Open questions 1 through 11 in another tab
 
Also Known As:
12) Charlie Ray, Mary Pickford and Louise Glaum
13) "It may shock you to know that Arline Pretty gurgled in her cradle under that very same name."

Years earlier in 1917, a magazine offered a contest. Fans could win $25. Arline Pretty was looking for a new name. "Star to discard real name and $25 will be given for a new reel one." Guess the studio and/or the star never liked any of the suggestions?

14) Juliet Shelby aka Mary Miles Minter
15) Gilbert Roland and Barry Norton
16) Lucille Le Sueur aka Joan Crawford
17) Anita Dooley aka Nita Naldi
18) Ricardo Cortez, his birth name is Jacob Krantz
19) Mack Sennett, producer
20) James Kirkwood's wife Augusta Appel aka Lila Lee
21) Gladys Smith aka Mary Pickford
22) Lucille Langhanke Astor combined with the given name of Mary
23) It's Talmadge; he is Richard Talmadge born Sylvester Metz, who had been a boy member of the famed acrobats, the Mazetti Troupe.
24) Joel McCrea, because "he is the most slug-nutty person in Hollywood."
25) Joan Crawford (his wife at the time.) He also called her JoJo and she called him DoDo.
26) Theda Bara was the first screen vampire. Her nickname was The Vamp, short for vampire. Bara began making movies in 1914.
 
Alan Roscoe, Theda Bara in Camille.
This 1917 film is considered to be lost.
F. W. Murnau's  German film Nosferatu appeared in 1922. Count Orlok may have been the first cinema vampire, modeled after Bram Stoker's 1897 horror novel Dracula.

27) Lewis Joseph Cote aka Lew Cody
28) In 1920 the most famous horse in pictures was Bill Hart's 'Pinto'
29) Actress Carole Lombard married someone named William twice. In 1931 she married actor William Powell. In 1939 she married actor William Clark Gable.

News and Gossip
Lew Ayres and Ginger Rogers
1934
30) Ginger Rogers "was to have started work on a picture last Monday but did not show up. She had left a note pinned to her pillow. 'Dear Mama am going away. I'll be perfectly safe so don't look for me!'"

Her mother contacted the sheriff's department and asked them to search for her. Some of her friends had a hunch that Lew Ayres, her boy-friend knew where she had gone, but he agreed she needed the rest and kept her secret. 

Ginger, resting on a Nevada ranch was surprised to hear over the radio that she had been reported missing and contacted her mother right away. It was February 1934 at the time of her disappearance and Ginger Rogers was twenty-two years old. Rogers and Ayres were married later that same year.

31) "Dainty Lilian Harvey who weighs only 95 pounds can boast the smallest waist in Hollywood exactly nineteen and a half images. However Ginger Rogers who isn't quite as petite as Lilian weighing about one hundred and fifteen pounds comes very close to Lilian's waist measurements and perhaps hers may be called the second smallest."



What about your waist? The Ideal woman's figure through time....


Barbara Stanwyck 1932
32) Barbara Stanwyck was taking time off to try and heal a back injury. "Stanwyck suffered a serious spine injury several years ago which never properly healed. … Barbara's injured spine goes back to the days when she was working in Ten Cents a Dance, released in 1931. It was while making a scene for that picture that she sustained the injury."

By 1934 Stanwyck was nearing 30, she was probably more serious about life and her craft, her future. She had her health and her son to think about.

33) "Constance Bennett was the cause of the quarrel between Gilbert Roland and Clark Gable at a party at the home of Samuel Goldwyn. 

"Roland who escorted Connie to the party took offense at the manner in which Gable spoke to Constance and was quoted as saying angrily to Gable, 'You quit picking on her and pick on me.'

"Clark seemed willing and for a minute it looked like the start of a good old fashioned fist fight, but other movie luminaries present stepped in and calmed the boys.  In the absence of her husband Maquis Henry Falaise who is in China making a picture Roland has been acting as Connie's escort."

Gilbert Roland and Constance Bennett were wed in 1941 and remained married until 1945.


34) Karl Dane who made his first screen hit as the Swede in The Big Parade shot himself on April 14 despondent over his failure to obtain motion picture work.  Dane's body was found surrounded by newspaper and magazine clippings of his former success - cut short by talkies.

