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JEAN SHEPHERD & BOB DYLAN

I’ve felt so strongly [without anything but circumstantial evidence], that Bob Dylan must have listened to Shepherd in the early 1960s  that I once made up a list of questions about it.

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, 

play a song for me

In the jingle jangle morning

I’ll come followin’ you.

What questions would I ask?

dylan as woody

Bobby, is That You, Woody?

Q: Mr. Dylan, sir, please, if I may, please. When did you start listening to Shep, please? Were you a Shepherd “night person”? Sir, please.

Q: How, please, did you find out about him, please?

Q: What about him got you interested in him, Mr. Dylan, sir?

Q: What were your thoughts about him then, and what do you think about him now?

Q: When did you stop listening to him and why did you stop?

dylan-i-cant-2

Yes You Can–Love it!

Dylan quoted from a talk he gave in 2015: 

“Sam Cooke said this when told he had a beautiful voice: He said, ‘Well that’s very kind of you, but voices ought not to be measured by how pretty they are. Instead they matter only if they convince you that they are telling the truth.’ Think about that the next time you are listening to a singer.”

[I intrude to amplify that by saying that Maria Callas and Frank Sinatra, without beautiful voices, convince me.]

Q: Are there any ways that you feel especially attuned to what Shepherd said and how he said it?

Q: Any specific ways you’ve thought/behaved/ created that you might feel have been influenced by his style?

Q: Any specific aspects of what he said that might have influenced your music/lyrics?

dylan-smiling

Nice Ta See Ya Smile, Bobby!

Q: He was very negative toward folk and rock–especially regarding you and Joan Baez–were you aware of that–did you care?

dylan-and-obama

The King and the President,

who says he’s a big Dylan fan.

Q: What about your feelings about Shep–then and now?

Q: What do you feel are Jean Shepherd’s best attributes?

dylan-writings

Keep on Rockin’

dylan-nobel-2

[Because Jean Shepherd in the 1960s demeaned both Bob Dylan and

Joan Baez, among others, I’ve often felt that not only did he dislike the

political protests they were part of, but that he did not objectively

listen to some of the better rock and other music of the time.

I wish I coulda talked to Shep and gotten him to listen carefully

to some good rock and to some fine Dylan,

and then gotten him to admit what he really felt.

I’d a started with “Mr. Tambourine Man,”

and worked up ta “Like a Rollin’ Stone.”]

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SHEP WORDS TO LIVE BY Part 4

In Hoc

“In hoc Agricola conc” would appear to be a spoken shrug of the shoulders.

DOING IT FROM WINDOWS

“Hurling invectives” is a funny/hostile activity Shepherd did from time to time, but hardly any have been described/recorded by his listeners. The best known reference in the media is the one where, in the film “Network,” the TV broadcaster tells his listeners to open their windows and yell, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” Also, with a small variation, Ronald Reagan, in a political speech, quoted this phrase from the film.

More importantly, wherever they may have gotten the idea,

Twisted Sister’s most popular song is, “We’re Not Gonna Take it!”

They yell part of “We’re Not Gonna Take it” from windows:

Twisted S. windows (3)

“Razzmatazz”

“Razzmatazz” is a less frequent Shepherd saying, but it refers to a very important aspect of his early-career interest in jazz and his continued jazz-related improvisational monologs.

Shep CD sayings 4

Final set of Shep’s words from my large spreadsheet

just perfect for printing and taping together.

[See previous blog posts for first three parts.]

Other important Shep material forthcoming!

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SHEP’S WORDS TO LIVE BY Part 3

“Keep your knees loose” is certainly another major saying of Shepherd’s. Especially as it also expresses a major part of his overall philosophy—emphasizing that in reacting to all of life’s potential successes and potential failures, flexibility in one’s response is crucial!

Shep CD sayings 3

FINAL SET OF SHEP WORDS TO COME

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JEAN SHEPHERD–“THE BEST OF” & (30) ARTSY Guitar

I recently noted an LP record titled  “The Best of Jean Shepard.”

So I thought, why not a “Best of Jean Shepherd.”

