Humiliated before the entire world. They heard! I couldn’t figure out why they did it to me. Why did they do this to me? And then I heard Schwartz: “April Fool’s Day! Wawawa.” I’ve been had. Ahhhhhg! You know, to this day I don’t know whether Patty Remaley ever heard about it. But she couldn’t possibly not have heard. She was also part of that little, hardy band of searches after truth, after culture. Oh, some nights early in the spring, when I’m walking through Central Park looking at those beds of flowers and I see those friendly little tulips looking up with their tongues sticking out at me and the sun shining down over General Sherman’s statue and all the pigeons are flapping around doing what pigeons always do around statues, I can hear those fiendish cackles. And I can say one thing. Patty Remaley never mentioned that insane episode out of my checkered life. Never.
I couldn’t figure out why they did it to me.
Why did they do this to me?
[It’s no wonder that Shepherd,
with the humiliation of being asked to leave
with several other long-time WOR broadcasters,
used this audio instead of doing a live broadcast on his last show,
April Fools Day, 1977.]
EC COMICS–not Graphic Novels but
“Graphic Short Stories”
(my invented name for them)
Most all comics in my grammar school and high school days were simple-minded, for little kids (an audience of childish, mindless, kids.): Mickey Mouse and Superman, or those sexy horror comics of interest to many young teenage boys. Then, somehow, I discovered EC comics, (Entertaining Comics) which were well-drawn, artistic, each artist having his own style and approach to a tale, and containing in their stories a goodly amount of intelligence and usually an O. Henry ending—irony and a moral.
Early EC Comics included two war-content titles, Two-Fisted Tales, and Frontline Combat; two sci-fi types, Weird Science, and Weird Fantasy; and three horror types, Tales From the Crypt, Vault of Horror, and Haunt of Fear, plus some even more gory titles I usually avoided. Most all of these have been republished in fancy, hardcover volumes for serious collectors who like to hearken back to their wet-behind-the-ears interest in the finer things in life (i. e. us nerds.). This series of creative, artistic comics, even had its own serious, quality fanzine and I still have a few of these. The name comes from words spoken by an alien species in an issue:
EC comics were not graphic novels, but, because of their artistic and literary attributes, they belong in the same context, so they are, in my invented term, “graphic short stories.” As an example of the ironic content, a science fiction story involved a man in love with a young woman. Being married, he couldn’t legally be with her, but had to hide his lover. He put her in cryogenic cold storage, and as part of a space-program, had himself and her shipped to another planet that was being colonized. As he lifted her out of storage to revive her, he tripped and dropped her body, which shattered into millions of frozen bits. END. Not high art/literature, but it caught the imagination of youngsters not used to such “literature” and ironic content. This sci-fi story, as were many other EC stories, was titled with a play on words=”THE TRIP.”
In another story, an Earth man astronaut lands on an inhabited planet somewhere and finds that the humans are medically primitive so people die of the simplest diseases. He cures them with his medicines, the people thinking it must be magic–godlike. In later years the astronaut, then having been tortured and killed, people think he had performed miracles so he became god to them–reminiscent of the story of Jesus. Again, with a play on words, the title=”HE WALKED AMONG US.” I don’t know if the publisher received protest mail. These are but two of the scores of well-drawn, sophisticated tales ending ironically. (Very sophisticated for us still wet-behind-the-ears nerds who had begun having an interest in art and literature.)
By Matt Groening in his former,
fantastic, cartoon strip, Life in Hell.
Still view-able by googling and in book-compilations.
(Now he’s better known for doing TV’s The Simpsons.)