A new feature here at the Beach Compound (Thanks L) that is The Pre-Read takes a look at stars/celebrities who had at least a bit of fame, only to fall into obscurity.
Now, obscurity is relative really. I mean, because a person doesn't appear on my television screen each week, or at the theater once a year doesn't mean they don't exist, it just means I am curious as to what they're dong now.
This installment surrounds a television actor from the 1970s. Wes Stern was a young actor who had guest roles in a few television shows of the time. But his big break came when he appeared (with teen heartthrob Bobby Sherman) in an episode of The Partridge Family that really served as the launching pad for a proposed spinoff.
That spinoff would become Getting Together. And the premise of the series, not unlike The Partridge Family episode where it originated, followed the exploits of Bobby Conway (Sherman) a musician/singer who had no talent for writing lyrics. In the set-up, Danny Partridge (Danny Bonaduce) teams Conway with a friend who is tone deaf. The friend is Lionel Poindexter (Stern) and hilarity ensues as the two decide to make a go of being a musical team in the rough and tumble music mecca that is Hollywood.
I really don't remember much about the show to be honest, the one defining memory of Stern, I'm sorry to say, is a poster that my next door neighbor used to have hanging on her wall. Next to the poster of David Cassidy was a giant poster of Bobby Sherman and Wes Stern.
The poster was a marketing tool for Getting Together and featured an image of both actors, but the sad thing about it was the poster was probably 95% Sherman, with Stern occupying a very small circle toward the bottom of the piece.
The publicity image below was nothing similar to the Tiger Beat poster and I remember feeling kind of sorry for the guy who obviously wasn't the focus of the piece.
As a kid I used to watch a lot of television, a lot of it reruns apparently. And one show that I remember though wasn't a huge fan of was That Girl with Marlo Thomas --stay with me here, this does connect in some weird way --.
That Girl was a series with a bevy of plots and subplots, but the most obvious to me, and now that I think about it, probably the least strongest, was that Ann Marie (Thomas) was an aspiring actress. All she needed for her big break was a hit commercial or a small part on a television show. What she got, however, were background extra scenes that the family would gather around the television to watch, always culminating in her either being cut from a scene, or only partial visible.
Now, back to Wes Stern. The reality of That Girl to me, was that anyone who had a small part on a television show, or a starring part on a commercial was set for life. I would find out later, that a scenario such as that was far from the truth. And Wes Stern is a prime example.
I had thought of him, in passing, through my young television watching years wondering how in the heck someone who had their own television series not be super-duper famous. And if Getting Together was canceled, surely it would only be a matter of time before he chose another show to star in.
It's almost embarrassing to realize how naive I was in my youth. But that's part of what the Hollywood mystique is right? It's that one big chance. It's that magic that can happen to just about anyone.
Obviously the Entertainment Business is a business and things don't work in real life as they might on television. And that is true whether you're a young actress looking for her big break, or a tone deaf lyricist waiting for his.