Thirteen years ago, an Italian boy of eighteen, ignorant of the English language and penniless, landed in New York, describing himself as an “agriculturist” and eager to find any work that would make him a living.
During the last week, this stranger of thirteen years ago fought a courageous battle against death, with millions of Americans literally praying for his recovery. Inquiries poured into the hospital from all sorts and conditions of men and women at the rate of twenty a minute, and crowds stood in the rain without while some forced their way into the corridors. The death bed of no monarch, no statesman, no military hero has so profoundly moved the great mass of the people. It was an amazing tribute to Rudolph Valentino and to his art.
Nothing has more impressively disclosed the marvelous hold the screen has on the popular imagination; nothing so conclusively demonstrated the part it plays in the lives of average men and women. The hero of the screen has the world for his kingdom, and he is the one monarch to whom his subjects pay tribute as a privilege. The touching story of the losing fight of Rudolph Valentino will be read with a sense of personal loss in the most humble homes of every civilized country on the globe. So much has the moving picture come to mean in the civilization of the age.The Evening World, 1926
From the hospital in New York where the police reserves were called to disperse the crowds that gathered as if a great bell had suddenly tolled, on through the cities of the world and into the hamlets of every country, men, women and children moved with genuine grief. They mourned for something, somebody, some radiant moving entity, that had gone out of their lives.
The radio, the cables and telegraph, the telephone, the stock ticker flashed the word of Valentino’s death from one corner of the world to the other and the newspaper presses from all the world pushed to a minor position in the newspaper editions. And such is the motion picture!
Valentino was a unique personality; somehow it was within him to say something to the world. But it was the motion picture Valentino who charmed the world. It is the motion picture that is the marvelous thing. It is greater than any of its people. It is the motion picture that stirs the world.
Let us not forget this solemn fact when we plan pictures and when we plot our trade moves and structure. There is no greater responsibility in the world today than that which rests upon the shoulders of the men who, by the chance of fate, are invested with the power of making and showing motion pictures.
William A. Johnston, “More Than a Monarch Passes”
Motion Picture News | September 18, 1926
i posted that so long ago, but im 90% certain I got it from the book Rudolph Valentino The Silent Idol: His Life in Photographs!
[Original caption]: circa 1923: Matinee idol of the silent screen, Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926).
Mae Murray and Rudolph Valentino in The Delicious Little Devil (1919)
Rudolph Valentino in Blood and Sand (1922).
Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino for Beyond the Rocks (1922)