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 www.zumayawinslawsuit.com.

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lgt0leo7lr0&list=PLP-ASg-A26Xga5tR1fKTFcZQgTm_3jH4i&index=29

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

http://ctva.biz/US/Anthology/SchlitzPlayhouseOfStars_02_(1952-53).htm

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 success...in 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. 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Tracy Ryan Terhune and David Bret Bullying Together For Years

A few nights ago, I was unable to sleep and thought I would read my blog at 2 a.m. So I googled my name on my phone and the first item in the search was a Wikipedia mention about how the author of Affairs Valentino had a “warrant” out for her arrest and some such comment of outrage asking how was I allowed to continue, blah, blah, blah. The old “warrant” lie lives still online.

Tracy Ryan Terhune, who has collaborated for years with David Bret in posting bully lies online about me... launched the “warrant” lie about & association with me the first day he opened the Affairs Valentino blogspot which he has run for eight years and still runs to ruin my sales and torture me into agony. In the construct and definition of cyber-bullying this is called a “designated hate blog”. Courtesy of Tracy Terhune from the first day of that blog back in 2012:

Terhune ran that “warrant” headline for years trying to portray me as a person with underhanded business tactics, running from some criminal involvement and associating me with the subject of "arrest warrants". He and Bret carried this theme through as if it were fact and there it was again in the middle of my night.

I have never had a warrant out on me, have no criminal history and have been in a police station only once in my life. This after I drove off leaving my purse on top of my car and the kind person who found it took it to the police station. That is as close to a criminal past as I can admit to... picking up my purse.

But there it was in the middle of my night...on my google search... how I had criminal warrants. As outrageous as this was to see, in my opinion and I would hope in the opinion of everyone aware of Terhune and Bret, it should be obvious they planted all of this in their malicious destruction of what should be my honest online identity.

How hypocritical for Terhune and Bret to claim I bully them or anyone when they are doing things like this. How they try to elevate themselves above this behavior and feign being the victims with their fake outrage. Who believes that anymore? It does not take a rocket scientist to see that everything they accuse us of doing, is projection of their own disgusting modus operandi.

The origin of this “warrant” lie? Well the“warrant” they are endlessly referring to was issued against the woman who first published Affairs Valentino in 2011. It was not a criminal warrant but a bench warrant. A bench warrant is issued so someone to force them to address a court matter such as overdue parking tickets; in her case the bench warrant was issued because of her failure to appear in court to face Terhune without a lawyer.

Terhune clutched that “bench warrant” for dear life because for him it became a weapon which could not only be used against her but me as well... oh wielding that weapon, Terhune once chased this young woman through a court house and into a parking lot trying to have her arrested on that warrant while yelling, “You're going to jail!” repeatedly. The young woman ran in fear along side her father... who at one point turned and confronted Terhune telling him, “You stay back or you will get hurt.” He then accused Terhune of trying to drive his daughter to suicide. Terhune replies how no.. the “trying to push her to suicide” was not done by him but by Bret. How do I know the details of this horrifying play-by-play? The young woman captured it on her phone and sent it to me.

Now the warrant he was trying to serve on her was expired and had no value. But to Terhune and Bret it was infinitely valuable and they forged forward to post it everywhere on line. What kind of P.O.S.s do things like that?

For the record: I never had a warrant out on me, never called Bret a rapist... he did... I never accused him of raping some man... he did.. as Chris A. Wagenti and later as Christina Wagenti..and Affairs Valentino is not “Pure Fiction” as Terhune claims but heavily documented, etc. Terhune recently stated the following so this is not ancient history... not at all. As excerpted from his designated hate Affairs Valentino blog ("I" being "this woman"):


If he had posted this anywhere else it would stand as his opinion... but on that blog deceiving my web traffic it is straight up bullying. In my opinion it is shocking someone who behaves in this manner...Tracy Terhune... is mustered into service to weigh in on anything about Valentino. On the subject of Valentino, he is consistently off and stuck in a distant past before actual documentation was found by yours truly and Renato. Because he had enough cash to go shopping for all those Valentino relics and buy, buy, buy to his heart's content... and because he is a loyal foot soldier in the Valentino family's campaign to stop Affairs Valentino...this does not make him an historian.

Terhune masquerades his hate/hit blog on Affairs Valentino as some critique but over the past eight years he has been running it, the images he posts speak for themselves. It is a terrifying gallery of Bibles, Satan, pigs, images of Hellscapes, images portraying me as severely mentally handicapped...etc..Overall to me he seems rather obsessed with Satan and hell while he appears to portray himself as a “Holy Warrior”.