35) Helen Vinson was selected the most beautiful Technicolor subject for 1937 by the International Color Camera Club.

36) Dick Powell's contract with Warner Brothers contains a clause saying that Dick is not to marry while said contract is in effect - lest he jeopardize his popularity. Dick scoffs at the danger and wants it taken out.  Dick and Mary Brian have been going together so long that it is possible he wants to marry the girl. 

[It's been suggested that other stars had such clauses in their contracts and that in other cases studios forbade stars from marrying such as in the case of Jean Harlow and William Powell in the 1930s.]

37) Danielle Darrieux was paid to learn English.
38) "Are Herbert Marshall and Gloria Swanson a mutual consolation society? Herbert's marriage to Edna Best once one of filmdom's happiest seems on the verge of a break-up, Gloria's marriage to Michael Farmer is about to end in divorce - and Herbert and Gloria have been night-clubbing together."

39) Alice Faye didn't like stairs.

40) Sigrid Gurie was forbidden by her studio to be seen in public before the release of her first picture. 

Sam Goldwyn's publicity department suggested that she was the Norwegian answer to Greta Garbo or Marlene Dietrich as she was set to star in The Adventures of Marco Polo. After her debut, news was it "turned out she was from a little farm town of Cucamonga, California."

41) Lily Pons considered the number 13 to be good luck
42) Sue Carol had a phobia of birds, particularly hating their flapping wings.

These quizzes were prevalent and fun in the old magazines and even in the newspapers. They covered a variety of topics. I plan to run more from time to time. You'll find links here.

Open questions 12 - 42 in another tab

Download quiz questions and answers in a PDF file 

Print out for your Hollywood movie party or long car or plane trip. Fun to occupy friends between movies.

Related pages of Interest:

Old Hollywood Stars Thanksgiving Menus Quiz: Match the stars to the menus they served Their traditional Thanksgiving meals 

Retro TV Housekeeper Quiz Eight maids at Christmas not a-milking, Eight Maids at Holiday Time or Any Time

Group games for parties, For old and young: for Christmas, Birthdays, Vintage parlor games for any time of year, movie-inspired

Fake Snow Bringing winter to silent movies: Making snow blizzards in Hollywood California - Includes Way Down East

Keeping time with Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor: Gifts of watches and sapphires 1930s

Sources:
Motion Picture 1934
Movie Weekly 1922
Photoplay 1922, 1927, 1938
The Miami News  February 21, 1934
Picture Play Magazine 1920 and 1922
Talking Screen 1930

Friday, March 20, 2015

1920s film star quiz 1930s news gossip

Golden Age Movie Quiz
Questions part two of two

It was the roaring twenties. Movies were silent and still pretty much of a 
Louise Brooks Gallery
Wrapped Canvas

novelty. Twenties Hollywood had its share of gossip and scandal as well as glitz and glamor. Here are more questions from the Twenties and the Thirties to test what you know about the stars of classic movies, the movie stars' names and movie studios. 

This is the era of Jazz, the flappers and vamps, great screen lovers and swashbucklers. For some questions I've placed the exact year it was asked. All are from 1920-1939.

Also Known As:
12) Who are the following: The Best Loved Boy on the Screen,
America's Sweetheart and The Lady of the Peacocks

13) What is the real name of actress Arline Pretty?
14) What motion picture star's real name is Juliet Shelby?  
15) Which two Valentino successors are these Luis Alonzo? Alfred de Biraben?  




16) What Black Bottom dance expert first strutted as Lucille Le Sueur?
17) Anita Dooley is a villainous vamp. What's her reel name?    

18) Who are Jack Krantz and Jack Crane?
19) What American is known in England as Walter Terry
20) Whose wife is Augusta Appel? 
21) This is almost too easy. Who is Gladys Smith? 
22) What aristocratic surname does Lucille Langhanke use? 
23) Three girls have the same screen surname Sylvester Mazetti uses. Do you know what this is? 
24) Whose nickname is Slug? (1932)
25) For whom does Douglas Fairbanks Jr have the nickname Billie?

26) Who was the first screen vampire? (1920)
27) What Hollywood he-mannikin started life as Lewis Joseph Cote?
28) Name the most famous horse in pictures? (1920) 
29) How many times did actress Carole Lombard marry a man named William?

Melissa & Doug Pirate Costume
Some of the best costumes around
for your own little swashbucklers

News and Gossip All were asked in 1934 unless stated otherwise.
30) The mother of what movie player asked the police to search for her daughter who had disappeared for several days? 
31) Which feminine motion picture star has the smallest waist in Hollywood? 




Get out your favorite corset, bullet bra and shoulder pads for that party. It's the latest thing in underthings.

32) Why has the popular Barbara Stanwyck retired temporarily from motion picture work? 
33) Who are the two handsome screen heroes who almost came to blows over a blonde movie queen?
34) Which former screen star committed suicide in a fit of despondency over his failure to obtain motion picture work?  

35) Name the actress selected the most beautiful Technicolor subject for 1937 by the International Color Camera Club.

The History and Science of Color Film: From Isaac Newton to the Coen Brothers

 

36) Who is the screen crooner who asked to have the no-marriage clause taken out of his contract with his producing company? 
37) Who did Universal Studio pay more than 40,000 for learning to speak English? (1938)
38)
Who has been seen with Herbert Marshall since his wife Edna Best went back to England?

39) This actress has a phobia about stairs. Her latest script is being rewritten for her so she won't have to work on them. (1938)
40) This star was forbidden by her studio to be seen in public before the release of her first picture (1938)

41) Most people regard the number 13 as bad luck. This actress not only considers the number thirteen her good luck number but has the number on her license plates.
42) Birds, particularly with flapping wings irritate this actress frightfully. To see or hear those wings flap almost drives her insane. This fear springs from a bad scare she had as a young child. Who is she? (1930)

** A page to print out questions with the answers will be available. Hand out the quiz at your Oscar party, during a long car trip, your movie themed baby shower, at your next movie party.  Please be kind and rewind. Great conversation starter.

Related Pages of Interest:

Part One of this Quiz: Questions 1 - 11

Movie Quiz Answers

The Impact of Rudolph Valentino

Scenes removed by censors in the early days of censorship; just what lines and images were they removing? 

Barbie Collector 2008 Black Label - Pop Culture Collection
Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds Barbie Doll

The answer to No.42 is not Tippi Hedren

Will Barbie hold in her hand a slip of paper that reveals
the name of the person who had the most correct answers?

Customizable Silent Movie Luggage Tag
Customizable Silent Movie Luggage Tag
Attending a festival or screening?  
Old Movie Soup Popcorn Ice Cream Ice Cream Snacks Soup Mug
Classic Movie Soup Bowl, Popcorn, Ice Cream Ice Cream, Snacks Mug 
Classic early image of actors John Barrymore. Theda Bara, Louise Glaum, Pauline Frederick, Antonio Moreno, Douglas Fairbanks (publicity photos taken on Fairbanks' 1918 trip selling war bonds. Also on that trip was Charles Chaplin and Mary Pickford)
  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Movie trivia questions Hollywood 1920s-30s era

How well do you know your Hollywood? The Roaring Twenties
Test your film history knowledge
Hollywood Movie Questions 1920s - 1930s
All questions are from quizzes and tests that appeared in 1920s-30s movie magazines.

How well do you know old movies, legendary screen actors and actresses, directors, history? While there may be more than one answer to some of the questions, the answers given will be the answers they gave then. Consider the time period. How much do you know? Do you have to Search/Google the answers? * This is part one. *

Harold Lloyd Filmstrip 1922
Harold Lloyd Filmstrip 1922
Movie Making, the mechanics, trivia from 1920:

1) Who invented the close up?
 

2) What is meant by an iris-in?
 

3) How many impressions taken by the camera are shown on the screen in a second?
 

4) How many feet are there in a reel of film?

5) What is the largest sum ever paid for the film rights to a stage play and for what play was it paid?






Sunset Boulevard 1950, Gloria Swanson, William Holden, Erich von Stroheim; "Alright Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up..."


1922 Man turns the crank on an offstage machine, what does it do?
This man operates machines during the film.
"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain"

--The Wizard of Oz 

Behind the scenes 1920s - 1930s
6) Name three of the best known women writers of original stories for the
Harold Lloyd Gifts Clothing
Prizes? Customize
screen [1920 Magazine actually gave three names as an answer.]
7) What woman achieved distinction as a motion picture director? (1920 question)

8) What American is known in England as Walter Terry?
9) In the picture above you see a technician who's operating a machine. He uses it during silent films and he is usually offstage. What's the man's job and what exactly does this machine do?
10) In 1922 Buster Keaton is credited with coining the term Optience. What does it mean?
11) This director is called the answer to an extra's prayer because all his pictures call for hordes of extras.

