NY Times details muggs reunion

100th anni bash a select event at Sardi’s

In the August 15 edition of the New York Times under the heading “Centennial Party and Reunion, Combined” Lia Miller wrote:

There will be a 100th birthday party in New York for the entertainment trade magazine Variety, but not all of the publication’s managers are invited.

The celebration, planned for Sept. 24 at Sardi’s, the venerable Manhattan show business haunt, is limited mainly to “people who worked at Variety in the ‘Silverman era,’ ” according to Syd Silverman, who sold the publication in 1987.

Anyone hired after 1987, including the current editor, Peter Bart, is not on the guest list. “There’ll be a lot of people who haven’t seen each other in years,” said Mr. Silverman, who is 73 and lives in Harrison, N.Y. “That’s what we’re really try to accomplish, to give people a chance to catch up and touch base with their compatriots.”

The Silverman era begins with Variety‘s founding by Mr. Silverman’s grandfather, Sime, in 1905, when Broadway, vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley made New York the entertainment capital of the country, and the nascent film industry had not yet decamped to Hollywood. Sime was president until his son, Sydney, (sic) took over in 1933. Syd Silverman, Sydney’s (sic) son, became president in 1959.

Charles Koones, the current president and publisher, stressed that the party was a personal event, not officially affiliated with today’s Variety, which is owned by Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier. An official Variety gala to mark the centennial is planned for Dec. 2 in Los Angeles, where the publication is now based.

Mr. Koones said that Mr. Silverman had called him to clear the idea of a family-run celebration in New York. “Mr. Silverman was very gracious,” he said. “He came to me, said he wanted to commemorate it, and I said fine.”

Mr. Koones also gave the Silverman family permission to use the trademarked Variety logo for their event. Mr. Silverman said that his grandmother, Harriet(sic), designed the distinctive “flying V” logo while doodling on a napkin, and that the design had been used since the first issue.

Variety‘s current editor, Mr. Bart, said that the exclusive party seemed almost fitting, considering the Silvermans’ “extraordinary family tradition.”

“With Variety, there was a sort of historic demarcation when it was sold to what is now Reed Business,” he said.

About 180 guests, some of whom worked at Variety as far back as the 1930’s, are expected to attend. “It will be a reunion of ‘mugs,’ (sic)” said Mr. Silverman’s son, Michael, referring to a slang reference from the publication’s earlier days. Asked to define a mug, Syd Silverman said, “A mug (sic) was a rough-and-tumble guy who went to all the performances and saw everything and reported on everything going on in the business.”