Radio stars (July 1933)

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RADIO STARS WINCHELL-BERNIE feud One day, Winchell prints a whole plateful of "scallions" for Bernie. Next evening, Bernie drawls a couple of anti-Winchell remarks on the air. Do they really hate each other so much? Or is it—? imwl&£E°-%N BERNE SEA' TNI MTTL£ OF THE CENTURY "This wise guy Walter Winchell," he said. "Instead of being on the ether, he should be under it." And Winchell retorted, "That's as sour as Ben Bernie's fiddling." After that, the battle was on. Winchell was called this, that and the other. Ben Bernie, who bills himself as the Old Maestro, became the Old Shystro, the Old Mousetrap, the Old Mice-tro. And the country began to talk. What about this feud on the air? Should it be permitted? Should Winchell's grudge be allowed to annoy Ben Bernie fans? Clubs were formed and committees appointed. The shoulders of Uncle Sam's mailmen began to sag under the weight of letters written to Mr. Blue Ribbon Malt (Bernie's spon- sor) and Mr. Jergen's Lotion (Winchell's sponsor). They were letters of protest. SUDDENLY, Walter's acidulous wisecracks were choked off. No more mention of Bernie. No more mention of the Big Ben whose "Yowsir," and "Fo'give me" have become a part of our smoothie schoolgirl's rep- artee. No more mean remarks about his fiddling. Why? I'll tell you. The men who paid Walter's bills decided that too many people were being offended by this attack on Ben Bernie. Too many hot-tempered Ben Bernie fans were raring up on their hind legs and taking offence at the Winchell witticisms. Being offended, they tuned off Winchell and the Jergen's program whenever they got the chance. Which, you must admit, wasn't good for Mr. Jergen's business. That is why Walter leaves Ben alone these days. But does Ben leave Walter alone? He does not. His sponsors don't mind. So Ben cracks on. pummeling the temporarily defenseless Winchell whose answers must be written in his syndicated column. But are they really angry? Listen, this feud starts a good many years ago when Ben Bernie and Walter Winchell went to school together at P. S. 184 in New York. It started the day Bernie found himself in a tough spot with the neighborhood bully. Back to the wall, with tiny fists doubled valiantly, he was in for a licking. But a hard-boiled little classmate with his cap cocked aggressively (Continued on page 40) 7