Former producer Steve Garrin and author Rich Herschlag are seeking to co-name (meaning it would keep its original name along with the new one) the block of 43rd Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, just west of the Times Square theatre district. The block, which contains mainly restaurants, parking garages and office buildings, was the location of Franklin's famously cluttered office (300 West 43rd) for 20 years. The Off-Broadway Second Stage Theatre has its mainstage at the corner of Eighth Avenue.
Flyers have appeared along the block, notifying the neighborhood that a hearing is scheduled for 6:30 PM Sept. 16 at the offices of Manhattan Community Board 4, whose Transportation Planning Committee must approve the change. The offices are located at 353 West 30th St., New York. Garrin asks that people who support the change either show up at that address to speak in its favor, or send a letter of support to the same address.
The pair want to see Franklin honored in the same way the late actor Jerry Orbach is honored a few blocks north, where the stretch of 53rd Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues (where Orbach lived most of his adult life) was co-named Jerry Orbach Way in 2007.
"I Want Joe To Be Remembered"
Franklin (1926-2015) was one of the first to work in the now-familiar talk-show format, first for WJZ-TV in 1950, then for WOR-TV from 1962 to 1993. His familiar signature theme music was a high-speed piano rendition of "Twelfth Street Rag." His status as an iconic Broadway personality of a certain era was attested to by his appearances as himself in movies including "The Aristocrats," "Ghoul School" and Woody Allen's "Broadway Danny Rose." Billy Crystal did an impression of him on "Saturday Night Live"
"Joe loved Broadway," said Garrin, Franklin's longtime producer. "He was the quintessential theatregoer. He was a first-night critic and never missed a show." Nevertheless, Garrin said he and Herschlag have had a harder time than they expected getting people to support their campaign. "When Joe was alive, everybody was knocking on his door and kissing his tuchus. Now that I'm asking for something, they forget him. I want Joe to be remembered."