The Walter Winchell Show

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Columnist Walter Winchell had been a mainstay on the early years of ABC television with a simulcast of his 15-minute weekly time radio show until he left ABC in 1955 in a dispute with executives. The Walter Winchell Show of 1960 was the result of his agreement to return with a half hour, television-only broadcast.

In his five year absence from ABC, the number of television programs linked directly to radio had dwindled greatly, as the still-newish medium had developed its own actors, and the remaining radio holdovers had learned how to play to the camera. Winchell would have none of this. Still wearing his felt "reporter" hat on the air, and punching out bogus "Morse Code" with his telegraph key to punctuate his stories, Winchell came across as a relic of another era. Even his trademark opening line, "Good evening Mr. and Mrs. North and South America and all the ships at sea ... let's go to press!" seemed obsolete by 1960.

The revived Winchell program was a Nielsen ratings disaster and was cancelled after only six broadcasts. Winchell's only real association with ABC or television after this was his continued narration of The Untouchables until that program was cancelled three years later.


Brooks, Tim and Marsh, Earle, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows