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Emmy Winners: They Almost Got 'Ikes'

September 21, 1987

They handed out Emmys in Pasadena Sunday night, but they could have been handing out Ikes.


That's the name that was almost attached to the award that honors the best in television. Ike was not a named dreamed up because of someone's favorite uncle. Ike was short for TV's iconoscope tube.

The eventual tag--Emmy--was a modification of "Immy," short for the image-orthicon television camera. Emmy also seemed more appropriate than Ike, because the statuette is female.

Some 48 designs for an award had been submitted to the TV academy, but none seemed just right. Then came one from Louis McManus, at that time an engineer with Culver City's Cascade Pictures. Said to have been modeled after his wife, McManus' design features a woman, representing Art and Beauty, holding the symbol of electronics in her hands.

At the first Emmy Awards honoring 1948 shows, Shirley Dinsdale, a 20-year-old San Francisco ventriloquist who had a puppet named Judy Splinters, won as outstanding television personality. Only programs that had been seen in Los Angeles that year were eligible, and there were six winners in all.

The number of categories has grown over the years, and at Sunday's prime-time Emmy Awards, which were broadcast by Fox Broadcasting Co. for the first time, there were 32 categories.

In 39 years of Emmy giving, the statuette has been bestowed on many television personalities. Some of those previous winners are pictured on this page.

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