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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

January 25, 1949

It's the final Wayback Wednesday for January, and this time around, choosing a topic was not quite so easy.  I really had to dig deep to come up with a topic that was suitable for today, and given that we're smack dab in the middle of awards season, I thought today's subject would be appropriate.

For now though...let's see what else happened on this date in history.

41 - Claudius is accepted as Roman Emperor by the Roman Senate

1533 - Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn get married in secret

1554 - The city of Sao Paulo, Brazil is founded

1791 - The British Parliament passes the Constitutional Act of 1791 which divides the Province of Quebec into Upper Canada and Lower Canada

1858 - Felix Mendelssohn's "The Wedding March" is performed at the wedding ceremony of Queen Victoria's daughter - immediately becomes a popular song to be played at subsequent weddings all over the world

1881 - The Oriental Telephone Company is founded by Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison

1882 - British writer Virginia Woolf (d. 1941) is born in Kensington, Middlesex, England

1890 - Nellie Bly completes her around-the-world journey after 72 days

1924 - The Opening Ceremonies for the very first Winter Olympics take place in Chamonix, France

1931 - Actor Dean Jones (d. 2015) is born in Decatur, Alabama

1936 - Actress Diana Hyland (d. 1977) is born in Cleveland Heights, Ohio

1937 - The soap opera "The Guiding Light" debuts on radio ; it would later switch to television format from 1952 until the show's cancellation in 2009

1938 - Singer Etta James (d. 2012) is born in Los Angeles, California

1942 - Thailand declares war on both the United Kingdom and the United States during World War II

1947 - American gangster Al Capone dies at the age of 48

1960 - As a result of the "payola" scandal, the National Association of Broadcasters threaten to fine disc jockeys who accept monetary gifts in exchange for playing certain records

1964 - The sports company Nike is founded under the original name of "Blue Ribbon Sports"

1971 - Charles Manson is found guilty of the Tate-LaBianca murders, along with three of his followers

1990 - Actress Ava Gardner dies at the age of 67

1992 - Color Me Badd's "All 4 Love" reaches the top of the Billboard charts

1993 - Two die and three are wounded during a shooting outside the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia

1996 - The creator of the rock musical "Rent" - Jonathan Larson - dies at the age of 35

1999 - At least one thousand are killed when a powerful 6.0 earthquake strikes Colombia

2011 - The first wave of the Egyptian Revolution begins

And celebrating a birthday this 25th of January are the following famous faces; Arvid Carlsson, Tobe Hooper, Leigh Taylor-Young, Dave Walker, Doc Bundy, Andy Cox, Jenifer Lewis, Stephen Chbosky, Ana Ortiz, Robert Budreau, Emily Haines, Mia Kirshner, and Alicia Keys!

And yes...the list is that short.  I'm guessing January 25 is a slow day in the world of Hollywood.

But as you will see in today's feature date presentation, January 25 was a very special day in the world of entertainment.

Or, at least January 25, 1949 was anyway.

So, as I mentioned before, whenever a new year comes, we're soon bombarded with awards shows on television.  Now, granted, I'm really only interested in one of these awards ceremonies.  I've watched the Grammy Awards every year since 1988, and that's one tradition that I will not give up no matter how depressing the music scene gets.  And those awards are coming up very soon - within the next couple of weeks or so.

We've already experienced the People's Choice Awards, which are given to the people by the people.  And we've also experienced the Golden Globes, which brought us Meryl Streep's much talked about acceptance speech.  And just recently the nominations for the Academy Awards were first announced.  Needless to say, the choices for 2017 are definitely more diverse than 2016 and even 2015.  Those awards will be coming up about a month from now.

But did you know that it was sixty-eight years ago today that an awards ceremony held its inaugural ceremony?  A ceremony that initially started off as an opportunity to build the image of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences?  A ceremony that was first held in January even though these days we now have to wait until mid-September before we see any stars get handed the coveted statuette.

It was designed to be a celebration of television and honoured the best of the small screen.  Though, given that the first edition of the Primetime Emmy Awards was held in 1949, admittedly there weren't very many options to bestow awards to.

In fact, when the Emmy Awards were first handed out, there were only six awards given out!  And I happen to have a list of all of the winners right below. 

SPECIAL AWARD:  Louis McManus (the designer of the Emmy Award)
TECHNICAL AWARD:  Charles Mesak and Don Lee for "Phasefinder"

Yes, believe it or not, there was once a time in which only one person would win an award for acting or hosting in a television program.  The first time that a Best Actor and Best Actress award was handed out was two years later in 1951.  And can you believe that there was only one technical award handed out?  These days, you have creative Emmy Awards for almost every possible occupation from lighting and set design to directing!  The Emmy Awards have really come a long way, haven't they?

Now, part of the reason why so few categories existed back in the day was because there wasn't a whole lot of options to choose from.  But another reason was that an entire section of the country was excluded that first year.  Only shows that were produced in California - specifically the Los Angeles area - were eligible.  It certainly was a slap in the face to non-California studios, particularly those based out of New York City and Chicago.  Thankfully the rules were changed to include all regions of the country not long after.

And here's some trivia for you.  I mentioned earlier that Louis McManus was the man responsible for designing the Emmy statue.  Well, would you believe that he wasn't even given his own statue design as an award?  He was instead given a plaque that paid acknowledgement to the fact that he created the Emmy statue.  I don't seems like it would be sort of a slap in the face for him to create an award and then not win one.  But I suppose nothing really stopped him from making his own.

Whatever the case, the Primetime Emmy Awards have been a huge part of television for almost seven decades now.  And beginning in 1973, a second Emmy ceremony was launched for actors, actresses, talk show hosts, and game show hosts whose programs aired during the day.  Mind you, the decline of soap operas in favour of reality programming and syndicated programs have diminished the Daytime Emmy Awards, but as of 2017, the show is still going on.

And for many actors who have either gotten their big break on television or who currently work on television, the Emmy Award is definitely a coveted prize to earn. 

And today the Emmy Award turns 68 years old!  You never looked so bright and shiny, Emmy!

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