Tales of the Shep

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

Volume 11

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Date: Fri, 21 Nov 1997 20:35:28 -0600 (CST)
From: Harry Pipkin <ciclo@ix.netcom.com>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com

I grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee.  When I was 12 to 14 years old, in 1964 to 66, I would go listen to my transistor radio at night before going to sleep.  At 8:30 pm I could tune in WOR-710 and hear Jean Shepherd's marvelous stories.  I remember his appearances at Fairly Ridiculous (it sounded) University.  Years later I learned there is a university in New Jersey. His stories captivated my attention. After his broadcast finished, I could tune in WLAC-1510, Nashville, to hear "The Hoss Man, Bill Allen" and his airplay of rythym and blues and soul music.

These were great hours of radio!!  WLAC selling baby chickens by mail, and WOR thrilling an imagination.

Thanks for your Jean Shepherd page.
Harry Pipkin
Cleveland, Ohio
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 1997 18:46:16 -0800
From: Jack Brodbeck <jaxxart@ix.netcom.com>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: How is Ol Shep?  and More

Excelsior you Fathead,

Great page.  I'm an old L.I. Shep fan.  What a great impact he had -- and still has.  I just saw his mug on the History Channel in a piece on the "Turkey".  He recalled an episode when he was trying to sell the Sat. Evening Post as a kid.

  Remember fondly going to the Limelight and also spending summer evenings on the beach with the transistor radio (and my girlfriend - now my wife of 31+ years) listening to Shep weave his spell.

How is the old boy doing?  I knew he was down in FLA.  His great voice still seems fine.

  Thanks for your great work.  I'm out here on the left coast and lovin it these days.  See my Web Page at:

All the Best,
Jack Brodbeck
Laguna Hills, CA  92653

Date: Mon, 08 Dec 1997 18:10:59 -0500
From: Steve Tice <stevetice@os2bbs.com>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Great site

Just wanted you to know the fun of reading others' remembrances. I, too, was a Northern Jersey kid who listened in the dark as a teen in the late 50's early 60's in total rapture.

Your contributors bring back many memories. Especially the one about the theme music with a bit of Sheps voice at the end. After 35 years, it comes back so vividly.

By the way, I always remember Shep playing the "cheap guitar" music. Remember that? I swear that later in life, on hearing Segovia play classical guitar of Sor and Tarrega, that that was some of his cheap guitar music.

If I can only find a replacement for my dead reel-to-reel, I have a couple of very old shows I'd like to dig out and play.

Steve Tice
Great Falls, VA

Date: Tue, 9 Dec 1997 15:41:12 +0100
From: Bob Zanotti <Robert.Zanotti@sri.srg-ssr.ch>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: When I saw the Shep site...

...I nearly fainted. I was one of those countless kids who he kept awake in New York in the 50s and 60s. As an aspiring broadcaster, I used to spend Friday evenings at WOR and "saw" Shep a couple of times, as well as Long John. I was even an invited guest on one of the Amazing Randi post-Nabel shows. That's another trauma unleashed by your site: I had my own college radio show on Friday nights on WFMU in East Orange/New York, and did hours and hours of "off-beat" radio ala Long John with many of his "regulars", including Augie Roberts, Dom Luchessi, Jim Mosley, Jack Robinson, Ivan Sanderson, Bill Daut, Andy Sinatra (The Mystic Barber of Brooklyn) and others. I still have many of those 90 minute shows at home.

Shep and Long John had a profound effect on my own style as a broadcaster and to them I owe many thanks.

Bob Zanotti
Swiss Radio International
Berne, Switzerland
(ham call: HB9ASQ)

PS I still haver an original off-air recording of Shep's 4th of July routine, ca. 1962.

...I recall that Shep and Long John both were tried out on TV (WOR, Ch 9) in the early 60s with a visual version of their radio shows. Needless to say, it didn't work, and both shows died a quick death. These two were radio, pure and simple!

Bob Zanotti

Date: Thu, 18 Dec 1997 01:03:36, -0500
From: Bruce Haskell <XYNP09D@prodigy.com>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Jean Shepard

It was thanks to Jean; listening to him at night, in the dark...the yellow light of the ancient G.E. Clock Radio lighting my grinning face...that I decided to become a Tuba Player, and Ham Radio Operator.   Jean is reponsible for me insisting on learning how to play the harmonica and learning to play "Spikseys" with a real wooden, hand- wound top, when hardly anyone but my Dad and Grandfather even knew how to wind a wooden top or play such an obscure game! He has permanently warped my sense of humor, taught me to respect lighntning, storms and fireworks, and to laugh at myself and the whole funny American Scene!