Part Two: More questions:
How well do you know actors' nicknames and real names?
How about gossip and news of the day? 
This is a free movie quiz for your next film party.

Page to print out questions with the answers will be available. Hand out the quiz at your Oscar party, your movie themed baby shower, at the next movie party at your house.


Buster Keaton's locomotive scene from The General, 1927. Nearly unbelievable by today's standards that this was real. How could they re-do it??

GoPro Camera HERO4
Life was different then but there are similarities.
Now we watch movies that friends shot on their GoPro cameras.
We laugh at footage they shot while they forgot the camera was running!
Now we can use software to create things that were impossible in those days.
Is the look better, worse or just different? Impossible to compare?


1920s Flapper
Gatsby Dresses

For that 1920s party, a costume


Related Pages of Interest:

Part two of this quiz: Questions 12-42

Movie Quiz Answers

10 Female Film Producers of the 1910s  

A Good Cry-Off Camera Musicians Help Silent Film Actors Bring Tears

TV Anti-Tip Ideas Childproof Safety Plasma LCD Flatscreen Furniture

Prevent injury from a toppling Flat Screen TV: Earthquake Proof Your Home : Protect Children, Pets

"The number and rate of injuries to children associated with furniture tip-overs are increasing. Pediatricians and caregivers should be aware of this important source of pediatric injury and the strategies for prevention." 
-- Clinical Pediatrics Journal

Think about the layout of your room and your television or monitor. Which of these systems would work best for you?

These devices aren't limited to serving people with small children. Pets run around and could easily knock down a tall television. You don't want anything to make your heavy furniture tip. Is this something you'd like to buy your kids' grandparents or their care providers? Consider furniture safety.

Depending on the size and layout of your home and the placement of the TV, it could be just one bump in the dark or at a party that knocks over that expensive piece of equipment. Do you have an extra-large monitor for your computer? This may be a concern for you, too. If you're creating a baby gift basket for new parents, these are some items to include that are practical. They'll show that you really care and thought about their growing family.

Live in earthquake territory or a location prone to tornadoes or hurricanes? Just one storm when the lights go out and something can happen. There is the need to earthquake proof your flat screen TV. You know all too well about how furniture may shift without any notice. Losing the fancy television is the least of your worries if a family member, including our pets, are nearby when it falls over.

Child home safety is a serious issue. We secure book cases, entertainment centers and other pieces of furniture. Items on and within pieces of furniture can come out in a storm or earthquake.

Perhaps someone in your home is elderly, has a health or mobility issue. We don't want to lose balance and suddenly that find the thing you grab onto causes you and something else to fall. Children will pull out drawers to climb up onto furniture. Little kids in our family have the nickname little monkey. You can't be too careful.

At holiday-time, many people are also considering the infamous falling over Christmas tree. There are trips for keeping children, pets and other things from sending your tree over on its side. On Easter, children root around looking for eggs and special treats.

Will you be entertaining and have more people than usual going through your home? Will relatives be visiting or be house-sitting? Is a friend camping out on your couch? Holidays can be a festive stressful time for the whole family, including our pets.

What are your favorite movies to watch with your kids or grandkids? Do your toddlers operate the remote control themselves? We can show our kids movies from the past, enjoy with them what we loved when we were their age. We can take movies of them and watch them on TV or on other devices. For some of us, that wasn't possible when we were children.



Anti-Furniture Tip : Ready America Flat Screen TV Safety Strap
Ready America Flat Screen TV Safety Strap
Furniture safety straps. Flat Screen Safety Straps are your best defense against earthquakes. Secure large flat screen televisions from toppling in an earthquake, preventing damage and injury.

Easy peel and press application with no holes required and the straps are hidden from view. The straps are black in color to blend with the surroundings of the electronics.

Each package contains two straps for mounting your flat screen TV to your TV/entertainment stand.

Don't wait for accidents to happen. Protect your Flat Screen TV from devastating falls with these TV straps. Made of sturdy nylon, these flat screen safety straps will keep your TV in its place. Hidden from view, easy to install. Made in America.

