Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My first Classic Hollywood event in Los Angeles - Valentino Memorial

On this date in 1926 one of the first sex symbols and superstars of Hollywood passed away in New York from pleutitis at the age of 31.
Line of cars wrapping around Hollywood Forever

An estimated 100,000 people lined the streets of New York City in 1926 to pay their respects at his funeral. Fans committed suicide, others rushed the funeral home breaking windows to get to the deceased actor. Over 100 Mounted officers and NYPD's Police Reserve was deployed to restore order.

To this day, fans can pay their respects every year beginning at noon at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.  I honestly thought this was just going to be a touristy memorial but they had it set up as a full blown funeral:


Unfortunately for me, due to LA traffic and a tardy cable guy, I missed most of the ceremony, but made it just in time for the prayers, end of service, and got to see all of the great original memorabilia that has been donated over the decades.


Original Playbills and Postcards

1926 Newspaper 

This didnt have a label on it but I loved the artwork


At the front of the service

The shrine in the mausoleum

If any of you hardcore Valentino fans know, there was a young man and a middle aged woman there that they introduced as Valentino's direct family, but a cast member from Glee was in attendance and they were making such a fuss over him I couldnt hear who it was or get close to see.  The young man looked just like Valentino.

Even missing a lot of it, this was the most amazing thing i've witnessed here so far.  There were at least 60 people there, all ages, all ethnicities, paying their respects to one of the greats.  to be in the same room with so many fans was my pleasure.  I cannot wait for next year at the 85th anniversary,  Im told every 5 years it's a much bigger deal.




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