May 1, 2017
In this final episode in this two-part series, we feature Mr. Walter Winchell, 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 theatre 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. I have included a PDF from Wikipedia on the career and life of Mr. Winchell.
Let us now tune our radio dial to May 6, 1945 and listen to Mr. Winchell report on his mix of sensational celebrity news, odd collection of world news, and reports from World War Two.