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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Spooky Saturday.... Rudolph Valentino

McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers (2005) More info


Rudolph Valentino died August 23rd, 1926. He was only 31. When the news hit the public there was shock, deep mourning for a life cut too short, and for some it was such devastating news that a few tried to commit suicide, right in front of the hospital that he passed away in;they wished to join their beloved actor on the other side. An elevator boy at the Ritz hotel was indeed found dead, said to be laying on a bed surrounded and covered by photos of the late actor. In London a young girl took poison near his inscribed photo. "While the actor was lying in state at Campbell’s Funeral Home in New York, the streets outside became the scene of a macabre carnival as a mob of over 100,000 women (and some men) fought for a last glimpse of Valentino." *via


The cause of death was rumored as complications from an ulcer, however his official cause of death was stated to be peritonitis, following an operation for an inflamed appendix. Of course in true Hollywood gossip fashion, rumors of the star’s demise began to be whispered about as well. Stories circulated about what attributed to his death, including rumors of "arsenic revenge" carried out by a well-known women of society from New York, who apparently Valentino had dropped after a short affair while he was in town promoting his latest film, "Son of the Sheik". Still other people had the opinion that he had been shot by an irate husband, or that he had contracted syphilis and had died when the disease struck his brain. 




 
"While the actor was lying in state at Campbell’s Funeral Home in New York, the streets outside became the scene of a macabre carnival as a mob of over 100,000 women (and some men) fought for a last glimpse of Valentino.....


....Among those who were permitted into the candle-lit viewing room of the funeral home were his ex-wife, Jean Acker, whose display of rabid grief beside her former husband’s casket may have been less extreme is she had known then that Valentino had only left her a solitary dollar in his will, and film star Pola Negri, who upstaged everyone with her designer mourning clothes. She sobbed and fainted before the coffin and, of course, before the photographers. Between her bursts of weeping, she claimed that she and Valentino had planned to be married. Another claim of eminent nuptials was produced in the newspapers a short time later by Ziegfeld girl Marion Kay Brenda, who stated that Valentino had proposed to her in Texas Guinan’s nightclub the evening before he was felled by his illness.
To add to the carnival-like atmosphere, a commemorative song began to be played on radios across America at the same time that Valentino’s body was being shipped west to the Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery. The song, crooned by Rudy Vallee, was called “There’s a New Star in Heaven Tonight - Rudy Valentino”." *Via



Many women fainted just at the thought of his being gone.
Valentino's final resting place,(using the word resting very lightly) was the Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery, within the Cathedral Mausoleum. From the very moment of his burial there, a woman in black has placed red roses in the vase on the crypt or near by. The women have changed over the years, though originally suspected to be Pola Negri, who had shown up to the the funeral in New York in head to toe black mourning gown and veil; but it has never been confirmed.

 "Lady in Black" circa 1937, 11yrs after his death

circa 1938
There has been many legends surrounding & dealing with Valentino's death and the crypt of Valentino in the Hollywood cemetery. Story has it that since his death in 1926 the “Lady in Black” has appeared at his tomb each week, leaving  a fresh bouquet of flowers. There are many photographs of different women through the years dressed in black, as well as a ghost of one as well; the flowers have never stopped coming...to this very day if you visit the crypt there will be fresh flowers.

The other legends/stories have an even more spine tingling aspect to them. One such legend is that of the ring that once belonged to the actor. Stories began to circulate many years ago about a cursed ring that some believe may have led to Valentino’s early death. As the story is told, he bought the ring in 1920 in a San Francisco jewelry store, even though the owner told him that it had brought bad luck to everyone who had owned it previously. Valentino shrugged off the tale and bought the ring anyway. He supposedly wore the ring in his next film, “The Young Rajah”, the biggest flop of his career! Valentino was just getting started at that point and this film was so bad that it kept him off the screen for the next two years. Apparently now taking the story of  bad luck might have been true, he put the ring away. He did not wear it again until his trip to New York after making “Son of the Sheik”. While wearing the ring, he suffered an acute attack of appendicitis and within two weeks was dead. 


It was not very long after that Pola Negri was asked to choose a memento from among Valentino’s things.Pola did not know the strange tale of the cursed ring and it happened to be what she chose. Almost immediately, her health failed;an unknown ailment almost ended her career. Just about a year later, while still recuperating from the unknown ailment, she came in contact with a man by the name of Russ Colombo, who was almost a “double” for Rudy Valentino. When Pola Negri was introduced to him, she was so struck by the resemblance between Colombo and Valentino, that she presented him with the ring. “From one Valentino to another,” she said. 

