Editor’s Note: Popular musical performer Frankie Marra shared the following thoughts on his friend Tom Kane following his death last year. This artistic tribute originally ran in the Feb. 17, 2011 edition of the Bay Ridge Eagle.
Like one of Tom’s favorite bands, The Who, that asks the question, “Who are you?”
Tom was the James Dean movie “giant” — Jimmy Stewart, Jimmy Cagney, Jackie Gleason, John Wayne and Jack Nicholson all rolled into one.
He was the uncle or brother who, at the last moment, scored tickets to a ballgame and bought the hot dogs and beer before you even sat down.
He was the guy who never ever forgot your birthday or Christmas and would brighten up those times with just his presence. He’d be there for a Communion or Confirmation and tell you stories of his own school days.
He was the guy who coached your little league baseball team and, after you lost, took you to Weston’s for burgers and fries afterwards anyway.
Tom was a Red Sox fan in a New York town. We gave him “Special Dispensation.” How could you not?
His smile was like Garfield the Cat after a plate of lasagna.
He was my personal Bob Dylan alter ego. We both spoke in Dylanese and no one else could understand us when we did.
If he told you he would be somewhere, you could bet your life on it.
He was Nathan’s hot dogs, knishes, chocolate egg creams, Junior’s cheesecake and Topps baseball cards.
He was the guy who sat on the stoop when Good Humor, Mister Softee or Bungelow Bar came and bought the only kid who didn’t have money an ice cream.
He was as Brooklyn as “The Cyclone,” Coney Island, Ebbets Field and the bridge that’s been sold over a million times.
He was Jackie Gleason. He was Jackie Gleason playing Max Bialystock in The Producers. He was Tom Kane playing Jackie Gleason playing Max Bialystock in The Producers.
As God took him after his final curtain call, I looked at the Verrazano Bridge from Fifth Avenue and, if you listened closely, you could hear a faint, “And away we go!”
“Tommy, you’re the greatest!”