Home » BOOKS » JEAN SHEPHERD–Charts–my first book about him

JEAN SHEPHERD–Charts–my first book about him


Here’s what I’m going to do intermittently for some opening

posts of the new year.

It’s a series charts I created a number of years ago

and also my thoughts about Shep’s work in 

refutation of a couple of essays by others.

It’s sort of an interrelated gallimaufry. 

Starting now:

Regarding my EXCELSIOR, YOU FATHEAD! THE ART AND ENIGMA OF JEAN SHEPHERD,  on occasion I encounter a comment that indicates that the person is not sure how I organized it. Some might think it’s disorganized.

Others find the methods and organization I used in the book to be appropriate to the subject–I’d like to think they’re right, especially the reviewer who commented that the book seems inspired by Shepherd’s style itself (it was not consciously). The book does have a specific organization from beginning to end, and to clue the reader in, the last paragraph of each chapter indicates how the next chapter is a logical continuation of the theme. I also explain in the book that there is a very loose chronology of the PARTS (The formative years from childhood through early radio years; followed by what I call “The Great Burgeoning” in New York; followed at the end by the finale–a back-and-forth summing up of life and art). Interspersed between some of the chronology are THEMATIC CHAPTERS that describe and reflect on Shep’s various creative endeavors as these seem to emerge from the rough chronology.

While working this out, I made a chart to help show myself (and then interested others) how all this goes together.  The chart was done in a rather large format for ease of viewing–one that could not be scanned or imported into this blog in one piece, so here it is in two pieces. The originals of all my charts were only meant to be printed out on paper–not miniaturized into a blog and viewed on a screen. Remember that one can click on images in the post to significantly enlarge them for ease of reading (I hope!).

I’ve put together a number of charts over the years to help me get a better sense of Shepherd’s life and work. I’ll be posting them one at a time over the next month or so.

                 EYF chart of chapters 1

 chart EYF! redo rt half

Either through my ignorance or the inbuilt limitations of this blog program, I can’t control some visual aspects. So one has to see in one’s mind, the single, continuous artwork broken here into the two-part chart above. Obviously the relative scale of the two is slightly different as it was imported here, and can’t be reconciled. It’s impossible for me to position images just where I want them–the program just resists my attempts at subtle adjustments. In fact, as I draft the post, the two halves show side by side, not one over the other. The title with Shep’s name, obviously should continue on the same level.

The various charts I’ve made, first for my eyes alone and my pleasure, then available to help explain some material to others, were all done about a decade ago in the Adobe Illustrator program and printed out on a large-format Epson 11″ x 17″ -capable-printer. As I no longer have the printer, I rely on old print-outs to scan and awkwardly import them here.

Creating the charts and somehow managing to post them–

all other parts of my enjoyment of working on Shep projects.



I just opened this post as though I were an average viewer and found that although the first half of the chart, when clicked opens larger (It has a blue outline when cursor is over it), the second part does not–I don’t know why this might be–damn computers!  To enlarge, copy this part and paste into a word processing document–one can then enlarge that. Very annoying having to attempt to outwit an electronic servant!  –eb




  1. mygingerpig says:

    Gene, Shep thought of himself as a performer, writer, humorist and early on, a musician. We know him best from his radio work, and the books that grew out of his stories. He performed on stage, in clubs, even played in a C&W band in a saloon. He married a well established actress.

    Not many have so many facets to their professional life.

    How would you characterize this rather broad resume in light of his ultimate career?

    Sent from my iPad


    • ebbergmann says:

      Joel, one would have to write an extended paragraph listing and explaining it all (or write a 496-page book), or one could inadequately say that he was a radio humorist who extended his talents into most other fields of the performing and written arts. [I think Lois Nettleton was really only in the early stages of her career when they married in 12/1960]

  2. mygingerpig says:

    His radio career followed his earlier performing exploits. He did hockey play by play, was in New Faces of 1950 something, had a cabaret standup gig. He was, to paraphrase Piradello, a character in search of an author in search of a play in search of an audience in search of recognition, in search of attention.

    • ebbergmann says:

      I wonder when he did hockey–I’m not familiar with that–maybe high school? A couple of years back I bought the “New Faces” pamphlet–with photos. It was 1962. I like your comment re Pirandello.

  3. mygingerpig says:

    He talked about his hockey play by play in a program discussing his early radio career. It was not in high school. It was as he made his way after the army as a radio professional. He also described an incident where he had to make a mad dash from the studio to a coffee shop and back to the studio in time to play the next record. I think he got fired for being late once. I recall his telling that he announced for a Symphony Orchestra or opera in Cleveland or Cincinnati. Not sure which. I recall him giving pretty extensive descriptions of both gigs on one program. He may have even played a taped excerpt of his orchestra announcing. These were part of his early radio career before coming to New York.

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