Retro Vintage Kitsch Poster A Year From Now?
Jacket or Shirt

How stable is your TV? The information is important - Do you have misconceptions?

Excerpts of TVSafety, CPSC's First Twitter Chat

-- "Every other week, a child dies in the U.S. when a television, a piece of furniture or an appliance falls on him or her. CPSC held a Twitter chat with @KidsinDanger and @GaryASmithMD to talk about anchoring and strapping TVs and saving children's lives." February 2012

In Chicago alone, media has reported that since October four children have died and one has been seriously injured from televisions falling on them.

How many of you put the remote or toys up high on furniture that holds a TV?

Is this just a problem with older tube TVs?

What does childproofing a TV really mean? Where can you find anchors and straps?

Do you know how to safeguard your TV and furniture?

How stable is your TV?

Some of the statistics reported:

Head/neck injuries from furniture tip-overs are most common in kids 9/under.

Every day, more than 40 US kids are rushed to an ED after a heavy piece of furniture has fallen on them

Young children are less able to anticipate danger: That's where childproofing steps come into play. Anchor & Protect

65% of children who died in tipover incidents were between 1 and 3 1/2 years old.






 

Prevent a Flat Screen TV from tipping over

Choose 2-Pack or 4-Pack

KidCo Anti-tip TV Strap 2 Pack Use straps to help flat screen TV saver will help prevent flat screen TV's from dangerously tipping over.
Helps protect your child from injury. You need a Plasma or LCD TV tie-down to provide protection for your children.

From the day of the baby shower gift -- are other new moms and dads bringing little ones to your home for the party? -- these are good ideas to not only give but to have yourself.

TV Guards, Button Shields

Many of these companies also manufacture Button Shields and TV Guards for your electronics, your TV, DVR, DVD Player, etc. The VCR guards should still be available for those of us who still have VCRs and VHS/DVD player/recorders.

Have you heard the one about the frozen waffle that went into the DVD player? That's one reason the TV Guards were made.

Little fingers can quickly reprogram electronics. Having a plan to put away remote controls is a good idea.

We now use something similar to protect our pets, it helps with dust and pet hair as well.



How many televisions, computers and other monitors do you have in your home or office? Is your office secured?

Video Games & TVs Falling Older Children - At home safety

Practice furniture safety by securing your flat panel stand helpful short video

Attach to heavy furniture: Safety Straps for Equipment : 2-Pack

Option of mounting by attaching to the heavy piece of furniture

Parent Units 2 Pack Equipment Safety Straps, Black
Parent Units Safety Straps for Equipment
These proven performance, award-winning fasteners greatly reduce the dangers associated with unsecured equipment. TVs, stereo equipment, computer monitors, game consoles, etc.

Think about this as a great gift idea for a baby shower, a new mom, a Christmas gift for new baby, new parents. Add it to a new baby gift basket. For parents of toddlers, maybe these are things not thought about until something happens?

Our friends had a power outage during a party. Bad combination of a house full of disoriented friends and a house that was suddenly totally dark. Lots of folks bumping into each other, into furniture.

Safety Straps help secure appliances from being able to move, slip or slide.
These easy-to-use straps are safe on finished wood & all types of electronic equipment.



 
Please note:
Unless stated otherwise, information and product descriptions are from manufacturers and other sources. Images are also provided by manufacturers and/or merchants directly selling products. 
Since product photos change they are representational. Don't hesitate to click and get more information.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Rudolph Valentino's Impact Lover Movie Idol

Valentino's Impact
Could he be such big a star today?
Valentino was the first
Sex Symbol

"George Washington may be the father of this country, Mary Pickford may be its sweetheart. But Valentino is its lover. ... Valentino has an almost perfect physical physique - a physique combining both beauty and strength: Apollo plus Dionysus. He is at once graceful and aggressively masculine.

"He is every woman's husband by proxy - the invisible Cavalier of the Boudoir. He is the Phantom Rival in every virtuous domestic establishment - the gallant courtier with whom every husband must bear comparison - the standard by which every wife measures her legal mate. And he is also the young lover's rival, the nemesis of every ardent swain, the third party on every honeymoon, the absent correspondent in every divorce proceeding."
-- Motion Picture 1923

Valentino is the Romeo of all ages....
1923 psychological profile
"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."
-- Actress Pola Negri to whom he was said to be engaged at the time of his death.
Motion Picture Magazine
interview 1934




Julio's romance, "Do you promise to be good?"
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse



In the early 1920s American society was changing. Women had gained the right to vote, they were entering the work force allowing greater financial independence. The Jazz Age influenced style. We had flappers on and off the screen.

