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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program

larry hagood (AE6CP) on November 24, 2005
View comments about this article!

I recently began listening to OTR (old time radio) programs that can be downloaded from various sites on the net in mp3 format. I even went as far as building a small AM broadcast band transmitter kit from tubesandmore.com which is connected to my computer audio output and I listen to the programs on an old Ward's Airline floor model in the front room. Anyway, if you've ever seen the classic movie "A Christmas Story" you might know that it was written and wonderfully narrated by a radio legend Jean Shepherd K2ORS (SK). I found a website with free downloads of all his WOR New York radio shows from the 60's which like the movie are mostly stories about his life and growing up but one of them is devoted to Morse code. He had his 40wpm certificate by the age of 12! Who would have thought Ralphie Parker was a CW master! Here's the web address of the file.

http://shep-archives.com/netjuke/var/music/Fathead2004/JSP01-02H/1965%2004%2013%20Code%20School%20WOR%20Jean%20Shepherd%20.mp3

73, -Larry

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Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by KU4UV on November 24, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Mr. Shepherd is actually in the movie too. He plays the guy that is in the line to see Santa that tells Ralphie, "The line ends here."

73,
KU4UV
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by NA5XX on November 24, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Interesting post about Jean, but am I the only who dislikes the movie?
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by W5EEX on November 24, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The movie is great! In fact we have a family Thanksgiving tradition which involves my son (16 and also a ham) and I watching "A Christmas Story" on Thanksgiving night after the dinner is all done.....it's just the way we kick off the Holiday Season....in fact it is just about time to go dust off that DVD and get it playing. Season's Greetings and 73.
-W5EEX
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by KD2E on November 24, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The movie is indeed a classic. How can 'ya not like it?? I have a bunch of old reel to reels in the garage, with several Jean Sheperd recordings. One of them, I recently sent out a link to has him talking about getting thrown across the room after touching the wrong thing on his old boatanchor AM rig...great stuff!! Expecially like the commercials!
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by WR8D on November 24, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Way to go W5EEX, we do the same. Have several of the old classics which we watch yearly at this time through Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone! WR8D
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by K3GI on November 24, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The movie was great! I've been lucky enough to hear some of Jean Shepherd's radio shows as well (on public radio). He was a terrific writer who published many short stories in various magazines. Tnx fer the link.
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by ZL4JB on November 24, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I found his website a while back. In one of his shows, which can be downloaded, his show is all about CW and ham radio. Very interesting and very fun to listen to. It brings back memories here whenever I hear the 'horse race' introduction song he always played at the beginning and end of his shows. He was a great entertainer.
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by KG6WLS on November 24, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
My all time favorite line in "A Christmas Story" was, "You'll shoot your eye out kid!"

.... .- .--. .--. -.-- .... --- .-.. .. -.. .- -.-- ...

73 de Mike
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by K4NKY on November 24, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The movie is on every year......but something draws me to watch it...it's a classic
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by KE3HO on November 24, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
>> Interesting post about Jean, but am I the only who dislikes the movie? <<

Yes :-)
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by AC7KZ on November 24, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
It drives my xyl nuts when I put TNT on tv when they show the movie for 24 hours Christmas day.
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by AE6CP on November 24, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Yeah, since I sent this post in I've found several other "Shep" shows devoted to Ham radio and his experiences in the signal corps. It cracks me up to hear him sending CW with his Kazoo! He talks a lot about his CW speed, 50wpm by age 14 and 60wpm while in the Army... I do not doubt anything he says but if I crank the speed setting on my keyer to 50 or 60wpm, it's pretty much just a solid side tone! How is it even possible to send or receive that fast without a computer? Not to mention a straight key???!!! Even if my brain could keep up I doubt my hand could.
Anyway, just thought it would be a good post for the holidays, I usually watch the movie once or twice during this time of year and now that I've become a fan of Jean Shepherd, it's even more enjoyable.
73
-Larry
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by WA2JJH on November 24, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
WOW! I would listen to Jean's AM 50KW WOR show for hours.

Good clean humor. I would love it when Sheppard would talk about being a HAM. He would say......them
1st class commercial engineers never soldered anything.

Besides his XMAS classic, he had a show on the highest rated PBS channel in NYC.

His book...."In GOD we trust....all others pay cash",
was highly rated.

I would love to hear his story about the Pimply faced
engineer. The engineer left a pickle and mayo sandwich on top of a 10KW AM BDCST transmitter. The sandwich melted and the 10K transmitter blew up.
Jean claimed.."I saw the massive plate and grids of the tubes embedded in the roof of the Xmitter shack.

I did not care if his stories were mix of fact and fiction! He was one funny dude! I hope Philip(KOE) does NOT write a "Dead Electrical dude" on Jean.

To me he was the Jimi Hendrix of AM BDCST Clear Channel radio. Belly bursting clean humor. No one comes close.

TNX FER UR ARTICAL. 73 DE MIKE WA2JJH.



 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by N7TRZ on November 25, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
If you don't care for the movie, you never had the dog swipe the turkey, dared a classmate to stick his tongue to a frozen pipe, or lost your temper and pounded the bejeezus out of the local bully. As for me, two out of three is enough.
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by KU4UV on November 25, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
There were a few bullies back in my day I would have loved to have beaten the hell out of like Ralphie did. I'm sorry I didn't looking back on it.

