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Hallowed Halls
Brian Dawkins, the former Eagles safety, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this month and it was a memorable day for local fans.

by Big Daddy Graham

“B-Dawk” (who lived in the Voorhees area while he played) is one of the more popular Birds of all time, so it was a special weekend. I love the tearful speeches at the Hall and those ugly, yellow blazers, but as cool as they gleam that day, I wonder if the inductees ever wear them anywhere else?

It took this dopey writer decades to figure out why we love award shows and acceptance speeches as much as we do. Whether it’s the Oscars, Grammys or a hall of fame, we put ourselves in the shoes of these winners and imagine whom it is we would thank. Really, unless you’re Joan Crawford’s daughter or Laurence Harvey from The Manchurian Candidate, who doesn’t want to thank their mother?

I love halls of fame and whoever came up with the original concept was a genius. Nothing gets my phone lines at 94WIP ringing like a good conversation about whether Donovan McNabb (for example) deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Fans who believe he does deserve it will rattle off the numbers of quarter-backs who are already in and use those stats to prove that McNabb should be in, and then other callers will use the same stats to prove that he doesn’t. It’s uncanny and sometimes comical, but always passionate. I once walked by the Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale (I didn’t know there even was one) and I immediately pondered if there were huge arguments occurring somewhere on the planet over which swimmer is in and which is not.

In a bizarre way, I’m almost glad that those latest accusations came down against Pete Rose, because now even the most ardent supporters of his Baseball Hall of Fame candidacy have mercifully stopped calling in.

Believe me, it doesn’t stop with sportshalls of fame. I used to get my phone linesjumping like a pinball machine by complaining that Yes and Chicago were not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Both bands have since been inducted, but currently there are humongous debates happening as we speak over why Bad Company or Little Feat or Jethro Tull are on the outside looking in. And that’s forgetting the never-ending argument over whether rap and soul acts like Aretha Franklin and Run DMC should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to begin with.

I myself am torn over that argument. As huge of a fan as I am of Aretha and many rap artists, I feel that since they have their own halls of fame (which they do), then why do they have to be included in the Rock Hall of Fame? Country artists don’t make it into the Rock Hall for that very reason.

On the other hand, Duke Ellington was once asked what type of music he liked and he responded, “There’s only two kinds, good and bad.”

So maybe there should only be one music hall of fame, and let’s see, what would we call that? How about The Music Hall of Fame? Why bother separating music into categories? I don’t. My shuffle play will bounce between Louis Armstrong, Johnny Cash, The Who, Aaron Copland, Kanye West, Pink, Bob Dylan, just to name a few. Heck, we might as well put The Chipmunks in. There’s barely a song that they haven’t covered and if you don’t believe me, Google “songs the Chipmunks have recorded” and you’ll laugh your keister off.

Let’s see. There’s an Astronaut Hall of Fame inside the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. I’ve been there and for an extra $10,000 you can send your spouse into space. Then there’s the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame. It honors drivers of dirt late model racecars. Never in my life did I think I would be using the words “dirt late” in two straight sentences, and I still have no idea what it even means.

For the record, this hall of fame is locatedin Walton, Kentucky. So I would say the chances of me ever going there would be … zero.

There is a New Jersey Hall of Fame, but it’s a “mobile” museum and its website doesn’t exactly make it easy to figure out where it might be on any given day. Maybe you have to wait until it gets pulled over by a cop. Resorts Casino has a “Star Walk of Fame” where they have stars of Frank Sinatra and Don Rickles, among others, implanted in the Boardwalk entrance like the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Philadelphia Music Alliance also has a Walk of Fame in front of the Academy of Music.

Money being tight these days, I think we should go in the direction of a South Jersey Walk of Fame, but where would we put it? The Cherry Hill Mall jumps to mind immediately, but I am open to suggestions and you should send your ideas to As for the worthy people and places, here are some of my submissions:

Rexy’s, Bruce Willis, The Pub Circle, Mr. Softee, Cozy Morley, Roger Wilco’s, Springer’s Ice Cream, Cowtown Rodeo, Joe Flacco, Mart Pretzels, Atco Dragway, The Mount Royal Inn, Patti Smith, The Ocean Drive, Bayard’s Chocolates, the view from the Sea Isle/Avalon Bridge, Pitman’s Broadway Theatre, The Juliano Brothers, Heritage’s, the Cherry Hill Mall Santa, The Latin Casino, Donkey’s Place, Ali Larter, Admiral Wilson Blvd., Laura’s Fudge, Oscar Jenkins, Cooper River Park, Bob Shryock, The Scottish Rite Auditorium, the Jersey Devil, Lucy the Elephant, Mike Trout, Chubby’s, The Winslow Hotel, panzarottis, The Tramcar, Mitchell’s Comedy Cafe, Jim Whelan, Rowan University, Michael Landon, Pal Joey’s, Clementon Park and Corey Clement.

Now go out and make something happen so someday you make this list.

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 15, Issue 5 (August 2018).

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