I collect Jean Shepherd radio shows.
60-04-09 Coney Island WOR 60-06-25b Ant Hills, Marathon Dancing, Dolphins 60-07-30 Triangular Donuts (2-hour Limelight show) 60-09-03a Moment of Lucidity 1 60-09-03b Moment of Lucidity 2 60-10-01 The Fearless Orthodontist 61-01-15 Untitled 61-02-27 One Of Them Beats 61-03-01 Civil War Centennial Pitch 61-04-18 Gothic Remnants in New York (partial) 61-09-05 A Box to Hide In 62-02-08 Flying over the John Glenn Parade 62-04-23 The Job in the Piano Factory 63-05-17 Astronaut Gordon Cooper 63-05-31 Lithuanian Compost Heap 63-05-xx The Woolworth Crowd and the 25 Cent Grab Bag 63-07-02 Being a Peeping Tom 63-07-04 The Old Man's Fireworks Stand 63-07-xx What People Do at Business Lunches 63-08-05 Watchers vs Doers 63-08-19 The Old Man as a Pool Shark 63-08-29 March on Washington 63-11-25 Kennedy Assassination (duplicate) 63-11-28 Shadows and Haiku 63-11-xx Mice, Basements and the Furnace 63-11-xx Untitled 64-01-16 The Great Indiana Blizzard 64-01-xx Shep's Name 64-02-26 Bobby the Operator 64-06-17 Back from Maine Vacation 64-06-22 Big Band Remote - The Theremin 64-06-23 Summer Madness Hits The World's Fair 64-07-04 Patriotism and Fireworks Stories 64-07-04b Little Old Lady Shot and Life's Subtleties 64-07-11 Conventions, Red Garter Dixieland Band (duplicate) 64-08-13 Filling In on Morning Show 64-08-18 Mothers as Monsters 64-09-15 World's Fair 64-09-18 More From The Fair 64-11-16 Exciting Night on Channel Whoopie 64-12-21 Show Biz Continues to Creep In 64-12-24 Christmas Cards Reflects The Times 64-xx-xx Casey At The Bat 64-xx-xx Shep's First Martini 65-01-04 Broken New Year's Resolutions 65-01-06 Why I'm Such a Sorehead 65-01-22 Shepherd Marches On 65-01-28 Company K - Captain Cherry Bugs Out 65-01-xx Camp and Pop Art 65-03-02 Worst Job in the Steel Mill 65-03-23 NAB Convention, Biting the Hand 65-03-26 More NAB, Bunny Slippers 65-03-30 Simpleism or Ignorance Is Bliss 65-03-31 Playboy - NY vs Chicago 65-04-06 Tourists 65-04-08 Love at the USO 65-04-09 Upstaged 65-04-14 The Return of Roswell T Edwards 65-04-13a Code School 65-04-13b Fred Allen 65-04-15 Infinite Radio Signals 65-04-16 The British Empire - News Readers 65-04-21 Salute to Trouble 65-05-08 Mother's Day - The Concrete Mexican (Limelight show) 65-06-03 Gemini Launch - I'm Flying 65-06-04 Playing Baseball for United Brethren 65-06-05 Hammond High Graduation 65-06-10 Shep For Mayor - Aunt Min's Surprise 65-07-13 Psychic Brochure - Shep on Paar Show 65-07-14 Martian Chronicles 65-08-11 Listener Letters 65-08-12 Full Moon - Nut Call Night 65-08-19 Food-Shaped Stands 65-08-25 Vietnam - Responsibility or Inconvenience 65-09-06 Labor Day Show 65-09-07 Leaving for Peru 65-09-16 Back from the Amazon 65-09-17 Amazon Duets 65-09-18a Headhunters of the Amazon 1 65-09-18b Headhunters of the Amazon 2 65-10-05 Soothing Sounds for Baby 65-11-02 American Dream Sales Pitch 65-11-08 Success Through Spells 65-11-12 Great Train of Memory 65-11-16 Go Nadja Go 65-11-18 Nose Flute, Bad Book, Radio Parts 65-12-17 The Cremation of Sam McGee 65-12-22 Uncle Carl's Christmas Surprise 65-12-31 Turn of the Last Century 66-01-06 The Spell of the Yukon - The Antarctic 66-01-14 Guinness Records and the Obscene Bathmat 66-01-18 Winter Kid Sports - Swamp Hockey 66-02-11 Kentucky Cock Fighting 66-02-14 Valentine's Day 66-02-18 True Believer-dom 66-02-21 The Head of the Demonstrator 66-02-25 Tell The Story Already 66-03-04 Lost High School Ring 66-03-07 Hillbilly Radio 66-03-24 More Human Comedy 66-03-31 10-9-8-Phtt - Hamsters In Space 66-04-13 Peace in Mankind's Time 66-04-21 King Levinski meets Joe Lewis 66-04-25 John Dillinger 66-04-27 Barber Shop 66-04-29 Poetry - Guess the Celebrity Author 66-05-05 Go See The Chaplain - Emde's Folly 66-05-10 Boredom and Kicks 66-05-13 Kid Myths 66-05-14a The Prom - Hour 1 (Limelight show) 66-05-14b The Prom - Hour 2 (Limelight show) 66-05-19 Stealing From The Melon Patch 66-05-27 Tornadoes and Ball Lightning 66-05-31 Hooked on Altered States 66-06-04 Army Life 66-06-06 Shep's Trip to the Middle East 1 66-06-07 Shep's Trip to the Middle East 2 66-06-08 Shep's Trip to the Middle East 3 66-06-09 Shep's Trip to the Middle East 4 66-06-10 Shep's Trip to the Middle East 5 66-06-17 The Beautiful Army 66-06-21 Inside Radio 66-06-23 Form vs Substance 66-06-28 Twenty-Three Skiddoo 66-06-29 Disogranized Baseball 66-07-05 The Origin of Electricity 66-07-12 Game Called on Account of Frogs 66-07-17 Riverview Amusement Park - Riding the Bobs 66-07-22 Awake Out There - Voyeurism 66-07-27 Straws In The Wind 66-08-09 Dynamic Trivia 66-08-10 Football Fashions with Mr Chuckie 66-08-12 Lenny Bruce Memorial (duplicate) 66-08-25 Fantasy and Reality 66-08-26 New Minority - Dogs 66-09-23 Keep Your Pants on 66-09-29 The American Aristocracy 66-11-10 Second Banana in Politics 66-12-30 Haiku Poetry 67-06-29 Inventions and Shep's First Job 67-11-25 Boredom in the Army - USO Pass 68-01-xx Rabbits on the March - Attack of the Locusts 68-03-23 Bolus' Wedding 68-06-11 Electrical Shocks and Cheating in School 68-06-15 Animal Kingdom - Dead Flies 68-06-18 Campaign Cliches 68-06-21 Krapp's Last Tape 68-06-27 Dr Fu Man Chu 68-06-28 Poetry by TS Eliot, Elizabeth Bishop, Kenneth Patchen 68-07-03 Losing Your Eyebrows 68-07-04 Ludlow Kissel and the Dago Bomb (1968) 68-07-08 Stealing From The Melon Patch 68-08-03 Fireman Fred 68-08-08 Fireman Fred (possible dupe?) 68-11-22 Shooting Craps in Company K 69-04-18 Python in the Toilet 69-10-03 People Frozen in Amber 69-10-08 Two Kinds of Education 69-10-10 Peanut Butter Anonymous 69-10-20 Send for Particulars, Testimonials 69-11-04 Salute to Halftime 69spring The Margate Elephant 70-01-xx The Steel Mill 70-07-13 Mausoleum in the Basement 70-11-28 Wilbur Duckworth and his Magic Baton 70-12-09 Frozen in a Block of Ice 70-xx-xx Year One and the Cuckoo Eye 71-01-07 Scientific Proof of Harmful Effects 71-08-xx Wanda Hickey - Writing A Book 71-12-17 71-12-21 New Year's Eve at Grandma's 71-12-xx Christmas Gifts for the Affluent 71-12-xx Singing Dogs, Talking Plants 72-02-10 Scrambled Eggs Light - Excelsior 72-02-21 Washington's Birthday 72-05-22 Dirigibles and the Future 72-09-19 Bad Taste Night 72-10-12 Fu Man Chu, Smell-O-Rama 72-10-18 Triumph at Carnegia Hall 72-10-31 Halloween - The Evil Darkness 72-11-08 Post Election Talk 72-11-22 Slob Equipment 72-12-22 Pre-Christmas Show 72-12-31 New Year's in Times Square (WCBS) 72-01-xx Untitled show from somewhere in Florida 73-02-02 The Honeymooners 73-07-04 Ludlow Kissel and the Dago Bomb (1973) 73-08-13 Real Life, Aunt Theresa 73-11-23 Going to the Cockroach Races 74-08-20 Ireland - Pub Songs 74-11-22 Herd of Turkeys 74-11-25 Trains and Railroads 74-12-27 Jack Benny Tribute 75-01-01 New Years' Resolutions 75-06-03 Commercials on the Kazoo 75-06-03 The Delta Queen 75-07-04 Ludlow Kissel and the Dago Bomb (1975) 75-07-25 Flick's New Tires 75-09-29 Trip to Ireland 75-12-22 Christmas 75-xx-xx The Dogs of Elsinore 76-12-21 Pulp Magazines 76-12-xx Christmas Gifts for the Affluent 76-xx-xx Mr. D'Agnostino and Commercials 76-xx-xx Gruesome O'Mania 77-03-24 Time Capsule - Earth Day 77-03-25 Vampire Country unknown Floor unknown Sleeping on the Train unknown The Bumpus Family
