Three who Refused the Label of Failure
Image from Pixabay
The band: Johnny and the Moondogs, AKA The Quarrymen went through name changes before they settled on the name they became known by. Stu Sutcliffe, Tommy Moore, and Pete Best dropped in and out before the band settled on the permanent members. Band members swapped instruments. After a 30-set week of steady work, one of the members was deported which put an end to their plan. When they got an audition for a contract with Decca records, the company turned them down with the observation, “guitar groups are on their way out.”
The beauty: It was a classic setup for failure. The beautiful, bright and charismatic young woman was hired for a television job she did not yet have the training and experience to pull off. Photogenic but underprepared, she was hyped to audiences so relentlessly that even the most professional and personable reporter would not have been able to live up to expectations. When she inevitably failed, she was demoted to writing and reporting where her careful wordsmithing was a liability. Her empathy was frowned on. Her boss told her she was too emotional and not right for television.
The bit player: In college he took a theater class, hoping to meet girls. Whatever success he might have had on the romantic scene was not enough to compensate for his poor grades and missed classes. With no hope on the horizon that he might graduate, he dropped out. He moved to Los Angeles where he managed to get small parts on television, usually without lines and almost always cast as a hippie or a cowboy. When he got a small movie part, the reviews were negative. His director told him he did not have what it took to be a movie star. One movie director told him about Tony Curtis in a small part as a hotel clerk delivering a telegram. “I saw him and I immediately thought, “movie star.”
“Gee,” this man replied, “I thought you were supposed to think hotel clerk.”
You might know them by what they became later.
The band persisted and kept playing until Brian Epstein discovered The Beatles playing to the packed club named the Cavern in Liverpool.
The beautiful former news anchor took stock of herself and accepted a less glamorous position as co-host of a show that focused on human-interest stories. The show allowed her to develop chemistry with the other co-host, Richard Sher. For five years she honed her skills. When Oprah Winfrey was recruited to a morning talk show in Chicago, she was ready to show the world who she was whether the world was ready or not.
The actor taught himself carpentry to support his family. Even though he had no training in the craft, he became a master craftsman. He was good enough to work for members of the movie community. Steven Spielberg saw something in Harrison Ford and offered him a screen test.
Labels applied to us by others, only stick if we allow them to.