73,
KU4UV
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by WB2TQC on November 25, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
In my family if the dog swiped the turkey. He'd be the main course substitute. My dad would have taken pictures of one of us with our tongue frozen to a steel pole and sent them out in greeting cards. And I WAS the bully. :) :)

Just kidding............. I didn't like the movie either so there's at least two of us in the world :)

73 and Happy Holidays to you all

John
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by KG6AMW on November 25, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Not a finga.
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by K8MHZ on November 25, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Larry,

Thanks for the post. A refreshing change, good info and naturally devoid of troll bait. I plan on seeking out a DVD of the movie and adding it to my collection.

This will also make a great addition to the intro for my tech classes. (Current intro starts with WB6ATU singing "Life's Been Good To Me So Far")

I forsee the movie to be a ham family tradition here.

73 and best of Holidays to you and yours,

Mark K8MHZ
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by W5AU on November 25, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
This just makes an excellent show that much better !!
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by NN6EE on November 25, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I prefer the flix named "Christmas Vacation" with Chevy Chase and the music sound-track is awesome!!!

:-)))

Jim/ee
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by KB5CQF on November 25, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Larry,

My wife, Dee (K5GGG) and I even have T-shirts with the tongue-on-the-pole scene, the "Oh Fudge" scene and the legendary "You'll shoot your eye out" scene. If only I could find one of those lamps.... sigh...

Mr. Shepherd did an awesome job with this movie. Truly a unique and distinguished voice.

NN6EE.. 'Chrismas Vacation' is my other favorite Christmas movie. Probably watch it a dozen times between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Ted
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by NN6EE on November 25, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
ADDENDUM!!!

Speaking of Amateur Radio songs did any of you Boys ever hear the song going around on HF back in the late 60's called "I want to be a 40m "GURU"???

Now there's a CLASSIC!!!

Jim/ee
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by NN6EE on November 25, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Ted/KB5CQF,

Right-On!!!

It's a classic and rates right up there with Ben Hur or the Ten Commandments or Gone with the Wind!!!

Hi! Hi!!!

Jim/ee
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by K8FLY on November 25, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Well think Jean was the one that produced some cw tapes to learn cw by . now i recall his voice very well ....... still ringing in my ears ..........
JUST LISTEN TO THE SOUND OF THE LETTERS , well that was just fine but then he laughed well for all the hard work i put into learning cw (well worth the effort) i still hear his chuckle everytime i hear or see his call lol .
Bill k8fly
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by N9ESH on November 25, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Shep wrote lots of good stuff. Check out these at your local library. These are just a few I remember off the top of my head.

Phantom of the Open Hearth
The Star Crossed Romance of Wanda Hickey
In God We Trust…All Others Pay Cash
A Ferrari in the Bedroom

Don’t forget his show on PBS, “Jean Shepherd’s America.”

I loved his stories before I knew he was a Ham. Found that out on his show, “Jean Shepherd’s America.” He was touring in Florida (telling his usual humorous stories), spotted a 2-meter whip and K2ORS license plate on his car.

No, I’m not a fan of “A Christmas Story”. It’s a compilation of several other good stories.

Hope the “old man” is finally happy with the White Sox!
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by N9ESH on November 25, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
OOPS… My memory isn’t so good!

The Star Crossed Romance of Wanda Hickey should be
Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories, and Other Disasters

Also forgot
A Fistful of Fig Newtons and The America of George Ade

If you liked “A Christmas Story”, you will love his books! “A Christmas Story” was made up of bits and pieces of Shep’s other writings.
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by NA5XX on November 25, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I really prefer "It's a Wonderful Life".
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by K7PEH on November 25, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I first saw the movie "A Christmas Story" on a plane traveling home from a business trip, from Boston to Seattle. I was traveling with a fellow worker and we did not bother to purchase the head phones to listen to the movie but still as we watched it like a silent movie we laughed all the way through. Even though we did not hear the dialog and we did not hear the narration of Jean Shepherd, the visuals and the acting very well portrayed the story.

Not long after that trip, I did see the movie again with my wife and daughters, and I did enjoy it a second time.

I had no idea that Jean Shepherd was a ham nor did I know he was a silent key. Then again, there is still so much that I do not know that it is hard to keep track of these things.
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by W6VPS on November 26, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Larry:
Thanks for jogging my memory. I can remember my Dad (who wss also a broadcaster) mentioning Jean Shepherd.
The MP3 audio file was a hoot and the linked web sites fascinating.
73/Paul
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by K5FNI on November 26, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Ted, you say:
==
My wife, Dee (K5GGG) and I even have T-shirts with the tongue-on-the-pole scene, the "Oh Fudge" scene and the legendary "You'll shoot your eye out" scene. If only I could find one of those lamps.... sigh...
==

U need to learn to use Google, then. I googled "leg lamp" and the first hit of 155,000 was
http://www.leglamps.com/
Warning: $440 + $60 shipping!

Sooo, you CAN have that lamp, but be prepared for sticker shock.

