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.

Monday, June 15, 2009

IInventor/Innovators Walter Morrison & Warren Franscioni

One of the great toy innovations of the second half of the 1900s was the Frisbee, which was designed by Walter Frederick Morrison and his boss at that time, Warren Franscioni, who ran a family-owned bottled gas business in California.

Both men had been pilots during World War II.

The inspiration for their new toy was the metal pie tins that children had sailed through the air for many years prior to the plastic Frisbee, which was, literally, a garage invention.

The downward tilt in the Frisbee's surface allowed air pressure to give it the lift needed for smooth flight, and unlike a metal pie tin, the Frisbee was less likely to hurt when caught.

The two men's 1948 innovation couldn't have happened at a better time: during the UFO craze when seemingly everyone was seeing flying saucers.

The pair drifted apart after the gas business went under and Franscioni moved to South Dakota. Morrison kept producing the Frisbee under a different corporate name and eventually sold rights to the Frisbee to Wham-O, an established toy company that had started with the wooden slingshot. The flying disc soon became that firm's big seller.

When Franscioni found out what had happened, he began efforts to secure some of the money for himself but died in 1974 before any division of the profits could be made.

The name Frisbee was inspired by a Connecticut pie company, Frisbie Pies, whose tins were flung in prior times.

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