Tales of the Shep

Contributor's Stories and Comments about Jean Shepherd & These Pages

Volume 10

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From: Richard N. Lipow <lytae@p3.net>
Subject: Shep
Date: Wed, 20 Aug 1997 23:33:58 -0400

Spent a good part of my teens listening to WOR in my home in Philadelphia....I recall that his shows usually started just after 10 pm and, for a while, there was a broadcast beginning at 9. Shep toured and appeared at my college, Villanova sometime in 1972...
From: BillWA6ITF@aol.com
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 1997 03:59:29 -0400 (EDT)
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: RE: Shep


I happened across your Jean Shepherd website and it reminded me that I have not talked to Shep in several years. The last time I called, Leigh answered the phone saying: "Oh hello Bill. I have a Cocketeel on my shoulder."

F-Y-I: While I now sport a 6-land call, I started in ham radio as WA2HVK in Brooklyn NY in 1959 on 6 meter AM. Another kind of AM -- WOR-AM is where -- like s many others -- I first found Shep.

Like other kids of the '50's I too listened in -- using a battery operated 4-tube RCA that ran off a D cell for filaments and a 67 volt battery for plate supply. My modification was the adition of an earphone jack so I cold plug in my war surplus 2 K hedset so nobody else knew I was still awake -- listening to a description of the first ever world championship Bumblepuppy games as described through the mind of Jean Shepherd.

I first got to know Shep in the late '60's on the old WA2SUR 146.13/.73 repeater then located at 70 Pine Street -- at the studio of WXTV. George LeDioux K1TKJ then of Bantham (Rooster as Shep called it) Ct. was Chief Engineer and also the proprioter of New Yorks famed "SUeR" repeater.

One night, a very familiar voice -- signing the call K2ORS showed up. It was about 11 PM. He said he had just finished worj in Manhattan and was driving home to New Jersey. (Yep, you guessed correctly -- Shep did live in N. NJ at that time, albeit I cannot remember the town. I do emember that he drove a Rover.)

I immediatey recognized the "voice." I also had a brand new Norelco Carry-Corder 150 cassette recorder so I placed the mic in front of my six channel Inoue (it wasn't Icom yet) IC-2F and "rolled tape." Was I glad I did.

I really do not know how it all got started. Ive not listened to the tape in years. But I still have it -- safely tucked away in my ever growing ham radio relatwed audio library.

Anyhow, something someone said put Jean into his "lets do a radio show" mood and a radio show -- in true Shep style is what took place for about the next hour on 146.73. Probably the first-ever truly interactive radio show.

As LeDioux wound his way North on the Meritt Parkway, Shep decided that because K1TKJ had he best coverage repeater in the Metro NY area that LeDioux was definately a "repeater god." And the rest -- as they say -- was pure Shep -- captured for all time (I think) on a very early cassette tape recorder.

Fast forward to the 1982 or 183 Dayton Hamvention. I have been in Los Angeles since '71 and producing a weekly ham radio news program called "The Westlink Amateur Radio News" since '77. (Westlink became Newsline in '88) I decidfed that year Westlink would be recorded at Dayton, so I lug with me an old -- very old -- Webcor open reel recorder as well as the Norelco cassette machine. Jim Davis -- then WA2CCY -- now W2JKD was supposed to anchor the cast, but when TWA finallty got its act together and got me and my goodies to Dayton, there was a message from Jim that he could not make it due to last minute business.

Vic Stauder, who'se call sign I forget (maybe WA2KOO/8) was the VP of DARA that year. I asked him if he knew of a ham in Dayton that worked in radio and who might be willing to record the newscast. He said that he would see what he could do.

It was just after minight. I was in the Hamvention Suite at Stouffers when in walks Vic -- hand in hand with Shep -- who only a few hours earlier had regaled Hamvention gowers with tales of his eaaly days in ham radio as a kid in Hammond In, and other adventures with his friends Flick and Schwarts. Also his tale of buying a crystal for his transmitter only to find it was on top of a well known "Big Gun DXer type."

"There are the them and there are the us." Shep had explained to the multitude at the banquet-- and in doing so teaching me why my life was as it was ...

Vic walks over to me with Shep. He introduces us to one another and adds off-handedly: "...by the way -- wheres your tape recorder. Shep will anchor for you."

So I made a bee-line for my room; brought back the Carry-Corder and script. A few minutes later, standing in the "can" -- Shep, with Vic and me watchng in awe -- recorded that weeks edition of the Westlink Amateur Radio News.

