By MORT BRYER
(former Advertising Manager of Variety)
I don’t recall Abie Torres every making an error, even while putting together some of those obese, nay, fat, 500 and 600 page issues.
When I arrived at the towering edifice on west 46th street, at about 9 a.m., he was already at work. When I left, sometimes at about 9 p.m., he was still fighting his way through a gaggle of ads and paperwork, from assorted bureaus, worldwide. Back at 9 a.m. the next morning, Abie was there. I had the odd feeling that he had been working all night.
Abie was a product of Syd’s “merit system”. He could do the job. Who needed sheepskins and a master’s degree? But more important, in a sense, Abie was a loyal and faithful friend. He loved his job, as he reminded me at times, when we were away from the office, socializing, sometimes at a showbiz shindig, based on an invite inherited from a reporter who couldn’t attend because he had to go off to a press conference, or was off that day. Both Murray Rann and Jim Antinori, (the ad manager and art maven at that time) took Abie under their respective wings and since he quickly showed talent, he advanced out of the ranks of our “messengers” and eventually became the production chief of weekly Variety, which in a sense was the point of the spear (versus the Daily in Hollywood) re the income of the paper, which is to say, the ad revenue.
And Abie did not suffer fools, whoever they happened to be. About five years ago, on a trip to the Florida west coast, I had a get-together with him. We had a few pops and lunch and talked about the good old days. He was working for one of the local fishwrappers, though I can’t recall his exact job, but like all of the old muggs, he missed working for THE paper and even missed West 46th Street. He was a religious kid, so if there is a St. Pete’s gate, he is there now!