Sunday, October 25, 2020

"...For Injury to the Reputation & Image of Ms. Zumaya..."

An extract of the guilty verdict (see below) handed down against David Bret in which he is found guilty of defaming me and injuring my reputation and image. The case was filed in the Court of Asti in Italy in 2014 with the verdict issued in 2016. He was ordered to pay damages of which to date he has paid zero; damages for the injury he inflicted on me.

The official court translation into English of the verdict is worth reading, I feel and I have posted it along with the evidence presented to the court on

I will, at some point write a full account of the lawsuit. As Bret has made the subject so public, I get many questions about it. I have every legal right to discuss the case publicly because it is and never was a closed case.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Rudolph Divulged by the Man Who Knew Him Best

This article by George Ullman was another find in the Irving Schulman archive. (see previous October 4th post, "Mike LiCalzi Tells His Story") It is nearly impossible to read so I include a transcription below. The article appeared in the Los Angeles Herald Express on July 12, 1944.

"Although Rudolph Valentino is almost eighteen years dead, I am still being asked, “What was the real Valentino like?” Every famous person is more or less the victim of his legend: none more so than the boy born Rodolfo Alfonzo Raffaelo Pierre Filibert Guglielmi d'Valentino d'Antonguolla, who came to be called “The Sheik.”

Rudy hated that tag, especially after it became a by-word for what is known as wolfing today. He was never a sheik in the accepted sense of the word; he was a man who sought to love one woman and whose unsatisfied dream was for a real home and children.

Valentino's outstanding characteristic when away from camera was shyness. He hated dance for that reason. His career with Bonnie Glass and later with Joan Sawyer, doing ballroom dances, brought him too close to his audience. He was an eternal boy but understood his capabilities. He knew he registered best in romantic roles. He was a failure when he departed from them, although he was persuaded to do so more than once.

Dodged Book Sets

Valentino was practically a chain smoker. He drank wines, loved good food, ate voraciously, cooked well and liked to cook. He appeared almost ordinary in golf or business clothes, was superb in anything approximating a costume, such as riding clothes, fencing apparel or lounging robes. He kept a large library of books with costume plates which he studied religiously. The remainder of his library was distinguished for rare volumes mostly in foreign languages. He hated sets of books and never bought them.

Al Jolson was instrumental in bringing Valentino to Los Angeles. Norman Kerry, who became a lifelong friend helped him over tough days. Rudy was hopelessly extravagant and died broke. He bought a Mercer with his first permanent salary of $125 a week-spent most of it on repairs. His later cars were Voisons and Isotta Fraschinis. He loved machinery and had a workshop in his garage. Once he took his car apart and put it together again.

Danced for Grauman

Valentino danced in Grauman's Prologues before he made good in movies. Mae Murray gave him his first chance; they were always good friends. He was deeply interested in supernatural things during his marriage to Natacha Rambova; chiefly automatic writing. He had no small superstitions.

He never permitted anyone, even his wife, to see him disheveled. He had no shabby, comfortable old clothes. He spent a fortune on his wardrobe which was always new. He kept himself in superb physical trim, a result of two disappointments. As a boy he was turned down by the Royal Naval Academy because he lacked one inch in chest expansion. The Air Force turned him down in World War One because of his defective vision. His physical routine included sparring with Gene Delmont and Jack Dempsey who was a good friend.

He loved horses; a white Arabian stallion, Ramadan, was his favorite. A harlequin Dane and a Celtic Wolfhound were with him constantly as was a black Cocker Spaniel given to him by Mayor Rolph of San Francisco.

He wore black satin lounging clothes with a scarlet stripe on the trouser leg. His house had a black marble drawing room floor and scarlet velvet drapes. His dining room was in red lacquer and upholstered in black satin. His bedroom was done in black velvet and yellow.

He seldom laughed, rarely smiled, had a volcanic temper, quick and intense. He was often profane, even foul before men; never with women. He hated large statuary but had small figurines of jade, ivory and coral. When on his yacht he cooked, scrubbed, trimmed sail and worked like a navy.

