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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I'm a real boy! » » Has anyone read "Winch" by Paul Winchell? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Carl Mustaine
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I keep coming across this on the net but the prices asked are always incredible.

I cannot find any reference to it on the "authorhouse" website and I was wondering if the copyright was still valid?

So, has anyone read it, and is it good enough to warrant paying a lot of money for?

Thanks (as always)

Carl
TalkinHorse
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I haven't read the book, but maybe this comment will be worthwhile...

Paul Winchell's daughter, April Winchell, has done voice and media work (you'll find her in IMDB), and for a while she had a radio show on a Los Angeles station. Sometimes she spoke of her father. Some of what she said was extremely weird; I think she was telling the truth, but you can decide for yourself whether to believe. For example, she describes an incident when she was young (maybe 10 or so?), and I guess there was some marital stress at the time. Anyway, April's mother was out of the house one day, and Paul came to April and said he'd just had a phone call telling him that the mother had been killed in a traffic accident. Then he showed her how he'd turned the living room into a memorial for the departed mother, with various knicknacks set out in surreal geometric patterns. April knew the phone had not rung, and she'd already learned to go on normally under abnormal circumstances. So she nodded and mentally shrugged.

With respect to the book, when it came out, April said it had pretty much omitted any reference to the existence of April or her sister or her mother. Paul had divorced from April's mother and remarried, and this bit of history was expunged. I don't think April or her sister or mother had any contact with her father for the rest of his life. So April basically told us to avoid the book. I think a few of her listeners went to Amazon and posted bogus negative reviews, which were later deleted.

When the book came out, it was reasonably priced. Then it disappeared from print, and the price skyrocketed, as you see. I wondered if there was a story behind that; some restraining order or effort to suppress it or the like. I'm not suggesting an evil conspiracy; just wondering what happened.
Fonsy
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Paul Winchell had a difficult life, and much of his biography
will leave you feeling sad.
However, there are also aspects of the book that provide
insight into his philosophy and creativity.

I would recommend you read this book despite whatever omissions
and fabrications may be contained within it
IF (and this is an important if) you can find a reasonably priced copy.

The lowest price I saw online is $90, and I personally think this is
too steep. Of course, it's much better than the sellers who are
asking $200 and $300 for a copy.

You might want to check with your local libraries.
Aussie
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Interesting. I'll be keeping an eye out for this book.
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marshalldoll
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I have read Winch and although it is very dark it also opens your eyes as to how smart Paul was and how he was able to accomplish so much after having been held back by his dark side. A lot of freedom was taken by him in this biography but I still think nit is worth the read.
Dan
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I never read it. I remember when it came out, I'd heard enough from people who read it that it didn't sound like something I'd want to get and read. Although I wish I had, and just waded through the dark stuff to get to the stuff that would interest me. But oh well, too late now, for the prices it's selling for now, it's not likely I will be getting it.
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Dickens & Dave
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Wow, what's up with Winchell's books? I have his book, "God 2000 Religion Without the Bible" and the lowest price I saw is 80-something now.
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"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
TalkinHorse
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Since there seems to be some curiosity, I looked and found the interview segment with April Winchell that I mentioned in my earlier post. This was heard on KABC in Los Angeles on May 14, 2004. Paul Winchell was still alive at the time. April is talking to the radio host Marc Germain, who broadcast under the name of Mr. KABC. Be warned that, although the tone is of lighthearted banter, this is a troubling anecdote. It's not as serious as child molesting or the like, but certainly disturbing. So it may be that some would rather not listen, and just remember the pleasure Paul Winchell gave them.

http://youtu.be/nPbuo-jziFQ
Fonsy
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Quote:
On 2012-12-07 02:43, TalkinHorse wrote:
I looked and found the interview segment with April Winchell that I mentioned in my earlier post.


Paul Winchell did have problems, and he admitted many of them in his book.
But April is not without any problems of her own.
One should take what she says with a large grain of salt.
TalkinHorse
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Quote:
On 2012-12-07 23:47, Fonsy wrote:

Paul Winchell did have problems, and he admitted many of them in his book.
But April is not without any problems of her own.
One should take what she says with a large grain of salt.


Yes, April certainly has a few issues of her own.

I'm not trying to sort this out in terms of heroes and villains. Paul's contribution to the world is an odd collection; you wouldn't expect to find the same man doing cartoon voices and designing components of an artificial heart. And I know he did a lot of other things, in technical and philosophical fields. Must have been an interesting character. It wouldn't surprise me if he had a dark side.

Ah, well, we are all complex creatures. With respect to this audio clip...it's interesting, but I would keep in mind that it's merely a single thread in a much greater tapestry.

