Holiday Triumphs: Jean Shepherd, “Christmas Gifts”

Continuing the fabled tradition begun all the way back in 2009, Scratchbomb presents Holiday Horrors and Holiday Triumphs: an advent calendar of some of the more hideous aspects of this most stressful time of year–with a few bits of awesomeness sprinkled in.

Thumbnail image for shep2.GIFHere is another bit of holiday cheer from Jean Shepherd, who knew a thing or two about this subject. I usually don’t like to post excerpts of his shows, because I think they are high art and should be enjoyed as a whole. You wouldn’t hang up just one square inch of a Monet, would you?

However, if you don’t have the time to listen to an entire 45-minute program, you might enjoy this clip from his December 13, 1965 show. In it, Shep reads descriptions of board games on sale at the time and being pitched as excellent Christmas gifts for kids. Most of them are insanely violent, in a way that is virtually inconceivable now (at least in ads for things aimed at children). There is also an ad for a proto-fantasy baseball game that sounds like it was way ahead of its time.

Shep recites the ad copy almost verbatim, with a few wry asides, and like a true artist, he makes these words his own. Enjoy.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.