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 "Excelsior You Fathead"
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cgn37vet

USA
31 Posts

Posted - 04/27/2005 :  22:41:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just finished the book about two weeks ago and here's my thoughts. I only listened to shep from 68 til 77 so I missed his early years. But the book definitely takes away the blinders as far as seeing the more dark parts of his humanity. These I had never seen and while I was disheartened about parts of his character that were less than rosy there are also a great number of things that you will smile at and say way to go shep. Still a fan and always will be glad that I listened all those years . And if anything , now that I'm older a lot of it's even funnier and I'm capable of understanding much more of the subtleties of his show

Skoonj

USA
24 Posts

Posted - 04/29/2005 :  21:19:25  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cgn37vet

I just finished the book about two weeks ago and here's my thoughts. I only listened to shep from 68 til 77 so I missed his early years. But the book definitely takes away the blinders as far as seeing the more dark parts of his humanity. These I had never seen and while I was disheartened about parts of his character that were less than rosy there are also a great number of things that you will smile at and say way to go shep. Still a fan and always will be glad that I listened all those years . And if anything , now that I'm older a lot of it's even funnier and I'm capable of understanding much more of the subtleties of his show



I'm about half way through. I already knew of his disowning his kids, since I have a copy of his will. That never stopped me from appreciating his performance.
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ebruceb

USA
30 Posts

Posted - 04/30/2005 :  11:54:04  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
As I say in the book, although what I discovered about some aspects of Shep's character was unplesant, it has never affected my enjoyment or appreciation of him as an artist. I hope this will be true for whoever reads the book. Gene B.
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Skoonj

USA
24 Posts

Posted - 04/30/2005 :  16:28:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ebruceb

As I say in the book, although what I discovered about some aspects of Shep's character was unplesant, it has never affected my enjoyment or appreciation of him as an artist. I hope this will be true for whoever reads the book. Gene B.



Thanks for writing it.
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Nick C

Canada
9 Posts

Posted - 05/01/2005 :  18:09:21  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
looking forward to getting my claws on this book!!

I've heard some unsavoy things about his personal life,his family life and how he got his material..nevertheless, I belive these things (no matter how bad some say )made the man what he was!

Nick
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sheptapes

Tuvalu
41 Posts

Posted - 05/14/2005 :  18:56:34  Show Profile  Visit sheptapes's Homepage  Reply with Quote
How he got his material??? Please elucidate.
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Nick C

Canada
9 Posts

Posted - 05/16/2005 :  19:05:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
sure, there was a rumor that he would often visit back home and meet up with his brother Randy who would give him all the latest scoop what was going on back home and he often used some of the stories as fodder, supposedly!!

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sheptapes

Tuvalu
41 Posts

Posted - 05/18/2005 :  03:03:08  Show Profile  Visit sheptapes's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Yes, I forget who said it, but it seems that Randall was much more of an athlete than Jean, and a lot of the sports stories were based on Randall's exploits rather than Shep's.
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sheptapes

Tuvalu
41 Posts

Posted - 05/18/2005 :  03:06:02  Show Profile  Visit sheptapes's Homepage  Reply with Quote
To follow up, I wouldn't call using your brother's baseball stories as a launching pad for radio shows to be "unsavory". Shep was an author and racanteur, and as he often stated, his stories were just that, STORIES.
What's wrong with borrowing some from someone else?
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Nick C

Canada
9 Posts

Posted - 05/18/2005 :  07:07:29  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
you are right !! "unsavory" is my bad word choice!

sorry, about that!!..never meant to go this path!!
of course there is nothing wrong with borrowing ideas and or stories!

yeah,the bottom line is, no matter what, shep's story telling was and still is great..
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Kerr Lockhart

2 Posts

Posted - 05/18/2005 :  16:14:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm still only partway through--I am a schoolteacher and don't get to read a lot of books of choice until June--but I really have only one minor carp.

I understand that Shep is to some extent unknowable and that the facts of his biography are either unattainable or the sources contradictory. Still, I think the book could use a simple basic time line near the beginning, so those less familiar with Shepherd, but curious about him could learn quickly that he had a New York radio platform from 1958-1977, that he filled between 45 minutes and 5 hours of airtime by himself with a mix of storytelling, comment, bad music and no guests, that he published stories which became books, etc., etc., blah, blah.

The book seems to assume that all its readers will know these things and plunges immediately into sources and questions about Shep's life and work.

The problem is what I tell my students is the "Why Are You Telling Me This" question. Now, it is true, that if you finish the book you will have a good idea why. But I would have put more of that in the front.