I'd take a look at that "Winch" book, but not at current prices.
TalkinHorse
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I browsed around the web, and found this old press release.

Quote:
(PRWEB) April 5, 2004 -- After many years of waiting, fans of legendary ventriloquist, Paul Winchell, can now learn the real, life story of one of the more unusual television performers of our time, the amazing Paul Winchell. Far more than a ventriloquist and television performer, Paul Winchell’s life is hard to contain even in, WINCH, his 400 page autobiography, because, unlike most people in this strange planet, Paul Winchell dared to be himself. And by daring to follow his own golden thread of truth, Paul Winchell, like the legendary Ariadne, met the Minotaur, his own monster within. This true story is a tale, which transcends even his meteoric rise to fame and fortune as one of the leading television entertainers of the 50’s and the 60’s and many other facets of his amazing life.

As Winchell proclaims on the dust jacket, on the back of WINCH’s bright and inviting cover, with the pictures famous ventriloquist and his dummies in his television studio, “Let me warn you at the outset, this is not a typical Hollywood memoir. In a way, it is a ghost story, written by a person who lived in two completely different worlds. Publicly, I lived in a world of glitter and celebrity. Privately, I lived in a world dominated by a ghostly apparition, elevated to deific proportions. In this secret world, I made an excruciatingly difficult odyssey towards self-knowledge.”

Both the glitter and the nightmare of his life are relentlessly tracked in a book, which sometimes reads like Horatio Alger and sometimes like Stephen King. In fact, most of his fans will be shocked to learn of the Paul Winchell who had a private life outside of the limelight, whose true life was so different than that of the public Paul. Winchell. Although many celebrities have written books that brush the cobwebs under the table, Paul Winchell does not. In WINCH, Paul Winchell mercilessly chronicles the private war he fought against the darkness within himself.

During the 1930’s, a kid from Coney Island is struck by the art of Edgar Bergen, a ventriloquist who has soared to fame on a radio show, the Chase and Sanborn hour. Bergen, through his writings and performances becomes the mentor that launches young Winchell on his career. Eventually, Winch becomes to television what Bergen was to radio, climbing through the world of radio and Big Bands. Still, the death of his mother, Clara, who he both loved and feared, an unhappy marriage and torrid love affair ignite the latent psychological problems within. Winch, despite his great success, lives in a supernatural world, assailed by an apparition, who assumes monstrous, almost deific proportions

Eventually, this interior world turned upside down, overtakes the real world. His fight to exorcise his demons continues, as he develops numerous prime time TV shows and children’s shows, which dominate the airwaves for more than two decades. Although partially drowning in a world of unspeakable fear and supernatural horror, he studies psychology, religion, mythology and, medical hypnosis. Unwilling to be imprisoned by his second life, he continues his productive work in entertainment and even undertakes many creative enterprises, including the thrilling invention of artificial heart, courageous projects for someone consumed by a secret terrifying nightmare.

From the crude supernaturalism of his own mother, Clara Wilchin, a woman obsessed with hellfire and ***ation to the friendship and suave showmanship of mentor, Edgar Bergen; from the powerful friendship of Ed Sullivan which helped him achieve national notoriety to the uncaring contempt of the wife of an early marriage, from the fierce seductiveness of his Latin mistress, Rosetta Solares to the cruel indifference of Frank Sinatra; from his friendly competitor, Ronald Reagan, who he beat in a national soap box race to the unquenchable loyalty of Major Bowes, his first sponsor and lifelong friend- WINCH is filled to the brim with unforgettable characters and alliances, some powerful friendships and some terrifying betrayals..

The book, which has also spawned a screenplay, is part of a larger plan of Paul Winchell’s to not only tell the story of his life in this one book, but to develop a series of books and films that will renew, revitalize and project many of his old characters into a new twenty-first century format. “To this end, as I have stated in my introduction, I have somewhat fictionalized my story- partly to protect certain identities. I hope that there are those who have been abused in this way that will profit from my story and perhaps there are those who will re-examine their relationships to present and future children on the basis of this narrative.”

“Although this is an adult book- and, believe me, it is nothing but an adult book- it is my belief that this book will enable me to rekindle some of my old shows and reformulate my new approach to children’s broadcasting. I am attempting to recapture some of my own fans and audience as a prelude to a massive attempt to change the nature of children’s broadcasting, not by talking about it, but by doing it. At this very moment, we are beta testing PAUL WINCHELL’S KIDS’ NETWORK, a worldwide streaming children’s website, which will initially feature my vintage shows and some other very recognizable shows. Within the children’s network, we are developing an animation team that will do some in-house work, but also work on a major cartoon series, featuring my old characters in a new light.”

