1949: The Very First Emmy Awards
On this day in 1949, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences held the very first Emmy awards ceremony. It was held at the Hollywood Athletic Club in Los Angeles. Television was still fairly new as it is estimated that only about 50,000 households in the US had TV sets. The Emmy statue was created to represent art (a muse) and science (the atom) and the name “Emmy” was a “feminized version” of “immy,” the slang term for the image orthicon tube that was used in TV cameras at the time. Go figure. The first award went to Shirley Dinsdal , a ventriloquist who starred in the children’s show, Judy Splinters. (Image: Wikimedia)
1961: ‘One Hundred and One Dalmatians’ is Released
Based on the book with the same name, Walt Disney Pictures released One Hundred and One Dalmatians for the first time on this day in 1961. The movie was the studio’s 17th animated film and just might have saved the studio. The animated film brought in a hefty revenue due to the fact that Disney used xerography during the inking stage of the filmmaking, which was less expensive than the traditional method. Disney’s last animated film, Sleeping Beauty was beautiful but very expensive to make and it didn’t draw in enough of an audience to make it cost effective. Dalmatians was the tenth top grossing film of that year. It is estimated that the movie included 6,469,952 spots from the Dalmatian pups. The film has been so popular, it was re-released in theaters four times, a direct to video movie was created, an animated television series was done, two live action movies have been made and a third focusing more on the villain Cruella De Vil is currently in development at the Disney studio.
1966: Spirograph Received a Patent
The story of Spirograph goes way back to 1827, when Peter Hubert Desvignes, an architect and engineer created what was known as a “Speiragraph”, a device to create elaborate spiral drawings. Originally, the device was created to prevent banknote forgeries with variations of roulette patterns. However, it was British engineer Denys Fisher who is credited with inventing the Spirograph. After building the earliest versions of the mechanism using Meccano (a popular model construction toy in the UK similar to an Erector set), Fisher’s children encouraged him to market it as a toy. He applied for a patent in 1964 and received one two years later. Since that time, kids have been making crazy designs with Spirograph ever since.
- 1931: Dean Jones (actor)
- 1938: Etta James (singer)
- 1957: Jenifer Lewis (actress)
- 1981: Alicia Keys (singer)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.