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Home » ARTSY FARTSY » JEAN SHEPHERD Kid Stories–April Fooled & (86) ARTSY Graphic Novels Part 7

JEAN SHEPHERD Kid Stories–April Fooled & (86) ARTSY Graphic Novels Part 7

Do you know that not more than a year ago, I was visiting Hammond, I was walking down the street, and who came out of the A and P, looking even more high-octane than ever before—Patty Remaley.  My first thought was, don’t even notice her.  But she looked at me and said, “Why, Jean, how are you?”  She remembered me!  My god, there’s still hope!

I said, “Hi.  Gee, Patty Remaley, how are you?”

She said, “How are you?”  She said, “Why, you’ve grown.”

I said, “Heh, you know, heh, those things happen. The sun hits you and you grow.”

We stood there for a minute.  I thought—should I pour it all out?  Then I said, no, no, I’m a grownup man.  I said, “Good seeing you, Patty.”

She said, “Do you still have that red corduroy hat?”

I said, “Yeah.”

And we walked our separate ways.  April Fool’s Day.

So “April Fooled” (as I’ve titled it) is the story Shepherd used,

in a recorded audio from a decade past,

to end his WOR broadcast career after 21 years.

Yes, he was unhappy.

One can only wonder exactly what he felt

as that story played:

“Why have they done this to me?”

[END OF “APRIL FOOLED”

NEW STORY COMING.]

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artsyfratsy 10010

TALES CALCULATED TO DRIVE YOU MAD

Around the time when Congress was beginning to complain about “sex-and-violence in comics,” and a book appeared, Seduction of the Innocent, decrying the influence of comics, I believe that EC Comics got worried, and, with the staff of witty writer/artists, came up with Mad, which would appeal to the same more advanced adolescent minds. (A few years into it as a comic, Mad changed format and, for me, lost some of its wit and much of its visual art. It became Mad Magazine, so it could no longer be persecuted as a “comic.” It was still funny, but less witty as it continued its burlesque of modern American culture. I kept up my subscription to beyond issue 100.)

madadvert-1112-1952

Ad for the first issue of MAD Comic,

on the back of the front cover

of a late 1952 Two-Fisted Tales.

artsy-mad-1_-2

Mad art issue cover 4.1955

Covers of Mad‘s first issue and its “art” issue of 4/1955

Mad captivated a certain strata of youngsters who had a higher-than-average interest in words and ideas (including myself, I blushingly note.) As I put it in the intro to my EXCELSIOR, YOU FATHEAD!:

As a kid in the higher reaches of grammar school and early high school, I had the good fortune, along with countless others, to encounter Mad comics, which opened a kid’s eyes by making fun of our culture’s assumptions, clichés, fads, fancies, and popular arts—just at an age when a kid first begins to realize (but has not yet fully articulated) that the world constructed by parents and other adults has inconsistencies. In college I found Jean Shepherd.

Mad stories were quirky, funny, ironic, and usually made fun of the usual kid “comics” and other cultural items seldom criticized by mainstream adults–or even most kids.

blobs-wood-1

For example, in “Blobs!” by Mad artist Wally Wood, one sees the future, in which everything is done for people to the extent that they can no longer even move around by themselves. One character worries that they will be in big trouble if the main machine that does everything breaks. His friend says it will never happen. At the end, the main machine breaks and the two are flung out of their motor-driven seats and are seen, upside down on the floor, conscious, but not mobile. A spider casually spins a web from one of their noses.

MORE MAD-NESS TO COME

ARTSY ARROWS0010

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2 Comments

  1. Mike from Jersey says:

    You quoted Shep – …”who came out of the A and P, looking even more high-octane than ever before—Patty Remaley.”
    I looked her up in my mother’s( Elaine Rademacher) Hammond High yearbook, The Dunes, 1938 edition, and there Patty was. Page 41. A cute blonde with a 100 watt smile, no wonder Shep was still beguiled by her years later.
    Have you ever considered going to Hammond and interviewing any of the people Shep mentioned over the years, as I have found a surprising number of them were in the yearbook or my mom knew them too. Mom’s brothers Jack and Ed used to bend many an elbow at Flick’s bar, though they said he was a sour bastard.
    I understand many years have passed, but perhaps not all of them have bought the farm, as yet.
    Another suggestion, perhaps you could try to find a period The Dunes yearbook, as a resource. They are impressively well done, you can tell it was a first rate school by the facilities and the myriad activities for the kids.
    Keep up the good work. And when are you going to be on Max’s show on WBAI again?

    • ebbergmann says:

      Although I’m somewhat interested in Shep’s life as a kid, my prime interest is in his creative work. Let someone else deal with the minor details of what he did as a kid. I’m not sure how many would be interested in such matters, but I’m not especially. I always enjoy talking with Max, but I haven’t done enough talk-worthy lately.

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