This proves to be a difficult task to compile, in part because there are so many audios of his broadcasts and so many published stories and other works. My memory is deteriorating and I can’t listen to and reread all his published work. I’d appreciate suggestions about what to add to my list, including sources/dates and reasons for the choices.

As a representative selection for possible inclusion with my EYF! (which never happened–it was nixed by the publisher as too expensive) and for eventual distribution as a premium for WBAI, I compiled a CD-worth of excerpts from Shep programs.

RADIO

Assume that, as a given, I choose the broadcasts below because I feel or assume they are well-told besides having the particular attributes that especially gab me.

I, Libertine,.First comments and suggestion of a hoax. (4 ?/??/1956) One of the great “Holy Grail” Shepherd broadcasts. I have not heard it but I have thought about it and read little bits about it so often that it is a permanent part of my “memory,” and it must be one of the great moments in literary and shepherdian history.

March on Washington. Narrative told the day after the March. (8/29/1963) Shepherd describes his trip, not as a reporter, but as just another American. This conforms to his attitude as an informed and enthusiastic American patriot.

JFK Assassination. First day back on the air. (11/26/1963) Shepherd, from time to time, had described his feelings about psychological issues in America, and he takes this opportunity to reiterate some of them and link them to the assassination.

“Blues I Love to Sing.” Program I describe and partly transcribe in EYF! (6/16/1957) Shepherd interacts with the singer on the record and expresses his joy in the narrative situation he depicts. This but a ten minute portion of the four-hour program. He uses what is a familiar image from his earlier days of the “figure tattered and torn.”

“Why I am Such a Sorehead.” Discusses Mark Twain and Morse code–I describe in EYF! (1/6/1965) He integrates into his narration, Twain, one of his favorite predecessors. He develops the metaphor of the Mississippi as a dangerous path in life, and relates it to one of his favorite activities, Morse code, suggesting that we all have some activity that, in reality, we are not as good at as we think and hope we are.

“Shermy the Wormy.” My transcription in Shep’s Army. (9/4/1964)

“Fourth of July in the Army.” My transcription in Shep’s Army. (7/3/1963)

“Lister Bag Attack.” My transcription in Shep’s Army. (6/17/1966)

“Boredom Erupts.” My transcription in Shep’s Army. (9/18/1969)

“Private Sanderson.” My transcription in Shep’s Army. (1/13/1971)

“Naked Baseball in the Army.” Told on the air, published in Playboy.

“Troop Train Ernie.” Told on the air, published in Shep’s A Fistful of Fig Newtons as

“The Marathon Run Of Lonesome Ernie, The Arkansas Traveler”

“Og and Charlie.” He told stories several times about these two cave-man-type-near-humans. They were a good metaphor for how Shep felt that humanity still was–not quite the mentally/emotionally advanced race we think we are.

Peru–The whole group of programs focusing on his trip, from how it came about to when he got home to contemplate the experience. At the time, he felt it was the best travel experience he’d ever had.

In addition to all of the above, one must add some of the innumerable bits and pieces of his delightful and cuckoo musical interludes on his silly little instruments–including on his sometimes silly head.

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(30) GUITAR

I made my own classical guitar. I’m fascinated by how the shape/formation of objects combine form with function. (It’s my design training still influencing me after all these years.) How does the form of a guitar contribute to its sound? Encountering a two-semester, adult evening class in constructing (not from a “kit”) a classical guitar from the raw materials one buys in a shop that supplies such to professionals, I took the course.
guitar head drawingguotar 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I kept notes and I took photos. Two parts of the classical guitar that might vary are the shape of the head and the luthier’s (guitar-maker’s) choice of how to configure the inside structural supports for the top of the body. I designed a simple, classical head, and chose internal struts for the body’s top that I thought would enforce high notes on the higher strings, and lower tones for the lower strings. I redrew all the instruction pages for the instructor’s future use–the upper left  of the head is one of my pages.

eb guitar rosette0002

An eb element of the rosette

around the sound hole.

