In the early thirties, a seventeen-year-old boy Yuri Levitan arrived from Vladimir to Moscow. The young man was determined to become a famous film actor. Alas, Levitan's provincial dialect made the members of the selection committee laugh, and he failed to become an actor.
Yuri accidentally saw an ad about recruiting for announcer courses and went to the Radio Committee. Here he was more fortunate: in spite of the sounding voice, Levitan had a very strong voice and he was accepted into the group of trainees.
One night, Yuri Levitan was reading an article on the radio from the newspaper Pravda, and Stalin heard the young announcer, who worked at night and did not turn off the receiver in his office. Stalin immediately called the chairman of the Radio Committee and said that it was this young announcer who should read the text of his speech at the 17th Party Congress. So a 19-year-old guy became an announcer of the Soviet Union.
During the Great Patriotic War, it was Levitan who read the reports of the Information Bureau. His voice was known to every citizen of the Soviet Union. People froze at the loudspeakers, listening to the latest events at the front. No wonder, Rokossovsky once said that Levitan's voice is worth a whole division.
But they knew Yuri Levitan not only in our country. Hitler himself said that Levitan is his personal enemy number 1. Stalin was named second on the list of the main enemies. Hitler promised to hang the announcer as soon as German troops entered Moscow.
The fascist special services developed a plan to destroy Levitan, and a reward was promised for his head. In different sources, the amount is from 100 to 250 thousand German marks.
True, since the fall of 1941, Levitan no longer worked in Moscow, but in Sverdlovsk, and in 1943 he was transferred to Kuibyshev. It was impossible to report from the capital at that time - the radio towers were dismantled, since they were landmarks for Hitler's aviation.
At the very beginning of the war, when Levitan was still in Moscow, a German aerial bomb fell in the courtyard of the Radio Committee, but did not explode. Hitler's radio hastened to announce the death of the announcer Levitan. But after 15 minutes, the voice of Yuri Borisovich was heard on the air.
Due to the "secrecy regime", envelopes with many texts, which were delivered by the courier officer, could be printed only just before going on the air. So Levitan had to read from the sheet. Therefore, he used a little trick: he uttered the first phrase, deliberately stretching the words, and at this time he managed to skim the next fragment of the text with his eyes in order to understand whether joyful or tragic events would be discussed further, and to give the voice the appropriate intonation.
In August 1943, he read on the radio the first order for the entire war to hold a salute - in honor of the liberation of Orel and Belgorod. And he made a mistake, saying "The capital of our homeland will salute ...", while, according to the rules of Russian speech, the emphasis should have been put differently: "salute." However, no scandal ensued: “at the top” they simply decided from now on to use this word “in the editorial office” of Levitan.
Levitan himself recalled that he had seen leaflets more than once, with the promised reward for his destruction. It was even said that Goebbels was developing a plan to kidnap the speaker. Fascist propagandists dreamed that it was Levitan who would read the message about the fall of Moscow in Berlin. Interestingly, Levitan was seriously guarded. Even his photographs were not published anywhere: the appearance of the "main announcer of the country" was a secret.
During the war, the announcer read about two thousand bulletins and 120 emergency messages. Once Stalin was asked: "When will victory come?" The leader replied: "When Levitan will announce."
Stalin turned out to be right, order 369 with a message about the victory in the war was read by Yuri Borisovich Levitan.