Movies in general were sometimes seen as a threat to the home and family. What would we see on the screen? How would they influence the audience? What would happen in the dark at the movie theater? A push to censor films and keep them wholesome happened quickly.

Early Movie Idol Worship
"If you are an idol worshiper don't be ashamed. So was your great grandpa. Our pagan ancestors made idols out of wood and stone. To us in this enlightened age this seems a foolish waste of good building material. We make ours of celluloid. We picked models for their resemblance to the old Venuses and Apollos. Many would have passed for the wooden originals if they hadn't moved. Noting this, some genius called them 'movie idols.'"
-- Herbert Howe; New Movie Magazine 1931 

In the early silent films most leading male actors were all-American cowboys such as William S. Hart or Broncho Billy from out of Essanay Studios. There were other handsome dramatic actors such as Richard Barthelmess and the swashbucklers like John Barrymore and Douglas Fairbanks. Youngsters really loved their films. 

There were big stars from other countries, Ramon Novarro, Antonio Moreno and Sessue Hayakawa. But Rudolph Valentino was something different and special in his way. Valentino was the first Italian sex symbol, he was new and passionate and he seemed dangerous. 

"Italians in movies were always characters; villains and peasants, maybe a crime figure, maybe a thief. With few opportunities for Valentino in traditional Hollywood films he found work instead in romantic fantasies about faraway places. His Italian looks would stand in Indian rajas, Spanish bullfighters and most famously an Arab Sheik."
-- from the 2015 PBS documentary series, The Italian Americans

Quickly the first sex symbols appeared in movies. For women, there were the lady vampires, the vamps such as Theda Bara. Larger than life characters, temptresses.

"Nita Naldi's sex appeal is her raison d'ĂȘtre in pictures. What other quality could possibly account for the great vogue of Mack Sennett's bathing beauties, a year or two ago? Why does Mae Murray appear in a pearl breast-band and a tinseled loin-cloth and nothing else in at least one sequence in every picture? Because the men for years who for years have paid money to sit in the bald-headed row within squinting distance of the beautiful chorus girls now get a mental thrill out of a pair of alabaster shoulders in what are deftly termed society dramas of the screen."

Sex Appeal
Who would get the women's hearts pumping? Magazines were full of psychological and medical analyses. Is the screen hypnotizing you? Do the movies harm your eyes? How will they hurt our children? Alongside were ads to write for movies, contests to get into the movies, gossip and news about the stars. They were as unusual and suspect as they were enticing and exciting. Sometimes the doctors, scholars, censors and pundits went to the movies as part of their work, in the name of the public good. That was okay.


Audience members' hearts flutter at a Valentino kiss
Someone hooked up an audience reaction meter aka a love meter to test women's reactions when they saw Valentino kissing on screen. A 1920s newsreel caught their palpitations as they watched him kiss Vilma Banky.   

Fan Mail
In the early 1920s, Rudolph Valentino was the right man at the right time. He was born with the talent, determination and the looks. Those around him would control and mold his career. At one point the postage it took to send out photos in response to his fan mail was in excess of the actor's salary. One fan magazine suggested that fans tell the studio that Valentino deserved a raise!

They tried to explain why Valentino was as popular, as mesmerizing as he was. Why did American women worship him? Why did American men dislike him so? Some were able to pin their distaste for women's growing independence and for society's changing times onto Rudolph Valentino (a representation of what was wrong with movies in general). 

The addition of disapproval often adds attention and attraction. It made Valentino's flame shine that much brighter. What was he doing that was so naughty anyway? Women wanted to have a look. Publicity departments had a field day building his reputation. Women would sit through an entire picture to savor just one elusive Valentino smile. 


Rudolph Valentino with Nita Naldi Blood and Sand
A fine figure of a man...
"Mother used to blush when father mentioned his woolen underwear. Now she gets a kick out of the kinematized BVDs of Valentino as in the dressing-room scene of Blood and Sand. ... It wasn't his dramatic ability that made Rudolph Valentino the idol of American womanhood, practically overnight. And Valentino is a superb actor, at that. 