73, Rick K5FNI, Ganado TX
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by KA2JIZ on November 26, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for the memories...Jean on WOR, Wanda Hickey, In God We Trust, etc. and etc. He touched something wonderful in the American character in the days when we were a bit more tolerant of crackpots, eccentrics and other non-threatening characters.
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by N1AP on November 26, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The movie is great, a real family treat. Not much stuff out there that you can enjoy as much as your 10 year old.
We miss you Jean.......
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by N4KZ on November 26, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Jean was not only in the movie, the grouchy man in the store who tells Ralphie the line to see Santa starts back there, but, of course, his voice is also the adult Ralphie narrator.

I had the pleasure of working Jean on the air twice. Oddly enough, despite his love of CW, both of our QSOs were on 15m SSB while he was at his Florida home. This was well after the movie came out so we had lots to talk about since I love the movie -- probably my favorite of all time.
73, N4KZ
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by WA2ONH on November 26, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
For the "Leg Lamp" try "The Wireless Catalog" on http://TheWirelessCatalog.Com

From the paper edition, see page 7 for
ITEM: A Christmas Story Leg Lamp
20" size # AP2622 $49.95
Full size 40" size # AQ5442 $249.95 + $$20 Shipping

Sorry, 6SJ7's are not included!

For more SHEP try...

Jean Shepherd - A Salute to Jean Shepherd
http://www.flicklives.com/

73's WA2ONH
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by W1BAK on November 26, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
You may add my name to the list of "haters of this movie". Once a day, on one channel, is tolerable...but any more than that, smacks of brainwashing. (Now...where did I put my bb rifle?)
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by AE6CP on November 26, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
http://www.redriderleglamps.com/

Here you get an exact scale replica, these people own the house the movie filmed in.

Cost is $129 and for $150 more you can have it shipped in an exact replica of the crate from the movie packed with the same stringy batting material!
I wonder if you can even have them send out a "Major Award" Telegram first.
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by WA1RNE on November 26, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
YOU'LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT!!!.....
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by KD6KXT on November 26, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
My wife, who is the computer geek of the family, and I roared with laughter at the steps you took to listen to old time radio on an old radio! Modern technology to inhance the pleasure of an old program, thank you.
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by WA3RDM on November 26, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
We have a local restaurant here, that has a
"A Christmas Story" wing every year during
the silly season, they have a 18" leg lamp
several figurines and a string of leg lamp
Christmas tree lights. Do a google search
and you will find your lamp, I was just
looking at one in my mothers catalogs the
other day when I was visiting.

73, Bob WA3RDM
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by WA2JJH on November 26, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Hmmm...seems like many have a leg up on finding the
Leg lamp.

Does anybody know where one can find the "Special Decoder ring"?

SHEP as a kid got one. He was annoyed that the "Secret
Decoder Ring" decoded into a commercial!

Geeshhh!!!
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by KA9MAT on November 26, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Who's all looking for that lamp. I've seen one in the living room window of the owner of Tom's Quality Millwork in Wisconsin. Just look for their web page and e-mail Tom Fleischman. Maybe he'll tell ya where he got it. Deck de balls writ rots a fawie ra la la la la,,, ra la, la la
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by WA1KPD on November 26, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Dave,
What is the ink for the program on shocks? I grew up in central CT and used to listen to him late at night when I was supposed to be asleep and I remember as well as loved that one. I have been searching for it for years.

In the 60s I had it recorded on my Lafayette 3 inch reel to reel which is long such gone.

Thanks and 73
Carl
WA1KPD
http://home.comcast.net/~chnord/wa1kpd.html
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by K6CU on November 26, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I just have to say it -- for all the "code, no-code" debaters... Would Jean have done all he did without learning morse code? Just a thought... Let the comments fly!
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by KB1JUJ on November 27, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Last year a book came out about him: "Excelsior, You Fathead! The Art and Enigma of Jean Shepherd." By Eugene B. Bergmann. Applause. 495 Pages. $27.95, which I reviewed for the Associated Press. Here's part of it, which some may find entertaining:
"He had fantastic ideas, like Dream Collection Day, where everyone would "take the half-finished model airplane out of the basement, the half-finished novel, the cracked guitar, the ancient watercolor, and put it in front of the house. Everybody would have to do it together _ all together, we'll clean out all these broken, old, sad, poor, wonderful, idiotic, debilitating, defeating dreams."
He exploded the myths of commercialism at a time when such criticisms were not popular. He told of his long struggle as a kid to acquire a decoder offered by the makers of Ovaltine, whose commercials contained secret messages. When he finally gets the decoder, he nervously and eagerly translates his first message, which turns out to be: "Don't forget to drink your Ovaltine."
He spoke fake Latin, and would often, as a joke, offer his listeners nonsense awards such as the "brass figlagee with bronze oak-leaf palm." He played the jew's harp and kazoo, and spoofed his sponsors as well as his radio station."
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by KA5N on November 27, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
To NN6EE and KB5CQF
You guys just got the hots for Mavis Staples!
(Mavis did the vocals for "Christmas Vacation")
But you got no taste! Anything Gene Shepard did is for better than Chevy Chase's,and Randy Quaid's acting and Mavis' vocals put together.

