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Original Academy Award header logo

Academy Award Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Academy Award
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Original Academy Award Cover Art
Academy Award MP3 Cover Art



Emil Jannigs recipient of first Academy Award (for Best Actor) May 16 1929
Emil Jannigs recipient of first Academy Award® (for Best Actor) May 16 1929



May 16 1929 Academy Awards Banquet at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel's Blossom Room
May 16 1929 Academy Awards® Banquet at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel's Blossom Room



The 1950 Academy Awards Presentation was held at Hollywood's RKO Pantages Theatre and for the next 10 years thereafter
The 1950 Academy Awards® Presentation was held at Hollywood's RKO Pantages Theatre and for the next 10 years thereafter.



The Academy Award of Merit
The Academy Award® of Merit or 'Oscar®'



Squibb ad for Academy Award Theatre
Squibb ad for Academy Award Theatre



Spot announcement of the Academy Award presentation of 'Foreign Correspondent' from July 24 1946
Spot announcement of the Academy Award presentation of 'Foreign Correspondent' from July 24 1946



Spot announcement of the Academy Award presentation of 'Hold Back the Dawn' from July 31 1946
Spot announcement of the Academy Award presentation of 'Hold Back the Dawn' from July 31 1946



 Spot ad for the Academy Award presentation of 'Guest in The House' from September 25 1946
Spot ad for the Academy Award
presentation of 'Guest in
The House' from
September 25 1946



The one exception in Academy Award and it's adaptations of Oscar®-winning films was Portrait of Jennie, which didn't make it to the big screen until 1948
The one exception in Academy Award and it's adaptations of Oscar
®-winning films was Portrait of Jennie, which
didn't make it to the big screen until
1948. Academy Award adapted
the book instead

Background

Long time friend of and contributor to Digital Deli Too, Jim Hilliker, has graciously permitted us to reprint his fascinating "An Unofficial History of the Academy Awards® on Radio" article of February 23rd 2012:


An Unofficial History of the Academy Awards® on Radio
-- by Jim Hilliker --

This essay is in part about Academy Award®/movie history. Because of my intense interest in early radio history, I thought it would be fun to trace the earliest years that this ceremony or any part of the Oscar® ceremony was ever presented on the radio, especially in the Los Angeles area. Then, my idea grew to try and include the entire history of the Academy Awards® on the radio. We know that the first year the Oscars® were seen on television was in 1953, and the first year it was broadcast in color on TV was in 1966. But, before television, the movie industry publicized their annual awards through the newspapers and gradually by using radio broadcasts too.

Did you know that the last time the Academy Awards
® produced a broadcast for only radio was in 1968? It was heard over ABC radio’s Entertainment Network, separate from the ABC television broadcast. And, the very first time the Academy Awards® show was broadcast from beginning to end for a network “coast-to-coast” radio audience (and on Armed Forces Radio for the U.S. troops overseas) was in 1945 on more than 250 stations affiliated with the Blue Network of the American Broadcasting Company, and locally on KECA-790 in Los Angeles (now KABC). That network is known today as simply ABC.

Here is what I’ve discovered so far about the years that any part or all of the Academy Awards® ceremonies were heard on the radio, first in Los Angeles and later across the nation.

1930 to 1932

April 3, 1930---It was only the second year of the Academy Awards® and KNX in Hollywood was the first radio station to carry part of the awards, during a 1-hour broadcast. (KNX had used their station slogan “The Voice of Hollywood” since 1924) The radio log page for the Los Angeles Times on this date does not list this broadcast, but the Academy says it took place, so it most likely did air on KNX that evening.

November 5, 1930—Again, KNX at 1050 on the radio dial was on the scene of the Academy’s banquet, as the station aired part of the 3rd annual awards at 10 pm. The listing in the radio page of the newspaper reads: “KNX-Will Hays Banquet.” Mr. Hays was one of the speakers at the Motion Picture Academy banquet. There was also a program from 8 to 9 pm on KHJ-900 that night on the CBS west coast network listed as George Olsen and Hollywood celebrities. It’s possible that this program may have had something to do with the movie awards being given out that evening, but I’m not certain.

November 10, 1931—The headline in John S. Daggett’s Los Angeles Times radio column reads, “Film Academy On Air Tonight.” From the Biltmore Hotel, KHJ-900 on your dial, and the Don Lee CBS/Columbia Broadcasting System West Coast network was there to bring listeners the 4th Academy Awards presentation at 10:15 pm. It is described as “the largest social event of the screen year.” With the hook-up to the Don Lee-CBS West Coast network, that meant that besides being heard in the Los Angeles area over KHJ, the film awards would also be heard over KFRC in San Francisco and Don Lee stations in San Diego, Santa Barbara, Bakersfield, Fresno, Sacramento, Stockton, Portland, Oregon, plus Seattle, Tacoma and Spokane in the state of Washington. Here's the link to read the newspaper radio column about the broadcast that evening.

November 18, 1932—The radio log for the Los Angeles Times shows that KFI owner Earle C. Anthony’s other Los Angeles station, KECA-1430, at 9:30 pm would carry “The Motion Picture Academy of Arts”, as it was listed in the paper.

Also, on the night before the 5th edition of the Oscars® took place, radio station KECA presented a half-hour program called “Hollywood On the Air.” Its purpose was to have various actors, directors, and others talk about the Academy Awards and the purpose of the Academy. The official Oscar® website has some short audio clips taken from that KECA broadcast of November 17, 1932, which was broadcast from Radio Pictures Studio in Hollywood (later known as RKO Studio). Those heard on the broadcast include Conrad Nagel, screen writer Howard J. Green, director Frank Capra and Mary Pickford, along with Clyde Lewis and his orchestra and KECA announcer John Trottell.

Click on this link and scroll down to hear the four clips from that program. It’s interesting to hear director Frank Capra talk about how the public had likely already made up their minds as to their favorite picture, actor and actress of the previous year. He also asked the listening public to write in to the Academy to let them know why their opinions differ from the Academy, after the awards are announced. The full 30-minute recording of this program is available for listener use at the Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills.

No Oscars On Radio From 1934 to 1938

While the radio coverage of the Academy Awards® was short and to the point during those early years, for some unknown reason, a radio broadcast of the Oscar ceremony in Hollywood did not take place from 1934 through 1938, and there was no ceremony in 1933. One possibility is that newspaper publishers may have put pressure on the Academy to not allow radio coverage, so that the papers could have the story first. But, more research will need to be done to find out if that was the case.

Unauthorized Broadcast Attempted in 1939

There was supposed to be a short radio broadcast of the winners in 1939, after the Academy Awards® banquet had ended that night. However, the Academy says that instead, a short unauthorized broadcast of the Academy Awards was heard briefly on KHJ radio at 900 on the dial. I would like to thank reference librarian Libby Wertin at the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences® for her research into this broadcast. She has told me that it was radio station KHJ and announcer George Fisher who took part in the unauthorized broadcast of the Academy Awards from the Biltmore Hotel on February 23, 1939.

KHJ had planned and was authorized to announce only the names of the winners after 11 p.m. from the Biltmore in a news-type broadcast. So, they had their equipment set up to go on the air. But, KHJ was not authorized to broadcast the entire ceremony itself from beginning to end.

A recording of the unauthorized KHJ broadcast does exist at the Academy’s library. Preservation and listening copies have been made of the recording, and are available for use in the library. The broadcast lasted only about 12 minutes. It ended when Biltmore management shut down the broadcast. (Source: Music and Recorded Sound Collection, Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
®.)

Because the written transcript of the 1939 KHJ Oscar
® broadcast is a bit long, I will summarize a few of the highlights. The air check was recorded by the Electro-Vox Recording Studio at 5546 Melrose Avenue. The recording begins with the “Star Spangled Banner,” as most of the early Academy Awards® banquets did in those days. The first eight minutes of the recording are related to the Awards Show. KHJ announcer George Fisher was said to be upstairs from where the banquet was tasking place. After some applause, Fisher announces that the awards presentation has begun. He tells the listeners, “Now I’m going to pause for just a moment to continue my reading of the awards, as we will not be able to pick up the announcements from below, because of the fact that they take so long in-between announcements.” He continues reading some of the Academy Award® winners as Academy President Frank Capra was introduced by Basil Rathbone. At one point during his short broadcast, Fisher tells the radio listeners, “I must speak quietly for fear that my voice may be heard downstairs.” I will personally comment that my guess is that remark shows that Fisher knew he was not supposed to be conducting this broadcast of the awards show, and he was afraid he would be discovered by Academy and/or hotel officials.

Next, KHJ announcer Don Kurlen makes a comment on seeing Spencer Tracy at a banquet table. A third person present, KHJ engineer Hudson Lyons, is referred to by Fisher. Fisher then continues talking and the Best Song award winner is announced as “Thanks For the Memory.” Fisher pauses to listen to the song as it can be heard over the air playing in the background. For the next 4 minutes, Fisher’s voice is no longer heard. On the recording, applause is heard and the nominees for another award are announced. Then, there are muffled voices heard saying, “If you don’t go, I’ll carry you out if you don’t go.” There are shuffling sounds, some music and then silence, as the broadcast was closed down by Biltmore management.

Music is next heard on the recording, with radio programming now apparently continuing from the studio. At the end of the song, an announcement is heard: “This is the Mutual-Don Lee Broadcasting System.” Then, there’s a pause of about 12 seconds, followed by a station identification announcement, and apparently the beginning of a commercial: “KHJ, Los Angeles. Never before such style, never before such luxury, never before such value” Music plays for about 7 seconds and then the air check ends at around 12 minutes. (Source: Music and Recorded Sound Collection, Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
®.)

I asked Libby Wertin if this was a piece of unknown radio and Oscar
® history, because I had never read or heard anything about this unauthorized 1939 KHJ broadcast. She said, “I do not think there is anything especially secret about this broadcast; there doesn’t seem to have been much notice taken of it at the time (at least I find no mention of it in a quick search of the LA Times).  I presume the memory of it just got buried over the years.”

Academy Awards® Heard on Radio Again During the 1940s

The following year, at least part of Academy Awards® was heard again on Southern California radio. The listing in the Los Angeles Times radio page for Thursday February 29, 1940 from 11:00 to 11:15 pm shows that station KNX-1050 was scheduled to air the “Film Academy Awards.” This may have been for the same type of broadcast KHJ was given permission for in 1939, with only an announcement of the winners in the various categories after the banquet was over that evening, since it is on for such a short time period. This was for the 12th annual Academy Awards®, which were held at the Cocoanut Grove of the Ambassador Hotel.

One year later, the Academy Awards
® were heard on the air the night of Thursday February 27, 1941. This time, it seems that this was a broadcast of the entire Oscar ceremony. The radio listings in the Los Angeles Times at 9:30 pm show the readers were able to tune into KECA-780 to hear the “Film Academy Awards” from the Biltmore Hotel. (It is possible that part of the west coast NBC Blue Network stations were also linked by KECA to receive this broadcast, but I have not had time to check to see if that took place) The paper also lists President Franklin D. Roosevelt as one of the speakers. According to the official Oscar website of the AMPAS®, on this night at the 13th annual Academy Awards®, President Roosevelt gave a 6-minute direct-line radio address from the white House. He paid tribute to the work that was done by Hollywood’s citizenry. It was the first time that an American president had participated in an Academy Awards® evening.

In 1942, KNX-1050 was there to broadcast the Academy Awards
® at 10:30 pm on Thursday night February 26th from the Biltmore Hotel. Some short clips of the broadcast survive. The oscar.org website in their Legacy section has set aside a few audio clips from that night of the awards for Best Director, Best Documentary, Supporting Actor, Best Actor and Actress, and Best Picture. Go to this link and scroll down to hear the individual clips from the 14th annual Academy Awards.

In 1943, the 15th annual Academy Awards
® took place on Thursday March 4 at the Ambassador Hotel. It was the final time that the Oscar ceremony took place at a banquet. While the newspaper radio log does not show any listing for the Oscars that night, Academy photos show that CBS microphones were on the stage, so it was likely KNX was putting on the radio broadcast.

On March 2, 1944, the 16th annual Academy Awards
® was presented at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. This was the first time the awards were presented from a theater. A pre-show was broadcast by KFWB-980, with announcer Neil Reagan (older brother of Ronald Reagan). The program itself was hosted by George Jessel, who gives a history of the Academy and what its purpose is. He also does some humorous ad-libs, announces the nominations for the evening and tries to get the various film celebrities to say hello to the radio audience before they enter the theater. The KFWB orchestra also plays a medley of the Oscar winners for Best Song from the past three years.