"It was his sex appeal, whether you will admit it or not, you women who go to see his pictures five and six times as he crushes the heroine (the heroine who might be you!) to his breast, the fact that he makes you sigh blissfully at his romantic ardor. For this very reason many men do not like Valentino. Men never like to see a man more skilled in the art of love-making than they themselves. ...

"There is a perfectly good economic reason for the beach scenes where the strapping hero poses in a one-piece suit; for bedroom scenes the costume pictures where skin-tight trousers display a shapely thigh and slender waist. Valentino you remember has late appeared in snug toreador costumes in Blood and Sand in tight knee britches in The Sheik and a few strings of pearls in The Young Rajah."
-- The Sex Best Sellers, Screenland 1923

Valentino draped in pearls
The Young Rajah 1922
And here we thought showing men in tight pants was such a 1970s thing? Well, not really. Though it brought him fame and wealth, Valentino ultimately wasn't happy with how he'd been packaged. He looked forward to breaking out of the Latin lover, or what he sometimes called the lounge lizard stereotype. He looked toward his future and wanted to be more than a caricature. He was trying to assimilate. It was said by the end of his life at age 31, he'd already lost much of his Italian accent.

Job Opening: National Lover
"Valentino would not be the national lover unless the country was in sore need of such a lover. The very intensity of the emotion Valentino has aroused reveals how great a lack of adequate lovers there is in America. No nation creates a symbol for a thing which is prevalent in the flesh. ...

"Why then should there be a need for a romantic idol in a country where there are so many able-bodied men? Why should the American women create a symbol of the ideal lover in the person of Valentino when there are any number of willing males, that is potential realities, on every hand? 

"The answer is simply that American men are not lovers. .... They are too busy, there are too many demands for their energy for them to devote themselves to the finer things in life. They give their wives a fur coat as a consolation prize for time and romance. European men are far better versed in the game of love and the art of love making than American men. They have or take more leisure."

Those who are the first, the first to attain an incredible height often leave a lasting impact. Before Marilyn Monroe, it was Jean Harlow for whom they coined the term Blonde Bombshell. Were Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford the first Hollywood super couple? How does Pickfair stand up against Brangelina? Greta Garbo and John Gilbert were another hot screen couple of the 1920s.

Valentino's sudden death and his funeral was so traumatic that many afterward are still compared to his. Perhaps most notably we think of James Dean's. There are too many to list. Huge stars who left us too young, too suddenly, left us wondering what might they have done.
To this day the actor is identified with a role which unfortunately he felt was poorly directed and one that he personally did not like.

"Mr. Valentino was not happy with The Sheik. He called it 'an error.' Speaking of how he was directed in the film, 'What nonsense it was!'"  He said his performance including the eye rolling did not ring true to his character. 

"Mr. Valentino declared one of his greatest problems was 'to live down' his reputation as a 'sheik' a character which he repudiates."  
-- Picture Play August 1922; The Owosso Argus-Press February 1923

For what it's worth, The Sheik is a film that contemporary audiences may not like as much as others. Don't start and stop with that film if you want to get a real sense of Rudolph Valentino. The Son of The Sheik gets a better reception.



Even though an article is to include his wife, Natacha Rambova, the writer swoons over Valentino. "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."
-- Motion Picture Classic December 1923





Valentino: Dangerous Man
The desire for that seductive, dangerous romance is nothing new. The fact that it's illicit makes it all the more tempting. Rudolph Valentino was given some of the first bad boy roles. 

While Italian actors continue to be cast in roles as gangsters, it has to be noted that there are positives and negatives to the allure, the ongoing stereotype of taking those parts. There are often box office dollars there and the iconic Godfather Trilogy shows us that. 

Valentino stars alongside Brando and Pacino?
Rudolph Valentino would have only been in his 70s when the first Godfather film came out, perfect for a role in that film. Brando was in his forties and relative newcomer, Al Pacino was thirty-two. Valentino could've played Pacino's grand-dad? (In the story, Vito Corleone's father had been killed, but Valentino's age was right.) Who knows? "Just when I thought I was out of the picture business, they pull me back in....."

In the 1940s, even though some female movie goers loved it, the actor James Mason was trying to shake his image. He was thought to be a dangerous lover after he made films such as The Seventh Veil.  A Burns and Allen OTR radio episode spoofed the attraction of being dominated by the dangerous man when Mason appeared as their guest. Gracie said, "Some women dream of being covered in diamonds. I dream of being covered in bandaids."

