Retro ‘Variety’ Cover Celebrates Old Hollywood

by Bob Marich

Dec. 2, 2020

A print edition of Variety last month presented a retro cover of Variety circa late 1930s/early 1940s for a story about the Netflix drama film about screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz.

Variety served up its history with a retro cover for its Nov. 18, 2020 print cover date edition. The old-fashioned cover art ties to a story inside about a Netflix movie titled Mank dramatizing the life of  Herman J. Mankiewicz (who is portrayed by Gary Oldman). Of course, the real Mankiewicz shared the 1941 Oscar for best original screenplay with Orson Welles for Citizen Kane.


Sean Connery turns 90 and Variety recalls its kudos in 1963

                                                                                    Hollywood, Aug. 25, 2020

By Bob Marich

Variety mined its rich editorial vault in a Aug. 25, 2020 salute to Sean Connery, as the actor best known for portraying suave British agent 007 celebrates his 90th birthday.

The birthday salute article reports that decades ago Variety presciently intimated that the first James Bond pic was positioned to be an on-going franchise: In a June 26, 1963 article, Variety in a bit of imaginative word play noted that the public’s reaction to Dr. No was ‘yes, yes.’ It went on to report that United Artists was looking to create a franchise and that Connery was expected to reprise the role in 10 features, which would shoot every year. Ultimately, the actor would play the role six more times…”

 A column item by the legendary Army Archerd dated March 14, 1963 reported: “Sean Connery feted last night by UA at the Directors Guild screening of Dr. No, plus a feed at Chasen’s restaurant, was only a coupla years ago hitching rides on Hollywood Blvd. That’s show biz. He returns to England, wife Diane (Cilento) and their newborn after the Coastour, starts another Ian Fleming film, From Russia with Love…”

Click on the link below to see the whole story.


Madrid, May 19, 2020

By Peter Besas

Today I received an email from Bob Marich, Marie Silverman’s hubby and Syd’s son-in-law who occasionally lets me know the latest news and developments at Variety, now owned by the Jay Penske.

He forwarded a press release from the Penske Media Corporation headlined:

PMC Hires First-Ever Chief Advertising and Partnership Officer.

The release explains that the new appointee, monickered Mark Howard, in his “newly created role” will “oversee PMC’s corporate sales programs and revenue operations along with programmatic and indirect sales efforts across PMC’s portfolio of award-wining brands, including Rolling Stone, Variety, Robb Report, SHE Media, Deadline, ARTnews and WWD.”

There follows the usual gobbledy-gook jargon of how thrilled the company is to have him and the new appointee is quoted as saying how it is a “privilege to join the company at such an exciting time” It seems Howard was formerly SRO at Forbes and SVP at a digital advertising company. In my day, “SRO” meant Standing Room Only when a theatrical performance was sold out, and SVP with an R in front of it, RSVP, which in French is an abbreviation of “repondez s’il vous plait”, or “please answer” when sendinga formal invitation.

The item Bob sent caused me to dwell a few moments upon the use of titles in American business. I guess Howard’s  new monicker will be CAPO, which, appropriately enough, in Italian means the leader.

In the old pre-Cahners Variety years essentially no titles were used. This was a tradition that dated back to the days of Sime Silverman, who even as long ago as 1905 hated them. The top dog in any regional office was merely designated as the “man in charge”. Later when Sime’s grandson took over, Syd was listed as the “proprietor”. There was no masthead, though everyone knew that Abel Green was the Managing Editor. All others were “muggs” or, whimsically, “ink-stained wretches”.

When Syd agreed to let me do a special section on Latin America, and I told him that I could not just go down there as the “stringer from Madrid” he replied; “Well then pick yourself a title”.  By that time (1975) the American title mania had already swept over the corporate world. So I printed up some business cards with the highfalutin title Director of Latin American Operations.  I never ascertained whether anyone was ever impressed by it.

When  Cahners bought out Variety in 1987 and I  for the first time in my life came to rub shoulders with the corporate world,  I then learned that there are such people as a CEO (chief executive officer), a CFO (chief financial officer), a COO (chief operating officer), a CBO, (chief business officer), a CMO (chief marketing officer) and goodness knows how many other C’s, all of whom I guess the underlings address as “boss”.  Or has that term now become defunct? I wonder what title an office boy has these days in corporate America.



By Robert Marich

White Plains, NY  Sept. 5, 2016

I recall the Go-Go Boys, Golan and Globus, in all their glory, particularly Yoram. Though I’m disadvantaged by not having clips in front of me, I recall that Variety assigned me a special issue story in the early 1990s saluting Pathé Communications, which then had taken over MGM.

Yoram was a money guy in the merged entity and while interviewing him in his office none other than Giancarlo Parretti—another money guy—walked in. Despite crushing debt and what seemed exhausted credit, they assured me all was well with the MGM/Pathé/Cannon Film Group combine, though Parretti—a flamboyant and mysterious fellow out of Italy—didn’t speak English particularly well (nodding with agreement to Yoram got his view across). Most of Hollywood runs on hope. Alas, their combine soon fell apart a victim of heavy debt, little money to make films and aggressive film-selling for short-term revenue that wasn’t particularly mindful of protecting the MGM film library’s long-term value.

Many years earlier, a friend of mine who worked at the old Cannon Film when under the sole stewardship of Yoram and Menahem (before Parretti and MGM) explained their approach to film development. My friend said that “on days they had money in the bank, they always said ‘yes’ to whatever pitch for films came through their office. On days they didn’t have any spare money, they just said no.”