A Baby Brother that Wasn’t: December 16-31, 1922

Alberto Guglielmi and Rudolph Valentino

One hundred years ago this month, Grace Kingsley had another announcement about an aspiring star:

Now it is Rudolph Valentino’s younger brother who is breaking into films. He responds to the picturesque name of Tito Valentino, and is said to be singularly like his famous brother.

Tito Valentino will make his film debut in a Leslie T. Peacocke production called The Midnight Flower, an adaptation of a magazine story by Florence Herrington, well-known children’s welfare worker. The Peacocke production is being financed and presented by J. Price, Alaskan capitalist, and Gaston Glass and Vola Vale are playing the leading roles.

Tito Valentino did appear in Peacocke’s film, playing Juan Tarranza who is the actual robber, not Myra, a dancer known as The Midnight Flower, who is accused of his crime. While she’s in prison she gets reformed by a missionary and marries him. It’s a lost film.

Valentino was not pleased! (Son of the Sheik (1926)

The only thing wrong with this bit of publicity was that Rudolph Valentino only had one brother, Alberto Guglielmi, and in 1922 he was a physician in Italy (they also had a younger sister). Valentino was quite angry about it, and his denial came quickly. Newspapers reported how he delt with it in early January:

A pretender to the Valentino throne is worrying the screen star, according to the New York Morning Telegram. The annoyance is of sufficient consequence to cause him to appeal to his lawyer, Arthur Butler Graham, 25 West Forty-third Street, to have it stopped.

Antonio Muzii, residing on West One Hundred and Twelfth Street, is the cause of this additional trouble. He is 19 years old, a native of Italy, and claims to be the brother of Valentino.

Valentino is more than displeased. He went to the studios of the International Film Corporation, accompanied by his lawyer, to see Muzii, or Valentino as he was known to Mike Conley, casting director of Cosmopolitan Films, and from whom he obtained engagements in the films Adam and Eva and Enemies of Women.

Muzii was questioned by Mr. Graham in the office of Mr. Conley. Mr. Conley held the attention of Mr. Valentino as the conversation progressed. Valentino registered deep displeasure, which intensified when he was informed that Muzii claimed relationship.

It resulted in Muzii losing his position, minor in character, also in the issuance of the following, signed ‘Rudolf Valentino:’

‘I am informed that one Antonio Muzii of 500 West One Hundred and Twelfth Street, New York City, has been representing and holding himself out to be my brother. I write this letter to inform you that said Muzii is in no way related to me. You are requested to take no advertising given to you by any one in which the said Antonio Muzii is exploited under the name Valentino’

This notice was sent to various publications.

The statement was printed by several trade papers, including Exhibitors’ Herald, Film Daily, and Motion Picture News. It did the job—none of the ads for The Midnight Flower included Tito Valentino’s name, he was only in one cast list printed in the August 1924 Exhibitor’s Herald. They didn’t want to risk the star’s anger. However Valentino and his lawyer weren’t on firm legal ground: they could have tried suing people, but it probably wouldn’t have been worth the effort, since it’s not illegal to use another name professionally and actors lie about all sorts of things in their publicity.

I so wanted to learn more about Antoinio Muzii, but I had no luck in searching the census and voter list databases using a variety of spellings, as well as his street address. Everyone who was even close to this name was much too old, and the only Anthony at 500 112th Street was a married 24-year-old paper company executive, Anthony Gaccione.

The 1924 Los Angeles City Directory. Don’t worry about crazy fans bothering the star at home: while he still owned the house on Wedgewood Place, he’d moved to a different place by 1924.

I found a scrap of evidence that Muzii (or whatever his name was) didn’t stop trying. In the 1924 Los Angeles City Directory, there were three “photoplayers” listed under the Valentino name. It looks like it didn’t help his career–he wasn’t in any cast lists–and if Rudolph Valentino was annoyed about him again, it didn’t get into the press. Neither John nor Tito were in the next edition of the directory. I wish I could find out what happened to him next. He was young and had plenty of time for another career. Maybe he adopted another name and continued to try to break into film!