Best to Jean...

A Loyal Listener

Date: Fri, 19 Dec 1997 11:56:29 -0800
From: Diane Reese <dreese@us.ibm.com>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Jean Shepherd.

I've been reading your Shep site for a while now and finally decided to add my reminiscences to the rest.

In the mid-1960s, I was a bright, lonely girl who dreaded the treatment I received from my peers at school each day.  I managed to make it through each day with one thought in mind: that night, I'd be able to turn off the lights and listen, captivated, as Shep did his thing on WOR-AM.  His magical ability to weave stories out of the mundane absurdities of life, and his ability to never fail to close the loop just as the ending theme music welled up, astounded me.  I was hooked. I was in love.  I got in trouble at school for writing "Flick Lives!" on the blackboard one morning before English class, but it didn't diminish my ardor one bit.

Two of the highlights of my teenaged years were when Shep read my name (two years running!) on his "March of Humanity" show, and a book signing in Plainfield, NJ, where he played my jew's harp, KISSED me!, and wrote lovely encouragements in my copies of "In God We Trust.." and "Wanda Hickey.."  I still cherish those volumes (and I have a copy of "The Ferrari in the Bedroom", but I ain't parting with it).  One inscription reads, "To Diane: a TRUE GIRL!"  Yes, indeed.

My LP of Shep reading the poems of Robert Service is perfect for those snow-bound evenings, and "Shepherd's Pie" is still a good listen, but I miss those magical tapestries woven in the dark.  Shep was a delight during a time in my life when little delighted me, and I'll always remember his storytelling with joy. I heard the strains of his theme music not too long ago, and it gave me goosebumps.  Finding your Shep site was a welcome trip down memory lane; I'll be back visiting often.

Diane Reese, a TRUE GIRL!
Date: Sat, 20 Dec 1997 04:18:11 +0000
From: joel lewis <penwaves@mindspring.com>
To: Jim Sadur
Subject: Re: help!

thanks for help--

your site is GREAT!!! how long has it been up...when i did searches last year, all i came up with was info on the now obscure c&w singer (woman) J.S.

for those in nyc area from 50's thru 80's (when did his show exactly go off WOR???) he was THE great cult figure... i remember seeing him at a WOR publicity appaerence at a hackensack furniture store (old style, they had a little auditoriun for public events).. the people in the audeience looked at each other in amazement.. other shepard fans in the world! mostly we turned on friends or younger brothers to shep, but who were these starngers????

i think js was never taken seriously as a writer -- probably  there is a need for a selected shepard -- also PBS should officially issue his shows

are you aware of the shepard/night people/ john cassavettes connection??????

all best
joel lewis

oh-- shepard had cassavetets on his show and the director was bitching about the inability to find  funds for his first movie "Shadows"--shepard made a direct appeal to his audience and about 30,000 came in enough to make the film. All prints of Shadows carry a dedication to "the night people"--this anecdote is found in Ray carney's bio of the director

shepard also hosted billie holiday;'s last concert in nyc

also remember the oddball advertiser's he had -- land rover and a strange magazine called quinto lingo done in 5 languages


Date: Sat, 20 Dec 1997 09:04:55 -0500
From: Tony Ficociello <tony@flc.edu>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: JS and the 1960's


Having gone to college in the 1960's (and, needless to say, a fan of Jean Shepherd's) I always found it interesting that he never took a stand regarding the Vietnam War.

There was one program in particular that I recall, not one of Jean Shepherd's programs but a local NYC broadcast during the Vietnam War in which there were several panel members, and one in particular, I forget who he was, tried to pin Jean Shepherd down as to his stand on the War.

He steadfastly refused.

It is for this reason that I find it hard to put Jean Shepherd in the same class as Kurt Vonnegut, Ken Kesey, Jonathan Swift, Mark Twain (or even Woody Allen).

Jean Shepherd, although he got a lot of mileage out of being "counterculture," wasn't counterculture at all!  My suspicion is that he is now ane was back in the 1950s when he began his career a Reagan-style conservative.   

Which is fine, his perogative ("Chacon a son gout"), but I always felt that he was somewhat chicken-hearted about admitting his conservatism during the 1960s -- especially to his college-aged listeners, who no doubt would have hurt him commercially had he in any way "broadcast" his political beliefs.

And so without reference to some political context, some political "value system," I think Jean Shepherd won a larger audience but his material lost a great deal in terms of social relevance.  The result being that his work, while hugely entertaining, doesn't really have any long-term social or historical value. ... Something one would expect from a genuine social satirist. 

