Sunday, September 18, 2016

Emmys Tonight on ABC

The Emmy Awards will be handed out on ABC this evening.  When it comes to major entertainment awards presentations like that one, I always find myself thinking of those tremendously talented artists who never got an award or never even got a nomination.  Not that I'm a famous, gifted artist but I have worked on television since B.C. ("Before Cable").  I'm a veteran of a few TV decades.  I've never been in a category for a local or network Emmy.  When nominated actors say "It's an honor just to be nominated," I know they mean it.  That's exactly how I would feel if I was nominated.  With that in mind, let's look at some greats Overlooked by Emmys.  Here's something that surprised me speechless.  One of the most internationally famous, legendary and groundbreaking network TV sitcoms of all broadcast time was I LOVE LUCY.  Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were the stars.
Arnaz was the executive producer.  He and Lucy formed the highly successful Desilu Studios and headed Desilu Productions.  CBS had a powerhouse sitcom hit with its four stars -- Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz,  Vivian Vance and William Frawley.  Desi Arnaz, an innovative TV producer and broadcast visionary, was the only member of the quartet who never got an Emmy nomination for that show.
He never got an Emmy nomination nor did he get a special lifetime achievement Emmy for giving us that iconic sitcom, revolutionizing the way sitcoms were shot and starting the production company that went on to give us THE DANNY THOMAS SHOW, THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE and STAR TREK. To name a few.
 Cuban-American Desi Arnaz should've gotten Emmy nominations and a lifetime achievement award.
Just like Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, actress Ida Lupino starred on a 1950s TV sitcom with her real life husband, actor Howard Duff.  In the 1930s and 40s, Lupino had establish herself as a top Warner Brother actress.  She distinguished and slammed across critically praised performances in such films as THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT, HIGH SIERRA, THE HARD WAY, DEEP VALLEY, DEVOTION and THE MAN I LOVE.  Come the early 1950s, Ida Lupino cracked a big hole in the Hollywood glass ceiling by becoming a director of small-budgeted hit movies.  She continued to act during her new career as a director, thus opening a door for such future actress/directors as Penny Marshall, Jodie Foster and Barbra Streisand.

If you want to be further impressed, go to www.IMDb.com.  Search for Ida Lupino.  Go into her history and click on the *Director* category.  Look at all the TV episodes she directed. What an extensive list of credits!  Westerns, medical dramas, thrillers and sitcoms.  For a number of those years, she was the only woman directing episodes of network TV shows.
Ida Lupino never got a special lifetime achievement award for her pioneering work behind the TV camera.

Broadway musicals and, later, network TV made Hollywood veteran Angela Lansbury more famous that her 1940s and 50s movies did.  She won Tony Awards for her Broadway excellence.  A couple of years ago, Hollywood's Academy awarded Lansbury a special Oscar.  But...through years of hit work on CBS' MURDER, SHE WROTE...Angela Lansbury racked up about a dozen nominations in the Best Lead Actress category for that show alone -- and never won.
 She deserves a special lifetime achievement Emmy.


Today (Sunday, Sept. 18th), is the 99th birthday of longtime cartoon voiceover artist June Foray.  She was the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel in the ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE cartoon series.  Foray is certainly the First Lady of the cartoon voiceover category.  She worked in the classic Warner Brothers cartoons.  Remember Witch Hazel with Bugs Bunny?
That was June Foray.  Back in 2013, The Emmy Academy made a most excellent move in presenting her a special Governor's Award for her contributions.

Another surprise.  Unfortunately, the late and great cartoon voiceover genius, Mel Blanc, never got a special Oscar or Emmy for giving brilliant vocal life to Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester the Cat and other characters that delighted millions on the movie and TV screen for 50 years.

Every Sunday night, I sat in front of my TV and waited for HBO to take down the road to Oz.  That prison drama was adult, provocative, entertaining and wonderfully acted and written.  It's still hard to believe that Rita Moreno never got an Emmy nomination for her brilliance at the worldly Catholic nun prison psychiatrist.
The same goes for other top-notch members of the cast like Christopher Meloni and Lee Tergesen.  Oz was totally overlooked by the Emmys.  That was a crime in itself.
The Emmys start at 7p ET/4p PT on ABC.  Let's see how they surprise us later on this evening.

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