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, March 4, 2009

Advertising icon Len Dresslar Jr.

Very few media users would recognize his face, but most knew his voice. Celebrity came once to Elmer "Len" Dresslar by way of a TV commercial voiceover. His was the voice of General Mills' trade character the Jolly Green Giant. Even more unusual was that Dresslar's very profitable role in this long-lasting ad campaign consisted merely of the three words "ho, ho,ho."

In this campaign, a cartoon-style giant, green from head to elf-shoed toe, smiled benignly, hands on hips, as the familiar jingle played and the voices sang, "From the valley of the jolly--ho, ho, ho--Green Giant." Those who grew up hearing this jingle could never forget its tune until their dieing day--even if they tried.

The Giant dates from 1928 but wasn't green until the late 1950s. Concerned that the trade character was frightening to some children, General Mills opted for a kinder, gentler giant--one who smiled a lot and was green. Drellsar periodically re-recorded the "ho, ho, ho" part in his deep bass-baritone voice until he retired in 1999.

Dresslar was also a jazz singer and recorded frequently with the jazz quartet Singers Unlimited.

His voice was used in other ad campaigns, as well, including the part of Snap in Rice Krispies' Snap, Crackle and Pop commercials and the part of Dig'Em the frog for Sugar Smacks cereal. His was for a time the voice of the Marlboro Man, and he did voiceovers for Dinty Moore beef stew and Amoco products. His celebrity, however, was built around those three little Green Giant words. He died in 2005.

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