— Andy Warhol was wrong. In the future, you'll get much more than 15 minutes of fame. You'll get enshrined in 15 different Halls of Fame — but will anyone care?
Pete Rose finally earned Hall of Fame honors last week, but not for being baseball's all-time hits leader. Rose was inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame. Ironically, pro wrestling might have been the only sport Rose didn't bet on. Organizers, however, say Rose was honored for his promotional work at Wrestlemania events.
At a Hilton hotel ballroom in New York City, Rose was said to be overwhelmed with emotion and so was Jesse Ventura, who capped the event with a 23-minute speech.
"If by chance in 2008, maybe we ought to put a wrestler in the White House," the former Minnesota governor told 2,000 fans, recounting his unlikely rise from body slamming to politics.
Some sports fans may think it's ironic that Rose is now immortalized in the Wrestling Hall of Fame. But is it really? In truth, baseball is no longer our national pastime. Our new national pastime is fame itself, as illustrated by the more than 500 halls of fame popping up across America, with more on nearly a daily basis, honoring almost anything.
Hall of fame museums honor excellence in marble shooting (in Wildwood, N.J.), dog mushing (in Knit, Alaska), clowning (in Milwaukee), and even stripping (in Las Vegas, of course). Real estate brokers, insurance agents and accountants also have their halls of fame.
With such the glut, you can expect overlap, especially for extraordinary people. President Ronald Reagan was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1989, the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1994, and Sy Sperling's Hair Hall of Fame in 1997.
You'd expect to find Martin Luther in Canton Ohio's Christian Hall of Fame. He's also a kingpin at the National Bowling Hall of Fame in St. Louis, where you'll find how Luther, an avid bowler, helped revolutionize the sport, even as he was sparking the Protestant Reformation.
Many of these teeny-tiny Halls of Fame don't generate much attention. However, even a small, cheesy Hall of Fame can be a gold mine. For nearly 20 years, Michael Bohdan, an exterminator has been operating the Cockroach Hall of Fame and Museum — a glass case in the corner of his shop — and it has turned him into a minor celebrity, with appearances on CNN, Good Morning America, and Animal Planet.
Bohdan's Hall of Fame consists of preserved insects that are decorated to look like celebrities. They include Marilyn Monroach and Liberoche, a bejeweled critter perched before an itty-bitty grand piano
With 4,000 visitors a year, Bohdan probably sells more souvenir T-shirts than most exterminators.
Rose may still have a shot at the Gaming Hall of Fame in Las Vegas. Wayne Newton is already an inductee. But how can they admit Rose without first making a spot for Kenny Rogers?
You can probably find controversy in almost any hall of fame, even at Ohio's Accounting Hall of Fame, where they honor T. Coleman Andrews, the first head of the Internal Revenue Service, who later denounced income tax as a "devouring evil" that is "slowly but surely destroying the middle class."
Indeed, the Wolf Files checked out Halls of Fame throughout America, and found these stunning controversies: Not in the Black Hall of Fame: John Kerry
Just like Jackie Robinson, Bill Clinton broke the color barrier in 2002 to become the first white inductee of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. In 1988, Clinton was famously dubbed "America's first black president" by Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison, and that fame seems to have caught Sen. John Kerry's eye.
"President Clinton was often known as the first black president," Kerry told the American Urban Radio Network earlier this month. "I wouldn't be upset if I could earn the right to be second."
Kerry's not the only white presidential candidate aiming to become America's second "black president." Fringe Republican Barry Weintraub, who ran for president as "Barry Who" in 2000, announced months earlier that he, too, wished to be the honorary candidate of color.
Though a long-shot, Weintraub would be America's first black Jewish Republican president, opening the door for a "Black Jewish Republican" Hall of Fame, which will probably be located in Weintraub's closet. Not in the Robot Hall of Fame: Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger won the California recall election last year, but The Terminator was terminated at Pittsburgh's Robot Hall of Fame — where the muscle-bound cyborg lost out to that bleeping R2D2 from Star Wars.
Carnegie Mellon University opened the museum last year to honor "noteworthy robots, both real and fictional, along with their creators in recognition of the increasing benefits robots are bringing to society."
Luke Skywalker's lovable R2 unit was joined by HAL-9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Two real-life robots were also among the first nut-and-bold legends inducted: NASA's Mars Pathfinder Micro Rover Flight Experiment — nicknamed "Sojourner" — and General Motor's "Unimate."
Arnold's Terminator will just have to join Data from Star Trek and Robbie the Robot from Lost in Space and to see who will be thrown out on the scrap heap next year.
Not Inducted in the Hilton Hotel Traveler Hall of Fame: Paris Hilton Jimmy Carter, the Rolling Stones, and Amelia Earhart are among the more famous members of Hilton Hotel's Traveler Hall of Fame. Of course, if you stay in enough hotels, you can get hall of fame status, too. The Traveler Hall of Fame was all a promotional stunt. Hilton will actually give you Hall of Fame status.
Over the years, the company has found reasons to induct Christopher Columbus, Elvis and Moses, even if they weren't necessarily loyal Hilton customers. The big question might be why Paris Hilton hasn't entered the family company's Travel Hall of Fame. After all, she's certainly proved she knows how to get around.
Not in the Toy Hall of Fame: Raggedy Andy
When Rochester's National Toy Hall of Fame inducted Raggedy Ann, her old sidekick Andy was feeling extra raggedy. He was snubbed in 2002, and that's no yarn.
Raggedy Andy may still get elected to Rochester, New York's toy museum. But with G.I. Joe and Barbie's Malibu meat muffin Ken also competing, don't expect a rags-to-riches story. Laugh at Mr. Potato Head all you want. He was elected years ago, and left Mrs. Potato Head out in the cold. Not in the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum: Tiny Tim
American Idol reject William Hung is just the latest in a long line of so-bad-they're-good singing sensations. The latest and perhaps greatest may have been ukulele-strumming falsetto-squawking Tiny Tim, his hit international hit "Tiptoe Through the Tulips."
In 1969, the hippie entertainer married on The Tonight Show in 1969, before 35 million viewers in one of the most celebrated TV events of its time. The sensation ended, but Tiny Tim kept performing, popping up on where-are-they-know TV segments, as he remained one of the few ukulele players with a hit song.
Year after year, he was nominated for honors at the Ukulele Hall of Fame in Duxbury, Mass., but the quirky singer, who died in 1996, still hasn't been admitted, even though he's the only ukulele player most Americans can name — proving that fame isn't always important to a Hall of Fame.
As a consolation, if you tiptoe through the Ukulele Hall of Fame gift shop, you can still purchase Tiny Tim's music. In 30 years, where will William Hung's version of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" be on sale? Perhaps it will be in the "Hall of 15 Minutes of Fame," which I plan to open, purely to insure my momentary immortality.
First, however, I'm heading to Milwaukee's International Clown Hall of Fame in May, where I'll help induct Pinto Colvig as the original Bozo the clown in the 1940s. The world is now filled with Bozos, all of whom want to be stars.
Buck Wolf is entertainment producer at ABCNEWS.com. The Wolf Files is published Tuesdays. If you want to receive weekly notice when a new column is published, join the e-mail list.