Tales of the Shep

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

Volume 4

Previous Home Next

28 Jul 1996 22:31:22 -0400 (EDT)
From: Steve Parker <Park147@aol.com>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Shep on WOR in 1996

I was dialing through my AM radio a few weeks ago (I think July 16) and I heard the tail end of a montage of Jean Shepherd played during the 11pm hour on the "Joey Reynolds Program." It was followed by Joey saying something like, "Jean Sheperd, wasn't he great?" He didn't refer to it again in the remaining portion of the hour and I was wondering if Jean had not taken ill or worse. Have you or anyone heard about this?

Steve Parker
Jackson, NJ

PS-Do you know what the title and origin is of Shep's theme recording? I heard Gil Gross play it on his last WOR broadcast 3-4 years ago as tribute to Shep.

*Editor's note:
As of May 31, 1996, Shep was alive and generally well. As for the theme, check out the new Shep FAQ page!.

Date: Sun, 28 Jul 1996 23:48:30 -0400
From: Ray Pichulo <rayp@world.std.com>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Jean Shepherd Trivia
Nice to find a few more Shepherd fans .. sorry to be so late with this but Movie Channel had "It Runs in the Family" on during July.. unfortunately today was the last showing and I didn't get it on tape. For what it's worth, it was on back in June, so it may just creep back on to the schedule again. Check out http://showtimeonline.com -- maybe worth watching for future dates??

Interesting bit of trivia connected with the movie.. one big gaffe they made.. The kast scene with the Old Man, Zudoc, etc and Ralphie all sitting around in the kitchen after the great fish catch, they're all drinking *Budweiser*.. of course we all know that the old man's favorite was Pabst Blue Ribbon. Oh well.. it is still a great movie.

I had the pleasure of catching Shep on 2 meters a couple times in the Boston area in the early 70's. Also went to one of (pardon the expression) Wayne Green's mini conventions where Shep was guest speaker and heard his "sucked everyone out of the band" story.

Keep up the page.. who knows maybe enough people can get him out of retirement?

Ray Pichulo - W1IRH - | Email: rplab@world.std.com
RP Laboratory | WWW: http://world.std.com/~rplab
Carlisle MA 01741 | Ma Bell: (508) 371-0896

"Life is like a dog sled team -
if you're not the lead dog, the scenery never changes."

Date: Wed, 31 Jul 1996 23:37:30 -0400
From: David Royer <k16460@er.uqam.ca>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: My summer story question

I am a big fan of Shep 1st movie, My xmas story. I have been looking all around in local video store to find a copy of my summer story. Do you know where I can find one? (To buy or trade) thanks,

David Royer <ee491849@er.uqam.ca> or <k16460@er.uqam.ca>
Date: Thu, 01 Aug 96 17:38:25 -0400
From: Steve Apter <apter@ny.ubs.com>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: (no subject)

I saw Shepherd and Yvonne DeCarlo (!) co-star in a summerstock production of "Destry Rides Again". I believe the year was 1963, and the place, somewhere in the Berkshires. By that time I was a confirmed Shepherd fanatic, and of course none of my fellow summer campers had any idea why I couldn't stop talking about the experience for the remainder of the summer.

As I've written to Bob Kaye, Shepherd introduced me to good Chinese food (The Mandarin Inn, 13th between 6th and 7th, where for years I took all my dates) and good Japanese films (Yojimbo, which I pressured my grandmother into taking me to at the Art Theater on 8th st.)

Unlike many of your correspondents, I never summoned the nerve to approach Shepherd. Also, unlike some, I do not believe that he will be forgotten. Shep is, as we know, one of the great American humorists, due for eventual rediscovery. What is unrepeatable is the experience we had of clandestinely listening to those subversive 45 minute broadcasts night after night.

Thanks for your effort
Date: Mon, 05 Aug 1996 20:13:15 -0400
From: Thomas Byro <mongo@epix.net>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Jean Shepherd

I remember Shep fondly from the many years I listened to him on WOR. When he suddenly went off the air, I thought that he must have died. Why did they take such a fantastic performer and storyteller off the air?

Are there any audio tapes available of his show? I guess I somehow thought he would be on the air forever and never bothered taping him.

Many times, when I take my first drink of beer, I think of one of his stories of a parched trip up in the Andes when he found a small store with ice cold beer in one of those cold water coolers. He said that the beer had sat in the cooler so long that the bottle caps had rusted. It was his description though of the first swallow of beer going down a parched throat that I will never forget.

