N O V E M B E R 1963
A close friend and I took a train from New York to Washington
and stood in line overnight to walk past
Kennedy’s coffin in the Capital Rotunda.
JFK Jr. saluting his father’s coffin.
Then my friend and I stood on the side of the street and watched
with thousands of others
as the Kennedy family and foreign dignitaries
slowly walked by in tribute.
Afterward, the public then dispersing,
I removed one of the no-parking signs
from a street-pole along the route.
I have had it
hanging in my workroom for 50 years.
Shepherd’s style the week after the assassination was not typical in that, instead of his usual engaging in an apparent, informal dialog with listeners, he spoke as though delivering a heartfelt lecture. He suggested that the recent ferment of student unrest, the civil disobedience, demonstrations and riots in the streets, with the America-bashing of those days, probably contributed to the atmosphere that led to Kennedy’s killing. He commented that there was a trend of righteousness in the country, “a super, hyper-thyroid Holden Caulfield.” Shepherd admitted the problems in America, but said that other countries had more problems. He recognized that America was not living up to its ideals.
His somber tone that week was underscored by his comment that he did not play his usual, pompous, musical theme music at the program’s beginnings and endings.
During the eulogy is one of the rare times
that Jean Shepherd is known
to have expressed in public, a political notion.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Yes, it has been fifty years.
I still can’t think about it or see documentary footage of it
without my eyes welling up with tears.
I can’t watch that footage–I have to turn it off.
As the 50th anniversary of the assassination approaches, increased interest takes place in the media. I was interviewed by an NPR station regarding Shepherd’s broadcasts about the event.
Here is the information about part of the interview (heard in the SEG2 portion 3:02-5:40), and the entire Jean Shepherd eulogy about Kennedy. The info also includes the schedule for the live streaming of the interview that will occur on 11/25. The last line has the Internet address for the Shep eulogy. Below is the info from the broadcaster, Mike Sepic of Minnesota Public Radio News :
<The Jean Shepherd JFK show is in the can and ready to air at noon CT on Monday Nov. 25 on Minnesota Public Radio’s news station. You can stream it here when it airs: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/radio/services/nis/listen/live/ It’ll also be archived here: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/radio/programs/mpr_presents/
I also produced a national version for other stations to air, but so far nobody has picked it up. You can hear that here: