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Writers Taken for Ride as WGBH Launches Show
Airdate: Wednesday - July 16, 1969

Last Update: 04-23-2019

Show Description
TV columnists were taken for a ride - literally and figuratively - in the launching of a new WGBH-TV project titled "Rear Bumper" featuring that renowned satirist, Jean Shepherd. The ride was a boat ride - a harbor cruise on the motor vessel Bay State. For 90 minutes Shepherd had a captive audience and he made the most of it with a non-stop free flowing oratory that was so profuse he must have gotten enough material for a half-dozen shows right on the boat. They were taping every minute of the way, too. "Rear Bumper" will be a short feature running anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes - that will wind up the day's business each night on Ch. 2, Monday through Friday, probably around 11 p.m., Starting in October. The takeoff point can be anything - a visit to Fenway Park's left field wall, a look at a littered drive-in movie place in the afternoon, a go at a decaying warehouse from the standpoint or an archeologist digging in the ruins 1000 years hence, a look at Cambridge's historic Fort Washington, with a potato chip plant and a used car lot in the background. All these have already been filmed. HUMAN CONDITION 'But the viewpoint will be one tinged with Irony or sarcasm. Each piece will be in the nature of a reflection or a comment on the human condition. "It will be my sermonette," said Shepherd. The boat started out an hour late because the star was late getting to the scene, due to a traffic pileup and there is a topic for him right there, The craft had a half-hundred newspaper people, TV and radio personalities, and just plain Shepard fans aboard. They were plied with drinks and music, and the mood was a merry one for the round trip amid the fabled Islands of Boston Harbor, Among the TV bright lights who chatted with the guest of honor were newsman John Henning of Ch. 5 and movie host Ed Miller of Ch. 7. One presentation was made to him an old copy of Life magazine. Shepherd, who starts with a local following since he used to be heard on WNAC Saturdays and now is widely listened to from WOR, New York, says he hopes to pile up segments at a prodigious rate in trips here from his New York home (the first day he did six). "I plan to make 13,000 of them," he said with a straight face. That would carry him through 2019. More certain is his current body of work, which includes four books, articles for Playboy and other magazines, a play to be produced in the Fall a movie already released, a Kraft Theater play and material from such humorists a Steve Allen, Jack Paar, and Ernie Kovacs. He was formerly married to actress Lois Nettleton, but that was dissolved by divorce over two years ago. "Professional people often find it hard to be compatible," he commented. Probably the line about himself that he treasurers most is one by the New York Times calling him, "one or the greatest raconteurs in the history of radio." He certainly proved that on his ocean launch here.
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July 16,1969
The Boston Globe

Courtesy: Steve Glazer

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