I remember sending off 25 cents (in coin) and a box top for all sorts of crap advertised on the old Mutual Broadcasting 15 minutes serials of the late 1940's. Once I got a Buck Rogers ring that allowed me to identify Neptunians (they would glow when you looked at them through the ring's viewfinder). My hometown didn't have a single Neptunian! I always felt like Ralphie did with the Little Orphan Annie decoder.
73 Allen
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by WB2DCV on November 27, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
When I started out in ham radio at the age of 14, I used to listen to Shep's radio show nightly on WOR. Only about one-fifth of his shows were devoted to amateur radio, but most of the anecdotal material in any show usually was a hoot.

By the time I was 18, I had an R-T 1st Class ticket and another local ham who worked at WOR hooked me up with a summer job as a transmitter engineer. I worked for WOR for four summers, plus school breaks and vacations -- about 60 weeks over those four years. Once in a while, on an off day, I'd stop by our AM studios at 1440 B'way and watch Shep do his show. (For a while he also did a Saturday night 'remote' show from the Limelight, a nightspot not far from the Holland Tunnel).

Little known tidbits about K2ORS.

He'd insert his microphone into his open mouth and, using his knuckles, rap out a cocoanut sound on his head.

His theme song, "The Call to the Post" (the full version, not just the notes blared at a horse race), always ended with Shep uttering a plaintive 'Ahhhhhh'.

He seldom was IN the studio ready to go when the theme song started. He'd sit down, put his headphones on, and get ready to 'Ahhhhhhhhhh' only seconds before the song ended. Sometimes his engineer would be in a genuine panic as the song neared the final measures.

Everything had to be just right or he wouldn't go on air. I recall on summer night, I was hanging out in AM operations waiting for the 2200 news. Shep would be on at 2215. The AM studios were arranged in combinations of studio - control room - control room - studio. I figured I'd sit in a darkened Control Room 2 while Shep did his show in Studio 1. That put his own dimly lit control room between me and Shep's well lit studio. Shep walks in about 3 measures before his theme ends, sit down, dons his headset, does his 'Ahhhhhhhhhh' and starts. But I could tell something was wrong. He just wasn't 'on.' At the first break he starts pointing past his engineer, in my direction. How'd he even see me? His engineer tells him, "It's just one of the transmitter guys". He refused to go back on air unless I left that control room. Talk about sensitive! The AM ops supervisor felt badly about it, so a little payback was arranged. The night announcer always was Bruce Elliot. He stepped back from his cubby and I sat down. At the next break, I did the station ID which, in those days was always the same: "WOR 710 in New York, your station for news as it happens." Shep knew the voice wasn't Bruce's but no one ever said a word about the substitute.

Shep was an avid train buff. If he had an appearance anywhere that could be reached by train, he'd use the rails rather than fly. (I think he did two RR documentaries for PBS later in his career).

Shep was a masterful storyteller. His program material largely was based his own life experiences. He'd work from a few scribbled notes and his own memory.

There are plenty of real Shep stories. Those are better left for another day or after a few single malts.

 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by WB2GMK on November 27, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks, Larry. As a kid growing up in Newark, NJ, I, like many thousands like me, used to listen to Shep on WOR when I was supposed to be sleeping, with a Japanese transisitor radio hidden under the covers and an earphone. His stories about ham radio inspired me to get my ticket at age 13. Now I'm 57 and I still remember him fondly. The last true Story Teller of our time. You can find a leg lamp in several sizes, complete with fishnet stocking, at www.wirelesscatalog.com , along with a few other pieces of Shep memorabilia. K2ORS should be retired and never permitted to be re-issued as a ham call. The man was an icon of talent in the worlds of amateur radio, broadcast radio, television and film. Does anybody know he was also a classical musician who played in symphonie orchestras? He played some kind of odd horn, something like an E-flat Fluglehorn or some such. I don't know anything about music, maybe somebody knows what it was he played.
73 and Excelsior, you fathead!
Newarkie Greg
WB2GMK
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by N0NB on November 27, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
First off, Greg, it looks like K2ORS has already been re-issued.

WRT A Christmas Story, I was introduced to it back in the late '80s, probably several years after its initial release. It's a hoot of a tale and I "get" a lot of it although it is set just after WWII and I was born in the early '60s. My brother, born in '70, doesn't care for it too much.

My introduction to K2ORS was via the ARRL Morse Code tape that I got with the "Tune in the World" package back in '81. It was much later that I learned of his resume, but I remain unfamiliar with much of his work. The link above should help fill that gap.

Thanks!

- Nate >>
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by N3SGD on November 27, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, KDFALU, you ARE the only living soul who dislikes Jean's picture.

But 73 anyway.

Ned N3SGD
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by WA6ITF on November 28, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Gene Bergmann's book is probably the difinitive work on the life and talent of Shep. About two years prior to its publication, Gene Bergmann and I had several chats about Shep's ham radio side. In fact, we probably did the first-ever interviewer interviews interviewer -- interview. I recorded him for Amateur Radio Newsline and he recorded me to quote in the book.

Like many of you, I too discovered Shep long before I even knew ham radio existed. I think I was 10 or 11 - listening on a Motorola AC/battery portable that I had salvaged from the scrap heap at Rose Radio and Photo on Brooklyn, New York's Bay Parkway. Resurected under the guiding eye of my first radio mentor Saul Rosenthal who years later would become WA2MSX.

