• Part of
    Ubiquity Network logo

    Read Chapter
  • No readable formats available
  • Stunts and Plebiscites

    Giorgio Bertellini

    Chapter from the book: Bertellini, G. 2019. The Divo and the Duce: Promoting Film Stardom and Political Leadership in 1920s America.


    Chapter 6 unearths the conception and execution of a few ingenious stunts that studio promoters Henry Reichenbach and, especially, Victor Shapiro designed to publicize the release of Valentino’s last films, including The Son of the Sheik (1926). The most notable of them was the infamous anonymous editorial published in the Chicago Tribune in mid-July 1926, known as “Pink Powder Puff,” which questioned Valentino’s (heterosexual) virility. These promoters managed to rescue and re-launch Valentino’s image after the fading of his popularity following a series of flops in the mid-1920s and protracted legal wrangles with Famous Players/Paramount. After Valentino’s untimely death in August of 1926, and in collaboration with several publicity figures, other promotional initiatives managed to keep the deceased star’s public persona viable as a commercial attraction for his last work, subsequent film rereleases, and general exploitation. The chapter juxtaposes these intense promotional efforts on Valentino’s behalf against culturalist readings of the actor’s popularity and the alleged spontaneous mass grief following his sudden death.

    Chapter Metrics:

    How to cite this chapter
    Bertellini, G. 2019. Stunts and Plebiscites. In: Bertellini, G, The Divo and the Duce. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.62.g

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

    Peer Review Information

    This book has been peer reviewed. See our Peer Review Policies for more information.

    Additional Information

    Published on Jan. 15, 2019