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.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Inventor/Innovator Art Fry

Some of the most delightful innovations are the simplest. A fine example is the Post-It Note, invented in the early 1970s by a 3M Company development researcher named Art Fry, who also was a Presbyterian church choir leader.

When marking pages in his hymnal, he noticed how often the markers would fall out, losing his place. A fellow 3M employee, a research scientist, had in 1968 developed an unusual glue, one that stuck, but could be easily pulled off without leaving a mark and reused. This scientist, Dr. Spence Silver, had covered a bulletin board with this glue. Pieces of paper could be stuck to it and could easily be removed.

Fry envisioned the process working in reverse. The company tested the Post-It Note pad by giving a few to their own secretaries, who loved the things. With proper promotion, the little yellow pads soared into popularity with the public.

Eventually, the pads also were produced in colors other than yellow. The clever, cheerful looking Fry is now retired and surely must take great delight in how his innovation has sold.

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