On January 25, 1949 the first Emmy Award ceremony was held. If you're like me, your first instinct was to think back to the early days of television and you are surprised there was even television in that year. 1949?
But yes, there was enough programming and a very small handful of people who had a television to justify having awards. Part of the reason for creating the Emmy Awards was to foster interest in this new type of entertainment. The name “Emmy” was a feminized version of “immy,” the shorthand term for the image orthicon tube that was used in TV cameras until the 1960s.
The very first Emmy winner (for outstanding television personality) was Shirley Dinsdale, a 20-year-old ventriloquist who starred in the children’s show Judy Splinters. Ever heard of this show? Me either. But, this was a puppet show in which Shirley Dinsdale dressed in a cowgirl outfit to match that of her puppet, Judy Splinters.
Here is a short clip of Shirley and her dummy from an unknown year talking about the show.