Today is the birthday of legendary show biz scribe Abel Green (1900-1973). Most of us know him because he cowrote the super-useful book Show Biz: From Vaude to Video with Joe Laurie Jr. And he is also well known for devising Variety‘s distinctive manner of slangy abbreviations in headlines, the most famous of which is “Sticks Nix Hick Pix” (i.e. “regional cinema audiences have reject movies with rural themes”).
He started writing movie reviews for Variety when he was only 19 years old. He became Variety’s editor in 1933, enlivening its cover with signature coinages like “socko” , “boffo”, and “payola”. “The business” would be a much drabber proposition without him.
To learn more about vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.