Jean Shepherd

Jean Parker Shepherd, Jr. (July 26, 1921 – October 16, 1999) was an American storyteller, radio and TV personality, writer and actor. He was often referred to by the nickname Shep.[1] With a career that spanned decades, Shepherd is known for the film A Christmas Story (1983), which he narrated and co-scripted, based on his own semi-autobiographical stories.[2]

Jean Shepherd
BornJean Parker Shepherd, Jr.
July 26, 1921
Chicago, Illinois, US
Died October 16, 1999 (aged 78)
Fort Myers, Florida, US
Pen nameShep (nickname)
OccupationWriter, raconteur, radio host
NationalityAmerican
Genrehumor, satire
Years active1945–1990s
SpouseJoan Laverne Warner (1950–1957; divorced)
Lois Nettleton (1960–1967; divorced)
Leigh Brown (1977–1998; her death)
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1942–1944
RankTechnician Fifth Grade (T/5)
UnitSignal Corps

Early life

Born in 1921 on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, Shepherd briefly lived in East Chicago, Indiana, and was raised in Hammond, Indiana, where he graduated from Hammond High School in 1939.[2] The movie A Christmas Story is loosely based on his days growing up in Hammond's southeast side neighborhood of Hessville. As a youth he worked briefly as a mail carrier in a steel mill and earned his Amateur radio license (W9QWN) at age 16, sometimes claiming he was even younger. He sporadically attended Indiana University, but never graduated. Shepherd was a lifelong Chicago White Sox fan.

During World War II, he served stateside in the U.S. Army Signal Corps.[2] Shepherd then had an extensive career in a variety of media.

Career

Radio

After his military service, Shepherd began his broadcast radio career in early 1945 on WJOB in Hammond, Indiana, later working at WTOD in Toledo, Ohio, in 1946. He began working in Cincinnati, Ohio, in January 1947 at WSAI, later also working at Cincinnati stations WCKY and WKRC the following year, before returning to WSAI. From 1951 to 1953, he had a late-night broadcast on KYW in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after which he returned to Cincinnati for several shows on WLW. After a stint on television (see below), he returned to radio. "Shep," as he was known, settled in at WOR radio New York City, New York, at the end of February 1955, and on an overnight slot in 1956,[3] where he delighted his fans[4] by telling stories, reading poetry (especially the works of Robert W. Service), and organizing comedic listener stunts. The most famous[5] of the last involved creating a hoax about a non-existent book, I, Libertine, by the equally non-existent author "Frederick R. Ewing", in 1956. During a discussion on how easy it was to manipulate the best seller lists, which at that time were based not only on sales but demand, Shepherd suggested that his listeners visit bookstores and ask for a copy of I, Libertine which led to booksellers attempting to purchase the book from their distributors. Fans of the show eventually took it further, planting references to the book and author so widely that demand for the book led to it being claimed by some to have been listed on The New York Times Best Seller list.[6] Shepherd, Theodore Sturgeon and Betty Ballantine later wrote the actual book, with a cover painted by illustrator Frank Kelly Freas, published by Ballantine Books.[7] Among his close friends in the late 1950s were Shel Silverstein and Herb Gardner. With them and actress Lois Nettleton, Shepherd performed in the revue he created, Look, Charlie. Later he was married to Nettleton for about six years.[8]

When he was about to be released by WOR in 1956 for not being commercial, he did a commercial for Sweetheart Soap, not a sponsor, and was immediately fired. His listeners besieged WOR with complaints, and when Sweetheart offered to sponsor him he was reinstated. Eventually, he attracted more sponsors than he wanted—the commercials interrupted the flow of his monologues. Ex WOR engineer, Frank Cernese, adds: The commercials of that era were on "ETs"—phonograph records about 14" in diameter. Three large turntables were available to play them in sequence. However, Shepherd liked the engineer to look at him and listen when he told his stories. That left little time to load the turntables and cue the appropriate cuts. That's when he started complaining about "too many commercials". His last WOR broadcast was on April 1, 1977. His subsequent radio work consisted only of short segments on several other stations, including crosstown WCBS, and occasional commentaries on NPR's All Things Considered. His final radio gig was the Sunday night radio show "Shepherd's Pie" on WBAI in the mid-1990s, which consisted of his reading his stories uncut, uninterrupted and unabridged. The show was one of WBAI's most popular of the period. In addition to his stories, his shows also contained, among other things, humorous anecdotes and general commentaries about the human condition, observations about life in New York, accounts of vacations in Maine and travels throughout the world. Among the most striking of his programs was his account of his participation in the March on Washington in August 1963, during which Dr. Martin Luther King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech, and the program that aired on November 25, 1963—the burial day of President John F. Kennedy. However, his most scintillating programs remain his often prophetic, bitingly humorous commentaries about ordinary life in America.

