Mysticism, Exoticism, and Eroticism in “The Young Rajah”

Not only was this picture bold in addressing prejudice and racism, it attempted to normalize clairvoyance as well as provide audiences with a window on another culture, East Indian societal and religious points of view ~ things that were foreign to most American moviegoers in the 1920’s and therefore considered exotic.

Here we have June Mathis creating allure, magic on the screen, with Rudy in the leading role! But she is also fashioning the fable that is her script to reflect some of her most strongly held principles, and that is what gives this film an extra punch. June was very much the metaphysician in her personal life, participating in numerous séances and automatic writing sessions, often in the company of Rudy and Natacha, who were also believers in life beyond death. So, because it can, given the story line, “The Young Rajah” embraces mysticism ~ in short, the “bigger” picture, to an even greater extent than some of her other efforts.

Although Paramount may have considered this production low budget, they did employ Natacha to design the costumes, which must have cost plenty! Her renderings, I contend, introduced elements of another “ism” into the mix, eroticism. Amos, Rudy’s character, was very much at ease in his own skin, and the nature of his costumes, swathing him in pearls for example, added to that luster, and at the same time helped create a certain languor. That said, the character was also very vital, athletic and sporty ~ like the wild cat he held in his arms in one scene, always ready to spring into action.

One could easily make the case that given the costumes she designed for Rudy in this film, Natacha was more than willing to share him with the world, and she most certainly was successful in that endeavor!

Wayne Hatford

The Promise of Daleford

One of the most intriguing aspects of “The Young Rajah,” Rudy’s final film at Paramount prior to his self-imposed hiatus from that studio, is that it confronts racism, the idea of the “other” ~ those who are somehow different from us.

As others have also noted, the all-American boy look was the standard for leading men in pictures when Rudy burst upon the scene, became a star, in 1921. He almost single-handedly changed that calculation and, right on cue, lots of Latino-looking actors were suddenly offered contracts at pretty much all the major studios. Rudolph Valentino cracked the code. And his character in “The Young Rajah,” Amos Judd, did the same.

Amos was of East Indian origin in the script, mostly raised in the US, and a student at Harvard. He met Molly Cabot, Wanda Hawley’s character, at a “Reincarnation” party where the guests dressed in costumes that reflected who they thought they might have been (and/or wanted to be) in a “past” life. Kudos to June Mathis, by the way, for slipping this idea into the script! Doing so reflected her personal interests, also her desire to inform, as well as entertain, moviegoers.

By the end of the party, Amos is smitten and then he finds out that Molly and her father have rented a house in Daleford, Connecticut for the summer, which is where he lives.

So, Daleford, a mythical New England town, with solid American values! Amos fits in, but does he? There is some degree of racism implied, couched in the hostility directed at him by several fellow students, and a touch of the overt, in Molly’s case. She is very attracted to Amos but can’t get past his exoticism, darker complexion, commenting to her father, who supports the idea of their being a couple, that she “ couldn’t marry a man that was not of her own people” even though she has already discovered that his mother was European. By dint of a few plot machinations, however, Molly sees the light, literally and figuratively, her love for Amos rising above her own objections.

June Mathis was blunt in this film, two of the inter-titles referring to Molly’s views as prejudiced. She also injected respect for all religions, as well as a plea to judge people by the thoughts they think, not by the way they look. Ms. Mathis was a gifted screenwriter and even though this script did not quite hit the mark for the audiences of the time, I applaud the fact that she, and Rudy, were willing to take on these issues, especially given that Rudy had had some experience with them himself as an Italian immigrant.

This is an important film, for all sorts of reasons, not the bagatelle it was once thought to be. We are indeed fortunate that it has been restored and is available on DVD.

Wayne Hatford



Castellaneta: Valentino’s Birthplace

Although it’s been almost eight years since I was there, several things really stand out for me about Castellaneta: its geography, the architecture, and the warm, openhearted nature of the people I encountered.

A town with approx 17K population, Castellaneta is situated on a rolling plain, maybe 35km from the port of Taranto, which is where the Guglielmi family moved to when Rudy was nine. What is unique about it, geographically, is that there are deep ravines that abut, great slashes in the earth. The old part, especially, perches on the side of a giant ravine, and is much higher than the surrounding land.

This was never a rich town like some others in Italy. Nevertheless, there are architectural gems, in particular the churches. Via Roma, the main street, has a lot of 19th century commercial buildings that line it, mostly two and three story, and it is there, at # 116 that Rudy was born, in a second floor flat. In the 1930’s, a Valentino fan club from Cincinnati had a bronze plaque put on the building to commemorate Rudy’s birth place. Farther down Via Roma, there is a monument to Rudy, built in 1961, a statue of him as The Sheik. The Fondazione Valentino, which supports Museo Valentino, is now seeking funds to restore it.

