Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Rudolph Valentino's First Flight

Renato discovered the following article (see below) in a French newspaper The Hard-Liner. It presents a question about the claim Valentino took flying lessons in Mineola, Long Island before he left for the West Coast in "The Masked Model". Perhaps he took some classes in flying at the Mineola air field but seems he never flew in an airplane at all until 1923. This is a fascinating account of Valentino's actual first flight and his impressions. Thank you Renato ! The author is a journalist and actor. Here follows the English translation:

L'Intransigeant, 08/18/1923

Published in the "Sports Life" column

The Star's First Flight”

It was Port wine time last night in a palace near the Champs-Élysées. People were curious and eager to see a young man and his wife, who peacefully sip their aperitif in a small group; in the group, Rudolph Valentino and Natacha Rambova, Jacques Hébertot, André L. Daven, Oscar M. Sheridan and myself. Valentino tells us amazingly interesting things about his life, about his profession, about sport. This man who, as we know, is an athlete and a trained boxer is, moreover, a remarkable motorist. Besides, isn't it true that the “stars” of the cinema all have many different arrows to place in their bows? But there is one thing Valentino related to me, about something I have wanted to try for a long time; traveling by plane. I am now satisfied. 

“Was your trip by plane the day before yesterday your first one?” I asked.

“Yes,” Valentino replied, “and I chose the wrong day for a first flight! What a storm and finally, it turned out beautifully and neither my wife nor I were indisposed. We rode with the wind at our back and only took two hours to make the crossing.”

“What was your impression of this first flight?”

“Not bad at all! As we took off, I had the impression of being in a car, on a hill, then, once in the air, nothing more, nothing moved. It was absolutely wonderful. The landing gave me a chill in the back. When the throttles were cut, I thought the plane had fallen into an air hole. But the contact with the ground was made as if on velvet … In short, I had a good impression. Excellent! I will do it again and when we will return to London we will go by the same route. Besides, it is not impossible that I will shoot a film on aviation before next year. Because that interests me enormously!”

Rudolph Valentino is an eclectic sportsman.


Paul Olivier

Croydon Airport 
First Flight in 1923