Years ago, Hollywood Squares was a T.V. program that could be characterized as an elephant dying ground for washed up actors, singers, and T.V. personalities. By the time fading celebrities like Charo, Joan Rivers, and Roddy McDowell were making regular appearances in the Squares lineup, it was clear that their career was at an end.
Today there is another place that washed up celebrities go once they realize that their career is in the tank. They become celebrity spokesmen for the Republican National Committee. Five years ago we would have seen Jon Voight's face in the number one square on ABC's daily game show, but since that show is off the air, he has found another place to disappear. He has become another one of those angry guy Republican spokesmen that make regular "celebrity" appearances at places like Fox T.V. and Republican policy committee meetings. It is easy to understand why Voight is looking for a following there. His last film, An American Carol, earned a half star on every critics' five star scale. In fact, it was described as "jaw-droppingly awful" by one critic who probably didn't remember that Voight did star in an outstanding movie forty years ago called Midnight Cowboy. He played the role of a male prostitute.
But the American public has forgotten about Voight's skills as a real actor and apparently so has Voight. That's why we see Jon joining the ranks of other celebrity has-beens like Ted Nugent, Dennis Miller, and Bo Derrick who have moved away from the bright light of celebrity into the dark shadows of a right wing political fringe. These days we won't catch this new Hollywood Square kind of group entertaining us with any broad appeal talent. It is more likely that we will see them making commentary appearances on Fox T.V. or R.N.C. video productions where they attack Obama, Democrats, and progressives. They read from scripts no longer written by Hollywood script writers, but more likely written by the same R.N.C. hate messengers who are down on healthcare reform, economic stimulus, immigrants, and a military withdrawal from Iraq.
Its not only that its easy money for these fallen stars. In their minds it must be better than doing computer and car commercials where they sell their last bit of celebrity credibility hustling American consumers. The fall from the top is no doubt always painful and I wish that Hollywood Squares was still around to help cushion the crash of the Jon Voight-types. Maybe then we wouldn't have to watch Voight play out in real life the story line of the male prostitute he played so incredibly well in Midnight Cowboy.
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