Following the pre-show over KFWB (which was owned by Warner Brothers Studio at the time), the Academy Awards show was broadcast over KNX and the CBS West Coast feed, with announcer Ken Carpenter and host Jack Benny. Again, this was fairly late in the evening, at 10:15 pm, according to the newspaper listings for the “Academy Film Awards.” Also, during the pre-show broadcast, George Jessel said that KFWB would be back on the air to announcer the Oscar winners at 10:15 too, but there is no newspaper listing of that in the same radio log for that evening.

To hear the two programs from the 1944 awards over KFWB and KNX, you may click on this link. The total length is about 55 minutes; much shorter than the 3-plus hours length of today’s Oscar programs. The KNX-CBS audio recording of the awards with Ken Carpenter and Jack Benny of the 16th Academy Awards
® (for movies released during 1943), is the earliest full audio recording of the Academy Awards® that the Academy library has in its collection.

On March 15, 1945, KECA-790 in Los Angeles and the Blue Network of the American Broadcasting Company (formerly the Blue Network and the NBC Blue Network, would soon be known simply as ABC) presented the 17th annual Academy Awards at 9:30 pm. This was the first time the Academy Awards
® was heard from beginning to end on a nationwide coast-to-coast network hook-up. This was also the first time that film clips were used for nominated categories at the Oscars.

The ABC radio announcer was George Fisher. He was the KHJ announcer in 1939 who was on the air with the unauthorized broadcast of the Academy Awards. (Fisher was a longtime radio broadcaster and newspaper columnist, usually working as an entertainment reporter. He worked at half-a dozen Southern California stations including KHJ, KNX, KFI and KFWB. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for radio.)

Bob Hope was the host for the evening. The recording is just over one hour in length, though it sounds as if the end of the program may have been cut off, as it ends suddenly after a closing comment from Bob Hope. Here’s the link to hear the entire 1945 broadcast.

The next year, the 18th annual Academy Awards
® were presented on March 7, 1946. The network radio broadcast was again carried in Los Angeles over KECA and across the nation on the ABC network, starting at 9:30 pm Pacific time. Bob Hope and James Stewart were the co-hosts. The official oscar.org website has some interesting audio clips from that night for Best Cinematography presented by D.W. Griffith; Best Writing presented by Bette Davis and Best Actress to Joan Crawford, presented by Charles Boyer and accepted by her director Michael Curtiz. The link is here. Click on it, and scroll to the bottom to play the audio clips.

The 19th annual Academy Awards
® took place on Thursday night March 13, 1947. The host was Jack Benny. The Los Angeles Times radio log page indicates that KFWB-980 carried a pre-Oscar show starting at 8:15 pm. KECA and the ABC radio network began their broadcast of the Academy Awards at 8:45 that evening. It is likely that the presentation of the Oscars® was getting longer than in past years, because the 10 pm listing for KECA shows that the Academy Awards® broadcast was continuing into the next hour. The official Oscar® website also states that this was the first time the general public was allowed to buy tickets to attend the Academy Awards.

The following year, the 20th annual Academy Awards
® took place on Saturday March 20, 1948. The broadcast again was heard in Los Angeles on KECA-790 and nationally on the ABC network beginning at 8:30 pm from the Shrine Civic Auditorium. To hear some audio clips of that night’s winners, you may click on this link and scroll to the bottom of the page.

The 21st annual Academy Awards
® were presented on March 24, 1949. The broadcast was heard over KECA in Los Angeles and across the nation on the ABC network, starting at 8 p.m. Pacific Time from the Academy Award Theater. Audio clips from two of the winners that night can be heard at this link.

The 22nd Academy Awards
® took place at the Pantages Theater on March 23, 1950. Paul Douglas was the master of ceremonies. The radio broadcast was heard across the nation on the ABC radio network and in Los Angeles on KECA. The announcer for the radio program was Ken Carpenter, and he was assisted with commentary from Eve Arden and Ronald Reagan. To hear the full broadcast of the 22nd Academy Awards®, click on this link (Same link for the broadcast of the 1945 Oscars®). The program is split into 4 parts and lasts about 1 hour and 45 minutes. At the end of the program, it is interesting to hear Eve Arden say she wished she could’ve talked more about the gowns the women were wearing. Television would soon let the movie fans see the Oscar® nominees and the winners on this glamorous night, and the focus on what the women wear at the Academy Awards has increased tremendously since the 1950s.

The 23rd Academy Awards
® show took place on March 29, 1951 with Fred Astaire as host. The program was carried in Southern California again on KECA-790 and nationwide over the ABC network. The Los Angeles broadcast started at 9:15 pm and was scheduled to run for 90 minutes. The announcers/commentators for ABC were Ken Carpenter and John Lund.

The 24th Academy Awards
® program was on March 20, 1952. The broadcast from The Pantages Theater began at 9 p.m. on KECA-790 in Los Angeles and throughout the USA on the ABC network, with Paul Douglas the main announcer and commentator. Danny Kaye was the master of ceremonies. Too see and hear some of the winners that night, click on this link.

Oscar® Enters the Television Age

In 1953, the 25th Academy Awards® show was seen on television for the first time on NBC-TV, from the Pantages Theater in Hollywood and the NBC International Theater in New York City, on March 19th. Bob Hope was the emcee in Hollywood and Conrad Nagel in New York. The radio broadcast over NBC radio was carried in Los Angeles by KFI-640 at 7:30 pm. Paul Douglas was the special radio commentator for this broadcast.

The Academy’s Oscar Legacy section on their website has a couple of video clips of two winners from that night at this link. The one that I like the most from this 25th anniversary of the Oscars® shows one of the Academy founders, movie pioneer Mary Pickford presenting legendary pioneer director Cecil B. DeMille the award for Best Picture for The Greatest Show On Earth.

The 26th Academy Awards were held on March 25, 1954. The hosts were Donald O’Connor in Hollywood and Fredric March in New York. The broadcast was seen and heard on NBC-TV and radio. In Los Angeles, KFI carried the radio portion at 7:30 pm. Richard Carlson was the main commentator during the radio broadcast.

Less Radio Listeners At Night, As More Homes Get Television

By 1955, 50% of American homes had at least one television set, a number that increased to 87% of U.S. homes with TV by 1960. As the audience at night was increasing for TV, the audience for radio listening during the evening hours was getting smaller. Each year, the Academy Awards became a huge television event. Still, the Academy continued to do a separate broadcast for radio for 13 more years, through 1968.

From 1955 to 1960, NBC radio’s presentation of the Academy Awards
® was heard over KFI-640 in Southern California. The station’s ‘clear channel’ 50,000 watt signal most likely also helped bring the Oscars® to listeners without TV in many outlying areas of the west. The NBC radio commentators for the Oscar broadcasts were Richard Carlson in 1955; Jim Backus in 1956; Robert Wagner in 1957; Mel Ferrer in 1958; Paul Douglas and Jan Sterling in 1959; and Vincent Price in 1960.

The Final Radio Years of the Academy Awards

The ABC radio network carried the Academy Awards® from 1960 through 1968. Richard Widmark was the guest radio commentator for the Oscars® on ABC radio in 1961. I have not been able to check the Los Angeles Times radio log to see if the show was heard on a Los Angeles station that year. But, radio logs for the Pasadena Star-News indicate the Academy Awards® show was heard on KABC-790 in L.A. in 1962, 1963 and 1964.

The radio host in 1962 is unknown, but from 1963 through 1968, the radio hosts/commentators were Jack Linkletter (son of radio-TV personality Art Linkletter) and Oscar
®-winning costume designer Edith Head. So far, my research of the radio logs shows that the 1965, ’66, and ’67 Academy Awards show may not have been broadcast by any Los Angeles radio station. More research is needed before I can confirm whether or not any Southern California radio station carried the broadcast.

The 40th annual Academy Awards
® was held on April 10, 1968. The ABC radio network had just split into four separate radio networks. The March 15, 1968 issue of Broadcasting magazine ran a short piece promoting Eastman Kodak Company’s sponsorship of the Oscars® on ABC radio and television. The item said the radio broadcast would be heard over the ABC Entertainment network. In Los Angeles, the ABC Entertainment affiliate was KFOX-FM at 100.3 on the FM dial. So, while I have no concrete proof that this was the case, it’s quite possible that the final network radio broadcast of the Academy Awards® in the Los Angeles market occurred on an FM station. (Also, a post on the Radio-Info.com discussion board states that a man who received an air check from an ‘old time radio’ tape dealer, has a cassette tape of the final broadcast of Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club in 1968. The tape contains both ABC Entertainment Network ID’s and the local station ID as KFOX-FM. So, if the 1968 radio broadcast of the Oscars was heard in Los Angeles, it makes sense that it wiuld have been on that radio station.)

I would guess that by this time, the Academy knew that the handwriting was on the wall for ending the network radio broadcasts of the Academy Awards
® after nearly 23 consecutive years. With the big ratings the awards show received on TV at this time, it probably was more cost effective to drop the radio broadcast due to its much smaller listening audience. It was the end of an era, as the movie fans preferred to see their favorite actors and actresses win or lose the Oscar on TV, instead of listening to an announcer describing what the stars were wearing and what famous celebrities were inside the theater. But, before television came into most homes, the magic of radio helped bring the excitement Hollywood’s most famous and glamorous evening into the homes of movie lovers across the USA for several years.

These are my preliminary findings on the history of the Academy Awards
® on radio. I would like to sincerely thank Libby Wertin of the Margaret Herrick Library for assisting me with research for portions of this article. She provided details of the Academy’s recordings of the 1932 KECA 30-minute broadcast of “Hollywood On the Air”; the 1939 unauthorized broadcast of the awards on radio station KHJ; and a list of announcers and commentators for the network radio productions from 1944 to 1968.

I hope to have an updated revised edition of this article in the near future, should I find any new and significant information to add to the story. Meanwhile, if any readers have any comments, questions or corrections or more details to add, please feel free to send me an email.

-- February 23, 2012, Jim Hilliker, Monterey, CA --


The House of E.R. Squibb & Sons

The pharmaceutical house of E.R. Squibb & Sons was an active sponsor of some of radio's most prestigious and well-mounted music and variety programs of the Golden Age of Radio:

1930 Will Rogers' Headliners
1932-1933 The Squibb Program
1936 Calendar Melody
1939-1943 Calling America
1940-1942 Squibb Golden Treasury of Song
1942-1943 Walter Cassell
1943 To Your Good Health from The House of Squibb
1943-1946 NBC Symphony Orchestra
1944 Music from The House of Squibb
1946 Academy Award
1951 The Jimmy Carroll Show

The two most prestigious music programs sponsored by E.R. Squibb & Sons have long been a source of muddled confusion throughout the Vintage Radio Collecting Community. That's a shame, because these two prestigious--and expensive--productions represented some of the finest performances and selections of classical music, opera and musical comedy of the World War II years.

A year later, E.R. Squibb & Sons sponsored the prestigious Academy Award program, airing Radio adaptations of thirty-nine of the era's previous Oscar
®-winning Films.

CBS and The House of Squibb bring Academy Award to the air

Academy Award was conceived to showcase some of the more important, Academy Award® winning movies from the Golden Age of Film. E.R. Squibb and Sons set out to spare no expense in producing 100 of The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences® most significant award winning movies, performers, or technical acheivements. And to that end, the 39 scripted productions they did mount clearly accomplished that goal--but fell far short of their intended 100 productions.

As it was, The House of Squibb indeed spared little expense attracting some of Hollywood's greatest talent for its productions. It was estimated at the time that each production bore a price tag of over $5,600. But $1,600 of each production's overhead cost was directed towards The Academy's licensing demands and waivers. So it was that after only 39 productions, E.R. Squibb deemed the program too expensive to continue to sponsor--on their own. CBS considered continuing the series as a sustained production, but also failed to arrive at a more cost-effective arrangement with The Academy. One must remember that CBS was already mounting hundreds of competing early Television productions concurrent with their Radio broadcasts and, as such, received little--if any--economic sympathy from the Film Industry with which it was now competing head-to-head.

In an abbreviated review of Academy Award by The Billboard of October 26th 1946, the reviewer observed:

"At 10 p.m. CBS made a plea for post-Crosby listening with a hitch-hiker for Information Please. And so to yawning with a weakie, Squibb-sponsored Academy Award. Wednesday night's installment was Blood on the Sun, starring John Garfield. Columbia couldn't have picked a worse direct opponent to Bing if they tried, except maybe a talk on bee keeping. Even a disk jockey singing Crosby disks would have been better.
It wasn't John Garfield. It was merely that Academy aired a tired story, the short-lived, pale bloomer which had been ravished in 1945 as a flicker of the same name. The theme of Japanese antics against the Americans living in Nippon in the brink of war is stale, or at least Blood was. Garfield tried his best but his transfusion just couldn't bring the corpse to life.
The mistake, of course was not selecting a terrific story and salt it with names, names and more names. Then Academy would have stood a chance to pull at least heave-and-sigh and handkerchief twisters against the Crosby opposition. Bucking Garfield on the two other webs at this time were Frank Morgan in The Fabulous Dr. Tweedy, NBC, and Concert Hour, MBS."

