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  • Writer's pictureHenry Sapoznik

Down "Memory Lane."

(Photo: Harvey Wang.)

"In entertainment, the most important thing is sincerity, and once you've learned to fake that, you've got it made. " Joe Franklin

A moment to reflect on the life and career of Joe Franklin whose yortsayt is today. A staple on New York City radio then TV for his "Memory Lane" nostalgia shows he invented the late night TV format (desk for host, couch for guests) and introduced untold thousands (like me) into the glories of our shared sepia toned entertainment history. Though I was never on his WOR TV show (it was said the only people who came on were those nobody yet knew or those who had long been forgotten) and, while the quote above (which is usually attributed to George Burns) might sound cynical, Joe was extremely kind, forthcoming and welcoming so when, in my early search for Yiddish radio shows, he invited me up to his offices overlooking Times Square (which looked like they had been interior decorated by the Collyer Brothers) where he sold me dozens of original Jewish radio airshots, the foundation of my collection which made the Yiddish Radio series and which now all lives in the Library of Congress.

The photo above of Joe (c. 2000) in the center with David Isay (L) Ben Katchor and myself (R) [not pictured, audio engineer Caryl Owen and series music director, Pete Sokolow (Of Blessed Memory] during Joe's run through for our short lived NPR series "Julius Knipl: Real Estate Photographer" Boruch Dayan Emes, Yosele.....

To hear the Joe Franklin episode and the others in the NPR series:

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