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JEAN SHEPHERD — KENNEDY assassination Part 3

Shepherd’s style the week after the assassination was not typical in that, instead of his usual engaging in an 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.

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The above is one of the rare times

that Jean Shepherd is known

to have expressed in public, a political notion.

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JFK photo

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

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November 22, 1963

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 those images–I have to turn them off.

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Two lesser matters:

This is my 100th post on the blog;

I just received this info– On Friday night, the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia have their annual Hall of Fame and Person of the Year banquet. MCs are Larry Kane and Dom Giordano. The person of the year is longtime Philly radio guy Tom Moran. Hall of Fame inductees include weatherlady Kathy Orr of CBS3, NBC10 sports announcer Vai Sikahema, and the street-corner doo-woppers Danny and the Juniors. Poshumous inductees include the very great Jean Shepherd of KYW and WOR announcer Dave Zinkoff. What a radio town!

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2 Comments

  1. The New York Times today carries an essay of the state of the union at the time of Kennedy’s killing. It is a pretty good overview of the currents that were pulling the union apart in the 60s. Shepherd was among the best at seeing this kind of “big picture” as well as the little things. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/22/us/in-kennedys-death-a-turning-point-for-a-nation-already-torn.html?hp

  2. Max Schmid says:

    After a long, sad weekend following the assassination of John F Kennedy on Nov 22, 1963, Jean Shepherd took to the airwaves for his first show back on Monday Nov 25 with a somber, reflective program. For the entire week he declined to play his jaunty theme song, and took several days to discuss the American scene and mood.

    Thanks largely to Shep fan Jean Tepper, we have three of these programs that were taped from FM over the air at the time of broadcast. The first show is actually a composite of three different recordings, starting with a very poor copy which was the most complete, tagging on a bit more from a slightly better recording, then the bulk of the show is from the very nice sounding copy from Jean Tepper. The other two recordings are flawed due to signal interference that comes and goes throughout the broadcast, but despite the whistling and hooning, Shep’s words come through. Two of these programs have been aired in the past over WBAI, the third has never been replayed as far as I can recall.

    During the coming week you will get a chance to hear them all on the radio or on the web. The first show from Monday Nov 25, 1963 will be played on the Saturday morning show on yesterdayusa.com.
    The Thanksgiving show “Shadows and Haiku” will be aired on WBAI on Sunday evening. At some point during the week I will upload the third show to Mixcloud – this show was from either Tuesday or Wednesday of that week, and I call it “The Ugly American”.

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