Walk of Fame
on the Walk
By GENE GREY
The Sidewalk of the Stars committee would like to give Rod Serling's star some company.
The bronze star honoring the late Binghamton-raised writer was dedicated last spring in front of the Metrocenter, off Court Street in downtown Binghamton.
There are 17 cement slots available for other Broome County residents who are or have been prominent in the arts.
"We'd like to get another star in place before the weather makes it impossible for the contractor to do the work," said Robert Keller, chairman of the committee, which is an offshoot of the Rod Serling Foundation.
Many cities have walkways of the stars, most notably Hollywood, where a star honoring Serling was unveiled last year.
While Serling may be the best-known person to have called Binghamton his home, there have been other local residents who have risen to fame, noted Keller, director of art and design at Broome Community College.
Among actors there have been the late Richard Deacon (best known as Mel Cooley on the classic Dick Van Dyke Show), Hugh Herbert (a comic motion picture actor of the 1930s and 40s stage actor William Prince and the late Jim Hutton (who starred in several movies in the 1960s, including John Wayne's The Green Berets).
Band singers Val Stevens and Stuart Foster (whose name when he was growing up here was Tamir Aswad) are from the Binghamton area.
Jazz musician Slam Stewart, who adopted this community as his home, also would be eligible, as would artists Catherine Bartoo, Douglas Arthur Teed and Henry Wilcott Boss, and author John Gardner.
Nominees for a star don't have to be dead to be honored, so among possible candidates could be the off-Broadway playwright Leonard Melfi, Tri-Cities Opera founders Peyton Hibbitt and Carmen Savoca, cartoonist Johnny Hart and science-fiction writer Jack Dann.
It's expected that one of the next stars to be put in place will be for actor Anthony George, who was popular on television in the 1960s (most notably for the series Checkmate), Keller said.
Anyone may submit an application to nominate a candidate for the walk, but they must be willing to put up the price of purchasing and installing the marker.
The cost of casting and setting each bronze star is $2,100. Applicants must be willing to put up a $1,000 deposit payable to the Serling Foundation.
Each nominee will be reviewed by the committee, which is composed of Keller, historian Richard Barons, WSKG President Michael Ziegler, Serling archivist Michael Pipher, Chamber of Commerce representative Rosemarie Hinkle, city planning department representative Laurie Kimball and Serling Foundation founder Helen Foley.
Here are the eligibility requirements for nominees:
- Profession - must have gained fame through the performing, literary or fine arts (actor, singer, musician, fine artist, writer/poet, comedian, dancer, producer, composer, cartoonist, sculptor, etc.).
- Residence - the nominee must be regarded as a local talent in two or more of the following categories: lifetime resident, born and educated in the Southern Tier; received college education locally; or practiced his or her art professionally here.
Keller said a nomination would most likely be made by friends, relatives or descendants of the nominee, or those who admired or were influenced by the artist.
Anyone interested in making a nomination can get a form by writing to: Sidewalk of the Stars, P.O. Box 65, Eastside Station, Binghamton, N.Y. 13904.
It takes about eight weeks from the time the committee approves a nominee until his or her star is installed, Keller said.
"There have been a lot of people who came from this area who went on to some recognition in the arts," he added . "The Sidewalk of the Stars is a way for us to honor and remember them."