Well I am not sure I believe in heaven and hell, but I do think he might want to repent and cease his ways because there has to be a special place in any hell for people who torture other people for their own amusement by bullying them so heavily for so long.

Michael Morris used to call Terhune, Bret and their sidekicks..”The devil's brigade” and “Satan's angels”... Based on all of the imagery Terhune has posted on his hate blog.. I have to think he especially might want to reconsider his relationship with old Beelzebub.

I close by saying directly to them as I know they read this blog because they react to it.. that life is a gift not a war. Give it up and make some amends. It is love over hate, art over evil and truth all over your lies.

A look down memory lane as excerpted from Terhune's “Affairs Valentino Literary Critique”blog:




Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Greatest Possible Reward

Renato Floris is a worldly man who is by nature a linguist.... ever facsinated by historical intrigue and words. Renato first came to the subject of Valentino when he was hired as an advance man for the Italian television (RAI) production of a Valentino documentary in the 1990's. He spoke English well and knew Los Angeles intimately as he spent time there in 1984 working on the opening ceremony of the Olympics with Frank Gehry.

While he was in Los Angeles he met Michael Morris and while filming one element of the documentary he would film Tracy Terhune in the gathering. Go figure. Little did Renato know this then young man would be tearing his efforts to shreds some years later.

Renato was invited to the opening reception of the Convegno Valentino in 2009 and it was there we met. Our mutual friend Michael Morris was determined we meet and we sure did. Hello. 

Renato brings an element to the Valentino history which is unique. He reads French and Spanish and in this he is accessing archives which have yet to be discovered. More to come on that! Can I just say he id-ed the “prima donna”?

It was an unlikely interest in Valentino for Renato; one he found because of a contract job back in the mid-1990's. And one which would have more importance after he met me.... obviously.

Renato's insight into Valentino history is one of an Italian man who knows the terrain and the culture intimately. I feel this is long overdue and his work in the French and Italian archives is bearing fruit... lovely, ripe and delicious fruit. More on that soon too.

Michael Morris gloated over his putting Renato and I together. He was so satisfied with his match- making efforts. He was, and always will be our angel and there is not a day I do not thank him for that.

True love has its ways I think. And the greatest possible reward of this Valentino story for us... is us.

Thank you Renato... a great man... a very great man.... who eats a lot of pasta!

Here he is before the Great Ravine of Castellaneta in 2014. 



Friday, October 16, 2020

The Crumbling Artifact

I have been organizing images and sorting through my file from my visit to the Frank E. Campbell's Funeral Home in 2003. I had a brief time to take photos of this scrapbook (see below - approximately 5 inches thick) and the light in the funereal room was not great, (all blinds drawn). I was and still am surprised they just plopped the crumbling artifact on the table for me and as the mortician turned the pages, bits and pieces of the relic fell like confetti onto the floor. 

It occurred to me in looking at these two of the some eighty images I captured... that the number of those men's hats in the crowd is mind-blowing. Just an aside... but were all the men wearing the exact same style of hat? I understand it was hot and rainy but all the exact same hat? Someone really cornered the market on those straw boater hats that sad day. And the complete lack of any plan there as far as crowd control is horrifying. If someone even tripped they would all go down like dominos. 

Oddly the paper in the Frank E. Campbell's Funeral Home's scrapbook was doing the crumbling and the actual articles were fine. I think the book was once a ledger with some enthusiastic employees seizing the opportunity to do a grand record of it all. Who knows what happened to the scrapbook after I announced its location? I tried to garner interest in having it preserved and/or restored some years ago. 

Of all the troublesome things that have happened to me because I wrote Affairs Valentino, there have been some exceptionally rewarding moments. And I would certainly describe my afternoon in Campbell's as just that; a breezy, sunny spring day in Manhattan, a welcoming mortician and a great Valentino discovery. 


       More straw boater hats (below)...and is George Ullman wearing sunglasses? 


Thursday, October 15, 2020

Recognize the Signatures

The tragedy which befell George Ullman as a result of his executorship of the Valentino estate, was still a reality during my interviews with his daughter Brenda, “Bunny” and his son Robert, “Bob” in 2003-2005. Both were bitter about what happened to their family at the hands of Alberto and Jean Valentino. From Bob's disdain for all things Hollywood to Bunny's guarding her privacy from all things Valentino, their anguish of a lifetime was palpable. George Ullman once wrote he should never have tried to settle his friend Rudy's affairs, but he made the decision to do so because he was too idealistic.

