"THE DEVIL ON THE BAYOU"
Where does Old Nick go when he has the weekend off? To New Orleans , to indulge in the delights of the Bayou - some of them legal. "The Devil on the Bayou," fits right in as he passes some time at the Old Absinthe Cafe , enjoys succulent oysters and a bottle of crisp white wine on a wrought-iron laced balcony in the French Quarter , and plays kazoo obligato with the Olympia Brass Marching Band.
[ Courtesy: Pete Delaney - 09-18-2016 ]
Jean Shepherd makes a convincing devil. Decked out in a satanic cape and smoking a huge cigar, he stands in his evil realm smugly asserting his important role as leader of the netherworld. But even the devil needs a break. "I need a vacation from torturing damned souls who so often have no sense of humor." So the prince of darkness travels across the blood-red river Styx on a mysterious tug boat to his favorite city, New Orleans.
It's a celebration of the seedy side of life, of desire, of unbridled passion and most importantly, of the seven deadly sins.
Shedding his cape for a more tourist like appearance, Shep, the devil indulges in Bourbon Street nightlife, draws a sketch of a sad, lovely woman sitting alone at a bar (Shepherd's wife Leigh Brown), rides alone on a streetcar named "Special", joins the famed Olympia Brass Dixieland Band for a Sunday morning musical stroll ("Sunday mornings are my toughest time."), salutes the gluttonous ecstasy of Cajun food and perceives the evil that lurks behind the windows and shutters of gothic buildings.
As the Olympia band slowly and rhythmically walks in front of the setting sun on a hillside, devil Jean lists the seven deadly sins.
Back in his sinister robes he suggests that the viewers write to PBS for a unique publication - a booklet titled "The 7 Deadly Sins And. How To Get More Out Of Them." There's a special gift for the first 20 people who write in - instructions and diagrams for an incredible eighth sin just invented back at the shop. Beelzebub bids us farewell -but only temporarily, "I'm sorry to say that I'll be seeing most of you very, very soon." It's easily the best episode of the 'second series.
In the 1985 Press Kit Shep wrote a small piece
The Devil Has All the Best Lines
by Jean Shepherd
I'm not one for fantasies. In fact, I can't honestly say that l've ever consciously had one. As a kid, I never fantasized that I was Joe DiMaggio or Mickey Mantle or Humphrey Bogart. Sure I admired them. But fantasizing that I was them? Never.
But there are things that we all secretly would like to have done-or have been had time and circumstances allowed. I wonder how it would have felt to have been a knight during the reign of Richard The Lion-Hearted, or a buHalo hnnter on the Great Plains in the days of Cochise.
I've always seen television, at least my television, as a kind of magic wand. You can go places and do things that nobody in his right mind could ever pull off. For example, who among us has never wanted to visit Death Valley? Now there's a romantic name. Death Valley Soottyl The 20-mule team! .All of that. Well, why not go? And not just as a visitor, but as a participant.
So, in my new public television series, I played the role of a grizzled prospector struggling across the salt flats under the blazing sun, my only companion my faithful burro Flower. Who wouldn't like to do that? And what red-blooded male hasn't
always secretly wanted to turn a few laos at Indianapolis - the Brickyard- the home of the legendary 500? Why not? So seated in a magnificent million-dollar Dusenberg, in another of my new shows dressed in the costume of an early Indy
race driver, I raced against the heroic "Duke" Nalon, a real race driver of the Indy's glory days. What a gas!
How 'bout playing the Dev.il, with cape and sinister Palm Beach hat, visiting night time New Orleans for a little recreation and a field trip to see how sin is progressing on earth? We did, and 1 can tell you l began to feel that I was typecast as Satan by the end of the shoot. I loved it. As George Bernard Shaw said, "The Devil has all the best lines."
Fantasies? No. Television is magic, and I love it.