In compiling this list outta several file directories and whatnot, I noticed I've accumulated some duplicates. Not so bad. This collection exists due to the Mass Backwards show on WBAI. Max Schmid, the host of Mass Backwards, is a Shepherd nut, and he spends the last 45 minutes of his weekly show rebroadcasting a Shepherd episode. Then he puts the episode up on a rolling selection for download every week. It's great for people like me who just don't have the time, money or energy to track down reel-to-reel recordings and transfer 'em digitally or what have you. This also means my episodes aren't clean by any means -- I'm using 'clean' here in the audio sense, meaning my shows have extraneous chatter before and after.
Schmid sometimes also pops in during the episodes themselves, correcting Shep's station IDs ("Speaking of soreheads, this is WOR, AM and FM, New York..." "Actually, this is WBAI-FM, New York") to keep things legal. You can't misrepresent your station identification, so Max has to correct each WOR ID just in case some lunkhead tunes in just as Shep says "This is WOR" and now thinks "Oh hey, I'm listening to an FM radio station in New York that doesn't exist anymore!" (WOR-FM is now WRKS-FM, aka 98.7 KISS-FM. Which I am sure would be thrilled to play 45 minutes of Shepherd every night, uh huh.)
Max also one time had to make a disclaimer after a cigarette ad, mentioning that these shows are historical entertainment and that no commercial endorsement from WBAI should be inferred or implied. I think that's only happened on one or two of the shows I have. Most of the time, however, the "Light up a Kent, you've got a good thing going" jingle is left unfettered. Again, since I wouldn't have access to these wonderful recordings otherwise, I can put up with the chatter.
Most of these shows were during Shep's days at WOR, New York, though he went syndicated at some point in the 1970s and in some of those shows you get, before his rollicking Bahn Frei theme, a stenatorian announcer intoning "And now, Jean Shepherd, humorist..." or somesuch. Hmm. I thought I had his first syndicated show. I'll have to check the show database to see when that was. "Limelight" in the listings denotes a live show Jean recorded at the Limelight club in Greenwich Village. He used to do them nearly every Saturday. On many regular WOR shows he'll pitch his next Limelight show, urging everyone to "come on down and make the scene." And an "xx" means the day or month (or both!) of the recording is unknown.
Audio quality ranges from spectacular to horrible; the only reason these recordings exist today is because of fans taping the nightly show right off the radio. Most of the recordings came from people in New York listening to WOR, so the reception is clear and everything's good. Some syndicated shows came from a fan in Florida, and there's AM echoes and bleeding and garbling and what have you. Sometimes it's fun to turn off the lights and pretend you're listening in on the AM ether, but most of the time I'd like to hear a, you know, clear copy. You can also hear the cassette squeaking in at least one show.
You can see here that Shep liked telling stories. He liked repeating some of his more famous stories, and the Ludlow Kissel story (feeble-minded neighbor meets gigantic firecracker) came back almost every Fourth of July. I can't fault him for recycling any topics, really, as the stuff I have spans 17 years of his radio career. Naturally you're going to come back to some old chestnuts every now and then. What is interesting is to see what changes with each retelling.
And, of course, every collector has one strange or curious wish, and mine is to listen to the Jean Shepherd show that he did the day I was born. According to the show database at Flick Lives, it's got something to do with Andy Capp.