Walter Winchell

Lead: From the mid-1930s to the 1950s, arguably the most powerful journalist in the United States was Walter Winchell.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: For nearly three decades Winchell helped set styles, shaped public opinion, passed on juicy gossip, boosted the careers of those he admired and occasionally ruined others. He came from a troubled home and early on sought the escape afforded by show business. Winchell spent his teenage years and early twenties in the backwaters of America singing and dancing as a vaudeville performer. During the spring of 1920 Winchell began to put together a little gossip sheet for the members of the company with which he was touring. This led to a column in the "The Vaudeville News" and eventually employment on its staff. Ten years on the circuit had made Winchell into an entertainer and taught him how to reach and hold an audience, lessons he applied to great usefulness in the future.