A Christmas Present From Writer Jean Shepherd

Most of you will know him only from the much-repeated A Christmas Story movie.

And that is a real shame too.

For many years Jean Shepherd did a five-days-a-week live radio show on WOR-AM out of New York City. I was twigged to it by the Twitter of that time: a penpal I’d met through comic book fandom.

It was a sad, sad day when WOR decided not to renew his contract.

That was, as far as I’m concerned, the beginning of the fall of radio.

It’s been a rotten medium ever since.

But while he was on, Shepherd played radio like a jazz musician plays an instrument: with improvisation, mastery, and a sleight-of-hand, making tightly-planned shows seem off-the-cuff and spontaneous.

He was a maestro and a genius.

The highlight of each year was his live reading of an edited-for-time version of his story, Duel in the Snow, or Red Ryder nails the Cleveland Street Kid.

And that’s what I have for you below to play right now.

Plug in those earbuds and goof off for the next forty-five minutes!

Before you hit play — pay attention! He acknowledges listeners who are tape recording it! Take that, RIAA!

Also notice the ad for a Joseph Wambaugh’s Onion Field and the novel Beulah Land.

Plus, a commercial for Barnes & Noble! Holy Nook!

(Excuse the very un-PC charity ad!)

Now enjoy.

Note: Closing the player will pause it. As long as you don’t hit Refresh, it will continue where it left off.

Below, some screensnaps from the movie that correspond to the audio.

If you want to download this for your MP3 player, look for 1974_12_24_Red_Ryder.mp3 here or here at the — God bless it! — Internet Archive.

There is also lots more Jean Shepherd MP3 there too.

Yes: buy the book. Even in paper!

One Response to A Christmas Present From Writer Jean Shepherd

  1. Shayera says:

    Thank you! I love Jean Shepherd. I can actually remember going to see the movie when I was a girl. And it’s definitely a family tradition in my house.
    And, being the bookish sort, I did go and hunt down (in the library!) his short stories.

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