Fridays with Rudy: Vagabond Dreams Come True, Ch. 9

In Chapter Nine of Rudy Vallée’s 1930 memoir, Vagabond Dreams Come True, Rudy tells us about the voluminous amounts of fan he received and assures the reader that the rumor that the correspondence he receives comes mostly from flappers is decidedly untrue.

Chapter IX

My Fan Mail

EXAGGERATION is, I suppose, the life and spirit of publicity. But being a very conscientious New England Yankee, born to state facts as they are, I have chafed under the ballyhoo of many a write-up. One point in particular is a sore spot to me: any mention, however finished or crude, of my fan mail irritates me. There is nothing quite so sacred or quite so wonderful as the tribute of an admirer to the one who receives it and to publicly make mention of this seems to me as brazen and as unpolished as to open another person’s mail.
A periodical which carried my life story, “ghost written” by a girl writer, boasted that I received 20,000 letters a day. Nothing could be more absurd and untrue, and this would be very apparent to anyone who would stop to consider the improbability of such a thing.
This paper went on to state, in the little synopsis preceding the story itself each day, that many of these letters were proposals.
As I take stock of myself and try to imagine how others might consider me as being eligible as a husband, I personally fail to see why I should receive many, if any proposals at all. But there is no accounting for taste, and I suppose that I might seriously appeal to some as a husband.
This is not mock modesty for remember I am well aware of the fact that my appeal is a personality expressed in a voice, and in the average marriage the physical side is of much greater importance than either the mental aspect or personality. People rarely propose to something they have not seen.
Had I been able to censor this “ghost written” story, which somehow got beyond my control, I would never have permitted any mention of letters or their contents as I feel very much like a Father Confessor who forgets immediately (as far as other people are concerned) what is told him, and every letter I receive, even those that criticize, condemn or deride me, I hold as most sacred, and worthy of my attention and thought.
I am very glad that I do not receive 20,000 letters or even 500 letters a day, because quite obviously I would never be able to read all of them, as I do now. Although I read fast it sometimes consumes three hours of my day only to read my daily mail, let along the extra time it takes to answer it.
I am told by the motion picture studio people that my first picture, even if a failure, will bring me so much mail that I will not able to read it personally. And I suppose if all the Fleischmann letters were turned over to me, I would not be able to ready all of my radio fan mail. This is even more unfortunate, as the radio letters I receive help me immeasurably in building my radio program.
However, those I may engage to read the letters, should the number of them ever get away from me, will be individuals who know my likes and dislikes and will understand how to give me a consensus of opinion of the daily batch of letters, as I feel it is most essential and important that I keep a very close and sensitive finger upon the pulse of those who are interested in my efforts.
My very first fan letters, which came as a result of our first broadcasts in February, 1928, were a revelation and an inspiration to me. My association with the radio had been very meagre indeed and I did not know and had never considered that people took the pains to express their appreciation of a radio program by letter.
To most people letter-writing is a most disagreeable and unwelcome task; there seems to be something irksome and difficult about securing writing materials, and sitting down and expressing certain thoughts on paper. This is readily understandable when one considers the steps involved in writing a letter.
First, it is necessary to be in the mood to write. It is obviously quite impossible to write a letter when one is exhausted or irritated.

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An OTR Christmas, Day 5

To close out our week of Christmas-themed old-time radio programs and given that it’s Friday, a day we’ve been devoting to Mr. Rudy Vallée‘s 1930 memoir, we thought it the perfect time to offer a holiday installment of Rudy’s popular radio program, The Fleischmann’s Yeast Hour, from December 20, 1934.

Rudy’s guests on the show that night included, among others and in Rudy’s words, “Hollywood’s happiest couple, Ben Lyon and Bebe Daniels” and the English Singers of London, “regarded in concert circles,” Rudy informs us, “as the foremost interpreters of early English song, particularly carols.”

We hope that the dulcet croonings of Rudy and Company serve to set the perfect mood for a relaxing Christmas Eve and that your Christmas Day is one filled with joy and laughter. We’ll be taking a few days off from our daily dispatches here at Cladrite Radio, but we’ll be back before the dawning of the new year. And, in the meantime, there’ll be, as always, plenty of toe-tapping tunes from the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s here for your streaming pleasure.

The Fleischmann’s Yeast Hour—December 20, 1934 (50:51)