Clearly neither The Fabulous Dr. Tweedy nor Concert Hour were direct competition to Academy Award, but Bing Crosby's opposition certainly was. So it was that Academy Award met a premature demise; facing insurmountable opposition and priced out of production by the very Motion Picture icon it was promoting every week. And it's a shame The Academy couldn't have been a bit more accomodating. The series was very well received, with each new feature greatly anticipated by its generally star-struck, loyal Radio audience.

But the War had ended and returning Vets--and their families--were still picking up the pieces of their interrupted lives. The series was perhaps ill-timed in that regard. In any case, it survives as a somewhat foreshortened showcase of Hollywood and 39 (actually 38--see Provenances Section) award winning productions in one category or another. Indeed, several of the selected award winning movies were multiple nominees or winners, often making for a confusing narrative for the series' announcer, Hugh Brundage.

All in all, a highly collectable, historic snapshot of both Hollywood productions and the awarding body of Film Industry members that honor Hollywood's Film efforts.

Series Derivatives:

Academy Award Theatre
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Movies Dramas having received an Academy Award [or Nomination] for Best Picture, Best Writer, Best Actor, Best Actress or Special Award.
Network(s): Columbia Broadcasting System
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): None.
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 46-03-30 01 Jezebel
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 46-03-30 to 46-12-18; CBS; Thirty-nine, 30-minute programs;
Syndication: CBS
Sponsors: The House of Squibb
Director(s): Dee Engelbach
Principal Actors: Bette Davis, Ginger Rogers, Paul Muni, Brian Donlevy, Clair Trevor, Randolph Scott, Ronald Colman, Rosalind Russell, Janet Blair, Victor McLaglen, Ray Milland, Charles Laughton, John Garfield, Pat O'Brien, Adolphe Menjou, Frederic March, Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet, Henry Fonda, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Virginia Bruce, Joel McCrea, Olivia de Havilland, Jean Pierre Aumont, Paul Lukas, Lana Turner, Gregory Peck, James Stewart, Joseph Cotten, June Vincent, Irene Dunne, Joan Lorring, William POwell, Eddie Bracken, Virginia Mayo, Charles Coburn, Cary Grant, Rex Harrison, Greer Garson, Joan Fontaine, John Lund, Peter Lawford, Margaret O'Brien
Recurring Character(s): Vary by Movie or Book adaptation
Protagonist(s): Vary by Movie or Book adaptation
Author(s): Vary by Movie or Book adaptation
Writer(s) Vary by Movie or Book adaptation
Music Direction: Leith Stevens
Musical Theme(s): Unknown
Announcer(s): Hugh Brundage
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
39
Episodes in Circulation: 39
Total Episodes in Collection: 39
Provenances:
RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Washington Post, 'The Directory of The Armed Forces Radio Service Series'.

Notes on Provenances:

Digital Deli Too RadioLogIc


OTRisms:

1. Episode #03, is almost always incorrectly titled 'The Life of Louis Pasteur'. The Actual name of the movie is 'The Story of Louis Pasteur'.
2. The series name is Academy Award, not Academy Award Theatre. This has become a common misconception, owing primarily to some radio listings and Squibb magazine ads of the era.
3. Episode #20 is titled 'Watch On the Rhine', not 'The Watch On the Rhine'.
4. Episode #37 is titled 'Portrait of Jennie' from the book by Robert Nathan, not 'Portrait of Jenny'. (The award-winning movie, 'Portrait of Jennie', starring Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten wasn't released until 1948).


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Academy Award Series Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
46-03-30
1
Jezebel

Jezebel Poster

Y
Bette Davis: Best Actress, 1938, as 'Julie Morrison'
[ Premiere Episode ]

46-03-30 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--Academy Award Theater (WBBM): premiere program presenting Bette Davis in "
Jezebel," award-winning role which she portrayed in 1938. Supporting her is Fay Bainter, who also played in the film.
46-04-06
2
Kitty Foyle

Kitty Foyle Poster

Y
Ginger Rogers: Best Actress, 1940, as 'Kitty Foyle'

46-04-06 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--Academy Award Theater (WBBM): Ginger Rogers in "
Kitty Foyle."
46-04-13
3
The Story of Louis Pasteur

The Story of Louis Pasteur Poster

Y
Paul Muni: Best Actor, 1936, as 'Louis Pasteur'

46-04-13 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--Academy Award Theater (WBBM): Paul Muni in "
Story of Louis Pasteur."
46-04-20
4
The Great McGinty

The Great McGinty Poster

Y
Preston Sturges: Best Writing (Original Screenplay), 1940
Brian Donlevy and Gerald Mohr

46-04-20 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--Academy Award Theater (WBBM): Brian Donlevy in "
The Great McGinty."
46-04-27
5
Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs Poster

Y
Walt Disney: Special Award, 1938, for "significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field for the motion picture cartoon."

46-04-27 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--Academy Award Theater (WBBM): presents Walt Disney's "
Snow White."
46-05-04
6
Stagecoach

Stagecoach Poster

Y
Stagecoach: Nominated for Best Picture, 1939.

(Stagecoach did actually win two Academy Awards in 1939 --

Best Supporting Actor: Thomas Mitchell

Best Music Score: Richard Hageman, Frank Harling, John Leipold, and Leo Shuken.)

With Randolph Scott and Claire Trevor

46-05-04 New York Times
7-7:30--Academy Award: "
Stage Coach," With Claire Trevor and Randolph Scott--WABC.

46-05-11
7
If I Were King

If I Were King Poster

Y
Ronald Colman: Three Nominations for Best Actor, 1929/1930, and 1942.

(If they'd only waited a year, they'd have been able to cite Colman for an actual Best Actor Award for 1947's 'A Double Life', as Anthony John.)

