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Last Update: 12-05-2015
Clinton NJ

July 16, 1977

Clinton Historical Museum 56 Main Street Broadcast on NJ Public TV on October 6, 1977 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- [from Steve Glazer] Echoes-Sentinel (Warren Township), July 14, 1977: "An Evening with Jean Shepherd" will be a highlight of the outdoor concert season at Clinton Historical Museum Village at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 16. Shepherd has been performing and writing in his highly individualistic style for two decades. He has been an actor on the Broadway stage, done one-man shows at Carnegie Hall and been host of a television series, "Jean Shepherd's America." All this was in addition to his nightly radio broadcast on WOR. Martin Jackson writing in the New York Times put it this way, "He is a tribal storyteller, trying to explain us to us." The program to be presented at the Museum will have appeal to all age groups. New Jersey Public Television will use the Town Of Clinton and the concert area at the Museum to televise a show for showing this fall. The concert will be held on the Museum's outdoor stage set against a backdrop at 150 foot limestone cliffs. The South Branch of the Raritan River forms the easterly boundary. Those attending are asked to bring folding chairs. There will not be a blanket area for this concert. Refreshments will be available. Tickets at $2.50 for adults and $1.50 for those under 18 will be available at the gate. Rain date is Sunday, July 17. For further information call 735-4101. This concert is part of a series that raises funds for the Museum Village which is a non-profit educational organization. The Museum is listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places and is accredited by the American Association of Museums. ----------------------- THE REVIEW ----------------------- ECHOES-SENTINEL (Warren Township), THURSDAY, JULY 21, 1977: Jean Shepherd Presents Non-Stop Performance By JIM DRAUTMAN CLINTON- It apparently wasn't hot enough at home Saturday night for more than 1,100 Jean Shepherd fans, so they congregated beneath the cliffs along the South Branch for an evening's entertainment under the stars. If they expected to be amused by non-stop waggery, they were. If they expected to cool off, they didn't. In order to tape the performance for airing in the fall, New Jersey Public Television added several million kilowatts to the day's heat with their gang of klieg lights. Prior to his performance, the well-known humorist and sometimes philosopher toured Clinton. Along the way he encountered a well- known local businesswoman. "Pardon my age and ignorance, Sir," she said, "but I've never heard of you." Shepherd didn't make it from his birthplace in Indiana's mosquito-infested flatlands south of the Gary steel mills to fame and fortune in the Big Apple by being at a loss for words. "That's all right, Madam, I've never heard of you, either," he replied pleasantly. Shepherd's performance was sponsored by the Clinton Historical Museum Village as one in a series of summer concerts which raise funds for the Village. "You might wonder how Jean Shepherd gets to be part of a concert series," attorney Bruce Herrigel said in introduction. Herrigel explained that the star is proficient on instruments such as the kazoo. Herrigel said later that he felt as if he had been listening to Shepherd from the age of 12. Since Shepherd's career on the air began in 1959, the attorney's allegation added slightly to the evening's humor. Once Herrigel relinquished the limelight, Shepherd bounded onto the stage where he stalked, gesticulated, and talked for more than two hours. Nonstop, as advertised. Without the background music he uses so effectively on the radio, but accompanied by the hum of a portable power plant energizing the television lights. Shepherd showed a thorough knowledge of New Jersey, and of this part of Hunterdon County, referring to "I Drive Route 31, Pray For Me" bumper stickers, and to a fist fight he had just witnessed following an automobile accident on that road. A former Clinton Councilman couldn't understand how Shepherd had seen the accident and fight, which occurred subsequent to Shepherd's arrival for the performance. When questioned, Shepherd admitted that he used the bit without checking, confident that such incidents occur with regularity. Having insulted New Jerseyites for many foibles and after lamenting the demise of such time- honored traditions as shopping at Great Eastern, Shepherd left the audience to wonder what New Jersey was being told to do by the semaphore message sent for so long by the sailor-statue atop the Flagship while he reminisced about an Indiana boyhood. Shepherd painted a verbal picture of his mother preparing the customary hot-weather dish, salmon salad, as the "old man" entered, shedding clothes and pausing only long enough to grab a Blatz beer from the refrigerator. On a really big night, the family Oldsmobile was driven to Lake Michigan to watch the colorful flames and fumes exuded by the steel mills into skies which had rusted. People fished in the lake, which apparently lacked a Lake Michigan Watershed Association to watch over its purity. "You can imagine what they caught" Shepherd said, grimacing and looking a lot like whatever it was. As a kid, Shepherd would lie in bed, fighting mosquitoes making Jersey's look like pygmies, and listening to the whistles of Eastbound trains. Following them, became his dream. He provided a detailed description of his first impressions while driving along Route 22 toward New York when that dream came true, evoking knowing laughter. Waxing philosophical, Shepherd said that everybody thinks they are cast in the wrong role in life. "You think others are living the correct lives that they have the script." When his second grade teacher asked the class to write what they wanted to be, he turned in a blank paper. "I'm still trying to decide what to write." But the Shepherd family had no trouble deciding what to do the night of the Great Ice Cream War. They joined the throng stampeding from one side of the street to the other as the Borden Ice Cream store, with its neon Elsie on the roof, and Mr. Ferguson's Igloo alternately cut their prices. Finally, Ferguson crossed out '"3 cents" and whitewashed "FREE" with a flourish. The "old man" plunged into the mob, emerging with an arm load of cones, each holding several one quart dips. When he returned home years later, Shepherd went to the Igloo. "What'll you have?" the man behind the counter asked. "A cone," the comedian replied. "Were you there?" "Yes." With that, the counterman served up a huge cone. "No charge to a veteran of the Great War," he said. The performance closed with a lengthy description of Shepherd's military career in a radar company. "Our radar couldn't detect planes," he maintained, "even when we could see them flying over." The most exciting thing they did for two years was lie in bed and scratch heat rash. Then the Commanding General decreed that Company K would have morale, and sent a Model ACG/175641 Mark II baseball field with equipment to make sure that they did. When the field had been prepared, the palmettos removed, and the scorpions relocated, a game commenced. But it was hot. They players stripped. Suddenly a Jeep flying star-spangled flags appeared. Shepherd spotted a beautiful blonde in the back seat. The General's daughter had been sent to investigate the success of the morale program, which ended forthwith. The field was taken up. The scorpions were replaced. Scratching heat rash was once more the popular pastime. Years later, after telling the story on the air, Shepherd received a phone call. "You were playing third base, weren't you?" the silken voice at the other end of the line breathed huskily. As thunderous applause echoed from the limestone cliffs, the TV lights blinked out, Shepherd faded into the shrubbery, and the fans folded their multi-colored aluminum lawn chairs until next week's concert.
Photos:


July 06,1977
Shots taken from TV screen Shep's 1977 concert courtesy Pete Delaney

Courtesy: Pete Delaney


July 07,1977
Echoes Sentinel

Courtesy: Steve Glazer


July 21,1977
Echoes Sentinel

Courtesy: Steve Glazer


October 06,1977
New York Times Ad


October 06,1977
The Daily Register

Courtesy: Steve Glazer