Saturday, December 02, 2006

Shep


While growing up I would make sure I was in bed by 9:15. I would be settled in under the covers with the lights off. A thin wire extended from my red hand held Panasonic transistor radio all the way to a tiny ear piece that I would plug in to my ear.

Five nights a week I would hold myself there waiting for the theme of the bugle that sounded the song of the race track. I did this all through the 1960s and the 1970s. Jean Shepherd was on the air on WOR-AM.

Every weeknight Shepherd would sign on and tell stories. He always started with some general gab, and then he would sell some products, but the last half hour of the 45-minute show was theater of the mind. His stories would amaze or frighten the living hell out of you. One could hear stories of coming of age in Holman, Indiana with his friends Flick, Schwartz and Bruner. Or you could hear stories of his travels or his experiences in the Army or working in a steel mill.

“Shepherd, Shepherd…I know that name rings a bell,” you say? OK, I’ll make it easy for you with a quote from one of his books that is now a movie and a play and a neo-icon of Christmas, “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

Before Shepherd’s movies ever came out he was an author of several books, and plays. PBS had two series on his work, Shepherd’s Pie and Jean Shepherd’s America. They also did other of his stories for 90 minute PBS movies.

His books:
* In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash
* Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories And Other Disasters
* The Phantom Of The Open Hearth
* A Fistful of Fig Newtons
* A Ferarri In The Bedroom.
I went to one of his book signings back when he published Ferrari in the Bedroom.

Shepherd’s story telling expanded my young mind in ways I can’t even begin to imagine. I am often asked what my inspiration is or what my muse is, and I often think back to my childhood when I was tucked away with Shepherd’s words going directly into my brain. He helped spur my imagination and even today I will experience something and I’ll hear Shep’s voice in my head saying, “Excelsior, you fathead!”

8 Comments:

Blogger Kim Stagliano said...

Sorry, I'm still howling over the teabag comment you left at another blog. I added my own for good measure. KS

4:15 PM  
Anonymous F. Lee said...

He was great...got turned onto him via his articles in Playboy way way back.

7:59 PM  
Blogger Boo7 said...

awwwwwwww what a great memory to have and to carry it with you in your day to day life now...well just makes it all the more special!!

When I first started reading this post it instantly brought back a similar memory....only mine involved being under the covers after lights out, with a flashlight and the latest Agatha Christie novel I was reading....

8:50 PM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

This brings back memories of my first crystal radio (no batteries needed) that was clipped to my bed frame as a child.
I had it tuned to KGO and often listened to Ira Blue late into the night.
What a wonderful medium ; radio.

10:02 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Kim, thanks for stopping in. It just isn't enough to entertain here, but I feel I must spread the joy on the blogs of other's as well. Poor Trish didn't know what tea bagging was. Hehehe.

Funny thing F Lee, I get the Playboys that had shepherd article, rip the articles out and give the rest of the magazine to friends.

Boo, it funny what we do in bed as kids, and even funner what we do in there as adults ; )

Yep Gerahead, I had one, too, but I much preferred listening to the helecrafters (sp) when serious radio listening was needing to be done...radio Moscow...

10:15 PM  
Blogger Zoe said...

Have you seen the cell phone commercail that totally ripped off several scenes from Christmas Story? I'm not sure why, but it kind of pisses me off.

7:41 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

No, Zoe, I haven't seen it. It just might run in your market. You are in the Mid West, Correct? It would probably piss me off as well, but that what happens when things get adopted into our culture. Intellectual property goes by the way side.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Zoe said...

Perhaps it does only run in our market, we are in Indiana after all so it would be the appropriate target market.

9:04 AM  

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