46-05-11 New York Times
7-7:30--Academy Award Theatre: "
If I Were King," With Ronald Colman--WABC.
46-05-18
8
My Sister Eileen

My Sister Eileen Poster

Y
Rosalind Russell: Nominated for Best Actress, 1942, as 'Ruth Sherwood'.
With Janet Blair

46-05-18 New York Times
7-7:30--Academy Awards Theatre: "
My Sister Eileen," Rosalind Russell, Janet Blair--WABC.
46-05-25
9
The Informer

The Informer Poster

Y
Victor McLaglen: Best Actor, 1935, as 'Gypo Nolan'.
With Wallace Ford, narrated by Gerald Mohr.

46-05-25 New York Times
7-7:30--Academy Award: Victor McLaglen in "
The Informer"--WABC.
46-06-01
10
Arise My Love

Arise My Love Poster

Y
Arise My Love: Best Writing (Original Story), 1940, Benjamin Glazer and John S. Toldy.
With Ray Milland: Best Actor, 1945, for Lost Weekend, as 'Don Birnam'.

46-06-01 New York Times
7-7:30--Academy Theatre: "
Arise My Love," With Ray Milland--WABC.
46-06-08
11
Ruggles Of Red Gap

Ruggles Of Red Gap Poster

Y
Ruggles Of Red Gap: Outstanding Production, 1935, Paramount.
With Charles Laughton: Best Actor, 1932, as 'Henry VIII' in The Private Life of Henry VIII and Charlie Ruggles.

46-06-08 New York Times
7-7:30--Academy Theatre: Charles Laughton iln "
Ruggles of Red Gap"--WABC.
46-06-15
12
Pride Of The Marines

Pride Of The Marines Poster

Y
Pride Of The Marines: Nominated for Best Writing (Screenplay), 1945, Albert Maltz.
With John Garfield and Rosemary DeCamp

46-06-15 New York Times
7-7:30--Academy Award Theatre: "
Pride of the Marines." With John Garfield--WABC.
46-06-22
13
The Front Page

The Front Page Poster

Y
The Front Page: Nominated for Outstanding Production, 1930/31, The Caddo Company.
With Adolphe Menjou: Nominated forBest Actor, 1930/31, as 'Walter Burns' and Pat O’Brien

46-06-22 New York Times
7-7:30--Academy Theatre: Pat O'Brien and Adolphe Menjou, in "
Front Page"--WABC.
46-06-29
14
A Star Is Born

A Star Is Born Poster

Y
A Star Is Born: Best Writing (Original Story), 1937, William A. Wellman and Robert Carson.
With Janet Gaynor: Nominated for Best Actress, 1937, as 'Esther Blodgett/Vicki Lester'; and Fredric March: Nominated for Best Actor, 1937, as 'Norman Maine /Alfred Hinkel'.

46-06-29 New York Times
7-7:30--Academy Theatre: "
A Star Is Born." Frederic March--WABC.
46-07-03
15
The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon Poster

Y
The Maltese Falcon: Nominated for Outstanding Motion Picture, 1941, Warner Bros..
With Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet: Nominated for Best Supporting Actor, 1941, as 'Kaspar Gutman', Mary Astor, Peter Lorre

[Moves to Wednesdays]

46-07-03 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Award Theatre: "
Maltese Falcon," With Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet--WABC.
46-07-10
16
Young Mr. Lincoln

Young Mr. Lincoln Poster

Y
Young Mr. Lincoln: Nominated for Best Writing (Original Story), 1939, Lamar Trotti.
With Henry Fonda

46-07-10 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Award Theatre: "
The Young Mr. Lincoln," With Henry Fonda--WABC.
46-07-17
17
The Prisoner Of Zenda

The Prisoner Of Zenda Poster

Y
The Prisoner Of Zenda: Nominated for Best Art Direction (Lyle Wheeler) and Best Music Score (Alfred Newman), 1937.
With Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
and Virginia Bruce.

46-07-17 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Award Theatre: "
Prisoner of Zenda," With Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Virginia Bruce--WABC.
46-07-24
18
Foreign Correspondent

Foreign Correspondent Poster

Y
Foreign Correspondent: Nominated for 1940's --

Best Supporting Actor: Albert Basserman as 'Van Meer'
Best Art Direction: Alexander Golitzen
Best Cinematography (B&W): Rudolph Maté
Outstanding Production: Walter Wanger
Best Special Effects: Paul Eagler (Photography) and Thomas T. Moulton (Sound)
Best Writing (Original Screenplay): Charles Bennett and Joan Harrison

With Joseph Cotten

[Add'l Note - Hugh Brundage cites Foreign Correspondent as having been nominated for only four Oscars. As noted above it was nominated for six Oscars, an extraordinary acheivement in it's own right.]

46-07-24 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Award Theatre: Joel McCrea in "
Foreign Correspondent"--WABC.
46-07-31
19
Hold Back The Dawn

Hold Back The Dawn Poster

Y
Hold Back The Dawn: Nominated for 1941's --
Best Actress: Olivia de Havilland as 'Emmy Brown'
Best Art Direction: Hans Dreier, Robert Usher and Sam Comer
Best Cinematography (B&W): Leo Tover
Best Music Score (of a Dramatic Picture): Victor Young
Outstanding Motion Picture: Paramount Pictures
Best Writing (Screenplay): Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder

With Olivia deHavilland and Jean Pierre Aumont

[Add'l Note - Hugh Brundage again incorrectly cites Hold Back The Dawn as having been nominated for seven Oscars. As noted above it was nominated for only six Oscars, but who's quibbling.]

46-07-31 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Award Theatre: "
Hold Back the Dawn," with Olivia de Havilland, Jean Pierre Aumont--WABC.
46-08-07
20
Watch On The Rhine

Watch On The Rhine Poster

Y
Paul Lukas: Best Actor, 1943, as 'Kurt Muller'.

46-08-07 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Award Theatre: "
Watch on the Rhine," With Paul Lukas, Others--WABC.
46-08-14
21
Vivacious Lady

Vivacious Lady Poster

Y
Vivacious Lady: Nominated for --

Best Cinematography, 1938, Robert DeGrasse

Best Sound Recording, 1938, RKO Radio Studio Sound, John Aalberg.

With Lana Turner

46-08-14 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Award: "
Vivacious Lady," With Lana Turner--WABC.
46-08-21
22
Keys Of The Kingdom

Keys Of The Kingdom Poster

Y
Gregory Peck: Nominated for Best Actor, 1945, as 'Father Francis Chisolm'.

46-08-21 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Theatre: "
Keys of the Kingdom," With Gregory Peck--WABC.
46-08-28
23
One Sunday Afternoon

One Sunday Afternoon Poster

Y
James Stewart: Best Actor, 1940, for 'The Philadelphia Story', as 'Mike Connor'.

