"CHICAGO, CHICAGO THAT TODDLIN' TOWN"
Chicago boasts such native sons as Dave Garroway, Al Capone , Kukla, Fran and Ollie and Studs Terkel, who joins Shepherd in "Chicago , Chicago,
That Toddlin ' Town." But oh, the conti nuing heartbreak of those White Sox! Shepherd roots, roots , roots for the home team at Comiskey Park--the place where hope springs eternal .
[ Courtesy: Pete Delaney - 09-18-2016 ]
This episode is a nostalgic celebration of two things purely American - baseball and the Jean Shepherd radio show. For here is the great American humorist spending 75% of the episode telling a "when I was a kid story" while sitting in the upper right field seats of old Comiskey Park on the south side of Chicago, famed home of the White Sox.
This is no place for north side Cubs fans." A Cub fan would be stripped if he ever ventured near the corner of 35th and Shields!"
Like on the radio show, Jean masterfully crafts his tale setting the stage recollections of White -Sox futility that contrasted the arrogant baseball mastery of the hated New York Yankees.
As it does in most Jean Shepherd stories, disaster is looming, and as the yarn reaches its climax we learn how Jean's father caused Sox fans to suffer humiliation and defeat via the incredible bat of Lou Gehrig.
With the WOR radio show gone for almost eight years it was a great way for fans to briefly enjoy again the aspect of Shep's work that made him famous.
In the 1985 Press Kit Shep wrote a small piece
The Devil Has All the Best Lines
by Jean Shepherd
I'm not one for fantasies. In fact, I can't honestly say that l've ever consciously had one. As a kid, I never fantasized that I was Joe DiMaggio or Mickey Mantle or Humphrey Bogart. Sure I admired them. But fantasizing that I was them? Never.
But there are things that we all secretly would like to have done-or have been had time and circumstances allowed. I wonder how it would have felt to have been a knight during the reign of Richard The Lion-Hearted, or a buHalo hnnter on the Great Plains in the days of Cochise.
I've always seen television, at least my television, as a kind of magic wand. You can go places and do things that nobody in his right mind could ever pull off. For example, who among us has never wanted to visit Death Valley? Now there's a romantic name. Death Valley Soottyl The 20-mule team! .All of that. Well, why not go? And not just as a visitor, but as a participant.
So, in my new public television series, I played the role of a grizzled prospector struggling across the salt flats under the blazing sun, my only companion my faithful burro Flower. Who wouldn't like to do that? And what red-blooded male hasn't
always secretly wanted to turn a few laos at Indianapolis - the Brickyard- the home of the legendary 500? Why not? So seated in a magnificent million-dollar Dusenberg, in another of my new shows dressed in the costume of an early Indy
race driver, I raced against the heroic "Duke" Nalon, a real race driver of the Indy's glory days. What a gas!
How 'bout playing the Dev.il, with cape and sinister Palm Beach hat, visiting night time New Orleans for a little recreation and a field trip to see how sin is progressing on earth? We did, and 1 can tell you l began to feel that I was typecast as Satan by the end of the shoot. I loved it. As George Bernard Shaw said, "The Devil has all the best lines."
Fantasies? No. Television is magic, and I love it.