Kidded Odd's Tastes

His intimate friends included O. O. McIntyre whom he kidded about his love of loud colors. Valentino always mailed Odd terrible ties. Beltran-Masses, famous Spanish painter, was an intimate of his. Valentino later studied with him. He was planning to take piano lessons when he died.

Other good friends were Lady Cursan, Cora Macy, Vilma Banky, Pola Negri, Prince Mdivani, Schuyler Parsons, Mario Carillo, Frank Mennillo (who was with him when he died), Ronald Coleman, Lady Loughborough, June Mathis, Cora McGeachy and Prince Habib Lotfallah of Egypt. Had Rudy lived he would have made a picture there.

He was married to and divorced from Jean Acker and Natacha Rambova. He romanced with Vilma Banky and Pola Negri but never confided in me about them. Rambova tired of their marriage first; he loved her deeply and she broke his heart.

I am a firm believer in personality as well as handsomeness being vital on the screen. In this, Valentino was a superb showman in his public life and even if he in his private life was as different as the real Valentino was from the Valentino legend."

Friday, October 23, 2020

The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous & Valentino

During my interviews with Valentino memorabilia collector Bill Self in 2003, he told me about a show he produced in the 1950's titled, The Schlitz Playhouse of Stars. He said as producer he was able to use many of his Valentino friends and associates in the show in a variety of ways.

As many of these folks such as Robert Florey, Paul Ivano, Jean Acker and Alberto Valentino were reaching the ends of their careers in Hollywood, Self's patronage in this way did not go unrewarded. He would receive from them, in return for work on the show...Valentino relics and stories.

Self told me how most of the time the bits parts were not credited but that I might recognize Jean Acker and even Francis X. Bushman. He also told me he donated all the reels of the Playhouse of Stars to the American Heritage Center, a facility associated with the University of Wyoming. The minute I heard that I sent an e-mail to the center to see if I could have access to the reels.

Well the University of Wyoming is located in Laramie just north of the Wyoming and Colorado border near Cheyenne; not a real accessible location. I lived in San Francisco at the time but still planned to make that trip and head on over to Laramie and find Self's reels.

I never did follow through on the trip, but I recently learned many of the shows are now on Youtube. Some are of better quality than others, I will just say that. The credits are at the end of the half hour shows. I have barely begun to watch them but in the few episodes I have checked out I saw “Alberto Valentino” as an editor in one and Paul Ivano as cameraman in another. This episode (link below) is directed by none other than Robert Florey.

If you want to scour the credits I found a site which is helpful:

The Schlitz Playhouse of Stars is a trivial question in Rudolph Valentino's story, but a strange one. This show, in my opinion, stands as evidence of Self's quest for collecting all things Valentino. A fair exchange I guess you could say; Self provided work on a popular TV show for those Valentino players and for Self he gained a world class Valentino collection...including such things as a memoir dictated by Paul Ivano, inscribed books from Robert Florey and a wealth of relics from George Ullman. Self told me he regularly cast actors represented by the S. George Ullman Talent Agency.

In this way Self not only collected the goods but collected the stories which he shared genrerously with me until Jeanine Villalobos told him he could no longer speak with me. But I do not begrudge Self for casting these folks in this show, not at all. He had his ulterior motive but so did they.

Good luck watching these episodes. For me they are more than a bit dizzying. I am glad I did not make the trek to Laramie after all. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Letters of Evelyn.

                                              Courtesy of The British Library Board. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

One Giant Step for This Man

This image (below) from The Daily News, New York, New York, September 2, 1926; S. George Ullman taking that long step onto the barge. He knew the harbor master who permitted him to ride out and board the oceanliners before they docked. He did so in this case in order to facilitate the arrival of Alberto Guglielmi Valentino. What a giant step this was for this man...his life would never be the same.

It also shows some degree of athleticism on his behalf and I wish there was an image of him climbing up the side of the Homeric. 

I want to share the following message I received on my previous post which is relevant to this image. 