One of the fun facts about Castellaneta is that so many businesses use Valentino in their names. Bar Valentino, Teatro Valentino, Ristorante Valentino, etc. I stayed in Hotel Rudy, for example.

Museo Valentino is great. It’s located in a former convent, 18th century construction with concave ceilings. There are lots of documents, like his report card and birth certificate, a bed he once slept in, a fragment from the tent in “Son of the Sheik,” photos, videos, and much, much more.

All this and the locals are super nice! My experience was that they really went out of their way to be helpful.

Easy to get to Castellaneta by train; it’s on the main line, Bari to Taranto. The station is out in the countryside now, about 2 or 3 km from town. The old station is still there, however, on Via Roma, also the single track that led to the nearby RR bridge designed by Rudy’s engineer grandfather, Pierre Barbin.

Wayne Hatford







“Valentino the Unforgotten” ~ Review

A few years ago, Tracy Terhune, author of “Valentino Forever” and facilitator of the yearly Valentino Memorial Service at Hollywood Memorial Cemetery, re-published “Valentino the Unforgotten” by Roger Peterson, a rare book whose few remaining copies are almost never available on the open market.

Roger worked at the cemetery in the 1920’s and 30’s and details, through personal observation and letters he received during that time, what profound effects visiting Rudy’s crypt often had on people. He also reports on instances of communication, Rudy speaking from Beyond, primarily in dreams, to some of these same individuals, as guide, mentor, teacher.

Because my work is based on the premise that Rudy and, indeed, all those in spirit, can and often do communicate with us in a variety of ways, I found many of the letters to be particularly poignant as their authors share how Rudy, his essence, made an impact on them.

This book is both treasure trove and time capsule. Written with profound respect for Rudolph Valentino and his memory, Peterson includes, among other things, excerpts from “My Diary,” quotes about Rudy from his peers, and three analyses of his personality based on handwriting, numerology, and astrology provided by experts in those fields.

Among those, I think you will find the handwriting analysis to be an especially interesting read. In terms of numerology, Rudy is a seven, the sum of 5+6+1+8+9+5, his birth date. The astrologer uses a 3AM birth time to calculate Rudy’s chart, and the internet gives his birth time as both 3AM and 3PM depending on which website you consult. In visiting Museo Valentino in Castellaneta, I discovered that his birth certificate, on display there, shows a 10:03AM birth time. This means his ascendant is 2 degrees Leo. Leo rules the heart and love is what Rudy always exuded, on screen and off. The rising sign speaks to how we interface with the world.

On top of all these goodies, we also are treated to many wonderful photos, of Rudy, and those who came to visit after his passing.

“Valentino the Unforgotten” is a loving tribute to a star that will never stop shining. A must-read for any Valentino fan, it is available on

Wayne Hatford


What Would Rudy Say?

Well, we have already found out, and more is in the offing! It’s been fascinating for me to team up with Rudy’s essence, his spirit on the Other Side, to produce  “Valentino Speaks” and “Going for Excelsior.” I’ve learned so much, both about myself and how the Universe works, in the process!

That said, a new book project has begun, yet to be named, that will focus on the Valentino phenomenon, his personal life, films, some of the people he knew, etc. Rudy’s observations, from his current vantage point and knowledge base, removed from the shackles of personality. In other words, the big picture, unfettered!

From time to time, I will keep you apprised of my progress. Cosa direbbe Rodolfo? Fra poco, sapremo! My goal is to publish the new material sometime in 2014.

Wayne Hatford



A salutation of Hindu origin, the Namaste is a ritualized way of greeting people. Reverential in nature, it is both a gesture of equality and an expression of good will. It is also a sign of respect, designed to acknowledge the divinity in each of us. 

Practicing the Namaste is a simple way to honor our fellow men and women. This gesture, consisting of a prescribed combination of physical movements, was crafted centuries ago to embody spiritual principle. It is accomplished thusly: with a slight nod and bow directed towards the person being greeted, we clasp our hands, thumbs against the chest while voicing this most precious of words. In so doing, we are also honoring the Creator, reflected in the individual now standing before us.

A form of spiritual shorthand, the Namaste is primarily soul-centered which is as it should be. Of course, the personality is also to be acknowledged, but at the same time it is well to remember not to become blinded or bedazzled, either by its glamour or a lack thereof. To practice Namaste is to see beyond the personality, to see the God within. 

Namaste is the sort of greeting that we would all do well to think about adopting even though our corresponding custom, the handshake, is also tangible evidence of mutual acknowledgment. Given that in many parts of the world the handshake is a long-held practice, it is likely, at least for the foreseeable future, to continue being the thing to do when people meet or greet each other. In the shaking hands, a brief sharing of energy also takes place, at times a very powerful experience. That said, however, the fact remains that a handshake is not the fuller kind of expression that Namaste tends to be. 