Throughout his radio career, he performed entirely without scripts. His friend and WOR colleague Barry Farber marveled at how he could talk so long with very little written down. Yet during a radio interview, Shepherd once claimed that some shows took several weeks to prepare, but this would probably have been in the thinking and outlining stage rather than in anything like a script. On most of his Fourth of July broadcasts, however, he would read one of his most enduring and popular short stories, "Ludlow Kissel and the Dago Bomb that Struck Back," about a neighborhood drunk and his disastrous fireworks escapades. In the 1960s and 1970s, his WOR show ran from 11:15 pm to midnight, later changed to 10:15 pm to 11 pm, so his "Ludlow Kissel" reading was coincidentally timed to many New Jersey and New York local town fireworks displays, which would traditionally reach their climax at 10 pm. It was possible, on one of those July 4 nights, to park one's car on a hilltop and watch several different pyrotechnic displays, accompanied by Shepherd's masterful storytelling.

Print

Libertineback
Jean Shepherd posed as Frederick R. Ewing on the back cover of Ballantine's I, Libertine (1956).

Shepherd wrote a series of humorous short stories about growing up in northwest Indiana and its steel towns, many of which were first told by him on his programs and then published in Playboy. The stories were later assembled into books titled In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories: and Other Disasters, The Ferrari in the Bedroom, and A Fistful of Fig Newtons. Some of those situations were incorporated into his movies and television fictional stories. He also wrote a column for the early Village Voice, a column for Car and Driver, numerous individual articles for diverse publications, including Mad Magazine ("The Night People vs. Creeping Meatballism", March/April 1957), and introductions for books such as The America of George Ade, American Snapshots, and the 1970 reprint of the 1929 Johnson Smith Catalogue.[9]

When Eugene B. Bergmann's Excelsior, You Fathead! The Art and Enigma of Jean Shepherd was published in 2005, Publishers Weekly reviewed:

This prismatic portrait affirms Shepherd's position as one of the 20th century's great humorists. Railing against conformity, he forged a unique personal bond with his loyal listeners, who participated in his legendary literary prank by asking bookstores for the nonexistent novel I, Libertine (when publisher Ian Ballantine had Shepherd, author Theodore Sturgeon, and illustrator Frank Kelly Freas make the fake real, PW called it "the hoax that became a book"). Storyteller Shepherd's grand theme was life itself ... Novelist Bergmann (Rio Amazonas) interviewed 32 people who knew Shepherd or were influenced by him and listened to hundreds of broadcast tapes, inserting transcripts of Shepherd's own words into a "biographical framework" of exhaustive research.[10]

Shep's Army: Bummers, Blisters, and Boondoggles, almost three dozen of Jean Shepherd's radio stories about the army, transcribed, edited and introduced by Eugene B. Bergmann, is a book of stories by Shepherd, never before in print. (Opus Books, August 2013)

Television and films

Early in his career, Shepherd had a television program on WLW-TV in Cincinnati called Rear Bumper.[2] He claimed that he was recommended to replace the resigning Steve Allen on NBC's Tonight Show. Shepherd was reportedly brought to New York City by NBC executives to prepare for the position, but they were contractually bound to first offer it to Jack Paar. The network was certain Paar would hold out for a role in prime time, but he accepted the late-night assignment. However, he did not assume the position permanently until Shepherd and Ernie Kovacs had co-hosted the show.

