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<I>Daily</I> bread & butter

Second part on early editions of <I>Variety</I>

The earliest issues of Daily Variety in the fall of 1933 introduced several features that are still part of the paper’s makeup today.

“Film Previews” were short and sometimes sharp mini-critiques of movies that had not yet bowed. These highly opinionated previews, the editors noted, “do not appear in the Weekly Variety.”

The paper gave its first byline to Al Greason, who reported from New York on the stock market. (Perhaps his dispatches were bought in, which would explain why he, as an outsider, got his name in print.)

And in the 10th issue of Daily Variety that September, an early version of the V Page first appeared.

It was a fuzzy black and white photo montage (on the back page) of celebs about town called “Maybe It’s You!”: In one shot Mae West and Alice Lade appear with this caption: “Alice, who used to have ‘it,’ studies the neo-Byzantine smile of Mae, who still has ‘it,’ along with what it takes.”

Unlike its more staid New York counterpart, Daily Variety was from the beginning a little lighter in tone and more people-focused.

Owner-publisher Sime Silverman, who knew both towns like the back of his hand, set up Daily‘s first headquarters in the Taft Building on Hollywood Blvd. near Vine St. and for the next 60 years its offices remained in that vicinity. (They are now in the mid-Wilshire district.)

Unfortunately, Silverman died at the period’s most famous celebrity haunt, the Ambassador Hotel in L.A., just a few weeks after Daily Variety launched. Arthur Ungar steered the Hollywood paper through the difficult Depression years and WWII. He was succeeded upon his death in July 1950 by Joe Schoenfeld, who had worked for Variety in New York and then as a film agent at William Morris in Hollywood.

(Second in a three-part series on early editions of Daily Variety. Click here to read part one or Click here to read part three.)