About this Blog

"In the future everybody will be world-famous for 15 minutes." So said the bleached-out, late lamented artist Andy Warhol. Having lived and worked in New York City, Warhol came to fully grasp the hold celebrity has on us. In this very famous sentence, he meant to point out that in a culture fixated on fame, many people will suddenly flash brightly onto the public screen, then--poof--will just as quickly disappear from public view--like shooting stars. Other individuals derive their celebrity from one stellar accomplishment (one hit song, one iconic role, etc.) that they never again match.

This blog is devoted to the one part of our celebrity culture that no one has written much about: temporary/one-shot celebrities.

The pace of modern life has quickened, and now we hear people speaking of someone's 15 seconds of fame. These "celebrities with a lower-case c" who will appear in this blog sometimes come to us from the world of entertainment, sometimes from the world of news. All are fascinating.

The need of our communications media for a continual stream of new material assures that we will have no end of colorful people who go quickly, where celebrity is concerned, from zero to hero (or villain) and back to zero. Now you see 'em, now you don't. What a crazy world, eh?

Temporary celebrities coming from the world of entertainment include one-hit recording artists; TV and movie icons who, although they might have had a great many accomplishments in their career, are remembered for one big role; standouts of reality TV; sports figures remembered for one remarkable accomplishment; and people whose celebrity came from one big role in a commercial or print ad.

News-based temporary celebrities come in many forms: mass/serial killers, other murderers of special note, sex-crime offenders, disgraced figures of government/military/business/media/religion, spies/traitors, hoaxers, femmes/hommes fatale, heroes, whistle blowers, inventors/innovators, and victims.

Celebrity Blogsburg will consider each category in turn.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One-hit wonder C.W. McCall

"C.W. McCall" was a sort of stage name used by Omaha advertising director William Dale Fries, who had created this character as an advertising device. The original C.W. McCall was the character name of a truck driver for a bread company. The radio ads that featured him were so popular, even winning a Clio award, that Fries used the name again when he recorded two albums of country music. The second album, Black Bear Road (1975), contained the song Convoy, which became a sort of truckers' anthem and hit No. 1 in 1976 on both the country and pop charts. Fries' voice was perfect for the song, on which he is a trucker whose CB "handle" is Rubber Duck. At that time, citizens' band radio was a pop culture craze in the United States. In the song, Rubber Duck is part of a 85-truck convoy that defies the "smokies" and the tollbooths as he talks CB jargon with his fellow trucker Pig Pen.

In 1978, Kris Kristofferson starred in a Sam Peckinpah movie, also titled Convoy. Fries gave up music after his one big hit and later became mayor of Ouray, Colorado.

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