Jean Shepherd Live: What You Don't See On The Radio
By Anthony Buccino & Dawn Vincenti
Shepherd dazzled the audience
with a proficient
WEST ORANGE, N.J. -- Jean Shepherd, an author, humorist, satirist, radio and television personality, presented a one man show at the Maurice Levin theatre in West Orange.
It was Shepherd at his best, revealing a New Jersey as only he could see it. From Rayco Instant Seat Covers to "preserving Carvel for posterity: while sadly noting, "Great Eastern is gone, friends."
"The town I come from makes Bayonne look like Palm Beach," he said, referring to his early years in northern Indiana. Shepherd, now hails from "embattled New York," the hub of sundry activities.
Weaving his wild tales, he proceeded to bring to life personable characters, well known and loved by his fans. They included: Duckworth, the drum major; Kowalski, the five foot one sergeant from Scranton, Pa.; and Lieutenant Cherry of signal corps Company K.
He told of his escapades as a Sousaphone player in the high school marching band and a fateful Thanksgiving parade in northern Indian when Duckworth, the drum major, executed his senior year "catastrophic capper."
As legend has it, his batons landed on the streetcar power lines high above the parade route, ionizing transformers for miles around.
Shepherd dazzled the audience with a proficient demonstration of marching band routines saying, "See, that's the stuff you don't see on the radio!"
Shepherd, poking fun at the naive American consumer, used his favorite commercial with the man in the toilet tank and said, "Nothing like that ever happens in your life." And if it did, "What would you do, flush?"
Of himself, Shepherd said, "I wish I had a clean mind. I could have been Merv Griffin."
Of his stint in the jungle: "Heat rash became a hobby."
Of the Holland Tunnel: "There's no day or night, just yellow light bulbs, just like purgatory - suspended between heaven and hell."
First published November 26,1975, in The Belleville Times. One-man show Nov. 1, 1975.
FLICK LIVES - more on Jean Shepherd
For More on Shep:
Shep's Army: Bummers, Blisters and Boondoggles By Jean Shepherd, Eugene B. Bergmann (Editor) August 2013
Excelsior, You Fathead!: The Art and Enigma of Jean Shepherd By Eugene B. Bergmann
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New Jersey author Anthony Buccino's stories of the 1960s, transit coverage and other writings earned four Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism awards. The Pushcart Prize-nominated writer has been called ' “New Jersey’s ‘Garrison Keillor” or something to that effect.’
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