    As many of his fans know, Jean Shepherd's program was carried out of New York City by WOR, long known as a rabid right-wing radio station. ... I've always wondered if this had any effect on Shepherd copping out when it came to taking any kind of a political stand back in the 60s. ... I read once where he was paid $250,000 a year by WOR -- which back in the 1960s and 1970s was a considerabel amount of loot -- enough to tuck Shepherd safely away in Sanibel Island -- hardly an enclave of counterculture, cutting edge satirists.

To Shepherd's "business sense credit," he understood all along, even way back in the 1960s, that what people wanted was not truth or insight or genuine counterculture observations but rather ... entertainment.

As the Furniture Dealer in Arthur Miller's THE PRICE put it ... "shopping."

Tony Ficociello

Date: Sat, 20 Dec 1997 20:09:29 -0800
From: Frank Alioto <falioto@lycosemail.com>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Shep

Dear Friends,

Ain't technology grand!?  The local TV outlet just ran "A Christmas Story" and I was feeling a bit nostalgic and decided to see if anyone on the web was into Jean Sheperd, Flick, Schwartz, Hammond, etc.  What a welcome surprise to find this web site!

Although I now live in Northern California (very, very far from Queens where I was raised), Jean Sheperd and his body of work hold a special place in my life.  Yes, I was one of the "transistor under the pillow so as not to disturb the parents" fans as so many others seem to be.  As an adolescent and high school student I listened to Sheperd on WOR as often as possible. I liked his work in the studio better than his shows from the Limelight.  It was a great surprise to find that one of my high school English teachers (a hipster who moonlighted as a stage manager off-Broadway) absolutely loved Sheperd and his work.  He felt that Sheperd's nightly narratives were not far removed from the stream of consciousness in "On the Road."

Two quick bits of info regarding Sheperd and my own life:
1.  One summer, our neighbors mentioned that their cousins would visit form Hammond, Indiana.  Oh, my!  I would finally get to meet peoople from magical, mystical Hammond.

If I remember correctly, I was sixteen or seventeen at the time ... the cousins arrived one day in July ... unbelievable!  They had a gorgeous sixteen year old daughter!  What a great three weeks!  Had she not been from Hammond would it have been as much fun?  I guess we'll never know ... by the way, I was disappointed (only temporarily), to find that she had never heard of Jean Sheperd.

2.  My teenage children have read "In God We Trust...," and seen a "Christmas Story" and are as into the characters as much as we were as youngsters.  There seems to be a universal adolescent appeal/identification with Jean Sheperd's characters.  This is heart warming in the sense that the kids of the Silicon Valley are growing up in an environment that is so radically different from my own youth that analogous cultural experiences are generally impossible to find.

Lastly, for what it is worth ... I do not know if Jean Sheperd ever had much success in syndication on the West Coast ... I've lived here for over fifteen years and no one has ever mentioned that they listened to him on radio. They don't know what they were missing ...

I would enjoy hearing from other Jean Sheperd fans.

Excelsior you fatheads!,

Frank Alioto

Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 02:44:38 -0500
From: Jed Dimatteo <jedsey@webtv.net>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Recollections of Jean Shepherd

It was only fitting to find out about this site via FAN radio, because I remain, to this day, a serious radio junkie.  I had my Jones before Shepherd came along, but only because of him I know it is an addiction, that I will never be able to shake - too many nights where sleeping would have been a waste of time - or if I did sleep, with the radio always playing, I was able to subliminally absorb enough to keep me going.

First encounter -Fall of 1954 - he's doing a 20 minute version of his patented patter on WOR Saturday afternoons, following the Armed Forces College Game of the Week.  Can't recall the nature of the stories, but they were enough to make an impression and make me come back for more. When I found him on evening radio a year or so later, I became addicted.

Favorites - cheapy guitar (background) music - readings from Robert W. Service. - Haiku backed up by Kimo Ito on the koto. - hurling invectives out of your open window (many years later used in the movie "Network"). I Libertine took 2+ nights to develop the title, plot and chapter outlines on air and then was written off air.- Jean Shepherd, coined the word "trivia" -the Mingle at the Wannamaker ruins that saved the show.

Why do I remember this stuff? - the guy who went through the Lincoln tunnel without paying, called in on a car phone and used the name "Bullet". -  the Listener called in on New Years Eve and offered the use of her dictionary - and then again whenever needed for a word look up ( I am guessing here, but the other night on FAN, Shep referred to a mistake of staying in NY instead of doing late night TV in LA because of a woman in NY - he never mentioned a dictionary, but I have a feeling it was her,)

Through the years I have seen him as a performer: in a nice little review put on in the Den of the Duane hotel circa 1956- at a mini bull session at the Limelight when he hung there but was not performing there yet(1958).  He arrived that night on his Vespa motorscooter.  Many times at the Limelight in the '60s .  - Late 80s at Princeton.