I cannot call myself a close friend of Shep an Leigh. A good acquaintence yes, but nothing more. Shep gave me his well protected private number at Sanibel back in the '80s when he agreed to contribute some material to a ham radio promotional video that Roy Neal (K6DUE), Frosty Oden (N6ENV) and I were producing for ARRL at the time. His material was not used (I do not remember why) but it gave us a chance to get to know one another. Ive tried to keep in touch as best I can over the years.

Sorry for the typos and the rambeling, but lik you, Shep is nostagic to me. But I am a lousy typest.

If you get a chance, drop by our website www.arnewsline.org If you like what you see, feel free to link to us.

Till later...
Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF / Newsline

P-S: I also had the good fortuine to have gotten to know another radio personality of Sheps' magnetude. I met the late Orson Wells several times just prior to his unexpected death. (I also spent 3 hours standing in the back of an AA Super 80 from DFW to Burbank -- chatting with Garrison Keillor -- the man who made Lake Wobegon come to life on "A Prarie Hom eCompanion," but thats a story for another time and place.)

From: Bogart1@aol.com
Date: Wed, 27 Aug 1997 15:47:38 -0400 (EDT)
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: shep


Tried sending a message via your site, but I don't think it worked. Was going to say that I have a copy of "The Declassified Jean Shepherd" which I'll tape for anybody who wants it at cost (cost of tape plus postage, whatever that comes to). I'm on the LP, sort of--I was piano player with The Sons of the Whiskey Rebellion, whose early recorded efforts Shep often used as background. My brother and I discovered Shepherd in the mid-1950s when our Aunt Mildred gave us her old Stromberg-Carlson radio to fix. It was stuck on WOR because the string running from the tuning knob to the variable condenser had snapped. We turned it on, couldn't change the station, and within 3 minutes we were hooked. I'm lucky enough to have been in Shep's company a few times (years back, now). What a talent, what a guy!

Dave Bogart
Date: Mon, 08 Sep 1997 23:41:42 -0400
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
From: Ken Gunther <kgunther@nassau.cv.net>
Subject: Jean Shepard


Early this evening, for some inexplicable reason, I decided to cruise over to AltaVista and look up Jean Shepard. After wading theough the the usual sites devoted to country music I came across your site. What a pleasant surprise!!! I was beginning to think that I was the only one left that listened to WOR AM from 11:15 to midnight (I also recall a 10:15 to 11:00 slot and the show from the LImelight on Saturday evenings). Thank you for your wonderful site devoted to the man that I feel is one of America's greatest storytellers.

While in Junior High School I would listen to Shep and then parts Long John with Lester DelRay and Fred Pohl) using my transistor radio held close to my ear so my folks didn't hear. My final undoing was Shep's "watch out for lightning" story where the house was split by a stroke of lightning. I laughed so hard that my parents found me out (I ended up making a Shep convert out of my mother).

I've followed your links and discovered that WBAI in New York City has some shepard tapes. I'll have to tape it to listen to the Shep portions.

Once again thanks for your great site and for bringing back memories of my youth.

Ken (kgunther@nassau.cv.net)
From: rzrsrch@earthlink.net
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 1997 22:41:44 -0700
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Jean Shepherd

I've been feasting on these pages for about two hours now. Let me add some of my own memories:

1. Shep's program on WOR Sunday nights from 9PM to 1AM. There was always a segment where Shep would pretend to be an advertising man from the Kudner Agency having an imaginary conversation with his wife. Boy, did this kid from Brooklyn get an education listening to that!

2. The opening of the Paperbook Gallery in Greenwich Village. It was the country's first all-paperback bookshop and Shep held forth. I was there, and saw my photo taken there in the crowd 25 years later in a book about the Village Voice.

3. The day I waited to hear his Saturday afternoon broadcast on WOR, and he didn't show up for work. I was devastated.

Them were the days.
To: bkaye@spacelab.net, Jsadur@keyflux.com, max@oldtimeradio.com
Subject: Jean Shepherd
From: David S Greenstein <davidsgreenstein@juno.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 16:57:49 EDT

Dear fellow sufferers: Bob, Jim, and Max,

In a word, THANKS!. Thanks for the home pages that really make me feel at home. It has been so long since I lay on my bed in the dark during those Brooklyn nights being introduced to the real world by Shepherd. Most of my friends and family thought I was crazy. Only a few could really share Shep. Some humored me. I couldn't listen to him enough. I did lose track of him though for many years after I graduated from CCNY in 1960 and moved out of range of WOR in Boston. It was a real loss and I still miss the infinite variety of those shows.

