"...THE END OF AN ERA - RIDING THE 'CITY OF LOS ANGELES' ON ITS LAST JOURNEY
ACROSS THE AMERICAN WEST"
Jean Shepherd took a train recently. But they made him put it back. Fortunately, you can see the whole caper on JEAN SHEPHERD'S AMERICA.
Shepherd has been scouring America to find out what makes it America. And he finds every-day life, things too commonplace for anyone else's television show. Things like houseboats, turnpikes, pizzas, county fairs - and trains.
The train odyssey is pure Shepherd, a ramble through the vast freight yards of life. He remembers the last train ride he ever took, back in World War II, with K Company. It was a troop train, heading off froin Boot Camp with thousands of soldiers. And Jean Shepherd pulled KP. On a troop train.
Now this isn't exactly the way most people would go about fitting trains into the American scene. In fact, Shepherd never comes to any serious conclusions at all. He's too busy having a good time.
If you've ever heard a train whistle in the night, felt lonely, and wanted to be on that train - if you mourn for the passing of this part of American life." then you'll know what Jean Shepherd is all about.
[ Courtesy: Pete Delaney - 09-18-2016 ]
In this episode's opening off-screen monologue Jean strongly states his personal beliefs: "Got to get away!" "We're migratory!" "We've gotta go!" "Got to find a new way-to live!"
Jean finds a perfect venue to promote these ideas as he heads west on the last run of Union Pacific's passenger train between Chicago and Los Angeles in 1970. As -the train rolls through the American wilderness there's another classic story to be told.
It's an Army tale of newly drafted Shepherd pulling KP duty(oatmeal server) on a troop train barreling through the Ozarks. After the Hellish detail is over, Shep relates how a soldier named Ernie ended up disappearing from the train in the wilds of Arkansas because of a quest for beer.-This prompts Shep's poetic (but ultimately not truthful) statement at the finale of the episode "We are
all part of a crowd of shadowy Ernie's who miss every train in the night of the American soul."
Music played during the show:
"Orange Blossom Special" Johnny Cash
"Wabash Cannonball" Carter Family (?)