Rudolph Valentino was spending a lot of time with his lawyer in late 1922, dealing with a contract dispute with his studio, Famous-Players-Lasky. During that legal fight, he wasn’t allowed to appear in films so he was about to leave for an exhibition dance tour, which you can read about on Donna Hill’s Falcon’s Lair site.

Film writers wouldn’t have automatically discounted a story about a star’s siblings trying to get into the movies, because there were so many real ones, from Sydney Chaplin to Lottie Pickford. There were even other fake brothers — Valentino wasn’t the only one to be afflicted.

Buster Keaton’s real brother Harry

Buster Keaton had a younger brother, Harry, and an imposter brother, Harry Keatan, who replaced the second A with an O when the confusion was helpful to his career, first as a comedian and later as the proprietor of dubious “film schools.” There’s no evidence that the Keaton family did anything but ignore him.

In 1919 he appeared in some shorts with the L-KO Kompany. The next year he had parts in more short comedies distributed by Universal. In 1923 Camera! reported that he had a part in a Bull Montana two-reeler Rob ‘em Good and that he had his own comedy unit at Century Studio. Camera’s last mention of him was in August 1923, when he was directing and starring in Circumstantial Evidence for Harry Keaton Productions.

Unfortunately, Keaton Productions wasn’t what it seemed. Just a few days later he was arrested for battery. He was running a film make-up school that promised students jobs when they completed the course. One jobless pupil asked for his money back and got a punch in the nose instead. The L.A. Times said that he used the similarity of his name to Buster’s to lead people to believe he was affiliated with him. Once he got out of jail, he disappeared for several weeks and the State Labor Department couldn’t find him to press charges of operating an employment agency without a license.

He continued to be involved with sketchy film school ventures; in the 20’s he was arrested several times but after 1930 he stayed on the right side of the law. He ran a small studio where he gave acting lessons, and he appeared in a few low-budget films in the 1950’s, spelling his name “Keatan” in the credits. Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans might remember him as Jaffe from The Sinister Urge, part of Ed Wood’s distinctive body of work. He died on June 18, 1966, of a heart attack following a stroke.


Antoinio Muzii:

“New Pictures,” Exhibitors’ Herald, August 2, 1924, p. 227.

“The Screen,” Indianapolis Star, January 6, 1923, p. 8.

“Valentino Warns Against Alleged Imposter,” Motion Picture News, January 13, 1923, p. 173.

“Warns Against ‘Brother’” Film Daily, January 2, 1923, p. 4.

“The Week in News,” Exhibitors’ Herald, January 13, 1923, p. 38.


Harry Keatan:

“Love and Gasoline,” Moving Picture World, September 15, 1920, p. 25.

“Seek Film School. Head,” Los Angeles Times, August 28, 1923.

“Wanted Job But Says He Got A Punch,” Los Angeles Times, August 7, 1923.

“Where to find the people you know,” Camera, April 13, 1919, p. 6.

“Where to find the people you know,” Camera, December 23, 1922, p. 6.

“Who’s Who and What’s What in Filmland,” Camera, August 25, 1923, p. 14.

Yet Another Aspiring Star: December 1-15, 1922

Diane Pascale

One hundred years ago this month, Grace Kingsley included a brief paragraph about a now-forgotten woman among her usual reports of film industry comings and goings:

Diane Pascale, picture actress, has just returned from New York where, in addition to working on a picture, she contracted for the writing of a number of serials for popular magazines. One of these serials deals with life in the Hollywood picture colony.

One of her trade ads in the Standard Casting Directory. I haven’t found any other mentions of Desert Revenge in the Media History database.

There’s a good reason you’ve never heard of her: Pascale had at most bit parts in movies. Nevertheless, her story is full of unexpected turns. You never know what might be hiding behind one of Kingsley’s short items!

