Variety: An Illustrated History of the World from the Most Important Magazine in Hollywood

Written by Tim Gray / Foreword by Martin Scorsese

Rizzoli

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It’s hard to believe that Variety cost just five cents an issue when it was first printed in 1905.  I subscribe to it now and I can tell you that the price has gone up just a smidge.

But there is no doubt that it has been (and hopefully always will be) the bible of Hollywood.  In Martin Scorsese’s introduction to the book he talks about his first experiences reading it – trying to decode the language that the editors created, beginning to understand the excitement and terror of a life in Hollywood.

Author Tim Gray chronicles the last decade in the context of the entertainment business, capturing every ebb and flow, whether it was at war, on Wall Street, or on a Hollywood backlot. The narrative is beautifully illustrated with reproductions from the magazine.  Some of the images are clippings, some are behind-the-scenes photos, and then there are wonderful bits of history and kitsch like Paramount’s Gallery of New Stars, presenting headshots of rising talent like Audrey Hepburn and Rosemary Clooney.

The book is a remarkable time capsule, and the perfect gift for the movies buffs on your holiday shopping list.