After a few days of having the ring, Colombo was killed in a mysterious shooting accident. Colobo's cousin then gave the ring to Russ’s best friend, Joe Casino, an entertainer. Taking no chances with the ring, Casino placed it in a glass case and refused to remove it, even when a request came to donate it to a museum of Valentino relics. However soon Casino began to disregard the stories behind the ring and he decided to wear it. A week later, still wearing the ring, he was run over by a truck and killed. Joe’s brother, Del, then came into possession of the ring. Like others before him, even Valentino, Del disregarded the  idea of a curse. He vowed that he would not be intimidated by “old wife’s tales”. Time passed on,  he wore the ring and nothing happened to him out of the ordinary. He also loaned it to a Valentino collector, who also had no problems. Many said that the story of a “curse” may have been nothing more than a lot of bad coincidences. 
HOWEVER,that is not the end of this.... One night, the home of Del Casino was robbed. The burglar, a man named James Willis, was seen by the police running from the scene. A policeman fired at him, the officer claimed it to be a warning shot; Willis was killed. Among the stolen loot was the dreaded Valentino ring.
About the same time period, a producer,Edward Small, decided to make a film about Valentino. Jack Dunn, a skater, filmed a test for the part. He dressed in one of Valentino’s old costumes,he also wore the ring! He was 21 years old at the time of the screen test, he died ten days later from a rare blood disease. The ring was then placed out of sight and never worn by anyone that is now where you would think the story would end as far as the ring, but it does not.
 Approximately a year after Dunn’s death, a bank robbery took place at a Los Angeles bank where the ring was said to be stored. The thieves got away,more than $200,000 in cash was taken. In the police ambush that followed, two of the gang were caught and three onlookers were injured. Alfred Hahn, the leader of the bank robbers was later convicted, sending him to a life of imprisonment. At his trial, Hahn stated, “If I had known what was in that bank vault, apart from the money, I’d have picked myself another bank.” What Hahn hadn’t know was that in the safe deposit vault of the bank was the Valentino ring!
The executors of Del Casino's will, taking ownership of the ring after his death, continued to store it under lock and key. For many years, it remained inside of the bank vault, where over a five year period a $50,000 bank robbery, a fire and a three-week cashier strike occurred.Can an inanimate object exert such a malign influence those who come in contact with it? Those who fell under the curse of the Valentino ring certainly believed that it could! There has been little word of it mentioned since the 1960's but there is always the chance it has continued to wreak havoc with all those that come in contact with the "cursed ring of Valentino".








The stories about Valentino after his death do not end with the legend of the ring. There has been many ghostly sightings of the famous "Latin Lover". He apparently gets around to many of his favorite "haunts" that he had in life. One that hits a bit close to me ( as I once lived in the town where the stories take place) is that he has been "felt" and on occasion thought to be seen at a hotel by the name of The Santa Maria Inn, in the town of Santa Maria, California. This Inn was a very popular destination for many stars, starletts and Hollywood heavy weights from when it opened it's doors; Valentino was one.
Many have claimed to have encounters with Valentino in this room.

It is said that Valentino returns to his former suite here and that guests who stay in Room 210 feel a heavy presence on the bed and hear eerie knocking sounds from inside the wall. He has also been known to continuously knock and the door and reclines on the bed. The inn was a favorite getaway spot for the actor.
Valentino's home "Falcon's Lair"

Tom Lyle's sister's Mabel and Eva with their husbands, Chet and Ches, on the veranda of Rudolph Valentino's Villa in the Hollywood Hills,  August, 1937 -   





