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Summary

Jean Shepherd
Airdate: Tuesday - March 4, 1952


Last Update: 10-13-2013

Show Description
We were twirling the dial of our radio at about one o'clock one night last spring, seeking relief from the rather enervating chatter of Mac Maguire, when we stumbled upon a most unusual disc jockey on Philadelphia station KYW - a gentleman named Jean Shepherd. We have since become disciples of The Great Man, and we feel that perhaps the fact of his existence should be communicated to other Haverford students who, like us, are prone to listen to their radios until the wee hours of the morning. For the most part, Mr. Shepherd plays jazz; lovers of classical music are referred to his three hour show on Saturday afternoon. An occasional classical or semi-classical piece does turn up in the course of the evening programs, as well as an infrequent novelty when it suits Mr. Shepherd's purpose, but these have been declining in number since the program's inception. The main body of the music is jazz - good jazz. But the appeal lies not so much in the music as in Mr. Shepherd himself. A master abstractionist, his comments between records tend some times to leave you completely bewildered, other times to make you wonder whether the man is talking for any reason other than love of the sound of his own voice. The subtlety is so delicate it is deceptive; after several months of listening we decided that it simply had to be that we were reading into the discourse significance which simply wasn't there. Recently Mr. Shepherd transferred his headquarters to the Town Room of the Penn Sheraton Hotel, at 39th and Chestnut streets, from which he broadcasts, as before, six nights a week from 11:20 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. It took only one visit to convince us that all the subtle significance really was there; Mr. Shepherd nightly weaves a fine web, the strands of which collectively constitute a commentary upon, and often an indictment of, the American scene. Why seeing the man in person should have conveyed to us so much more of the meaning of the program than did simply listening to it on the radio is hard to explain. Perhaps it was hearing his supplementary comments while the records played and after the show; perhaps it was the fact that we were probably more attentive to his presence - at any rate, there is no denying that the program is an extremely unusual and particularly excellent one. When Mr. Shepherd began his show (we have the feeling it was about a year ago) he talked frequently of yellow shoes and Isotta-Fraschinis. In time, the impressionism subsided somewhat, to be replaced in many instances by comparisons of radio, then and now. (We remember some old records of Amos and Andy in their Sam and Henry days.) This led into more general comparisons, and another period of lofty exposition followed. The recent transfer to the Penn Sheraton Hotel seems to us to have caused a second reduction in the degree of impressionism extant in the discursiveness of Mr. Shepherd. We do not attempt to evaluate these successive developments; it suffices to say that the present product is very good indeed. It is claimed that one can take a date and a dollar into the Penn Sheraton and emerge with fifty cents. We submit that this achievement depends largely upon choosing one's dates in a most careful manner. This is really beside the point, however, since an evening spent in Mr. Shepherd's company is difficult to evaluate in such earthy terms - it may prove to be a veritable revelation. (We recommend avoiding Saturday night as a general rule, but by all means attend one broadcast at this time - Mr. Shepherd snipes at the Saturday night revelers in a skillful manner which is fascinating to watch). We consider it a great piece of good fortune to have Mr. Shepherd in this area, and suggest to anyone who chooses to ask our opinion that an evening spent listening to him will prove most enjoyable. F. M.
Fan Description
[ Courtesy: Richard Kerr - 10-13-2013 ] In 2013 I came in possession of over three dozen crumbling copies of the "Haverford News" dating from the 1951-1952 period. I was very surprised and pleased to find in one this early commentary on Jean Shepherd during his Philadelphia-based broadcast period. It provides a number of interesting details on the shows and the broadcast venue, on transitions in Jean Shepherd's show style during this period, and the demonstration of his magical and magnetic appeal to student-aged listeners. Note that Senior News Editor D. Frederick Muth, the writer, speaks of Shepherd as a disc jockey primarily playing jazz since Muth first discovered the show in the spring of 1951. The constant use of "Mr. Shepherd," with no mention of just "Shepherd" or even "Shep," appears to be in line with an editorial standard of the newspaper. In this issue of the college newspaper, a box to the left of the first-page masthead contains "Jean Shepherd / Page Two," while one to the right contains "Spring Day / Page Four."

Notes:

Notes
Comments by Richard Kerr: In 2013 I came in possession of over three dozen crumbling copies of the "Haverford News" dating from the 1951-1952 period. I was very surprised and pleased to find in one this early commentary on Jean Shepherd during his Philadelphia-based broadcast period. It provides a number of interesting details on the shows and the broadcast venue, on transitions in Jean Shepherd's show style during this period, and the demonstration of his magical and magnetic appeal to student-aged listeners. Note that Senior News Editor D. Frederick Muth, the writer, speaks of Shepherd as a disc jockey primarily playing jazz since Muth first discovered the show in the spring of 1951. The constant use of "Mr. Shepherd," with no mention of just "Shepherd" or even "Shep," appears to be in line with an editorial standard of the newspaper. In this issue of the college newspaper, a box to the left of the first-page masthead contains "Jean Shepherd / Page Two," while one to the right contains "Spring Day / Page Four."
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March 04,1953
Haverford News Masthead referring to Shep

Courtesy: Richard Kerr

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