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A short history of child stars

posted by Tim Carmody   Aug 27, 2013

There’s a history here.

It’s not only uncanny when performers we first knew as girls age into women; it’s awkward when boys become men, too. Molly Shannon used to have the same agent as Gary Coleman (story starts around 2:40).

(Shannon tells a longer/uncensored version of this story on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast.)

Clearly, not everyone gets to have Ron Howard’s or Judy Garland’s career. (And even Judy Garland’s life was the opposite of a success story.)

But what about the alternative? What if child stars never changed their acts, and just aged in place? Wouldn’t that be equally unsettling? On Comedy Bang Bang, Scott Aukerman, Reggie Watts, Seth Rogen, and the great Bob Odenkirk try to answer that question through the life of champion birdcaller Tommy Chalders.

Actually, maybe that would be beautiful. I wish Judy Garland had lived to sing “Over the Rainbow” at an auto show.

But time never stands still for us to paint its portrait. As Marshall McLuhan would, and, what the hell, very well might have said: “we look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We twerk backwards into the future.”

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