The Private Papers of a Cub Reporter

Walter Winchell

Spartanburg Herald-Journal/May 9, 1940

Times Square Tickertape: Owney Madden’s adventure in the lockup was the beginning of a plan to offset Dewey’s record for keeping the town laundered. Election stuff . . . The New York Express, after that terrific buildup, folded after one issue . . . The Louis Primas, despite all their denials, parted in Boston . . . Eric Von Stroheim is stuck over here not because he is waiting for a Clipper but because he is waiting for a visa. The chump used no tact in Washington, where he got sassy . . . Billy Rose’s Diamond Horseshoe revue is rated better than ever . . . The public scandal over the Bund’s finances will dwarf the Kuhn case in coin and odor . . . Harry Richman says the Derby horse he bet on came in so late he had to tip-toe in when he got to the stable!

 At the Game Cock last night, a group was discussing the award of the Drama Critics’ Circle to the Saroyan opus . . . “If the members are so certain,” said someone, “Why are so many of them giving and writing explanations for their choice?”

“They’ve already given the award,” said Ralph Watkins. “What they’re trying to do now is—‘Square the Circle.’”

 And Jack Stutz defines this year’s drama award as: “A Plaque-out”!

 Members of the Midwestern Psychological Ass’n got the scientific low-down on why “boy loves girl”  . . . It never struck us as so much of a problem of “why” but of “why not?” . . . Bruno Lessing (Rudolph Block), who died last week, was the most envied reporter in the world. He went where he like, wrote what he liked in his “Vagabondia” column and never stayed put long enough to collect any enemies . . . The columnist for the Topenish (Wash) Review is an Indian gal named Nancy Wak Wak . . . Nancy’s ancestors may have been plundered by the whites, but she’s in a trade now where she’ll learn how to really get robbed . . . Joe Pew, GOP boss in Pennsy, no like Dewey’s chances for the White House, Time reports . . . Pew, who says how the Republican moola will be spent on the campaign, Time goes on, “like all G.O.P. bosses wants a man who can win . .  That’s bad reporting. What Pew wants is a Democrat who can’t.

 About ten weeks ago a columnist ran a line saying that Elinor Troy had been dining with a very rich old brewer. And that she was trying to get him to put up coin in a George Jessel venture because she was smitten with Jessel . . . The line was a phony, but it started a lot of items . . . Lois Andrews, the adored of a brewer, resented this report greatly. She decided she would meet “this guy Jessel” and upset La Troy’s romantic applecart . . . The rest you know.

Allen Prescott was visiting in South Carolina and found himself among the horsey set . . . Usually never at a loss for conversation, this time he sat like a dummy, knowing not a thing about horses, especially the lingo . . . Suddenly his hostess discovered him and said: “And what sport do you like?” . . . “I shoot,” said Prescott . . . “Really” she really’d, “and what do you shoot?” . . . “Horses!” was the retort.

“Escape,” the much-discovered novel, is by an anonymous author, whose identity must not be exposed because it might compromise our Gov’t. This much may be said: She is a professional woman (an American) living in Europe. She never wrote a line before . . . The very few people in the publishing business who know her name have sworn to protect it. An exciting book.

Once there was a fabulous office boy. He hooked on with the Washington bureau of a New England daily. He was a hard working kid, none better for handling bores on the phone, rustling sandwiches, etc. . . . One day his two bosses were puzzled on how to verify a hot tip. The lad instructed them, and when his hunch clicked they asked him how he happened to know. There was some gab at a White House tea, he explained, where the point had come up. Yes, sure, but what was he doing at a White House tea?

“Oh,” he replied blandly, “I go to all of them.”

These same two had another yarn blocked by a financial angle they couldn’t run to earth. The money men shied away from the story, and the reporters were wondering how they could reach J. P. Morgan.

“Maybe I can help,” offered the apprentice. “I’m spending Sunday with him.”

The boy had been so spry bringing in sandwiches that when he asked for an extra day off on the weekend, he got it. He explained he intended to visit his folks in New England. Perhaps, suggested one of the bosses, who was getting dazed at the youngster’s marvels, he wanted to fetch down his cabin cruiser and polo ponies.

“Oh, no,” retorted the upstart, “I’ve got them here.”

The Herald Tribune editorially states that Raymond Clapper is one of the columnists who continually finds fault with all prospective Presidential candidates—except FDR . . . Well, the H-T’s editorialist apparently isn’t one of confrere Clapper’s constant constituents . . . Because Mr. Clapper is anti-Third Term and has often argued why FDR shouldn’t run again . . .Here is the probable prize for the Most Cautious Statement of the Year: By P. J. Philip, the N.Y. Times’ Paris boy: “They (the Russians) are simply pro-Russian and probably pro-Communistic” . . . Probably??? . . . All the Nazi methods of treachery in Norway (which is now such big news) was shown to Americans a long time ago in the film, “Confessions of a Nazi Spy” . . . Some morally starched New York newspapers censor the word “hell” out of their stage and move ads, but accept adverts showing half-nude girls wearing girdles.

The Portland, Oregon, reader who wondered what the collective noun is when referring to more than “a litter” of pigs, may now rest in peace . . . Mrs. A. M. Herrett of Cleveland wires: “Herd of cattie, flock of sheep and droves of pigs” . . . Ann Ragel of Savanna, Ill, wires: “If your reader means freshly born pigs the answer would be litter. If she means grown up pigs (hogs) either a drove or a pack would be the noun” . . . J. Allen Dunn of The Explorers Club, New York, says the answer is in the 27th edition of Ye Holy Bible (Chapter VIII of St. Luke, verses 32 and 33) to wit: “And there was an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain.”

Add Literary Lace: Bugs Baer in the Journal and American: “In Europe, first they name a street in your honor. Then they chase you down it” . . . Phil Leff in the same gazette: “The book closed with And they lived happily ever after’—which is more than I can say for the readers” . . . Anon: “A dope is a guy who doesn’t know something you just learned yesterday” . . . Margaret Mara in The Brooklyn Eagle: “Women may be clever in getting in the last word, but no one can slam a door as effectively as a man.”

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