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, February 25, 2009

Advertising icon Orville Redenbacher

One-time farm boy Orville Redenbacher found celebrity in his role as the spokesman for his own brand of dependable, fluffy popcorn.

Wealth came earlier, in the fertilizer business. His interest in developing a better variety of corn for making popcorn led him to begin marketing Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popping Corn in 1971.

Someone talked him into appearing in his company's TV commercials, and, like Colonel Sanders of KFC and Dave Thomas of Wendy's, he "fit the product" perfectly. He was a tall, thin, slightly corny older man with white hair parted in the middle, a bow tie, suspenders, heavy-rimmed eyeglasses, and a distinctly Midwestern manner. He looked like someone who would be named Orville. A glamour boy he was not, but he had good credibility. Prior to ending his long string of commercials in 1995, he sometimes brought his grandson Gary in to appear with him.

Redenbacher sold out to Hunt-Wesson in 1976, and the popcorn brand was bought in 1990 by ConAgra. Redenbacher himself died by drowning due to a heart attack he suffered while taking a whirlpool bath in 1995 at his California condo.

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