George R.R. Martin (grrm) wrote,
George R.R. Martin
grrm

The First Emmys

Andy Samberg's joke about my attending the first Emmy Awards ceremony made me curious about Emmy history. This year was the 67th Emmy Awards, and I turned 67 last Sunday, but until Andy appeared beside me I hadn't actually connected the two. Pretty amazing.

For a few hours I entertained the amusing thought that they were perhaps giving out those first Emmys even as I was being born. Alas, that was not actually the case. Emmy and I may both be 67, but I actually came into the world a few months before her. The first Emmy ceremony took place on January 25, 1949, to honor work telecast during 1948.

Interestingly, those first awards were strictly a local matter: a Los Angeles award, for shows broadcast in the LA media market. Not at all national. The first winner -- for "Most Popular Television Program" -- was a show called PANTOMIME QUIZ. A drama called THE NECKLACE won for "Best Film Made for Television," and Shirley Dinsdale won as "Most Outstanding Television Personality." She was a ventriloquist with a dummy named 'Judy Splinters.'



It is not recorded whether Judy also got a trophy, or whether she came on stage to accept the Emmy with Shirley.

They also gave an Emmy to the guy who designed the Emmy. And that was it. Four trophies, presented in LA, to local performers. Television was an art form in its infancy back then, and the world was different. (There was WAY more television production going on in New York than in California back in the 40s, but leave it to the Hollywood guys to be the first to think of giving out awards).

The past is another country, truly.
Tags: emmy awards, television
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