Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Up in the Morning with Winch

Combining two words into one in the show biz world goes back long before the days of “Sharknado” and “Bennifer.” I don’t know who started it, but I peered at a Walter Winchell column from the late ‘40s the other day and it included such pen-sations as “Chet Howard's crew is swelegant,” “one chorusiren” and “Henry Morgan and his Floridarling.”

Winchell had a radio gossip show for many years where he’d grease the airwaves and slip one of these combo-jumbos at the audience. Leave it to Bob and Ray to make fun of it in a sketch called “Up in the Morning With Winch,” which aired on CBS on October 15, 1959. Their version featured Winch talking to his secretary, Lizzie Outlan. I don’t believe Winchell ever did that on air. His private secretary was Rose Bigman. At the time, Winchell had a 15-minute radio show on Sunday nights on WOR New York. The West Coast copycat in the sketch is undoubtedly Jimmy Fidler.

Bob and Ray’s ear for Winchell’s use of the language was so astute, allow me to transcribe the whole routine. (If anyone knows what stock music they used on CBS, let me know).

Bob: And, hi, gossip fans. This is Ed Winch, with an able assist from my gal/secretary Lizzie Outlan. We’ll be talking about the goings-on in Bigtown, U.S.A. here on “Up in the Morning With Winch.” Liz, what’s new?
Ray: Ed, I hear the Indian playboy, Rumat Singh, is back in town, scattering money around like water.
Bob: Yes, he’s a real maharajerk. He should read what Mr. B. Franklin had to say about exceeding one’s income, etc. etc. etc.
Ray: Are the rumors true about Happy Delmonico, the famous comedian, causing dissention back stage?
Bob: Yes, this teevee tee-hee has his videassociates worried about his late arrivals at the studio, and his constant refusals to leave the backstage area in order to emcee his own show while it’s in progress. From great to ingrate.
Ray: Ed, I hear the Marvin Strobels are expecting their tenth child soon. Is that true?
Bob: Yes, they certainly keep the sparks flying. Mrs. Strobel is former chorinockout, beautieyeful Joan Storm.
Ray: And, Ed, is it true that you’ve been barred from another night spot?
Bob: Yes, and I won’t even mention the club owner’s name. Let’s just say he’s distrodious and forget the item.
Ray: Ed, there’s a man out west who does the same sort of thing you do on radio. Have you heard about him?
Bob: Yes, and I have a message for him, Liz. Mr. Microphoney, while you’re taking bravocades for your broadcast, remember this: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Now, last week, I came down with a virus. Think you can do the same, Mr. Copy Fathead?
Ray: Is the Al Rockwell/Alma Libby romance off again, Ed?
Bob: Yes, they’re doing their sep-parties at separate tables.
Ray: And I hear the Don Cutlers are having their troubles, too.
Bob: That’s right. Don is a pilot for South Central Airlines and their marriage is up in the air. Mrs. C. is former thrusher-lovely Iris Beechwood.
Ray: Any inside information on gangland, Ed?
Bob: I have a tip for the boys in blue, Liz. Racketsap Eddie Brockway is back on the streets again a free man. None of us will rest until this mad dog, this mongrelomanic is behind bars once more. Are you listening politico R.J.?
Ray: Are there any new hit shows along the Rialto, Ed?
Bob: Yes, a new socko musical called “Meet Me in Pittsburgh.” The firs-snipers couldn’t stop clapplauding. The show is a happy blending of corn and old jokes. I counted 34 standeavesdroppers on opening night. Definitely a cash smash.
Ray: But didn’t “Meet Me in Pittsburgh” close last night, Ed?
Bob: Right, even though the show was good the cast had put on a lemonstration that won’t soon be forgotten in these parts.
Ray: And what is your colorful description of Wall Street, Ed?
Bob: The New York stock yard, a place where millions of people change hands every day.
Ray: I think you mean dollars, not hands, Ed.
Bob: And today’s wrap-up item: Ed Winch’s gal/secretary just became an unemployedope. 30 for now.


  1. In the early days of Time magazine they tried mashing words together: "radiorator" was one of theirs.

    1. Yup, the syntax Time used early on rivaled Variety's legendary "slanguage." It was spoofed in an article Wolcott Gibbs wrote about Henry Luce's empire. "Backward ran sentences until reeled the mind... Where it all will end, knows God!"

      One popular Winchellism was "Reno-vated" to describe celebrity divorces.

      And Jimmy Fidler was spoofed as "Jimmy Cello" in a "Richard Diamond" episode.