Main Site Banner
About Shep Database Shep Music Timeline ACS Excelsior Excelsior Wanted Flag

American Dream Sales Pitch - Hellbound Train
Airdate: Tuesday - November 2, 1965

WOR Show
Original Airing

First Line After Theme Ends
Hello there, I see a little note here. . .
Show Description
Graffiti GOD is dead, signed Nietzsche - Nietzsche is dead, signed GOD Note from a spy in the Metropolitan Opera House men's room Humble Pie with a Cardboard Crust Insistent Salesmen The Texas Cowboy Poem Why we have a cynical culture Non-conformism standardized a la USA The human as a machine
Rudolf Bing was General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera from 1950 to 1972. A strong leader, he took complete responsibility for running the company.
Commercials (All times approximate)
Music (All times approximate)
Not Determined yet
Needs to be ID'd
Honky Tonk MusicTrain Music Strange Mysterious Music
Show Notes - Things Shep Referred to, Dating Related, or Just Plain Interesting
[spiderman - talk forum] The file in circulation listed as "1965_Man_As_Machine" is actually the last 8:09 of the show from 2 Nov 1965 "American Dream Sales Pitch" (Confirmed by listening)
Possibly the greatest and most concise summary of the Shepherd philosophy in the last 15 minutes - a mind blower! Election coverage at end Tuesday Nov 2nd?
He doesn't name his record, only that it is from Electra. Had to be "Declassified" or "Failure" Available now at Sam Goodie, Korvette's, Macy's & Alexander's [Lowell Thelin - Shep Group Post - April 29,2000 - Message # 2433] This clip always got to me. It's about Shep's view of man as a machine. It's from a show dated 11-2-65 and is available in Schmidco. It's not specifically about the origin of Shep's style, but somehow it has struck me that this "is" Shep's view of man, and that this view certainly must have affected his style and philosophy profoundly. Notice that I left in the "umms" and "ahs," or at least the spacing. I even thought that this was significant! I'm guess I'm trying to make text sound like the voice- complete with the spacing and nuance he used on radio. I've always thought that Jean Shepherd in print is never quite the same as Jean Shepherd thinking and talking on the air. This is as close as I can get to a radio show in print. One way or another or somehow, what we all get bugged by is an attempt to somehow express the inexplicable...whatever that is. You know... the little things - a little Brillo pad of something down inside each one of us. And I suspect that some people's Brillo pad gets rusty very early in life and it begins to fall apart. You know how Brillo pads fall apart?... you see them dissolve in the sink, and they finally go down the drain and that's the end of it? Well some Brillo pads that were born with that little Brillo pad cussedness...that little... well I suppose you could call it... you know it's been called many things - millions of things... almost every age has another way of calling this thing that's inside each human being. They've tried to define it. At one point they called it the soul. Other people call it the essential you... the essential being. The Oriental religions have about nine different definitions of it , but it's that thing... and you know what I'm talking about. It's hard to [say] without saying that! That sounds like a copout to people when you say "Well you know what I'm talking about", but you do! You know, you really do. It's that thing inside of you that as you walk down the street... and you're just alive, and the sun is shining or the sun is not... just a day, and you are actually a living walking around machine converting food, converting air, converting various other things... the sunshine... into a kind of kinetic energy. You're a transformation machine, just like a motor. When you pour gasoline into a motor, and it sucks a little air into it, and you add a little electricity to it, it turns over and fires and it begins to create this action... this energy, this thing that it spins... this flywheel and the driveshaft, and it moves things. We're all doing that. We're an engine. You know we really are! Whether we like it or not we are converting food; we are converting sunshine and air and light. Things we see, things we feel...we're converting all these things into some kind of energy...some kind of energy. We've never been able to quite define what that energy is, and what it should do... what that machine that we've got... why it's running. It's easy to see why automobile engines are running. It's easy to see because they're making the wheels go round, and the wheels take people around and that's the end of it. We know this or at least we think we... although I doubt whether any automobile engine if closely questioned... If any automobile engine could talk, and was asked why he existed, I doubt whether he could comprehend, [if he] would even... He would say "I don't know!" because he does not believe in carrying people around. He says "Is this all I'm good for?... driving along Route 6... driving along the freeway?" Well, so ultimately we've got the same problem, you know... And everybody who is converting all this junk in his mind ...the food comes in. You know ...you eat just about as much food say as... name a great thinker of our world or a great doer of our world. You eat and devour and convert into energy as much food as let's say.... let's say Bertrand Russell does, probably more. You see the world. You're just as much a part of the world as he is, and you observe it and feel about it. And I think what frustrates most people is the sense that, whatever that flywheel they've got inside them, ...this thing... has never been hooked on to anything. HaHah! It's never... It's just running and it's an infuriating thing! And so somebody says "Well, get a job!" All right. So he goes down and he gets a job at the bolt and nut factory, and he hooks his machine into that business. And there he is right there again, you know. He has no vested interest in bolts and nuts, and his machine just runs! And I think this is why artists often have trouble comprehending the walkin' around guy. Because artists are utilizing their machine in their own way, whereas the walkin' around guy ...his machine is just running "chi chi ka chung chi chi ka chung chi chi ka chung chi chi ka chung." And so you have poems about the hell bound train. You do! And so large numbers of people, on the one hand, will believe that if their machine runs cool and nice, and if it doesn't run over other people's machines, that they will receive their just rewards ...after they're gone to that great graveyard of rusted machines. And then the great machine of all will hook them up to some kind of cosmic flywheel, and they will be connected into some kind of cosmic powerbelt, and they will be finally at home running their machine and running it properly! Then, on the other hand, you find large numbers of people who won't concede that because they like the way their machine is running! And they prefer to believe that this is the best of all possible worlds for human machines. And I'm talking about the human machine ... not in the sense of automation and so on. I'm talking about him as a carbohydrate, protein, and/or (slash) converting machine that converts one kind of energy into another type. That is really what a machine is. And so, being a machine, we're probably the only machine ever that has this little thing inside of him that says "You got to get on the stick! You're lousing around! You're just fooling around! For crying out loud, get on the ball!" And so what we have to do is ultimately sit in great audiences and watch other machines do real things. At least we can pretend they are, and so we read novels written by other machines about great machine lives ...great machines that have had fantastic conflict[s] and have finally resolved them. We sit in movies. We watch other great machine moments when this machine chick meets this machine guy, and they do things that none of the real machines ever do. They just walk around and sit and watch, and so we finally, eventually, ultimately, I suspect, will be converted into a great audience where even we will become dissatisfied with the humans we see on the screen because we won't believe that anymore. And ultimately we'll have to be content, I suppose, with watching actual machines make the scene, because if there's anything we believe in, it's machines ...real machines, I mean real ones! Infallible! How many commercials have you seen recently that say "Untouched by human mind"? In fact there's one insurance company that comes on TV with a big shot of a lot of machines and it says "We have finally eliminated the troublesome human factor in contemplating your needs for the future - your hopes and your desires. It's all done now by this big IBM computer that does away with that unreliable human factor related to dreams, ambition, and the future." Yes, indeed! IN HOCH EVICULAR KONK. Wait till the first machine runs for alderman, then we're in business!
Engineer and Staff in Booth Summary/Rating Credit Instruments Played
By: Ken Applegate
Rating: Not Rated
Airdate History ' - Original' date is earliest known broadcast)
More Ways To Hear or Buy It

Mass Backwards

Shep Catalog
The Best Source for Quality Jean Shepherd Audio

Found in the following set(s)