Bums on seats - the only test

There are performing artists who read reviews and there are those who don't. Jack Buchanan was at the top of his profession in the 1930's, appearing in films, making gramophone records, starring in shows, or producing them. Buchanan claimed never to read reviews; he believed that he would know soon enough if a show was a success by the number of ticket receipts. This was before the days when a star had an enormous publicity machine behind him. Indeed, the only media available to them was the newspaper and the occasional newsreel. Buchanan wasn't even very good at talking to the media and looked awkward, as this clip shows.


(Clicking on the pic will take you to the British Pathe Archive)

What Jack Buchanan was good at was selling a commodity - himself - in the context of the theatre and the silver screen. His public life was a paradigm of opulence, elegance and high fashion; all the things ordinary people aspired to.

You see, in those days, people were famous for what they did, not what other people told us they did, or indeed, neither were they famous for merely appearing on a mass medium.

And so I will extrapolate. I have not watched any of the political conferences, or the major speeches. I do not have a TV, but even so, I am not minded to watch them. They are full of hyperbole. I would rather learn what the actual effect of this new government is. Is this a bums on seats government or a room clearer?

1 comment:

RMcGeddon said...

That was cool. Jack squashing his unfinished cigarette under his heel on the quayside. You could imagine the wails of righteousness from our newspapers if he did that today.

'Oily Jack shows contempt for new litter laws'

'Jack returns with bride to a £40 fine'

' Jack scotches rumours of being queer by returning with US bride'

'Flash Jack has to flash the cash'

'From luxury liner to police cell for litter lout 'gay Jack'

Could go on... ( No it's ok : Ed)