There are still those who carry Alberto's torch of irrational hatred for George Ullman; running through the streets of their corner of Valentino-landia, screaming their trivial newsbits and "fabrications" to the villagers in an effort to portray him as the ultimate villain.

In fact, the documentation proves otherwise and George Ullman was beyond a doubt the hero of Rudolph Valentino's story. Recognize the signatures of those who go to extreme lengths to say otherwise.

                                                           George, Aunt Teresa Werner, Rudolph & Natacha

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Rest of the Story

 On page 408 of Emily Leider's Valentino biography Dark Lover, she writes:

A final settlement was reached two years later, (she refers to 1934) reducing Ullman's debt to the estate to about $26,000 and exonerating him of charges of mismanagement.”

This is in error because she has neglected to tell the rest of the story. This was not the final settlement (1934) and not at all what Ullman was finally held responsible for by Jean and Alberto Valentino. In 1934, at the time of Ullman's Appeals Court exoneration, the final settlement of the issue of those advances was postponed until Jean Valentino inherited the estate in 1939. This was the final settlement of the estate. Ullman would owe far, far more than $26,000 ( $338,000.00 by today's currency exchange). He would ultimately owe the estate $118,000.00 ($1,534,000.00) and I guess you can see why I feel it important to explain here why this difference.

As a conclusion to the past posts about Alberto's false narrative and this precise subject of Ullman's cruel fate... I share a few more documents from my archive today. The story of that final settlement against Ullman goes like this:

From Affairs Valentino p. 224:



*This is where Leider leaves the story...But in fact Ullman is left waiting for the Final Settlement which would not occur until 1937. From Affairs Valentino


The total by today's exchange would be $1, 202,415.89. How did this judgment grow so exponentially? One word – Interest! The following documents reveal Ullman's hopelessness in this regard.


             The interest on the amount grew by @$5000.00 a year ( $65,000.00 today). 


                            Jean Valentino attempts to seize Ullman's business and failed. 

The Valentino estate pursued Ullman for 30 years with the interest accruing for the money he advanced to them in good faith believing they were heirs. I believe Jean should have brought all of these collection processes against Alberto; the person who truly owed him the money. 


Leider's neglecting to complete the telling of the story leaves a wrong impression as to what Ullman faced and the the judgment against him. I do not wonder who told Emily Leider this tall tale. I would be more than a little upset in her position...due to the fact that the family had access to the court records and they could have given her access to them also.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Adding to the Outrageous

Expanding on the past couple of posts about the false narrative issued by Alberto Valentino over the years as to his claiming he received only “pennies”, “worthless real estate”, “a few sentimental items”, etc. from Rudolph's estate, I add the following.

In 1928, Alberto granted an interview to Ms. Elsie Madden who wrote an article titled, “Are They Making Valentino a Saint?” which was published in Motion Picture Magazine that February. After telling Elsie Madden that he intended to go into movies only to keep the name Valentino alive, Alberto explains it this way,

Someday my brother's pictures will no longer be shown. Then, if they see me, they will say, 'That one is Rudy's brother' and they will not so soon forget the name Valentino”.

Ms. Madden then adds the outrageous...writing how Alberto says he has, “not received a penny yet from Valentino's estate”.

This was 1928 and two years had passed during which time Alberto lived in luxury and entirely on advances from his brother's estate. I posted some of the totals of the money and funding he received cited from the court records in my previous post titled, “On The Subject of Fabrication”. Suffice to say that by today's exchange rate the advances Alberto received ran into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. (his cash advances of @$39,000. today x 13 would be the equivalent of $507,000).

In February 1935, Alberto poses with his wife Ada and Jean for press telling them he is “broke” and in “Dire Straits”. He does not explain the actual situation as to how the money vanished.

And later in that same year, another article titled, ”Nephew of Valentino, Living in Faded Glory, Wants to Be Actor”, appears in which Alberto shares more of his false narrative, “Alberto, once business manager and expectant heir to his brother's fortune, was unable to get any of the money and only small bits of almost worthless real estate.”

I find this incredible that no clarification was brought forth about this until I found those copies of the stolen probate court records. This story was finally told within the court records and considering how mightily Alberto spun the tale in his favor, I am not surprised those original court records have been missing for decades.

