I noticed recently, when perusing the television schedule for a Saturday night movie, that films made in the mid-last half of the 20th century sometimes portrayed the hardships of female entertainers who had a long row to hoe.
Female vocalists travelled from gig to gig on a bumpy bus or overcrowded sedan – enduring miles of journeying without adequate rest or other niceties. Hard raw liquor, swigged out of a bottle shared by everyone, groping and other less discreet advances for favours seldom mentioned, little privacy and a lot of pressure from the band leader to perform well must have felt desperate – with little or no hope of changing the game.
In more modern times I wonder if there is much improvement in the lifestyle. Luxurious motor coaches, or custom-outfitted limousines may provide a smoother ride and more comfort – the toll however must be unrelenting and with infrequent relief. Taking one’s band “on the road” or heading to the promised land of stardom requires good fiscal and personal management, unswerving ambition and strength of character to resist adverse temptations.
When hysterical fans are a faceless crowd and home seems very far away, I think it must feel like an ever-running hamster on a wheel. Fame, fortune and adulation is measurable – the long and winding road leads past many a mile of new experiences and challenges.
Entertainment icons who historically have given back to their communities and continue to implement benevolence are more memorable than their starring roles or inevitable falls from grace.
Applause please; cheers and respect for the innumerable film stars and singers who somehow keep their eye on the ball and heads screwed on straight.
A lot has evolved in the entertainment industry since then.