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 30, 2010

Iconic TV role: Arte Johnson

Arthur "Arte" Johnson is a diminutive actor whose defining roles, both on the series "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In," that brought his celebrity were as Wolfgang, the cigarette-smoking, helmeted German soldier who peeped out from behind a plant, made some odd, heavily accented observation, and ended with "Verrrrry interestink," and as Tyrone F. Horneigh, lecherous dirty old man.

This comedy program ran from 1968 to 1973. In the Horneigh role, Johnson was usually shown in amorous pursuit of Ruth Buzzi, who played the hideous-looking spinster Gladys Ormphby. Horneigh, shaggy of hair and dressed flasher style in a trenchcoat, would plop down beside Ormphby on a park bench, make some absurdly suggestive remark, and end up being walloped over the head with Ormphby's purse.

After receiving his communications degree, Johnson had planned to work in advertising but instead got a small part in a production of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." Then he found bit parts in such TV shows as "The Twilight Zone," Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Dr. Kildare," The Jack Benny Program," and "Bewitched."

During and after the years he spent on "Laugh-In," he did appearances on a great many other TV shows, including "I Dream of Jennie," The Andy Williams Show," "Love, American Style," "The Flip Wilson Show," The Partridge Family,and "The Dean Martin Show."

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