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Variety Time

Variety Time(1948)

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This film's subtitle was "A revue of specialties and highlights from RKO film hits." The "Carle Boogie" number was first seen in the 1946 RKO picture Riverboat Rhythm, while the Lynn, Royce and Vanya adagio was first presented in RKO's 1942 film Seven Days Leave and "Babalu" was first heard in Pan-Americana, a 1945 RKO release ( entries). According to RKO studio files, Jesse and James's and Pat Rooney's numbers were shot for RKO's 1944 film Show Business , but were cut from the final print. The two shorts included in the film were Edgar Kennedy's 1946 comedy I'll Build It Myself and Leon Errol's Hired Husband, which was released in 1947. George Bilson produced and Edward W. Williams, who is listed on this film as editor with Les Millbrook, edited both shorts. The silent film excerpts were taken from The Two Paths, a 1911 Biograph release, which was directed by D. W. Griffith and starred Florence LaBadie, Dorothy Bernard, Grace Henderson and Alfred Paget; The Taking of Luke McVane (later called The Fugitive), a 1915 two-reeler, directed by William S. Hart and starring Hart and Enid Markey; and a 1922 Path newsreel.
       According to a pre-release Hollywood Reporter news item, Variety Time was "intended to be used as a second feature only" and was being advertised as a "new form of movie entertainment." Both the film itself and reviews compare the picture to television. Variety points out that Variety Time "resembles closely the format that's been clicking on the Texaco Star Theatre...inasmuch as there's a good emcee (Jack Paar) tying together various song, dance, and specialty sequences." Variety adds that the film is "virtually perfect video fare," but speculates that because of the small number of television stations in existence (twenty-eight) and the limitations of "television light projection," RKO would have a difficult time selling the picture for broadcast use. Comedian Jack Paar made his screen debut in the picture. Modern sources note that the film was made for only $51,000 and brought in $132,000 at the box office.