Saturday, October 30, 2010

Language lesson

I first read Variety when I was a student and working at a cinema near the university campus in Dallas. I was, in the slanguage of the show business trade paper, an 'exhib'... an exhibitor of motion pictures.

The NPR piece below reminds us how much the magazine's way with words owes to the importance of Broadway vaudeville a century ago. There's a glossary here which is fun to read.

The other language lesson which springs to mind is the fact I never tire of passing on to the younger generation: It explains why when the credits scroll down the screen at the end of a move there are mentions of gaffers, of best boy and other mysterious job designations. And these terms also hark back a century, to the time when films were sideshows, sort of bonus attractions when the circus came to town. And that's where the gaffer and best boy were to be found, in the Big Top.

No comments: