On this day, January 25, 1949, the Hollywood Athletic Club in Los Angeles holds the first Emmy Awards ceremony for television arts. The first person to win the Emmy Award was Shirley Dinsdale and her puppet Judy, a ventriloquist for the children’s show Judy Splinters.The Emmy Awards are an award ceremony for television and is equivalent to the Grammy Awards for music. An Emmy win can make an actor’s career and prevent a show from being cancelled.
Shirley Dinsdale (1926–1999) was a ventriloquist and television and radio personality of the 1940s and early 1950s. She is best remembered for her dummy, “Judy Splinters,” and for the early 15-minute children’s television show that bears that name.
After her television career, she also achieved success in a second career as — are you ready for this? — a cardiopulmonary therapist.
Shirley and her dummy, Judy Splinters, were western cowgirls. The manner in which Shirley became a ventriloquist occurred by accident...literally. She was burned badly in a childhood accident. To help with her recovery, her father, an artist, created a ventriloquist dummy which Shirley named Judy Splinters.
In 1940, Shirley began her radio career at the age of fourteen on a San Francisco program called "Judy in Wonderland." In 1942, she and her family moved to Los Angeles where she earned a spot on Eddie Cantor's radio program.
The success of the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles led to the development of East Coast Television in New York City. Both cities’ collaborative efforts established The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. During the 70’s, the Emmy Awards were held interchangeably between states, but later became permanent in Hollywood. Today the Emmy Awards are one of the most watched ceremonies in the United States. [Source: FamousDaily]
Her wings represented the muse of art, and the atom and its electrons the science and technology of the new medium. The Television Academy rejected 47 proposals before accepting the statuette designed by television engineer Louis McManus, whose wife served as its model. [Source: History of the Television Academy]