Thursday, April 21, 2022

Norma's Hello

I have been blessed to have worked with three families of people whose lives were impacted by their affiliation with Rudolph Valentino, the Ullmans, the Mennillos and Norma Niblock's family. All three families were generous with their time and family archives but Norma left such an impressive archive I am still blown away. Norma was photographed and by famous photographers. I included as much as I could in the book and am so pleased with the quality of the reproductions. Here one the more beautiful portraits taken by famed Hollywood photographer, Albert Witzel in 1926. *Comments are back on... up and running again!


 

22 comments:

  1. Gran bella immagine, great beautiful image!

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    1. I already bought the book. Can't wait for it to arrive!

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    2. Will be ordering mine in a few weeks, certainly looks interesting.

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  2. Question for Ms. Zumaya: In your opinion, how did Rudolph Valentino and the Mineralava beauty pageant impact Norma Niblock's life?

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    1. Her win in Madison Square Garden directed the course of the rest of her life. And this in negative and positive ways. As a result, she moved to California, met her husband and spent her life there. Negatively, it cost her an education and many high hopes were dashed for sure along the way.

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    2. Knowing what you know now about Niblock, if she would have had the chance to relive her life, which path would she have chosen: the beauty pageant, fame, and California or an education and perhaps a career?

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    3. Hard to say because she had her family in California and they were her life. But I think she might have chosen a career and education because she had a hard time all in all getting by financially. She was proud of her Valentino connection so hard to say. Good question.

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  3. What a stunning woman! I cannot wait to get my copy of this book! I don't think I have ever read anything about Norma Niblock, even though I often wondered when I viewed "Rudolph Valentino and his 88 Beauties" what happened to her. She sounds like a fascinating person. Thanks for solving this mystery!

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  4. I've always wondered whatever happened to Norma Niblick.
    Thanks for clearing the path and separating fact from all of the fiction over the years.
    Didn't realize how much influence Rudy had had on this young girl that change the entire course of her life at age 15.
    Fabulous!

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    1. Yes. The little girl from Calgary had quite the story. It seemed the twists and turns never stopped!

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    2. Well the Mineralava contest was entirely legal and a happy event for everyone involved. There are no reports it was anything else.

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    3. Calgary, Alberta , Canada.

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  5. In the pageant footage Niblock is alone among the contestants in having a haunting, timeless quality. Valentino had this too. I am surprised that Valentino did not make it more of a personal mission to deliver Niblock to stardom (if indeed he did not). She had precisely the kind of beauty Valentino was drawn to repeatedly in his life, and, when coupled with her youth, this should have triggered his sense of responsibility and protectiveness. I hope to learn more about this when my books arrives.

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    1. One of the more intriguing aspects of her story for me was having more information about the Valentino/Rambova Mineralava Tour. It was not all as glamorous as it appeared. In some ways both Valentino and Niblock were victimized by the situation. She had a very involved mother who plays a major role in the complex story.

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    2. I concur completely with 1:57. The film of Valentino and Niblock at the end of 88 Beauties is magical. Both of them are stunningly radiant. They glow. It is hard to believe she is only 15. And Valentino never looked better.

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    3. I have seen the comment that Valentino never looked better than he did in the 88 Beauties footage innumerable times on the “fan forums.” It is undeniable that he is supremely natural and in his element in a special way that wasn’t captured by a camera in any other setting. I would wager that this has much to do with his being in Niblock’s presence.

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    4. Right! They fed off each other's luminosity.

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  6. I am intrigued by the grandiose language used in the Mineralava pageant pamphlet, with its promises of a film career, etc. I don’t wish to cast aspersions upon Valentino and Rambova, but I doubt they thought through this side of the arrangements when they negotiated the terms of the deal. One could make they argument that they were unwitting participants in a scheme which exploited vulnerable young women.

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    1. That is exactly correct. The pamphlet was carefully worded and this was later part of a lawsuit. When Valentino and Rambova signed on, they no doubt could never have imagined how it would all play out, especially how it would effect the national winner of their competition.

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