There has always been the attraction to the suave otherworldly vampire. Look at the Twilight series with Bella Swan and vampire Edward Cullen. Replicas of Bella's wedding dress were hot sellers. Fifty Shades of Grey, the book and the movie are big news.
Herbert Howe 1931 article,
Movie Idols, types and the need to worship



A trip to the beach....

Would he be such a star today?

Manic Monday
The Bangles, 1986
lyrics excerpt...

"Six o'clock already
I was just in the middle of a dream
I was kissin' Valentino
By a crystal blue Italian stream
But I can't be late
'Cause then I guess I just won't get paid
These are the days
When you wish your bed was already made...."


A 1933 magazine asked, Could the sheik win hearts today? Again he was still associated with that persona, that character.

"The fickle feminine public no longer wants one man on the screen to have all their worship but chooses to divide it among the reigning stars with voice appeal.... each with his particular flair, special following. And yet, they admitted that There had never been a successor to Valentino. There had never been an actor whose death caused the outpouring of emotion of Valentino's. 


"Cortez, Raft and LaRue are the villain-you-love-to-touch-you type and when they're heroes they have a darkly sinister quality of brooding or actual mystery that gets the girls who like to guess and wonder about the facts of life and the factors therein."

They were right. There could never again be one person who could so captivate the country. He had everything including the right timing. His story was similar to that of Jean Harlow and Elvis Presley. Had he lived, I believe  he would have grown and evolved as an actor. He may not have continued to be the one and only but chances are he would still be a star.

"I do not want to go on in these Great Lover roles. People will soon get tired of them. Perhaps they are tiring already I must make a decided change." 
-- Rudolph Valentino 

His films continue to bring in royalties to his estate. Then and now people visit Castellaneta, Italy where he was born. There's a list of places reputed to have visits from Valentino's ghost not the least of which would be his grave and his former homes. There are seances or you can host your own.
Actor Rudolph Valentino 1925 Pillow
Actor Rudolph Valentino 1925 Pillow
Change the photo on other side?
He'll rest with you ClassicOldPhotos

"I know Rudolph Valentino would still be great to-day if he had lived.  It is my opinion that Rudy had not even reached the zenith of his career when death came. He was always studying always preparing. Rudy was not merely a handsome fellow with melting eyes and an unusual amount of sex-appeal. He had a whimsical flair for comedy and a depth of understanding for emotional drama that no one on the screen except perhaps Leslie Howard possesses to-day." 

-- Director Sidney Olcott 1935

There were and are many movie idols after him. In the 1930s they tried to get Clark Gable and a new actor named Cary Grant to take on remakes of Valentino films. They refused hoping that the studios wouldn't force them to do it. Others such as George Raft were regularly compared to Valentino. Generations of actors were compared to Gable and Grant, too. Was the handsome and brooding Al Pacino some kind of new Valentino? Fine as they are, why not let all of them have their own identities. Not one can be replaced.

In the 1960s, when girls saw the Beatles in movies such as A Hard Day's Night they screamed at the movie screen.

I found articles from the 1920s through to the 2000s that asked what would happen if he were alive today, who might be the next or the current Valentino. But why are we asking?

Though they do keep asking the question, the end of a 1934 article pretty much puts it into perspective. Why even ask what would happen if he were alive. The fact that millions of people attend memorials, hold seances, watch/go to see his films, still talk about him, compare others to him.... "Valentino is alive to-day!"



Motion Picture magazine sums it up;
Valentino lives on


 This article is part of the Great Valentino Blogathon
Rudolph Valentino would be 120 in 2015
Born May 6, 1895


Related Pages of Interest:


Strange Experiences at Valentino's Grave Rudolph Valentino's ghost is said haunt his grave site

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;" Prophetic discussion as Rudolph and Natacha are leaving on their honeymoon

James Mason on the Burns and Allen Radio Show Gracie Allen, James Mason, the Cats, a Chair and a Whip 

The Death of Jean Harlow 'Goodnight, my Dearest Darling'    

Several of his films are available to rent or stream through Amazon. Some are free through Amazon Prime.

Early 20th Century Women Movie Theater Owners Female Movie Theater Owners, Managers, Exhibitors