Walk of Fame
Date Unknown, circa 1990 / Binghamton
Press & Sun-Bulletin
Make Room for More Local Stars
by David Rossie
A few weeks back this newspaper ran a story about the Walk of Fame in downtown Binghamton, in which it was said that the Walk was running out of space, with room for perhaps one or two more stars.
Well, they had better find room for more, because there are more than one or two native sons and daughters who deserve to be recognized there.
Let's start with Helen Foley, whose name was put forward in an editorial earlier this year. The question here is not whether she should be there but rather why she isn't there already.
The explanation, as near as I can tell, is that the rules of enshrinement require that the honoree be a “producer” of the arts. I'm not sure how the guardians of the Walk define producer. Apparently it covers everything from sitcom performers to cordeen players and lounge singers.
But not, it would appear, someone whose instructional and directorial skills brought out the talent of scores of young people—some of who, ironically enough, are immortalized in the walk.
What nonsense! Helen Foley taught, inspired, directed and, when necessary, browbeat a couple of generations of aspiring writers and actors, including Rod Serling. On top of that, she was a wonderful classroom teacher, even though she did fail to appreciate my literary talents in in the seventh grade. Well, no one's perfect.
The Binghamton school district recognized her contributions several years ago by naming the theater at Binghamton High School after her. Now it's the community's turn. Give her a star.
Patricia Donohue has been a performer in local musical and theatrical companies for more than 30 years, and the fact that she has not received the recognition she deserves says more about our entertainment tastes than it does about her many skills.
A student of Peyton Hibbit, she had featured roles in more than a half dozen Tri-Cities Opera productions. She was a member of Binghamton Civic Theater, Valley Players and appeared in touring summer theater plays.
More recently, she has appeared in the one-woman show, The Belle of Amhearst, William Luce’s play about Emily Dickinson. Miss Donohue does a excerpt performance as well as the two-act full-length version.
If press clippings count for anything, Patricia Donohue's clip file in our library is as thick as or thicker than those of save, al Walk of Fame occupants. Give the lady a star.
Solly Violinsky, nee Sokolinsky, is, alas, not a household name in these parts. Not any more. But he once was, and he was a name in a lot of other places as well, on the vaudeville circuits. He got his stage name by playing the violin and piano simultaneously—try that sometime—and he also made something of a name for himself as a song writer (When Frances Dances With Me) and as a gag writer for the Marx Brothers among others.
A Violinsky gag, as I recall, had a secretary telling Groucho: “Mister Harris is in the waiting room waxing wroth.”
To which Groucho replies: “Send him in, and let somebody else wax Roth.”
Well, I don't care whether you think it’s funny or not. I think it’s funny.
Give that man a star.
While we're at it, I think a case also can be made for Hugh Herbert. If you're old enough to remember him, you probably won't admit it, but I will. Herbert was born in Binghamton in 1887. He was a vaudeville and stage actor—mostly comic roles—and also wrote sketches, plays and playlets. His screen roles stretched trom 1928 to 1951. Hugh Herbert had a brother, Thomas, horn a year later, who was also a stage and screen actor.
Let's hear it for the the Herbert boys. Two stars.
Rossie is an associate editor of the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, and his column appears on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.