In late 1960 and early 1961, he did a weekly television show on WOR (channel 9) in New York, but it did not last long. Between 1971 and 1994, Shepherd became a screenwriter of note, writing and producing numerous works for both television and cinema, all based on his originally spoken and written stories. He was the writer and narrator of the show Jean Shepherd's America, produced by Boston Public Television station WGBH for PBS, in which he visited various American locales, and interviewed local people of interest. He used a somewhat similar format for the New Jersey Network TV show Shepherd's Pie. On many of the Public TV shows he wrote, directed and edited entire shows.

He also wrote and narrated many works, the most famous being the 1983 MGM feature film A Christmas Story, which is now considered a holiday classic. Shepherd narrates the film as the adult Ralph Parker, and also has a cameo role playing a man in line at the department store waiting for Santa Claus.

Ten years later, Shepherd and A Christmas Story director Bob Clark returned to the same working-class Cleveland street neighborhood to film a sequel, It Runs in the Family (later known as My Summer Story), released by MGM in 1994 and featuring an almost entirely different cast from the previous film.

PBS aired several television movies based on Shepherd stories, also featuring the Parker family. These included The Phantom of the Open Hearth (1976), which aired as part of the anthology series Visions; The Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters (1982) and The Star-Crossed Romance of Josephine Cosnowski (1985), both as part of the anthology series American Playhouse; and Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss (1988), a co-production with The Disney Channel. All were narrated by Shepherd but otherwise featured different casts.

Live performances and recordings

On Saturday nights for several years, Shepherd broadcast his WOR radio program live from the Limelight Cafe in New York City's Greenwich Village, and he also performed at many colleges nationwide. His live shows were a perennial favorite at Rutgers to wildly enthusiastic standing room only crowds, and Fairleigh Dickinson Universities (he often referred to the latter as "Fairly Ridiculous University" on his WOR show). He performed at Princeton University for over 30 years, beginning in 1956 until 1996, three years before his death.[11] He performed before sold-out audiences at Carnegie Hall and Town Hall.

He was also emcee for several important jazz concerts in the late 1950s. Shepherd's first known recording featured his short comments interspersed with jazz pieces. The title: Jean Shepherd—Into the Unknown With Jazz Music (1955). Shepherd improvised spoken word narration for the title track on jazz musician Charles Mingus's 1957 album The Clown. Eight record albums of live and studio performances of Shepherd were released between 1955 and 1975. In 1993, Shepherd recorded the opening narration and the voice of the Audio-Animatronics "Father" character for the updated Carousel of Progress attraction at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom.[12][13]

Music

On some of his broadcasts he played parts of recordings of such novelty songs as "The Bear Missed the Train" (a parody of the Yiddish ballad "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen") and "The Sheik of Araby". Sometimes Shepherd would accompany the recordings by playing the Jew's harp, nose flute, or kazoo, and occasionally even by thumping his knuckles on his head.

Jean famously narrated the 1957 Atlantic Records Charles Mingus masterpiece, The Clown, including the title track to the album.

The theme song of his show was "Bahn Frei!" by Eduard Strauss. The particular version Shepherd used was a recording by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, with arrangement by Peter Bodge, released in April 1946 by RCA Victor-Red Seal. This arrangement recast the 19th-century polka from one relating to travel by train to a fast-tempo piece directed to horses and a race track, principally achieved by opening with a well-known bugle call named "Call to the Post."[14]

Personal life

Shepherd kept most of his personal life secret, from both his radio audience and most of his friends. Married four times, he lived in several New York City locations during his WOR days and for a time in New Milford (Bergen County), New Jersey, and in Washington (Warren County), New Jersey.[15] In 1984, he moved to Sanibel Island, Florida, with his wife Leigh Brown.[16] He died in a hospital in nearby Fort Myers, Florida, in 1999 of natural causes.[17]

Shepherd maintained his interest in amateur radio throughout his life. After leaving Hammond, he obtained the call signs W4QWN (Kentucky), W8QWN (Ohio) and W3STE (Pennsylvania). Upon his arrival at WOR in New York in 1955, he obtained the call K2ORS, with which he would often be heard speaking to other ham radio operators for the remainder of his life.[18]

Fact and fiction

It is unknown to what extent Shepherd's radio and published stories were fact, fiction or a combination of the two. The childhood friends included in many of his stories were people he claimed to have invented, yet high school yearbooks and numerous other sources confirm that many of them, including school buddies "Flick" and "Schwartz," did indeed exist.[19] His father was a cashier at the Borden Milk Company. Shepherd always referred to him as "the old man." During an interview on the Long John Nebel Show—an all-night radio program that ran on WOR starting at midnight—Shepherd once claimed that his real father was a cartoonist along the lines of Herblock, and that he inherited his skills at line drawings. This may well have not been true but Shepherd's ink drawings do adorn some of his published writings, and a number of previously unknown ones were sold on eBay from his former wife Lois Nettleton's collection after her death in 2008.

