There's no such thing as bad publicity. Right? As long as they spell the name right. As long as your face and name is out there, as long as you're dancing in the public eye it doesn't matter whether your laces are untied or your sock has a hole or your hair looks like you combed it with a corkscrew. Any publicity is good publicity.


Well, no.

In the archives of the Star-Tribune newspaper are hundreds of thousands of photos. Most detail the single moment when a person was picked out of the crowd and given a moment in the sun - a restaurateur, a comedian, a singer, a mother, a political hopeful. Most of the folders are thin; most have one picture, maybe two. They're all forgotten by 99 percent of the population, and their stories molder in the dark rolls of microfilm. The picture might see the light when the person dies, if they were famous enough.


Then there are the stars. No moment of their public life went unrecorded; no gesture or grimace or toothy grin was ever displayed without flashbulbs nailing it to posterity's wall.

In the old days, before images were more carefully cultivated, all manner of candid photos were distributed to newspapers. Some of those photos are here. As the public relations machinery became more sophisticated, staged shots and photo ops were the rule, and the results were fed to papers for the entertainment selections.

Some of those photos are here as well. Mostly this is a record of changing tastes, a reminder that what amuses one generation horrifies the next, and that the stars we love the best, the ones who always seem to be the most Real when they smile, are just the best liars of the day.

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