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H'w'd needs humble sip of Joe-biz.

Munching a midnight hamburger at Joe Allen's in New York the other night, I realized how badly Hollywood needs its own Joe Allen wall. Starting in the mid-1960s, the veteran restaurateur has faithfully assembled posters heralding Broadway's biggest bombs. There they are, arrayed before you--much heralded shows that closed in one night. They include "Moose Murders" of 1983, "Breakfast at Tiffanys" from 1966 (it starred Mary Tyler Moore and Richard Chamberlain) and "Kelly" from 1965, which appropriately told the story of a man who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge.

Customers of the latenight watering hole already are campaigning for "Spider Man" to assume a place on the wall even though it's still running, but Joe Allen is strict about his criteria.

Which Hollywood restaurant would qualify for a wall of movie infamy? Musso and Franks, perhaps the oldest in town, disdains posters--its well-aged bordello-style wallpaper is itself historic. The folks who own Nate 'n AI's are too rich to have a sense of humor. New haunts like Craig's are too insecure about offending customers. Joe Allen, it seems, has nothing to worry about.

For the archive of Peter Barfs columns, visit

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Title Annotation:first look
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:May 2, 2011
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