I share one more tidbit which I did cover in Affairs Valentino in the “What Ever Happened” section under “Pola Negri”. I think the article (below) explains the situation but the last line could well be re-written for Ullman. Instead of saying, “The actress having then loaned the money, ended up owing it!”, we could make this, “The executor having advanced the money, ended up owing it!”



      Alberto Valentino with George Ullman in New York in September 1926. 

Sunday, October 11, 2020

A Lifetstyle Advanced in Good Faith

As an addition to my previous post titled, “On the Subject of Fabrication“, I share the following:

In a letter Alberto Valentino wrote to Jeanne De Recqueville dated November 17, 1977, he writes,

“...my brother left a legacy of over a million dollars but we ( he and his sister) only got a few personal items of sentimental value.” (cite p. 147, Rudolph Valentino in English by Jeanne De Recqueville, translated by Renato Floris)

Stunning really at that point I think...that in the fifty-one years since Rudolph's death, Alberto is still making such a claim. He neglects to mention the money Ullman owed the Valentino estate was money Alberto and his sister had already spent plus decades of interest. He neglects to mention a lot actually which should have been shared at least once by this man over the years. I found this little article today (with a transcription below) and thought it an odd commentary on his “few sentimental items”. What a life style he enjoyed for years while he squandered his deceased brother's estate which was 100% bequeathed to Jean Valentino and not Alberto.

So after falling and breaking two small bones in his hand, Alberto faints from shock and is taken back to the luxury of his bungalow at the Ambassador which then cost $750.00 a month (by today's exchange this would be $9750.00) to be “attended to” by not one... but apparently several, “attending physicians” and Pola Negri. The problem with this is not that he found a way to live this extravagant lifestyle... but that when he'd spent all there was to spend, he lied so tremendously at Ullman's expense.

It was Ullman who, in good faith, advanced that life style, those attending physicians and the Ambassador bungalow to Alberto and we all know how that turned how for him.

                                          Los Angeles Times, November 25, 1926

Transcribed:

“Alberto Guglielmi Valentino, brother of the late screen star, was a victim of the rain yesterday. Stepping from his machine at the Ambassador garage, in the rear of the hotel, he slipped and fell to the pavement and sustained a fractured hand. He was taken to a hospital, where it was found two small bones had been broken.

The actor's brother, after fainting from shock was returned to his cottage at the Ambassador, where he is being cared for by private physicians and Pola Negri, screen actress and fiancee of the late Rudolph Valentino. His injuries are not serious, his attending physicians said.”


Friday, October 9, 2020

The Words of a True Friend and Admirer

Well the project has begun. (see below) After finding excuses for the past twenty years, I am finally organizing the Affairs Valentino materials. Hopefully I will find things to share here. I have no doubt I will. Most of my archive is housed on various hard drives but I began work on this when paper was still a thing. 


                                     Michael Morris referred to files as the "raw data". 


     I just found this little quote (below) which I found such sweet words of a true friend and admirer.  





Thursday, October 8, 2020

On the Subject of Fabrication

All too often I run across something that really bothers me. Consequently, I will leave my grievance here for posterity. I am eternally blown away with the tremendous lie/fabrication told by Alberto Valentino when he said he only got pennies and a few sentimental items from Rudolph's estate. (one example being p. 147 in the Jeanne De Recqueville book, Rudolph Valentino In English)  Now bear in mind he did not say this once or twice... he repeated it his entire life right down to one of his final interviews in 1977. 

In every interview he seized the opportunity to advance his self-promotion taglines and schemes; i.e. telling the same story of how he never got anything but pennies and a few sentimental items from the estate. On some occasions he furthered his promoting himself in Hollywood by telling more lies; i.e. claiming falsely Ullman was found guilty of embezzling estate money and that he was the reason the settlement of the estate took so long and why all of the money disappeared into lawyers. If ever a red herring... it would be George Ullman.

The problem I have with Alberto's decades of “fabrications”... is that according to the court records, and every bit of evidence I discovered, he was telling absolute lies. His entire, “woe is me all the money was spent on lawyers” is utter bullshit. I will not dispute he spent a fortune on frivolous attorneys who were wildly exploiting the situation. But Alberto claims to have been an accountant, a book-keeper so I think he always knew exactly and down to that precious penny... how much money he did receive from his successful and rich brother Rudolph.

