Roster of Weekly Variety Muggs worldwide, ca. 1988

New York, Jan. 3, 2022

Ex mugg Jim Robbins was kind enough to send us (via Norman Scherer) this list of weekly Variety staffers the reading of which may induce a sigh of nostalgia when we see all the names on it, most of whom have now passed away.

Given that the list includes Arthur Anderman and Marty Feldman, it must have been prepared, and possibly sent out at Christmas time, around 1989, after the sale, when the paper had moved its New York offices to 475 Park Avenue South.

The list includes not only reporters in the New York office, but also muggs stationed overseas, such as Roger Watkins, Ted Clark, Hank Werba, Luigi Zaccardi, Jack Pitman, Bob Hawkins, Harold Myers, Jack Kindred, Lenny Borger, Stephen Glasgow and Keith Keller.

Also included are the two telephone operators, Peggy Michitsch and Joan Crowley, as well as the New York advertising staff, including Mort Bryer, Fred Birnbaum and Abie Torres. Also listed are the two office boys, who managed to make the transition from 46th Street to Park Avenue South, Sylvester Joachim and Chris Higgins. And, of course, there is the inimitable secretary and factotum, Norma Nannini, as well as Arlene Rosenstein in accounting and Muriel Pagan in the subscription department, along with a roster of the reporters covering TV and film. In all there are close to 100 names. This surviving scribe remembers almost all of them and can now conjure up their faces as I remember them during the unforgettable years of the Silverman era. What a nostalgia trip!

Thanks a million Jim Robbins and Norman Scherer for saving this piece of memorabilia from oblivion.


Year’s end Simesite wrap

Jan. 1, 2022       

Well, we have done it again! I mean, managed to keep the Site live for another year and gotten 18 muggs to send in contributions. Albeit this is a few less than the previous year, it is certainly a satisfactory result considering that the sheet was sold 34 years ago and that Simesite has now been around for 19 of those, thanks largely to the late Roger Watkins and his son, Ian.


Mugg Tom Gilbert pens NYT article on “Lucy” pic

New York, Dec. 21

By Bob Marich

Variety mugg Tom Gilbert penned a byliner in the New York Times today (Dec.21) about new films centered on the late comedienne Lucille Ball. Gilbert co-wrote the definitive Lucy book “Desilu” with Steve Sanders.The title refers to her famed TV production company. Tom praises the new Lucy flick Being the Ricardos as boffo! The title comes from characters in the Lucy sitcom.

“Variety” mugg Tom Gilbert co-authored the authoritative tome on comedienne Lucille Ball and her husband/business partner Desi Arnaz.

In the New York Times article, Gilbert recalls being a big big fan of Lucy’s sitcom I Love Lucy since age 13. But “after I graduated from college, I moved from Florida to Manhattan to pursue a career in journalism and decided to put the Lucy obsession behind me,” he writes—which includes his years at Variety in New York and Los Angeles. The obsession was rekindled when his journalism work led to personally meeting Lucy, including at a small birthday party with a dozen people.

When a group photo at the birthday party was to be taken, Tom stood discreetly on the far edge of the group. But he warmly recalled that “Lucille reached back and grabbed me by my shirt, pulling me directly behind her. ‘Is he in the picture?’ she asked the photographer, knowing how important the resulting photo would be to me. It was then that I loved Lucille.”

New York Times: Lucille Ball on the Big Screen, the Small Screen and Offscreen

Better late than never

Los Angeles, July 12, 2021

The following “missing submission” from last year’s end wrap for Simesite has now been received seven months later from Mike Malak, but we are pleased to post any informationfrom ex-muggs whenever it may be received.

Dear Muggs,

It’s only July so this annual report is a mere seven months late. We moved to the ocean up the coast a bit where it’s always 72 degrees and anything over 80 a heat wave. I’ve never seen more than two dozen people on our beach, fittingly named Hollywood, on account of being the setting, allegedly, due to Valentino shoots.

We are adopting a granddaughter, Marilyn Rose, two-years old, a glorious child – happy, eager to please, funny, and worth the trips we postponed till she’s old enough to appreciate them. Because there is another little girl, Violet, 1 1/2 , with my son Kyle (Variety House ad alumnus) and daughter-in-law Alison, upstairs we have been cautious of Covid and seldom got out. An in-law died of it a few months ago, and we knew others who suffered losses. Fortunately, when we moved we upsized instead of downsized so there’s enough space for all.

The past year was exceptional in terms of legal client diversity.  A Russian model-artist, the victim of a fraudulent restraining order  by her pop star boyfriend, started the year off in stylish fashion. There was the Trump supporter who bear-sprayed (so-called) ANTIFA affiliates on the Santa Monica Pier in the middle of a Die In. The footage is on the web. There were two sisters 11 & 13, and, of course the frailer of us who seek escape through substances. Was proud of getting one individual probation and rehab instead of 24 years.

For the last year-and-a-half  served as counsel to Gradle, Inc., a build assist international software company regarded as the world’s best in its niche. I reported to the CFO based in Berlin. Clients included Fortune top 10s and down, numerous multinationals, the world’s biggest banking entities, Hollywood Studios, blah, blah. 

I started my political column again at The Dead Pelican, aka The Bayou Buzz, Louisiana. It is a small but influential outlet run by a law professor and activist who founded it in the wake of Louisiana’s worst oil spill. Hence the name Dead Pelican.  

A return to art and antique dealing, as children are expensive, is in the offing. I was once an eBay Sotheby’s Associate and have sold in this category off and on for years. My favorite customer so far was a nightclub owner in Singapore. 

If Norman Scherer reads this, NORMAN CALL/TEXT/EMAIL, if you’d be so kind, as I have two children’s books about which you may have suggestions. I’ll buy one of each of your books if you do contact. Following you in Peter and Ian’s scrap book is always fun.

Mike Malak