Tales of the Shep
Contributor's Stories and Comments about Jean Shepherd & These Pages
From: Richard N. Lipow <email@example.com>
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...
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 1997 03:59:29 -0400 (EDT)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.)
Date: Wed, 27 Aug 1997 15:47:38 -0400 (EDT)
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!
Date: Mon, 08 Sep 1997 23:41:42 -0400
From: Ken Gunther <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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
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
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 1997 22:41:44 -0700
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: email@example.com, Jsadur@keyflux.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Jean Shepherd
From: David S Greenstein <email@example.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:
firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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:
West Roxbury, MA 02132
Dr. Jean Shepherd
Sanibel Island, FL 33957
I Just returned from my annual trip to Princeton, NJ to see you and I am
finally writing the letter that I have wanted to write each year but
never did. I guess I didn't write before because I really don't have much
to say but somehow I want you to know how much your life-long monologue
has been appreciated by at least one of your listeners.
I hope you have the time to spend with this letter that will probably be
just rambling with no specific purpose but to just close the loop which
has been open since about 1957 when I began to listen on WOR. Actually
the loop was closed for one evening around 1959 when I was a senior
electrical engineering student at CCNY (I grew up in Brooklyn) and a
fellow student, Mel organized a dance which I didn't want to go to. He
tried to get me to go and I refused unless he arranged for you to be
there. I figured there was no chance of that happening but he called WOR
and spoke to a secretary who said that you would be willing to appear.
She asked if we would provide transportation for you and we couldn't be
happier. Mel had a car so we were all set. He was always late for
everything and before we filled the car with about four or five of us, we
were more than 1/2 hour late but we just caught you in the lobby of the
station as you were leaving. I was thrilled. I couldn't believe that I
was really in the presence of the voice on the radio. I was always
impressed with radio and TV and wanted somehow to be involved. During
high school, I wanted to be a TV camera man but my Brooklyn Jewish
background made me need to go to college. I figured that electrical
engineering would at least not rule out a career in TV. Well there I was
sitting in the back seat of this monster Pontiac Bonneville with you in
the front but all I could think of was that I had just stepped in some
dog shit and the car smelled awful. Nobody mentioned it so I was hoping
that nobody noticed. But that was all that I could think of. The high
point of my life and all I could think of was how the car smelled.
All I remember about the dance was that you were great. You stood in
front of a crowd most of whom had no idea who you were and made them
listen. I remember that you looked behind you and saw a huge painting of
a pompous academic guy in a black robe and said something that made
people relax and enjoy whatever you had to say. You asked for questions
after a while and when there wasn't much response, I asked if there were
any individuals whom you really admired. You answered that you knew a lot
of people whom you admired but that I probably didn't know them. The
ride back to WOR was again marred by my preoccupation with the way the
car smelled. We asked you to go with us to get something to eat at some
great Chinese restaurant that you talked allot about (Yin & yang I think)
but you begged off. That was Friday night. The next morning you're on the
air from 10:15 AM to noon and you say, " I'm at CCNY last night and this
kid asked me who has had the biggest influence in my life. Well, if
anyone has, it's been Laurel & Hardy." You were right. That really was
what I asked and I got my answer. They are a good reference, aren't they?
How else can you get some perspective in this life?
But back to closing the loop.
I graduated from CCNY in 1960 and got a job as an engineer in Philco in
Philadelphia where I could still pickup WOR with not much of a problem
most of the time. But after about a year I moved to Boston where it was
almost impossible most of the time - 50KW or not. The only time I could
listen was when I drove home some weekends. There was a time that you
actually were carried on WEEI in Boston and you also had a great series
on PBS -Jean Shepherd's America- but you know all this. Anyway, I wasn't
aware of when you actually stopped broadcasting on WOR and I lost track
of you. About 15 years ago, you appeared at Symphony Hall in Boston but I
found out about it too late.
Around 1976, I realized that I was obsolete as a 38 year old engineer and
went back to school to study optometry. It was a good move to keep me
working but it also resulted in my becoming somewhat insane over some
young girl in my class. This resulted in a separation and eventually a
divorce. Mid-life was a very painful time.
Around 1992 I was wondering if you were still working and hoped that you
were well and happy. I wanted to contact you to let you know that at
least one of your old listeners remembered you. I called WOR but they
said that the station changed ownership many years ago and they had no
knowledge about your whereabouts except for the possibility that you were
somewhere in Florida. Well, I called Information in one of the Florida
area codes and they said that there were many Jean Shepherds. I asked for
the number of one of them at random and called it. When a woman answered,
I apologized profusely about the probable wrong party I had reached but
asked if she happened to know of the Jean Shepherd that was on the radio
in NY many years before. The woman said that I had reached your office.
