Home » Comments about Shep » JEAN SHEPHERD–Gene B.’s Rant. Part 2

JEAN SHEPHERD–Gene B.’s Rant. Part 2


Because of all the foregoing [in Gene B. Rant. Part 1.], I’d decided to take my transcripts of that “sure-to-be-a-hit other manuscript of Shepherd material” and soon I was gonna start posting it on this blog too. (Hey, publishers and agents, why not take a look?) Just as the army stories joined into what I like to think of as a “coming of age novel,” I believe the same can be said of the gathering and organizing of my third book of Shepherd transcripts, tentatively titled:


kid book cover

Photo of kids courtesy of Steve Glazer and Bill Ek.

A book of


Jean Shepherd

kid stories

that read in sequence

as a coming-of-age novel.


From kindergarten through grammar school,

ham radio,

high school dating,

the steel mill,

and two college-age



I love epiphanies, don’t you?

→ ? ←


GE TV ad:”Ideas are scary”


1) My kid stories book would increase interest in: the movie ACS; the straight play of ACS; the musical of ACS; all the statuettes and leg lamps and costume sales and board games and Christmas tree ornaments associated with ACS; and the sales of all of Shepherd’s previously published books still in print.
2) My Shep’s Army book has a little note on the colophon page: “Published by Arrangement with the Estate of Jean Shepherd.” (Has anyone who has picked up the book noticed that?) That note, my publisher tells me, represents the deal they made that gives a chunk of my royalties for that arrangement.
3) Beyond all those legalities and financial ditherings, my Jean Shepherd Kid Stories book would become part of Shep’s permanent, published creative works–and, I believe, further enhance his critical and popular reputation. IS THIS NOT “WORTH” SOMETHING IN OUR WORLD OF COMMERCE and our weak and undernourished world of ART?
GE idea 1


 I can’t fight it any longer
and still remain the sweet, all-loving, wise and wonderful person that I am.
(Please note the irony here, folks.)


I will no longer attempt to get these kid stories printed.

I will begin posting them on this blog.

Should something change,

and a publishing opportunity fall into my lap,

I’ll go for it.



may never be published other

than on this blog.

GE idea in box“Don’t cry for me, all you Shep fans–

the truth is I never left you.”

[A line from “Shep,” the (someday) great, operatic musical film

co-starring me as Antonio Banderas.]

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

“I’m one of the great underground performers.

In spite of the fact I have millions of fans,” he proclaims,

“I can’t imagine why [someone] wouldn’t know about me . . .

I’ve had three best-sellers, I’ve published forty-eight stories in Playboy.

[By my count, 23 stories, one humorous article, and The Beatles interview.]

Critics have done papers on me. I’ve influenced more kids.

I’ve done thousands of shows at colleges. I’ve been

on the Carson show many times and on the Merv Griffin show.

I’ve had my own television series for years on PBS.

And yet [some people] never heard of me.

Now you’re understanding the nature of twentieth-century fame.”

–Jean Shepherd quoted in Maralyn Lois Polak’s

The Writer as Celebrity.


“…sure enough, he was found in the morning frozen to death but

nevertheless he had there next to him the sign that read

enigmatically, ‘Excelsior.’

And this is the story of all mankind’.”

Jean Shepherd, 1958.

“Never give up!”--Gene B. 2015.


Hey, gang, this all sorta sounds like the kind of justified complaints that Shepherd engaged in from time to time over the decades. Maybe all of the above is nothing but my parody of Shep’s complaints? Maybe. But then, maybe not. 

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Stay tuned.




  1. Gene B2 says:

    The Shep legacy lives on in the golden hand slight of publishing acknowledgment echoes the recognition Shep missed as the verbal novelist and performer he was in his radio medium.
    I for one bought both of your books and would dearly enjoy “I was this kid.. see?”

  2. mygingerpig says:

    I was amused that Shep said in his 1971 interview with KRAP that many of his listeners say they were kids when they heard him, but in fact they were not, they just got transported to kid-dom by his stories that resonated with their experiences. He also cited the fact that many contemporary kids found his stories to be like their contemporary experiences as evidence that he was not dealing with nostalgia but with universal experiences that were not bound by time.

  3. mygingerpig says:

    The KRAP interview added a lot to my understanding of how he viewed his work.

  4. Lou Perry says:

    I will always stay tuned, right here. Just as hard as finding a music gig nowadays.
    Lou Perry

  5. Mike from Jersey says:

    Wow you have been on fire lately. Keep up the good work. Hope to hear you again on Max’s WBAI show. You two bring out the best in each other.

  6. Tom says:

    Gene, I hate to say this, but I think we truly maniacal Shep fans were never that great in number and today are gradually dying out. Let’s face it, he’s been off the air for more than three decades. Even though he had a huge following back in the day, I’d suggest that most people were but casual listeners. How many folks could one expect to still be die-hard Shepheads so many years later? Anyway, I feel your pain regarding the book deal. About ten years ago I wrote a novel about my real and imaginary childhood adventures back in the late 60s and early 70s. I sent out about 75 queries, most unanswered, but had favorable comments about the style and humor from several agents. One even commented “So very well done, reminds me of Gene Shepherd!” Alas there was always the caveat, “Unfortunately I can’t sell this kind of work, especially coming from a first-time author.” I gave away a hundred or so photocopies as Christmas and birthday gifts and made a lot of people smile, but now the manuscript sits in a closet collecting dust. As for your website, please don’t give up. For the true fans every new post is like opening a Red Ryder on Christmas morning.
    P.S. I bought ten copies of Shep’s Army as presents for family members. Will certainly do the same with anything you self-publish.

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