Man About Town

Walter Winchell

Spartanburg Herald/May 1, 1940

FDR is not signed by Collier’s (or anybody) to start writing articles in November as the alleged lowdown had it all week. This was supposed to definitely mean he wasn’t 3rd-Terming it. Well, Sec’y of Commerce H. Hopkins will betcha that he runs and is elected . . . Mrs. Angier Biddle Duke will have her groom Renotarized this week . . . Mrs. Forbes Morgan and C. Vanderbilt, Jr., are poddon me! . . . D. Topping tells chums he will wed Sonja Henie in about three wks . . . How untrue is that buzz about Warden Lawes being on the verge of resigning from his Sing Sing job? . . . Adelaide Moffett (Mrs. W. Buckner) will have her little Big Event in Mexico . . . Ambassador J. Davies may pinch-hit in Canada for James Cromwell . . . The Pulitzer Prizes this year may include one for radio . . . If you could see the postcard photos of the late C. Ernecke (which the G-Men were prepared to use at the Franter’s trial), you’d know why he preferred suicide . . . In Washington the current gag is: “Hear what Confusevelt Say?”

On March 27th, 1940, at a meeting of high-ranking Communists in Philadelphia, plans were made to send members of the Commy party to the field offices of the FBI throughout the nation . . . Not only to watch them but to offer information concerning “Communistic activities” which, of course, would not reveal anything of value . . . They hoped in this way to gradually gain the confidence of some G-Men and then attempt to involve him in a situation which might embarrass the entire FBI . . . This was to be part of their smear-campaign . . . It is itemed here now to let them all know that all concerned are hep.

Dorothy Thompson’s pals hear that she got gay in Rome and said several indiscreet things about Mr. Big. Her New York paper is supposed to have been cabled to withdraw her . . . Martha Sleeper, the actress (and jewelry designer) got a very quiet explosion from Hardle Albright, the playwright actor, in Miami Beach on April 22nd . . . Vernon Duke, the composer, was appendicitis’d at St. John’s Hosp . . . The New Yorker and Janet Flanner (their Paris reporter) are having a mild feud over whether she or the mag should pay for the bike she is taking back to Paris because she can’t get gas for her car there . . . Anything to that buzz about the Daily Worker quitting here and resuming in Philadelphia under a new name? . . . Lovely Ingrid Bergman of “Liliom” and “Intermezzo” knows so few people and is so lonely—that she visits the Selznick offices almost every day to talk to the receptionist.

When Alex Woollcott had his heart attack the other matinee day, the producer is reported to have dismissed the coast “Man Who Came to Dinner” troupe with one day’s notice. The producer claimed that the closing was caused by “an act of God” . . . The cast, however, is going to fight it out before Equity—claiming that Woollcott’s stroke was not an act of God, but that he deliberately brought it on himself “by drinking 40 cups of coffee daily!”

Editors here are trying to check if von Ribbentrop’s son still goes to Harvard. . . . Chas. Yale Harrison, the author, weds a schoolmarm May 6th. His 3rd Term. . . .Talented Ass’t Att’y Gen’l Thurman Arnold’s anti-trust busters won 1,058 indictments in the building probes alone! He didn’t lose an anti-trust case in 1939 . . . The Court of Appeals decision on the Hines conviction may be stalled until after the Repub convention . . . Counsellor Sabbatino, who defended Fritz Kuhn, can’t get the Bund to pay him! This means Fritz’s appeal is stumped . . . Nancy Wiman, the producer’s daughter, is ailing at New York Hosp. . . . Unless her children talk her out of it, the ex-Mrs. Raymond Rubicam will marry the Marquis Pescara of Italy in June . . . A big shakeup is going on at one of the biggest music firms over a missing 40Gs. . . . Clarence Gould, who married Dario’s former dancing mate, Diane, is quoted as talking divorce.

Some time ago we ran the denial of Dorothy Thompson after we heard that Msgr. Sheen (who converted Heywood Broun) was giving her instructions . . . We challenged the source again last week after he insisted our denial was bum reporting . . . He replied: “Her name is still on the list of those taking instructions,” and when the good Padre was asked point-blank whether or not the report was true about Miss Thompson changing her faith, he answered beautifully: “Maybe she isn’t changing her faith—perhaps she is just finding it.”

Jean Parker, the lovely actress, and Val Olman, La Martinique’s batoneer, are Cupidating via air-mail. What fun is that? . . . Jane Richardson, of “Higher and Higher” and the Mr. Big of an oil firm are un-huh . .. . Herber Yates, Jr., of Consolidated Laboratories, whose frau went to Florida for an abrogation, is now seeking it himself plus custody of the babes. Beeg story etc. . . . Ass t Sec’y of Louis E. Johnson has the right idea. On his office wall is this huge sign: “We Ain’t Mad With Nobody!” . . . It’s twin sons for the Eric Sevareids. He’s Columbia’s correspondent in Paris . . . Joan Banks, the radio actress, can’t get her folks to endorse her new romance with Frank Lovejoy, recently unwound from Frances Williams, the thrush.

Inside Info for Editors Everywhere: A movement was recently launched in Los Angeles to organize a special World War Legion, composed of former members of the American Legion . . . The latter, it appears, has been active in a campaign to deport Harry Bridges, the west coast labor leader, and this new World War Legion (according to gov’t operatives) is chiefly to support Bridges.

Laugh of the week was when Frank Nugent (who quit as movie critic on the N. Y. Times to work for Zanuck) arrived there without his car . . . He wondered if the studio would fetch him and deliver him daily. He’ll find out! . . . The Paul Haakons are wounded over the exaggeration of a recent quarrel. Their 10 months baby was christened Christopher yesterday . . . Rockland County may have another mess soon. Banks and building and loan officials, et al. . . . Look’s piece on Mickey Rodney states he is very economical. It also reports that his 18-room mansion has 15 radios . . . Claire Luce, the actress, is ill again in London with a temperature like a phone number . . . The widow of vaudeville’s most famed tramp comedian is panhandling in front of Broadway theatres where he was the headliner.

Reginald Denham, co-parent of “Ladies in Retirement” and actress Mary Orr are hotn-heavy . . . Conrad Thibault the canary, and Betsy Berkeley, a Diamond Horseshoe dancer, will blend in about a month. Both were divorced recently . . . Father Sheen will be in charge of The Temple of Religion at the Fair, they are saying . . . It isn’t fashionable to invite the Soviet and German diplomats anymore in Washington . . . Our Ain’t-He-Cute Dep’t: One of the defendants in the Murder, Inc, once shot a man merely because he gave him a hot-foot! . . . Richard Whitney, the Stock Exchange biggie has become Sing Sing’s most popular prisoner. Because he found jobs for nearly 100 released inmates he met there . . . The officials really don’t know what wrecked the Lake Shore Limited, although they said: “Excessive speed.” It was doing 50. The train right ahead rounded the same curve at 65.

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