“I cannot emphasize enough, however, that this book is a prelude to three other books and films that are a somewhat fanciful retelling of the story I have told in WINCH. Not only is WINCH currently in screenplay form, but I have already invested in a set of screenplays that will form the basis of a science fiction trilogy that I believe will rival Star Wars, Fellowship of the Rings, Back to the Future- and other highly successful franchise efforts. In my case, unlike the others I am speaking of, I have actually practiced before. I would hate to count the number of Hollywood celebrities who played with Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff and gave ventriloquism a whirl in their childhoods. You can read about David Copperfield’s efforts in his introduction to the new edition of my next book, “Ventriloquism for Fun and Profit.” But people like Robert De Niro, Francis Ford Coppola, Ted Knight, Johnny Carson- even Howard Stern- were all taken by ventriloquism when they were younger- and I daresay the efforts of my franchise and my merchandising made an impression.”

The book, WINCH (AuthorHouse), will be available soon from all online booksellers and most bookstores and can be ordered right now at the author’s website, http://www.paulwinchell.com or they can order from Authorhouse.
Bob Baker
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I just finished reading "Winch," and the above press release summarizes the book pretty well. If you're looking for a Dunham-like autobiography-lite which emphasizes Paul's show biz career, don't look here. The book is really about Winchell's lifetime battle with psychosis, originating with a monstrous, dominating mother who both physically and emotionally abused her son Paul in truly horrifying ways. In the book Winchell portrays himself as a seriously disturbed man (and there's no reason to doubt his self-portrait), making all the more remarkable the things he accomplished in his public life.

While he discusses the creation of Jerry and Knuck and documents his rise in show business, those topics are not his main concern, so vents looking for a lot of behind-the-scenes info will be disappointed. For instance, he mentions in passing his desire to "get the dummy off the knee," but does not go into any detail about how he developed the techniques that accomplished this. Sprinkled through the book are anecdotes about Frank Sinatra, Carol Burnett, Ed Sullivan, Ronald Reagan, and many stars of the 40's and 50's.

One sad story is how the medical profession came to discount Paul's pioneering work on the artificial heart. Paul and Dr. Robert Jarvik came up with similar ideas about the mechanics of an artificial heart, but Paul patented his long before Jarvik invented his. As Paul tells the story, the University of Utah (where Jarvik worked) discovered Paul's patent as "prior art" when seeking their own patent. They persuaded Paul to donate his patent to the university, and then rather unceremoniously dumped him from the project.

All in all, this was an interesting, though not altogether enjoyable read. Do I recommend it? It depends what you are looking for. Caveat lector.

Bob

P.S. For those who might be concerned, the book is rife with "strong language."
Aussie
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Where did you get a copy of this book Bob? I've been hunting for it.
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Bob Baker
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Amazon.com.

B
Fonsy
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http://www.amazon.com/Winch-Paul-Winchell/dp/1414068964/

Winch [Hardcover]
Paul Winchell (Author)

1 used from $165.00

Ouch!
Matt_24
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Dr. Baker provided an excellent review/description. In regard to pricing, they probably aren't going to get any cheaper. Supply vs. Demand, etc, etc.
Dickens & Dave
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Quote:
On 2013-03-27 07:50, Fonsy wrote:
Winch [Hardcover]
Paul Winchell (Author)

1 used from $165.00
Ouch!

If you want it bad enough to keep searching the net, you may get lucky and find it someday at a reasonable price, but it can take time and probably some luck. I remember when I was searching for a copy of "Reflections In A Glass Eye", by Arthur Prince's son, Don Prince, I was searching for well over a year. I rarely found a copy available and when I did it was very highly priced, then one day I finally came across a copy for a reasonable price.
But like I said, time and luck, and some persistence.
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silking
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What ever happened to Paul Winchell's figures ?
TheDummyDoctor
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On 2013-04-05 02:04, silking wrote:
What ever happened to Paul Winchell's figures ?


The original Jerry (made by Frank Marshall) and Knucklehead have been in the Smithsonian collection since the late 1970s (although evidently they are not currently on display).
The subsequent Jerry (the one with which we're all most familiar...the one with the closing eyelids, made by Winch) is in the David Copperfield collection (I'm fairly certain that one of the Knuckleheads is also there).

There's some uncertainty regarding the exact whereabouts of some of Paul's various other figures, though I do know that a few items have found their way into other private collections. Also, about year or two ago, the very first "pre-Marshall" Jerry Mahoney (which Winch made while still in high school) turned up in an auction but to my knowledge was not sold.
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Building Pro Vent Figures since 1966

web: www.AlanSemok.com/dummies
Dickens & Dave
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I never knew the originals were in the Smithsonian, (or about where the other ones ended up), thanks for the info Alan.
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"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
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