I also designed and made the wooden rosette with my eb initials, and designed and installed my label.

label,rosetteguitar work 2

While I was peacefully working on my guitar construction, my then-wife, from Granada, Spain, threatened me with a kitchen carving knife and I grabbed and rolled up for protection, my Sunday New York Times Arts Section (Yes, the Arts Section–it was the closest at hand), and that’s as far as I’ll take that true story. Except that I did incorporate the episode into my fact/fiction unpublished novel, The Pomegranate Conspiracy.

I completed my guitar at the end of the course, and practiced playing, struggling

for several unsuccessful years. Now my guitar is hung on a wall.

20160609_133021 (4)

I love classical guitars and guitar music. I also like looking at Picasso’s guitar collages. So much so that I played around with one of his collage reproductions. First, with a color copier that scans one color at a time, I let it scan the first colors, then slightly shifted the original for the scanning of the black. Then I printed it and applied black-and-white photo prints of the underneath side of my guitar top, half on each side, with, in the middle, a photo of myself playing my newly completed guitar. One might title it:

“The Picasso/Bergmann Guitar Collage.”

Picasso guitar collage and eb (2)

I’m Conflicted About This Artsy Of Mine.

Is it a witty, clever, personal homage to an artist I greatly admire,

done by manipulating one of his works

(that he had first made by manipulating and reconstructing stuff),

or is it a fartsy, esthetic travesty for which I should be ashamed?

→  It is a unique collaged collage  

Would Picasso have liked it? *

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         *Picasso “Guitar” original for comparison. guitar collage (3) 

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JEAN SHEPHERD and Alexander King & (21) ARTSY-Full Color Newspaper Wars

In the late 1950s Jack Paar’s late-night TV program was the first big Tonight Show to gain wide popular viewership. (Remember that this was the show, earlier staring Steve Allen, that Shepherd was reportedly brought to NYC to take over—but the evidence shows that this was not so). Alexander King, as a guest, became very popular on Paar’s show. This resulted in high sales of several of his books.

A. King paar4

PAAR                          KING

King told autobiographical stories with entertaining wit and charm. The first paragraph of an Amazon Customer Review of a King book by Jon Richfield—-describes him well–at least as he appeared on TV: “King was a mercurial spoiled brat with enormous talent, great compassion, great selfishness, idiosyncratic tolerance and intolerance, impressive culture, totally variegated experience, a marvelous capacity for talking about it, and enormous charm. He raises serious doubts about some of what he says, but says it all with such natural conviction….”*

The New York Times obit of 11/17/1966 described his Paar appearances as providing “…witty, pungent, irreverent and continual outflow of comments on life, art, woman, sex, psychiatry, celebrities, narcotics addiction, and just about any other topic that happened to annoy him at the moment.”

mineenemy1

FIRST BIG KING BOOK

King’s charm, wit, and quirky energy captivated the audience. Shepherd’s style, being more of a slowly articulated description that relies on a build-up of humorous situation, did not grasp and hold a studio (or a home-viewing) audience sufficiently, I believe, which is why Shepherd-telling-a-story on television by simply talking, as he did on his radio shows, did not work. Fellow-performers on TV such as Ernie Kovacs and Victor Borge seemed to recognize this and undercut Shep—on live TV.

*King once claimed that he’d published his translations of Ovid’s love poems (43 BC-17 AD), even though he knew no Latin. He said that he gathered various translations of the poems and reworded them for the better. He said that he received acclaim for the best-ever translations of Ovid. Amusing story and very possibly true–but I’m not convinced. In fact, it may also be that, just as with Shep, little that King told was more than a smidgeon true to fact.

A.King Ovid book

The Love Books of Ovid:

A Completely Unexpurgated

and Newly Translated Edition.

Internet search shows several booksellers

offering this 1930, privately published book.

All booksellers (and the book’s spine) show

King only as illustrator.

true-false-sign

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(21) FULL COLOR NEWSPAPER WARS

The New York Times, from time to time, has published some esthetically lovely photographs. Beautifully composed, wonderfully colored. One might say, “masterpieces.” They compare with some of the great painted masterpieces of violent centuries past. Many of these depict the ravages of wartime. They’ve made me stop and wonder at my own intellectual/emotional conflict. I’ve saved scores of these images and concocted a couple into an elegant, cedar, cigar-box-artifact meant to preserve and remind. (It needs to be noted that some of the lovely photos I’ve saved from the Times are simply beautiful and not disagreeable in content.)

box top

Village: burns.

