About Fame

The image as a destruct mechanism began with mass market entertainment.  Back in the old silent daze the most popular movie personality was a guy named Fatty Arbuckle.  Fatty was a jolly jovial harmless buffoon whose movies had people rolling in the aisles for nearly a decade.  He was the highest paid movie star on earth in the days of zero income tax and he lived large.  The public adored him as the image created by the movies: harmless. Then came a bombshell.  At a raucous, three-day party in 1921, a young starlet became severely ill and died four days later. Newspapers went wild with the story: popular silent-screen comedian Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle had killed Virginia Rappe with his weight while savagely raping her. Though the newspapers of the day reveled in the gory rumored details, juries found little evidence that Arbuckle was in any way connected with her death. They completely exonerated him but it made no difference to a public that had believed him to be harmless fun lover and not a man who would ever attend a wild Hollywood Party.  Arbuckle was destroyed, completely and forever. Details here

Next comes the fabulous silent success, Charlie Chaplin, known as the harmless victim "The Little Tramp."   He was recognized world wide and his genius became well known.  Again, he made his money before income tax and lived larger than anyone can imagine.  Chaplin was not big, he was gigantic.  Silent movies were the ideal vehicle for a country in which millions of immigrants who spoke no English found a hero who always rose from the bottom conquer the elite.  Nothing could touch him......until.  From day one it seems like he could not keep his hands off of under age women/girls.  He married many but he was a set up for anyone who decided to "get him."  That someone turned out to be a not all that young (22) Joan Barry who claimed she had a child by him out of wedlock, and the lurid paternity trial that was carried in newspapers far and wide ended up ruining him.  His prior reputation of shacking up with teen aged girls slanted the trial from Day One.  Even though blood tests proved he was not the father he lost in court. Everything seemed to fall in on a bitter Chaplin who left for Europe never to really return to either Hollywood or commercial success.  Once "The Little Tramp" became a child molester and deserter of a family it was over.

Then we have Ingrid Bergman who was the absolute top actress from the late thirties til shortly after WWII ended.  It was her lot that she played a ton of nuns and near saints so that this pure and pristine image of her became real in the public mind.  So, after the war the very married Bergman did a movie in Italy with the Italian director Roberrto Rosellini and she not only shacked up with him but got publicly pregnant.  An outraged public basically killed the three time Oscar winner for more than three decades for her "sins."

So now Tiger is finding out the major downside of a "nice guy" image if the image doesn't fit the man.  However, his fall from grace isn't movie star stuff, it's athlete-celebrity and an athlete who becomes an underdog can be even more powerful than a nice guy who can do no wrong.  It ain't over for him if he can come back and win again, I can hear the thunderous cheers from gallery after gallery as the newly emerging Woods triumphs again.  Tiger Tiger uber alles......just play golf and das iss alles.

No comments: