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Jan. 25, 1949: Six hundred people attend the first Emmy Awards ceremony at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. Among them is California Gov. Earl Warren and Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowron who declares the date “TV Day.” Five Emmys are awarded.
Jan. 27, 1950: Excitement wanes at the second Emmy ceremony when the winners are leaked before the show. As he accepts his award for outstanding live personality, Ed Wynn kids that he knew of his wins weeks ago, but then adds he is only joking.
Feb. 5, 1953: Malfunction marks this ceremony right from the start when the opening curtain gets stuck. Other gaffes include falling scenery and host Art Linkletter’s mike going dead for about 10 minutes.
June 20, 1960: Harry Belafonte breaks Emmy’s color barrier as he scores a win for outstanding performance in a variety or musical program for “The Revlon Revue: Tonight With Belafonte.”
May 25, 1964: Shelley Winters accepts the Emmy for outstanding single performance by an actress in a leading role for “Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre: Episode ‘Two Is the Number,’ ” and gets an unexpected laugh when she sincerely proclaims, “I’d like to thank the movie picture academy.”
June 8, 1969: ATAS voters question the wisdom of network programmers throughout the ceremony. Such canceled shows as CBS’ “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” ABC’s “Judd for the Defense” and NBC’s “Get Smart” and “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” score Emmy wins in various categories. The academy then declare no winners for outstanding supporting actor, outstanding director in comedy, variety or music and outstanding achievement in children’s programming.
May 20, 1973: Bob Fosse wins for outstanding directorial achievement in comedy, variety or music for “Liza With a Z.” He remains the only person in history to win an Emmy, an Oscar and a Tony in the same year.
Sept. 11, 1977: John Travolta brings the Emmy audience to tears with his emotional acceptance speech on behalf of his girlfriend Diana Hyland, who wins outstanding performance by a supporting actress in a comedy or drama special for “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble.” Hyland had passed away that previous March of breast cancer at the age of 41.
Sept. 17, 1978: The Emmy Awards takes a 30-minute break when President Jimmy Carter interrupts the ceremony. Flanked by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Carter announces a historic peace agreement in the Middle East.
Sept. 7, 1980: Famous faces are few and far between when a SAG and AFTRA strike leads to a boycott of the Emmys by performers. Only one acting winner, Powers Booth, attends the ceremony. As he accepts his award for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or a special for “Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones,” he confesses that “this is either the most courageous moment of my career or the stupidest.”
Sept. 25, 1983: Joan Rivers’ envelope-pushing jokes about gays, hookers, herpes and her sexual exploits leads NBC to censor her for the tape-delayed West Coast broadcast. Among the lost jokes is a quip that “Dynasty” star Joan Collins “has had more hands up her dress than the Muppets.”
Sept. 17, 1989: Fox scores Emmy gold for the first time as “The Tracey Ullman Show” wins four Emmys.
Sept. 16, 1990: After eight nominations and no wins, Ted Danson’s Emmy track record is becoming such a joke that “Cheers” colleague Kirstie Alley cracks that his luck is as bad as a guy who takes a tease to a drive-in. Danson wins outstanding lead actor in a comedy series for “Cheers” and receives a standing ovation by the crowd. He responds with, “This is exactly what happened to me at the drive-in when I first got lucky. They all stood up and applauded.”
Aug. 25, 1991: Rifting on the recent arrest of Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens), Gilbert Gottfried upsets both the Pasadena Civic Auditorium audience and viewers at home with an endless series of masturbation jokes. Broadcaster Fox immediately issues a public apology, calling Gottfried’s remarks “irresponsible and insulting.”
Sept. 19, 1993: Betty Thomas scores two firsts as she wins the Emmy for outstanding individual achievement in directing for the HBO “Dream On” episode “For Peter’s Sake.” It’s the first time a directing Emmy is won by a woman, and it’s the first directing award to go to a cable show.
Sept. 13, 1998: “Frasier” wins outstanding comedy series for the fifth year in a row, setting an Emmy record. The sitcom amasses 37 Emmys total during its 11-season run.
Nov. 4, 2001: The ceremony finally goes on after two postponements. The initial Sept. 16 show is canceled as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks and the rescheduled Oct. 7 event is delayed because of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.
Sept. 18, 2005: Veteran sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” which ended its nine-year run the previous May, surprises everyone by winning outstanding comedy series, beating such hot competitors as “Desperate Housewives” and “Arrested Development.” Creator/executive producer Phil Rosenthal comments, “I’m stunned. Stunned. I thought we were finished. It’s fantastic when you remember the elderly.”
Aug. 27, 2006: Cloris Leachman sets the record for most Emmy wins by an actress when she collects her eighth statuette for outstanding guest actress in a comedy series for “Malcolm in the Middle.”
Sept. 21, 2008: The five nominees for Emmy’s newest category, outstanding host for a reality or reality-competition program — Ryan Seacrest, Tom Bergeron, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Jeff Probst — also host the ceremony. The results are not acclaimed. Low points include a 10-minute unscripted, unfunny, opening monologue and Klum getting her tuxedo suit ripped off by Bergeron and William Shatner.
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