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Last Updated 3/9/2009
WE HONORED JAN MURRAY

It was another world, another time. It was difficult for a youngster growing up in the Depression to accept the fact that his parents just couldn’t afford to buy him the wonderful roller skates for just a buck-and-a-quarter. In those days, if you didn’t have any money there was no welfare or food stamps or anything like that. You simply did without.

But in growing up on Longfellow Avenue in the East Bronx, this little boy, like many who often sat in the right field stands at Yankee Stadium watching Babe Ruth -had a vision and more importantly he had a history, a heritage and a warm and loving family.
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Times were hard and Murray Janofsky had to leave Clinton High to find work. His first job as poking bubbles in dolls’ heads on an assembly line and when his dream of becoming a manufacturing tycoon ended he plunged into developing the comedic and innate talent which was to make him a headliner in every major nightclub America and Europe. No one will forget his pioneering days on game show television’s "Dollar A Second" and "Treasure Hunt."

From the Borscht Belt to Beverly Hills, surrounded by his wife Toni, his children Warren, Celia, Karen and Howard and his many grandchildren, Jan is truly blessed. He expresses the vitality of life in his daily activities and in pursuing numerous humanitarian because of his experiences growing up on those beloved "City Streets."

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The "World’s Greatest New York High School Reunion" in California and at Beverly Hills High School no less?

Despite the obvious differences like great weather, open spaces, a huge parking lot and the absence of stress, “our scene” was quickly transformed over many miles and many years to the place which we all, in our own way, forever cherish.

While there were no crowded streets, there were specially prepared sewers, imported stickball bats, and specially built stoops. .. and of course, the beloved Spauideen.
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Sol Levine - Lou Gossett - Jon Voight - Jan Murray & Lou Zigman

While there were no Nathan’s Franks there were great ethnic tastes from the Stage Deli and our own My Mother’s Knishes. And while there were no Dr. Browns there were egg creams galore and New York Seltzer.

But most importantly there were some 2,000 transplanted New Yorkers from all over New York. And for a few hours everyone was able to sit, play or just plain schmooze about the old days and their very special memories.

Each high school was identified and people had a chance to look for friends from their old neighborhoods. Some actually renewed acquaintances from thirty or more years ago.

Oh yes, even some famous people. New York City graduates, Gene Barry, Milton Berle, Jack Carter, Martin Landau, Jan Murray, Carl Reiner, Louis Gossett, Jr., and Jon Voight came and participated in the reunion too.
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Milton Berle -Huntz Hall -Jan Murray -Louie Quinn & Jackie Vernon. After the reunion, in the parking lot, everyone shuffled off to the auditorium to a typical New York music and variety show.

Masters of Ceremony Stanley Ralph Ross and Stan Irwin guided the show with their special talents and Garrett and Hugh Fink were riotously funny.

Singers Connie Woodson and Don Synder almost stopped the show with their duet from Phantom while Brooklynite Roslind Kind’s bombastic energy and song kept everyone enthralled.

Reminisces from Martin Landau, Gene Barry, Carl Reiner and Henry Tobias about their friendship with Jan Murray and of their childhood experiences was quite delightful. A very special highlight was the reappearance of Milton Berle who captured everyone’s attention with his great humor, sense of timing and his great love for Jan.

This wonderful evening was heightened by the remarks of co-honorary chairs Louis Gossett, Jr., Jon Voight, when introducing Jan Murray, described him “as a great symbol of love energy that only a New York City boy can generate.”
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The whole day was capped when Jan invited his wife Toni, their children and all of Jan’s friends to the stage as they and the audience stood, arm and arm, singing the New York “anthem” New York New York.

Coincidentally, the New York Times handed out free newspapers so we could all enjoy a typical Sunday morning the next day.
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