It's Emmy award season! Even though I am still in utter dismay over Tatiana Maslany being overlooked for her incredible, super-human performance (s) in Orphan Black, I still can't bring myself to boycott the awards. They represent something to me.. a way to mark the years, a way to categorize what was happening in my own life and in the world around me when various television shows were popular. Even if you don't watch television, you can probably remember something about what you were doing when JR got shot, or when Ellen came out on national television, or when Kanye interrupted Taylor Swift's Grammy win. Most of us have TV life markers somewhere.
In 1953, the year Eve Arden Won the Emmy for lead actress in a drama series for Our Miss Brooks, General Dwight D. Eisenhower was inaugurated President of United States and Charlie Chaplin left the U.S. for good after being accused of being a communist.
In 1954, when Loretta Young won the dramatic actress award for The Loretta Young Show, the first tv dinner was introduced, Marilyn Monroe married Joe DiMaggio, the first issue of Sports Illustrated was published in the US, and Elvis Presley paid 4 dollars to a Memphis studio to record his first 2 songs, "Casual Love" & "I'll Never Stand in Your Way"
When Lucille Ball won an Emmy for I Love Lucy in 1955, the Vietnam war started between South and North Vietnam, the first McDonald's was opened in Illinois, James Dean died in a car accident, and Rosa Parks refused to sit in the "colored" section of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama.
Loretta Young won again for best Actress in a dramatic series in 1956, the same year that Norma Jean Mortenson legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe, the United States Supreme court declares segregated buses illegal, and 13-year-old Bobby Fischer beats grandmaster Donald Byrne in the Rosenwald Memorial Tournament in New York City. In 1957, when Jane Wyatt won for her role in Father Knows Best, the Boeing 707 flew for the first time, Humphrey Bogart died, Dr. Seuss' book Cat in the Hat was published, the USSR launched Sputnik - the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth, and Gordon Gould invented the laser.
Once again, in 1958, Loretta Young took home the Emmy, the first American satellite was launched into orbit, and Hearst Castle was opened to the public. In 1959, when Jane Wyatt again took home the Emmy, the Barbie Doll was introduced, Hawaii became the 50th state, and the first plain paper copier was introduced by Xerox. In 1960, Barbara Stanwyck won the Emmy for her role in The Barbara Stanwyck Show, a year that also brought the first star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame - for Joanne Woodward, the Civil Rights act, and Domino's Pizza.
In 1961, the year that John F. Kennedy became president and Six Flags over Texas amusement park opened, Shirley Booth won the Emmy for her role in Hazel. When she won again for the same role in 1962, ballet dancers Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev performed their first dance together and Bob Dylan produced his debut album.
1963 brought the Beatles first album, TAB - the first diet drink introduced by Coca Cola, and the Emmy award to Mary Tyler Moore for her role in The Dick Van Dyke Show. This was also the year that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. 1964, it was a year of confusing boycotts at the Emmy awards so there was no award given for Actress in a Dramatic Series.
The year that Barbara Stanwyck won an Emmy for her role in Big Valley, 1965, the first American troops were sent to Vietnam, Martin Luther King led the march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, and the Pillsbury dough boy was introduced.
Disneyland opened its It's a Small World attraction in 1966, the same year that Barbara Bain won an Emmy for her role in Mission Impossible and the World Cup began in England. She won the award for the next two consecutive years, during which time, Elvis Presley and Priscilla Beaulieu got married in Las Vegas, the Doors released their first album, and Martin Luther King was murdered in Memphis.
Susan Hampshire won the Emmy for The Forsyte Saga in 1969 and for the First Churchills in 1970. During that time, Black Sabbath released their first album and $9, 400.00 was the average annual US income.
At the 24th annual Emmy Awards, Glenda Jackson took home the award for her role in Elizabeth R. That year,, Charles Manson & 3 women followers were convicted of Tate-LaBianca murders and Richard M. Nixon became the 37th president of the United States.
Michael Lerned won her Emmy for The Waltons the same year that the winter Olympics were held in Sapporo, Japan and Grease debuted on Broadway.
The year that Paul & Linda McCartney were fined £100 for growing cannabis, Jean Marsh won the Emmy for her role in Upstairs Downstairs.
Michael Lerned won the Emmy again for The Waltons in 1975/76, followed by Lindsey Wagner for her role in The Bionic Woman. That was the same year that Dorothy Hamill won the Olympic figure-skating gold medal in Innsbruck, Austria.
The 1978/79 Emmy Award went to Mariette Hartley for her role in The Incredible Hulk. During that decade, Harriet Tubman became the 1st black woman to be honored on a US postage stamp and we saw the 1st broadcast of "Dallas" on CBS TV.
1979/80 brought Barbara Bel Geddes an Emmy for her role as Miss Ellie in Dallas. It also brought a lawsuit for The Village People filed by the YMCA for the song YMCA and $100 million in compensation to the Sioux nation for the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The 1980/81 Emmy went to Barbara Babcock for her role in Hill Street Blues. That was the same year that Ted Turner established CNN and John Lennon was assassinated.
Michael Lerned took home another Emmy for her role as Mary Benjamin in Nurse the same year that the first woman was appointed to the Supreme Court and Personal Computers (PC) were Introduced by IBM.
Over the next 6 years, the stars of Cagney and Lacy would win the Emmy every year- Tyne Daly 4 times and Sharon Glass 2 times, during which time, E.T. was released, Michael Jackson Released Thriller, Sally Ride became the First American Woman in Space, PG-13 Movie Rating was created, a hole in the Ozone Layer was discovered, new Coke Hit the market, the wreck of the Titanic was found, the space Shuttle Challenger exploded, the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster occurred, Ferdinand Marcos fleed the Philippines, and DNA was first used to commit criminals.
When 1988 and 1989 rolled around, Dana Delany won the Emmy for her role as Colleen McMurphy in China Beach, Pan Am Flight 103 was Bombed Over Lockerbie.
The 42nd and 43rd Primetime Emmy Awards went to Patricia Wettig for her portrayal of Nancy Krieger-Weston in Thirty-Something. During those years, we saw the Berlin Wall Fall and the world witnessed the awful massacre of students in China's Tiananmen Square.
The Emmy award went to Dana Delany again in 1991, and then the next two years, the award went to Kathy Baker for her role in Picket Fences. In those years, Nelson Mandela was Elected President of South Africa, O.J. Simpson was arrested for the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman and Oklahoma City was bombed.
The year that Gillian Anderson won for playing Dana Scully on The X-Files, Mad Cow Disease hit Great Britain and there were 2 Royal Divorces.
Christine Lahti won the Emmy for her portrayal of Kathryn Austin on the show Chicago Hope during the same time that Princess Diana died in a car crash and Hong Kong was returned to China.
Edie Falco was awarded the Emmy for her portrayal of Carmela Soprano during the same year that the most successful movie ever was released - Titanic, U.S. President Clinton was Impeached and Viagra was approved and put on the Market.
Sela ward won the Emmy for her role as Lily Manning in Once and Again in 1999. That was also the year that we were all afraid of the Y2K Bug and JFK Jr., his wife and sister in law died in a plane accident.
Edie Falco and Allison Janney won the next four Emmy awards, alternately, during the years that George Bush narrowly won the US presidential election, the human genome was mapped, Vladimir Putin was elected president of Russia, Wikipedia was launched, A devastating terrorist attack left 3,000 dead in America, Apple launched the iPod, The Euro entered circulation, and MYSPACE was launched.
The 2004/5 Emmy award went to Patricia Arquette for her role in the show Medium during the same year that Facebook was launched.
The 58th Emmy award went to Mariska Hargitay who won for her portrayal of Olivia in Law and Order during the same year that New Orleans was hit by hurricane Katrina.
Twitter was launched the same year that Sally Field won an Emmy for her role as the matriarch in Brothers and Sisters.
The next two years belonged to Glenn Close for her role in Damages during a time when Apple debuted the iPhone, Amazon released the Kindle, Google Street View was launched Beijing hosted the Olympic games.
Kyra Sedwick won an Emmy for her portrayal of Brenda Leigh Johnson in The Closer the same year that Barack Obama was elected president of the United States.
Julianna Margulies won an Emmy for her role as Alicia Florrick in The Good Wife the same year that Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake and Apple debuted the iPad.
The last two Primetime Emmy awards for outstanding lead actress in a dramatic series have been given to Claire Danes for her brilliant performance in Homeland as CIA operative Carrie Mathison.
It's hard to believe how much has happened during the history of the Emmy Awards - some might say that they seem trivial and unnecessary when compared to the major events going on at the time. Others would argue that they represent an important part of our culture and deserve their place in history - mirroring our own thoughts about gender, family, race and politics...I would tend to agree.