Alberto decided to stay in Los Angeles...as he told Ullman upon first arrival after Rudolph's death... to “take Rudy's place”. Alberto did not just take care of the funerals, etc. and return to his family in Italy... he stayed on for years. During those years 1926-1930, he lived large on advances given to him by George Ullman which forms the crux of this awful story and can be read about in detail in Affairs Valentino.

Until that second page of Valentino's will, Paragraph Fourth appeared in 1930, informing Ullman and the world that Alberto was not an heir to his brother Rudy's estate and entitled to no more than a weekly allowance... Alberto was living like a king in Hollywood and had been for four years. The numbers are staggering when you break it down as far as what he was paying for rent, etc. The income he received from Ullman was far more than a few pennies. And the items Ullman let Alberto and his sister Maria take from Falcon Lair after their brother's death were itemized by the court and let me say they did well. So how could he have ended up broke by 1935? Was he? And what about those pennies?

I have frankly grown sick and tired of reading the same old story where Alberto carries on with his lies about his tiny pennies jingling in his thread bare pocket.... I believe he did this only to garner sympathy and portray himself as the hero of the story. This when the facts tell a very different account. 

Before Valentino's death, as itemized under the “Baskerville Audits”, subtitle, 1926 “Gray Book” Household Expenses #3, Alberto receives a total of $6050.00 in cash in more or less weekly payments of $500. from his brother Rudolph between April 7 until July 6, 1926. (today's value calculated x 13 in 2020 = $78,650.) Not a bad income for Alberto as he was enjoying three months of vacation in Los Angeles. 

After Rudolph's death... as itemized in the court records under the heading of “The Matter of Heirship and Distribution”: 

Maria Guglielmi Strada receives, in cash and personal property, $21,616.33. (today's value, $281,012.29), with the personal property Ullman advanced to her totaling $3,428.00 (today's value, $44,564) 

Alberto received in cash advances from Ullman, $36,949.71 (today's value, $480,366.33.

Contrary to Alberto saying throughout his entire life that he and his sister only received a “few items of sentimental value and pennies”, Rudolph Valentino's siblings received a total of $59,027.33 (today's value, $767,355.29) 

This total reflects only the data entered in the extracts which I had access to in the court of appeals records and only funds received by Alberto and Maria by 1930.

Alberto's “fabrications” did not solely pertain to his marketing himself as a sympathetic soldier on some battlefield, he lied about his even being an heir, neglected to once mention Ullman was exonerated on all charges on appeal and never revealed the accounting of his true income and lifestyle on behalf of his dead brother for those four years 1926-1930.

By the time Jean Valentino turned 25 and inherited the estate, Alberto had poured most of the fortune down the drain on lawyers trying to get rid of Ullman while living large in his Ambassador Hotel bungalow and his suite at the Gaylord Apartments.. all while spending money which rightfully all belonged to Jean.

Alberto borrowed against the final settlement of the estate which he was preventing from happening. When that second page of the will designating Jean as sole heir surfaced, it was then Alberto finally brought Jean to LA with great fanfare declaring he could become the next Valentino, etc.

Did Jean ever know it was Alberto who stole his rightful inheritance and not Ullman? And when Jean, in that Thames Television video clip, says Alberto was in Los Angeles settling up the estate which took much longer than they thought it would... I hope he believed that and did not know the truth. What would Jean have thought to know Alberto was living large on his inheritance and preventing the settlement of the estate.

The totals, tallies and testimony reveal conclusively Alberto received the equivalent today of nearly a half a million dollars which would be one hundred million pennies mind you.

“Fabrications”? For Alberto Valentino... it was a lifetime and more of them on this subject.



Wednesday, October 7, 2020

"An Enviable Possession"


A tiny ad from Motion Picture Magazine, 1927. When a loaf of bread cost 10 cents.. would you buy a "Big Lifelike Photo" of Rudolph Valentino for 50 cents... the price of five loaves of bread? I think so. When I first read this microscopic one column inch classified ad, I thought it said "Dealers Insulted"...Freudian slip? Anyway the people at S. Bram Studios at 729 Seventh Avenue were enterprising folks. I wonder if I could still request that "free list"? 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

The Li Calzi Article

These two images (below)are scans from the originals housed in the Special Collections Department at USC in Los Angeles in the archive of Valentino biographer Irving Schulman. This is the text accompanying the image I posted on this blog on October 4th, "Mike Li Calzi Tells His Story". Li Calzi drove Valentino and Marion Benda from her apartment at 3 a.m. to the party at Barclay Warburton's on the night Valentino fell mortally ill. 

