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.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Iconiuc TV role: Bill Saluga

Younger visitors on this blogsite will not likely recognize the name Bill Saluga, or even that of his character Raymond J. Johnson, but older individuals could hardly have forgotten his one famous comedy routine, which began with "Oh......you can call me Ray, or you can call me Jay" and ended, "but you doesn't have to call me Mr. Johnson."

Anyone who never saw Saluga do this simple act cannot possibly imagine how funny it was, even after one had seen him do it a number of times.

Saluga made slight modifications to this routine, which featured Saluga sporting an unsavory mustache, a zoot suit, a wide-brimmed black hat, a too-wide necktie and a giant, floppy pocket hanky. Usually he held a cigar, and thus adorned, he would lean back and let fly with his familiar, "Oh......you can call me Ray," etc.

It was, and is, hard to explain why so simple a comedy act could possibly be so funny, but funny it was.

Saluga, a native of Ohio, had been a founding member of the comedy group Ace Trucking Company. He had done some TV commercial work prior to introducing his Johnson character on "The David Steinberg Show" in 1972.

He appeared on quite a number of other programs, such as "Redd Fox," "Murphy Brown," "Seinfeld," Designing Women" and "Home Improvement."

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