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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Storyteller Behind ‘A Christmas Story’

Flick's tongue gets stuck to a pole after agreeing to a triple-dog-dare. (Screenshot/"A Christmas Story")

Flick’s tongue gets stuck to a pole after agreeing to a triple-dog-dare. (Screenshot/”A Christmas Story”)

This Christmas, we take a look back at the life of a storyteller whose most famous movie is likely playing non-stop this holiday: “A Christmas Story.”

The late radio host, Jean Shepherd, wrote and narrated the film inspired by his own childhood.

Eugene Bergmann, author of ”Excelsior, You Fathead!: The Art and Enigma of Jean Shepherd,” and editor of “Shep’s Army: Bummers, Blisters and Boondoggles,” joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss the life of “Shep.”

“He tickled the finer parts of your mind,” Bergmann said of Shepherd. “He made you laugh about things that were not just funny in general about the human condition, but the little philosophical bits he had his own interesting take on.”

Guest

  • Eugene Bergmann, author of “Excelsior, You Fathead!: The Art and Enigma of Jean Shepherd,” and editor of “Shep’s Army: Bummers, Blisters, and Boondoggles.”

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  • George Irwin

    Thank you for posting this, and thanks for sharing, Eugene. All of the ‘night people’ as Shep referred to his audience have a personal connection to him of one sort or another. Shep was more than “that guy on the radio” or the man behind “A Christmas Story” (a fact which is fading into history, sad to say), as is duly noted here in this excerpt.

    If you’ll permit “A Crummy Commercial”– here’s my connection, including my experience meeting Jean Shepherd at a book signing:

    http://irwinsjournal.com/ijonline/ijshep.htm

  • Ann VerWiebe

    As a good Hoosier, my father never let go an opportunity to remind everyone that A Christmas Story was just one of Jean Shepherd’s great stories. Just last week, my mother said, “Why is the Christmas Story House in Cleveland? The book is set in Hammond!”

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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