The Motorola was an "Instant On" AM radio using 1 volt tubes 1U4, 1U5, 1R5 and 3V4 powered from selinium rectifiers. WOR 710 was among the loudest stations on the air and it was not long until I too was hooked on Shep's nightly feast. Back then I had no idea that our paths would cross both professionally and in the wonderful world of Amateur Radio.

Fast forward to 1970 on the NYC 146.13 / 146.73 WA2SUR NYC repeater. About 10:13 PM in mid March, a bunch of us are in QSO with repeater owner George Le Doux, then-K1TKJ whose on his way from lower Manhattan tohis home in Bantam (or as we called it -- Rooster) Ct. The topic is to see how far away from the repeater site at 70 Pine Street NYC George can get before he becomes part of the systems noise floor.

Suddenly, in pops Shep -- driving his Range Rover from the studio at 1440 Broadway to his home in New Jersey. He had obviously been listening for a while because he dives headlong into the QSO -- using his on-the-air radio personna.

Those of us who knew Shep, also knew he had something up his sleeve. As I had a then very new Norelco Carry Corder cassette recorder sitting next to the rig, I played a hunch and rolled tape. What followed can only be described as ham radio's first -- and likely its last -- ever "Friars Club Roast." The "roastee" being repeater owner K1TKJ.

For about 35 minutes -- give or take a few -- Shep cast barbed lawrels on the WA2SUR owner in a way that only the silver-tingued K2ORS could. He was sharp. He was biting. He was glip. He was entertaining and he elevated K1TKJ and the WA2SUR repeater to "god like status" -- noting that the rest of us -- himself included were mere mortals in George's presence. By the time George -- now on the Meritt Parkway in CT. drove out of range of WA2SUR he had attained a status in ham radio that no other had reached -- all thanks to the wonderful whit of the amazing Jean Shepherd, K2ORS.

Fast forward to the niddle 1980's. I am at the Dayton Hamvention and Shep is to be the banquet speaker. I have the trusty Norelco and lots of spare batteries. DARA has provided me with a spot to plant it and a microphone. (EV 635A for those interested.) I had planned to record the Newsline newscast (in those days known as the Westlink Radio News) on location -- fly back to Los Angeles -- transfer it to open reel tape and glue the pieces into a newscast that - if Delta was on-time would be on by midnight, Pacific.

By 10 on Saturday night I had the script ready, the soundbites notated, a new cassette in the Norelco along with fresh batteries. The only thing I was missing was an anchorman which DARA's Vic Stauder, WA2KOO, promised to deliver. Whom it would be Vic would not say but he promised the guy would be a pro, a volunteer and would sounf dood on-the-air.

Around 11 or 11:30 Vic knocks on the door of the hotel room I am sharing with Bill Orenstein -- then KH6IAF (now KH6QX). With him is Shep. Figuring that Shep was just making the rounds with Vic I do not say a word abour estlink. I just figured we will have to record the anchor track when we get back to L.A.. And thats when Shep looks at me and says (paraphrased): "Bill ..Wheres this script you want me to record?"

You could have knocked IAF and me over with a pair of feathers! The "anchorman" that Vic had promised was none other than Jean Shepherd, K2ORS, himself. And in short order tape was rolling and the first ever Westlink Radio News done on-location was being recorded by K2ORS. And like his radio and TV shows, that ham radio newscast is a classic unto itself and remains one of my pewrsonal favorites.

The last time I spoke to Shep was likely early-1990's It was before his wife Leigh passed on as he was the one who answered the phone. They were now living in Florida -- at their home on Sanibel and I can remember Lee's words as if it were yesterday: "Oh hi Bill. How are you. I wish you could see the beautiful aqua Cockateil sitting on my shoulder..."

Time passes far to fast. Both Jean and Lee are gone. So is Saul Rosenthal in Brooklyn and my personal mentor is TV production -- the late Roy Neal, K6DUE. And as I approach my 64th year here on Mother Earth, I have fond memories of all of them.

Thats the great thing about memories. They last a lifetime.

de
WA6ITF
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by KC9ERZ on November 28, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I had a cassette tape as a kid on learning morse code by Jean Shepherd. The tape sat around for 25 years before I became a Ham and now a CW fanatic. Anyway, I converted the tape to WMA files and they can be downloaded from my website at www.kc9erz.com. The links to the Windows Meda Audio files are towards the bottom of the main page.

73,
Greg

PS - The movie is great and indeed a classic!
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by K4JF on November 28, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Is the movie available on VHS? I hate DVDs.
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by AE6CP on November 28, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
WOW! Thank you all for the great stories about Shep, I'm only 28 but I've been a huge fan of the movie since I was 7 or 8 and always felt some deep connection with the young ralph parker. I had no idea who Jean Shepherd was but the reason I/we feel that connection to Ralph in the movie is because of Jean's tallent for "Speaking directly to each one of us individually" it was purely by mistake that I stumbled across an OTR website that had some of his WOR radio shows and when I happened across one about ham radio I about flipped out! Ralphie was a Ham!!! I've been reading posts on e-ham and the other site since shortly after getting my ticket five years ago but never had the guts to actually post anything for fear of being blasted from all directions because I said something ignorant but when I found made this discovery I had to post something for anyone else like me that might be a "Shep fan" without knowing who he was or that he had a radio show or that he was a ham.

