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Jack Foley







              Jack Foley was born in August, 1940, during the war, at Fitkin Hospital in

              Neptune, New Jersey. His parents were living in near-by Asbury Park, and
              his father, forty-five years old, worked as a telegrapher at Fort Monmouth
              Army  Installation.  The  family  moved  first  to  Philadelphia  and  then

              permanently  to  the  village  of  Port  Chester,  New  York,  where  his  father
              managed  a  Western  Union  office  and  where  Foley  grew  up.  Some  years
              earlier,  Foley's  father  had  been  a  moderately  successful  tap  dancer  in
              vaudeville and on the Broadway stage. He occasionally made mention of
              his family but would speak far more often of the people he knew in show

              business, particularly of his great mentor, George M. Cohan. The son grew
              up  learning  a  great  deal  about  turn-of-the-century  performers  whom  his
              father would speak of with affection and passion.



              An  only  child,  Foley  understood  "family"  to  be  primarily  nuclear:  father,
              mother,  child.  He  met  only  one  member  of  his  father's  family,  his  aunt
              Goldie, who, like his father and their brother, Wayne, had been a musical
              comedy  performer.  His  mother  had  a  considerable  number  of  relatives

              living  in  her  hometown,  Perth  Amboy,  New  Jersey,  and  they  were
              occasionally visited but not frequently. Foley felt that he barely knew these
              people.  Identifying  with  his  Irish-American  father  rather  than  with  his

              Italian-American mother, Foley sensed himself to be somewhat isolated in
              Port  Chester,  whose  population  included  many  Italians.  He  learned  later
              that there were Irish Americans in Port Chester, but the people he knew
              and  the  children  he  played  with  tended  to  be  Italian.  He  had  nothing
              against  Italians  and  loved  his  mother's  Italian  cooking,  but  his  father's

              stories and the absence of any actual examples of Irish people tended to
              make the Irish appear to be a deeply magical group. An acceptance and
              sentimentalization of the Irish was also a factor in American culture of the

              time. Films such as Going My Way (1944) and The Quiet Man (1952) made
              Irish  Catholics  seem  to  be  romantic,  interesting  figures.  Foley  was  also
              part of the last generation to experience "The Golden Age of Radio" in its
           '  full glory.                                 3
                                                                                          Litterateur
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