Hall of Obscurity Proposed by N.Y. Broadcaster From Hammond
Sunday - October 16, 1955
NEW YORK - You now have a place to put to rest the memories of people you never want to hear of again: The Hall of Obscurity.
The idea was put forth on radio by Hammond's Jean Shepherd whose brand of whimsy, wit, and satire reaches out over the country from New York over the Mutual Network.
"Who remembers the six-day bike race champion of 1930?" Jean - former sportscaster and newscaster from Hammond - asked when we talked it over before he went on the air. (Jean has both a network and a local show.)
"Or the 1937 midwestern yoyo champ - or Shipwreck Kelly." He went on.
"A HALL of Obscurity," he suggested, "would be a place for a nothing's nothing. There'd be no plaques for we'd not want to be reminded of them. You'd have to be forgotten by everyone to be eligible."
Once on the air Jean asked his audience to submit names of favorite stars of today for nomination in the Hall of Obscurity.
"Pick him," Jean said, "and then forget him for five minutes every day. At the end of the week we'll pick one for Supreme Obscurity and everyone will quickly forget that person."
Immediately afterward the studio phones started to buzz, listeners submitting the names of Andy Hardy, Ann Rutherford, and Daniel Boone among others.
JEAN IS a graduate of Hammond High School who later studied math and English at Indiana University and "kinda got the radio bug." His mother, Mrs. Ann Hetrick, lives at 2907 Cleveland St., Hammond. A brother, Randall Shepherd, a former pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, is now with the Borden Dairy.
(Randall who lives at 6825 Arkansas Ave., Hammond, and pitched with the Reds in late 1947 and in spring training in 1948, said his brother has been interested in radio a long time. When Jean was 15 he was the subject of a feature article in the Hammond High School paper, Calumet Herald, because he had received an amateur radio operator's license, Randall Said.)
Jean journeyed to microphones in Toledo, Cincinnati, and Philadelphia and came to New York about a year ago from Cincinnati's WLW.
His audience feels his capriciousness is refreshing.
AND HE goes into his shows without a script or even notes or prepared ad libs, believing that once he uses written material, he "loses freshness."
"I have no set pattern." he says "I get an idea just before going on the air - and go on from there. A good point may come up in conversation. By the time I go on, I have something."
We got back to his hall of Obscurity.
"It's self-defeating," Jean allowed, "for you'd have to remember who you aretrying to forget."
"The one who really belongs in the Hall of Obscurity, well, you can't remember his name." ||
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