Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sunday Night at the Radio

Since somebody (well, me) mentioned Walter Winchell, guess I'll play a couple of his Jergen's Journal "news" programs, one from only months before America's entry into World War II, the other from early 1945.

Only 11 minutes or so apiece, these two shows have everything: nazi-smashing, red-baiting, egotistical preening, and tons of war news and commentary of questionable reliability. Here's the first, from 5-18-41. Among much other fun stuff, Winchell mocks Rudolph Hess, who the week before had parachuted into Scotland on his bizarre "peace" mission, and claims Hess's wife has just been arrested by the Nazis); and the second, from February 25, 1945, with even more war news and gossip like: "Newspapermen just returned from overseas tell me that Martha Gellhorn, the novelist, has confided to them that the honeymoon with her husband, Ernest Hemingway, is over."

Confided to them. Fascinating stuff.

Update: In the first show Winchell's famous opening sounds like, "Good evening Mr. and Mrs. North and South America and all the ships and cripples at sea." Tell me it doesn't.

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