Jean Shepherd Defended! And 1960’s Best Films


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January 5, 1961, Vol. VI, No. 9


Dear Sir:

A fine way to treat your good friend and generous champion, Jean Shepherd! I’m referring to Sandra Schmidt’s casual review, on December 29, of his show at One Sheridan Square. Perhaps his VV connection is to close for you, in good conscience, to give him a rave, possibly the show didn’t deserve quite that – but dear God! Couldn’t you have handed the assignment to someone who at least had heard of him before? Or someone who started to begin to venture to approach an approximate understanding, within a few light-years, of what this complex and fascinating and brilliant man does?

There are some, I suppose, to whom he is new and upsetting; there are others who don’t dig him at all, or who have “given him up.” But there are many, I’m sure, who have been with him for years, ever since his all-night radio show, to whom he is as necessary as bread. They – we – can’t take kindly to Miss Schmidt’s offhand dismissal. How dreary for her, but how comfortable of course, never to know what she has missed. We shall look forward on some future broadcast to his comments on the fantastic statement that he “hates his audiences.” Having been one of Shepherd’s Flock since the very beginning, I submit that the only people he hates are the stupid, the phonies, the bores.

A young lady who saw his show with me observed, truly, that the day will come when people who were lucky enough to have heard him will be regarded as rarely privileged. – Constance Cunningham, West 11th Street

The Year’s Best

By Jonas Mekas

I have asked a few independent film critics and writers whose opinions I greatly respect for their lists of the better films they have seen during the past year…

PETER BOGDANOVICH: Looking at the 1960 releases, it was an atrocious year for the U.S. The following 10 movies, listed in alphabetical order, seem to me the most memorable pictures of the year: “Ballad of a Soldier,” “The Cranes are Flying,” “General della Rovere,” “Ikiru,” “Hiroshima, Mon Amour,” “The Love Game,” “Picnic on the Grass,” “Psycho,” “The Virgin Spring,” “The World of Apu.” Add to these two brilliant short films. “Pull My Daisy” and “Night and Fog.” Some other pictures that I thought a lot of are: “Chance Meeting,” “Hell to Eternity,” “The Apartment,” “The Unforgiven,” “Another Sky,” “Sergeant Rutledge.”

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