Army Archerd: The spice of Variety

Ten thousand, two hundred and eighty Daily Variety’s ago, Army Archerd, in the lead item in his very first Just For Variety column, wrote about the possible future impact of 3-D movies on Hollywood.

As it turned out, they have had no discernible effect whatsoever.

What proved to be of a far more durable nature were Army’s personal 3-D qualities: dependability, dignity and decency.

That Army has retained these attributes in the face, and often two-faced, of comings and goings in a town where success is worshipped with the same frequency that failure is prayed for is no less than remarkable.

How he stays on such an even keel (perhaps Army having served in the Navy helps), how he comes through, never mind day after day, but decade after decade, as an absolute mensch is an absolute marvel.

Snuggled in the pages of Daily Variety, between all the B.O. results and all the B. S. that often results in none at all, resides the anomaly that is Army Archerd: a solid newspaper reporter, who treats both his sources and his readers with uncommon respect.

A friend is one who comes through instead of apart. That’s Army. To share a confidence with him adds to the shelf life of any secret. Responding to his questions is never a problem since he is professionally, indeed almost physically, incapable of misquoting anyone.

Army’s column, without the venom, vanity or ego that so many others with similar avenues of expression have displayed, is still, 40 years on, consistently peppered with information, still a highly entertaining product of a seasoned professional. If variety is the spice of life, then surely Army is the spice of Variety.

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