Fame L.A. (1997-1998)
Ya got big dreams. You want fame? Well fame costs and right here's where you start paying... in sweat!!! So says the opening of the original Fame series. Screw that. I ain't sweating for no fame. What they don't say is you can stumble into fame like an idiot and I figure I'm a big enough idiot I gotta be stepping in a big steaming pile of fame sooner or later.
But for the kids at the New York High School for the performing arts I guess sweating for fame seemed okay enough. The school was an actual real life school in New York where kids could go to High School and study the performing arts at the same time (the school has since burned down). The school inspired the movie Fame which followed a group of students from entering the school through to graduation and all their heartaches along the way.
But a two hour movie is hardly time enough time to cover four years of school life for multiple students. You can cover much more ground with a weekly series. So Fame found life as a series on NBC... for a season. Then NBC dropped it and it found new life and more success in first run syndication. The show started with a group of kids, including many of those from the movie, and followed them through school.
Kids came and went, graduating and leaving school for other reasons. For example, musician Bruno had to leave school and go to work when his father died of a heart attack. Oddly enough, class clown Danny Amatullo stayed on the show as a student for the full run of the show. Five years is a long time to be in high school. Every episode featured dramatic stories about growing up and performing. Each week also usually featured one or two production numbers. The numbers could in the form of a school show, an impromptu number in the cafeteria, an elaborate fantasy sequence or somebody just going nutty dancing/singing style while walking to school. The most famous person to come out of the cast was Janet Jackson. Okay it's not like the show caused her fame but...
Anywho, after five seasons, the show ended its run with a reunion episode bringing back most of the old cast members. Hey, five years is a pretty nice run and that is a long time to crank out new song and dance numbers each week.
But music and coming of age is always popular and so in 1997 Fame was reborn as Fame L.A. The new show didn't have much connection to the original show aside from the title and the general premise. No characters bopped over from Fame to Fame L.A. Now instead of being about New York's School For The Performing Arts it was about club owner David Graysmark teaching aspiring wannabes acting. And of course about those wannabes growing up, trying to become professional performers, sweating, yadda yadda yadda. I guess they didn't sweat enough - just, like, sitting out in the sun sweat, not working hard sweat I guess - because nobody watched the show enough in its first season to cause anyone to bother making a second.
Most recently, Fame popped up in the form of a movie "remake" of the original film. Sadly it had more flash than heart.
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