46-08-28 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Award Theatre: "
One Sunday Afternoon," With James Stewart--WABC.

Narrated by Gerald Mohr.
46-09-04
24
Pinocchio

Pinocchio Poster

Y
Pinocchio: Best Music Score, 1940, Leigh Harline, Paul J. Smith, Ned Washington.

Best Song, 1940, 'When You Wish upon a Star', by Leigh Harline, Paul J. Smith, Ned Washington .

46-09-04 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Award Theatre: "
Pinocchio"--WABC.
46-09-11
25
Shadow Of A Doubt

Shadow Of A Doubt Poster

Y
Shadow Of A Doubt: Nominated for Best Writing (Original Motion Picture Story), 1943, Gordon McDonell.

46-09-11 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Theatre Award: "
Shadow of a Doubt," With Joseph Cotton and June Vincent--WABC.

With Joseph Cotten and June Vincent.
46-09-18
26
The White Cliffs Of Dover

The White Cliffs Of Dover Poster

Y
The White Cliffs Of Dover: Nominated for Best Cinematography (B&W), 1944, George Folsey.

46-09-18 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Award: "
White Cliffs of Dover," with Irene Dunne--WABC.

With Irene Dunne.
46-09-25
27
Guest In The House

Guest In The House Poster

Y
Guest In The House: Nominated for Best Music Score of a Comedy or Dramatic Picture, 1945, Werner Janssen.

46-09-25 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Award: "
Guest in the House," with Joan Lorring--WABC.

With Kirk Douglas, Anita Louise
46-10-02
28
My Man Godfrey

My Man Godfrey Poster

Y
My Man Godfrey: Nominated for --

Best Actor: William Powell, 1936, as 'Godfrey Parks'.
Best Actor in A Supporting Role: Mischa Auer, 1936, as 'Carlo'
Best Actress: Carole Lombard, 1936, as 'Irene Bullock'
Best Directing: Gregory La Cava
Best Writing (Screenplay): Eric Hatch and Morris Ryskind

46-10-02 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Award: "
My Man Godfrey"; William Powell--WABC.

46-10-09
29
It Happened Tomorrow

It Happened Tomorrow Poster

Y
It Happened Tomorrow: Nominated for --

Best Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture: 1944, Robert Stolz

Best Sound Recording: 1944, Jack Whitney.

46-10-09 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Award: "
It Happened Tomorrow," With Eddie Bracken and Others--WABC.

With Ann Blythe and Eddie Bracken
46-10-16
30
Blood On The Sun

Blood On The Sun Poster

Y
Blood On The Sun: Best Art Direction (B&W), 1945, Wiard Ihnen and A. Roland Fields

46-10-16 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Award: "
Blood on the Sun"; John Garfield--WABC.

John Garfield
46-10-23
31
The Devil and Miss Jones

The Devil and Miss Jones Poster

Y
The Devil and Miss Jones: Nominated for --

Best Actor in A Supporting Role: Charles Coburn, 1941, as 'John P. Merrick'.

Best Writing: (Original Screenplay), 1941, Norman Krasna

46-10-23 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Awards: "
The Devil and Miss Jones." With Virginia Mayo and Charles Coburn--WABC.

With Charles Coburn andViriginia Mayo
46-10-30
32
Suspicion

Suspicion Poster

Y
Suspicion: Best Actress, 1941, Joan Fontaine, as 'Lina McLaidlaw'

46-10-30 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Award: "
Suspicion," With Cary Grant--WABC.

With Cary Grant and Ann Todd
46-11-06
33
Cheers For Miss Bishop

Cheers For Miss Bishop Poster

Y
Cheers For Miss Bishop: Nominated for Best Music Score of A Dramatic Picture, 1943, Edward Ward.

46-11-06 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Award: "
Cheers for Miss Bishop," With Olivia De Havilland--WCBS.

With Olivia deHavilland
46-11-13
34
Night Train (To Munich)

Night Train (To Munich) Poster

Y
Night Train (To Munich): Nominated for Best Writing: (Original Story), 1941, Gordon Wellesley.

46-11-13 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Award: "
Night Train," With Rex Harrison--WCBS.

With Rex Harrison
46-11-20
35
Brief Encounter

Brief Encounter Poster

Y
Brief Encounter: Nominated for --

Best Actress, 1946: Celia Johnson as 'Laura Jesson'

Best Directing, 1946: David Lean

Best Writing (Screenplay), 1946: David Lean, Anthony Havelock-Allan, Ronald Neame

46-11-20 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Award: "
Brief Encounter," With Greer Garson, Others--WCBS.

With Greer Garson
46-11-27
36
Lost Horizon

Lost Horizon Poster

Y
Lost Horizon: Best Art Direction and Film Editing, 1937, Stephen Goosson, (Art) and Gene Havlick and Gene Milford (Film Editing).

46-11-27 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Award: "
Lost Horizon," With Ronald Colman--WCBS.

With Ronald Colman
46-12-04
37
Portrait of Jennie

Portrait Of Jennie book slip cover

Y
Joan Fontaine: Best Actress, 1944, Suspicion, as 'Lina McLaidlaw'

46-12-04 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Award: "
Portrait of Jenny," With Joan Fontaine and John Lund--WCBS.

With John Lund
46-12-11
38
Enchanted Cottage

Enchanted Cottage Poster

Y
Enchanted Cottage: Nominated for Best Music Score of A Dramatic or Comedy Picture, 1945, Roy Webb.

46-12-11 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Award: "
Enchanted Cottage," with Peter Lawford and Joan Lorring--WCBS.

With Peter Lawford, Joan Lorring
46-12-18
39
Lost Angel

Lost Angel Poster

Y
Margaret O’Brien: Special Award, 1944, as Outstanding Child Star of the Year.
[ Last Episode ]

46-12-18 New York Times
10-10:30--Academy Awards: "Lost Angel," With Margaret O'Brien--WCBS.






Academy Award Biographies




The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
(1927 --)

Founded: Hollywood, CA






Emil Jannings recipient of first Academy Award (for Best Actor) May 16 1929
Emil Jannings recipient of first Academy Award (for Best Actor) May 16 1929

May 16 1929 Academy Awards Banquet at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel's Blossom Room
May 16 1929 Academy Awards Banquet at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel's Blossom Room

The 1950 Academy Awards Presentation was held at Hollywood's RKO Pantages Theatre and for the next 10 years thereafter
The 1950 Academy Awards Presentation was held at Hollywood's RKO Pantages Theatre and for the next 10 years thereafter.