Falcon’s Lair. It's here, his image has been seen in the second story window,which is in his former bedroom by passer's by, as well as quite a few other locations on the property. Not long after Valentino's death, a friend of the caretakers at Falcon’s Lair was staying in the house while visiting Los Angeles from Seattle. She stated that she was up late one night, writing letters, when she heard footsteps in the hallway and actually witnessed doors opening and closing under their own power. Her only companions in the house at the time were Rudy and Brownie, Valentino’s two favorite Great Dane watchdogs. The animals had been trained by Valentino to bark and snap at any intruder... except for Valentino himself. It has been said that the dogs were strangely quiet that night, as if in the presence of someone they cared for!  Millicent Rogers spent only one night in the place before being “chased away” by Valentino. His life-like apparition has appeared in dark corridors, as mentioned above in his former bedroom and in the old stables, where his beloved horse was kept. One stable worker reportedly walked out the front gate and never returned to the place after seeing the former master of the house petting one of the horses. Another account tells of a caretaker who ran screaming down the canyon in the middle of the night after meeting Valentino face-to-face. Actor Harry Carey was one of the owners of the house after Valentino's death. Carey encountered Valentino’s ghost as well on a few occasions.   
 Natacha Rambova, one of Valentino's ex-wives (claimed to be in contact with the actor’s spirit for many years after he died)said that Valentino refused to accept the idea that he was dead. This is allegedly the reason why his ghost remains behind in the mansion....and I am guessing haunts other locations as well. Such locations are his beach home in Oxnard, California,where be is said to pace his veranda. Then he also is said to be seen at the crypt and surrounding area at the Cathedral Mausoleum...but he has also been seen at Paramount Studios,mainly around stage 19, said to host several famous spirits.The studio by the way borders the cemetery!
 "a Security Guard who, while on one of his routine patrols, noticed a young gentleman wandering around the "New York" area of the Paramount Back Lot. The Studio had long since closed for the day, so the Guard walked up to the man who looked to be in his late 20's and told the man he would have to leave. After doing so, the man smiled at the security guard and much to the Security Guard's shock, walked right through the wall.
What was on the other side of that wall?
Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
In the Security Guard's Incident Report, he gave a complete descrition of the man he had seen.
When asked by his Commanding Officer the next day if he looked like "this guy" (and the guard was handed a picture), the guard replied that it was indeed the man.
"That's impossible", said the Commander.
"Why so?"
"That's Rudolph Valentino! he died in New York City in 1926."
The Security Guard quit his job that day." *located this story on a chat thread about Valentino's ghost  

Valentino with his dog Kabar, who died in 1929
 Apparently not only does Valentino have a restless spirit, but so does the spirit of one of his beloved dogs. Said to roam the Los Angeles Pet Cemetery where Hollywood's stars of the silver screen include many famous animal actors. "The Los Angeles Pet Cemetery houses the remains of famous canine actors such as Petey, from the Little Rascals show, and pets owned by the stars. The ghost of a greyhound dog, thought to be Rudolph Valentino's former pet, haunts the area near his grave. Visit the grave site and wait for Kabar the dog to greet you, looking for a biscuit or a pat on the head. You may feel your hand licked or touched, or a gentle shove against your legs, as if Kabar is nudging you for attention." *via 


As I am quickly learning through all the various web sites, countless hours of research,near exhausting searches,  and now dealing with Blogger's seemingly incompatibility with my computer (I am using my husbands) it would seem the silent era, and it's stars and starlets are surrounded with woe. From troubled childhoods into troubled adult lives, sudden and often bizarre deaths, the stars of yesterday still very much wish to be around today and make sure they are not forgotten. Though the posts I have been doing have been for fun, it has also given me a new appreciation for life, an a deeper thirst to understand what happens after. 

7 comments:

  1. OOOOOOHHHHHH SPOOKY!!!! Loved reading all of the history and mysterious details in this post, Ruby. So interesting and SO perfect for this month!! Hope you had a lovely weekend! xoxo

    Sandy at Ooh La Frou Frou
    http://oohlafroufrou.blogspot.com
    This Week: "Pink Champagne Bubbles"

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  2. Soooo Spooky! Great post doll...thoroughly enjoyed it!!! I have to wonder what that ring looked like!! gives me shivers.....

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  3. This was awesome! I loved the story of the ring....eerie!!

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  4. Oh wow Ruby, that was SPOOKY!! As I was reading, I felt the hairs on my neck rise a little. Very interesting.

    Hope all is well!
    Dee

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  5. Wonderful posting Ruby, love the flavor of the haunting just in time for my favorite time of year! Love this Ruby! xx

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  6. Great Post, Ruby. I enjoyed reading this very spooky story. I would probably find it unbelievable except that I too have been "visited" by someone from the other side. Back in February, 2006 I had sold my home in Texas, and prior to turning the house over to the new owners, I spent the last few days in an almost empty house, keeping only a bed, a nightstand, and a lamp in the guest room. One evening I found myself reading in bed, it was a biograpy on Natalie Wood. I was up very late and the house was empty and quiet, and the only light came from my bedside lamp. Finally it got so late and as I had to go work the next day, I decided to put down the paperback and placed it on the nightstand. I turned off the lamp and rolled onto my right side to sleep. About 30 seconds later I heard and actually felt the light rustling of my Down comforter at the edge of the bed. As I lay in frozen fear, I remember thinking that I better remain as still as possible just to make sure I wasn't imagining things. Then a few seconds later, the left side of my bed sank as I felt a "body" attempting to lay down beside me! I couldn't breathe, but I knew I had to do something before it reached out and actually touch me....then, in an almost involuntary movement, I reached and hit my touch lamp--the light came on and as I looked around the room, there was nothing. I had chills running all through my body and from that moment on till the present, I have always kept a night light. This is a true story and one which made me a believer in other realms of existence. I was lucky I had a touch lamp!

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