The New York Scene

Walter Winchell

Spartanburg Herald-Journal/May 6, 1940

The First Nighters: Robert E. Sherwood set the first nighters to shivering in their ermine Monday night with his “There Shall Be No Night.” This tells how the Bolo and Ratzi ape men plundered and butchered in little Finland, but it also tells too many of us that the fiercest enemy of the world is insanity. The Lunts play the leads like angels, and the attraction got Mantle’s four stars, or 100% . . . Saroyan, the Mike Romanoff of the playwrights, opened in a new hot dog stand Thursday night, the title of it being, “Love’s Old Sweet Song.” Walter Huston and Jessie Royce Landis give a lift to his wordage. “But,” said John Anderson, “his latest play must make even his admirers pause . . . it is, I suspect, a verbal binge in which the author, intoxicated by the sound of his own words, swings on imaginary trapezes and falls flat on his face” . . . That’s practically taking the words right out of our affidavit of the last time . . . “Grey Farm,” another addition to the spring murder program, arrived Friday. It was authored by two Englishmen, Terrence Rattigan and Hector Bolitho, with a London stranger, Oscar Homolka, the centre of the homicide . . . Brock Pemberton gave the gun to “Out From Under” last night. How it did will be reported a week from today.


The Magic Lanterns: Business is so brisk in the picture houses that even some of the “B’s” are lapping into a second week . . . “Rebecca” plays its sixth at the Music Hall . . . “Star Dust,” a pleasant fable of the movie lots, is all about the talent scouts, and what sacrifices they make to find youngsters who don’t know anything about acting. Linda Darnell is pretty and fresh in it . . . “Saturday’s Children” is an entertaining reissue of Maxwell Anderson’s stage play. John Garfield and Anne Shirley are a nice Mr. and Mrs. who make a liar out of the man who said two can live as cheaply as one . . . “Charlie Chan’s Murder Cruise” is another helping of the Chinese sleuth, who is Sidney Toler these days. Satisfactory guess-who stuff . . . Laurel and Hardy romp through the gamut of double-takems and pratt falls in “Saps at Sea” . . . Boris Karloff is aprowl with his bag of horrors in “The Man With Nine Lives.” It’s a medico who can give out with frozen sleep—as what landlord can’t? . . . London refuses to spring 90 cents for “Gone With the Wind,” and Mr. Selznick’s longie may have to join Hitler in trying to run the blockade.


The Wireless: Goebbel’s radio monkeys are out of rhythm. One broadcast a hooray that the Allies were getting out of Norway. Then along comes one of the hired cry-babies to howl that the British and French are intensifying things there. The Heinies feel picked on even when things are good . . . Dr. Smith, who presides over the “Where Are You From” show, is good listening. Give him your accent and he’ll tell you if you’re from Punxsutawney or Palo Alto . . . Romona, who used to flog pianny for Whiteman, heads her own show now—ably. Tenoring Jimmy Shields is a helpful associate . . . That “Something Something American Baby” that Buddy Clark peeled off on the “P. of Happiness” charade was uphill going. Too bad, because usually the songs on that hour are better than good . . . Crosby got hold of one tailored to his larnyx in “When April Plays the Fiddle.” You’ll be ducking it before long, so sure is it of popularity . . . The other night the narrator presenting Marion Claire peddled his customary “Now we present,” etc., and then, as if reading from the script, tacked on: “You look lovely tonight, Marion.” Almost sounded as if he had a gun held to his head . . . Those song commercials kidded off the networks ever so long ago, are having a revival—still full of bad sales talk and corn.


The Story Tellers: Alice Roosevelt Longworth, soap-boxing for Sen. Taft in Ben Franklin’s Weekly, says she’s for him because “I do not yearn any longer for the man who is always on his toes waving his hat, raising his voice, ‘rarin’ to go here, there, anywhere.” But as Shaw said about something else, Alice, who are you against, so many? . . . Paul Gallico has a new novel on his Hiram Holiday reporter hero beginning in the current Cosmopolitan . . . Pare Lorentz, who has shown Hollywood he can make movies with the best of them, still practices his film criticking in McCall’s. Trying to prove producers can write? . . . You get a new slant on “that gay Paree” in Fortune. It reproduces a spread of paintings which show there is plenty of war on the Seine, even if the Boche haven’t got there yet. Never saw so many long kissers . . .. Paul Edward Miller explains, in Musical Facts, the difference between the old jazz and today’s hot jazz which, of course, has been puzzling you. Today’s, you might as well know, makes “more frequent use of the tempo rubato and differs in its more intense valuation of the polyrhythms of both the section and solo parts of the orchestra.” . . . Not to mention “its more radical use of dissonances and polytonal harmonies.” Thank the man.


The Front Pages: Raymond Clapper, the Washington columnist, labeled “There Shall Be No Night” a recruiting pamphlet for the Allies. He hinted road companies might be sent out to spread the propaganda. Mr. Clapper need have no alarms at propaganda at $3.30 a listen . . .The World-Telly rates a bow for Thomas L. Stokes’ expose on the Klan, which was broken up once before by the efforts of that daily’s blood kin, the old Morning World . . . Another stab at the Kluxers could be delivered by the Pulitzer brothers, with the prize to Negro Richard Wright’s novel, “Native Son” . . . The weirdest bleat of war hysteria can be charged to Rome’s Regime Fascist. It accuses the Osservatore Romana, organ of the Vatican, of being directed by Jews! . . . And the Moscow papers fatherly regard for the “workers” (exclusive of those they murdered in Finland) in the May Day editorials is so ridiculous that they really should hold their Red celebrations on a more suitable day—say, April 1.


The Headliners: Said Jeannette MacDonald: “Autograph hounds aren’t any bother” . . . If you’re a nobody . . . Loretta Young’s quote: “Years ago, press agents could persuade actors and actresses to say the silliest things”. . . How times don’t change. . . Jean Parker’s remarkable remarks: “I married my ex-husband because I loved him” . . . Well, that’s a novel reason . . . Virginia Bruce revealed: “I’d give up my career to insure a happy married life” . . . That’s nothing. Lois Andrews gave up a kiddie car for Jesse! . . . Announced Laurence Olivier: “I’d rather be a second rate actor than an over-publicized glamour boy” . . . What’s the difference? . . Said Louis Hayward: “Most actors are self-conscious” . . . Self or Un? . . . Said Hedy Lamarr: “I have grown cautious, I used to run against stone walls” . . . Oh, to be a stone wall . . . Brenda Marshall’s message of the week: “I am glad I live in California, the land of perpetual sunshine” . . . Especially when it isn’t raining . . . Announced Cornelia Otis Skinner: “Out-of-town audiences have all the mental equipment of the New York playgoer” . . . It that a compliment or a dirty dig? . . .Lord Haw Haw’s revelation: “The Nazi leaders in America are names to be revered” . . .Names to be revered? The leaders of Nazism in America is just another number in Sing Sung.

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