Saturday, April 23, 2022

"...such beautiful language"

Norma Niblock's scrapbook was a great source for me and I included images from it in the book. She meticulously cut and pasted articles making sure every line was included but seldom included the newspaper citation and date. Fortunately, I found most of the articles and most were from the local Toronto papers. Some of the articles were unique and insightful; especially those covering her interviews. In one more memorable moment she described Rudolph Valentino's voice which I still find mesmerizing.

“Norma and Mabel granted an interview at home for a reporter from The Toronto Star. Norma admitted she was never particularly interested in Rudolph Valentino until the previous night at the Arena. That was before she heard Rudolph Valentino speak.

'When I heard him I thought he was a poet', Norma said seriously. 'You know he had such a wonderful voice and he used such beautiful language'.”

This fascinating video (see below) becomes all the more magical for me in light of her comment:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvlPDe3IVEk

Norma's archive includes many photos of the Mineralava pageant including this one where she is no doubt listening to the “poet” who is using such “beautiful language”:

14 comments:

  1. In Ms. Leideirs book Jean Acker spoke to Rudy's brother, Alberto on the phone and was startled because Jean thought she was talking to Rudy: their voices were identical. Listen to Alberto's interview on You Tube and that will give you an idea as to what Rudy sounded like.

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    1. Yes. It would be very logical to imagine brothers sounding alike. Maybe someday a piece of audio will surface. How great that would be.

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    2. That would be a million dollar find if we could hear Valentino's voice for the first time.

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    3. I think there has to be some audio somewhere. But the digital recreation is still enticing.

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  2. Out of all the descriptions of Valentino's voice that have been shared over the years, from Gloria Swanson to Margaret Mitchell, this one by Norma Niblock is the keenest and most enchanting of them all. Having the voice of a poet is how I like to imagine Valentino spoke. What a lovely photograph!

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    1. I also find her comment so personal and describing him with the "voice of a poet" is a unique way of saying something grand I think.

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    2. I fully agree with you. I, too, was moved by her description of his voice.

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  3. This is just beautiful. Norma’s description of Valentino’s voice and manner of speaking vaults our understanding forward by leaps and bounds. How vivid and insightful she was. I think Valentino came across poetically and beautifully because he was very careful and deliberate in choosing his English words. He had to be. He spoke at least two language fluently before learning English, and his head was just teaming with words. That is a wonderful aspect of intelligence, which Valentino does not receive due credit for. And the quality of this photo is breathtaking! So much more detailed and clear than the fuzzy, mottled pageant footage.

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    1. All of the photos I post and use in the book, except for a few which are credited individually, are included in Norma Niblock's archive. Her images of the pageant are unique in that they were sent to her from a film collector in the 60's. They are of such a high quality we are sure he printed them from the film negative. More about that collector in the book and his project with Norma. I am putting a watermark on them to prevent Ms. Gribbin, et al, from posting them without crediting them to Norma's private collection. Her family holds the copyright on them all.

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  4. This is a treasure trove my copy of" Norma " will coming in a few weeks. Anxious to learn more about her and her family. And Valentino himself of course.

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  5. Bluebell McGee, in a very perceptive comment above, has given us some food to chew on by suggesting that Valentino must have spoken lyrically because he was multi-lingual and because he was capable of leaping from one language to another. Acting in a silent film is one thing, but to speak before a capacity crowd at Madison Square Garden in a third language and do it clearly and distinctly proves, not only was he an intelligent man, but also that he was a supremely confidant man. In 88 Beauties, he appears very comfortable in his own skin and holds forth as emcee of the pageant effortlessly. In her statement, Norma Niblock captured the essence of Valentino superbly.

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    1. She did. Norma was world-traveled and well educated by the time she experienced fame in 1923. Her ability to articulate observations is a strong point.

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    2. Obviously, Norma had beauty and brains!

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    3. She did. On her immigration records and other bureaucratic forms, i.e. telephone directories, she often wrote, "artist" as her occupation. Artist she was. I will add talent to your "beauty and brains", "beauty, brains and talent". She never stopped creating.

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