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, March 24, 2009

Hoaxer Bob Hanson

Under the on-air name Ludlow Porch, radio show host Bob Hanson of Atlanta has pulled off many a harmless, delightful hoax.

Hanson owes the start of his long radio career to his late brother-in-law, Atlanta's great humor columnist Lewis Grizzard, who told Sports Illustrated about Hanson. The story that appeared in that magazine in 1972 resulted in an offer for Hanson to appear on WSB Radio in Atlanta.

Hanson's on-air humor was such that he was signed to do a regular show for station WRNG. A decade later, when that station changed its format, Hanson's show was moved to station WSB, and more recently, it moved again, to FunSeekers Radio Network.

One of Hanson's earliest radio hoaxes was an "interview" with the Rev. Anthony Slats of the Dunk 'n Dine Baptist Church of New Hope, TN. The good reverend's aim was to ask for help in his movement to stamp out animal nudity. "A nude dog is a rude dog" was his motto, and Hanson pictured the reverend placing large paper fig leaves on Atlanta's equestrian statues.

Another success was his vampire hoax, featuring an "interview" with a man who claimed to be one of only six practicing vampires in Georgia. This "interviewee" also claimed that his family members had been the first Methodist vampires is Hiawassee, GA.

Perhaps the most widely publicized of the various Ludlow Porch hoaxes, however, was the claim he made on his show one day that there is no such state as Montana. Have you ever been there? he asked his listeners. Have you ever met anyone from there? Of course not. There is no such state.

Sadly, more than 15,000 phone calls and 500 letters came in from listeners who solemnly assured Hanson that Montana really did exist. This spoof showed with crystal clarity the sorry state of public gullibility at that time in his listening area.

Hanson has also published at least 13 books of humor having titles such as Who Cares About Apathy? This one-time insurance adjuster has shown a rare abililty to find the humor in everyday life. He has been highly active in Georgia charities, and in 2007, he was inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame. Hanson is pictured in the video clip below regaling a group of geezers.

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