Tales of the Shep
Contributor's Stories and Comments about Jean Shepherd & These Pages
28 Jul 1996 22:31:22 -0400 (EDT)
From: Steve Parker <Park147@aol.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?
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
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 <email@example.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
Ray Pichulo - W1IRH - | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 <email@example.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)
David Royer <firstname.lastname@example.org> or <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 01 Aug 96 17:38:25 -0400
From: Steve Apter <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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
Thanks for your effort
Date: Mon, 05 Aug 1996 20:13:15 -0400
From: Thomas Byro <email@example.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
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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
Date: Tue, 06 Aug 1996 19:33:37 -0700
From: Ronald Gillis <email@example.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>
Subject: Jean Shepherd
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
Date: Mon, 11 Nov 1996 14:34:50 -0800
From: Dennis <circuitPro@atlantis-bbs.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.
Thanks for the field research!
Date: Mon, 26 Aug 1996 12:30:32 -0400
From: "Paul J. Wolsko" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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!
Date: Wed, 28 Aug 1996 00:13:08 -0400
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
--Sponsored for years by: Land Rover
--His Mother's Channile Bathrobe. . .Randy under the Day Bed.
--Metaphor for surburban excess: Concrete Mexicans on the
--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!!!!!!
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 <email@example.com>
Subject: Excelsior, YF!
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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.
I'm best reached at
Date: Sun, 8 Sep 1996 19:31:13 -0400
From: George S. Barkman <BarkyB@aol.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>
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.
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 1996 11:39:23 +0100
From: Ed Kowalski <EDWK@novo.dk>
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
P.S.: You can use my name
From: Brent W. Thompson <brentt@UDel.Edu>
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
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Copyright © 1996 James E. Sadur.