I have a few more scans, including the account of the elevator operator.. from the Schulman file and will find them and share. 






Monday, October 5, 2020

No Dinner for Us?

Well, well, well... so Tracy Ryan Terhune, the man who once said there was room for everyone at the "Table of Valentino"... blah, blah, blah... today deletes a link to our podcast episode on Jean Acker which someone posted on his We Never Forget Facebook group. Well, I guess so much for our seats at that “table”. 

I think people can surely judge for themselves as to the value of our podcasts and I hope they do. They do not need censor Terhune to make that call for them. We are very happy to see people are listening to our podcast episodes and I am sure many folks noticed when Tracy Ryan Terhune cut the lights on our Acker episode. 

We have been moving some of our Soundcloud episodes to our Youtube Channel and hope to do more soon.

Meanwhile thanks for listening and pay no attention I say to the book burners! 

In case you missed it, our Jean Acker episode: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRKhcxJoRgg



Sunday, October 4, 2020

Mike LiCalzi Tells His Story

Mike LiCalzi's fifteen minutes of fame. Mike LiCalzi was a New York City cab driver who probably had no idea he would be the subject of a blog post in the year 2020...but he is. What a valuable contribution Mike LiCalzi made to the story of Valentino's last night on the town, I guess you could call it.

I found the cabbie's story in the archive of Irving Schulman, Valentino biographer. Schulman's archive in 2004, was housed in the Special Collections Department of the University of Southern California. I was surprised on my arrival to see his entire Valentino archive in the Rare Book room, consisting of only a couple of boxes. Other than his notes and drafts of the book, those boxes contained copies of many newspaper articles and a sizable scrapbook.

The scrapbook was meticulously kept and contained Valentino articles which primarily referred to his death and funerals. It was in this scrapbook I found the article and this image of cabbie LiCalzi.

Mike LiCalzi picked up Valentino and his date on that fateful evening, Marion Benda outside her apartment at about 3 a.m. LiCalzi then drove Valentino and Marion Benda to Barclay Warburton's apartment. The cabbie tells the story of Valentino not being able to rouse anyone to let them him as he whistled up at Warburton's apartment windows. The cabbie recalls in detail how Valentino left Marion in the cab to enter the building through a side door to reappear in a few minutes through the front door, pay the one dollar and sixty cent fare and escort Marion to Warburton's apartment.

The elevator operator would also deliver his statement attesting to the timing. He recalls taking Valentino and Marion down to the hotel lobby from Marion's apartment about 3 a.m...and seeing Valentino hailing LiCalzi's cab. (Affairs Valentino, p. 330)

Schulman's citation to the source of the article is simply, The Graphic. 


Saturday, October 3, 2020

Choosing Not to Ignore These Bitchy Remarks:

  1. Cindy Martin corresponded with Renato a while ago and referred to my, “known mental issues”. I think its fairly obvious that the person using the subject of “mental issues” as a means to insult would be more the person with the mental issue. Who does that? Even if I had mental issues and even if they were known...using that to mock and slander me?

  2. A “Dr. Christina” posted a comment a while ago on Tracy Ryan Terhune's “How Much Do I Fear Affairs Valentino?” designated hate blog... in a cheesy attempt to be amusing. There she mused whether or not Renato and my “expiration dates” had not already long passed. No, “bitchy lady who does not even know us”, they have not. And comparing us to a grocery item like a quart of milk or a stick of butter which will sour and have to be thrown out...that is not funny but rude.

So for the benefit of Cindy Martin and Dr. Christina, I say the following. Rest assured Renato and I are of sound mind and our “dates”/lives?... are not about to expire just yet. And let's just say this... that for making remarks like that about us online...you are not about to be invited over for one of Renato's five hour, ten course fabulous dinners. It was not so friendly of you to make such remarks and I have responded. You have a right to your opinion of us and our work, but spreading the innuendo that I am insane and that this is “known”... and cracking jokes about our “expiration dates”/deaths?... can not be classified as an opinion, it is straight up bullying.


                                                    Renato Floris - "Not Expired"



                                                  Evelyn Zumaya -"Not Expired"



                                            Evelyn Zumaya - No "Known Mental Issues"


Thursday, October 1, 2020

Salt Lake City Swimsuits


 Salt Lake City -  And I always suspected there was a tiny dog wrangler nearby. There she is with the big hat on. Thank-you for this faded yet fascinating image.