In our roles as fair witnesses to each other’s lives, the Namaste speaks to the footprints we all make in the sands of time. Some might go so far as to define its practice as royals greeting their peers, the implication being, of course, that we are all royalty. Truth is, my friends, we are! A Namaste to the East then ~ out of respect for that part of the world having conceived of this most perfect of gestures. Also to you, from my heart to yours.

During the shoot of “The Young Rajah, I sometimes practiced Namaste, mostly as a way to stay in character. Then it was but an atmospheric device, a nod, if you will, to the script. Now I see it for what it really is, a splendid way for us to honor each other’s presence.” ~ Rudolph Valentino


 What could be more desirable than for each of us to have our own place in the Sun? In seeking housing, what we each are looking for is an appropriate venue to stage our lives, a place to live where we can feel totally at ease to be our-selves. The perfect living space, therefore, is wherever we can grow and prosper. Which four walls, by reason of their construction, layout or orientation, will allow us to feel most balanced, the parts of self aligned? That, my friends, is a question worth asking.

When we discover a potential living situation that seems both inviting and supportive of who we are, it is a confirmation that we have found a dwelling place that will encourage our growth and development. A home, however, rarely is forever. Our needs change and, as a result, so do our living spaces. Therefore, we are likely to have a number of different abodes.

First and foremost, home is where the heart is ~ no exceptions. That is where we really reside rather than at a physical address. If we were ever to write to ourselves, we would need to address the letter in care of our heart. Hearth, like heart, bespeaks warmth. Far more than just somewhere to lie down, a real home allows us to feel both comfortable and secure. It must glow from within while also sheltering us from the storm. That hearth or fire energy be present, therefore, is a prerequisite. As a concept, home is at its most powerful when it encompasses both heart and hearth. All three make excellent company and are naturally at ease with each other.

As has always been the case, our homes are sacred. It behooves us then to treat them that way. They are literally both our temple and base of operation, a point of power that’s lovely to behold. Creating a space that we can call home is not a matter of money.  Rather, it’s based on attitude, ingenuity and the desire to do so.

Whatever your circumstances, it’s imperative to define your tastes on the home front. Therefore, be creative with what you have, making sure to express yourself in ways that clearly reflect who you are. I did and so should you!

Home is a big idea, one that’s not only all-encompassing but also rather immense. It is not simply about walls, roof or a floor. What makes a home a home is often more intangible than not. Where we live speaks to our sense of well-being. Our home functions as a safety net, the seat of our emotional, spiritual and physical support systems and, upon occasion, the dwelling place of our loved ones.

How we choose to arrange our belongings makes a statement about who we are too. Will our taste be reflected in an ornate mirror or represented by a few shards of broken glass? The choice, as always, is ours to make.

All home environments ought to be dedicated to the principles of beauty. Where we live, after all, is really the only place where we get to arrange all of the things we consider to be meaningful. Color, too, plays a part, each of us tending to have our favorites. Mine primarily were muted golds and reds, autumnal in nature. In living color, we tend to make ourselves all the more beautiful. No one really wants to live in a beige world.

Anytime we so desire, we can create a home space with as little as just one personal touch. There are travelers, for example, who like to rearrange their hotel rooms or bring a favorite item with them in order to infuse the places they stay with the spirit of home. In so many ways home is a state of mind, almost independent of bricks and mortar.

Our castles on Earth ought to be simple, elegant and comfortable ~ in perfect harmony with the four elements. Individual taste runs the gamut, of course, as well it should. In my case, the views were always paramount. I liked seeing the horizon each time I gazed through a window. Equally important was my desire to create some semblance of old-world flair wherever I lived, if nothing more than to remind me of my beloved Italy. I cite this merely as an example of personal taste ~ not as something to emulate. In matters of the home, each of you will have your own sets of issues and priorities. When it comes to decorating, however, one thing is for sure: our personalities will always have a go at it!

As far as layout is concerned, some floor plans are better than others. There must be flow, good feng shui, as it is now known. Houses that are designed with a center axis and wings on either side, for example, promote flow. This cross-shaped configuration forms two imaginary lines, creating a focus where they intersect.

Which would I recommend? The cross shape does allow for easy flow which is just one of its many reasons for being. But there are also many other equally valid floor plans.  Which feels most comfortable? The answer will vary from person to person.

In scripting our lives, our living space is one of the primary sets. Use it wisely. Not only is a home a place to live, it’s often a laboratory ~ we being both the subjects and perpetrators of the experiment. Home is where you can hang your hat and relax, whenever you would like to do so. If, however, you find yourself wanting to run out the door the moment you arrive, it’s a sign that something is amiss. Choosing an appropriate living space usually comes down to whether or not the environment in question embraces life. If it does, proceed. If not, I suggest looking elsewhere.

