Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Where Was I Then?

Another of those where-were-you-then memories: It must have been scary, for me to recall the scene so vividly after 75 years. 
It had to be Sunday evening, and it had to be later than Jack Benny’s program, because Daddy was listening to Walter Winchell. I can still see him, sitting in Daddy’s Chair next to the big Philco floor radio. That’s the Chair I never could bring myself to sit in, not even 70 years later when it ended up in Anna’s apartment in Manhattan.
Winchell started his rapid-fire news and gossip delivery –  "Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America from border to border and coast to coast and all the ships at sea. Let's go to press!"  (yes, I just googled that, because I couldn't remember the border-to-border and coast-to-coast part)  and then he broke in – this was the scary part -- to announce, several times during the program, that “There has been no emergency in New Jersey this evening.”  Or maybe it was “no catastrophe”. 
I  believe Orson Welles said Winchell’s assurance that no Martians had landed only contributed to the panic about Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast that Halloween eve in 1938.
But anyhow -- how come I  wasn’t out trick-or- treating?

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