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JEAN SHEPHERD radio play–more

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(“Bahn Frei” plays for a few moments, then stops.)

SHEPHERD    My cherished theme music!  I hear that thing sometimes and it drives me out of my skull.  I got a letter from a kid.  “Have you thought of changing your theme?” he asks.  No!— No!  I couldn’t conceivably do that.  Now the reason I have this theme—are you listening, kid—is not because it’s a good piece of music.  But for exactly the opposite reason—which to me makes far more sense.  This piece of music, kid, is probably the most mediocre piece of claptrap that has ever been perpetrated on the listening public since Marconi.  It always sounds like it’s going to break into something better—but never does.  It gallops off in all directions and It arrives at none of them!  How like life itself, ah, kid?  Well then, how could I conceivably think of doing away with this piece of—uh—claptrap—which, by the way, I think is a great word.  Would you please play a little more of that claptrap, Herb?  Just hit it there.

(Beginning of the “Bahn Frei” theme music starts.)

SHEPHERD     Listen to this—it starts with a bugle!  Oh, man!  Anything that starts out with a bugle is, you know—filled with portent!

(A few moments of the theme music continues, then stops.) 

SHEPHERD    It’s all of us!  And that’s exactly why I use it!  (He laughs.)  And it’s timeless.  An unrealistic dream!  And yet, kiddies, we carry on, don’t we?  Marching ever onward—and having fun if we’re smart, enjoying every moment we’ve got in this nutty fruitcake existence, keeping our knees loose and following our dreams.

Speaking of dreams.  You remember we were speaking of dreams.  We’ve all got dreams, right?  I suspect that at least fifteen percent of the population of New York City—particularly Manhattan—concealed someplace in a pile of papers—the beginnings of the eternal novel.  A poem, a play, “A thing I was gonna write once.  And I am going to write it yet—you just wait and see!”  And the cracked guitars that are hanging in basements covered with dust that haven’t been strummed since 1967—after the second lesson.  I have a feeling that these things are holding us down.  (Pause.)

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