The 1930 Federal Census Record for Hammond, Indiana, indicates that Jean's father did work for a dairy company. His actual occupation reads "cashier." The 1930 census record (which misspells the last name as "Shephard" when searching) lists the following family members: Jean Shepherd, age 30, head; Anna Shepherd, age 30, wife; Jean Shepherd Jr, age 8, son; and Randall Shepherd, age 6, son. According to this record, Jean Sr, Anna, Jean Jr, and Randall were all born in Illinois, and Jean Sr's parents (Emmett and Flora) were born in Kansas. However, all other decennial federal and state census records, as well as other official documents such as death certificates, indicate that Emmett and Flora were born in Indiana. Anna's parents, August and Katherine, were born in Germany.

Jean Shepherd had two children, a son Randall and a daughter Adrian, with his second wife Joan but he publicly denied this, including in his last will and testament, executed some five months prior to his death. Randall Shepherd describes his father as having frequently come home late or not at all. Randall had almost no contact with him after his parents' divorce.[20]

Legacy

Shepherd's oral narrative style was a precursor to that used by Spalding Gray and Garrison Keillor. Marshall McLuhan in Understanding Media wrote that Shepherd "regards radio as a new medium for a new kind of novel that he writes nightly."[21] In the Seinfeld season six DVD set, commenting on the episode titled "The Gymnast", Jerry Seinfeld said, "He really formed my entire comedic sensibility—I learned how to do comedy from Jean Shepherd."[22] Furthermore, the first name of Seinfeld's third child is "Shepherd."[23] On January 23, 2012 the Paley Center for Media (formerly The Museum of Television and Radio) presented a tribute to Shepherd. Seinfeld was interviewed for the hour and discussed how Shepherd and he had similar ways of humorously discussing minor incidents in life. He confirmed the importance of Shepherd on his career.[24]

Shepherd's life and multimedia career are examined in the 2005 book Excelsior, You Fathead! The Art and Enigma of Jean Shepherd by Eugene B. Bergmann.[9]

Shepherd was an influence on Bill Griffith's Zippy comic strip, as Griffith noted in his strip for January 9, 2000. Griffith explained, "The inspiration—just plucking random memories from my childhood, as I'm wont to do in my Sunday strip (also a way to expand beyond Zippy)—and Shep was a big part of them".

In an interview with New York magazine, Steely Dan's Donald Fagen says that the eponymous figure from his solo album The Nightfly was based on Jean Shepherd.

Though he primarily spent his radio career playing music, New York Top 40 DJ Dan Ingram has acknowledged Shepherd's style as an influence.

An article he wrote for the March–April 1957 issue of MAD magazine, "The Night People vs Creeping Meatballism", described the differences between what he considered to be "day people" (conformists) and "night people" (non-conformists). The opening credits of John Cassavetes' 1959 film Shadows include "Presented by Jean Shepherd's Night People".

In 2005, Shepherd was posthumously inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame, and in November 2013 he was posthumously inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame.[25]

Watch

Jean Shepherd in Boston's Fenway Park discussing his childhood vis-a-vis baseball, October 14, 1969

Listen to

Bibliography

Discography

  • Jean Shepherd – Into the Unknown With Jazz Music (1955)
  • Jean Shepherd and Other Foibles (1959)
  • Will Failure Spoil Jean Shepherd? (1960)
  • Declassified Jean Shepherd (1971)
  • Jean Shepherd Reads Poems of Robert Service (1975)

Filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1954 New Faces Uncredited
1959 Shadows Man at Party Uncredited
1960 Village Sunday Narrator Documentary
Summer Incident Narrator Documentary short
Writer
1964 Light Fantastic Frank
1970 NET Playhouse Episode: "America, Inc."
Writer
1971 Tiki Tiki Voice
Jean Shepherd's America Himself TV Series
Writer
1973 No Whistles, Bells, or Bedlam Narrator Short film
1976 The Phantom of the Open Hearth Narrator/Ralph Parker TV Movie
Writer
1978 Shepherd's Pie Himself
1980 Flickers Narrator TV Mini-Series
1982 The Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters Narrator/Ralph Parker TV Movie
Writer
1983 A Christmas Story Narrator/Adult Ralphie Co-Writer
1984 Jean Shepherd on Route 1 ... and Other Major Thoroughfares Himself TV Short
Writer
1985 The Star-Crossed Romance of Josephine Cosnowski Himself TV Movie
Writer
The Great American Road-Racing Festival Himself TV Movie documentary
Writer
1987 Norman Rockwell: An American Portrait Himself TV Movie documentary
1988 Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss Ralph, the Man/Scott TV Movie
Writer
1988–1991 Sesame Street Himself 2 Episodes: "Cowboy X" segments
1994 My Summer Story Narrator/Adult Ralphie Co-Writer
1997 Christmas Unwrapped: The History of Christmas Himself TV Movie documentary
1998 Babe Ruth Himself TV Movie documentary

See also

References

  1. ^ Clavin, Jim (2007). "Who Is Jean Shepherd?". Flick Lives!. Archived from the original on January 16, 2009. Retrieved 2007-11-09.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  2. ^ a b c d "Famous Hammond Personalities: Jean Shepherd". HammondIndiana.com. Archived from the original on December 5, 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-26.
  3. ^ "Vast File of Dynamic Trivia". Flicklives.com. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  4. ^ Phillips, McCandlish (August 13, 1956). "400 Hold A Wake For Radio Cult". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 7, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-09.
  5. ^ Wilcock, John (August 1, 1956). "The Book That Wasn't". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on August 8, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-09.
  6. ^ Lortie, Arthur (17 December 2012). "All I want for Christmas is my name on the Bestseller's List". The Herald News. Archived from the original on November 5, 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
  7. ^ "Good Reading". Digital.goodreadingmagazine.com.au. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  8. ^ Ramirez, Anthony (October 17, 1999). "Jean Shepherd, a Raconteur Of the Radio, Dies in Florida". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-25.
  9. ^ a b Bergmann, Eugene (November 1, 2004). Excelsior, You Fathead!: The Art and Enigma of Jean Shepherd. Winona, Minnesota: Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 978-1-55783-600-7.
  10. ^ Publishers Weekly, vol. 252, no. 4 (2005), p. 233.
  11. ^ "Vast File of Dynamic Trivia". Flicklives.com. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  12. ^ Dezern, Craig (July 26, 1993). "Work is scheduled to start ..." Orlando Sentinel. Tribune Publishing. Archived from the original on March 29, 2015. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  13. ^ Lafferty, Mike (November 24, 1993). "Around The Worlds". Orlando Sentinel. Tribune Publishing. Archived from the original on March 29, 2015. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  14. ^ "Vast File of Dynamic Trivia". Flicklives.com. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  15. ^ "Vast File of Dynamic Trivia". Flicklives.com. 1984-03-01. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  16. ^ Kelley, Bill (April 7, 1985). "Jean Shepherd's Great Escape". Sun-Sentinel. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  17. ^ Ramirez, Anthony (October 18, 1999). "Jean Shepherd, a Raconteur And a Wit of Radio, Is Dead". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  18. ^ "Vast File of Dynamic Trivia". Flicklives.com. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  19. ^ "Vast File of Dynamic Trivia". Flicklives.com. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  20. ^ Shepherd, Randall (2006). "One More Hat on a Man". Shep's vast file of dynamic trivia: People in Shep's Life. Jim Clavin. Archived from the original on September 18, 2015. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  21. ^ McLuhan, Marshall (1964). Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. McGraw Hill. ISBN 81-14-67535-7.
  22. ^ Jerry Seinfeld (November 22, 2005). Running With the Egg (Seinfeld season six DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
  23. ^ Peterson, Todd (August 25, 2005). "Jerry Seinfeld & Wife Welcome Third Child". People. Time Inc. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  24. ^ "Remembering Master Storyteller, Jean Shepherd: With Jerry Seinfeld". Paley Center for Media. January 23, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  25. ^ "Innovators in Philly". Broadcast Pioneers. Retrieved 2016-09-25.