Favorite related story - We were all asking for and talking about I LIBERTINE before it existed, and bookstores would tell you they just ran out, but a kid at Columbia had the balls to submit it as book report based solely on the outline prepared on air.  He gets the report back with a mark of A+ written in red pencil at the top of  page and next to that in red pencil the word "Excelsior".

Date: Wed, 24 Dec 1997 18:00:18 -0500
From: Jon P. Burdzy <72656.2764@compuserve.com>
Subject: Lunch with Shep
To: jsadur@keyflux.com

I am one of the lucky ones.  I saw Jean Shepherd three times.  Two times were at his annual appearance at Princeton University's Richardson Auditorium in '87 and '88.  I also saw him when he was the speaker at my high school's graduation in 1987.  The school is the Hun School, a private school in Princeton.  His speech took place one year before my own graduation, but as a Shep fan I made sure not to miss his talk.  Even better, I was fortunate enough to have lunch with Shep the day before his speech.  It happened this way.  Shep arrived in the town of Princeton a day early and spent the night there.  The head of our "upper school," the late Al Kirchner, decided to take Shep to a local restaurant.  As a special treat, Al brought along his two teenage sons.  At the time I was a close friend of one of Al's sons, so I got myself included.

Shep was exactly the same person at our table as he is on the radio or at a public performance.  In other words, his public persona is "the real Shep," and if you ask "What is Shep really like?" just hear him once on tape or TV and you've got your answer!  As you might expect, he was full of endless, fascinating stories.  He was more than willing to answer our questions, although I must admit we did not do too much talking.  We mainly just sat in rapt attention, enthralled by the words of the master talker.  He told us he had lived near Washington, New Jersey years before, and I remember he said his house was on top of a mountain.  I believe it may have been Montana Mountain which is between Hackettstown and Washington, but it could instead have been Schooley's Mountain, also in the same area.  Shep said that as a HAM radio operator, his high, remote location provided him with the best radio reception he ever had in his life.  Having written that here, I feel I must add, to readers the world over who picture New Jersey as wall-to-wall pavement and oil refineries, we really do have beautiful open-sky areas, including genuine mountains, in the northwestern part of our Garden State.  As Shep might comment, they sure ain't the Rockies, but they are picturesque, rural and peaceful.

When they hear I had lunch with Shep, people tend to ask me what he ate and drank.  I would be glad to tell you if I remembered, but, heck, we're talking about a meal which took place ten years ago, and I can hardly remember what I had for breakfast this morning!  I think I recall that he had a beer, but beyond that I have no recollection of such details.

I brought along my copy of Shep's book, "Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories" which he graciously autographed as follows: "To Jon, a true deep thinker.  Jean Shepherd."  You can imagine what a thrill that was to me, a high school junior at the time.  It gave me an opening to ask if Wanda Hickey was a real person.  "Yep," Shep told us, "Wanda was a real gal, but of course I changed her name for the story.  The location of the story was the fictitious town of Holman, but I actually based it on my own boyhood town of Hammond, Indiana.  I made a few other little changes here and there, but basically it's all based on stuff that really happened."  Shep looked pretty much the way he looks now, with scraggly beard and a hint of rotundity, but in 1987 his beard was not as gray as it appears in more recent pictures.

                          Jon P. Burdzy
jon@hpd.acast.nova.edu (Good until May '98, after which I can be contacted through my uncle at 72656.2764@compuserve.com.)
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 1997 18:07:29 -0500
From: Ron Drysdale <drysdale@mb.sympatico.ca>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Jean Shepherd's car columns

Season's Greetings!

      Hi Jim. I've been a JS fan since the mid-60's . . . when I used to swipe my older brother's Playboy magazines and enjoy (among other things)the Hammond, Indiana nostalgia. I'm sure Mr. Shepherd won the magazine's annual humour award more often than any other writer.

      I was also "into" cars, and fondly remember his car columns in Car and Driver magazine. As a teacher, I used many of them in my junior high LA class. Any chance of accessing any of those stories?

     I'm a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada and my Saturday show (Prestone's Motoring Moment) is heard coast-to-coast on 23 stations here in Canada.

      I like to think he'd enjoy it.
                                                    - Ron Drysdale

Date: Thu, 25 Dec 1997 10:37:31 +0000
From: Roberta Downey <rdowney@mint.net>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!  Finding your web site was a terrific Christmas treat.   I listened to Jean Shepherd on WOR until I moved from Brooklyn to Orono, Maine in 1970.  One Saturday afternoon, in '71 or '72, Shep appeared at the Univerity of Maine.  I thought (feared?) I would be the only one there (Didn't want him to be embarrassed).  I WAS STUNNED! About 100 folks showed up.  Old geezers (probably in their 40's or 50's, actually) came out of the woods bringing their crystal sets with them.

