Jean Shepherd’s artistic career is far more elaborate and varied than most of us ever imagined. When I began working on my Excelsior, You Fathead! The Art and Enigma of Jean Shepherd in early 2000, I felt that, in order to comprehend the complexities, I had to visualize it all chronologically. This way I could more easily see how parts related to the whole. The long, horizontal chart I produced and printed out on several 11″ X 17″ paper sheets, was done in 2002, and served to assist me in “seeing” his career more clearly. In my personal reference copy of the published book, I have a small, taped-together, folded version glued to the inside back cover.
I had wanted this, plus a CD–a representative sampling of Shep’s radio bits–to be included in the book, but I was informed by the publisher that the cover price would have been raised too high.
CHART–Here it is in 5 parts to be visualized as a continuity.
These five images need to be visualized one after the other and butted against each other. The above is what I could do in the post. Remember that each can be enlarged by clicking on it one or even more than one time. In preview form, before being posted, they enlarged sufficiently for me to be able to read them.
Despite this having been designed and printed over a decade ago, nothing major, and only some minor additions would have been required to update it. (Some additional work in jazz is now known, and other information and material continue to appear.)
One of the aspects of Shepherd’s career that the chart confirmed
for me is that much of his original creative work
occurred in the earlier NYC years,
and that much of his later work
on television and in film consisted of
his re-working and re-creating his earlier material.
The major exceptions to this are his WOR radio broadcasting,
that continued until April, 1977, and the
two-part television series of
JEAN SHEPHERD’S AMERICA
(made in 1971 and 1985)
which I consider to be
a major, incomplete,