Hello, and welcome to PaulWinchell.net. My name is Roger Passero, and this website is here to pay tribute to, and preserve the legacy of the late great Paul Winchell.
It has been over 40 years since Mr. Winchell and his great cast of characters have ridden the airwaves. In my childhood, Jerry and Knucklehead were larger than life. I am only old enough to remember Winchell-Mahoney time which aired from 1965-1968 in New York as well as around the country. But there is much more to his career which started nearly 20 years before.
I have created this site to hopefully jog the memories of a lot of fans who grew up with these characters but in the scheme of every day life, and the pursuit of happiness have forgotten just how much fun they had watching Mr. Winchell and company. Along with this, I hope to bring Jerry and Knucklehead to a new audience who may never have heard of Mr. Winchell or his characters.
A year ago, my memory was jogged while searching around an antique store called Yesteryear in Patchogue Village on Long Island. I came across a doll and immediately grabbed it and thought, wow, Jerry Mahoney. I would not let go of that doll as all the memories came flooding back to me, remembering all the laughs I had experienced with Jerry and Knucklehead when I was a youngster.
The next day, funny as it seems I was researching to try to find out something about the doll I had purchased the day before. And what did I find out? I found out the doll was none other than Edgar Bergan's Charlie McCarthy! I was so disappointed (no offence intended), that I just could not look at that doll. My excitement turned to sorrow, but then something just lit up inside me. I was now going to have to go on a crusade to find the real Jerry Mahoney.
Fortunately we are living in the internet era and it was not that hard to find my first Jerry Mahoney Doll. It was an early 50's composition made Juro Jerry Mahoney doll. Never to be one that didn't follow through on a quest, of course I had to have a Knucklehead to sit on my living room couch next to his old pal Jerry. Needless to say that Charlie McCarthy doll turned into my first Jerry and Knuck dolls, which turned into a major collection and eventually this web site.
Yes, the doll collection you may have spotted on this web site is mine. There are a couple later additions not in the picture. In the coming few months there will be individual pictures of my dolls added to the site with as much history as I know of about each doll.
One of the dolls in my collection not pictured can be seen in the photo section in the arms of Mr. Paul Winchell himself! It is the Knucklehead Smiff authentic replica (made by the late Steve Meltzer), that was used by Mr. Winchell in his final live performance in 2004. More on that when the doll is photographed for the Jerry and Knucklehead doll section. I have to tell you it is my prized possession and I am honored to have it in my collection. (Thanks Mushy). It was this doll or ventriloquist dummy as it is also known that has driven me to believe that Jerry and Knucklehead would still be able to find a new, younger audience today.
At a recent family event I brought Knucklehead along. I figured I was sure to face some ridicule from some family members. My 20 year old niece Amanda called Knucklehead creepy! Can you imagine?? Good old sweet and simple Knucklehead Smiff creepy?? Absurd! My 12 year old nephew Michael (who shares a resemblance to Knuck) actually seems to think he is pretty cool and is very good natured about my comparisons of him to Knuck.
While I had an audience I thought that this younger generation should see who Jerry and Knucklehead really were. I conveniently had brought with me the episode of The Lucy Show that featured Paul Winchell and his characters and convinced my niece, nephew and the few other captives that were present to see it. Now those of you who have seen this episode know that Mr. Winchell was still at the top of his game, and that Jerry and Knucklehead did a classic and hilarious routine with Lucy. As I thought would happen, everyone present, including my niece (who literally wanted to hate the creepy little things) laughed with approval at the antics of Jerry and Knucklehead! This made me feel further vindicated that these characters of Mr. Winchell are timeless.
Since I received the Knucklehead doll I have also brought him along to bowling nights for the league that I bowl in. Since most of the league is over 50 there were many, many smiling faces as I paraded Knuck around, laughing and shaking hands with many of the bowlers. I saw a lot of faces light up like kids again. It was like walking around the alley with a television star. One of the fun nights I'll soon not forget. Hopefully, more to follow.
In closing, a lot of what I want to do here is still in the planning stages. In the coming months there will be plenty of additions to the site and a lot of my ideas will come to fruition. But I did not want to hold up the launching of this site any further. So if it seems incomplete in some areas that is the reason.
I welcome any feedback from fellow Winchellites or any ideas you may have that could possibly enhance this web site further. Feel free to contact me with any photos, memorabilia or anything else you would like to donate to the site to share with others. I certainly will credit anyone for their additions to the site. Currently I can be reached at [email protected].
Here's hoping this site brings back some wonderful memories for all of us.