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The Walter Winchell Show [#1] (commentary)

    (ABC Sunday nights, 1952 - 1955)

    [The hard-charging 1940's reporter whose riveting combination of
     gossip and commentary had made him a fixture on network radio,
     with his teletype-punctuated delivery sounding as if everything
     he reported had earth-shattering importance, didn't make the
     transition to network television very well.

     He was given three seasons on ABC to try to attempt to make 
     a transition. But this simulcast of his radio show was a 
     curiousity that didn't really work in the format of a TV
     Sunday-evening "news" show. By that time, TV news was becoming 
     more sophisticated, including filmed stories and more factual
     reporting.

     So eventually the aging Winchell quit over a confrontation
     with a network news executive who tried to mold it into what
     was needed for the new medium.

     Winchell got other chances -- a short-lived NBC variety show
     in which he tried to be an "Ed Sullivan" introducing the acts.
     But the public didn't seem to accept him in that role, and 
     frankly his true personality was starting to come out, and
     it wasn't a nice picture.

     Winchell tried a filmed show later with his pals at Desilu
     for whom he had narrated "The Untouchables" series. "The
     Walter Winchell File" (1957 - 1959) was a typical crime 
     drama, which did have better luck -- airing for one season 
     on ABC, and then another season or two in syndication.

     As the 1950s drew to a close, this 1940's radio legend had
     found he was viewed more as a caricature of his former self,
     whose role on the world media stage had worn out its welcome.]


Theme: [Teletype sound effects]

    [There was no music theme for the series. Instead Winchell
     produced a simulated Morse code sound with a teletype key
     and a practice code oscillator. He verbally introduced the
     show on radio and television with his famous signature line,
    "Good Evening, Mr. and Mrs. North and South America and all
     the ships at sea -- let's go to press..."

     No one confirmed that too many ships at sea were receiving
     his gossip and commentary, since the Morse code he generated 
     was garbage code for the dramatically urgent effect.]

     Composer:

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     2001 Publisher:

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