73 and thx agn for all the Shep stories.
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by N5UV on November 28, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
"Daddy's gonna kill Ralphie!"

Heck, any scene that includes Ralphie's whiney brother just adds icing on the cake to this gem. Jean Shepherd's sense of humor is sorely missed.

Better, more realistic, and much more personal than "It's a Wonderful Life." That's not to say I don't like "Wonderful Life," but I enjoy it for reasons unrelated to it's main premise...mainly, it's a great source of material to make fun of Jimmy Stewart...."wa-wa-wa Zoozoo petals!"


 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by KF8RX on November 28, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
When I was a kid in the fifties, my bed time was ten o'clock. That's when Jean Shepherd would come on. I remember sneaking my six transistor radio to bed with me and listen through an earpiece.

He was the world's best story teller.

Eric KF8RX

 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by NT4XT on November 28, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I had completely no idea the narrator was a ham much less a CW master. Had no idea the narrator was in the movie, either. News to me he was a professional broadcaster. Actually I did not even know the narrator wrote the story, either!
More amazing to me is that K2ORS was a media professional who evidently made much of his living broadcasting his voice and plus- he was a super high speed CW operator.
Seems like a very rare combination.

Thanks for sharing! If not for this article and commentary, I'd still be clueless.
Now I'm going to replay the movie first available chance, fast forward to the department store santa scene, and take a good look.
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by WB2WIK on November 28, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Great guy.

I used to listen as a kid (WOR-AM in NYC), then when I was old enough to go to night clubs, used to take dates frequently to the Limelight in Greenwich Village to see Shep's stand up routine, part of which was also broadcast on WOR.

Then, after buying my third home in New Jersey, found myself living only a few miles up the road from Jean when he had his horse place south of Chester. We ended up having Thanksgiving Dinner together exactly 25 years ago, in November 2005, due to having mutual friends -- another coincidence.

Last saw Shep at the Dayton Hamvention in the mid-80's, when he was the "entertainment" at the Dayton Hamvention Banquet. His hard luck stories relating to ham radio were always great, but at Dayton he added a twist I'll never forget: "I've never had any luck in ham radio, everything always went wrong. But my luck is about to change. I just bought a new radio, a Kenwood TS-440. Hmmm. 'TS' Maybe even Kenwood's trying to tell me something..." and he ended it with that.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by KE7CDV on November 29, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
A cheaper source of (a smaller) leg lamp: http://www.spilsbury.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=30001&storeId=10001&productId=5792&langId=-1&parent_category_rn=11111&categoryId=11111&ref=spilsbury&itemNo=1&totalNo=7

Amazon.Com has them from time to time as well... I've seen the full-sized versions more in the hundred dollar ballpark as well.

---Joel Kolstad
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by N2OBY on November 29, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
My favorite word from the movie: "fragile`"

Never knew that was Italian!

73,

Ken N2OBY
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by KD4RIY on November 29, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
No, I think that says, "Fragile." :-)

What a classic !! The DVD has some great stuff on it about the making of the movie.

Fa Ra Ra Ra Ra, Ra Ra Ra Raaaaaaaa..........

My favorite..... "Sons of bitches, Bumpasses....!"
Gotta love those hounds!
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by WB2GMK on November 29, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Wow, so many hams have heard of Shep!!! I thought I was in a minority, but now I see I am in a majority. Whoever has K2ORS today should have it taken away and the call should be RETIRED. Meanwhile, those of us who grew up listening to Shep's stories should get together and create some kind of memorial. The man may have had a lot of the pecadillos that come with being an entertainer, but still and all he was the most talented ham of our time ..... a Hiram Percy Maxim who didn't take himself as seriously as old Hiram did. Looose as a gooose and twice as fast. Shep, we miss ya.
Excelsior you fathead, and 73,
Newarkie Greg
WB2GMK
now residing in Tampa, Florida and growing bananas, oranges, lemons, mangoes, avocados and pineapples. And working DX.
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by NO6E on November 29, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
In addition to "A Christmas Story," Shepherd's
"Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss" is often
around and worth watching.

Harder to find, but I'm still looking, is
his "Phantom of the Open Hearth."

I can't hit this quote exactly, but my
favorite line, more or less, from
Christmas Story is:

"My father worked in profanity the
way other artists worked in oils or clay."

73, Jean
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by N2GDY on November 29, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Great story of the good old day the 50's I still have my Red Rider!
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by KG6AMW on November 30, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The other great line, some men are Baptists, or Catholics, my father was an Oldsmobile man.
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by AE6CP on November 30, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I don’t remember the exact wording but some of my favorite quotes are:

“Flick said he saw some grizzly bears near Plasky’s candy store!”
“Tinker toys???...She’d never buy it”
“Only one think in this world could have drug me away from the soft glow of electric sex”
“In this world you’re either a bully, a todie or one the many nameless victims”
“Now I know I had heard that word at least ten times a day from my old man”
“I left to face the world…Wiser.”
“Daddy’s gonna kill Ralphie!”
“Oh my God I shot my eye out!!”


