Memos of a Girl Friday

Walter Winchell

Spartanburg Herald-Journal/May 13, 1940

Dear Mr. Column: Geo. Jessel just phoned. Said Variety’s story that his wife would appear in Philly with him is not so. Lois, he said, leaves Sunday for the coast to rent a house. He will join her there shortly where he will start writing his autobiog: “Shouldn’t Happen to a Dog!” . . . Dixie Dunbar tells me she is shopping for a honeymoon apt. That she will marry in two weeks . . . After all those belles, it may be wedding bells for Tommy Manville and Anita Rogers. His friends are crazy about the brunette beauty whom they call a Greek goddess . . . Ted Rogers just phones. Wants to know is it true Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain is resigning to join “P.M.”?

Mrs. Raymond Rubicam, ex of the big ad agency magnate, confirmed an item by marrying Marquis Pescara last Tuesday . . . Dewey’s office, I hear, will soon probe the ABC board, which will delight nearly every night club and café owner . . . The Ice Terrace Room of the New Yorker has a swell new ice revue, Larry Clinton’s crew, too . . . Rosita Royce has a new dance with a 72-year-old dove, who sings and dances and talks. His name is Trommer . . . Joe Laure, Jr. is bettering at St. Clare’s Hosp after an appen op . . . I saw “Two for the Show” again—better than opening night . . . From a Flatbush theater program: “Patrons who consider ushers uncivil should see the manager.”

Diana Barrymore’s new sport is blowing a police whistle at cabs that get in her way . . .Tip to World’s Fair photogs: There are three sets of Dutch twins as waitresses at Heineken’s Holland House . . . A prominent Wall Street broker’s wife just retained counsel to help the deportation of a certain rival . . . Then there’s the one about the multi-millionaire industrialist who has been keeping trysts in the 70s. Finally his wife got suspicious and for days she patrolled the neighborhood in a cab until she spotted his parked limousine. There was a scene—but she’s got him back now and that’s all that matters.

Francis Lederer will have a swell vacation. After his K. Cornell tour he will play opposite Hedy Lamarr in the pic, “Ziegfeld Girl” . . . The British Pavilion’s place will drop its dignity a wee bit this time—and employ John Powers models as hostesses. . . L. Prima again denies any rift with his wife. Alma, he says, has been working in “Pago Pago” with Jon Hall. Very happy, says Prima, please say so . . . Horace Dodge and Rob Scott (Mabel Boll’s boy) has a spat at the Savoy Plaza—one, two stuff. So now Bob’s mother is miffed with him, and not angry with Horace.

Hannah Williams contract for La Martinique says she mustn’t use Dempsey’s name . . . Jane Pickens will have the leading lady role in Ed Wynn’s new show. Rehearsals start in July . . . Tom and Sis Dowling took that job of hoofing at the Stork just to attract the eye of producers. They worked there for coffee-and-cake coin for 5 weeks, and nothing happened. So they quit and came in the other night as guests . . . They got up and danced and Zanuck, who was there, signed them on the spot . . . The Jergens people sent a bound copy of  tomorrow’s Ladies’ Home Journal with yours and Mrs. W’s names in gold leaf on the front . . . Lots in it I never knew before.

Remember that thing Harry Hansen had about a new book on slang? That winchell was an underworld term for a sucker? Well, a pupil at Dr Maurer’s school in the South writes and explains that Maurer was so burned up at you for something you colyumed a long time ago—he just decided to get even by saying in his article that “Winchell means playing some one for a sucker” . . . He felt you were played for one by persons who gave you the info you printed . . . That explains Hansen’s recent paragraph—wondering about the origin for the derisive term: “he was winchelled.”

Alexander Woollcott is heading for Syracuse for a consultation with his personal doc . . . A few nights before he was stricken he was feasted at the home of a man who is head of a food and wine society, a group of gourmets . . .After the big affair, Owlexander autographed a menu for his host: “From Alexander Woollcott, with gratitude and bicarbonate” . . . John Price in The Richmond (Va.) Beacon, points out that one fifth of the world is ruled today by ex cons. Mussolini had eleven jail sentences, Hitler served one, Stalin did time in a Siberian jail for train robbery, De Valera served three for political reasons, as did Gandhi.

I had a call today from a stranger who wondered if it is true that a show called “The Elephant Shepherd” by Vernon Smith (15 years ago) inspired “The Man Who Came to Dinner” . . . He says Chic Sale starred in it. The play, which was adapted from a Mack Sennet two-reeler, was about a man who was knocked down by an automobile and thereafter ruled the driver’s household—threatening that he could sue if they didn’t yield to his wishes . . . A special movie edition of Rachel Field’s best seller, “All This—And Heaven Too” will be out next month. She got $100,000 for the movie rights. She is dedicating the new edition: “To America—for All This and Heaven Too”  . . . Chuck Walters dancing in “DuBarry” is delightful . . . Is he married?

At the Embassy, there’s a newsreel showing J. P. McEvoy interviewing Wendell Willkie . . . Mr. McEvoy asked the presidential possibility: “How did you ever get to Wall Street, you weren’t born here? . . . “Let’s not mention Wall Street,” persuaded the utilities tycoon—and so they shot the scene over.

Your quote from the N.Y. Times about a Berlin newscaster “who sounds like Walter Winchell” has more than meets the eye and ear. Eight months ago, I learn, Goebbels had been informed you were the Nazis No. 1 Public Enemy in the U.S. . . . For two months (eight broadcasts) they made recordings of your programs for analysis and study . . . Then they put on a guy to ape you as closely as possible—on the ground that if your style was what appealed to listeners so much—they’d copy it to get attention to their stuff . . . If you publish this, I am told it will spoil the chance to get added info on the subject. So what?

Veloz and Yolanda and Arthur Murray Murray will open a school for dancing in the Ambassador, Los Angeles . . . Carl Cooper couldn’t stop laughing yesterday so he called up a hospital for advice “Get married!” was the amazing reply . . . Get out your orchids for Mark Hellingers “Brother Orchid” picture, I hear it’s fine . . . The Allied Relief Ball is at the Astor at midnight . . . MGM is trying to break up the Ilona Massey-Alan Curtis romance, but they may wed, so in love are they . . Rourke McCormack called. Said he was surprised at you-that describing a gang of pigs is easy. A group of musicians is a band, a group of bananas is a bunch, and a group of pigs is a Bund! –Your Girl Friday.

(Source: Google News,