Tuesday, May 31, 2022

The Brazen Inscription

When I interviewed Bill Self in 2003, he liked to show me his Rudy collection but was cautious about revealing too much. I know if the Valentino family had not told him to stop talking to me I would have seen more, but that was not the case. His was a sort of carnival shell game of impressing me and hiding things from me. 

Usually Self had a few things on his coffee table which I could handle. This is shocking because artifacts of museum quality should not be handled without gloves, etc. But even those artifacts were deftly removed and fairly quickly. Michael Morris was very frustrated by that routine but he did get to enter the walk in closet at the top of Self's stairs and view the clothing for one minute. 

Self had a book shelf on the top of his stairs which held a collection of Rudy books. During one visit he removed a book, which was a copy of E. M. Hull's The Sheik. He did not hand it to me but opened it for a few seconds so I could see it was inscribed. He told me E.M. Hull inscribed it to Rudy and Alberto told him it was the only book Rudy ever read cover to cover. I remembered that precisely because I was surprised to hear this was, "the only book Rudy ever read cover to cover" And this was something Alberto said? 

So imagine my surprise when many years later the following was sent to me. (see below) Was this the same book Self so quickly closed and set back on his shelf? Or was there another book inscribed by Hull. I never got a chance to clarify. But why would Florey inscribe this to Self as if he was the author? I doubt somehow Rudy kept a copy of The Sheik on his bedroom bookshelf, perhaps he did. Did he have a bookshelf in his bedroom? Whatever the answer, whether there were two books or this was more of Self's slight-of-hand... I think in some ways Florey desecrated the book with his brazen inscription. And his dating it 1921 is quizzical and deceptive because Self was not in Hollywood then and would not arrive until the early 1950's. 


23 comments:

  1. I believe what Robert Florey meant by that insription îs that The book was în Rudy's bedroom at Whitley Heights în 1921, not The year of his signing The book ( Florey).

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    1. Yes. I agree on that. But for me his entire inscription seems unnecessary and if he was inscribing it to Self would he not have put the date of his inscription.

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    2. I guess I am more protective of the relic. If I was in possession of a book once owned by Valentino and I wanted to gift it to someone, I can not imagine writing across the title page with some explanation etc. I might include a note but would not write the dedication to the person receiving the book as if I had any importance other than to have owned it.

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  2. There's a lot of hocus-pocus that goes on with the Valentino relics. Why is the salutation "To Bill" printed, but the rest of the inscription is in Florey's handwriting? One could speculate that the "To Bill" was added later to the original inscribed message.

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    1. "Hocus-Pocus" is a perfect way to describe it!

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  3. Note how Florey, not merely content to desecrate the book, does so by impugning Valentino’s intellect (“could be considered rare because it is one that he read!”). This from the dear friend who memorialized for posterity the fact that Valentino whipped his dogs. It would appear that Florey took every opportunity possible to expose Valentino’s warts.

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    1. Florey, "the dear friend" who blabbed and caused the fracas for Valentino in France which prompted Rudy to fire him. Self told me Florey was the only with anything bad to say about Valentino and added that was because Florey was the only person Rudy ever "personally" fired. Other than telling me that, not much was ever made about that fact. Self also specifically told me Alberto said that was the only book Rudy ever read. Hocus-Pocus indeed.

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    2. How frightfully inconvenient for “the family” that you were repeatedly welcomed into Self’s home and treated to his revelations and displays. This must have caused deep displeasure, in much the same way as Self’s extensive and sustained dealings with Ullman indubitably did. I agree with your previous remark about the curiously excessive praise Self received in the Villalobos dissertation. Why go to such lengths to proclaim the family’s exclusive, multi generational intimacy with him? Whatever the answer, as has been said before, the faith in Self seems not to have been repaid in the end. Exhibit A: the Self Estate’s sale at public auction of every scrap of Valentino material he owned and lorded over the heads of all he could during his lifetime. Why didn’t he do the righteous thing and restore the property to his intimate friends, the Alberto Valentino family?

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    3. Why don't collectors today return the personal Valentino possessions to the family? It amazes me to see Valentino relatives ooh and ahhh on FB over items in the possession of collectors that, by rights, should belong to them!

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    4. Sinatra's ToupeeMay 31, 2022 at 8:04 PM

      Look at the B in Bill and then at the B in Bob in the inscription. It doesn't take a handwriting expert to see these letters were not written by the same person. I agree with 3:56. The "To Bill" was added by someone else. The question is by whom and when?

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    5. Some things did not belong to them such as business documents and such. But the personal items were owned technically by the estate, the family. The insanity of this aspect for me was that after Rudy's death, Ullman let Alberto and Maria take many personal items but as executor he never should have done that. When they sued him they included in his "debt" the value of all of the things he gave to them. And it was a great deal of money. I think the subject was always murky after that but Self had the last word as 7:38 pointed out. There was money to be had and the currency became shirts and such... which traded with Self would guarantee a job in television etc.

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  4. Why would Florey write Whitley House 1921? Rudy wasn't living there in 1921.

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    1. I guess trying to feign expertise.

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    2. Technically Natacha and Rudy were in Whitley Heights that Christmas but it was not his official address. Its just a display imo between Florey and Self.

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    3. Florey may have written the inscription, but I think Self wrote the "To Bill."

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  5. I can’t help it. I don’t like Bill AllabouthimSelf. I’ve thought for a long time that he was not a good person. He’s got a mean, nastiness about him. What he did with his “collection “ was just unspeakable. Can you imagine if the protectors and curators of Elvis’ belongings had been simply discarded like that? Absolutely abhorrent.

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    1. 100%. And then if one person bought all of Elvis' history and hoarded it using it to act like some oracle of Elvis while they sold off the parts of it they did not like. Its a sick situation and even worse now.

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    2. Yes and if one person bought Elvis’ belongings, hoarded it and tried to say that the man was gay!!! At least for Elvis, at this time, there are plenty of people still alive who knew him on a deep level to set the record straight. No one is alive to do that for Rudy. He’s been gone too long and therein lies the window of opportunity for crazy people to do as they will.

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    3. The Elvis collectors are a different breed. They are only too happy to share what they have amassed. The Presley family (i.e. Priscilla) holds a tight rein on what is transacted in the name of Elvis Presley. Cilla is not at the mercy of any collector. She doesn't put up with that nonsense. That is why Graceland thrives as an Elvis museum. It's a shame there is not one place where all Valentino artifacts cab be curated for his admirers.

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    4. Comment 3:19, I think that sick POS, who plagiarized Chaw Mank's garbage and slapped his name on it, also wrote that Elvis had homosexual relationships. Said POS is a one trick pony.

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    5. Portnoy’s ComplaintJune 1, 2022 at 11:37 PM

      Poster at 10:03, said POS sees homosexuality wherever he looks. He delights in foisting the categorization on every male personage who has achieved a form of celebrity, the more dead, the better. He does so with zero evidence. Long ago he figured out that by doing this, he was able to create instant controversy and capture some degree of attention. Having launched 100 iterations of the same routine at this point though, even cretins who stop their cars to gawk at traffic accidents have deserted him. As someone once said with such eloquence about this freak before, what a sick f@#k.

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  6. He is rejected on every website.

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    1. Toni's Home PermJune 2, 2022 at 3:56 AM

      There are only two people who welcome him, which tells you all you need to know about the esteemed VSC.

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