Man and grandmother: homeless refugees.

Women: grieve over the yellow head, cheerful red and white-striped cover

with body beneath.

burning landscape

wheelbarrow0003

women grieving

A few others in my collection.
black poles boat0003

photo recent0003

national guard0013

photo black pot

There are still elegant photos in the Times, and I look forward to those to come.

box bottom

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JEAN SHEPHERD Drawings Part 3 of 5 & (16) ARTSY-NEW YORK TIMES DELIVERY!

Another of Shepherd’s drawings shows a restaurant façade, with a window through which we see a self-contained composition of flower vase on a table and a waiter’s hand delivering a drink, showing a personal interaction going on just out of our view. At the corner of the building over the front door, is the establishment’s name, reminding the viewer of Shepherd’s improvised radio work:  “Hutton’s AD LIB.”

Here in a drawing we see one of the few instances

of a personal connection to Shepherd’s life.

shepherds AD LIB

Hutton’s Ad Lib.

I did some research and determined that it was probably

located in New York, about Lex. Ave. and 47th St.

[Collection E. Bergmann]

The drawings by Shepherd so far seen in public have precise and objectively observed details—a strict depiction of what he saw—which is to say, an observation, but seemingly without an intellectual viewpoint and without feeling.  Apparently done with no preliminary pencil lines (Unless he subsequently erased them?), in a straightforward, simple style, only a couple are what one might describe as “sketchy,” but that occasional sketchiness tells us nothing new either.  On the other hand, his spoken and written words, based on the same acute ability for fine-tuned observation, produced humorous forays into humankind’s foibles.  None of the ink drawings I’ve seen seem to have any of the sense of humor or warmth (except for the Ad Lib one) for which his words are considered an equal to those other Midwesterners, Mark Twain and James Thurber.  With pen and ink in hand he saw clearly and depicted accurately, but I see no attempt to incorporate commentary except in the window scene in Hutton’s Ad Lib.

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NEW YORK TIMES DELIVERY!

Saturday mornings are a glorious time at our house, full of wild anticipation. The daily Times arrives on the lawn, encapsulated in its blue, plastic, Times bag including some sections of tomorrow’s Sunday Times. I don’t believe that any other newspaper in the world is so likely to contain such possible subject matter that thrills me so! The Wall Street Journal might approach my high standards. Tabloids are below contempt—even if they do mention some worthwhile artsy subject that entrances me, I know, from long-past experience, that the quality and thoroughness of their coverage will be vastly inadequate.

The Saturday, April 30, 2016 delivery contained major, illustrated articles, on not one, but three of my favorite creators. Kahn, Sunday Art Section; Bosch, Sunday Travel Section; Whitman, Saturday Main Section, page 1. (Understand that I have significant books and stashes of clippings and personal memory-holdings on each of these masters.)

LOUIS KAHN

After Frank Lloyd Wright, my favorite architect is Lois Kahn (1901-1974). His buildings exude a richness of materials and a warm and life-affirming feeling for light as a substance nearly on a par with material. It’s glorious to see and be within a building by Kahn. I’ve visited the one shown. Here’s The Times opening page on Kahn:

NYT Kahn l0002

HIERONYMOUS BOSCH

One of my favorites, Bosh’s work is bizarre, it is quirky, it thrills me—especially his “Garden of Earthly Delights.” I’ve been in its presence several times. Here’s The Times opening page on Bosch:

Bosch Garden travel 4.30.16

WALT WHITMAN

My favorite poet is Whitman. Some of his words and lines and poems, such as “Song of Myself,” grab me as do few other creative works. Here’s The Times continued page on Whitman that began on the main section’s front page:

W.W food tips0002

I must criticize The Times for its faulty choice of that photo of the poet—but Whitman himself bears much blame, as he promoted himself as the “Good, Gray, Poet.” Thus, he’s usually thought of and depicted as a really old guy with a long white beard. When he wrote and published the first edition of his Leaves of Grass in 1855, photos show him as a vigorous young man (about age 36). Even the Matthew Brady portraits of him taken several years after he wrote this “health” article in 1858, show him to have been much younger and more vigorous than The Times image—shame! They probably grabbed both of their printed images from the originator of the story, without the grabber thinking more knowingly. But even The Times isn’t (always) perfect.

