I stumbled across an amusing piece in a 1925 issue of Photoplay Magazine. Rudolph Valentino was sporting a handsome goatee at the time and the fan magazines gleefully spread word of the horror his fans experienced at (gasp!) facial hair.
This is a poem by Margaret Caroline Wells is entitled What!!! Valentino??? and is accompanied by this caricature of other stars trying beards and mustaches on for size.
If you think that entitled, demanding fans are a new invention, you may find this poem amusing.
I opened once a paper and I tell you what was in.
It was Rudolph Valentino with a beard upon his chin.
My heart stopped off from beating and I fainted dead away,
And I never want to come to life until the judgment day
If I had seen dear Rudolph with a wart upon his nose.
I wouldn’t been a bit surprised, for that’s where a big wart grows.
But as an aid to beauty, they make of him a freak.
He’d better see a barber and be the same old sheik.
For Pete’s sake what could make him leave them grow so wild and free?
If that’s the style on deserts, or perhaps in gay Paree,
I hope he goes back; over and stays across the sea.
We want our Valentino just as he used to be.
The Lord tore up the pattern and threw away the plan,
So we know there never could be just such another man.
Why he went and got himself bewhiskered, I can’t tell,
But if he doesn’t shave ’em off, we’ll all raise — .
By the way, in 1926, Ivan Mosjoukine grew a considerably fuller beard for Michael Strogoff and his fans politely debated its merits but I can’t find any evidence of protest poems, so a few points to French movie fans, I suppose.
You can look up lots of swell clippings like these at the Media History Digital Library.
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