Those thoughts were articulated by a show biz legend, explaining why she feels she’s one of the last vaudeville stars:
“I don’t think it’s because people aren’t as talented,” she said. “I think it’s because it’s the nature of the game now.
“It [used to] take years to become a really polished star, and now you turn on the TV and there is some kind of contest and suddenly somebody’s a star in 20 minutes.
“Unfortunately that doesn’t last very long, because there is always someone the very next week. So I think the instantaneous thing has changed.
“At one point Andy Warhol said, ‘In the future I think everyone’s going to be famous for 15 minutes.’ Right? Well, it’s turned into 15 seconds.”
Or maybe 1.5 seconds.
By the way, the person who said all that is Liza Minnelli, talking to Next magazine, and she knows whereof she speaks.
Except that there always used to be this form of catch-a-rising-star entertainment, from Major Bowes in the 1930s to Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour to Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts and beyond.
Those shows regularly highlighted unknowns, some of whom went on to become knowns, just like on Idol, The Voice, and so on, the programs pitting wannabes against each other for the chance at applause and success.
While many of the contestants fell through the cracks of the starmaking machine, some others glittered and sparkled for years of lucrative luminosity. Just like today.
Still, the mania for overnight fame seems to be more of a phenomenon than ever, so I’d say Liza’s right. She’s always right! (Except for a couple of her marital choices, lol.)
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 7, 2013