The Academy Award of Merit
The Academy Award of Merit
The first Academy Awards were distributed on May 16, 1929. Coincidentally timed with the advent of talking movies, the first ceremony took place as a banquet in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel's Blossom Room. Attendance was limited to participants and their guests, with guest tickets going for $5.00. The relatively unstructured banquet was comprised of many rambling speeches, but presentation of the statuettes themselves was accomplished with rather brusque dispatch by Academy President, Douglas Fairbanks.

The first 15 awards came as no surprise to either the attendees--or award recipients--at the banquet, since The Academy had announced the results of the awards to the public some three months previous. For the following 10 years, the results of the award selections were given to The Press at 11 pm the night of The Academy Awards banquets. According to The AMPAS history site, this practice was discontinued when the Los Angeles Times attempted to 'scoop' their competitors by releasing the results for their Evening Edition, instead of their Overnight Edition.

As a consequence of the L.A. Times' indiscretion, The Academy began controlling the results of the Awards by sealed envelope with the 1941 Award Banquet. By 1942, demand for attendance was such that banquet venues were deemed impractical and The Award Presentations moved to local theatres instead; with the first being held at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

The 16th Awards Presentation at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in 1942 was the first ceremony covered by national Radio. It was also broadcast overseas by The AFRS for the American Troops. Television had to wait another 11 years for it's first shot at televising The Academy Awards Presentation of 1953.

Highly anticipated from their inception, the Academy Awards Presentations have gone off as planned with three exceptions:
  • 1938 - Local flooding throughout Los Angeles delayed the ceremonies one week.
  • 1968 - Postponed three days out of respect for the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • 1981- Postponed for 24 hours due to an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.

The iconic Academy Award of Merit or 'Oscar®' statuette wasn't distributed with the Awards until 1928. According to The Academy, The Oscar® statuette "depicts a knight holding a crusader's sword, standing on a reel of film with five spokes, signifying the original branches of the Academy: Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers and Technicians." The statuette sits atop a base of Belgian black marble, weighs eight and a half pounds, and stands 13.5" tall, including the base.

The first documented mention of the trademark name, 'Oscar®' came after the sixth Awards Presentation of 1934. Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky used it in reference to Katharine Hepburn's first Best Actress win. The nickname wasn't officially adopted by The Academy until 1939.




The House of Squibb (1901 - 1964)
a.k.a. E.R.Squibb & Sons (1858 - 1901)

(Sponsor)
(1939-1947)

Founded: Brooklyn, New York

Radiography:
1942
Music from The House of Squibb
1943
The Squibb Show
1944
To Your Good Health from The House of Squibb
1945
Jimmy Carroll Sings
1946
Academy Award


Edward Robinson Squibb, M.D. c.1858
Edward Robinson Squibb, M.D. c.1858

Edward Robinson Squibb M.D. (1819-1900)
Edward Robinson Squibb M.D. (1819-1900)

Squibb Chemical and Pharmaceutical complex, Brooklyn, NY c. 1880
Squibb Chemical and Pharmaceutical complex, Brooklyn, NY c. 1880


Squibb logo c. 1935

Edward Robinson Squibb was born July 5, 1819. His parents, James Robinson and Catharine Harrison Squibb, had five children--three daughters and two sons. In 1831, the three daughters died within days of each other, to an unnamed disease. Edward's mother died in 1832, the following year, when he was only thirteen years old. When he was eighteen, his father had a stroke and needed to be cared for like a child.

For the next twelve years, Edward was raised in Philadelphia by two Quaker grandmothers, Sarah Laycock Bonsal and Mary Hamilton Squibb. He attended Jefferson Medical College, graduating in 1845, and practiced medicine until he joined the Navy in 1847 as Assistant Surgeon.

During his ten years in the Navy, E.R. Squibb witnessed, first-hand, the poor quality of the medicines available. The Navy formed a pharmaceutical laboratory to manufacture it's most needed drugs, appointing E.R. Squibb as the Assistant Director. There, he embarked on his life's work to create pure pharmaceuticals. While there, he discovered a distillation method to create ether of a consistent strength and less volatile combustibilty.

His father and paternal grandmother passed away in 1852 and later that year he met and married Caroline Lownds Cook. E.R. Squibb resigned his commission from the Navy in 1857 and moved to Louisville, Kentucky. His second son, Charles Fellows Squibb, was born the following year and by September 1858, he'd returned to Brooklyn to open his own laboratory on Furman Street. This was the official founding of E.R. Squibb & Sons.

Christmas Eve, 1858, a young assistant caused a volatile ether fire in the Squibb laboratory. Attempting to save his journals, E.R. Squibb caught fire himself. Fighting for life for weeks, he slowly recovered, but his face was badly scarred and his eyelids were permanently turned back (see second portrait, at left). Though he didn't lose his sight, for the remainder of his life he had to wear special protective glasses and tape his eyelids shut in order to sleep. Shortly thereafter, one of his hands had to be amputated, 'according to his own specification'. Despite these disabilities, the determined Dr. Squibb borrowed the financing to rebuild his laboratory by the end of 1859.

With his focus on the production of superior pharmaceuticals, his business flourished and by the onset of the Civil War in 1861, his pharmaceutical and chemical factory was producing products around-the-clock. With the growing demand for his products, he built a new facility, also in Brooklyn, on Doughty Street, doubling capacity in the process.

E.R. Squibb published all of his discoveries and findings, but never applied for patents for any of his formulas. It was his philosophy that scientific breakthroughs and discoveries should be available for public benefit. Unfortunately, several of his future competitors weren't as idealistic.

Indeed, E.R. Squibb opened his laboratory to a Dr. Merck, a German competitor, freely sharing all of his procedures and process drawings of his breakthrough distillation processes. Two years later, while touring Germany, he visited the Merck Laboratories, but his visit was confined to only two rooms of the vast facility. Clearly, Herr Doktor Merck didn't share Dr. Squibb's sense of altruistic largesse.

By 1895 most of the management responsibilities were turned over to his sons, Charles and Edward. following Edward Squibb’s death in 1900, the Squibb family sold the company to Lowell M. Palmer and Theodore Weicker in 1905.

Bristol-Myers and Squibb merged in 1989 to form the second largest pharmaceutical company in the world after . . . who else? . . . Merck.



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