Tuesday, July 27, 2021

No Stuff Shirt

I once asked Bunny Ullman if her father George was not upset watching Valentino drink heavily in the last months of his life. She answered without hesitation, “What? He would have been right there with him!”

I think that was one of the most interesting things I learned about Rudolph and George... they were the same age. Ullman was a year older. And Ullman was no stuff shirt as they say.

Another story Bunny told me which she requested I not include was the Sunday roast beef story.

George Ullman liked to cook Sunday dinner and one Sunday he had a bit too much to drink. He pulled the roast out of the oven to check it and it slid off the rack and flew across the kitchen floor. Bunny said she and her brothers were screaming with laughter but her father was “so angry.”

The brotherhood of Rudolph and George was genuine, imo. And included the imbibing of spirits, etc. etc. etc.

After one interview with Bob Ullman, he drove me back to the airport. That was the last time because he became too ill to do so after that. I thought it was a rather non-productive interview but then he told me how his Dad George, when he was upset would pour himself a “tall, green glass of bourbon” and go out to the den to play his violin or go out to the garage to go through his Valentino bins of papers. He said they all knew when he had the green glass of bourbon in hand he was not to be disturbed. 

How valuable was that? ( below the "anti-banker" George Ullman)

Monday, July 26, 2021

"...Until You See The Whites of Their Eyes"

I do not remember who sent me these fabulous photos of Ms. DeSaulles. (see below) I think they say the world about this lady. The first one with the chin up... the word "haughty" comes to mind. Not so lovable for me.

In the second photo she looks rather vacuous I think and if you look carefully you can see the whites of her eyes under her pupils. Someone told me once that this was a sign of someone capable of evil. Seemed reasonable. 

She did get away with cold blooded murder and trashed the reputation of her victim in the process. Perhaps these two photos belie her true nature and she might have been acting the badass part with her furs.

I think she was the woman who nearly ended things for Valentino before he began in America. For me she was either a calculating bitch or incredibly stupid... maybe a little of both? She lured Valentino to get her divorce, used him as a lover in the absence of her husband and proceeded to do so with mind-boggling recklessness. 

Alberto claimed Blanca DeSaulles was Rudolph's true love. I dispute that. 

"As Believers In Fair Play..."

Natacha Rambova was not universally hated and she had her support. (see below) Whenever I hear people bashing her to the rocks today, I just think they are sexist, misogynistic and jealous. If ever there was a point in Valentino's history to place within historical context it is the banishment of Natacha Rambova from Valentino's business. 

The one person who did support Natacha and the Valentino marriage was George Ullman. Until I brought forth those court records it was not known that Ullman funded Natacha's movie What Price Beauty. Ullman put his own money up to make her movie happen. He also accompanied her to New York after the separation, secured a talent agent for her and sought a distributor for the movie for a few years after Valentino's death. 

Those who try to portray Ullman as some calculating villain in the Valentino marriage are missing one huge point; Valentino paid Ullman's paycheck and it was not the other way around. The people who actually tried to control Valentino were the people who paid his paycheck as that is the way that works. Ullman had a family to support and in this he was a serious provider. I think there is a great deal to realize in Natacha's play, "All That Glitters". There was no animosity or the meekest hint of resentment towards her Ullman character in the play... quite the opposite.  #rudolphvalentinosqueen 

From Photoplay Magazine, April 1926 and the Michael Morris' archive: 

The entire page.....

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Victory Lap


I know I posted this link here before but can not find it. Thank you to a reader who left this link in their comment. (I can not find a way to make a link in a comment live so I repost it.) 

I can scarcely believe it has been eighteen years since I found S. George Ullman's Appeals Court records. I searched for those Rudolph Valentino probate court records for almost one year until I lamented my struggle to a research law librarian. She asked me, "Did George Ullman ever file an appeal?" "Yes he did!" How satisfying was that. 

I like to think of the day, probably some time in the early sixties, when the "mastermind" who orchestrated the theft of the original records...palmed the actual thief the wad of cash. I like to think of the actual theft, the removal not only from the shelving but from the building. 

I like to think of that collector/scavenger and those in on the heist, glowing with the thrill of possession...to have the case file gone from any public access and forever.

I like to think, my god, they were all idiots! Did they not think that George Ullman filed an appeal and that some day someone would find that? 

It is a great and satisfying victory to see the decision online.  I will see to it that every record I found is online because the internet makes it way harder for thieves to steal them, doesn't it?

* Sorry Morocco but just no. I was traumatized by the place. Renato said it was like going back in time to the year 900, only with cells phones. Exactly.


Saturday, July 24, 2021

Off Topic

 A tiny slide show from the Morocco home. 

Me...obeying the rules for women in Morocco. 

Women are always together in the streets. If a woman walks outdoors alone the other women will confront her. Happened to me when I took out the trash once by myself. 

Renato in the Lanai on his birthday

The household maid, Malika bought a bolt of this fabric and covered everything with it. Surreal. 

This is Malika. Queen. #savethewomenofmorroco

"What About Those Gray Ledgers..."

For years, “they” accused me of forging all the court records I discovered. Incredibly, they continued to say this despite my sharing the location of the publicly housed documents. Because their defamatory lies and collective refusal to publicly deny I forged documents, many unquestioning people traipsed along believing this was true.

My husband Renato and I published a book of the documents of the Rudolph Valentino court records as a companion guide for Affairs Valentino. Yet there was no public outcry by these people as they continued to imply, directly accuse and defame me.

Now the bottom line in this story is that Tracy Terhune eventually said he knew the records existed and that he had seen them (the stolen case file) in the hands of three Valentino memorabilia collectors. Cindy Martin (under her nefarious alias of “Dark Mum”) still directly accused me of forging the documents and confronted me on my Tumblr account by demanding, “What about those Gray Ledgers you say you have?”

I always clarified I recovered official court copies filed in the California Appeals Court Library. I also made it perfectly clear that I did not have all of the original file and that this file is, according to two credible sources... in the hands of collectors and the Alberto Valentino family.

Of course I did not and could never have forged over a thousand pages of Rudolph Valentino's probate court file. It is absurd to accuse me of knowing or even having access to all of the information contained within. It was all just a desperate strategy to ruin our business and bury the book.

Here follows a few pages from the “Gray Book” which served as the Falcon Lair household ledger dating from January 1926 to August 1926. All of these records were subpoenaed for a court-ordered audit which found all of executor George Ullman's books in perfect order.

Friday, July 23, 2021

To Be Called, The Firebrand

Sometime before I completed writing Affairs Valentino, Kevin Brownlow read the book and kindly contributed. He sent me photographs, editing commentary and this telegram (see below) from his own collection.

The telegram was sent by United Artists' producer John Considine to cinematographer Charles Rosher. According to the telegram it was sent on August 5, 1926 (European date written with day before month) to Rosher at the Adlon Hotel in Berlin. Rosher is an interesting figure in Hollywood history and more about him here:


The movie was to be called, The Firebrand (based on the life of 16th century Italian sculptor Benvenuto Cellini) and production was well underway when Valentino died. After his death, the life insurance policy United Artists secured on Valentino in advance of production on this film was cashed in to pay for the expenses incurred to that date. Ullman would transact these reimbursements and when he discovered a surplus he demanded United Artists' return this to the Valentino estate as it was deemed a profit generated by Valentino.

His effort was successful but did not ingratiate him with the head of the studio Joe Schenck. But what a great costume venue for Rudolph and his dream of filming an historical Italian drama almost came true.

Thank you to Kevin Brownlow for sharing this intriguing artifact. And I guess we can file this subject under, "What would have been..."