I finally caught up with Shep about 5 years ago (described in the following letter to him) and attended every Princeton appearance until the disappointment of this past May. I have been unable to get any information from WPRB about his well being and would appreciate any info available. Although he has needed his privacy, to me he feels like part of my family and hope he is OK.

I would like to thank an old friend who I haven't seen since CCNY, Joel Levy, who originally told me about Shep. Joel, if you are out there and get this message, please feel free to contact me (email: davidsgreenstein@juno.com or 508-879-3234) to catch up.

The following letter was written by me to Shepherd in 1995. I would like to share it with anyone interested. Please feel free to eliminate any part you feel is of no interest. Although Shep did not respond, I hope he received it and was able to appreciate well wishes of just another one of his listeners.

Perhaps some kind of a get-together to listen to some of his shows, watch some of his TV appearances, and just share memories and ideas would be attended by enough of us to make it worth doing.

Here is the letter I sent him 2 years ago:

David Greenstein

Date: Sat, 27 Sep 1997 20:09:30 -0400
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
From: Andrew Funk <afunk@wagatv.com>
Subject: Shep

I saw the Shep pages mentioned in Newsline and came for a visit...


As a kid I spent my nights with the lights off ("Yes, I'm going to sleep!"), a transistor radio under my pillow tuned to 710 KHz, and I was transported to the land of wonder that was Shep's show.


Thanks for taking the time to put the web site together.

Here's my Shep story:

About ten years ago I was working at WCBS-TV one evening, and there was nothing to do for a while. So I fired-up my HT on 147.00 MHz and announced myself. What a thrill when I heard "KB7UV this is K2ORS, Over!" in reply. Shep was in town for an appearance of some sort, and I had the pleasure of speaking with him for a few minutes (until another ham broke in and monopolized the conversation, and then I had work to do and had to shut off the radio).

I always meant to send him a QSL, but just never did.

Anyway, Jim, say hi to everyone up north for me.

Andy. KB7UV

From: NCNielson@aol.com
Date: Thu, 2 Oct 1997 00:46:00 -0400 (EDT)
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Shepherd Tapes from Barnes & Noble

October 1, 1997

Dear Mr. Sadur:

I recently ordered the following tapes described under "Shep FAQs" on your Jean Shepherd website:

"Audio cassettes of Shep reading some of his stories have also been available from Barnes and Noble (1-800-242-6657). This set has a catalog number of 1838614 and sells for $50. Individual tapes are $7.95. These recording have been re-issued under a new catalog number. Check with B&N for details."

The catalog number is still 1838614 and the 7-tape set "Shepherd's Slice" is now available for only $19.98 + $4.95 postage and handling. Thanks for the information from your website.

Noel Nielson

From: RUDALE@aol.com
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 1997 03:29:21 -0400 (EDT)
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: thank you Shep

A short anecdote from one of Shepherd's flock.

In the middle 1960's I found the late night broadcasts over station WOR featuring Jean Shepherd and couldn't get enough of this talent. Living in NYC I was lucky enough to be able to see Shep at the Limelite. I attended the sports car rallys he rallymasterd in Greenwich Village yearly. I listened to his broadcast every night and taped and shared them with a friend in England. Now in the late 90's I still share the listening pleasure of hundreds of taped shows with interested friends. I have a wife, of 30 plus years, who also still shares my pleasure re. SHEP and, who is my wife because of Shep. As the women who was to become my wife wrote, in a book titled; "In God We Trust All Others Pay Cash"; JEAN SHEPHERD AND HIS PROGRAM WAS ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS YOU MADE ME INTERESTED IN AND THEREFORE I THINK THAT HIS FIRST BOOK IS QUITE RIGHT TO BE MY FIRST PRESENT FOR YOU.

It was my birthday....my someday to be wife had only recently arrived here from Europe .....and her thoughtful gift brought me up short and taking another look at her. .... I looked...I liked...we married and in 1985 when we went to a Queens College appearance of Jean Shepherd.. and he autographed this tome .............

........he created for us a family heirloom.

"Seltzer bottle" Rudy & Gerda 1997
From: KDAD40@aol.com
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 1997 11:35:08 -0400 (EDT)
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: I Have Seen The Future and It Is the Shepherd WebSite

Dear Jim--

This is just a very short note to say hi and thanks for the Jean Shepherd website--I have been a Shepherd fan since high school, and have spent some of my most interesting, involved and pleasurable hours listening to Shepherd, or reading his stories, or watching his photoplays--all good.

Thanks again!

