Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Donald Fagen Remembers Jean Shepherd

Believe it or not, this is the first year that I've been able to see all of A Christmas Story, thanks to last week's blizzard and round--the-clock programming of the movie by TBS. (And thanks to the round-the-clock programming of TBS, I've yet to see the movie from beginning to end; I've still only seen the movie in drips and drabs, falling in at various points in the movie until I've been able to stitch the whole thing together in my mind.)

Yes, it's all everyone says it is and we enjoyed watching it but here's a cool thing about Jean Shepherd, the writer and narrator of the movie: Donald Fagen of Steely Dan is a huge fan! Cool, no? Slate re-printed Fagen's appreciation of Shepherd from last year and it's a great, well-written piece.
If you know Jean Shepherd's name, it's probably in connection with the now-classic film A Christmas Story, which is based on a couple of stories in his book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash. He also does the compelling voice-over narration. On Christmas, TBS will continue its tradition of presenting a 24-hour Christmas Story marathon. There are annual fan conventions devoted to the film—released 25 years ago this Thanksgiving—and the original location in Cleveland has been turned into a museum. But long before A Christmas Story was made, Shepherd did a nightly radio broadcast on WOR out of Manhattan that enthralled a generation of alienated young people within range of the station's powerful transmitter. Including me: I was a spy for Jean Shepherd.

Read the whole thing.

(Clara pointed out that Shepherd sounds like the voice of the father in Disney World's Carousel of Progress. She's right! (Scroll down.) Shepherd's coolness factor just went up ten-fold!)

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