Argo’s 1980 Full-Page Variety Ad

Earlier this week, Ted Koppel told The Hollywood Reporter the only time he ever killed a legitimate news story during his illustrious career was when he chose not to report about the half-dozen Americans hiding out at the Canadian embassy in Tehran. Now comes a reminder of some even more explicit  Argo media subterfuge.

Variety film reporter Jeff Sneider notes that on January 15, 1980, his publication shared a paragraph about the fictitious movie as if it were a real project:

Variety published the following news brief in its Pix, People, Pickups roundup: “Studio Six Prods. has announced that sci-fi thriller, ‘Argo,’ will begin filming in March on various locations in Asia and Europe. Indie is keeping mum on any plot and cast details until just before pic is released.”

The following day, Variety ran a full-page ad (pictured) touting a spring Argo production start date.  This is certainly not the only instance of a “go” project heralded in the trades failing to see the light of day. But Argo is likely the only time the talent agency of record was CIA.

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.