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JEAN SHEPHERD–Chart–the Great Burgeoning

As an enthusiast for almost all of Shepherd’s creative works, I nevertheless believe that his first years in New York City were the great expansion/blossoming of his artistic life. He seems to have been waiting for the moment when he could arrive in the city, which was famed for being the center of the country’s–and the world’s–creative life at that time. Describing its importance to him in two of his broadcasts, he said:

Three of them looked at me with one eye, and all three of them said, “If you go anywhere, man, the only one place to go–New York! I mean the Big Apple–that’s the big time!…I looked at the three guys and I said, “You’re right!” Ohhh.

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I was in the East. The effete East. The East of golden promise. what was it that Thomas Wolfe used to call Manhattan? “The Enfabled Rock.” And I was here. I mean we’re all here. Do you realize how–how fortunate we are?….You have no idea what a terrible lure this place is to people who live outside of this place.

This is not to necessarily say that this was the height of his artistic achievement, but it certainly was a great time for him. A few years ago I made a chart noting what he had done in those first years. Think about it!:

great burgeoning 2

great burgeoning 1

(Click on images to enlarge)

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4 Comments

  1. Bettylou Steadman says:

    Didn’t Jean also have the lead male role in the play “Destry Rides Again” in the late 50s? I do remember seeing him in it at St. John Terrill’s Music Circus in Lambertville, NJ around that time. My daughter was born in 1955 and I remember taking her with me to see it and she wanted to sit on my lap instead of the seat next to mine. My other daughter, born in 1960, hadn’t been born yet.

    • ebbergmann says:

      Yes indeed. Shepherd did many other minor bits during his career. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he tried acting and performed in a few off-Broadway plays. http://www.flicklives.com describes this one this way: “In July/August 1961, Shep appeared in a production of “Destry Rides Again” at the Lambertville, NJ Music Circus” This was a summer revival way, way off-Broadway and hardly qualifies for what I consider a major effort in Shep’s creative career.

  2. Jackie says:

    I think for him and so many others that come from smaller places, making it in any way in Manhattan is the tops. He found a place where he could have friends or associates that were doing many of the same artistic things he was invested in- and at a great time and place.

  3. I bet he considered it to be a major effort at the time.

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