W.W civilwar Brady

Whitman by Brady

during the Civil War (1861-1865)

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JEAN SHEPHERD–His Now and Future U.S. of America Part 2 of 2

Part 1 has the most variety of subjects for additional

Jean Shepherd’s America subjects.

_JS_America_logo

 

usa flag of jsa

Remember that I feel there should be at least a couple of hundred programs

to make complete his

TELEVISION DOCUMENTARY MASTERPIECE

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SUSTENANCE

 Food    Beer

Ice Cream Parlor    Drive-through    Diners

hot dogs & hamburgers    elegant dinners (escargot, lobster, filet minion)

ethnic foodAfro-American Spain.Germ.Ital.Chinese.Mex.Hisp,Jap, etc.

take-out and eat-in eating Italian, Chinese, etc.

restaurants–varied decor

Jewish delis, pastrami vs. corned beef, Cel-ray soda, Shep’s whitefish sandwich

breakfasts around the U.S. and in restaurants

Drinks–coffee weak/strong, wine, milk, mixed drinks, hard liquor, specialty (Kahlua, etc.)

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Let’s think about a few of these, and in what way Shep could do his bit with them:

Ice Cream Parlors  Beyond the usual neighborhood ones country-wide, there are some special ones that should be visited. For most of my life, Jahn’s in Richmond Hill, Queens was “world famous” in Queens. It closed in 2008!

jahns_menu

Hardware Stores  There are still neighborhood ones that sell hammers and screw drivers and light bulbs, but some of the new ones, like Home Depot sell everything in enormous quantities–they are warehouses. This year we bought our Christmas tree at Ace Hardware.

Drug Stores These sold only pharmaceutical stuff. When I was a kid, the local one also had a soda fountain and a small comics rack where I first discovered Mad Comics, etc. Now they sell lawn furniture and whatever.

Think of the delightful discussions one could have.

For example regarding the best coffee, between the typical weak stuff

in most American restaurants to the stuff now in Starbucks.

Nowadays, even Dunkin’ Donuts has good cappuccino comparable to Starbucks.

And Seattle has become famous for its focus on coffee.

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Oh, I wish Shep could have made 300 more episodes!

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JEAN SHEPHERD–His Now and Future U.S. of America Part 1 of 2

“…ONE MAN’S VERSION OF HEAVEN IS A SUPER HOWARD JOHNSONS

WITH 28 FLAVORS AND NO LINES FOR THE REST ROOMS. MINE IS A FAST-MOVING STREAM.”

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A fast-moving stream in Maine. His version of heaven. One of Jean’s childhood joys was fishing for crappies in northern Indiana. And fishing for crappies is just another name for snagging hooks on beer cans and old submerged tires. The “dream” was to fish from the banks of the Kennebec River. And that’s what he finally gets to do. That’s not all you’ll hear about, because Shepherd doesn’t just follow the camera around, explaining what’s being seen. And he is definitely not into show-and-tell. When you see an unbroken stand of Maine forest, he’s telling some great fishing story. And it’s beautiful. Shepherd himself puts it this way, “If a guy sees a glass of beer on the screen, he knows what it is and I don’t have to tell him. My series isn’t a documentary. It’s going to be hallucinogenic.”

usa flag of jsa

I’ve commented before that Shep’s two series of Jean Shepherd‘s America

are the flawed beginnings of what had been a potential Great American Television Documentary.

What more should be added to the subjects of this series? Here’s a few I’ve thought of to help fill the near-infinity of possibilities in our culture.

