EUGENE B. BERGMANN is the author of several published poems as well as numerous articles in Curator, the museum professional journal. For over 34 years as Senior Exhibit Designer, he designed exhibits at New York's American Museum of Natural History. He also designs and makes artists' books. He lives in Massapequa, New York.

His book about Jean Shepherd, the American humorist of radio, writing, film, and television, EXCELSIOR YOU FATHEAD-THE ART AND ENIGMA OF JEAN SHEPHERD, is scheduled for fall 2004 publication. Shepherd improvised on radio for over 21 years, wrote 23 short stories for PLAYBOY MAGAZINE and their Beatles Interview, published several books, did several television series and television plays, and created the perennial holiday favorite movie, "A Christmas Story," in which the kid longs for a BB-gun present ("Kid, you'll shoot your eye out!").

Shepherd gathered an intense, cult-like radio following of "Night People," admired by fellow-extemporaneous creator, Jack Kerouac, chess champ Bobby Fischer, and tens of thousands of other listeners. Countless students listened after bedtime with tiny transistor radios--hidden under their pillows to avoid parental detection.

Shepherd, who died in 1999, is considered the originator and master of "talk radio," though he had almost no guests or call-ins. Playing music only incidentally, he improvised in jazz-like riffs, weaving stories of his childhood, working in steel mills, army life, and innumerable other subjects. He associated with top creators of the 1950s and 1960s avant-guard in jazz and other fields, and counted among his friends and associates, Jules Feiffer, Shel Silverstein, Herb Gardner, Norman Mailer, and founders of the Village Voice, for which he wrote an early column. U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, who believes some of his poems may reveal a Shepherd influence, says, "I can't imagine growing up without Shepherd." His influence also continues today in the many media people whom he inspired.

Three websites devoted to him archive hundreds of articles by and about him, photos, audios, and extensive information on all his activities. The major Shepherd website, which contains a version of EXCELSIOR YOU FATHEAD's Preface and archived audios of interviews about the book, is

Bergmann in front of a poster of humorist Jean Shepherd (Photo: Raymond B. Anderson)
Artzar Galleries
Rape, Riches & Renown
Other Work Online
Excelsior You Fathead [Preface and Audio]
Email Address