Did Ma & Pa, you know … do it?

So often I hear people decry celebrity worship in society. “It’s a bad thing,” many say. “It’s ruinous,” say others. “I’m going to have a shot of Hornitos,” say still others. Hmmm.

Having worked in the news media in my (current) past life, I know many reporters who would rather cover an accident involving dead poultry than having to work on something that perpetuates the celebrity frenzy. (I don’t remember ever having covered a fatal poultry accident unless you count a tornado that destroyed a chicken house in East Texas. The damndest thing that tornado, it missed two mobile homes and hit the chicken house. My boss said the fact that it missed hitting a mobile home was reason enough to send my story out on the Associated Press wire).

But the cold, hard truth is that someone out there can’t get enough news about celebrities. Each time Paris has sex, Britney has a pimple, Jen kisses someone, or a rap star gets shot, it’s a whole big thing.

I know that not every actor, singer, sports star, and so forth gets the coverage that the aforementioned do — unless they get arrested or in a fight. But still I wonder who among the stars of bygone days would have been the latest gossip had even half the communication outlets were available back then? For instance: Percy Kilbride and Marjorie Main (photo above), the stars of the old Ma & Pa Kettle movies. I just picked them at random but it’s actually kind of a good choice for pondering such a topic.

Main, according to a Wikipedia entry, had a near pathological fear of germs although it did not interfere with her career. An Academy Award nominee for her Ma Kettle role, (kind of an amazing factoid by itself) Main also lived openly as a lesbian with actress Spring Byington.

As for Kilbride, I have no idea what kind of dirt he might have brought to satisfy the hunger for celebrity gossip. He was a character actor who played country hicks such as Pa Kettle even though he was raised in San Francisco. Kilbride died after being struck by a car in 1964. No matter whether you are a popular or an obscure actor or performer, getting run over by a car usually gets you some some ink.

I also know an interest and worship in celebrity is nothing new. I just think it’s taken to the extreme today. So how about it, did you hear about Britney’s new pimple? Did Jen kiss anyone today? Did Paris have sex? Is there a new video of it? Come on now, people want to know.

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