Thursday, July 29, 2021

"Substance From Imitation Spun Sugar..."

In 1965, Valentino biographer Irving Schulman wrote the following (see below) and I can not help but point this out, as I have done a few times, because it is astounding to me he faced a great deal of the same opposition and BS as we do now. Fifty-six years ago... and this could have been written today. I have transcribed the commentary for those of you who use translators. Here follows from Irving Schulman:

“...The private individuals who assisted me prefer to remain anonymous; what they had to say about Valentino was certain to be resented by the professional keepers of the myth whose big fat mouths froth at the use of published photographs, printed materials, and citations that can be documented.

In addition, I must note that in the summer of 1964, I was scolded by a group of oviparous females of both sexes, who among the intellectually underprivileged of Hollywood are much admired. The tips of their brown noses aquiver, they chided me for not liking movies. I deny their silly charge. I don't like bad or poor or pathetic or maudlin or silly or stupid or banal or pointless or meretricious or wearisome movies; nor do I like movie magazines, gossip columnists, or any of the truck with which these lickspittlers are associated. To compound my heresy, I hated The Singing Nun which starred Debbie Reynolds, and after seeing this movie I can only conclude that Louis B. Mayer is alive in Argentina.

But even if I didn't like all movies, I submit that a comprehensive abjuration of this soporific would place me in the company of many perceptive men and women of good purpose, all of them able to distinguish fact from fancy, reality from myth, history from legend, religion from idolatry, substance from imitation spun sugar; for they are beholden to intelligence and not to stupendous colossal stupidity even when it is presented with a cast of thousands and is-Lord, help us-popular and profitable as entertainment. Signed, Irving Schulman”




17 comments:

  1. Having never read his book, Shulman’s waspish tongue and vicious homophobia (“oviparous females of both sexes”) is a surprise. Nevertheless, his wit and the resonance of his analysis cannot be denied. Shulman sounds like he did not appreciate or suffer fools. He would make mincemeat of the current day “professional keepers of the myth”. And he would have zero tolerance for the self-anointed forum mama bears (of both sexes) who claim soul deep understanding of Valentino, the tender, vulnerable man child (barf).

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    1. I contemplated editing out Schulman's offensive "vicious homophobia" but left his piece as he published it in his biography in 1965.

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  2. I think 1965, in my opinion, would pretty much be considered still the Dark Ages as far as being enlightened about homophobia. Yet, David Bret, while he pretends to be the paladin of the gay community, uses the word "homophobia" frivolously to ruin any critic and has for decades; a critic being anyone who dares to challenge his fictional books. This while he demeans his critics by calling them homophobic and transphobic slurs so in his case no progress has been made.

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  3. I find it rather ironic that a few of the current crop of Flame Keepers consider Shulman their favorite biographer of Valentino. Who could Shulman have been referring to as the Keepers of the Flame, Class of '64? William Self? Chaw Mank? Brad Steiger? Or someone even closer to Valentino?

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    1. I also find it ironic that these "Keepers" today worship Schulman and Mank. Mank and his co-author Steiger were brazenly homophobic.

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    2. Many of those in the Valentino community who hurl charges of homophobia as easily as they breathe are themselves homophobes. It’s a cheap and fast way to get a rise out of people and look like a crusader. No one is fooled.

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    3. I find that rather ironic myself as well.

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  4. What in the world does he mean by "...group of oviparous females of both sexes"? WTH? Females of both sexes?

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  5. “He, Rudolph, who was so virile and who was deservedly respected for this virility in all the world, had to suffer the unspeakable in being represented as something he himself TRULY HATED” (author’s emphasis). The True Rudolph Valentino, by Balthasar Fernandez Cue, p.129

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  6. I'm currently listening to Irving Shulman's book "Valentino" for Free on the internet archive. A good and well researched book on Rudy, I think one can find interesting things there as well, especially about Rudys first years în US and The trial în New York (I found IT strânge how he lied about a few things during The trial).

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  7. Shulman's book is one of The Best books on Rudolph Valentino definitely... Any Rudy fan should read it especially since it îs available for Free on the internet archive. The book says he and Natacha met again after The train scene, în France

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    1. Rudy and Natacha never met again. I am satisfied with the research devoted to that since Shulman wrote his book... and it has been proven definitively, especially in the deep research on that executed by Michael Morris who worked with her cousin Ann Wollen. Wollen said adamantly Rudolph and Natacha never met again in France. Some news reports at the time made the claim but the woman with Valentino was not Natacha. I sourced Schulman's book a great deal in Affairs Valentino and took some heat for doing so by a few people. I felt his book was factually more accurate on many points than all the other books. This said I think Schulman dated himself and imo demeaned his work by his interjections of his own social opinions. I was offended by his demeaning commentary about women being, "Sob sisters", and his disparaging of hippies as vagrants, etc. I did travel to have personal access to his archive while researching Affairs Valentino and his archive was surprising because it was so small. Two boxes and a scrapbook which he was given by a woman in New York who collected articles at the time of Valentino's death. His archive is housed in the USC rare book collection. If you want to read everything about the Valentino saga that Irving Schulman missed and neglected to write about you can find all of that in Affairs Valentino. i.e. In his archive he had a copy of the article about the Falcon Lair safe being raided, etc. Schulman wrote across the photocopy, "A mystery indeed"... well let me toot my little horn here and say, "I solved that mystery." and am very proud of that. I agree with you that every Valentino fan should read Schulman's book but hope that they read it critically and understand the the historical context of the book.

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    2. I add that during the time frame when Valentino visited the Chateau, Natacha was furious with him and both were issuing unflattering comments about each other. She refused to even appear on stage if they showed one of Rudolph's movies. She was pursuing a stage career then on the east coast and returned from France to film When Love Grows Cold that winter. There are only reports of their reconciliation during the last week of his life.

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  8. I suggest to the "Anonimous" to go on YouTube and listen, for free, to Affairs Valentino, a Special Edition, read by the author Evelyn Zumaya.

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  9. I did indeed buy and read Affairs Valentino and praised it for being very well researched and documented. I am just pointing out to some other resources/books I found interesting on the subject of Rudolph Valentino
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    1. Thank you for sharing the books available now online. And I would agree that factually the Schulman book is one of the best. As I said it was a major reference for my book. He was a newspaper man and I think he knew how to work the archives then very well. He had many photocopies of newspaper articles which must have taken a while to uncover in that day.

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