External links

47th Scripps National Spelling Bee

The 47th Scripps National Spelling Bee was held in Washington, D.C. at the Mayflower Hotel on June 5–6, 1974, sponsored by the E.W. Scripps Company.

The winner was 12-year-old Julie Ann Junkin, a sixth-grader from Gordo, Alabama, spelling "hydrophyte". Second place went to 14-year-old Gail Meier of Arlington, Tennessee (sponsored by the Memphis Press-Scimitar), who misspelled "mantelletta".Junkin was the first sixth-grade contestant to win since John Capehart won in the 1961 competition, and the first winner from Alabama (and only as of 2015).There were 80 entrants in that year, sponsored by 76 newspapers. The New York Daily News sent four spellers, and the San Juan Star sent two, one for Puerto Rico and one for the Virgin Islands. The field consisted of 40 girls and 40 boys. 24 were age 14, 40 were age 13, 13 were age 12, and 3 were age 11. There one 5th grader, six 6th graders, 17 in 7th grade, and 56 in 8th grade. The spellers represented 33 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Ohio and Texas each sent eight spellers (the most), and Pennsylvania sent seven. Nine of the spellers were repeat contestants, seven from the prior year, and two from 1972.The field was reduced by 25 by the end of the first day of competition, where 522 words were used.A taped version of the finals, hosted by Jean Shepherd, appeared on television on PBS this year (and was done again in 1977).

A Boy Named Sue

"A Boy Named Sue" is a song written by humorist and poet Shel Silverstein and made popular by Johnny Cash. Cash recorded the song live in concert on February 24, 1969 at California's San Quentin State Prison for his At San Quentin album. Cash also performed the song (with comical variations on the original performance) in December 1969 at Madison Square Garden. The live San Quentin version of the song became Cash's biggest hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and his only top ten single there, spending three weeks at No. 2 in 1969, held out of the top spot by "Honky Tonk Women" by The Rolling Stones. The track also topped the Billboard Hot Country Songs and Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks charts that same year and was certified Gold on August 14, 1969, by the RIAA.

Silverstein's own recording was released the same year as "Boy Named Sue", a single on the album Boy Named Sue (and His Other Country Songs), produced by Chet Atkins and Felton Jarvis.

A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story is a 1983 American Christmas comedy film directed by Bob Clark and based on Jean Shepherd's semi-fictional anecdotes in his 1966 book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash, with some elements from his 1971 book Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories. It stars Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, and Peter Billingsley. A seasonal classic in North America, it is shown numerous times on television, usually on the networks owned by the Turner Broadcasting System. Since 1997, a marathon of the film titled "24 Hours of A Christmas Story" has aired annually on TNT or TBS, comprising 12 consecutive airings of the film on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day each year. It is often ranked as one of the best Christmas films of all-time.

The film was released on November 18, 1983. It earned two Canadian Genie Awards in 1984 and in 2012 was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

A Christmas Story Live!

A Christmas Story Live! is a television special that was originally broadcast by Fox on December 17, 2017. It was a live, televised musical remake of the 1983 film A Christmas Story, and incorporated the 2012 stage musical version A Christmas Story: The Musical. The live musical was executive produced by Marc Platt and Adam Siegel, directed by Scott Ellis and Alex Rudzinski, and starred Matthew Broderick, Andy Walken, Maya Rudolph, Chris Diamantopoulos, and Jane Krakowski.

Bob Clark

Benjamin "Bob" Clark (August 5, 1939 – April 4, 2007) was an American actor, director, screenwriter and producer best known for directing and writing the script with Jean Shepherd to the 1983 Christmas film A Christmas Story. Although he worked primarily in the United States, from 1973 to 1983 he worked in Canada and was responsible for some of the most successful films in Canadian film history such as Black Christmas (1974), Murder by Decree (1979), Tribute (1980), and Porky's (1981).