Date: Tue, 06 Aug 1996 15:14:44 -0400
From: Dan Beach <danbeach@studio8h.com>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Shepherd


Perhaps I can answer a couple of the questions about the PBS AMERICAN PLAYHOUSE shows. I was the production coordinator of 3 of the 4 shows and spent MANY months with Leigh and Jean Shepherd. I was also production coordinator of the second 'Jean Shepherd's America' series. The shows were produced by Creative Television Associates of Boston, for WGBH-TV Boston, the PBS outlet, which supplied them to PBS. Additionally at least two, and perhaps more, of the shows were licensed to Disney for Disney Channel showings. 'Ollie Hopnoodle...." was, I believe, jointly owned by Disney and WGBH/PBS. Because of music rights clearances, it is unlikely that the 'America' series will appear in VCR form - or even on air. While a call to the Commercial Marketing Department at WGBH-TV (617-492-2777) might elicit support for release of the American Playhouse shows in home form, my recollection of the performance contracts is that there might be significant contractual and licensing problems in releasing these shows. I do have first generation copies of these shows myself but cannot legally duplicate them.

One other note: Regarding Bob Lanning's discussion of the irascible Shepherd, there are a myriad of "Shepherd stories" that abound among those of us who were fortunate to have worked extensively with him. It is not all pretty. I would love to share some of them. But, personally, I would save the rawest of those for later years when his biography will, undoubtedly, be written. Until then, Flick lives!

Say....did I ever tell you about the time I drove Jean and Leigh, their dog Daphne, the bird in the big cage, all their luggage and Shep's ham radio gear from Virginia to Boston --- in his VW? ......Now THAT's a story........

Dan Beach
Orlando, FL

Date: Tue, 06 Aug 1996 19:33:37 -0700
From: Ronald Gillis <freegill@earthlink.net>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Shep trivia

While reading a history of Mad Magazine I was amused to find out that Jean was a contributor of stories, just thought you might like to know.
Date: Sun, 11 Aug 1996 17:30:21 -0400
From: Joe Williams <MSquid@aol.com>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Jean Shepherd

Hi Jim--

I noticed something in the movie Clueless that may relate to Jean Shepherd. About 57 minutes into the movie, Alicia Silverstone is at a party; her friend Josh is there to keep an eye on her. A brief shot, three or four seconds, shows him talking to "the only adult" at the party. We see a portly, bearded man from a back side angle. This man is either Shep or a reasonable double for him. No one is mentioned for the role in the credits. Is this possible? Does anyone know anything about this?

As B/4,
Joe Williams

Date: Mon, 11 Nov 1996 14:34:50 -0800
From: Dennis <circuitPro@atlantis-bbs.com>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Shep in Clueless?

A correspondent on your "Tales of the Shep #4," Joe Williams, thought he saw Jean Shepherd in the movie "Clueless." The video was funny, well worth the rental just to watch Ms. Silverstone, but I'm pretty sure that guy in the shadows in the bar scene is not Jean. The guy in the movie is really fat and in profile bears only slight resemblance to Shep.

Dennis Langley

*Editor's note:
Thanks for the field research!

Date: Mon, 26 Aug 1996 12:30:32 -0400
From: "Paul J. Wolsko" <pwolsko@chubb.com>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Shep

For reference, I am 47 and, during the early 60s, I used to stay up late, like you, listening to Jean Shepard. Remember his TV tube number 6SJ7GT??? I remember he had a live show on WOR on Saturdays at the Limelight in NYC (I lived in Clifton, NJ).

By the way, Shep's ham call sign is K2ORS, and he lives in Sanibel, Fla.

Did you know that Shep had a TV show in the late 1950s? I was weird, and he had all these strange people on ranting and raving.

AND, they should never have taken Shepard's Pie off PBS!

Paul Wolsko
Hopatcong, NJ

Date: Wed, 28 Aug 1996 00:13:08 -0400
From: Starpace@aol.com
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Concrete Mexicans on the Lawn

Started listening when i was 13 in 1963--another person with the transistor radio under the covers.
Try these out for memories of the Great Master:
--"Bye, Bye Blues" (performed on the bazoo and the jews' harp)
--"Bringing in the Sheep(eves?)...We will go rejoicing Bringing in the Sheep(eves?)"(sung)
--Sponsored for years by: Land Rover
--His Mother's Channile Bathrobe. . .Randy under the Day Bed.
--Metaphor for surburban excess: Concrete Mexicans on the lawn---Scarsdale---Seekaukus
--The Imagery of "The Slob": Minature Budweiser Cans on the Hat being worn at the 1964 Wordls Fair
--N.Y.Yankee's Problem:Their Underwear was too tight

Like many of you, I could go on and on and on I'm so happy this page exists. Keep it alive!!!!!!

