On my class field trip today (in between rainstorms, hikes through the swamp, and begging kids to quiet down on the bus), I chatted with some of my parent chaperones about teenage TV stars – past and present. It seemed to us that a lot of popular shows these days, especially the ones produced by Disney, are entirely focused on becoming a teenage somebody: Hannah Montana, iCarly, Victorious, True Jackson, Sonny With a Chance, The Jonas Brothers … I could go on and on. And, thanks to our media driven society, our kids know everything about these celebrities – good and bad. They know when their Hollywood idols drink, break up with their boy/girlfriend, get arrested, or take a few embarrassing pictures.
Back in the day, we had our own teenage stars – and they had just as many problems, although they were better hidden by the Hollywood set. (Until the stars grew up and wrote their memoirs.) Danny Partridge was abused at home; and the Brady kids were apparently using drugs and having sex with each other. (Ick!) Hollywood life has always been hard on young actors – Judy Garland was handed amphetamines by her studio to keep her energy high and her weight down. Go back even further – into the nineteenth century – and you will find that the teenage Fox sisters were exposed to the same troubling influences. Both Maggie and Kate were plied with alcohol at a young age, and Kate’s mother regularly dosed her with morphine-laced medicine to combat stress-induced migraines.
A wise adult might wish anything but stardom for their own children, based on the numerous cases of child and teenage actors and singers who develop serious, life-long problems thanks to their fame. And yet – let’s face it – we’ve always been attracted to them. Take good old Shaun Cassidy up there. Yes, I pasted his face all over my bedroom door when I was a youngster. Remember DiDoRonRon? Remember the Hardy Boys?
In honor of teenage celebrities throughout history – and especially my gals Maggie and Kate Fox – I’m giving away a We Hear the Dead T-shirt. (Maybe two, if I get over 10 responses …) All you have to do to enter is be a member of the blog and leave a comment on this post before Friday, June 18. (Coincidentally, that will also celebrate my last day of school!)
Tell us which teenage star you crushed on!