Animation History
August 10, 2013 posted by

“Variety” in Animation


A friend of mine who works for Variety challenged me to list as many cartoons I can think of that the famed Hollywood trade publication appeared in. After thinking about it a little, off the top of my head I remembered Chuck Jones’ Nelly’s Folly (1961), Friz Freleng’s A Hare Grow In Manhattan (1947), Seymour Kneitel’s Symphony In Spinach (1948), Isadore Sparber’s Finnegan’s Flea (1958) and Hal Seeger’s Muggy-Doo Boy Cat (1963).

The idea of compiling such a list sounded like fun… so much so, I’ve decided to open it up to the smartest animation historians I know: the readers of Cartoon Research. If you know of any other classic Hollywood cartoon shorts – or features (no, Variety is not in Dumbo) – or TV cartoons before 1975 (I don’t care if its in The Simpsons or Family Guy), let me know in the Comments below.

There are no prizes or monetary rewards for this – its just one of those little things that needs to be known, listed somewhere, for future reference. If you can contribute to the list, I’d appreciate it.




  • You’re in luck! I just saw one on Rocky & Bullwinkle earlier today. In the Jet Fuel Formula serial episode 18, they spot a clue to the location of a couple of moon men on a headline, but the story is written in the house style so it’s incomprehensible. They have to get a computer to translate for them.

  • There was a skit on Animaniacs called “Variety Speak”.

    • Unfortunately, that was after 1975.

  • Jerry don’t forget from Rocky and Bullwinkle the Fractured Fairy Tale Sleeping Beauty poking fun at Walt Disney and featuring voice legends June Foray and Daws Butler with E.E. Horton as narrator. Two Variety headlines on this one. Thanks

  • I thought there was one in “Mister Magoo’s Chirstmas Carol” in the opening “Broadway” number. On checking I find there’s a paper named “Show News” in a loose approximation of Variety’s logo. So they either couldn’t get permission or simply decided not to bother.

  • It shows up in the Rumplestilskin fractured fairy tale as well.

  • Side note: I remember “Symphony in Spinach” as looking a bit odd because I recall a lot of lines without matching lip movements.

    I wondered whether this was a conscious attempt to recreate the feel of the early Fleischers where everybody seemed to be talking under their breath (perhaps because Mercer and others were adding quips during post-animation recording sessions), or a cartoon that was meant to have little or no dialogue with quips dubbed in after the fact.

  • Cool. But what I really want to know about is any cartoons which show TIME magazine, where I work. (The list of live-action movies which have done so is endless…)

    • Doesn’t Time appear in the montage at the end of Dumbo?

    • The magazine with Timothy Q. Mouse in the cover looks like it’s modelled after Time, but it’s actually called The National Weekly (which you can only find out by freeze-framing).

  • Am I the only one who actually remembers its cameo in Don Bluth’s Rock*A*Doodle?

  • Here’s one I just noticed: a tortoise (apparently “the man of a thousand voices”) is seen reading Variety in the opening scene of Freleng’s Curtain Razor.

  • Here’s one that I found:
    From “Show Biz Beagle”, A 1972 Woody Woodpecker “Cartune”.

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