Norwalk, CT. Oct. 10, 2014.


Former Variety sales manager Mort Bryer sent us this amusing contribution of an offbeat sales assignment he undertook in 1979 to darkest Africa. This was during the years when the sheet was expanding prodigiously overseas and special sections were being added zeroing in on areas such as Latin America, Portugal, the Far East, New England, the Magreb, Australia & New Zealand and a dozen other territories around the world.

Here is Mort’s account of the trip:

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Upon the recent death of comedienne Joan Rivers, Variety posted the following item on its webpage, reproducing a night club review the paper ran in 1965. Unfortunately the “sig” of the reviewer is not mentioned, but in all probability it was Joe Cohen, Jose, who penned most of the night club reviews at that time. He was one of the first muggs axed when Bart became editor.

Aside from the interest in its early appreciation of Rivers’ talents, the review is a jewel showing the kind of Varietese lingo used in 1965.
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The occasion of getting quoted (quoted!) in Variety this week prompted a nostalgic visit to Simesite, where I found myself listed among the missing. I’d love to be reinstated into the list and the loop .

I’m still in NYC (20+ years since I left both Berlin and Variety), and still tracking media, if not covering film and tv. For the past many years, I’ve covered digital media, marketing and advertising, mostly editorially but more recently as a research analyst (more on what I’ve been up to, if anyone cares to click, is at Old habits die hard, like spelling “exex.”

I would love to hear from any muggs in, around or passing through NYC. A special hello to Jack Kindred, who roped me into writing for Variety when I landed in the Fatherland direct from a NYC film praisery, wondering what I was going to do next.


Former Variety Bureau Chief in Sydney, Blake Murdoch, came across this old letter he sent to Debbie Krug in the Aussie office. Though it post-dates the Silverman era as such, we thought
it would be of interest to the muggs out there, since it gives a great description of the
“new” Park Avenue South office of Variety shortly after Steve Pond became publisher.

A bit of old nostalgia from those tumultuous days of yore of the paper. Blake was in
New York for three weeks to help prepare the yearly Aussie issue for the Cannes Film
Festival, originally started by Harold Myers. Roger Watkins was editor-in-chief at the time.

Click on each page to see a larger version.


Clive Davis’ nod to Variety

New York, Feb. 28, 2014

Add music impresario Clive Davis to the long line of Hollywood executives who say it was Variety that introduced them to The Biz.

Clive Davis

Clive Davis

In his recent autobiography “The Soundtrack of My Life,” Davis writes: “In the early 1950s, Harvard made me begin to wonder whether I was cut out for the law… Interestingly, though, I took a copyright course that required us to subscribe to Variety,’ the bible of the entertainment business. The paper had its own jargon and perhaps it was never going to win any literary prizes, but the writing in it was very lively, and I found myself drawn to all the statistics about hit movies and TV shows… At the very least, my devoted reading of Variety provided welcome relief from my law books—and an intriguing harbinger of things to come.”