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.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

One-hit wonder Tiny Tim

Surely Tiny Tim, born Herbert Butros Khaury, was the strangest entetainer ever to come down the pike. He was a good-sized man, over six feet and well-fed looking, yet gangling, geekish and given to odd, girlish mannerisms. He usually sang in a high, trembling falsetto, although his actual range was that of a baritone, and he accompanied himself by strumming a ukulele. His hair was long and apparently unkempt. His one big hit was Tiptoe Through the Tulips, which was an oldie like many of the numbers he used in his act. His singing harkened back to the days of Vaudeville and Rudy Valee.

Tiny was a walking font of knowledge about America's musical past, although he also sang more recent songs such as Your Cheatin' Heart or Are You Lonesome Tonight (It took guts to follow Elvis on that one).

Much of America got to know him on the Johnny Carson Show, and a record audience watched (and probably made wisecracks) when Tiny married "Miss Vicki," Victoria Budinger, who was a tender 17 compared to Tiny's 36 at that time, 1969--on the Carson Show. The couple divorced in 1971 having had a daugher, Tulip. His career floundered, he married again (to "Miss Jan"--his habit was to call everyone Miss this or Mr. that-- worked for a time with a circus and again divorced in 1995, soon thereafter marrying for a third time, this time around to "Miss Sue." In 1996, during a Minneapolis performance of Tiptoe Through the Tulips, he collapsed and died of a heart attack. There have been many entertainers who were diffrent and might be said to have danced to a different tune. Tiny Tim danced to a whole different orchestra.

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