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Excelsior, You Fathead!: The Art and Enigma of Jean Shepherd
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Excelsior, You Fathead!: The Art and Enigma of Jean Shepherd

3.35  ·  Rating Details  ·  51 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Jean Shepherd (1921-1999), master humorist, invented and remains the doyen of talk radio Considered by many to be the Mark Twain and James Thurber of his day, Shep talked on the radio late at night. He entertained without a script, improvising like a jazz musician, on any and every subject you can imagine Jean Shepherd, the master of talk radio, was also an author, intervi ...more
Hardcover, 495 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by Applause Theatre & Cinema Book Publishers (first published March 28th 2004)
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I believe that it is possible to make something so orderly and so compartmentalized that it actually results in chaos. My mother is an example of this. Everything at her house is boxed and held together with rubber bands. Alike things are stored together with alike things, and everything in their places. She knows where those places are, but try to find office supplies at the computer desk and you can't; they're in a box somewhere in the kitchen or in a hall closet. In other words, she's so neat ...more
Jan 22, 2013 Steven rated it it was ok
The first (and probably only) full-length biography of American humorist, raconteur, and radio personality Jean Shepherd has a lot of good information. I got to know his work through poison nostalgia pieces like The Phantom of the Open Hearth and his WOR radio show. Eugene Bergmann opened my eyes and ears to Shep's earlier career, his jazz improvisations, and his role as a pioneer of free-form radio. Bergmann is an impressive schlepper of facts, and this will probably remain the go-to book for a ...more
Dec 19, 2007 Tracey rated it it was ok
Shelves: libraryread, stalled
I'm about 125 pages into this nearly 500 page book & it seems to be as much a psychological analysis of the man as a biography... and I'm not so sure I like this approach. The author seems fixated on the idea that Shepherd's stories were a mix of fact and fiction & that he never was quite straight about his own history. It's getting a bit old, IMHO.

I didn't realize Jean Shepherd was one of the first "talk radio" type personalities - I'll have to do some searching to see if/what recordin
Eli Mandel
Jul 09, 2012 Eli Mandel rated it liked it
I read this book a few years ago and my memory isn't what it once was so you can take this with a tub of salt.
I remember slogging through the book, it was very informative but I was only able to keep it up because of my excitement about Jean Shepherd and because I had already listened to over a hundred episodes of his show.
It was informative though, I didn't realize - although I might have suspected - that all his stories about Schwartz and Flick and Bruner were made up, I didn't know about his
Paula Hartman-Carlo
Oct 28, 2009 Paula Hartman-Carlo rated it did not like it
Jean Shepherd is best known as the man behind the film "A Christmas Story" but radio was where he really shone. I had hoped this book would be a straight up biography but it turned out to be more of a study of his career & humor. The book is well written and it is obvious that the author researched it painstakenly, but it was just not that interesting to me.
Matthew Perry
Apr 29, 2014 Matthew Perry rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-i-own
This will be short and not so sweet. I was disappointed in this book for one reason, it read like a text book, and a very boring text book at that. I don't mean any disrespect because I know this work took hundreds of hours, and the information was very interesting, but like I said it was boring and I had to struggle through just to finish it
Jul 08, 2011 Daniel rated it it was amazing
A bio combined with a discussion and examination of why Shep was the way he was. Ultimately, he was not a very happy guy, but he brought many smiles and enjoyable stories to a lot of us.
Sam Folmar
Oct 24, 2015 Sam Folmar rated it liked it
Mostly for Jean Shepherd fans.
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