(Addressing the author) You saw my first home, the one where I was born ~ referring to my having visited Valentino’s birthplace, Castellaneta, Italy. You realized at the time that I must have felt like a bird living there, free to come and go in my flights of fancy. And so it is, for all of our living spaces. We must be able to go out as well as come in out of the rain.” ~ Rudolph Valentino


Cross Dimensional Communication

In this chapter of my life, because of personal experience and having written three channeled books, this concept seems like second nature. And, indeed it is! I contend that we are always communicating with those on the Other Side, some of us more consciously than others. Who are they? Friends, relatives, lovers, partners, husbands, wives ~ in short, anyone with whom we have agreements. Those we never met may also be included in the mix, as they may be involved with us for other reasons. Some of these sparks of energy (for that is what they are without a physical body) take on the role of spiritual guide, lending their support and participating in our lives to greater or lesser degrees, again, according to mutual agreement.

How does this occur? Mostly through the use of symbols, things we notice in our environments. Also via hunches, or words and phrases we may hear ~ out loud or in the silence of our minds. Those on the Other Side can be helpful in a myriad of ways, if we but stop, look and listen! Know, also, that when you call out to or think of someone in spirit, they will most assuredly get the message.

What is the nature of my connection with Rudolph Valentino? He, that is to say his essence, his spirit, and my own, have had several other collegial interactions throughout the eons which, because of their karmic nature, have provided us with an opportunity to collaborate, once again ~ this time without any power differentials. That is why working with Rudy to create “Valentino Speaks” and “Going for Excelsior” has been such an exhilarating experience! There’s been an incredible sense of poise and balance around both enterprises, what Rudy also exudes in thousands of extant photos taken of him during his life-time.

That said, our hope is that this work, these books, will, over time, contribute to the further normalization of this phenomenon! Così, ci vorrebbe!

Wayne Hatford

Rex Ingram

Two peacocks loathe to groom each other, this was the essence of my interaction with Rex. He could and probably also should have been an actor, as well as a director ~ so multi-talented was he. Directing me in “The Conquering Power,” he wanted “parco” instead of passionate, for me to be dryer ~ a bit more of a twit too – the spoiled boy who has to try harder to adapt. But I saw the part as I saw it, and though he thought I tried to upstage Alice, (Alice Terry, Ingram’s wife) I did not, which you, the viewer, will agree, upon screening the results. Rex imagined what was not. Alice and I had excellent rapport but we were not physically attracted to each other. And, there was also a smidgen of resentment on both our parts. He felt he should have received more praise for “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” and I thought he was trying to crimp my style, turn down my voltage, on our second outing. Karmic disturbances that have now been adjusted and regulated ~ mere bagatelles, my friends! Nothing all that much of consequence to report about our very minor tugs of war.” ~ Rudolph Valentino

Valentino Filmography: “Beyond the Rocks”

One of my lighter efforts, where I was engaged, given the part, to toy with my celebrity, as was, and also did, my co-star, Gloria Swanson.

Dear Gloria, what a sparkling soul, that eternal twinkle in her eye! How fortunate I saw myself, being cast with someone of her stature, perhaps the lead female at Paramount in those now seemingly remote times. A series of ‘set pieces’ that film, strung together by wispy wires, what we know as plot. High society romp, an excuse for both of us to be clothes horses! Costume changes galore! Style-setting we were, and gallant was I, with Gloria’s character, furiously kissing her hand but also suavely disguising that ardor. She, and I, really enjoyed certain aspects of that screenplay ~ the social whirl and the exoticism implied by our coupling. Scandalous it was at the time, just a bit juicy. Marrying in haste, or for money, ends up laying waste. Trite perhaps, but true. And Gloria knew that too! Savvy she was! We both joked when not on camera, had some flippant moments. What a grande dame! I have nothing but the utmost respect for her ~ as a woman, as an actor!

Loved the in-studio scene where I rescued her on the snowy cliff, and the French flashback with its incarnational reverberations and import. An excellent way to read the entrails of our connection ~ as characters, of course! Parfois, nous avons parlé français sur la scène, pour mieux décaler nos efforts (sometimes we spoke French on camera, in order to better unleash/bring forth our efforts.) Paramount almost had a big hit here and the film did do reasonably well but it needed polishing, better continuity. Natacha dressed me to the nines, plus fours, and tuxes too. Such were the social circles depicted. So glad this film was revived and people were able to see it aglow, lo, so many years after the fact. Rumored that Gloria and I had rapport. Yes, that was true. We giggled at our fame and success while being faithful to what the public expected us to do.

The message was that turbulence in the water and barriers such as rocks can have some pretty startling results. Unexpected consequences, unforeseen conclusions always lie, just beyond the rocks.” ~ Rudolph Valentino