The audible sound of jaws dropping.

And Your Bird Can Sing: The Valachi Hearings – The Profumo Scandal – September 25, 1963

The audible sound of jaws dropping.

The audible sound of jaws dropping.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – News On The Hour – Report on The Valachi Crime Hearings – NBC Radio – Sept. 25, 1963 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Busy month for scandals, revelations and upheavals. September in 1963 was no different, it seems. On this day in September, the McClellan Crime Committee Hearings on Capitol Hill were going full speed ahead, with star witness, organized crime figure Joseph Valachi poised to give bomb-dropping evidence on the activities of one of the hithermost secret societies in America; the Cosa Nostra, or Mafia as we have come to know them.

Valachi was scheduled to testify in public later in the week, but that didn’t prevent bombs from dropping anyway. Testimony was forthcoming by a number of other witnesses who revealed inner-workings of the Mafia previously unknown. It all made for great TV and riveting Radio.

And on the other side of the Atlantic, another scandal was rocking the British government. The name Christine Keeler was topic-A in conversation around London this month. Keeler was a prostitute (aka: Call Girl – Good-time Girl – Working Girl) linked to affairs with John Profumo, Secretary of State for War and Soviet agent Yevgeny Ivanov, a senior Naval attachè at the Soviet Embassy in London. Keeler was accused of passing secrets to Ivanov via pillow-talk with Profumo and the scandal erupted into a political crisis for the MacMillan government which eventually ended the career of John Profumo and briefly tossed Downing Street into a state of chaos.

Less hysterical, but no less controversial was news that President Kennedy had asked for approval of grain shipments to the Soviet Union, as well as Congress passing a Kennedy sanctioned Tax cut package.

And all that, plus much-much more happened on this September 23, 1963, as reported by NBC Radio News On The Hour and a Special Report on The Valachi Hearings.

Fifty years ago today . . . .

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