Imagine what could have been if Alberto would have worked together with George Ullman instead of fighting him for decades. They really could have brought forward something of everlasting true value and most likely instead of draining Valentino's estate of funds, increased it beyond. Maybe even a proper archive/museum which today could be enjoyed by everybody. Instead we have lies, deception, hate, criminal actions and the vilest bullying. Sad really when one thinks about it." 

Well said.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Rudolph's Estate Did Not "Vanish in Thin Air"...

As I mentioned in previous posts, Alberto Valentino initiated a false narrative about what happened to Rudolph's estate which included his plaintive tale of how he received only “pennies”. Throughout, he neglected to mention a great deal to the reporters eager to help him find a few pennies. He neglected to mention Rudolph Valentino did not have “rightful heirs”, (in the plural). Rudolph named one sole heir, and only one and that was Jean Valentino. Alberto was never entitled to anything more than the weekly allowance Rudolph stipulated in that second page of the will. Only if Jean died before he turned 25 years old, would Alberto be elevated to the status of an "heir". 

Alberto neglects to mention how for four years after his brother died, he lived on generous advances from Ullman and lived like a veritable sultan in Hollywood. He neglects to mention he actually was given, by today's value, over a half a million dollars which is neatly recorded in those court records I discovered... the copies of those records which are still so well hidden from the public.

Alberto neglects to mention he was the one who refused to settle the estate over 40 times as he refused Ullman's Executor's Accounts again and again... and Alberto neglects to mention it was he who squandered Jean's rightful inheritance on his own lavish lifestyle, lawyers and the frivolous pursuit of an innocent man, S. George Ullman.

Rudolph's estate did not “vanish in thin air” as Alberto tells this reporter (see below). According to the meticulous accounting in the court records and the audit of Ullman's books as executor, Alberto spent the estate funds as fast as he could until they vanished. And Alberto did not “watch” the estate vanish... he was there ground zero, enjoying the benefits of his brother's that Ambassador Hotel bungalow, with Jean, the “rightful heir” spending those years far, far away in the most expensive boarding school in Turin.

This is a common theme presented by Alberto throughout his life...which is parroted even today because it still can be. With the complete file of the Valentino probate records passed about from the Alberto Valentino family and collectors, they have little fear anyone will refute Alberto's “woe is me, I got only pennies” narrative. Anyone heading down to the LA County Hall of records... as I did to fact check what he said will find nothing because the entire case file is gone. And today it is easier to say I forged the records I found and call my work “trash fiction” as does Tracy Terhune... than to address the issue historically and correct this story factually.

I did find the records.. not all but about 1000 pages of them and this was ample material to see what really happened. I have transcribed the first part of this article I found today. Alberto then goes on to lament his lack of work and poverty, etc.

American Injustice - There has seldom been such a case of the miscarriage of the much-boasted American justice as that which concerns Alberto Valentino. The brother of the beloved Rudolph Valentino has watched Rudy's estate, originally valued at close to a million dollars, vanish in thin air.

One property after another was sold or declared worthless until now only Falcon Lair remained. Now that has gone too, purchased for a mere eighteen thousand dollars of its one hundred and twenty-five thousand appraisal. And even at that price, not a penny will go to Rudy's rightful heirs. Administration and expenses, income taxes and other liens against the estate will absorb it all.”

Monday, October 19, 2020

The Daily Chalice Check-in

In the tarot, the chalice is the ace of cups...the symbol of a new beginning, a love affair, a new job, an artistic endeavor. When I was a teen-ager, one million years ago, there was a little game which was popular for a while. The game was a quiz which allegedly was used in psychoanalysis. You are asked to describe a short journey beginning with the question... "You are walking on a path. What does that path look like?" Then you are told you see a cup before you on the path. "What does that cup look like?" etc.

Of course the path is how you perceive your life at the time and the cup... how you perceive love and inspiration. The story goes on with questions about light, a forest and stream and a bear with the last prompt being a wall crossing your path. Wall = death. What do you? Do you climb over the wall, feel defeated... what is on the other side? 

It was a great little gimmick to learn early on in my life because it became a way to assess my situations. It is a great insight I think. What kind of cup are you holding right now?

Stay safe everyone and thanks for reading this blog.