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Summary

UP FRONT
Airdate: December 1960


Show Description
UP FRONT BIX'S GHOST METRONOME'S first major change in its editorial staff since its regeneration last June is all bound up with jazz history and jazz ghosts, which is perhaps as it should be. The change involves the addition of Dave Solomon, as Managing Editor, to the METRONOME masthead. Dave, until recently an editor on Esquire magazine, brings to the new post not only the editorial talents that helped make Esquire swing in its own particular groove, but musicianship of a mystic quality. Back in 1951, he was fumbling through Bix's chorus on I'm Coming Virginia (on his short cornet) from what he thought was a sound-proof aerie: the kitchen of a cold-water walk-up on Thompson Street in the Village. There was a sudden banging on the door, which, when opened, revealed two young men, flashing-eyed and breathless from having bounded up seven flights. With no introduction or explanation, they pushed themselves inside the flat, looked about, then demand-ed: All right, where is he? We suspected all along he never died. Dave reports he has not touched his short cornet since: not a matter of sacreligion, but of quitting while ahead. INSIDE JEAN SHEPHERD A rather unusual press release crossed my desk recently. It was from WOR-TV, and it was all about METRONOME Humor Editor Jean Shepherd and his new TV show, Inside Jean Shepherd. The release was baffling. The more I read it, the more baffling it became. It spoke of "worn tires" representing "tired civilizations." It quoted Jean as saying: "material may vary from a printed poem to an ancient film clip." And most baffling of all: "I may hang a perfume bottle from the chandelier." Clearly, there was more here than met the eye. So I called on Mr. Pete Gardiner, associate producer for the show and a founding father of Charlatan Productions. My job: to get the real story behind Inside Jean Shepherd. I had the WOR press release clutched in my hand. I arrived at Charlatan Productions and was led to a dark, narrow room. There, in a proper English suit, sat Mr. Gardiner. He was making little people out of pipe cleaners. I caught him in the middle of a miniature Fidel Castro. MR. GARDINER: Now, how the hell am I going to get a beard on this? RAP: Excuse me for interrupting, Mr. Gardiner, but I'd like to ask you a few questions. First of all, what is this show of Jean's all about P MR. GARDINER: We don't need any help from the press. RAP: You sound belligerent, Mr. Gardiner. MR. GARDINER: I can't speak for Jean, but people just don't seem to understand what we represent. Matter of fact, I haven't seen Jean for weeks. I was about to call you about that. RAP: I'm sorry, Mr. Gardiner. Jean just writes for us. We don't keep him at the office. MR. GARDINER: All you jazz magazines are the same. You just don't understand what's happening. Leonard Feather had the right idea when he cut out. RAP: Let's not get into personalities, Mr. Gardiner. Especially Leonard's. Let's get back to this press release. Now, this statement: "I may hang a perfume bottle from the chandelier." Now really, what does threat have to do with anything? MR. GARDINER: Do with any-thing? I mean, it has everything to do with it. There are some things, Mr. Rap, that don't need concrete explanations. But maybe I should have brought my "applause" and "laughter" cue cards. RAP: You are belligerent, aren't you? MR. GARD.INER: You know, I think that will make a good credit on the next show - "Belligerent Thoughts, Courtesy Pete Gardiner." That ought to shake 'em up at WOR. RAP: Enough of these traumas, Mr. Gardiner. What I want - MR. GARDINER: Call me Pete. RAP: Thank you, Pete. What I want, Pete, is the facts. Just the facts. I'm a reporter. My name's Bob. PETE: Well, Bob, it's this way: we have this TV show, see? Starring Jean Shepherd. He's this weekly TV star now, see? Wednesday nights. Nine o'clock. Half-hour. Channel 9. WOR-TV. BOB: New York, New York? PETE: Where else? BOB: I guess you're right. PETE: Anything else you'd like to know? BOB: Yes. For instance - PETE: I mean, you do have a TV set, don't you? BOB: Sure. But still, about those hanging perfume bottles I mean you know why, man? PETE: Look at it this way. It's either us or Perry Como. In reality, our show is an extravaganza! BOB: Really, man? Is Jean going to have guest stars on this extravaganza I PETE: Well, we've invited the entire truce team from Panmunjom, a bevy of Turkish sword dancers, assorted defrocked disc jockeys, and a platoon of sauerkraut specialists from Caney Island - keeping an eye on our budget all the while. BOB: Any success, Pete? PETE: Well the only guest appearance so far was by Harold Everyman. BOB: Harold Everyman? PETE: Yes, an old friend of Jean's. Actually the show is a gas. Or as Norman Granz used to say: "I hope this show is as gratifying in the viewing as it was educational in the making." BOB: Well, I guess that says it. Do you think I have enough now, Pete, to give the reader a good, solid, basic understanding of what this show of Jean's is all about? PETE: No, man. That's what I wanted to talk to you about. If you see Jean, will you please ask him to call me? With that, I tucked in my tie, hung my umbrella carefully on my arm, and left. There was really nothing else for me to do. - RAP
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December 1960

Courtesy: Gene Bergmann

    
Airdate History ' - Original' date is earliest known broadcast)
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