(Existing programs 4/11/1971   Existing programs 4/1985   Future subjects)

SUSTENANCE

 Food    Beer

Ice Cream Parlor    Drive-through    Diners

hot dogs & hamburgers    elegant dinners (escargot, lobster, filet minion)

ethnic foodAfro-American Spain.Germ.Ital.Chinese.Mex.Hisp,Jap, etc.

take-out and eat-in eating Italian, Chinese, etc.

restaurants–varied decor

Jewish delis, pastrami vs. corned beef, Cel-ray soda, Shep’s whitefish sandwich

breakfasts around the U.S. and in restaurants

Drinks–coffee weak/strong, wine, milk, mixed drinks, hard liquor, specialty (Kahlua, etc.)

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HOLIDAY CUSTOMS

Santa Claus and Easter Bunny in varied stores, malls

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SPECIAL STORES OLD FASHIONED VS MODERN

Hardware, drug stores (from only medicine, then ice cream fountains, to lawn furniture)

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PLACES

Alaska    Florida    Hawaii    Wyoming

Okefenokee Swamp    South    Death Valley    New Orleans    Chicago

New York    San Francisco    Las Vegas    Dallas    Wash.D.C.    Hawaii    Boston

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ACTIVITIES

 Trains    Driving    Flying     28 Flavors (This is about fishing)

Vacations    Cruise Ship    Cars

Surfing    Skating    Factory work     Hiking    Tourist-vacations    Cooking

Fastfood-work    Exercise(with/without machines)    Kite-flying    Frisbee throwing

Camping    Dog shows    Horse & harness racing    Greyhound racing    Sailboat racing

State fair-going    Street fair going    Off–road riding    Square dancing

Concert-going: classic, jazz, rock     Buying a house    Automated factories

Two-wheeler biking the countryside   Motor biking

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WAYS OF LIVING

Filthy Rich     Houseboat     Mobile Home           Guam

Artists of any/all kinds     Retirement home living   Poverty

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More to come–plus suggestions and new thoughts

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JEAN SHEPHERD–“I know how you’ve gone wrong!” Part 3 of …

STOP!

[Music stops.] Now look. Now look–we’re gonna level, we’re gonna level here. Just for one minute. And don’t you think that I’m here just–night after night just to entertain you, do you?

The more I read and type this Shep-rant the more I see that this form that he’s using is so very different than that of his more familiar 1960-1977, 45-minute programs! I’ve said this before? I’m saying it even more vociferously now!

As much as I like this free-er form Shep, I wonder. Is this earlier Shep actually the more unforced, just talking, just musing, “letting it all hang out,” unstudied Jean Shepherd persona that Lois Nettleton and he preferred–sustainable? When he switched to the 45-minute format, did he realize that not only did a 45 minutes format work against this unguarded Shep, but, if one was going to continue this radio gig  for untold years, one could probably not keep this mock-hostile (?) attitude up.

You can’t improvise one’s (rather nasty) curmudgeonly self five nights a week for years. Is it too much all of a sameness after a while? One has to have a format that allows one to bring forth and attach ideas to (improvising in a more controlled format environment). In that one can expand one’s attitudes–downer, funny, informative, mix-em up more.

Is this what I’ve been grasping for in each attempt to analyze and distinguish Shep’s performance variations over the years?

And furthermore I’m going to tell you another thing. We’re gonna have to–this is a moment now, since its almost time to quit. Almost time to quit. We might as well shell it out. I’m not here to play for laughs. I’m not here to entertain you really, you know? I’m here for a much more devious purpose than that.

To begin with, many people here at this very radio station do not even know I am here. They just see it on the log–“The Jean Shepherd Show.” They’re all home there watching television. Doesn’t make any difference. They don’t know.

But I’ll tell you what I’m here for. I am here, and am an extension of–your conscience itself. I am here because I know where you went wrong. I know where you went wrong. The reason I know where you went wrong is because I know where I went wrong. And since I know where I went wrong, I know darn well where you went wrong!

[All this is spoken in mock-argumentative terms.]

So don’t give me any of that jazz! Do you hear me? Any of you! You have fouled up too! You are caught in the same thing. All of you. So don’t–give–me–any–of–your–lip.

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STUDY THIS REMINDER!!!