Reg Pitts

Date: Wed, 05 Nov 1997 13:40:18 -0500
From: G. M. Privette <timeblue@bellsouth.net>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Jean Shepherd Magazine Article

I am looking for the article Jean wrote for CQ or 73 magazine, sometime between 1962 and 1964. It concerned two teenage ham radio operators in NYC, I think, with very low power, home built transmitters and poor antennas trying to contact someone other than each other. Very humorous and sad at the same time. I really simpathized with them because I was a teenage ham operator at that time and my radio equipment situation was about the same. I think about that article now and then. Lost the magazines long ago. So I did a search for Jean Shepherd and I found your Web Page. Any ideas? Please respond via email.


Jerry Privette

From: APlover782@aol.com
Date: Sun, 9 Nov 1997 09:58:27 -0500 (EST)
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: 4th of July and Other Disasters


Nice web site. I recently e mailed PBS Channel 12 in Philadelphia regarding re-playing Jean Shepherd's The Great American 4th of July and Other Disasters. They responded with saying that their right to show the program had expired. How do we then get the right to show it again? Who owns the rights to it? Who do I contact to get the ball rolling. This is a piece of creative work that needs to be shared again.

Please let me know if anything can be done to bring the raw onion and pickle juice scene back to life.

Best regards,

Drew Plover

From: Nutsyvol@aol.com
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 1997 14:56:53 -0500 (EST)
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Tales Of The Shep

Some 20 years ago I found a copy of the ultra-rare "LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT " album at Times Square's famous COLONY record store. At least I tought I'd found a copy. As a security measure the story only had the album covers in the rack. When I found the cover I realized that I didn;t have enough money for it. So hiding the cover behind a stack of Yodelling records (no kidding ) to assure no one would find it I rushed back all the way to Staten Island.(A 90 minute trip) borrowed money from my Dad (another Shep fan) and rushed back to Times Square (a 2 hour trip) grabbed the album cover, gave it to the clerk who dissapeared into the back of the store, then waited at least 10 minutes only to have the guy return saying "Sorry kid, the record ain't back dere. Musta got lost inda shippin' lanes."

A traditional Shepherd story punch line ending.

So somewhere out there is a copy of a Jean Shepherd Comedy album without a cover. My quest for "LIVE", "WIILL FAILURE,,," and "INTO THE UNKNOWN" now enters its 25th year.

Also the Internet Movie Database says that Jean & Leigh are divorced. Say it ain't so Daphne!

Pete Delaney

From: jdeneka@ebmail.gdeb.com
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 05:52:21 -0500
Subject: FLICK LIVES!!!!


First let me thank you for the hard work and obvious care you've lavished on your web site. Shep is one of the most influential figures in my intellectual life, and it is heartening to see how many others from around the country are of like mind.

I started listening to the WOR broadcasts in the early 60's. My older brother would get home from his part time job just around 11 PM, turn on the radio and set the sleep feature for 1 hour. Those nights listening to Shep's voice were among the finest times I have ever spent. Sometimes, if Paul got home late, we'd listen to some portion of Long John Nebel's broadcast. For some unknown reason, Nebel's theme music would scare the pants off me.....I'd have to cover my ears with my pillow to keep form hearing it.! Do you have any idea what Nebel's theme was? I'd really like to see if it has the same effect on me now.

One of my most vivid memories of Shep's broadcasts is a story he told about a tribe living in the jungles of South America. This tribe had a very interesting way of waging war on it's neighbors. Built into the framework of the council hut were the sacred war flutes, to be played only in the most dire need. Whoever heard the mysterious and magical tones of these flutes would immediately be stricken with bizarre maladies culminating within a few days in death. The antidote was a secret mixture of commonly available herbs and spices, which Shep would gladly send upon receipt of a self addressed stamped envelope. Shep had come across this tribe on one of his trips abroad, convinced the tribal elders to let him record this magical tune, and now with great fanfare and appropriate disclaimers intended to broadcast to the world!

I was 10. I was terrified as only a 10 year old in the dark can be. I didn't want to, but wild horses could not have kept me from listening to those flutes. After lying in bed sweating bullets imagining my own imminent demise, I finally could take it no longer. I ran screaming from my room into the living room, babbling incoherently about flutes, South American Indians, the local King Kullen (a now defunct grocery chain), and a self addressed stamped envelope. Oddly enough, my parents did not see the humor in this unseemly outburst and banished Shep from my late night activities for quite some time.

Thanks again for your time and effort.

By the by, if you know where I can lay my hands on a hard bound copy of A Ferrari in the Bedrooom to complete my collection, please let me know.

John T. Deneka
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Thanks, Jim

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Copyright © 1997 James E. Sadur.