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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Looking out for our own » » Paul Winchell Passes Away (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Kevin Connolly
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New Jersey
1329 Posts

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I just read an obit for Paul Winchell today. He was something else. A true renaissance man. He made my childhood enjoyable.
Please visit my website.
www.houdinihimself.com

Always looking buy or trade for original Houdini, Hardeen and escape artist items. I'm interested in books, pitchbooks and ephemera. Email [email]hhoudini@optonline.net[/email]
Bill Ligon
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Inner circle
A sure sign of a misspent youth:
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I'm sorry to hear that. I remember him, too.
Author of THE HOLY ART: Bizarre Magick From Naljorpa's Cave. NOW IN HARDCOVER! VIEW: <BR>www.lulu.com/content/1399405 ORDER: http://stores.lulu.com/naljorpa
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alson
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This is sad .First Jay Marshall and now Paul. Both were very great ventriloquists.
Alson
Skip Way
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I remember the day many years ago that I heard that Paul Winchell was retiring from show business. I was devastated and surprised. Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead were as important to me as were Charlie McCarthy, Mortimer Snerd, Farfel and Lambchops. In fact, my first and most favored puppet was a Jerry Mahoney vent doll.

How many knew that he was the voice of "Winnie the Pooh's" Tigger, Boomer in "The Fox & The Hound", the Siamese Cat in "Aristocats", thingy Dastardly in "The Wacky Races", Fleagle of "The Banana Splits" (La la la, La la la la, La la la, La la la la...One Banana, two bananas...), Zummi of "The Gimmi Bears" and Gargamel of "The Smurfs."

Against Disney wishes, he inserted "TTFN...Ta Ta for now!" into one of his Winnie the Pooh scripts and it became a Tigger standard. In fact, if you ask children who their favorite Disney character is, Tigger's name will crop up more often than any other...including the grand master, Mickey Mouse.

Paul and Jerry even raced another popular television star from Death Valley Days in an early Soap Box Derby promotion in Akron, Ohio. The winners...Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney. The loser, for the first time in a long career...Ronald Reagan. Mr. Reagan claimed that Jerry had a heart-to-heart with his close relatives...the wooden racers...urging Mr. Reagan's racer to hold back and coaxing a little extra speed out of the Winchell racer.

Following his retirement from show business, Dr. Winchell (He had a Doctorate in Acupuncture and held an honorary Doctorate in Science from the National Christian University.) invented the artificial heart, the disposable razor, the flameless cigarette lighter used in automobiles, the illuminated ball-point pen, and countless other interesting bits.

I will cherish the videos I have of his performances. He will be missed...but the mark made upon our lives by this man will remain forever. It's time for Jerry Mahoney to take his place of honor next to Charlie and Lambchop in the Smithsonian Americana exhibit.

Well done, Dr. Winchell. Thank you.

:o( Skip
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
Todd Robbins
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New York
2902 Posts

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Woody Allen's first writing job was for Paul Winchell.
cardone
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He was a master ventriloquist and will be remembered ! If you can find it ..listen the the record he made with Jerry Mahoney called" Chips of Wisdom ".....simply touching .......
MagicalArtist
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Hobart, Indiana
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Anybody remember the old "scrubbing bubbles" commercials on TV? Yep, that was Paul Winchell too.

My first introduction to Paul Winchell was his book "Ventriloquism for fun and profit" which I found at my local library. This was written while Paul was still doing his TV show back in the 1950's. Paul had an infectious love for ventriloquism that really came through in his book. I had a whole new enthusiasm for vent after reading it. the book is still in print and I think anyone who is interested in ventriloquism will have fun reading it. David Copperfield wrote the introduction to the current edition. (Speaking of Copperfield, he was a fan of Paul's TV show as a boy, and it was inspired to become up a magician when he was in a magic shop looking for a figure!)

Speaking of his TV show, Paul was one of the pioneers of early television, with the Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney show. Paul was incredibly imaginative in creating the show. He combined the arts of ventriloquism and puppetry in a way that has never been done before or since. Jerry Mahoney was not just a wooden figure on his knee; he was a full-fledged actor in many comedy-dramas that Paul acted out. In one skit they might be private detectives on the trail of bank robbers, in another they were in the jungle being chased by headhunters, or spaceman exploring the surface of Mars. The technical hurdles that had to be overcome to stretch ventriloquism in such new directions were enormous.

In the later years of his life, Paul made a video with the same title as his book as a tribute to the art of ventriloquism and to encourage young ventriloquists.

Here's another interesting story: Paul was involved in a battle with a TV station over the rights to his TV series of the 1950's. Paul thought he should be able to distribute the shows to any station that he desired, while The station that held them thought they should be able to sit on the series and have exclusive rights. Paul was in the process of taking them to court, and to settle the matter they destroyed all episodes of the show! Only a few remain today in public circulation.

The greatest scene of the trial was went Paul took Jerry Mahoney on the stand and Jerry said, "You know Judge, your gavel and I are made of the same stuff. " The attorney for the TV station denounced it as theater and grandstanding but Paul won the case to the tune of a very nice some. The judge called what the TV station did one of the most reprehensible acts of cultural vandalism in recent history.

Paul was also a deep thinker, writing some very interesting and controversial material on religion and the larger issues of life. If you're a freethinker you'll be interested in his very informative book on the subject available as a free PDF download on his website, http://paulwinchell.com/ . You can also find tons of memorabilia and audio there. What a great inspiration.
rossmacrae
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Arlington, Virginia
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If you're going to read his autobiography as linked to on his website (and it is a fascinating book) be aware that it contains a lot of unpoleasantness about his family - a word from a slightly different perspective (his daughter April), including both a vigorous defense of her mother and a surprising amount of compassion for her father, can be found at http://www.aprilwinchell.com/6/21/2005/
MagicalArtist
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Hobart, Indiana
369 Posts

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Yikes! Some pretty harsh words on her site. I know Paul tried to kill himself a number of times during the height of his success back in the 1950's and I guess he still had some personal demons he never did get rid of, even at the very end. Oh well, I guess the same mind that made him a great achiever also tormented him for his entire life.
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