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.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Advertising icon John Moschitta, Jr.

In 1982, professional speed talker John Moschitta became one of those individuals destined to be remembered for a single commercial role. That iconic role was Mr. Spleen, white-collar office manager, who was pictured sitting at his desk engaged in a phone call and talking at a dizzying rate.

Most of us have a hard time just saying "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers." Moschitta, who has competed in speed-talking contests, went at it at roughly 450 words a minute--very, very fast, even for a New Yorker like himself. Good thing he hadn't been born in the South.

The commercial was for Federal Express; it was meant to convey the notion that shipping by that service was also very fast. The company eventually did around 80 versions of this commercial using Moschitta.

Moschitta also appeared on a number of TV shows, including Matt Houston, The A-Team, Ally McBeal, and Hollywood Squares. He put his talents to work in several movies, too, such as Young Doctors in Love, Transformers, and Dick Tracy.

Moschitta's claim to celebrity, however, overwhelmingly comes from his Federal Express commercial role.

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