"HERE TODAY, GUAM TOMORROW"
Shepherd ' s final jaunt of the season takes him to Guam , in the West Pacific . What form will the spirit of America take in this tropical outpost?
[ Courtesy: Pete Delaney - 09-18-2016 ]
"I am one of the lost souls of eternity cast on the beach of time. I'm an American washed up on the beach."
The gentleman waxing philosophic about his surfside predicament is Jean Shepherd's last second series American character.
He's a former member of the Chicago elite who, after a scandalous affair with singer from Queens named Bubbles in the early 60s, found himself exiled by his family to Guam to live off sporadic checks from daddy. He's a remittance man.
In an episode played entirely for laughs, we see our hero in shabby beachcomber attire drinking his breakfast rum delivered by Esfella, his current native girl mistress.
There are plenty unique sights in this episode:
A street with five massage parlors in 2 blocks ("There's a lot of back trouble here." Jean says.)
Local kids playing with a huge water buffalo.
A celebration of Magellan's landing in 1581.
Cryptic graffiti on a side of a building that simply says "I love your wife!"
A cockfight breeding farm behind a snack bar.
A 20 foot high statue of John Wayne planted in front of a Japanese gun club.
Beachfront World War Two artillery.
The world's largest McDonald's (Old Glory and the McDonald's flag flying side by side.)
We even hear Shep utter a line of dialogue that would have been inconceivable in the first series: "Families are very important."
Just before the series ends, our poor soul fantasizes that the Chicago skyline majestically rises on the horizon (a very impressive special effect for a low- budget PBS show.)
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.