I always associate Jean with Robert Service, Dangerous Dan McGrew, The Face on the Bar Room Floor, Sam McGee, Fu Man Chu and chenille bath robes. I usually listened in the dark, at night with the volume real low.  I also caught his Saturday? morning? mid-day? show.  That wasn't as good because my mother listened, too, and always referred to him as "that crazy person".  No one else I knew was a Shepherd aficianado - strictly Cousin Brucie and Murray the K, so I kept  Jean Shepherd to myself.  

Now back to TNT's 24 hour "Christmas Story" marathon.  It's so nice to hear his voice over and over again.    

Roberta Downey

Date: Thu, 25 Dec 1997 15:04:55 -0500
From: Chuck Marsh <cmrsh@net-link.net>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Memories


I happened to tune in today to TNT (12/25/97) to the middle of  A Christmas Story and knew immediately that I was watching (and listening) to a Jean Shepherd tale.  I never had the pleasure of meeting Shep but we lived parallel lives and careers.  He in Hammond, Indiana and  myself in Kankakee, Illinois. He did quite a bit better in his vocation than I did in mine.  I was a radio/ television announcer and writer and worked in markets from Boston to LA for 43 years before retiring. I tried to explain to my wife who Jean Shepherd is and why I could identify with him but, alas, she's too young to understand what it was like growing up in "those days." As a contemporary of Jean I lived each tale as he recounts it with only minor variations.  Only the names have been changed.  I read each  story of his when they appeared in Playboy and watched his TV shows whenever possible. One phrase of his remains welded in my mind to this day:  "There's more to life than Twinkies."  He was,  as I recall, referring to eating a Maine Lobster. Oh, how I remember (and miss) THOSE DAYS.

Chuck Marsh
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 1997 12:16:31 -0500
From: Chris Tucker <cht@gis.net>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: So, I'm this kid, see...

... and I'm living in Stratford Connecticutt around 1962 and I'm screwing around with the radio.

There's this guy, and he's telling this story about using a generator from a field telephone and a couple of iron rods stuck in the ground.

Suddenly! There's this incredably strange music, he's shrieking and yelling about all these ... THINGS leaping out of the ground, trying to escape the electricity.

Man, I am in hysterics.

The next night, he's back! And he's telling about how he and his friends Flick and Schwartz are in the swamp and they're seining for fish and they catch some kind of huge snakes. And there's that music again and he's yelling and hollering and carrying on.

And I am HOOKED!

And for the next 10 years or so, I am glued to the radio every night, listening the Jean Shepard, reading his books and articles in Playboy and just enjoying his particular and unique worldview.

Watching his "A Christmas Story" on TNT yesterday (and I can't tell you how many times I've seen it in the past and enjoyed it) inspired me to do an Alta Vista search.

Which is how I found this page. Man, the memories it brought back and if Shep is at Princeton in '98, I am there!

For the Shep fans out there, here's another item to look for. "The Village Voice Reader" from Grove Press. It has a couple of Shep's columns from the Village Voice from way back when.

My copy is a paperback published either in the late 50s or very early 60s.

Finding out that Shep is still with us is, perhaps, the best Christmas present I have ever received.


Date: Fri, 26 Dec 1997 18:50:02 -0500
From: Harvey Garrett <browsguy@concentric.net>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: i heard you on Ann Ligori

you beat me out I was waiting to talk!
i am glad you beat me out althought some of the other callers i wish i had beaten out!. I was going to ask him what character he was in Kerouac's on the road. he claimed to be a character   although no one was blatantly him I assume it was Stan Shepherd.
One thing he said about media that I disagreed with him was why radio fans loved him. He made One Great Movie, a few great TV shows a few great books and several thousand great radio shows.  Hey I have zero movies zero books and zero radio shows good or bad, but his unique niche is  and always will be radio, though i have seen him at the Limelight as a kid(my father took me when I was about eleven) and Carnagie Hall as a young adult.  The Limelight show was a highlight of my child hood.

anyway keep up the good work with this page and Exelsior!!!!!!!!!
Harvey Garrett
of Rego Park, New York

Date: Sat, 27 Dec 1997 21:16:49 EST
From: Bob Hone <Bowman2x@aol.com>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Jean Shepherd

Dear Jim:   The best Christmas gift I ever got was in 1955, when my mother gave me an Emerson red, plastic clock-radio.  I was 15; it was "advanced- technology" to me.  I loved it!  (The next best Christmas gift was 42 years later when my wife got me this IBM Thinkpad computer.)  My first red radio receiver was AM only, and it melted inexorably years later.  I like to think it melted because of overuse listening to Jean Shepherd.

