Monday, June 13, 2022

A Persistent Myth

When I asked Frank Mennillo's grandson how and when Frank knew Rudolph Valentino, he looked me straight in the eye and said, “Met him at the docks”. And the story began.

Frank took Rudolph straight to the tailor and got him set up. Frank made one lasting impression on Rudolph that day by telling the teenager he was never to be seen in public without spotless white spats.

Despite this and the entire testimony of Frank's family, despite the testimony of Uncle Ernesto Filomarino's family, despite Uncle Ernesto's address being entered as Rudolph's destination in New York on his immigration record, despite the $4000.00 waiting for Rudolph in a New York bank as funded by his mother, despite this by today's exchange being $118,099.39, and despite the testimony of William Bianchino who witnessed Valentino in the Filomarino office on arrival. (see article below)...despite all of this a myth persists. 

The myth Valentino arrived in New York City broke, penniless, floundering about knowing no one, etc. is still so entrenched in his legacy. Someone asked me recently if I thought there was one false thing about Valentino which could never be changed and I said this: the myth that he arrived destitute and not speaking English. It still seems to be everywhere.

I understand why it was generated and I get why Valentino would have gone along with it. It made him a hero to his Italian-American countrymen and women who came to America as immigrants believing they could do exactly as Valentino did.

But now there should be some accountability to reference the facts as they line up. I am not sure what the attraction is to maintain that rags to riches story in light of these families histories and the evidence. Why does Valentino still have to be portrayed as some wandering lost soul on his arrival when he was not that at all?



25 comments:

  1. Why deny this? It is in the newspaper. Valentino arrived in this country not poor and someone was waiting for him. If I listened correctly wasn't the U.S. prejudiced against Italians so the studio had to concoct a story to arouse sympathy for Rudy?

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    1. That is exactly correct. 7:35. Despite all of this, when Tracy Terhune was asked about wealthy godfathers, he said it was "pure fiction". Not sure how he can still make that statement but if no one questions his answer then I guess it still stands. It is not true however. All of these reputable people and families would have to be conspiring together somehow and lying for this to be remotely considered fiction. And anti-Italian sentiment was a real issue in 1913, yes.

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    2. On the WNF I noticed that claim they discuss Rudy's life, but they never open themselves to new information about him. It is mostly Terhune who wants to discuss his fantasies about Valentino. Mention the name Natasha and he loses it.

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    3. Plus the American men were not fond of Rudy either.

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    4. Was that not the case against French people also?

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    5. I think the French were on the line as far as the xenophobia at the time. I think that is why there was much made of Valentino's mother being French. It carried less of a stigma.

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    6. Yet, someone claims that Rudy's mother was half french and half italian.

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    7. If USD 4,000.00 in December 22, 1913 is now worth USD 117,942.13, that means that Rodolfo Guglielmi, not yet Valentino, on his arrival had 2,358,842.6 nickels to rub together and not, as an "expert" of our star states, that he “did not have two nickels to rub together”. And because Valentino was awaited by Ernesto Filomarino, uncle of Ada Del Mazzone, his sister-in-law, as witnessed by Mr. Bianchino, the house of cards, built by shrewd writers of popular cinema magazines of the time, collapses miserably and with it all the "witty" accompanying inventions.

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    8. No one questions Terhune, I believe they are afraid of him. To challenge him would get that person thrown off the site.

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    9. I think anyone realizing that should leave those two groups he runs. Why would anyone want to belong to a group run by bullies and censors?

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    10. Anonymous June 13 9:08 PM: Marie Gabrielle Barbin, Valentino's mother, was 100% French. Her father Pierre Philibert Barbin was originally from Picardy, in the north of France, while her mother, Anne Marie Rose Willien, was born in Strasbourg in Alsace. So she was without Italian ancestors.

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  2. From what year is this?

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    1. Sorry, I forgot the citation. It is from "The News", Paterson, New Jersey on December 20, 1969.

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    2. The lack of citation runs through the 'Zumaya' series.

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    3. 9:20: Excuse me but I included 40 pages of citations in Affairs Valentino and then published a book of supporting documentation. I have cited and cited to my research for years on end to share and prove our points. This is just another jealous swipe at us that is not based in reality but obviously based in malice. Maybe you should actually open our books and just read the citations. It would take you quite a while.

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    4. 9:20: For someone apparently interested enough in Valentino to follow this blog, you exhibit zero gratitude for all we discovered about the man and took the pains to share meticulously.

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  3. Lack of citation? Evelyn has backed everything on her book by interviewing the families who have said the very same thing. She has backed everything with proof. Including newspaper articles and documents. Whoever that comnentator is, you have no proof but your own sick fantasies.

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  4. Congratulations to 9:20 you have gotten smartwr by using the word " citation ".

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  5. 9:20 (aka Hobgoblin)
    Speaking of a 'lack of citations', I don't see any citations supporting your Valentino porn fiction. It's famous for springing out of whole cloth from your twisted mind.

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    1. The Hobgoblin can't cite his porn fiction, because he plagiarized his porn fiction from the porn fiction of Chaw Mank and Brad Steiger. When The Hobgoblin actually has to steal his porn fiction from other porn fiction, that is about as low as he can go.

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    2. Yes. 11:17. Was that "Rob the Hunky young escort" or "Bob the hunky young escort"?

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    3. It never ceases to amaze me that The Valentino King seems to approve of the Hobgoblin's baseless porn by letting him run wild on The King's blog.

      Of course, since The King isn't the brightest bulb on the tree......

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  6. I'm also curious as to what 'citations' the long anticipated book from ShadyMa will have. Perhaps it will just rely upon 'family recollections' of her famous cousin.

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  7. 12:27 AM -
    Don't get your hopes up in waiting for Cuz's book. She's recently given a hint that she's possibly abandoning the project. Curious, to say the least. Especially so as she's also, at the same time, tantalizing us with the news that she's found some new 'informational avenues'.

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  8. I think we owe Mr. Bianchino a debt of gratitude. He talked Valentino out of going to Tulsa, OK for a landscaping job.

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