This is â€śMy Name It is Nothinâ€™,â€ť a look at when comic books guest star celebrities, but their names are changed so as to avoid any legal problems. Today, we look at a strange example from Supermanâ€™s comics in the 1970s where the celebrity ended up becoming a regular cast member!
Reader David B. wrote in with this rather odd example of this trope.
Generally speaking, when these sorts of things happen, they are just for one off gigs. You know, a story involves them and then thatâ€™s it. Rarely do they ever come back for future appearances. In this case, though, the character ended up joining the cast of the comic period!
The idea of celebrity gossip has been around for as long as there have been celebrities, but it is fair to say that it took a while for that world to make the transition to television as well. There were plenty of celebrity programs on television in the early days of TV. Heck, Edward R. Murrow famously alternated hard-hitting stories on his TV show with celebrity interviews that, in effect, paid for the bills so that he could do what he wanted with the rest of his work.
However, for the most part, celebrity gossip and stuff like that remained in the area of newspapers, where they had been famous for for decades. Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper managed to flourish in print and even on the radio, but for whatever reason, television did not go for them that much. Hopper had a few short-lived television shows and a couple of TV specials, but that was it.
In the 1960s, though, things changed and â€śinfotainmentâ€ť Was becoming more and more acceptable. One of the people who took advantage of this situation was a young woman named Rona Barrett.
When Barrett was a teenager in the early 1950s, she had a hip condition that made walking different. Stuck at home most of the time, she got heavily involved in the fan club scene for singers that she admired. She organized a number of major fan clubs in the 1950s for Eddie Fisher and Steve Lawrence, to name a couple. This eventually led to her getting work as a gossip columnist in the late 1950s. She also worked as a publicity manager for teen idols like Frankie Avalon.
In 1966, the charming Barrett made the transition to television. She worked for ABCâ€™s Los Angeles station that they owned. She began doing gossip features on their nightly newscasts. Soon, she was popular enough that her gossip features were taped and broadcast on all of ABCâ€™s owned TV stations. The New York one famously would dislike airing her segments, so the anchor made it clear that he was not a fan.
Still, Barrett was big in the world of celebrities. She had a number of magazines and TV special. She also wrote her autobiography in 1974, a year before joining Good Morning America.
That was right about the time that she made her first appearance as a cast member in the Superman comics!