Tuesday, August 9, 2022

The Whereabouts of That Tape

When I interviewed Rudolph Valentino memorabilia collector Bill Self in 2003, he mentioned that he interviewed Bee Ullman, the wife of Valentino's closest friend and trusted business manager S. George Ullman. Bill Self told me he recorded Bee's interview and I asked him many times if he could let me listen to the interview.

He stalled and said he would look for the tape. He told me one thing from the interview; that Bee commented how Valentino always had a beautiful woman on his arm. Well I never did get to hear the tape as the Valentino family spokeswoman told Self not to speak with me any more. As much as my detractors like to say Self slammed the door on me, etc. he did no such thing. He was sad to tell me the family told him he could not speak with me any more and visibly so. We enjoyed our "Rudy" conversations which were always lively and rewarding.

But where is that tape of Bee Ullman being interviewed by Bill Self. I am sure it is still in existence but its not being shared is rather telling I think. I have little doubt Bee Ullman had plenty to say about the legal persecution of her husband by Alberto Valentino as this was something her children told me she felt strongly about. And no doubt her narrative did not support the theory that Valentino was a closeted homosexual. Why else would this very valuable tape not be shared openly and eagerly?

Bee's family knew about the tape but had never heard it themselves. And as proof of its existence I share the following letter. (see below) The letter is written by William McGuire.

Mr. McGuire was then writing a book on Natacha Rambova and according to this letter, at one point he awaited a “transcription” of the tape. According to Michael Morris, McGuire knew and interviewed Bill Self and I venture to say that McGuire never got that transcription. If he had, Michael Morris would have had access to the contents which he did not. I know this for the following reason.

When Bill McGuire learned Michael Morris was also writing a book on Natacha, he came to Berkeley to visit Michael and gave him all of his notes and materials. The transcription of the taped interview of Bee Ullman is not in the archive and Michael did not have access to Bee Ullman's interview on tape as we talked about it being missing many times. 

McGuire's book on Rambova never happened. I think this is a shame because he would have focused almost entirely on her time with the Bollingen Foundation of which McGuire was very much a part of (see below).

How very valuable the tape of Bee Ullman would be and what a great contribution to the Valentino history. I think she probably talked about Alberto's litigation and this is why Self kept it hidden. And perhaps now the issue is more about her speaking of Valentino and his women which is keeping it buried.

William McGuire wrote me a letter before he passed away which I will find in my files and share. Michael Morris told him about my Valentino work and Affairs Valentino and he wrote me a short but supportive note. The book McGuire authored on the Bollingen scholars is brilliant and I highly recommend reading it. It can be found here:


I also found this little bio blurb:

William McGuire was born in Florida in 1917. He began his work with the Bollingen Foundation as a freelance editor in 1948. Later he became the managing editor of all of the Bollingen Series and Executive Editor of the Collected Works of C. G. Jung. He served as the editor of The Freud/Jung Letters, and of several volumes of Jung’s seminars as well.”