In 1927 Roger C. Peterson obtained the position of custodian in the Cathedral Mausoleum, where silent star Rudolph Valentino lay buried. He soon realized he was witnessing something never seen before in Hollywood, and began to keep a diary of the endless parade of characters that found their way to the crypt of Valentino. The first two years after Valentino’s burial, 100,000 people had made a pilgrimage to his grave. Many confided in Peterson that Valentino had appeared to them in a dream, feeling he compelled them to visit his crypt. Some women were with child, claiming it to be Valentino’s 18 months after his death. Everyone had a story. Peterson parlayed his diary into a book called Valentino The Unforgotten which was published in 1938. After the first shipment of books was sent out, the warehouse caught on fire and all remaining copies were destroyed. It was never republished, and until now remained one of the most difficult books on Valentino to obtain. Valentino The Unforgotten is a historically significant first-hand account of the earliest days of the cult-like Valentino followers and the Lady In Black. It’s holds a truly unique place in Hollywood history in that it is the only book ever written about visitors to the grave of a Hollywood star. Tracy Ryan Terhune author of Valentino Forever – The History of the Valentino Memorial Service, has brought this rare book back into print. He added information to explain how Peterson came to get his position at the Cemetery, what transpired behind the scenes while he was there and what became of him after he left in 1940. Filled with rare photos not only of Valentino, but also beautiful vintage photographs of Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery as it looked when Roger Peterson worked here. Now 70 years after its original release, Valentino The Unforgotten returns as a joint tribute to Valentino, Peterson, and the numerous fans throughout the generations that keep Valentino truly the Unforgotten.
Published by Authorhouse
First published in 1937, Valentino: The Unforgotten quickly disappeared and became an extremely rare volume, because after the first shipment had left the warehouse a fire quickly destroyed all the remaining copies and it was never reprinted – until now.
Tracy Terhune, author of Valentino Forever, has released this beautiful volume, which contains the book as originally published, along with a new forward and afterword and lots of related photos.
Roger Peterson was the custodian of the Cathedral Mausoleum at what is now called Hollywood Forever, and during his tenure which lasted from 1927 to 1940 he kept a diary of the people who visited Valentino’s resting place. this book contains some of these fascinating stories. Although Peterson is not the greatest writer and the narrative jumps around a bit leaving me wanting more (some of the stories seemed unfinished to me), the subject matter more than makes up for it.
Who were the people who felt a strange calling to visit this man they had never met? Interestingly today a memorial service is still held at Hollywood Forever on the anniversary of Valentinos’ death showing that even 90 years later this man still fascinates and attracts fans from all over the glob. A great tribute to a man still loved by many and an interesting look at the nature of fame and life after death for the celebrated few.
I would personally love to have been able to read Mr Peterson’s full diary as I would imagine that it would by so niterexting, but this is a good enough set of excerpts.
A must for all fans of Hollywood, Valentino and those interested in why we are fascinated with those who have died too young.
I gave this 4 out of 5* on Goodreads.