And the text contained in the: “What I want for Christmas” theme from the move was taken word-for-word from the theme Shep had written in real life, he really was worried that he might just get a football!
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by W0FM on November 30, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Great memories of the early 60's for me. Mom would never let me get the Red Rider I wanted as a kid...."God you'll shoot your eye out" (she must have seen the movie!). So I ordered three dozen greeting cards from Boy's Life Magazine Greeting Card Sales contest (just enough to win the Red Rider).

My intentions were good, but somehow I never got around to selling the cards. The bills for them kept coming and coming. Finally, mom chewed me out and sent a check for the three dozen greeting cards (which were stashed under my bed).

Wow, was she ticked when my new Red Rider arrived a few days later! Busted a few neighbor's windows with the old Red Rider, but still have both eyes.

Nice article. Thanks.

73,

Terry, WŘFM
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by AE6CP on November 30, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Here's a link to a ham story he wrote for 73' Magazine back in 1980, it's great.

http://www.flicklives.com/Magazines/73_mag/73.htm
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by K1NSS on November 30, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Nobody ever told the story of ham radio, among so many others, better than Shep, which is to say he was longer on character and shorter on radio, but the radio, like the Werewolf of London's Hair, was perfect. And the characters weren't bad McGee, to say the least! I was introduced to Shep on WOR by my cool aunt, right about the time I got my novice license at 13. In a way, I was on a very outer orbit of Shep's semi-inner circle, as he jammed with my Jersey aunt's friend Derek Williamson's band, The Sons of the Whiskey Rebellion,whose version of "Hindustan" was played repeatedly on his weeknight show in the 60s. Then I lived in upstate New York and listened on my Hammarlund Super Pro (100 pounds including the power supply )with the variable bandpass wide open, all eighteen 6SJ7s and a 6L6 or two pumping out Shep's live broadcast from the Limelight on Saturday night.
I would have been a devoted fan regardless of the radio references, but that he wove technology, or rather the romance of technology and retro tech artistry like cw, so naturally and effectively into his art, left me in awe and stitches ever since.

 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by W9NM on December 1, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Larry,
Thanks very much for the link.
73
Emil
W9NM
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by N2XC on December 1, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Great link. I was one of those who listened with the transistor radio under my pillow. I would come to school every day and me and the other Shep guys would talk about last evenings show. Since I was the only one who knew morse code I was the one who told them what the secret messages were that Shep bleeped out. I saw him a couple of times at the Limelight (great show) and me and my friends even "stalked" him. We hung out at Grant's on 42nd Street where he would often stop by after the show for a hot dog and "the best" root beer. We saw him there and he he autographed my copy of "In God We Trust". Our last stalking adventure was to find where he lived. We knew it was in the Village. We finally located him at Patchin Place, a tiny private alley off 10th Street. It really wasn't too hard; there was a TriBander on the roof. He created a whole little world that certainly had an effect on mine. Great guy.......EXCELSIOR!!!!!!!!!!!

Steve / N2XC ex WN2YQZ
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by N2XC on December 1, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Great link. I was one of those who listened with the transistor radio under my pillow. I would come to school every day and me and the other Shep guys would talk about last evenings show. Since I was the only one who knew morse code I was the one who told them what the secret messages were that Shep bleeped out. I saw him a couple of times at the Limelight (great show) and me and my friends even "stalked" him. We hung out at Grant's on 42nd Street where he would often stop by after the show for a hot dog and "the best" root beer. We saw him there and he he autographed my copy of "In God We Trust". Our last stalking adventure was to find where he lived. We knew it was in the Village. We finally located him at Patchin Place, a tiny private alley off 10th Street. It really wasn't too hard; there was a TriBander on the roof. He created a whole little world that certainly had an effect on mine. Great guy.......EXCELSIOR!!!!!!!!!!!

Steve / N2XC ex WN2YQZ
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by W4PC on December 1, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I had the fortune to have a QSO with Jean back in 1983. He was calling CQ (QRP even) on 14.225 and we have a nice chat about life, radio ect.

One of the great QSO's I've had in my life.

I was in Broadcasting then to and his advice to me was to get out and get into something else. He was right. :) He said from his years in broadcasting, that sooner or later, corportate America would own all the broadcasters.

And he was right on the money.





 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by K2GW on December 1, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I never got to work him on the air, but I had the pleasure of meeting Jean Shepherd at an appearance of his at my wife's college in 1973. I had been listening to him since 1965. A very nice guy!

One of the neat things about his show was that the 10:15 start on WOR was perfect for listening in the dark and letting his stories cast their spell. There's a lot to say about using your imagination that today's media lacks.

BTW, before his better stories were published as compilations in books, they usually first appeared in Playboy magazine in the sixites and seventies, where he consistently won the Best Humor award year after year. That also gave me an excuse to say I was buying Playboy for the articles ;-)

I still listen to his old broadcasts via MPEG when commuting by train. It's a great way to wind down after work.

Jean may be an SK, but Flick Lives!

73

Gary, K2GW
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by K2ORS on December 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I'm a big fan of Shep's and Shep was a big influence on me getting my ham radio ticket. I recall listening to Shep sending CW with using a kazoo on his WOR program in the late 60's - mid 70's. I was fortunate enough to work Shep in the early 80's on 15m ssb. I was living in Staten Island (where I grew up) and Shep was down in Sanibel Island Florida.
I thought that it would be better for Shep's call to go to a Shep fan rather than being reassigned at random or someone picking it for another reason. (B.T.W. for those who have been asking, the FCC does not retire callsigns).

