“Shepherd was a great storyteller, often referred to as a modern-day Mark Twain,” Clavin said. “He not only came up with good stories, based on childhood experiences, his and others, he skillfully wove them with enough fiction to capture the interests of a widespread audience. He had a unique ability to captivate his radio audience for over 20 years not only telling ‘childhood’ stories, but talking of current events, travels, life in the Army, history, and whatever else he would think of. He had a talent of starting with a story, sidetracking to several others, punctuating them with all sorts of background music, and bringing it all to a climax finishing up the initial story right at the closing bars of his theme song: ‘Bahn Frei Polka’ by Eduard Strauss.”
Theatrical adaptations of “A Christmas Story” are performed by local theater groups around the country every year. There’s both a play and a musical.
“If you love the movie, what better thrill than to be a part of it on stage or watch it live,” Clavin said. “I’ve seen several of these local performances, and they were always packed.”
Clavin works to preserve Shepherd’s legacy as a radio raconteur, humorist and author of such books as “In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash.”
“There seems to be a mix of those who grew up listening to Shep on the radio and those who discovered him through the movie and found his old radio shows on the internet,” Clavin said. “Those in the first group could relate to the stories on a personal level. As for the new generation, maybe the movie teaches them about the trials and tribulations of life, and although it’s not perfect, there are lessons to be learned every day and more importantly what it’s like being a real family.”