Writer Thomas Wolfe penned the novel "You Can’t Go Home Again." However, on Sunday Frankfort native and film and theater great George C. Wolfe proved it can be done, triumphantly returning to his hometown to be honored for his accomplishments.
At the first of two events sponsored by the Capital City Museum, folks packed the Grand Theatre for “George C. Wolfe: At Home on Broadway,” which included an introduction by fellow native son Robert Barry Fleming, who is artistic director of the Actors Theatre of Louisville; a one-on-one on-stage interview with journalist Betty Baye; and a showering of gifts from students in the Frankfort High School Drama Club — of which Wolfe was once a member.
Beyond the hoopla, it was Wolfe’s words that resonated most. He said it was ironic how he and other African Americans were denied entry into theaters such as the Grand during his youth because of their race, and that it was fascinating to be back.
“People telling you ‘no’ are one of the most valuable steps for you evolving the muscles you need so that you end up saying ‘yes’ to yourself,” he told the crowd, adding that he has also been fortunate to have supporters — including his grandmother — who helped him in his journey, as well as a fair amount of luck.
Wolfe also announced he is in the process of developing a screenplay based in Frankfort from 1924-54 and stressed the importance of believing in yourself. “You exist in every single story,” he added.
At the event, which brought in nearly $40,000 for the museum, Frankfort author and filmmaker Jerry Deaton also named a scholarship in Wolfe's honor for FHS students who are interested in the arts.
We applaud the organizers of Wolfe’s homecoming. Retired state legislator Hank Hancock came up with the idea, and a hard-working committee of volunteers, including Wolfe's lifelong friend Sheila Mason Burton, worked tirelessly to pull it off. We agree with Capital City Museum board member Steve Brooks, who told The State Journal, “It’s about time that Frankfort said, ‘Hey thanks, George.’”