Philosopher, humorist Jean Shepherd will speak at the annual WRTI banquet tomorrow night at Alden Park Manor.
A Chicagoan, Mr. Shepherd is heard on WOR radio in New York City from 10:15 to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 12:15 to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
His programs include informal conversation, verbal essays and dramatic sketches on topics ranging from comic books to cravats, baseball to babies and kite flying to kissing.
SHEPHERD CONCEIVED the idea for his programs of sketches and essays on the American scene several years ago. He said nothing is more entertaining than ideas. The basic philosophy behind his works is to present ideas in the form of conversation and drama.
He became interested in radio in his early teen years on won his ham radio license at the age of 14. He had a fling at the dramatic end of radio with a stint as Billie Fairfield, on the "Jack Armstrong Show". As a high school football star, he was called upon to appear on a weekly radio program for students, doing sports commentaries and making football predictions.
The Chicago station manager, impressed with his work, gave him the chance to do a regular program of his own. From these beginnings, he got straight acting assignments on various radio adventure series of the day.
Summer stock roles and radio jobs kept him busy until he turned to radio full time after getting his B.S. degree in psychology in 1946.
ONE OF SHEPHERD'S prime interests remains in the legitimate theatre. He has written, directed and starred in an off-Broadway revue entitled "Look Charlie," and recently starred in another off-Broadway production, "A Banquet For The Moon."
Shepherd's writings are published in the Village Voice newspaper and magazines ranging from humor-literary works to the "national slicks." He has recently became an accomplished pen-and-ink artist, and he illustrates books.
He is also a record personality, having worked with such artists as Charlie Mingus. He has traveled in Europe, the British Isles and the Middle East in the ultra economy class.
He took only $100 with him.
BESIDES HIS OWN SHOW, Shepherd has appeared on several top flight network TV shows with Steve Allen and Ernie Kovacs, and on the Kraft Theatre and also has been a panelist on network religious programs.
He has written two movie scripts. His first novel, "Pretty Rubies in the Air," is to be published by Doubleday next fall.