From: 76143.2366@compuserve.com
Date: Wed, 28 Aug 1996 14:57:41 -0400

I too have a fairly extensive collection of Jew's Harps, inspired by Jean Shepherd. I made the keynote address at my high school graduation and it was in part about cockroaches, I employed Shep inspired antics to get elected to the student council and vice president there of, I ordered the year one poster, the Flying Bird, wrote a memorable letter to Shep which he read on the air, in fact now I am starting to realize just how much of my personality was influenced, indeed formed by Jean Shepherd. Scary.

Date: Mon, 02 Sep 1996 20:11:48 -0700
From: Andy Goldberg <geografx@ptd.net>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Excelsior, YF!

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the fercivacious page! Jean Shepherd is one of the greatest raconteurs in American radio history. I grew up in NJ and enjoyed Shep nightly, especially his Saturday night broadcasts from the Limelight. His stories would hold me spellbound, and I loved his pranks. I remember when he asked everyone listening to put their radios by the window and "turn the gain up". I did so and his voice echoed through the quiet suburban neighborhood--"OOOOOH, Baby!" Or the time he dared listeners to go through the Hudson River tunnels without paying the tolls and got a call from someone at the Holland Tunnel toll booth with a phone in their car saying "Shep, I'm gonna do it!" Shep egged him on. There was a long "pregnant pause" while Shep played some wacky tune and the guy's phone blacked out in the tunnel. Then he emerged on the NY side and shouted triumphantly, "I made it!". Shep cheered and began another tale...

I got to meet him a few times. The most memorable was when he was a guest speaker at Cranford High. As one of the organizers of the event, I got to hang out backstage before he went on. In the presence of greatness, I shook his hand and stammered out a question. I asked, "Shep, if you could do anything that you wanted to do, what would it be?" He smiled and replied that he wanted to gather all of his listeners in Central Park and on his cue everyone would lean to their right and then to their left--over and over--until they had the whole island rocking!

Radio hasn't been the same since he left the air.

Date: Tue, 03 Sep 96 13:32:14 -0700
From: Stan Croydon <tonto@newc.com>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: Shep's GE Carosel of Progress
I grew up about 50 miles from Princeton, NJ, on the Jersey Shore, but it's a lot easier for me to take my family to Walt Disney World to hear Shep narrate the GE Courosel of Progress than it is for me to make time to drive to Priceton to hear his annual show there.

I first saw mention of the Carosel thing on your page. It intrigued me. I saw the "orginal" at the World's Fair back in '64 and even took my kids to see it back in the 70's and 80's when I took them to Disney World. But Shep, a Disney animaton? No way!

Well, my family and I sat in fascination (at least I did) as we revolved through all of the technological changes of the 20th Century. I saw Shep go through one technological age after another. There was the same old clearing the throat kind of laugh I remembered from listening late at night to WOR back in the 50's and 60's. It was so real, so Sheo, I began to wonder where and how they got the gleam in the animatron's eyes. Was Shep really being held prisoner inside? That sounded like something Micheal Eisner might do.

I particularly liked one of the scenes where Shep, O.K., the guy who keeps going around in circles every 15 minutes, looks over his shoulder and out the window and hollars something to Schwartz. It was Shep alright, no doubt about it.

Thanks for having that GE Carousel reference on your page. It wound up making the trip to WDW worth it. You see, despite many good trips to Disney World in the past, this one was memorable for some negative reasons. The trip started off with two of my daughters' pets, dying. During the week we were there, we got word that the kid who stayed home in NYC had her cat die. First day we went to the beach, I had the bright idea to insure none of our belongings and money would get stolen, and I put them in the bottom of the washing machine our apartment had. Naturally, no one took the things out after we got back, and someone did some laundry an later. This was not what I have in mind when I hear the phrase, "money lanundering". When we checked into our WDW room, our car died (a wire came loose). Before that, the battery in the videocam died. And when we finally got back home after a week on the road, we discovered the freezer had a major meltdown, resulting in a lot of quickly cooked food we are still eating. If I didn't know better, I would think Shep wrote the script for our trip. I do know it was his sense of humor that kept me laughing at all the adversity.

Thanks for maintaining the page. It's a real service for us old time listeners and viewers of his PBS shows and movies.