Lots of people were in Queen of Sheba (1921)

While her film career wasn’t remarkable, Diane Pascale was awfully good at self-promotion. She’d been in the L.A. Times before, in May 1921. They ran her photograph and a short interview with her before Queen of Sheba opened in Los Angeles, and she told them all about her adventurous past:

With life in European courts as the background of her youth, as well as stage training in the Conservatoire and at theaters in Paris, and later experience as spy in the service of France during the late war, Mme. Diane Pascale is proving one of the most interesting figures seen in the production of The Queen of Sheba, soon to show at Philharmonic Auditorium.

She said she was reared and educated in Paris and St. Petersburg, attended the Sorbonne, then worked as an interpreter and spy for France during the World War. She first saw American film studios when she was working on an important case for them in Los Angeles. She mentioned she’d had small roles in Enid Bennett, Louise Glaum and Nazimova films. It was much more publicity than might be expected for a role that didn’t appear in any cast listing.

From the L.A. Times, January 28, 1923

A month after Kingsley’s mention of her in December 1922, Pascale’s photo accompanied this terrific example of the promotional arts:

Diane Pascale was recently chosen by a group of artists and oriental-art connoisseurs in New York as representing an unusually fine type of Far Eastern beauty. Miss Pascale posed for more than a hundred photographs, many of which will be used on magazine covers. She is well known in the Hollywood film colony both as an actress and writer. Several of her stories are in current numbers of popular magazines. Miss Pascale is of French parentage.

Un-hunh, Asian art experts had nothing better to do with their time. The editors at the Times really needed a lot of stuff to fill up the paper! Nevertheless, in June 1923, Kingsley interviewed her when Pascale announced a new film venture. She filled in many more details of her colorful life.

Diane Pascale is the latest entry into the realm of picture stars drafted from the ranks of cultured women—college bred, a writer accomplished in many lines of artistic endeavor including acting, dancing, and music. Miss Pascale has just signed a contract with Fred Caldwell to play leading roles in five feature pictures which he is about to produce.

At this time, John Frederick Caldwell had recently sold a film he’d directed the year before. He and Pascale seem to have been acquaintances at least: according to Camera magazine, they were both on the short guest list at a party given by Gerjes Bey, a ‘Turkish notable,’ in late May 1923.

With a brilliant background of professional training and cultured contact, with experience in life as a war worker, as a young society woman of this city, as a young wife and mother, the announcement of Miss Pascale’s film ventures will doubtless come as something of a sensation to those who know her merely socially.

Pascale said her French mother was a fine musician and a pupil of Franz Liszt. She decided to be an actress when she was a child living in Weisbaden where she visited backstage with the players. She and her mother moved to Switzerland where she was befriended by the Empress of Austria and a list of other nobles. Her American businessman father insisted that she go to college in the United States, so she was sent to Bryn Mawr. After that, “being young and romantic, she married, but ran away to go on the stage.” Then she “listened to the siren voice of a picture producer” and decided to come to Los Angeles. She had a bit part in a Fred Niblo picture, followed by several others, but she thought “I wasn’t progressing fast enough to suit me.” So she took the trip to New York that was mentioned the previous December. Kingsley added:

Miss Pascale is a striking brunette, well-fitted to dramatic roles. She has a marvelously beautiful figure and has from time-to-time written articles for Physical Culture regarding the proper exercises, as well as the proper sports for women. “Don’t eat too much and don’t wear too many clothes; exercise and keep your mind alert!” This is the new star’s advice to women.

Another ad from the Standard Casting Directory

That isn’t the worst advice from an actress I’ve seen. Alas, the interview was the high point in her Hollywood career. Fred Caldwell never did produce five films featuring her; instead he was soon hired to direct short comedies that featured Alice Howell and Chester Conklin.  Pascale has only one credit in the IMDB, a “minor role” in Rose of Paris (1924).

Physical Culture magazine featured her January 1923 article in their New York Times ad.

