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Roll it out…

It’s the world’s famous red carpet, and it’s about to be rolled out for the 83rd time.  Yes, on February 27th, glitz and glamour come to Hollywood, when the Academy Awards (better known as the Oscars) are announced.  It’s the most talked about night of the year, in Los Angeles, for sure.  The celebs, the fashion, the pre-Oscar parties and the billion viewers who tune in on TV all make for big hype.

But the first Oscars, held in 1953, were much less of an affair.  Broadcast on black and white TV, only viewers in the US and Canada could watch.  Unlike today, where thousands of stars walk the red carpet, all the way to the Academy’s auditorium, the first Oscar ceremony was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, with only 250 people in attendance.  It was dreamed up, originally, as a non-public affair, to promote the art of movie-making.  But by 1929, there was so much interest that the Oscar Presentation Night was introduced.

And unlike today, it wasn’t some star-studded event.  The attendees paid only $5 each for the night’s entertainment, and the ballrooms were decorated with Chinese lanterns.  There were no acceptance speeches, no TV cameras and almost no mention of it in the newspapers.   Actually, the entire award ceremony, carried out by Douglas Fairbanks, only lasted 15 minutes!

And was there a red carpet?  No-one’s even sure…

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