Jean Shepherd -- "King Levinsky Day"

Elisson’s post, below, about the great Jean Shepherd fired off some dormant neurons in my cruller, taking me back to April, 1966, more precisely April 21, 1966. It was on that day that Jean Shepherd made his third of his six annual appearances at the college I was attending at the time to celebrate “King Levinsky Day.”

King (“Kingfish”) Levinsky (born Harris Krakow) was an up and coming boxer of some note until he was dispatched in 1935 by Joe Louis in the first round. One of many Jewish boxers (who knew?), he continued to box after his loss to Joe Louis for four more years for a total of more than one-hundred professional bouts. He ended up selling ties and watches on the street in South Beach. (Photo of King Levinsky).

I remember that on that April day in 1966, the students presented Jean with a set of boxing gloves to commemorate “King Levinsky Day,” and that evening many of us tuned into WOR to see if he would mention he appearance at the school earlier in the day, frankly doubting that he would.

As it turned out, early in the show he offered a “Brass Figlagee with Bronze Oak Leaf Palm with special aluminum cross tor someone to call and identify the sound he [was] making.” A listener immediately called and identified the sound as 14 ounce Championship Everlast Boxing Gloves that were presented to him earlier in the day at the college in celebration of "King Levinsky Day." Sure enough, the caller had been one of the students in the audience that afternoon.

Each time I saw him, he positively captivated the audience and, of course, never used notes. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a better story teller.

Hat tip to Elisson for reminding me of it all.

by Jimbo on May 05, 2009 | Bullshit (5) | TrackBack (0)
Bullshit So Far

Wow - that is so cool! The things I've missed in life. LOL.

Bullshitted by Teresa on May 6, 2009 01:14 PM

When I boxed in Savannah Georgia back in the late 50s, I remember Leo Center and Mills B lane Jr, boxing at the old Union Bag Boxing center.

Bullshitted by catfish on May 6, 2009 04:04 PM

How appropriate - Union Camp (manufacturer of paper and other products, including corrugated boxes) having a Boxing Center.

Jeez, Catfish... is there anything you haven't done? You oughta write a book.

Bullshitted by Elisson on May 6, 2009 05:24 PM

Shepherd was a fellow Hoosier. Actually he was born in Chicago, but raised in Indiana. As opposed to the Michael Jackson family who were born in Indiana and raised by wolves. We'll trade you the Jackson 5 for Jean Shepherd.

Bullshitted by Jerry in Indiana on May 6, 2009 09:21 PM

I'd take a dead Shepherd over a live Jackson Five.

Bullshitted by Elisson on May 7, 2009 12:22 AM