Etymology of hippie

This article discusses the etymology of the word hippie.

French 75 (cocktail)

French 75 is a cocktail made from gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and sugar. It is also called a 75 Cocktail, or in French simply a Soixante Quinze (Seventy Five).

The drink dates to World War I, and an early form was created in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris—later Harry's New York Bar—by barman Harry MacElhone. The combination was said to have such a kick that it felt like being shelled with the powerful French 75mm field gun.

Hessville

Hessville is a neighborhood of Hammond, Indiana. Located in the southeast corner of Hammond, it adjoins the Hammond neighborhood of Woodmar to the west, the East Chicago neighborhood of Calumet to the north, the Gary neighborhoods of Westside and Black Oak to the east, and the town of Highland to the south.

Notable natural areas in Hessville include the Carlson Oxbow Park, Gibson Woods, and the Seidner Dune and Swale preserve operated by the Shirley Heinze Land Trust. Much of the neighborhood is built on a former dune and swale landscape.Notable people from Hessville include Jean Shepherd, whose movie A Christmas Story is set in a fictionalized version of mid-20th-century Hessville.The town was founded by local merchants Joseph and Elizabeth Hess in 1852. Hessville was incorporated in 1918, but following a legal battle its incorporation was invalidated. The town was annexed by Hammond in 1923.

I, Libertine

I, Libertine was a literary hoax novel that began as a practical joke by late-night radio raconteur Jean Shepherd.

Jerry Seinfeld

Jerome Allen Seinfeld ( SYNE-feld; born April 29, 1954) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, producer, and director. He is known for playing himself in the sitcom Seinfeld, which he created and wrote with Larry David. As a stand-up comedian, Seinfeld specializes in observational comedy; in 2005, Comedy Central named Seinfeld the "12th Greatest Stand-up Comedian of All Time."Seinfeld produced, co-wrote and starred in the 2007 film Bee Movie. In 2010, he premiered a reality series called The Marriage Ref, which aired for two seasons on NBC. He is the creator and host of the web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

Johnson Smith Company

The Johnson Smith Company (Johnson Smith & Co.) is a mail-order company established in 1914 by Alfred Johnson Smith in Chicago, Illinois, USA that sells novelty and gag gift items such as x-ray goggles, whoopee cushions, fake vomit, and joy buzzers. The company moved from Chicago to Racine, Wisconsin in 1926, to Detroit in the 1930s, and from the Detroit area to Bradenton, Florida in 1986.The company would put ads in magazines devoted to children and young adults such as Boys' Life, Popular Mechanics and Science Digest. Their ads appeared on the back cover of many historically significant comic books, including Action Comics #1, June 1938 (first appearance of the character Superman) and Detective Comics #27, May 1939 (first appearance of character Batman).In 1970, humorist Jean Shepherd wrote the introduction for the reprint of The 1929 Johnson Smith & Co. Catalogue.In 2004, the company marked its 90th anniversary.

My Summer Story

My Summer Story, originally released in theaters as It Runs in the Family, is a 1994 film that follows the further adventures of the Parker family from A Christmas Story. Like the previous film, it is based on semi-autobiographical stories by Jean Shepherd, primarily from his book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash.

The opening of the film makes direct reference to the events of A Christmas Story, and the ending narration strongly parallels it; production delays forced most of the characters to be recast. Charles Grodin stars as the Old Man (Mr. Parker), Mary Steenburgen plays Mrs. Parker, and Kieran Culkin plays Ralphie. Shepherd provides the narration, just as he had done for A Christmas Story.

Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss

Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss is a 1988 television comedy film written by Jean Shepherd and directed by Dick Bartlett, based on the 1968 short story by Shepherd. A satire of childhood recollections of annual family vacations, it follows the Parker family (of A Christmas Story) as they travel to a Michigan lakeside camp, the eponymous Haven. It was a co-production of The Disney Channel and PBS, and aired in that order, and was released on video.

P. W. Fenton

P.W. Fenton (Born May 24, 1948) is the host of the popular podcast, Digital Flotsam, as well as two other podcasts On This Day in Blues History and Perfect Head.

