It's News Today
Friday - August 3, 1956
Last Update: 11-13-2012
Jean Shepard, 32, a high-minded, patriotic-type disc jockey, may not as yet have reversed the trend toward "creeping meatballism" in this country but he has certainly stopped it in its tracks.
UNTIL A FEW months ago, Jean, an amiable fella who chats and spins records from 1 to 5:30 a.m. over New York's WOR, was not even aware that creeping meatballism existed. Being one of the night people he never ran into the cemetery plot salesmen, afternoon TV programs, booster clubs and other evidences of daytime decadence.
HOWSOEVER, it came to pass that one day he stayed up long enough to venture into a 5th Ave bookstore by daylight.
HE ASKED the clerk for a copy of William Bolitho's "Twelve Against the Gods." The clerk left his comic magazine long enough to say there never was such a book and never had been such a book. Well, ol' Jean is not adverse to an argument, but he is intelligent enough to know that man is not his best in intellectual discussion until after sunset. So he silently left the store and blinked his way sleepily through the bright sunlight back to his dark pad.
A FEW DAYS later he returned to the store and asked for a copy of a collection of old ''Vic and Sade" radio scripts. 'The clerk, determined to put an end to this troublemaker, declared that there never had been such a book and there never would be.
"I GOT MAD," Jean said. I got furious, especially when I later saw the book at a friend's house."
SO ONE night in April, whilst the daytime ralphs contentedly stashed their li'l cube heads on their li'l square pillows. Jean took the problem of creeping meatballism to his listeners and concocted a plot.
SOON, BOOKSTORES reported to publishers that they had received an unusual demand for a remarkable new book entitled "I, Libertine," but they could not find out who published it.
INDEX CARDS for "I, Libertine" turned up in a number of public library catalogues. College students wrote reviews of the book for English classes.
"PEOPLE STARTED claiming they had bought the book and read it," Jean said. Only we in the night people underground knew these guys were phonies, victims of creeping meatballism.
THE NIGHT PEOPLE adopted the password of "excelsior" and the reply "seltzer bottle" to identify themselves to one another. A student who received a B-plus on a review of "I, Libertine," found his professor had written "excelsior" at the bottom.
JEAN DENIES any malice toward people who work by day and sleep at night.
"WE'RE JUST trying to wake them up," he ssid. "They're going to let themselves be replaced by electronic brains if they don't watch out."
BALLINTINE BOOKS announced this week it will publish a semi-historical novel entitled "I, Libertine" next month, with a first edition of 130,000 copies. One of Jean's fans was writer Theodore Sturgeon. He decided there really should be such a book.
THE BOOK, about a duchess named Elizabeth Chudleigh, a noted playgirl of 18th century England, has as its "hero" a man with distinctly day-person characteristics, Jean said.
"HE IS DEFEATED by the world because of this tragic flaw," he added. ||
|Not Determined yet|
|Engineer and others in Booth