by PETER BESAS
Simesite has a special treat in store for all ex-muggs for this New Year. It came in an e-mail from Norman Scherer, who used to work as messenger and then ad salesman in the old Variety office on 46th Street.
It turns out that on November 13, 1987, almost twenty years ago, Norman went into the office with a video camera and shot about an hour’s footage of the farewell party held that day as well as shots and interviews of a wide variety of staffers, mostly on the non-editorial floors of the building.
There are nine tapes in all, four dedicated to “moving day” and one to the farewell party. Among those appearing in the tapes are: Vita Licata, Marilyn Goldberg, Stephanie, Jim Robbins, Norma Nannini, Arlene, Peggy, Joan, Muriel, Chris, Fred Birnbaum, Vito, Jimmy Antinori, Fred Lombardi, Syd, Donald Yonker, Bob Hawkins, Mort Bryer, Marion Marks, Dick Hummler, Fred Kirby, Bob Knight, Bruce Brosnan, Joe Cohen, Steve Klain, John Madden, Richard Gold and Syd, just to name a few.
Upon viewing the tapes, you are sure to experience a sigh of nostalgia. So watch them at leisure, in a comfortable chair, with a glass of wine by your side, and swing down Memory Lane with us to see the old office as it was, with all the people in it, a veritable Time Capsule for which we cannot thank Norman enough for preserving all these years and now making available to us.
Here is the link to YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=historymugg
Here is the blurb that Norman sent along with the tape:
Now that we have entered the days of video streaming, I can share these home movies of the packing up of 46th Street. The first home movie is in four ten minute parts. To play hit the blue link with your mouse or copy it into any server. Then when it comes to the You Tube page select any clip by clicking on it with your mouse. The four clips are mostly set in the advertising, production and messenger world of the 1st floor.
My highlights include seeing Fred Birnbaum again with his card category I can still hear his jokes, Spunky Vita taking orders in her coat, the 5th floor gals in that dimly lit old speakeasy setting, Mort’s gung ho Variety Pride, Hearing Mr. Hawkins saying no comment and my pals Nick (always ribbing me with Hawkins no comment through out the clips) and Bruce (still printing) from production.
The 3rd floor gals, and John Wayne’s picture on Stephanie’s desk, Norma singing “Give my Regards to Broadway”, Vito emptying Variety’s History safe like it was a robbery or an audit. Nothing but booze on the empty shelfs (possibly for the Variety Xmas party coming via You Tube’s History Mugg in 5 parts later this week). The lower back of the editorial floor (there must have been a derogatory name for back there (the pit maybe), the flying V in the front window, the advertising departments reaction to Luis playing taps, the crazy messengers (where I started). But the best is the last clip (part 4) with the haunting finger pointing of Noel the janitor’s truthful realizations (I almost cried), but my personal favorite is Vita’s reaction (listen to background early in interview, my sides started hurting laughing so hard when I heard Vita say I’m going to throw up) to one of my favorite living ghosts who seemed to walk out of Variety’s Times Square history, Izzy Grove ex Pugg.
Enjoy the memories. These images like the video tape industry can now be recycled for future eyeballs. My one man collectible video tape world (www.videooyster.com) has slowed down after over 15 years, so I have crossed over to the world of NYC history (history and NYC is one thing that never ends). For anyone with kids or Grandkids (I started late with Alice, I’m now 50 years old with a six year old Jake and two year old Eve) check out my history games (walking tour coming soon) and Nipper TV my family friendly always expanding video clips collection from over 45 streaming sites (like the You Tube you are watching). If any muggs know of any sponsors or angels, my next one man company www.kidsnyc.com needs friends to help my 2007 launch.