Tales of the Shep
Contributor's Stories and Comments about Jean Shepherd & These Pages
Date: Sun, 22 Dec 1996 22:11:32 -0600
From: Suzan Nyfeler <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Flick Lives
My brother and I discovered Jean Shepherd in the 70's when we were in
high school. His books were great gifts during that time. We were sad
when we ran out of titles. A few years ago, as a Christmas gift to my
brother, I put together three binders full of Shep's magazine
articles--from Car and Driver to Playboy. Had a great time doing the
research (the librarian in me I guess). Spent some time a few years ago
trying to get copies of the PBS series. Anyone know of extra copies
Instead of "It's a Wonderful Life" our family watches "A Christmas
Story" each Christmas. We also refer to any noisy dogs as Bumpus
hounds. So glad to find kindred spirits.
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 1996 01:49:42 -0800
From: Larry Morris <email@example.com>
Subject: Jean Shepherd
I am a high school librarian and this past week one of our English
classes was in the library doing research on Indiana authors for their
paper. I mentioned the name of Jean Shepherd to one of the students. Like
most students he enjoyed the movie, but was unaware that its author came
from Indiana. I will share your web page with the class. I actually found
your site by accident. I was looking up information on the Titanic for a
friend. That is the fun part of the internet -- one good link leads to
Date: Wed, 25 Dec 1996 10:07:10 -0800
From: Peter Strauss <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Form posted HamLogbook
Used to listen to Shepherd on WOR in the late '50's, when he was on
from 9 to 12 or 1 on Sunday nights. Had a friend also who worked at
WOR for a while, Peter Gardiner (since deceased)...he took me up to the
studio one Sunday night where I got to watch Shep in action.
I'll never ever forget the cheap guitar music, or his story about the
night the gondola car full of molten steel tipped over and vaporized
a three-story building at the mill. Wish I could get a tape of that
one...I was spellbound listening to that.
Nice that you and I can share Shep and ham radio...what a weird combo!
Thanks for having the page(s) up on the 'net.
Best of the holidays to you.
Peter Strauss, KO6R
Date: Wed, 25 Dec 1996 15:30:40 -0500
From: Jim Clavin <email@example.com>
Subject: Another Shepherd fan with something to contribute
I just discovered your page a week or so ago and it was great to see that
there are still Shep fans out there. I have "Ollie Hopnoodles Haven of
Bliss" and "The Great American 4th of July and Other Disasters" on VHS.
These were recorded many years ago when VHS recorders had only 1 head! The
quality is fair to good. I also have 23 of his WOR shows and an audio copy
of "The Three Worlds of Jean Shepherd" a PBS half hour special. All this is
on reel to reel and I am in the process of transfering them to cassettes. I
am documenting all the shows and their topics. If your are interested, I
will send a listing when completed.
Other trivia on hand - Car and Driver articles, Playboy Magazine stories, a
1981 TV Guide story by Shep. I will list these all.
I have one other VHS tape which has been misplaced. I know it has Shepherd
on it but I am not sure whether it was another PBS movie or some of his
half hour 'America' or 'Pie' shows.
I really enjoyed seeing your page and look forward to seeing it grow and
finding out how many fans are still out there. Let me know if you are
interested in any of the above.
Flick STILL Lives
email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Thu, 26 Dec 1996 17:08:02 -0800
From: Carl T. Erickson <email@example.com>
Subject: Jean Shepherd
I have just read your interesting article on JS and enjoyed it very
much. One of the things I have noted about JS is that no one ever
writes about his work in the late '40's and early '50's.
In 1950, I had become a staff announcer for the Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation station in Windsor, Ontario. The call was CBE and the
location was at 1550 kc. In those days, one never grew tired nor ever
stopped doing things. The result was that at 00:00 I had already been
listening to half an hour of JS's programme from KYW in Philadelphia at
around 1060, I believe. Each evening at 23:30 with the notes of the
"Bahn Frei Polka" coming out of the speaker, JS's would tell us about
seeing "him" and his card which proclaimed that he he had his own tux
and would travel but would not follow dog acts nor would he follow seal
acts. Alas, at one time (46 years ago), I had the patter complete, but
after one stroke, the old memory cells are starting to become lazy.