73 & Excelsior!
Warren K2ORS/WD2XGJ
http://www.w4dex.com/wd2xgj.htm
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by W7EA on December 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for the link. Brings back memories of being a teenager in CT in the early 60's and listening to Shep on WOR. You know, I used to think I heard all those shows, but of course I didn't. The shows lose nothing at all to me with the passage of time. Really enjoyed reading this thread.
Thanks.
73
Bill
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by N4UED on December 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I really enjoyed this Jean Shepard broadcast.Thank you for letting all of us know about this. This is what radio should be like today. Thanks N4UED
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by AE6CP on December 7, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
In case anyone would like the link to all the other shows, there's 23 pages of his stuff here all for free download.

I'm glad you guys enjoyed the post.

73,
AD5VM

http://shep-archives.com/netjuke/search.php?do=list.tracks&col=al_id&val=2
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by KF6IRK on December 7, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
"Christmas Story" was one of my brothers' "staple" "Christmas Videos" to watch. I only watch it once a year, so its OK.

I didn't know that Jean Shepherd had a cameo appearance in the show, let alone, was an Amateur. I'll have to look at the particular scene more closely this Christmas.

Everybody in the family has their own special show ... The wife's: "Miracle on 34th. St.", Mom: "It's a Wonderful Life" ... you know the routine.

I snuck in the original South Park Christmas Special ( with "Mr.Hankey") several years ago just to liven up the old routine.

To all, a Merry Christmas ... that is, unless you are politically correct, or don't believe in Christmas. If so, then do whatever and be tolerant of those who do celebrate the birth of Christ!
 
Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by KB2VXA on December 7, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Hi Shep fans,

The kids in MY old school never got a tongue stuck to the flagpole, hmmmm. I used to listen to him on my crystal set while watching the tower beacons outside my bedroom window. My favorite program was about his bugging the neighbors with old F-1 carbon mics scrounged from telephones and guess who got his inspiration from it. FLICK LIVES!

He and "Long" John Nebel would often broadcast from the transmitter building in Carteret NJ when for whatever reason they didn't want to commute to "The City" so it's not surprising Shep would comment on the odd goings on and what happened to the 10KW secondary backup transmitter that fed the bantam tower. Those RCA BTA50Gs were impressive with the processor rack and patch bay off to the right and the old fashioned double button carbon mic in the lobby flanked by a couple of RCA BK77DXes. I never did get to see the 100KW water cooled Continental "baby in the basement" and the cooling fountain and pond in the middle of the "traffic circle" off the parking area looked a bit forlorn without water. All gone now and the scene of the towers being felled brought a tear to my eye. And so ended an era when AM radio was king, gone but not forgotten.
 
RE: Jean Shepherd, K2ORS (SK) CW Program  
by WB2DCV on December 8, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
KB2VXA

The Carteret site (near the foot of Sabo in Carteret) was a fairly unique setup. WOR was the very first Class I-B station in the US (that's 50kW, directional). It's also one of the oldest, orginating with Bambergers Broadcasting from the Bambergers Department Store on 22 Feb 1922. The original station license shows an issue date of 2-22-22. Carteret had two self-supporting towers (ugly) connected by a catenary from which hung the third radiating element. Basically, the radiators were in a line and phased so that the pattern was sort of a lopsided figure eight. The idea was to pump signal toward NYC and Phila. As the population grew and more development occurred, the signal became noticeably weaker over the primary service area. Thus began the move to a better site with better ground conductivity: a lovely smelly hydraulically filled dump at the end of Valleybrook Road in Lyndhurst. Full half-wave guyed towers at 710 kHz...692 feet...in a triangular arrangement.

The Carteret site was 'unmanned' and remotely controlled from the site of the FM and TV Xmtrs in room 8301 of the Empire State Building. Each week, one of us made a trip to Carteret to calibrate the remote metering with Empire. The 50 kW xmtr at Carteret was an old Western Electric. It had DC filaments. To ensure even wear on the filaments there was a 'current reversing' switch on the filament power feed. WOR was authorized 50 kW directional and 10 kW non-directional.

One of my fellow college vacation employees was a Carteret guy, Zoltan Sisko. Lost track of him after I graduated and went on to other things.

I don't recall ever seeing any studio equipment at Carteret. No sound board. Nothing. The only program input to the xmtr was via 15 kHz equalized radio tie lines from the studios at 1440 B'way. Some of the on-air talent worked from their homes and had radio tie lines between the studios and their homes. Otherwise, during my years, Carteret was left locked and unmanned.

The Lyndhurst site began construction circa 1967. On-air testing began during 1968. The coverage from Lyndhurst was so good, we used it for broadcast as much as possible. I recall RF field strength in NYC at the Hudson River as something live 5 volts/m. Incredible. Once the proofs of performance and engineering data was done, Carteret was shut down. The Continental was relocated to Lyndhurst as the 'spare' xmtr.

Shep had English speaking listeners all over the world.

I answered many a QSL request back then from almost all of Europe, all of North America, some of South American and some of Africa. The DXers would refer to program content in the nighttime lineup: Shep, Barry Farber, etc.
 
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