Manhattan Memories (2009) by John Wilcock
John Wilcock wrote the “Village Square” column for the early Village Voice, knew Shepherd, and wrote about him. I interviewed him for my book. He writes about Shepherd in his Chapter 3: “Our favorite Radio DJ, the all-night talker Jean Shepherd, was the complete opposite of our nagging novelist [Norman Mailer, a co-founder of the Voice]: an amiable, offbeat intellectual with the ability to get his way through charm and humor….An entire generation grew up listening to him, utterly captivated by his personality and, who knows? Having their views shaped for years to come.”
Top portion of a chapter in a comic book
biography of John Wilcock
by Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall.
Backing into Forward (2010) by Jules Feiffer Feiffer knew Shepherd from the early days of the Village Voice, where Feiffer drew the immensely popular, weekly cartoon, early-on titled “Sick Sick Sick.” He became a playwright, film script writer, and book author. In Backing into Forward he says he used to listen all through the night to Shepherd in 1956 while he worked on his cartoons. In his interview for my book as well as in his own book, he goes out of his way to disparage Shepherd, especially in his misunderstanding of Shepherd’s antipathy toward Herb Gardner’s “A Thousand Clowns.” (See my Excelsior, You Fathead! pages 176-177 where I describe the connection and probable cause of Shepherd’s anger. My belief is based on what are significant aspects of the play/film that relate to Shepherd. My publisher recently wrote that Herb Gardner told him that the impetus for his lead character in “A Thousand Clowns” was indeed Shepherd.)
The chapter on Shepherd is titled “A Voice in the Night.” He knew Shepherd for years and I interviewed him for my book. I traveled to Boston to be interviewed about my book on his WGBH radio program. In his book he comments, “I like to think I ‘got’ Shepherd, through all the walls he might throw up, despite his tending to relentlessly be ‘on’; that I understood the chronic need, this business, to be appreciated and heard.” He ends this chapter with a very enthusiastic comment on my Excelsior, You Fathead!
More to come