Then would follow 90 minutes of the most enjoyable random commentary
that would occasionally make me laugh, other times keep me in suspense.
Now and then we heard stories about the World War I fighter aircraft,
the Sopwith Camel in his neighbour's back yard, if I'm not mistaken.
I'll never know how I managed it, but I had to be up at 05:00 to sign on
at 05:45 and sound cheerful and wide awake until 09:00! As you can
well imagine, that routine kept me out of mischief, but to compensate
for that deprivation, I had JS to listen to each evening. In 1953, I
left Windsor and only ran across JS by chance in later years. I don't
know how many times I've watched "The Christmas Story", but each time I
do, I know that it described me to a T. The one difference is that my
parents were made of sterner stuff than Ralphie's because I was never
allowed a BB gun.
But the reason I write is to fill in a period that never seems to be
mentioned whenever JS is discussed. The current biography seems to have
him spring full-blown in the sixties with no earlier period. Perhaps
the reason is that those contemporaries who write about him have never
heard of the period when "steam radio" was the major source of home
entertainment and as a consequence are completely unaware of its
existence, nor of what radio's programming was like.
As I mentioned, I worked as a staff announcer/producer with the CBC in
Windsor, Ontario and eventually gravitated to the CBC-TV News department
writing stories for the next four years while I was a full-time student
at the University of Toronto (Modern Languages--French, Spanish, Russian
at equal intensity). Days at the UofT; nights at CBC-TV.
After 1953, I lost track of JS and without the time to chase him on the
dial, nor with TV available other than WBEN-TV in Buffalo and then in
1954 with CBC-TV, I just didn't have the time available.
I hope that this little addition to JS's biography will help fill in
what seems to have become a significant gap. I remember writing a fan
letter to JS and receiving a personally-typed and signed reply.
Incidentally, the person who followed JS on KYW in Philadelphia was a
young lady with the appropriate voice who was known as "Kay Wylie".
Sharp thinkers at KYW in 1953!!
Carl T. Erickson
Date: Sat, 04 Jan 1997 02:36:34 -0800
Subject: hi jim
I am a Jean Shepherd fan from a long time back. I listened to the
PBS radio broadcasts back in the seventies and they were a shining
light to me in the turbulent teenaged (for me) world of the
I especially remember the Chock Full of Nuts truck incident
and most especially the steel foundry tales.
I moved to England in 1980 and lived there until 1995. Although
the UK had many great talents, in my mind no-one can compare
to JS. Occasionally I even found myself wondering whatever
happened to him, especially after my return after so many years
to the U.S.
My curiosity became so great that I finally found your website.
I am happy to hear that he is still going strong...
BTW I created a link on my own server to your site.
My server is : www.infitel.net and the link is on the
'selected links' page....
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 1997 19:05:27 -0800
From: Bill Longyard <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Shep Story
When I was a kid I was so damned nervous that I sometimes had
trouble breathing correctly. Much of this was due to stress at school.
Listening to Jean Shepherd at night on WOR changed, and saved, my life.
Let me tell you the story of how I met Shep back around 1975.
My friends and I had gone to his concert at Princeton bound and
determined to meet the "Great Man" himself. We waited behind the
auditorium starting about an hour before the show. As time passed we
began to fidget and worry about our seats. Fifteen minutes before the
show we had no sign of Shep, but there was a Datsun 240(?) Z with New
York plates parked near the rear door, and I believed it was his car.
Anyway, more minutes ticked away and my friends finally gave up, went
in, and took their seats. I just HAD to meet Shep, so I stayed, even
with only minutes now to go before the show started.