Now, this had to be my biggest coup. In one phone call, I had done it.
She said that you were active writing for Disney and other films but you
were no longer broadcasting. She mentioned the Princeton appearances
after I asked if you ever appear in public any more. I called WPRB and
have been at the last 4 appearances. I brought my 84 year old mother for
three of those years and even though WPRB has been very cooperative in
providing us with front row seats, her hearing problems prevented her
from coming this year. By the way, I don't know if you noticed, but WPRB
finally played your radio theme music at the beginning and as you
finished this year at my suggestion. Because of the applause, I couldn't
tell if the version they used had that single syllable of your voice at
the end of the theme which was the copy you had used for years after the
original was lost. At the end of each appearance that I've been to, It's
hard for me to leave the theater. I feel like I have to get to speak to
you personally but you're inaccessible somewhere in the bowels of the
theater. It would be nice if you could have an informal reception but
you're probably pretty tired at the end.
I looked for the appearance of the movie that you wrote and spoke about
last year but it never seemed to hit the theaters. I think that the name
was "It Runs in The Family". Maybe I just didn't look hard enough.
But back to closing the loop.
I just wanted you to know that you have helped me and your other
listeners to appreciate this incredible experience of being alive a
little more because of how you've shared your view and perspective of it.
And for this, I want to thank you. I think that you enjoy sharing your
thoughts also and I hope you can continue to do so for as long as you
I am 57 years old now and for some reason I have developed a great deal
of optimism in the future. A lot of this optimism has to do with my view
of what man seems to be achieving technologically. I really believe that
someday technology will provide all goods and services at trivial cost
and that biotechnology will eliminate all disease including aging and
death. With our present mindset, this achievement would be a catastrophe
because it would free people to bowl and play golf as an ultimate boring
dead end. But, if we have the capacity to grow as a species, we will take
this opportunity to really reach our potential by spending this free time
learning and experiencing the secrets of the universe. We may never
learn the secret of the universe (if there is one) but the process of
searching will be just as satisfying. If we do learn it, I think we may
have reached Nirvana. These are probably very naive thoughts but what can
you expect after only 57 years?
With this perspective, I decided to arrange for something that most
people think is strange but which I think is very conservative and
logical. I am betting that medical technology in the future will be able
to revive people who have had their system shut down at legal death and
preserved at very low temperatures. It is certainly a better bet than
allowing oneself to irrevocably rot or burn. So I am getting older with
less despair and more hope than those who don't rely on a religious
salvation. I encourage those whom I care about to consider this
"cryonics" approach. If it actually ever does work, and I am returned to
youth and vigor, the world wouldn't be right without Shepherd. I expect
you are already aware of Cryonics and the enabling nanotechnology that is
becoming more and more evident. The entire genome of a particular
bacterium was reported this past week. Eventually, it will be the human
genome and , if the code can ever be broken, cryonics has a chance of
actually working. There are a lot of technical and social problems but it
can't hurt to give it a shot. Let me know if you would like more
Well, I think that I have vented most of what I wanted to say except that
I have this strange fear that at some point someone is going to step in
front of me and say " Sorry, It's for members only." Maybe if I buy a
Hope your health holds up and you stay well and happy. Hope also to see
you next year.
Date: Sat, 27 Sep 1997 20:09:30 -0400
From: Andrew Funk <email@example.com>
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
I always meant to send him a QSL, but just never did.
Anyway, Jim, say hi to everyone up north for me.
Date: Thu, 2 Oct 1997 00:46:00 -0400 (EDT)
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
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.
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 1997 03:29:21 -0400 (EDT)
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
rallymasterd in Greenwich Village yearly. I listened to his broadcast every
taped and shared them with a friend in England. Now in the late 90's I still
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
wife because of Shep.
As the women who was to become my wife wrote, in a book titled; "In God We
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
Europe .....and her thoughtful gift brought me up short and taking another
her. .... I looked...I liked...we married and in 1985 when we went to a
appearance of Jean Shepherd.. and he autographed this tome .............
"EXCELSIOR!" Jean Shepherd 1985
........he created for us a family heirloom.
"Seltzer bottle" Rudy & Gerda 1997
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 1997 11:35:08 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: I Have Seen The Future and It Is the Shepherd WebSite
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.
Date: Wed, 05 Nov 1997 13:40:18 -0500
From: G. M. Privette <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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.
Date: Sun, 9 Nov 1997 09:58:27 -0500 (EST)
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.
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 1997 14:56:53 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Tales Of The Shep
Some 20 years ago I found a copy of the ultra-rare "LIVE AT THE
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!
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
Do you have stories, anecdotes or trivia for this page?
Send them to: email@example.com
Return to the Jean Shepherd Page
Copyright © 1997 James E. Sadur.