Friday, August 29, 2014

Rudolph Valentino Tribute, Pt. 1

Last Saturday, August 23, marked the 88th anniversary of the passing of silent screen star legend Rudolph Valentino at the age of 31. Those of you who visited Disneyland's Main Street Cinema back when it showed silent movies may have caught a glimpse of the latin lover in one of his movies, such as "The Sheik," "The Eagle," or his final film, "The Son of the Sheik."

Here he is with costar Vilma Banky in "Son of the Sheik."

His smoldering eyes made women go bananas.

Two more images from the same film:

Valentino's untimely death from peritonitis, due to a botched appendectomy, prevented him from making any talkies. Whether he would have survived the transition into the new medium can only be speculated upon, but the mass hysteria exhibited by his throngs of fans when he passed would seem to indicate that he had a good chance. A number of suicides (both sexes) were reported as a result of Valentino's death, and more than 100,000 people showed up for his New York City funeral.

In Hollywood, two tributes to Valentino can be found in DeLongpre Park, just a few blocks from Sunset Boulevard. This Art Deco statue called "Aspiration," sculpted by Roger Noble Burnham, was dedicated on the 35th anniversary of Valentino's birthday, May 6, 1930.

The statue is still there, although its surroundings have definitely not weathered the years quite as well. Mainly a hangout for the homeless, this is not exactly a place you'd want to spend the afternoon.

A bust of Valentino can also be found in DeLongpre park, which was sculpted by Richard Ellis in 1979.

Which one do you think looks more like Valentino?

More to come…

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Fifthrider said...

It's not even a close contest. Daniel = Valentino. The bust, on the other hand, looks like... Well I don't know what. Billy Drago?

K. Martinez said...

I remember when I was a kid, my dad loved watching old films including the silents on television and occasionally I'd pass by and see Valentino on the small screen. For the life of me I don't remember which television stations broadcast those films back then, but they influenced my interest in film as an adult. Looking forward to more of this tribute.