Then, as if it were the opening shots of Lawrence of Arabia I saw a
figure in the distance. There was a stocky man walking towards the
auditorium in a white hunting jacket flanked by a man in a suit, and a
woman of about 25. Though they were maybe forty yards away I thought
it was Shep. Who were the others? They came towards me, but 25 yards
away they turned to their right down a sidewalk leading to another
building. BY GOD I had to meet the man. It just HAD to be Shep. I
set off in pursuit.
I walked as quickly as I could, though I had to fight the
temptation to break into a run, which would have made me look like a
total boob. The distance closed, but by now as I looked at my watch I
knew that if I were wrong, the show would have started and I would miss
the opening. The distance shrank, 20 yards, 15, 10... Damn! They
entered some building. I trotted up to the door and jerked it open.
The man in the suit and the woman were standing in a lobby. SHEP! IT
WAS SHEP! He was going up some stairs. I brushed past the other two,
and climbed the stairs as quickly as my legs, rubbery with nervous
excitement, would allow. I saw a door swing closed behind the white
hunting jacket. I didn't care if I was barging into the man's private
office, I was going in invitation or not. I pushed the door open,
whipped out a piece of paper I had in my wallet, and pulled a pen from
my shirt pocket. SHEP'S BACK WAS DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF ME!
"Uh..., Mr. Shepherd. Uh..., could I have your autograph."
"Oh, c'mon, kid," he said trying to brush me off.
"Oh, please, I really want it. I think you're great."
"Alright, kid. But could you wait till I'm done taking a leak."
I had met the hero of my life in a men's room at Princeton
University while he was... How Shepherdesque. I cherish that
autograph to this day.
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 1997 00:09:25 -0500
From: Michael Rothman <email@example.com>
Subject: Keep your knees loose
This is the best web site of them all. I have been a Shep fan since 1959
or 1960, when I was in grade school. While in high school I'd listen to
him at night and repeat his stories to friends the following day. I still
don't know why they did not listen to him themselves. Twenty five years
later when I one of them again, the first words out of her mouth were
"Excelsior you fat head keep your knees loose".
With all of the Shepard tapes out there, why can't they be put on your web
site as Real Audio or some other downloadable file. It would be great to
listen to them again.
Thanks again for this GREAT web site.
Keep your knees loose.
I have considered some method of providing Shep audio on the site but a couple of problems
stand in the way. My service provider is not compatible with the Real Audio server so any
audio would have to be provided as downloadable file. The space available is limited so only
a couple of sound bites would be available at a time. My biggest concern is copyright
restrictions. Are there any legal-eagles out there who can advise me?
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 1997 16:47:59 -0600
From: Kathy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Form posted from Mozilla
I'm one of Shephard's flock. A friend, after I had referred
to a line from In God We Trust ... (which meant it was also
a line from A Christmas Story) he began talking about listening
to Jean on WOR and went in search of web sites dedicated to Jean
and/or the possibility of finding some kind of archieve of the
WOR programs. (Poor me: I grew up with Dick Biondi on WLS but had
no access to WOR.)
I've throughly enjoyed your site and the linking from it.
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 97 08:51:55 EST
From: Mike Friedman <email@example.com>
Subject: Flick Lives!
I just saw your posting, and now can't wait to get home from work to see your web page. (no web access here at the office, just email).
I've been a Shepherd fan since I was a kid and listned to him on WOR radio in NYC.
I even got to meet and speak with him one year at the Dayton Hamfest,
where he was the keynote speaker. I've more or less lost track of the guy for about the last
decade, except for the annual showing of "A Christmas Story" on every local TV station.
(I thought I heard his voice on NPR during the last election, but I wasn't sure.)
Now, my 12 year old daughter listens to the few audio tapes I have from the "Shepherd's Pie"
collection - another generation ruined!
Thanks in advance for the website...
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 1997 14:34:27 -0500 (EST)
From: Don Kutter <dkutter@IDT.NET>
Subject: Jean Shepherd
Miraculously, I've found the Shepherd web pages. I'm sure you hear the
same reaction from everyone who stumbles in there for the first time!
