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Airdate: 1971

Television Episode

Show Description
"...I LIKE ALL GREAT INNER-TUBE SPECIALISTS, HE FINALLY MADE THE CLASSIC MISTAKE" What happens when you let a guy like Jean Shepherd loose in a place like Hawaii? He has a luau, watches the surfers and talks about his father, of course. Watch when JEAN SHEPHERD'S AM ERICA annexes the 50th state, on PBS, Public Television. About Jean Shepherd's father - he was only the All Time Inner-Tube Specialist of America. Furthermore, he knew that the only decent inner-tubes made for floating were Firestone's. So while you watch surfers skimming in on the Hawaiian waves, Jean Shepherd will be telling you about how his father, this great master of the inner-tube, got carried out of l sight in the fierce currents of Lake Michigan. And that's not all. You haven't lived until you've seen a luau like the one Jean Shepherd runs into. Keep your eye on the man playing the mean washtub bass. It's our hero, Jean Shepherd himself. The visit ends as it should, with Shepherd relaxed on a deserted beach, welcoming all true beach-cuckoos into JEAN SHEPHERD'S AMERICA.
Fan Description
[ Courtesy: Pete Delaney - - ] "This is not a show for people who have doubts about their life." Warns Shep as this episode begins. "Did you ever consider that you would like to give it all up?" Shep's editorializing aside, there are breathtaking views to be savored of McKenna Point on the island of Maui. A happy family is seen at a luau and there is a moving and inspiring segment shot at a majestic Buddhist temple. Shep covers familiar ground in his story, contrasting the beauty of the Hawaiian beach with the dumps, swamps and kitchen sinks of Northern Indiana. Shep's old man plays the fool again as Jean recalls the time when the senior Shepherd had to be rescued from his drifting Lake Michigan inner tube. The funniest moment, however, was never seen in the show. It occurred when cameraman Greg McDonald waded into the water to get some close-ups of the shallow, foamy surf. He never noticed the seven-foot wave that suddenly appeared, and buried him with $750,000 worth of camera in a torrent of salt water. An additional soaking in a hotel bathtub restored the hi-tech wonder to full operational status. Far less amusing was a potentially racist moment where, on a two car train, Shepherd and his girlfriend (the show's co-producer Leigh Brown) are alone in one car while a dozen ethnic locals are forced to ride the jammed second car. It's Jean Shepherd's America's most uncomfortable scene.

Notes: The story of the old man in the inner tube was originally Uncle Carl

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Links to Further Information:
• Season 1 Press Kit
Airdate History ' - Original' date is earliest known broadcast)
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