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TV Talk Inspires Records
Airdate: Sunday - September 6, 1959

Jean Shepherd and Other Foibles

Last Update: 12-26-2015

Show Description
WHEN TELEVISION first came along there was great fear that the art of conversation would die, that in 50 or maybe 100 years man would evolve into a creature who had lost the powers of speech and become bug-eyed in the process. But the opposite has taken place. Talk, about anything, everything has become a main staple of the TV entertainment diet. Jack Paar, Bishop Sheen, Arlene Francis, Ben Hecht, Dr. Joyce Brothers and a host of others build whole shows around friendly chatter. Ed Murrow, up until recently, used to drop into someone's house just to talk. As might be expected, television's preoccupation with talk has finally made an Impact on the record lndustry. The results, however, are not too satisfactory, at least so far. Alexander King, one of television's leading monologists, reads from his best seller "Mine Enemies Grow Oldetr" and his newest work, "May This House Be Safe From Tigers,'' on a one-disc Urania album. Despite King's successes on television and the best seller lists, his recording debut is dreary and disappointing. His stories are long and tedious; his delivery uninteresting, and his occasional outbursts of profanity are crude and pointless. Discussing such sophisticated subjects as his kidney stones, his one-time morphine addiction and how he disposed of two dead kittens, King emerges as a sort of Gabriel Healler of the lower digestive tract. RADIO star Jean Shepherd, a disc jockey who prefers to be called an entertainer, fares a good deal better in his inaugural album under the Elektra label. A gifted but very uneven satirist, Shepherd is highly entertaining when spoofing the beat generation comics, the blood and guts men's magazines and the medical profession's new all purpose pills including a "seven-in-one vice pill." He is less effective in trying to lampoon a political convention. With a voice that seems a cross between Gene Kelly and James Stewart, Shepherd at times is overly and needlessly dramatic, but the originality of his material, particularly when he is describing the lonely devotion of a White Sox fan or his youthful addiction to Cracker Jacks, is engaging and genuinely funny.
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