I 'discovered' JS in the middle 60's. Living in central NJ I had the
pleasure of his company many nights. I remember some of his shows
at the Limelight but mostly I remember his 45 minute shows in the
I saw him once in person at Farliegh Dickinson in Madison (71? 72?) and
he didn't let me down. The stories just kept coming and coming.
Which ones do I remember most? I'll bet everyone remembers the first
time they heard him tell the Ludlow Kissel/Dago Bomb story. Doing
a little brain searching I remember many stories about working in the
steel mills. How about his mother, on the front porch with the flit
gun, waiting for the approaching locusts! How about the time he was
in a small plane, on a runway in Alaska, trying to take off and
having a moose charging him. Remember the story about him walking
home from school and teasing the neighbor's fenced in goose by holding
his stick against the picket fence. Until the neighbor left the gate
open at the end of the fence . The one where his neighbor ordered
a house from Sears and it arrives in a train car; fishing for crappies;
If I sit here all day, I'll never remember all the stories, but I'd
I used to hook my reel to reel up every night and tape each show as I
was listening to it. Mostly, it was for my own benefit, as I would
laugh so hard, I would have to replay the tape to hear what I missed!
Sadly, I can't find any of the tapes I made. I would give 10 Mickey
Mantles for a chance to have them back.
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 1997 14:39:26 -0800
From: Carole R. Bell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Jean Shepherd
I just found this page and the Bob Kaye page over the past couple of
days. As I wrote to Bob, I'm so excited to have found people who share
my love of Jean Shepherd and who also spent every night in the dark
listening to this wonderful man. I shared a couple experiences with
Bob, so I won't bore you with them in case he posts my message. But I
called my mother the other evening after I had written to Bob and asked
her if she remembered me always listening to Shep on the radio every
night. You must realize that my mother NEVER remembers things. She not
only remembered, she reminded me of an experience I had forgotten. When
I was 16 in 1963, I was hit in the eye by a rock. I had a very
dangerous injury that caused me to be hospitalized for 2 weeks with both
of my eyes bandaged. I was under strict bedrest, not being allowed to
get up for anything. My only solace during this time was my radio. I
knew exactly how many turns of the dial it took to get from WIBG
(Philadelphia) to WOR in NYC to listen to Jean every night. It all came
back to me. He really did save me during that time.
Thanks to all for the sharing and the memories. Maybe I'll try to get
back east in May to go to the Princeton show again. I haven't seen Shep
in years. (I shared one Princeton story with Bob).
Carole Repsch Bell
Date: Sun, 19 Jan 1997 01:03:32 GMT
From: John Miller <email@example.com>>
Subject: Jean Shepherd and the White Sox
I first became a fan of Jean Shepherd at the tender age of 10, when his T.V. show
"Jean Shepherd's America was still running on PBS. I remember it came on at 8:30
on Thursday nights, right after "Cosby". Right from the start, I was hooked.
It was the episode about the Chicage White Sox, my favorite baseball team -- a team
that my northern Indianan father trained me to love. The single greatest moment of
the show however was when ol' Shep discussed his immense hatred of the New York Yankees
-- a team my northern Indianan father has trained me to despise until the day I die.
Never have I heard anybody more accurately examine that incense of evil that still
clouds the Bronx bomber. This summer I actually breeched the barriers of the stronghold
of all evil (a.k.a. Yankee Stadium) and bravely jeered the Bronx Bombers in spite of threats to my own physical well-being. I hope Jean Shepherd would be proud.
Recently, Jean Shepherd's stuff has become more important to me than ever.
As an American student at Oxford University in England, sometimes Shep's magical voice
playing from my "Shepherd's Pie" tapes seems like my only link between me and my beloved Midwest.
Yours truly, John Miller
Do you have stories, anecdotes or trivia for this page?
Send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Return to the Jean Shepherd Page
Copyright © 1996, 1997 James E. Sadur.