May 1, 2017
Mr. Walter Winchell was an American broadcast journalist who focused on often exploitive celebrity news and his interpretation of the day’s news. His rapid-fire delivery of the news was mesmerizing. He separated the short news stories from each other by pressing a telegraph key to create urgency and importance as if to communicate he was reading breaking news stories coming across the news wires.
Winchell is recognized as the first successful gossip columnist that drew fifty million readers for his news stories and radio broadcasts each week. He enjoyed reporting exciting or embarrassing information about people and especially entertainers. He was highly feared in Hollywood where scandals could wreck an aspiring movie or theater actor. In the 1950s, Winchell joined forces with Senator McCarthy’s quest to identify Communists in the entertainment field. When Senator McCarthy was exposed for having little or no information on supposed Communist infiltration, Winchell lost respect by the general public and his listenership plummeted. For those of you who have watched the old Untouchables TV show, Winchell was the narrator at the beginning and throughout the episodes.