Cast & Crew
This documentary, made to mark the thirtieth anniversary of Variety Clubs International, recalls its history, showing its inception in 1927 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and its charitable work benefiting disadvantaged and disabled children all over the world.
Cecil B. Demille
Edgar G. Robinson
Variety Clubs International began on October 10, 1927 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when a group of eleven entertainers, all close friends, decided to organize a social club where they could relax after work. After renting a small room in the William Penn Hotel, they decided to call the organization the Variety Club because the members were all involved in show business. On December 24, 1928, a month-old baby was found abandoned in the Sheridan Square theater owned by club member John H. Harris. A note from the baby's mother was pinned to the infant, explaining that she was unable to take care of the baby because she had eight other children and that her husband was out of work. The mother wrote that the baby's name was Catherine, and, referring to the "goodness in show business [people]," implored them to take care of Catherine.
When the police failed to locate the baby's parents, the club members decided to act as a group of eleven "godfathers" and underwrite the infant's support and education. The child was named Catherine Variety Sheridan. Catherine's plight inspired other show business people to band together to help disabled and disadvantaged children all over the world, forming charitable organizations known as "Tents." When Catherine was five, her foster parents were selected from more than three hundred applicants and her anonymity was preserved through the years. Catherine's identity was kept secret until she came to the Variety Clubs International Convention in Los Angeles in 1990.