He is also known as Uncle Jesse, due to the physical similarity to the Dukes of Hazzard character of the same name, and the Satellite Repairman, because of his former duties related to Sirius Satellite Radio.In 2006 his podcast Digital Flotsam won "Favorite Podcast", "Best Produced Podcast" and "Best Storytelling Podcast" in the Podcast Peer Awards. His show "Digital Flotsam" has been described as "..an audio variety show that's pleasing to the mind. Sometimes makes you laugh, sometimes makes you cry, but always makes you listen. Episodes can be about almost anything, and are always sound rich experiences. Sometimes profound... rarely profane." His work is frequently compared to the late radio storyteller Jean Shepherd.

Digital Flotsam was one of the earlier podcasts, originally featuring RIAA-controlled music, until Fenton decided to only feature the work of independent artists who could grant permission for their work to be played. As it currently stands, there is no way for podcasters to freely play RIAA-governed music. Digital Flotsam now features independent artists' music such as those featured on the Podsafe Music Network or artists who are free to grant permission directly.

Fenton was also responsible for producing 4 hours of daily programming for the Sirius Satellite Network called "Adam Curry's Podshow". In May 2007 Podshow's relationship with Sirius ended, and so did that show. He is no longer associated with Mevio (Podshow), or Adam Curry.

He continues to produce the popular Digital Flotsam podcast, his music podcast Perfect Head, and the very successful 2 minute daily, "On This Day In Blues History".

Fenton appeared as a guest of "What's Up With That?" podcast along with Michael Dell and Jim Farley on May 9, 2008. It was episode 40.

The Clown (album)

The Clown is an album by Charles Mingus recorded and released in 1957 on Atlantic Records as SD-1260. It is the follow-up to 1956's Pithecanthropus Erectus and features the improvised narration of Jean Shepherd. A deluxe edition of The Clown was issued in 2000 on Rhino featuring two bonus tracks. All the tracks were recorded on March 12, 1957, except for "The Clown", recorded on February 13 of the same year.

According to Nat Hentoff's liner notes, Mingus explained why he chose those four tracks for the album: "I selected these four over two others that were more intricate because some of those guys had been saying that I didn't swing. So I made some that did. This album also has the first blues I've made on record."

The Sheik of Araby

"The Sheik of Araby" is a song that was written in 1921 by Harry B. Smith and Francis Wheeler, with music by Ted Snyder. It was composed in response to the popularity of the Rudolph Valentino feature film The Sheik. In 1926, to go with the film The Son of the Sheik, Ted Snyder worked parts of the melody into "That Night in Araby", a related song with words by Billy Rose.

"The Sheik of Araby" was a Tin Pan Alley hit, and was also adopted by early jazz bands, especially in New Orleans, making it a jazz standard. It was a well recognized part of popular culture. A verse also appears in the novel The Great Gatsby (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In 1926, Fleischer Studios released a cartoon with this song, recorded in Phonofilm, as part of their Song Car-Tunes series, and a live action short with this title was filmed in Phonofilm in the UK, directed by Miles Mander.

The "Araby" in the title refers to Arabia or the Arabian Peninsula. The appeal to New Orleans bands may have lain in "Araby" sharing the same pronunciation as Arabi, Louisiana, a town downriver from New Orleans' 9th Ward and a center for gambling just outside city limits until the early 1950s.The song was most famously featured in Heaven Can Wait (1943) and in Valentino (1977) with words of parody by Ken Russell, performed by Chris Ellis.

Jean Shepherd frequently sang along with, spoke over, or played kazoo and Jew's harp to the song as one of his many musical interludes during his WOR radio show days.

Visions (TV series)

Visions is a 90-minute American television weekly anthology series that aired from 1976–80. It was produced by KCET in Los Angeles and televised nationally on PBS. It concentrated on the works of mostly new and some prominent writers, including Cormac McCarthy, Marsha Norman, Jean Shepherd, Luis Valdez, and Robert M. Young (director). Each episode was written by a different writer and starred a different cast.

Among its stars were Tyne Daly, Charles Durning, Brad Dourif, Morgan Freeman, Carol Kane, and Judd Hirsch. Its directors included Maya Angelou, Richard Pearce, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Paul Bogart, and Gordon Davidson.

It won one prime-time Emmy Award and was nominated for two others.

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