Friday, February 10, 2006

Jean Shepherd

If you're familiar with "A Christmas Story," the early 80's film about a boy in the 1930's wishing for a BB gun for Christmas, you would recognize the voice of Jean Shepherd, who narrated the film. "A Christmas Story" is based on his writing. His true legacy, however, extends far beyond that one film. He was a prolific author, he's been called the man who created "talk radio," he's been responsible for numerous other televsion and movie projects, and was even the inspriation for several other films.

Shepherd's greatest body of work was his radio program: from the 1950's to the late 1970's, he entertained New Yorkers and other easterners with nightly commentary on everyday life and stories that stretched back to his childhood. He was a master storyteller - "Christmas Story," as great as it is, only hints at his skill. I include him among my major creative influences.

If you want to hear some great storytelling, you can find recordings of his programs both at www.flicklives.com, a tribute site created in his honor, and the Jean Shepherd Archives, which includes hundreds of recordings of his radio program.

2 comments:

Stephen said...

Jean. Isn't that a girls name?

Rich Samuels said...

Yes, and that was one of his ongoing complaints over the years. Story is, his father was also named Jean - his mother liked French names. It is rumored that the song, "A Boy Named Sue" was inspired by Jean Shepherd.