Home » Brown, Leigh » JEAN SHEPHERD & LEIGH BROWN-Part 6.



Joel asked if I intended to post  Leigh’s contributions to Shep’s work, so here it is in all its incompleteness. Anyone with more info, please let me know.

What we actually know of specific instances of how Leigh contributed to Jean’s success and well-being is undoubtedly just a small percentage of what she actually did day-by-day and in many particulars that just have not been recorded or encountered.

For example, as I’ve noted, Tom Lipscolm, editor/publisher, who knew her well, indicated that she frequently steered Shep away from negative results and toward the positive–not quantifiable, but nevertheless important. It’s also said that she, along with others, pushed Jean into putting his stories on paper and getting them published in print, beginning with Playboy and then collected in In God We Trust–All Others Pay Cash, etc. One might also remember the rather back-handed compliment Shepherd once gave her, indicating that he valued her judgement as an average person–a litmus paper–in her response to some things he’d been working on.

The listings below are undoubtedly very incomplete,

as many  projects  Leigh must have also worked on, remain uncredited

as far as we ignorant fatheads would know about them.

(some of this material=thanks to

Radio Producer–Leigh’s foremost job for many years was as Jean’s producer of his radio show. Although it now appears that she began at WOR in early 1962, we don’t know when she added new roles to the list.


Gate-keeper-many people have admired/complained that Leigh protected him from intrusions, thus keeping him able to concentrate and function at his high level.


Assistant–The word “assistant” can mean everything from getting him something he wants to helping with his makeup–to giving suggestions, to who-knows-what important tasks?

1983-mm-dd_005_at_the_movies_shep_leighPhoto by Dan Beach during preparation for a scene

in a television production of shorts.

Director Fred Barzyk standing.

(This photo is also in my

Excelsior, you Fathead!)


phantom titlt

Leigh is listed as Production Associate  for this TV film.

In addition she got her name on the title page of the published text.

In one of the many stills in the book, she appears as “Lovely Arlita.”


Creator/scenic designer–Shepherd credits her on the air for doing a great job in creating the effects for his 1973 Carnegie Hall show.




“Staggerwing Productions”–some if not most/all of Jean’s live shows seem to have been done under this name. Leigh, of course, was part of the action.

“Pholly Productions”--Various Shepherd films?

“International Jawbreaker”–the team consisting of Leigh, Jean, Laurie Squire, Herb Squire in an early syndication of Jean’s radio shows–mostly to college radio stations.

010_INT JAW 3

“Snow Pond  Productions”–Leigh is listed as a co-producer of both Jean Shepherd’s America series–1971 and 1985.





  1. zeke berman says:

    Hi Gene

    I note the reference to “Staggerwing Productions”  in the list of Leigh’s contributions to Shep’s work.  I think I can offer an explanation of the origins of this name.

    As an airplane pilot, Shep would have known about the classic Beechcraft Model 17 Staggerwing biplane. HEE HEE. One never knows when the random trivia stored in one’s decrepit brain can be proudly presented to amaze one’s friends.  As Fats Waller said, “One never knows, do one?”

    Why, oh why can I remember trivia like this, when I can never remember where I put my eyeglasses?

    As noted elsewhere, Shep was sometimes known to be nasty and offensive to Leigh. While listening to one of Shep’s shows I remember being stunned by the rude and crude remarks he made to a woman in the control room, whom I knew to be his producer, Leigh. It  was  so unlike the image I had of Shep. I can’t think of any other show where he displayed this side of his personality.

    Airplane lovers might find the following link interesting.  

    Zeke “Smilin Jack” in Salem

    A Brass Figlagee with Oak Leaf Palm to anyone who knows about “Smilin Jack” Hint: think popping shirt buttons and a pet chicken. 

     Beechcraft Model 17 Staggerwing – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Beechcraft Model 17 Staggerwing – Wikipedia, the free en… The Beechcraft Model 17 Staggerwing is an American biplane with an atypical negative wing stagger (the lower wing is farther forward than the upper wing), that firs… View on Preview by Yahoo  

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