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Vintage Variety

Stories have been edited for brevity and clarity, but some archaic spellings, phrases and punctuation (or lack thereof) are retained for period authenticity.

75 YEARS AGO

(Jan. 14, 1916)

$700 FOR ‘CROOK ACT’

The freak act at Chicago’s McVicker’s this week is securing $700 for the week’s engagement. The act is Barney Bertsche, an admitted and convicted crook who lately was pardoned through “squealing” on police officials who stood in with him in a local fortune telling bunk, whereby Bertsche secured $20,000 from one victim and $10,000 from another. When opening Monday, intending to deliver a prepared six-minute monolog, Bertsche became confused, finally saying, “My wife told me not to go into vaudeville,” and abruptly left the stage. Later he returned and waded through the set speech.

50 YEARS AGO

(Jan. 15,1941)

ALL FILM COS. MAY SUFFER BECAUSE OF HEARST’S PEEVE AT ‘KANE’

Steady bombardment from the heaviest editorial artillery in the Hearst press is faced by the entire film industry as a result of the fury into which William Randolph Hearst has been thrown by the revelation that the story of “Citizen Kane,” Orson Welles’ first film, bears similarity to the life of the publisher. Not only has Hearst forbidden any mention of the distributor, RKO, or its product in any of his papers, but the studio publicity department has been tipped off that Hearst papers will keep up a continuous shellfire against the entire industry. Film winds up with the publisher dying in old age and loneliness. Death is a word never uttered in Hearst’s presence. The death of “Citizen Kane” is understood to be one of the cogent reasons for the publisher’s attitude against the picture.

25 YEARS AGO

(Jan. 12,1966)

PHYLLIS DILLER SUES FOR RIGHT TO PERFORM MOTHER-IN-LAW JOKES

Phyllis Diller filed suit in Federal Court in St. Louis Wed. (5) seeking $50,000 in damages from her former mother-in-law, Mrs. W.E. Diller, and her former sister-in-law, Dr. Jeanne Diller, an osteopath. Miss Diller alleges that the defendants, after Oct. 6, 1965, demanded that tv networks, on penalty of litigation not produce any of her programs that have any references to a sister-in-law or mother-in-law. In her petition, Miss Diller said that her comedy routine included references to a fictional family.

REDS BRAND AGENT 007 CORRUPTIVE ‘FASCIST’

East Germany has banned Agent 007 as a dangerous fascist influence, embodying the wrong ideals of the western world and are advising true-blue Reds to shun his corrupting influence. This came after the latest James Bond click, “Thunderball,” opened to throngs of thrill-seekers in West Germany.

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