Random thoughts from a passionate bookplate collector.
Friday, August 26, 2016
Rudy Vallee's Bookplate
From the Antioch Bookplate Archives — Rudy Vallee’s Bookplate
By Rebecca Eschliman
Among the samples of custom bookplates in the Antioch Bookplate archives is one with the signature of “Rudy Vallée” with the illustration of a Doberman Pinscher. Before definitively declaring that the bookplate was indeed printed for the well-known actor and bandleader, caution dictated that some confirming information be found (the correspondence with Antioch Bookplate to the create the bookplate had long been destroyed).
An Internet search did reveal that the actor was ineed mad about dogs, and at one time owned four, including two Dobermans. Historian of the Doberman Pinscher Club of America Marj Brooks noted: “Rudy owns two genuine Doberman Pinschers: Himmel…and Kaiser, a half-brother to Himmel. They are his constant companions and protectors… Kaiser takes keen interest in his master’s Variety Hour. If he doesn’t happen to like Rudy’s tones he places his paw over his nose simulating a gesture used by human beings… But if you should invite Rudy to dinner, there too would go Dobermans Himmel and Kaiser.”
Himmel was also noted for his association with famed dog psychiatrist Clarence Ellis Harbison as profiled in “The Dog’s Freud: He treats phobias and complexes of the canine world” by Herbert Brean in LIFE, January 2, 1950.
“Rudy Vallee’s doberman pinscher was easy to cure, although he presented a puzzle at first. The dog appeared healthy and sound, but the singer complained that he (the doberman) suffered fits of running wild through the house, scratching at doors, leaping at windows.
After having the dog in his bedroom one night, Harbison discovered the core of the trouble. It did not involve the psycho. The dog just needed to see a tree about a trunk every so often.” (Milwaukee Journal, August 16, 1949)
One of the Dobermans owned by Vallée was noted in another context, since Vallée joined a few other actors contributing their animals to the war effort in the “Dogs for Defense” program.