Being A Peeping Tom
Thursday - July 2, 1964
WOR Show Original Airing
The opening theme of this show is missing. It starts off with Shep reading a newspaper story, in his trademark bad Asian accent, about waiters in a restaurant somewhere in China beating a customer to death in a dispute over a check. The point is unclear.
He moves on to a newspaper story about teenage boys in Westfield NJ playing tennis in the dark with infrared glasses and a florescent tennis ball. This leads Shep onto the theme of the show: nocturnal games, particularly of the male teenage variety.
Shep taunts his listeners to state what they are dedicated to -- with the clear implication that it's probably a lot less than they imagine.
He reads a snippet of article about the celebrated Chicago bunko artist, Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil, offering a Brass Figlagee to anyone who knows how he earned his nickname. He also makes reference to other Chicago folk-hero criminals, presumably by way of setting up the premise that Midwesterners are not as pure of heart as some may suppose. He uses that setup to launch into his story about nocturnal teenage games, laced with some Shepherdesque observations about the darker side of humanity.
Shep says he is about to make a confession, that at the "yeasty age" of 12 years old, one summer night he and about 15 of his Hammond pals (Swartz, Flick, Bruner, and a several other names appearing only rarely in his stories), spontaneously become a roving band of peeping toms, moving from house to house until, after four or five nights they "taste the heady fruit of the clandestine" by hitting the "double jackpot." He felt he had become a "true rotten person," but of course did not stop -- until a police alert warning of band of peeping toms ran in the Hammond Times, and police cars appeared down the street one night about a week later.
Shep observes that he "never met anyone who didn't have an affinity for sin of all kinds," and that human beings have the capacity for making it into an intellectual experiment, rather than admitting they do it for kicks. "Mankind is great at hiding things," he concludes.
Shep seems to be distracted by some activity in the studio near the end of the show and wanders off-point, leading to not quite the big finish he might have intended.
This show contains a great description of hot, humid summer nights in the Midwest.
Shep reads article about Joseph Weil written on the eve of his 86th birthday - Weil was born 1875 which makes the article from 1961(?)
Brass Figlagee Award Question
He reads a snippet of article about the celebrated Chicago bunko artist, Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil, offering a Brass Figlagee to anyone who knows how he earned his nickname.