March 19, 1953…The First Televised Academy Awards Ceremony

March 19, 1953…The First Televised Academy Awards Ceremony

Although we have two interesting videos, let’s start with the pictures. That first shot of the NBC cameraman on the crane with an umbrella is taking the first shot we see in the first video as it was rainy night at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood.

The next shot is the Pantages stage and the huge screen is part of NBC’s “go big or go home” attitude on the television coverage which was a live bi-coastal broadcast that required almost as many AT&T and NBC techs – as there were people at the theaters. It was an oversized affair sponsored by RCA, with the network’s Bob Hope as MC in Hollywood and Frederic March hosting in New York. There, the show was coming from the home of “Your Show Of Shows,” The International Theater on Columbus Circle.

In the nest to last photo, we see The International stage with another huge RCA projection screen hanging above the proscenium. The last image is an article on what many at home thought was the “world’s largest TV set” that was seen on the Pantages stage. It was actually an RCA theater size rear screen projection unit, while the one in New York was a front screen projection unit which as a permanent part of the International Theater. Most theaters that were being used as TV studios had them.

In the first video labeled “Bob Hope”, we see the show open and Bob poking fun at television and everything else. By the way, since this is a year before Hollywood finally began selling some of their films to television, the sting of names of early movie stars (4:07) is a left handed reference to the boycott, which grows more bold.

In the second video, we are at The International in New York, where Shirley Booth gives us another first! The first coast to coast “gown trip” as she makes her way up to receive her oscar for “Come Back Little Sheba”. Enjoy and share! -Bobby Ellerbee Bob Hope Shirley Booth


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