For years in the late 1950's and early 1960's, I tuned to 710KHz AM of WOR, NEW YORK.  From my obscure and working-class Philadelphia neighborhood, New York City, Manhattan, and Greenwich Village were a million miles away, in distance and in thought.  But, Jean Shepherd by his voice and words transported me to a wonderful world of spoken literature, which I regard as one of the most personally beneficial experiences of my life.

>From reading Hiaku poetry to the tales of the ordinary made extraordinarily powerful, he made magic over-the-air.  Radio reception in Philly was difficult at times.  Only later (in Vietnam) did I understand the true vagaries of radio transmission and reception.  When I became an amateur radio operator (N4JQP), just like "Shep" (K2ORS), to copy and send Morse code through static was a natural habit born of years of tuning to the signal fade of WOR.

Today, I discovered your web page devoted to "Shep," and it "has made all the difference."  I've ordered his books, which I thought mistakenly were long since out of print.  I'm thrilled to read there are audio and video tapes. Does anyone remember the one about the train with the soldiers?  The train stops, the soldiers get off, the soldiers get back on, except one, who is last seen at the tracks running after the train, and who is never seen again.

Jean:  If you copy, 73's de N4JQP  SK
    Bob Hone, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Date: Sun, 4 Jan 1998 10:48:45 -0500
From: Charles V. Schlesinger
Subject: Shep in the 50's
To: jsadur@keyflux.com

I am 62 years old, and I was a student at Rutgers in New Brunswick, New Jersey in the 50's when I listened to Shep.  At that time Shep was in his early 30's.  I believe he is 76 now.  I can't name the exact year I first heard his broadcasts on WOR out of New York, but it had to be between 1952 and 1957.  I seem to recall that Shep had an all-night show on either Saturday or Sunday night, starting about 11:00 PM and continuing until the wee hours of the morning.  To the best of my recollection, WOR's weekday night-time host was Long John Nebel who interviewed all sorts of weird people, like the guy who said he went to the moon with space aliens, and he brought back "moon potatoes" to prove it.

Shep's competition, in my mind at least, were two stations that played classical music during the time he was on.  I was really hooked on classical music, so I guess I listened to the music stations at least half the the time and switched to Shep the rest of the time.  It was always a tough decision to make -- should I listen to classical or Jean Shepherd? In case you think this was a pretty weird choice, think again.  I was not choosing between a serious subject and a light-hearted one -- not at all. I put classical music on a pedestal, and at the same time I also put Shep on a pretty high pedestal.  Now that I have heard a few tapes of Shep's old radio shows, I realize Shep was and is a true classic, a master of a special art form that nobody else has ever, to my knowledge equalled or even come close to.

I read that Shep's radio work is known mainly to early Shep fans in the New York/New Jersey area, and the rest of the country know him only as a writer and narrator whose works have occasionally been made into movies. Shep himself, they say, thinks of himself as a writer, and minimizes the importance of his early work in radio.  Somebody ought to tell Shep that as good as he is at writing, there are plenty of good writers, but there has never been anybody who could effortlessly weave an extemporaneous story that has the power to hold thousands of listeners spellbound, and even doubled over in laughter, the way the master of gab, Jean Shepherd, can do it.  If you are a Shep fan because of his articles, books and movies, but you have never heard him on radio, I advise you to find the right spot on the internet, click on it with your mouse, and find out how to get yourself some of his audio tapes.  They are a treasure beyond compare.

Charles V. Schlesinger
(No e-mail address.  Message posted by a friend.)

Date: Tue, 06 Jan 1998 16:40:32 -0800
From: Lee J. Ames <LEEAMES@prodigy.net>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Old Times

HI Jim,

    I have in front of me a first edition of Shep's book, "IN GOD WE TRUST, All Others Pay Cash."  On the half-title page Jean wrote:

    At that time I was an Artist-in-Residence at Doubleday.  After listening to much of Jean's great stuff on New York City's radio station, WOR, I called him and suggested introducing him to a couple of Doubleday's top editors.  He accepted and I introduced him to Harold Kuebler and Ferris Mack.  Thus, the birth of the book.  The working title, incidentally, as I recall, was "What Time Does the Balloon Go Up?"

    Would you please extend my regards to Jean?  And, if possible, might I be able to get in touch with him?

