Monday, September 13, 2010

"Success is never final" - WInston Churchill

"I can hear money being counted!"
Labor Day in Baltimore, and people were all involved with two people at opposite ends of the entertainment business life cycle - Justin Bieber and Jerry Lewis.

Young Bieber "performed" at the State Fair the other night.  I understand that a lot of his singing was actually lip-synching to recorded songs he may or may not have recorded.  It matters not! He's the current teen fave heart throb big deal and you could have easily sold out six fairgrounds worth of tickets, instead of the one he did, for which all the ducats were scarfed up in 18 minutes. The Fairgrounds location is right across the street from Peggy's office, which I'm sure was vibrating harmonically on Sunday evening from the gleeful screams of the 12,500 in attendance.  Justin is this year's David Cassidy or Shaun Cassidy or Bobby Sherman or Leif Garrett, and there's nothing wrong with that.  He's not about to change the face of music for all time, as were the Beatles or Elvis, but he means a lot to these young girls, and why not?  He sings his songs, does his dance, they go nuts, and their adolescent bonds are formed with the other 12,498 girls, plus someone's big brother who was three nights late for Bret Michaels, but stayed around anyway.

  I don't see a need to pick on Bieber, as some do.  So his music is lightweight and he wears his hair in an eccentric fashion?  He's in show business.  His job is to give the customer what they want and let that old money roll in.  The only difference between him and Bobby Sherman is that Sherman was big in the early 70s and failed to roll that popularity into something else, as did Donny Osmond and the Cassidy boys, so now he was, at last report, working as a paramedic in Los Angeles.   Today, these guys make big money on not just concert tickets and CD sales, but they ca$h in on licensing deals that puts their mugs on everything from t-shirts to sippy cups.  They'd put their mug on coffee mugs too, if their fans drank coffee.  Mr Bieber will not arrive at middle age and find himself lifting patients onto a gurney or patching up gunshot victims.  By the time the first report cards come out this fall for people his age, his report card will say that he has earned enough money to live on forever.  Not bad at his age.

"Live on forever" might be the goal of another showbiz notable: the one, and apparently only, Jerry Lewis.  Now, I have to abandon all pretense of impartiality when it comes to discussing this man's work. Yes, he is most certainly an egomaniac.  He once said, "People hate me because I am a multifaceted, talented, wealthy, internationally famous genius.”  No shrinking violet, he.  But he also said this, and be sure to read the whole thing..."I am probably the most selfish man you will ever meet in your life. No one gets the satisfaction or the joy that I get out of seeing kids realize there is hope.”

At 84, Jerry is no longer as physically active as he was.  He said at the outset of the show that he'd be spending a lot of time perched atop a stool, and he didn't do much dancing or cavorting.  But, google the man, and see what he has done, and youtube the man and see some of his comedic masterpieces. Sure, he's in love with himself.  No one could do the things he has done without falling in love with him - or - herself.  A modest entertainer has only a modest career, sad to say.   And some wholly immodest people (George Hamilton's name comes to mind) aren't exactly legendary in their field because they lacked more than a modest amount of talent.

How are you going to hate on a man who has done what he has done for his "Kids"?   To see him schlumping around, clowning and begging to get donations for the MDA Telethon, is to see passion in action.  Try getting some mumbly, introspective, ponderous pontificator  to ask for money, and see if you get almost 60 million semolians for the benefit of people with neuro-muscular diseases.  I think not.  There is a place for the humble and the shy and there is doggone well a place in our world for the Jerry Lewises among us, although he may be the only one. 

No comments: