"Excelsior You Fathead"
A fans feedback
( Topic#: 5 )
|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
People interviewed for EYF
( Topic#: 11 )
|Gene Bergman's book has references on who Gene interviewed. See Appendix A in EYF.
There are names that appear on Shep's probate docs (http://www.leeclerk.org/probate_detail.asp?CsNum=99000000003529&CsType=Estate) that were not interviewed, like Zwilling, Agins. Shep left all rights to Zwilling. Any insights here? Who are they and what is their play here?
By: jolting joe
( Topic#: 13 )
|Just finished the book and enjoyed it immensely. Was a huge radio fan from around 1960-70, read just about everything by and about Shep, and caught everything I could on tv.
Bergmann lists some of the radio sponsors, but I clearly remember 2 that were not mentioned in the book:
Shep did numerous spots for Volvo cars-particularly for the now classic P1800. This made such an impression on me a a teenager, that the 2nd car I bought when I was in my early 20's was a Volvo. Alas, the car proved to be a lemon, but I didn't hold that against Shep!
The 2nd sponsor was for a Chinese restaurant in the West Village called Mandarin House. Shep gave such a truly personal and enthusiastic endorsement of this place, that I often had lunch there in my frequent excursions from the burbs to Manhattan. Of couse, I hoped to catch a glimpse of Shep eating there, but despite never catching him, the food was excellent and a bit different from the ubiquitous Cantonese restaurants of the 1960's.
Anyone else remember these sponsors?
( Topic#: 16 )
|IN EFY, THE AUTHOR STATES THAT SHEP'S BROTHER RANDY PITCHED FOR THE CINCY REDS IN 1947-48. I HAVE CHECK A NUMBER OF BASEBALL ENCYCLOPEDIAS AND HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO LOCATE ANY INFO ON RANDY SHEPHERD. CAN ANYONE SHED SOME LIGHT ON THIS SUBJECT. DID HE PITCH FOR THE REDS OR IN THEIR FARM SYSTEM. WHAT WERE HIS STATS IN ORGANIZED BALL? IF HIS STATS ARE IN ANY BASEBALL RECORD BOOK, IS THERE BIOGRAPHICAL DATA ALSO? sINCE SHEP WAS A BIG BASEBALL FAN, DO YOU THINK HE WAS SECRETLY PROUND OR JEALOUS OF HIS BROTHER'S ATHLETIC ACCOMPLISHMENTS?
( Topic#: 18 )
|Leigh appears to have been only 59 when she died, but Bergmann does not mention a cause of death. Does anyone know what it was? firstname.lastname@example.org
The Shepherd Kids
( Topic#: 36 )
|I haven't had a chance to read the book yet, and maybe this isn't even covered in the book, but when Shepherd essentially abandoned his kids, did the rest of his family follow suit? It wouldn't be that surprised--divorces turn the ex-spouses families into warring camps.
just reading it
( Topic#: 38 )
|Have been reading the book for the last couple weeks-I read many books at once, & only time i have to read is at bedtime, when i get thru a chapter or so before starting to do the head nod (no reflection on the book-btw-its great). I like the short chapters, and the unique set up of the book.
Been a huge fan of ACS since it came out, and have read and re-read JS's books many times since. Wonderful stuff, needless to say...
I'm also a big fan of Shel Silverstein and reading all I can by and about him these days-started reading about both these guys without knowing they were such good friends. Oh, to be in a room with them!
anyway, thanx, great book, great site. peace.
Just Finished It
( Topic#: 42 )
|Marvellous--just got the book in the mail yesterday, and, being currently unemployed, was able to polish the book off in about a day's concentrated reading--the best show-biz biography I've read since Stefan Kanfer's great book about Lucille Ball (another very funny person who was very difficult to live with--although Shepherd makes her seem like Little Mary Sunshine by comparison). And as an analysis of Shepherd's skills as a humorist, or what makes someone a humorist, it's absolutely top-notch.
And, although this probably sounds nasty, and I don't mean it to, in some ways, Shepherd got the death he deserved. In the essay by his son Randall that was published on this website, he talked about visiting his father's house down on Sanibel after the man's death and finding the place deserted and ill-tended. Usually, when someone dies, their family cleans up the stuff left behind, distributing it among relatives, selling some it, etc. I remember spending several months helping my mother to catalogue my father's books, which were distributed among friends and colleagues and several colleges in the area. In Shepherd's case, there wasn't even someone there to pick up his fallen radio antenna. And certainly no one there to provide any company when his third wife died before he did--at least not in the way that a family would. A life time of running away came to its logical conclusion, I suppose.
Shepherd and Mailer
( Topic#: 43 )
|If Shepherd said that he cleaned Mailer's clock, he might very well have been telling the truth--I still remember an episode of The Dick Cavett Show where he got into contremps with Gore Vidal and the latter almost did the same thing, while Cavett and New Yorker writer Janet Flanner looked on, obviously wishing they were somewhere far, far away--Dismal Seepage, OH, perhaps.
As for literary legacy, I put my money on Shepherd--Mailer's novels may have vast ambitions and be large enough to double as doorstops, but the only thing of his I've read that didn't make me flat-out giggle was an essay he wrote for The New Republic about the 1992 Republican convention--and even there, he didn't make any observation that a half-decent journalist wouldn't have. Shepherd's pieces, both for the radio and print, may seem "smaller," but in his quiet and allusive fashion, he gets closer to the painful realities and small joys of life than anything that Mailer has ever written.