    Lee J. Ames
Email addresses: leeames@juno.com   and   leeames@prodigy.net

Date: Fri, 16 Jan 1998 23:39:51 -0500
From: Wes Kozinn <weskozinn@email.msn.com>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 1998 23:39:51 -0500 To:
Subject: Jean Shepherd

Dear Jim,

I was delighted to find your Jean Shepherd home page. I started listening to him about 42 years ago, and I was an addict every night when he was on WOR. I met Shepherd when he gave a concert at Brown University in 1968. I photographed him for the Brown newspaper. He was very warm and friendly. I only wish he knew how much he gave pleasure to me and my friends who were avid listeners.

The amazing thing is how little anyone actually knows about him, other than through his stories. I would hope that he has a family and has achieved personal happiness, for he has done so much for others.

Best wishes and thanks. Wes Kozinn

Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 19:12:22 EST
From: Dchorno <Dchorno@aol.com>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Remembrance of things past

Wonderful site.Reading the memories of my fellow-sufferers who were the true believers in the Universe of Shep a warm smile comes to my face.I was an addict througout the 60s,huddled under my covers,making sure the volume was soft enough  so my parents wouldnt tell me to get to bed.I learned and I wondered and I dreamed as the Great Storyteller wove his gentle web of life.I see there are so many of us united by the hours we shared the great one -Jean Shepherd

Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 22:55:00, -0500
From: Elaine Massena <DPRW63B@prodigy.com>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Shep!

I think I died and went to heaven tonight, having found your page!  I've been trying to find out what happened to JS for many years, without success.  Recently a friend went to the Museum of Broadcasting in the City and reported several hours of Shep material available, but apparently only for listening there.  Now I can order hours and hours of my own!  Thanks for the time and care that you have obviously put into this site!
Elaine in White Plains 

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 15:11:46 EST
From: Jim Yellen <Jim Yellen>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Shep's Army Stories

In all that's been written about Shep (radio, TV, movies, books) I've not seen any mention of the stories about his Army days in Company K that appeared in Playboy.

I have a file of Shep stories clipped from Playboy that include four stories of his days in Company K. I remember reading, back in the 70s, that Shep was working on a book of Army stories, but as far as I know, it never materialized. Here's a summary of the four Army stories that I know of. Unfortunately I don't have dates of when they appeared in Playboy. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who knows of others, or anyone who knows about the book of Army stories.

"Zinsmeister and the Treacherous Eighter from Decatur"  The motley crew of Comapny K gets a weekend pass to town, where it tastes the forbidden fruits of passion, the heady pleasures of the gaming arena and the bitter dregs of human chicanery.

"The Unforgettable Exhibition Game of the Giants Versus the Dodgers, Tropical Bush League" An X-Rated story wherein the morale of Company K, badly sagging, is bolstered by an unexpected boon from headquarters.

"The Secret Mission of the Blue-Assed Buzzard"  Wherein the hapless castaway of Company K- Everglades Defense Command- joins the glory boys on a harrowing flight of fancy and learns what they mean by "the wild blue yonder."

"Banjo Butt Meets Julia Child"  In which the chipped-beef eaters of Company K are recruited for a short-order cram course in haute cuisine- and precipitate an epicurean insurrection.

Flick LIves!

Jim Yellen

Check out the new Shep Bibliography which includes his articles.

Date: Wed, 4 Feb 1998 20:46:28 -0500
From: Ken Phifer <kphifer@CapAccess.org>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: PS articles


    Going through some old magazines, I found an article by Shep in PS Magazine - August 1966 titled "Triviata Globus" 2 pages long...If anyone wants a copy, they can contact me to determine the cost of mailing & copying - probably about $1.00.

    Trying to remember what station Shep broadcast from Phillie - I'm pretty sure it was KYW and that he broadcast from a hotel in downtown Philadelphia..I can remember him mentioning looking out on to Walnut Street...Does anyone else remember the details and the years that he broadcast ffrom Phillie? I know I was in HS in South Jersey and this would have been 1948 -1952.


Date: Sat, 14 Feb 1998 02:03:55 -0600
From: Brian Pearson <baptd@netnitco.net>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Great site and a good find I made the other day...