 That’s what I’m here for. [Music starts.] So play it cool and easy. I know. You know. We should be honest for the first time. You are not fooling me and I am not fooling you. The thing to remember most of all is that you’re not fooling me. Just because I come out of that crummy little plastic box on the top of your refrigerator does not mean you can push me around….The wrong spot! Yes, by the short ones. So–you know– in the end you’re just gonna have to rely on style. Because you got no content! So don’t try to get by with a message–you ain’t got it….

I am not here to play those old familiar melodies that all of you whistle in your sleep. Not a bit of it. Not a bit of it. I am not here to mouth those old familiar platitudes that fall like autumn leaves from the bottom of bank calendars. Oh no.

Enough? He goes on and I’ve got a bit more transcribed, but enough. I know he had to quite this earlier style, or maybe even I could not have followed him, with all his incorporated funny bits, into the future.

life hangingByBranch

Even so, he could not last forever.

He let go in early 1977.

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JEAN SHEPHERD–“I know how you’ve gone wrong!” Part 1 of …

So I’m this 63-year-old guy and I’m in a booth at the Museum of Television and Radio on 2/15/2002, listening to a Shep program broadcast  12/20/1959, and I’m doing my best to transcribe it. No, actually–I’ve caught myself–I’ve got a small cassette recorder hidden there in the dark and I’m recording it to transcribe later. Not many of this sort have surfaced yet. It’s one of Shepherd’s really laid-back, ironically amusing “philosophical” broadcasts that I like so much.

Now, about fourteen years after I’d recorded and transcribed in longhand (it’s now early 2016), I look over the eleven pages of script on ruled yellow paper. That’s only about 12 and-a-quarter minutes out of one of his extended programs. I know about how long because I just read it aloud–trying to give it the pacing Shepherd had–timing it with a stopwatch. (I do what I gotta do to get these blogs down right.)

This program of his really is a downer, but, remembering how ol’ Shep can tell it, I know just the kind of amusingly ironic tone he’s giving it, so I know I laughed while listening then just as I’m laughing now. (I hope this hint has readers also listening to Shepherd in their minds as they read.)

Now I’m wondering how much of it I can put down here without losing the audience. I’ve got to give it a try, and maybe break it into a number of separate posts. I hope that will keep the readers/listeners glued to Shep’s philosophical rant–(with the help of a meaningful simile-cum-pun) like bubblegum tossed on the sidewalk now stuck to the souls of their psyches.

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…each one of us. Someone who stands off to one side and tells us how we can get it all straightened out. How we are going wrong. How we faulteringly missed the step, the eternal roadway of damnation. Always. I think there is a giant monkey on the back of everyone. It is truly. It is the individual corrective agent. The giant monkey of “Now look, you’re going wrong, and I know how to fix it up. I know how to cure it.” It might be a man, it might be a woman, it might be an incense burner for all I know. But there is that monkey on the back of everyone.

And nothing seems to deter them. They’re always there.  They’re always waiting for their moment. And it’s no wonder–it’s no wonder that a good portion of mankind continues to believe in black magic of one kind or another. That the woman who looks out of the television screen, out of that commercial with the great flashing teeth, and she says, “I have just discovered the new wash-day miracle.” It’s going to straighten it all out! All of it! Happiness will flow through your family like a great river of Karo Syrup. A new miracle. And somehow it seems to be true–there is a new miracle. Until the next miracle. Until the next miracle. Until the next miracle. The next miracle, and the one after that.

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Yes, be the first one in your neighborhood, friends, to burn Lucky Me-Joe Incense three times a week. according to the directions on the box. The sweetness will last for days. Your friends will love to visit you–and remark on the delightful perfumed fragrance that fills your home.

The burning of incense for luck was a secret belief known to the ancients and people of many different ancient, ancient, ancient, long-forgotten cults. It drives away your enemies and brings out those who will, in the end, be your true loves. Now–there is no guarantee that this will happen. We only say that it has happened in the past. So burn it, burn it, burn it.

To be continued.

Yes, Shep knows how we have gone wrong.

Will he reveal his secret verbal ingredient?

Stay tuned!

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