Tuesday, January 4, 2022

About Buckle

One of the more interesting things I discovered in the court records was the fate of Rudolph Valentino's dry cleaning business. Before I found those records, I had already read Natacha Rambova's “All That Glitters” and I had also read how Lou Mahoney claimed he had nothing whatsoever to do with that dry cleaning business. So I read the testimony about the dry cleaners with great interest.

In “All That Glitters”, Rambova clearly lays out a reason for the dry cleaning business with her character of Buckle. Her Buckle is obviously Mahoney and he begins the business to exploit the ability to clean Valentino's costumes and clothing. I found her even mentioning this rather outrageous as she criticized graft in Hollywood quite publicly. It was one of the moments in her play where she really toyed with her reality.

In the court records (the file I was able to recover), it is revealed how after Valentino's death, George Ullman paid off Valentino's dry cleaner's debt and sold the business to Lou Mahoney. If memory serves me correct... for $200. and this included a company truck.

I also found a census record from the 1930's where Lou Mahoney cites his occupation as “dry cleaner”. 

Do I think Valentino cared about owning a dry cleaning business? Probably not at all. But it was one aspect of the estate settlement which I found interesting. And I think Natacha exposed it all in “All That Glitters”. Of course she has her character Buckle the hero for secretly running the dry cleaning business but was Lou in charge of it all along? Is that why Ullman pretty much handed it all to him?

I think there are many clues left in "All That Glitters" but this for me was huge. There is clear evidence/documentation Lou, the handyman certainly ran the dry cleaning business. 



5 comments:

  1. Lou Mahoney îs another rather shady character în the Valentino story. Quite loyal to Natacha before and during The divorce. However, I dont understand how he could steal The 4TH paragraph from Rudy's Will, thus throwing George Ulmann în an endless court battle that almost ruined his life. Do you know if there are any Memoirs or interviews with this guy?

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    1. I will defer to Affairs Valentino for all about Lou. He had access to the Falcon Lair safe and by the process of elimination he was the only person who could have removed that part of the will. He also said nothing about it for years in court while Ullman was claiming it did exist, while Lou witnessed the document. Best to read about it in AV as I documented that well. It was a story well-covered in the press at the time. We also made a podcast about this. Lou recorded a memoir. Michael Morris had copies of those tapes which were "borrowed" by the Valentino family and never returned. I listened to the tapes and although his recollections of being a handyman for Valentino are interesting he inflated his role in that household and on fact checking his claims I found a great deal of it was false. There is a reason those tapes have been hidden too.

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  2. I am amazed at Valentino fans who continue to speculate on what Rambova thought or her perspective on her marriage after Valentino's death. It would help if they read "All That Glitters" in order to get a bead on Rambova's frame of mind. Granted, the play is undeniably skewed by a little bitterness and a lot of contempt for Hollywood, but I think she got very close to the truth as she saw it. I also believe a lot of people pretend the play does not exist simply because of the way Valentino (Henry) is portrayed. As far as Buckle is concerned, he is much more important to Alice (Rambova) than to Henry. Those who push the false narrative that Mahoney was Valentino's confidant and best buddy are wrong. Valentino laying bare his soul to the handyman? What an absurd notion.

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    1. Again I find it telling that Lou was never mentioned in any book on Valentino until he inserted himself into the story decades later.

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    2. I wonder if Pola Negri ever asked Lou for her nightgowns back?

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