Greetings, from of all places Northwest Indiana. As I write this let me tell you that I am a 31 year old male who was born and raised in Hammond, Indiana and the Calumet Region. My father who was born in 1944 actually lived on Cleveland Street in Hesville, 3 doors down from Shep. He did not know Jean personally but my Grandmother and Shep's mom were friends. My father also attended the same Warren G. Harding school that Shep went to. I really never knew about Shep until my father introduced me to his work, basically the books and of course one of my favorite movies of all time "A Christmas Story." Now I am in search of broadcast tapes as well as video's of Shep. I am a radio major myself and work in the Chicago radio market. Anyway I was at our local library 2 days ago and came across a great find. In 1984 Shep came back home to speak at the Lake County Public Library. It's a camcorder shoot (on a tripod) and has Shep talking about his childhood days back here in "da' region." Needless to say it runs a little over 2 hrs and it's hilarious! After viewing this I really want to hear and see the vintage Shep that you feature on your site. Now for something even weirder, not only did my father live 3 doors away from him but my parents own a 2nd home on of all places Sanibel Island, Florida...where Shep now lives! I had no idea he lives on Sanibel. I have been going there since 1972, when I was 5. I am visiting Sanibel in May and possibly moving down there in October. I am trying to put the finishing touches on aquiring a radio licsense for Sanibel. Maybe I could talkl Shep into doing a nightly show...wouldn't that be something! I plan on writing to him via his P.O. box. Please respond ASAP. In closing thank you for such a great site and for introducing me (even more so) to Shep's work.

Brian Pearson
Highland, Indiana

Date: Thu, 19 Feb 98 16:08:06 EST
From: Bob Mantel <robert_s_mantel@smb.com>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Shepherd

I listened to Shep religiously on WOR during the late 60s and early 70s, and even got to see him live at New York's 150-seat (tops) Fortune Theatre in maybe 1970.  The big question is:  where can I get a tape of Phantom of the Open Hearth?  Nothing like it on TV ever except maybe Singing Detective, but that was the Brits, not one of our own.  Hey, fellahs!  Can anybody help out there?

Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 00:58:25 -0500 (EST)
From: David Haus <drhaus@BGNet.bgsu.edu>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Jean Shepherd

Mr. Sadur:

    I heartily enjoyed your wonderful Jean Shepherd page and its links. My name is David Haus and I'm a 23 year old Masters student in American Culture Studies at Bowling Greeen State University in Ohio. My honors thesis in my undergrad years at Penn State was called The "Industrial Sublime and the Little Man: The America of Jean Shepherd" It is available in the Penn State library system or it soon will be when it is bound. I'll be presenting part of this thesis at the Great Lakes American Studies Association Conference on March 6 & 7. As far as I know, I'm only one of three people in Academia to deal exclusively with Shepherd's work. Right now I'm doing some more research on his work- I'd like to really focus on his radio days and his connection with the Beats, the old research was basically a literature analysis. If there are any sources that you could perhaps point me to, I would be most grateful. I was also wondering if you had the phone number to the princeton Box office so that I could try to get a ticket for his princeton concert this year.

                 Thank You for Your Time,
                 David Haus

Date: Mon, 2 Mar 1998 00:57:44 -0000
From: Joan Casey <jbcasey@tinet.ie>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Guest Book Message

Dear Jim,

I discovered your Jean Sheperd Page over a year ago-- it is brilliant and permanently bookmarked.  I have done all the same goofey kid things to listen to Shep while growing up--only I didn't realise at the time that anyone else might be listening as well.  I thought I was alone in fandom until I a sophomore overheard a lowly freshman BOY talking to a pal about a broadcast!! Now it's time to check out the rest of your site. Thanks for the hard work.

Joan Casey
County Kerry

Date: Wed, 04 Mar 1998 19:54:34 -0500
From: A'Lucia Harper <aharper@seidata.com>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: A christmas story

When I first saw the Christmas story it rang a bell in mymemorie and finally I remembered that I had read somthing about it in an old magazine.I was completly fascinated with the movie and was not able to get a copy at that time.The next year I had acompany order it for me.I watched that movie at least once a week and sometimes more.It was so close to the way that I grew up and it seemed as though I lived the story right along with Ralphie.I watched to see all the furnishings in the house and especially the kitchen I was able to copy a lot of it as I had been collecting that age of stuff for a long time.It was so much fun to look for stuff to match.I even have a "major award" not a lamp but just about as odd.I know most of every ones lines and can almost play the parts I believe that I have watched the movie 200 times or more,my husband says it's more like a thousand. Well I had to move from by big house to a smaller home and altho I don't have my copy kitchen set up any more I still have most of my stuff and also my "major award" I found a copy off "In God we trust at a flea market,had found one on the internet but they wanted $30.00 I got mine for $2 If you are looking for a copy try a flea market first.I know I would like to meet Mr. Shepherd as we are about the same age and would enjoy talking about Christmas Past. I hope you enjoy my letter and would love to correspond with any one who love the works of Jean Shepherd as much as I do.
A'Lucia L Harper

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Thanks, Jim

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Copyright © 1998 James E. Sadur.