Variety, February 15th, 1923

Today, in 1923, VARIETY published a column focusing on Rudolph Valentino. Titled, in capitals, VALENTINO’S PICTURE FUTURE SUBJECT OF MUCH SPECULATION, the report, which originated out of the city of Detroit the previous day, a place Rudy had left just days before, on the eleventh, threw light on recent events there. As well as this, it dug down deep into his battle with Famous Players-Lasky, and also activities at St. Louis, Missouri, his location at that moment in time. The piece is here reproduced, in full, titled: VARIETY, February 15th, 1923.




Talking on Americanism in St Louis This Week

Court Battle with Famous Players Still Waging

Carl Fischer Broke Even on Detroit Engagement


Detroit, Feb. 14.

The enagagement of Rudolph Val-

entino and Winifred Hudnut at the

Majestic School of Dancing last

week did not prove such a fliv as


Carl Fischer, owner of the dance

hall, stood to lose $15,000 on the

week. When he found the public

would not pay $2.50 to see Valen-

tino he reduced the price to $1. This

helped a little the next night, but

on the third day there appeared a

very “hot” story in the local Hearst

paper in which Fischer unmercifully

panned Valentino, calling him a

“foul ball” and accusing him of

having polished his gold sticks a

few years ago while a guest o

friends at Long Island. He said

that he had to pay Valentino $7,500

for the week, $330 for his railroad

fare, and 50 per cent of the receipts.

The story started something and

that night nearly 2,000 people were

at the dance hall to see Valentino.

They cheered him. And in a speech

he concluded by saying “I have a

little surprise for you tonight; I

want you to meet Mr. Carl Fischer,

my friend, and I hope you will all

make it a point to become better

acquainted with him.”

The balance of the week showed

an increase in attendance and

Fischer just about broke even on the


Valentino told the press he was

astounded upon reaching Detroit to

see the type of dance hall operated

by Fischer and that he offered to

cancel the engagement which

Fischer refused. Fischer proposed

that Valentino give out tickets to

all the women attending with the

idea of having a drawing contest,

the winner dancing with Valentino,

which the latter refused to do call-

ing the scheme ridiculous.


There’s considerable “inside stuff”

to the Valentino-F. P. imbroglio. It

is not generally known that Valen-

tino was quite willing months ago to

continue working for Famous in his

next planned production, “The Span-

ish Cavalier” under Allan Dwan’s

direction which was perfectly satis-

factory to the star, at the same

salary he last drew. It is not

generally known the hitch revolved

around the securing of June Mathis

to do the cutting, this being the only

condition Valentino required so as

to prevent the cruel slashing ac-

corded him in his last F. P. release,

“Blood and Sand.” The Famous

officials countered that Miss Mathis

was signed by Goldwyn. The Mathis

insistence is because of that scenario

writer’s friendship for Valentino,

she being primarily responsible for

“discovering” him as a screen mati-

nee idol.

This has always been played up

for press stuff in linking the “Ben

Hur” rumors with Valentino. Miss

Mathis prepared the scenario of the

Gen. Lew Wallace story and reports

that Valentino was to be the leading

male were thus given added weight.

Arthur Butler Graham who has

been acting as the actor’s local

spokesman again denies any reports

of Valentino signing with Metro

(in the last press story in which Harry

Fields, the actor’s manager, was

quoted) for the simple reason the

injunction prevents any such em-

ployment. The legal end of the Fa-

mous litigation is still in the courts.

Today (Thursday) Graham and

Louis Marshall of Untermeyer, Gug-

genheimer & Marshall, acting for

F. P., will oppose each other in a

motion whereby the film company

would have Valentino’s answer

stricken out and judgement awarded

to them on the pleadings.

Valentino is currently appearing

at the Delmonte theatre, a picture

house in St. Louis, where he is mak-

ing a 15 minute speech on Ameri-

canization thrice daily from the or-

chestra pit, not from the stage.

This is not considered a violation

of professionally appearing on

stage or screen. Mrs. Valentino

(Winifred Hudnut) is on the same

bill in a dance act, also appearing

three times daily. Cyrena Van Gor-

don, Chicago prima, is another fea-

ture of the program this week. At

50 cents top business the first three

days was capacity. He opens at the

Trianon, the new Chicago mammoth

dance hall Feb. 20.

Graham makes mention of the

fact that Valentino finally acceded

to a talk with Adolph Zukor, the

F. P. executive recently, after being

persistently sought after, but that

no definite arrangement could be

made. Despite the salary cones-

sions, Valentino is holding out for

artistic co-operation to meet with

his ideas which somehwo or other

F. P. will not grant.

Regarding Carl Fischer, Graham

mentions Fischer’s antecedents as

being of Scandinavia extraction,

formerly known as Carl Fischer Han-

sen who married a daughter of W.

Gould Brokaw and later became

known as “the millionaire lawyer”

for his philanthropies towards the

poor legally. Fischer was also a real

estate operator of parts in New

York. He cannot understand how

he came to be the manager of a

dance hall in Detroit.

Thank you for reading this latest post on the His Fame Still Lives Blog in its entirety. This is a report which goes way beyond the basics when it comes to the start of 1923. Nowhere else, to the best of my knowledge, is there a better look at the ups and the downs and the ins and the outs of Valentino’s life at this point. Certainly, nothing so in-depth and detailed, and revealing. And while personal communications and contracts continue remain either lost or unavailable, such material is essential, if we’re to fully grasp what was actually going on beyond the often sensational headlines. I can promise more such information in the weeks and months ahead, as I continue to look very deeply, into this most fascinating and busy of years for The Great Lover.


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