Also, Shepherd managed to be a writer and broadcaster for some 40 years without once mentioning anal sex, which is not a claim that Mailer can make . . .
Wither New York Bohemia?
( Topic#: 44 )
|A question raised by two books I've read in recent months; Mr. Bergmann's book about Mr. Shepherd,and The Ghastly One, the biography of an odd-ball film and theater director named Andy Milligan (who specialized in the kind of grind-house fare that showed up in Times Square theaters).
Mind you, Shepherd was much more successful than Milligan, but they were both Midwestern transplants to New York bohemia in a way--outside of the radio stuff, Shepherd was not only appearing in other people's theatrical productions, he knocked together one for himself. Milligan, who arrived in New York in the late 1940's after a stint in the Navy, worked as an actor, puppeteer, set and costume designer, ran a successful dress shop, and then began mounting stage productions at the Caffe Cino and the La Mama in Greenwich Village, specializing in odd productions of obscure plays by well-known playwrights (Williams, O'Neill) or violent Restoration tragedies such as The Glittering Gates.
I mention all of this because I don't think if could happen in New York anymore--I read an interview with John Malkovich recently and he was asked why his theatrical work was still based in Chicago, where he had helped to found the Steppenwolf company--very simple, he said--the theater community is much more vibrant in Chicago--people could still afford to starve there.
Which is true. The odd thing is, these days, most of the really important work in theater and music, etc., is out in what 50's New Yorkers would think of as the sticks--L.A. has a booming theater scene, Minneapolis has produced a slew of seriously funny people, as has Chicago--and mostly because there are parts of town with dumpwater apartments and moldering store fronts where people can live and work cheaply. New York and San Francisco, for whatever reason, are getting so expensive that only millionaires can afford the rents--and people who are already millionaires are not that imaginative any more--I suspect Woody Allen was much funnier when he lived in Brooklyn.
( Topic#: 98 )
|I own an original Ferrari In The Bedroom [sans jacket and with broken spine I wore it out reading it] and went looking at the library for the other 2 , In God We Trust... , and Wonda Hickey.... I found these 2 and The America Of George Ade. I also found Excelsior... I learned a lot from it what a great book and to think the author and fellow Shep Fan lives near by...WOW.
I loved listening to him in my father's car , the back seat of my father's car. as a kid coming home from Grandmas House in Woodside, NY. I still can feel the interior of the car and see the lights from the streetlights on the LIE [Long Island Expressway]
You reminded me of the Flick Lives thing. I thought I was the only listener and when they said in Grammer School [a Catholic School at that] that someone wrote Flick Lives on the bathroom walls I thought i was in for it. I didn't do it but I thought i was the only listner, I was a bti disappointed to find I wasn't the ony one but happy for not getting in trouble.
One of my favorite stories was the pre-fab house one. Jim C said it was from Phantom Of The Open Hearth but I could swear it was from his night show. Amazing how so long after listening I still can hear his voice in my head. Sound is a magical thing it can briong back feelings so long ago. My mother listened at my house and her eyes glowed as she heard that unique voice.
THANKS FOR A GREAT BOOK or should I say a time machine for me to relive his life and learn about the man.
"Excelsior You Fathead" the Play
( Topic#: 248 )
|I was wondering how "Excelsior You Fathead" the play turned out. Did any of us fellow victims see it?
Shep 'n Elvis
( Topic#: 250 )
|With the 30th anniversary of Elvis' passing from this earth coming up (& boy does something like that really make you feel old!) & being somewhat of a student of both Elvis & Shep, I feel that both of them had things in common. For one thing, Elvis' career began & ended in almost the same exact period of Shep's tenure at WOR (1955-77). Both men were pioneers in their respective fields. They also shared an interest in different types of vehicles (cars, planes, motorcycles), as well as questionable taste in clothing (some of those sunglasses that Shep wore in the '70s wouldn't have looked out of place on Elvis!). They also shared an interest in Looking for The Truth, although Elvis' search was more spiritual in nature than Shep's. Elvis didn't share Shep's passion for travel and Shep sure as hell wouldn't have come under the thumb of a Colonel Parker. However, I remember hearing Shep say that Elvis came from a true folk music background (Shep considered country music to be the "true" folk music as opposed to the stuff he saw around him in Greenwich Village). Anyway, just some thoughts to share w/my fellow fatheads & soreheads [8D].
"Excelsior" in "staff picks" section
( Topic#: 272 )
|I noticed today that "Excelsior You Fathead" was prominently displayed in Barnes & Noble's (Union Square NYC) "staff picks" section - right at eye level. Always nice to see this great tribute to Shep getting the attention it deserves. [:)]
Addition / correction?
( Topic#: 385 )
|If Mr. Bergmann is milling about...
You mention on pg. 153 the four people who Shep spoke with on air. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I have a distinct impression of hearing a show my old man recorded sometime in the early 70's in which Shep paid a great deal of attention to an old WOR station break (Dah-b-u, dah-b-u, dah-b-u, dah-b-u, somebody stop me [tock] O-R) and spoke on the phone with the composer of that jingle. (Which would bring the count to at least 5)
I'm trying to get the old man to see if he still has his tapes in Florida, but would at least like to find this show. If anyone knows how I could score a copy, I'd greatly appreciate it. I'm also posting this request in the WOR section...
In case Mr. Clavin is also milling about, I hope you got my e-mail identifying a couple of classical pieces...
Keep your knees loose, gang.