However, her writing did appear in magazines. One piece had a Hollywood connection: her piece on screenwriter June Mathis was published in Metropolitan Magazine in November 1923. Her article in Vitality magazine about the horrors of eating in cafeterias, cabarets, and lunch counters was quoted at length in the L.A. Times that same month. She complained about noise and poor table manners of her fellow diners and blames them for dyspepsia and even “the deterioration of the American stage, the triviality of the American screen, the most asinine other kinds of amusements created and devised to relieve this poor tired business man of mental stress.” Nobody else saw that link! Her career as a magazine writer seems to have dried up soon after that, but she didn’t stop trying new things. In 1929 she copywrote an unpublished one-act play, The Passion of Salome, and in 1931, she copywrote a song, “Bayou gal, lovin’ me’s her specialty.” After that, she seems to have disappeared, yet another person thwarted in her artistic ambitions.

Her trade ad in the 1921 Wid’s Film Yearbook.

Lucky for me, she used her actual home address in her trade ads so I could find out that aspiring actress Diane Pascale was really named Elsie Amelia Wallace Moore, and she was the wife of a cement magnate, Aman Moore.* It’s remarkable how hard she worked to escape being ordinary and tried to make her acting aspirations come true.

She cherry-picked her own biography for the story of Diane Pascale. Elsie Wallace was born March 22, 1885 in New York City** to Jacob and Henriette Calm Wallace. Unlike what she told reporters, while her mother had a French first name, she was born in New York City too (her parents, John and Hannah Calm, were Bavarian immigrants). The Wallaces had two more children, William (1886) and Adrienne (1890). Jacob Wallace took the whole family along on a business trip and vacation to Europe in 1896, according to their passport applications, so at least she’d visited some of the places that she later claimed to be raised in. Then her family moved to Denver, Colorado where he was the vice president and general manager of Union Oil.

Aman Moore

Elsie Wallace did attend Bryn Mawr and was in the class of 1907. Shortly after graduating, she married Aman Perry Moore in New York City. He had discovered a mountain of limestone, a key component of cement, near Croyden, Utah in 1904 and he was working for a cement company in Oregon. The couple moved West, and in 1909 he became the plant supervisor of the Oregon Portland Cement Company. They had a daughter, Elsa Adrienne, in 1912.

Elsie Wallace Moore became a writer. Her 1909 article “The Suffrage Question in the Far West” in The Arena is a good summation of the state of women’s voting rights at the time. She wrote an unpublished three-act play that she copywrote in 1912 called The Devil’s Slide, named after the small company town that sprung up by where her husband had discovered limestone.


Aman Moore died in 1935 following a heart attack in New York City. Later that year Elsie Moore had the contents of their house sold at auction, and she traveled the world. Unfortunately, in 1942 she was in the wrong place at the wrong time: she was one of the nearly 4000 civilians interned by the Japanese in Santo Tomas University in Manila, Philippines Islands, from 1942 to 1945. After she was released, she continued to travel; on an arriving airplane passenger list from Amsterdam to New York in 1950 she gave her occupation as “writer.” She died on September 6, 1965 in Manhatten.

*Pascale also helpfully mentioned that her brother was named William K. Wallace, and he was working as a diplomat in Rome. His passport application agrees.

**She was 36 when Kingsley interviewed her. That’s younger than springtime, of course, but an advanced age to break into acting.

Harry Ellington Brook, “Care of the Body,” Los Angeles Times, November 11, 1923.

“Chosen as Ideal Far Eastern Type,” Los Angeles Times, January 28, 1923.

“Death of Mrs. Jacob Wallace in Denver,” The Landmark (Statesville, North Carolina), February 28, 1902.

Jeffrey Frank Jones, Japanese War Crimes and Related Topics: A Guide to Records at the National Archives.

Grace Kingsley, “Exit Dolls; Enter Adults,” Los Angeles Times, June 3, 1923.

“Parisian Star has Role in The Queen of Sheba,” Los Angeles Times, May 22, 1921.

“Turkish Notable Give Turkish Party,” Camera, June 2, 1923, p. 9.

Elsie Wallace Moore, “The Suffrage Question in the Far West,” The Arena, July 1909, pp. 414-424.