Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I was sitting in my room one night in 1956 aimlessly spinning the radio dial back and forth trying to find some music that I liked.  I kept hearing some guy talking around 700 or so on the dial. I would turn it all the way to the left…then all the way to the right..and still didn’t hear any music that I liked.

 Back then radio offered the listener 3 choices: music, soap operas (yes, some were still on the air) or news. And that was about it. Finally my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to find out what the heck that guy who wouldn't shut up was talking about.

 Someone ‘Just talking” on the radio for 2 or 3 hours was unheard of in 1956.
Talk radio was still 15 or 20 years away yet here was someone doing it before my very ears.

And no one since has every done it any better!

Jean Shepherd
That was my introduction to the legendary Jean Shepherd.

The station was WOR in New York. I still recall many of those early stories (also described as “stream of consciousness”) like the time he and his army buddies put Vodka in their canteens just before going on a long hike during Basic Training. Or, his pipe dream of becoming a business mogul by starting a shoe manufacturing company to compete with Nike. It’s customers would be the people that NIKE was ignoring; the “non athletes.”

The Nerds.

His plant would be located, he said, in Trenton, New Jersey and the shoes would be called, TRENTONS, “the shoe for Nerds.”

Scene from "A Christmas Story"

You are probably familiar with that fabulous movie, A CHRISTMAS STORY, which was based on one of Jean Shepherd’s radio monologues, but you probably never knew about  “I Libertine,” which is considered one of the greatest hoaxes of all time.

A fine jazz musician named Bob Kaye has written the best description of it that I have every read.

Don't miss it.