Now I just hope that Gene will not feel compelled to respond to this, since I could perfectly well be full of crap, and I would hate to annoy or upset someone who has done such tremendous work on behalf of not only the memory of Shepherd, but the collective memories and affections of his thousands of fan. For that, Gene, I salute him--or bow low, whichever you prefer.
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Thipu

USA
2 Posts

Posted - 05/23/2005 :  15:06:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I heard about the book on Bloomberg Radio a few weeks ago and read it this weekend. I liked it very much. It certainly isn't a biography but the style itself is Shepherdesque which adds to the book's impression.
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ebruceb

USA
30 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2005 :  14:24:11  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Kerr, no offense taken. I thought I set the scene pretty well with the opening ACCOLADES FOR JEAN SHEPHERD and the very introduction, in which the first three paragraphs describe who he was and what he did in a nutshell (the third paragraph starts, "Jean Shepherd (July 26, 1921-October 16, 1999) was a genius, a unique master of talk and sound on the radio."), followed a couple pages later by a description of the book, part by part, so the reader knows where the book is going. With this in mind, remember that the book is not a standard biography--if anything, it's the bio of the artistic persona of Jean Shepherd.
Excelsior!
Gene
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m10bob

USA
233 Posts

Posted - 08/10/2005 :  07:09:38  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I was proud to have pre-ordered the book from Amazon, (but missed out on the offer of a signed copy by doing so.)
I'm one of the "older folks" here,so I suspect have read more books than most. This book was formatted differently than others, but in the context that it was made clear it's not a bio (per se), but rather a very detailed study of a mans life, his character, and foibles. I found the book to be invaluable for any afficionado of Shep, and believe other readers will see this man as a true pioneer of "talk radio", (even though he rarely invited nor allowed listeners to verbalize on air)..
Real sad Shep never knew how succesful he was, nor that family is as important as it is..
I suspect his own fathers' abandonment of his family may have killed any belief he may have had regarding "family loyalty" ?

In Hoc Agricula Conc
In Est Spittle Louk
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fudge

16 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2005 :  06:02:38  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
a bit off topic but in reply to the last post, this reminds me of the poet john berryman, hauinted all his life by his fathers suicide, who then killed himself, thus inflicting the same pain on his own son...how could a father do this to his children...too bad these guys, so aware of the beauty in art, couldnt see the beauty in life...
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m10bob

USA
233 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2005 :  06:22:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Amen...(Sorry I did not see your response till now)..

In Hoc Agricula Conc
In Est Spittle Louk
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Paramedic

USA
16 Posts

Posted - 09/01/2006 :  09:35:29  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The book was great!!!! I am retired so I can not afford it but I went to the Masapequa Library and took it out. The book was an eye opener, especially his family life. Living in NYC for those years I listened constantly except for a spell of ther mid seventies. I can still hear some of the stories in my head. He was that good or should I say he is great. One never dies if he is remembered and Shep certainly is rmembered. To listen today is like going back in time. I am a lot older and a lot more educated but the humor and stories are as real and alive as all those years ago.
On the other side as a kid I listened tot he radio to get to sleep and later used the sleep alarm so it would shut off at a set time. Thge only bad thing was waking up to Rambling With Gambling. I can still remember the news blip the first thing I heard when I woke up in June 1968, the word of the assasination of Robert Kennedy. Wow how a piece of audio can bring up such memories.
Anyone who likes Shep MUST read "Excelsior...". It brings Shep's work to life and shows the great man had his quirks too.
Keep Up The great work and Listen to the shows they are Priceless.

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babsy1

8 Posts

Posted - 09/07/2006 :  01:34:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for sharing your thoughts & where do I get this book?
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diskojoe

161 Posts

Posted - 09/07/2006 :  08:27:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You can find it at Amazon.com & also at bookstores such as Borders or Barnes & Noble.
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mjnyc

8 Posts

Posted - 03/26/2008 :  10:58:20  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just finished reading the book yesterday (see date above.) I wonder what someone reading the book, having no knowledge of Shep might think. Mr. Bergmann, trying hard as he could to describe his radio work, could never make up for not listening to Shep. This is not to disparage Mr. Bergmann; no one could do it. Perhaps someday there may be a Blueray DVD loaded with all of Shep's recorded radio work that would be included with a subsequent printing of the book.
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mjnyc

8 Posts

Posted - 03/31/2008 :  12:13:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjnyc

I just finished reading the book yesterday (see date above.) I wonder what someone reading the book, having no knowledge of Shep might think. Mr. Bergmann, trying hard as he could to describe his radio work, could never make up for not listening to Shep. This is not to disparage Mr. Bergmann; no one could do it. Perhaps someday there may be a Blueray DVD loaded with all of Shep's recorded radio work that would be included with a subsequent printing of the book.

As an afterthought, I wonder whether anyone who would even buy the book without having been a Shep fan way back when.

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