Parent Article: Russia's Foreign Ministry on Ukraine
Stephen Lendman - Progressive?
(No verified email address)
31 Aug 2014
Modified: 07:11:38 PM
Click on image for a larger version
The apolitical vaguely 'leftist' flavored repeat posts of the days news with hyperbole thrown in is Stephen Lendman's style. Like Walter Wintchell of days gone by.
Of Wintchell - "He wrote in a style filled with slang and incomplete sentences. Winchell's casual writing style famously earned him the ire of mobster Dutch Schultz, who confronted Winchell at New York's Cotton Club and publicly lambasted him for using the phrase "pushover" to describe Schultz's penchant for blonde women. Some notable Winchell quotes are: "Nothing recedes like success", and "I usually get my stuff from people who promised somebody else that they would keep it a secret".
Winchell opened his radio broadcasts by pressing randomly on a telegraph key, a sound that created a sense of urgency and importance and the catchphrase "Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America from border to border and coast to coast and all the ships at sea. Let's go to press." He would then read each of his stories with a staccato delivery (up to a rate of 197 words per minute), though in an interview in 1967, claimed a speed of well over 200 wpm. noticeably faster than the typical pace of American speech. His diction can also be heard in his breathless narration of the Untouchables television series as well as in several Hollywood films
Dick Cavett had him on a talk show -
"Several readers raised the subject: what of the time when fame has fled? I’m grateful to them because it reminded me of an almost vanished memory of that very thing.
Readers who’ve achieved a number of years nearer the minimal end of the age scale might feel the need of a dose of Wikipedia upon hearing the moniker “Walter Winchell.” It had been a name to strike terror into the cardiac area of even the powerful. (Burt Lancaster’s character J.J. Hunsecker, the powerful newspaper columnist in “Sweet Smell of Success,” was based on Winchell.) This notorious figure, in his time as household a name as can be, outlived his fame and died forgotten. And widely unlamented.
There was quite a stretch between the time I first tuned in — with most of America — to the distinct and famous voice on Sunday night radio and my meeting him.
For some reason, I recall that my dad and I were in our Nebraska basement, shelling black walnuts we’d gathered in the woods. On this particular night, the famous voice, akin to heavy dice being rattled in a metal cup, fired off at lightning speed the show’s signature opening: “Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea, let’s go to press! Washington . . . ” Etcetera.
On that memorable night, “W.W.” stunned the nation with the unthinkable words, “. . . and a president who does not know what the h-e-double-l is going on.” (H.S.T. Harry S Truman was the sitting White House occupant so described.) It was a bombshell, almost as if full-frontal nudity had been displayed on the cover of The Reader’s Digest. But Winchell’s accreted clout at the time was sufficient armor. He was a media figure full of unprecedented power. Among other things.
Much of Winchell’s fortune was his voice. Sharp, tangy, forceful and dramatic, it produced goosebumps over the radio, where voice was all. It was a favorite of “impressionists” (not Monet and so forth, you understand). Walter Winchell had been a veritable king and he had a good, long reign. Then fame ended. But he did not, doomed to years and years of has-been-ism.
He was old and I wasn’t when we met. The mirror had turned around: I was on T.V. by then, so the faded Winchell knew of the hot kid on the cover of Time who had shelled walnuts in Nebraska to the sound of his voice.
I got a close-up look of what it means when fame has fled. It ain’t a pretty thing.
Surprised that he was still alive, I had him on my show. This must have been in the late ’60s. He was elderly but not creaky, and gamely agreed to exhibit a bit from his early vaudeville dancing days. The old boy brought down the house with a skillfully executed tap routine. My wife cried, watching it. His celebrity was, by then, a dim memory, and he was grateful to me for causing some renewed recognition on the street after a very long time.
My reward? An evening out with Winchell at the Copa. Yes, the legendary Copacabana night club, which, like him, had seen better days. The headliner, the popular (and cheerfully bibulous) Tony Martin warbled a medley of his past hits for us, surrounded by the renowned and luscious Copa Girls — many now Copa Grannies, I should think.
W.W. had collected me, driving his own car. He was fadedly elegant in a tuxedo not of the latest cut, the butt of a snub-nosed .38 peeping from the cummerbund.
“Expecting trouble, Walter?” I ventured.
“Always, my boy. In my game, you have to.”
Winchell had fear-induced influence most everywhere, and in his heyday had acquired from his cop friends the sort of official police car radio forbidden to ordinary citizens, allowing him to habitually cruise the night and, upon hearing of a crime in progress, speed there for a column item.
“They never give me a ticket for speeding,” he boasted to me. A moment too soon. Minutes later, we got one. Somewhere on lower Park Avenue, while responding to a police call.
To his chagrin, my companion of the night’s name and visage cut no ice with the young rookie.
Despite the lives he purportedly ruined when at his peak — careers made and destroyed with a few words in his column or on the air — it was still sad to see the old lion now toothless. At one precinct we’d visited earlier, where in better times a chorus of, “Hey, Walter!” would have gone up, only an ancient sergeant knew who he was. Walter devoured the scrap.
To the young cops, he was a cipher. My knowledge of his past victims — said, even, to include a few suicides — at that moment didn’t matter. That evening, as I accompanied him on his nightly prowl, I felt like quietly paying someone to say, “Hey, ain’t you Walter Winchell?”
And then it happened. At one precinct, a young gendarme with a good ear suddenly said, “Hey, Pop. Say something else! Talk again.” He did.
“Oh, my God! I know who you are!”
“You’re the announcer on ‘The Untouchables’!”
Someone had been smart enough to cast the uniquely voiced Winchell — an excellent actor with, once, the most instantly identified voice in America — to narrate “The Untouchables,” the then popular T.V. crime series about the tough cop Eliot Ness in Prohibition Chicago. Winchell’s staccato delivery was perfect for the intermittent narration bits.
At the moment of recognition, Winchell grinned and seemed to visibly drop 20 years. To almost anyone not a victim of his past predations, it would be hard not to be moved by that moment, seeing the effect on the old fellow. Fame — though vastly reduced to a voice-over — had administered a craved injection.
Delighted, the former giant grabbed a pen and, eagerly and gratefully — although it had not been sought — signed an autograph."