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, March 29, 2010

Iconic TV role: Gabe Kaplan

Today, Gabe Kaplan is very well known among his fellow high-level professional poker players, but to the American TV audience, he is closely identified with his portrayal of Gabriel "Gabe" Kotter in the sitcom "Welcome Back, Kotter."

This popular show, which ran from 1975 to 1979, was about an unconventional high school teacher who, only ten years out of school himself, comes back to teach at the same hard-bittin inner-city Brooklyn school where he had been a student.
His students were a motley but funny gaggle of trouble-prone youth collectively called "the Sweathogs."

Kaplan was marvelous as Kotter, but the brightest star born in this show was John Travolta in the role of Vinnie Barbarino, the greaser who got all the girls.

Kaplan had begun his show biz career doing stand-up comedy. His big break was a series of appearances on the "Johnny Carson Show," which led to his role as Kotter.

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