Spain’s ‘El Pais’ runs 4 column article on Variety centenary

t really makes one scratch one’s head. Why would Spain’s major daily newspaper, “El Pais”, sort of the equivalent of The New York Times, run a four-column feature titled “100 Years of the ‘Bible of Hollywood'”? Go figure.

But that’s exactly what was printed in the paper’s December 20th issue. The sub-head read, “The magazine Variety, symbol of American culture and one of the most influential film publications, turns a century.” Two photos illustrated the article, by-lined Rocio Ayuso in Los Angeles, one of Bogey flanked by Lauren Bacall and Marilyn Monroe in the preem for “How to Marry a Millionaire” and another of the Beatles sitting in front of Old Glory.

After brief quotes from Koones and Guider, the article mentions Variety’s Anni special, with its list of 100 outstanding show biz entertainers, and gives a capsule history of the sheet, which is riddled with factual errors. In the last graph, Ayuso mentions the Sardi’s dinner in New York “at the beginning of the month”, a “great spectacle” to which only those who worked for the Silverman family were invited.

Given the numerous errors in the article, Peter Besas wrote a letter to the editor of El Pais, which was published in their Dec. 23 issue. It was short and to the point and said: “In reference to your article ‘100 Years of the Bible of Hollywood’, I’d like to point out various historical errors. The paper (it was never called a “magazine”) was known as the “Bible of Show Business”, not “of Hollywood”. In fact, the Hollywood edition didn’t start until 1933.

“The first edition came out in New York on December 16, 1905, not on August 30th, as you say. It was not the first publication dedicated in its entirety to the world of entertainment (as you wrote), since there were others such as “The Billboard” and “The Clipper”. In 1987, Variety and Daily Variety were sold to Cahners, not RBI (as you wrote), which later was bought by Reed, and then merged with Elsevier, and which is now called Reed Business International”.
Peter Besas, former bureau chief for Variety in Spain and author of the book “Inside Variety”.