Stan Croydon

I'm best reached at
<tonto@newc.com> or

Date: Sun, 8 Sep 1996 19:31:13 -0400
From: George S. Barkman <BarkyB@aol.com>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: jean sheperd

I first heard of Shep in Playboy when I read what I believe to be his first article for that magazine, although I could be wrong about it being the first. The article that I am referring to was Harry Gertz and the 47 Crappies in the 6/64 playboy. In the preface to the 7/68 issue of playboy they refer to the story in that issue as the 14th and that story is Ollie Hopnoodles Haven of Bliss. I can find only 13 stories between 6/64 and 7/68. The other stories are in the 9/64. 12/64, 4/65, 7/65, 10/65, 12/65, 8/66, 11/66, 4/67, 9/67 and 12/67 issues. Off course, he went on to write many other stories that appeared in Playboy and the last one that I know of was a Fist Full of Fig Newtons. Most of the Playboy stories were included in Shep's books but those about his army escapades were not (as far as I know they were never published in book form although Playboy said that they would be) but they surely were some of his best.

George S. Barkman

Date: Sun, 08 Sep 1996 22:15:55 -0400
From: "JAY W. REES" <JAYREES@worldnet.att.net>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: jean shepherd

I was a fan of jean shepherd's WOR shows when I was in high school in the early sixties. I've always considered him an important influence on so many of today's free form radio personalities. I've often wondeed if any of his WOR shows were available on tape. I you or anyone else knows about this, I'd love to find out. Thanks alot. Like the page alot.

Jay Rees
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 1996 11:39:23 +0100
From: Ed Kowalski <EDWK@novo.dk>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: The Shep is alive and well in Denmark!

Believe it or not, there is an informal Jean Shepherd fan club in the wilds of Denmark. Several of us expatriates, both pre and baby-boomers talk about our childhood and teenage days listening under the covers to ól Shep. Luckily we also preserved some old tapes, which we exchange with each other. Being so far away from home its a great way of confirming our Americanism -- or at least how America was 20-30 years ago.

Being brought up on "Father Knows Best" and "Leave it to Beaver" it was a breath of fresh air hearing Shep on WOR -- an alternative to the idealistic mush being served us on the TV. Amazingly we all seem to have a Randy, a Miss Shields, a Flick, a Schwartz, and not least an uncle Carl somewhere in our families. Shep gave us new insights into our own families -- and made us laugh while doing so.

Reading your web page made me feel like my pimples and adolescent squeaky voice were returning. Not a bad feeling! Do you think its too late to run Shep for president? We could call the movement the "Return of I, Libertine".

With best regards,
Ed Kowalski (no, no relation to "Sgr. Kowalski", from Shep_s tales of the Army)
P.S.: You can use my name

From: Brent W. Thompson <brentt@UDel.Edu>
To: jsadur@keyflux.com
Subject: A Near Shep Encounter

I have seen Shep in person in "concert" but I also had what could be called a "near Shep" encounter. In 1977, while a college student, I took a trip to New York city just to sightsee. While walking down the street I realized I was in front of WOR. Without much thought I walked in, hoping to see the man who I got such pleasure from hearing and reading. It was late on a Saturday afternoon. Walking into the lobby I realized that Shep would probably not be in, but I suddenly had the urge to see the booth that he broadcasted from. I figured the security guard wouldn't let me up if I asked to see Jean Shepherd so I grabbed at the only other name I knew at WOR. "I'm here to see Leigh Brown", I told the guard, not knowing what to say if he asked why I wanted to see his producer. "I don't know if she's here yet", he replied, "why don't you go up and see if she's in".

For a second I froze. I didn't think my ruse would work. Now I was committed. I got in the elevator and pushed the button. Stepping off into the station offices I could see a couple of booths and very few people. I began to wander around, trying to look as if I knew where I was. Someone spotted me and asked me who I was looking for. I made up a story that I wanted to see Leigh Brown in order to book Shep for an appearance at my college. He seemed to believe me but told me she was not in. I asked if that, while I was here, would it be too much trouble to see where Jean Shepherd did his show. "No trouble, it's right over there". I walked over the to booth a looked in. I don't remember seeing much of significance. No jew's harps or nose flutes, but I was excited to see the room where the voice that filled so many of my adolescent nights originated.

You may reprint this if you are interested.
Brent Thompson,MS,RN /Asst Prof/Nursing/U of Delaware/Newark DE 19716

Previous Home Next

Do you have stories, anecdotes or trivia for this page?

Send them to: jsadur@keyflux.com
Thanks, Jim

Return to the Jean Shepherd Page

Copyright © 1996 James E. Sadur.