Category Archives: party in the u.s.a!

party in the u.s.a!

The 42nd Street Special

Warner Brothers rolled out the hype for 42nd Street: The 42nd Street Special — a train filled with stars and starlets like Bette Davis, Laura LaPlante and Preston Foster who traveled across the United States to attend President Roosevelt’s inauguration where they got to hear him say that thing about having nothing to fear but fear itself. 1933.

oscars past

Bob Hope

I came across this website featuring dozens of screen-grabs of Academy Award ceremonies of yesteryear. Seeing as how tonight is Oscar night, it might be worth looking at some odd, old images of past ceremonies. To keep things sort of brief, we’ll stick to pics from the 1977 awards and some from the 1980s but there are far more than this on the site where I found them. I encourage you to go over there if you want more.

Mark Hamill and Bob Hope

Mark Hamill, C-3PO and R2-D2

The 50th Academy Awards, held in April 1978, seems to be the year Star Wars invaded to stink up the joint. Star Wars was even nominated for Best Picture!

Raquel Welch and Kirk Douglas

Kirk Douglas and Raquel Welch were on hand to present Best Documentary.

William Holden and Barbara Stanwyck

William Holden and Barbara Stanwyck presented the award for sound mixing to the Star Wars crew.

Farrah Fawcett and Marcello Mastroianni

Farrah Fawcett and Marcello Mastroianni presented an editing award to the Star Wars crew (also nominated: Smokey and the Bandit). Click here to marvel at how Farrah managed to stay in her dress. It’s inspiring stuff.

Best director

Annie Hall won Best Picture and Best Director but Woody Allen famously didn’t attend the ceremony due to a prior commitment.

Diana Ross and Michael Jackson

The 53rd Academy Awards, held in March 1981, featured a red carpet special that witnessed Diana Ross and her close personal friend Michael Jackson arrive together.

President Reagan

That year’s awards kicked off with a video introduction by President Reagan who had been shot the day before. Obviously his remarks were pre-recorded.

Where it's AT

The Star Wars team were on hand to collect a special award for visual effects for Empire Strikes Back.

Best Editing

Thelma Schoonmaker won Best Editing for Raging Bull.

George Cukor and King Vidor

George Cukor and King Vidor were both still alive and presented the award for Best Director to Robert Redford. Martin Scorsese didn’t win for Raging Bull that evening and wouldn’t get his directing Oscar until more than 20 years later when he won for The Departed.

Henry Fonda

Speaking of pity Oscars, Henry Fonda was presented with one of those Honorary Awards that they give to people of talent who were snubbed in their prime. Fonda would actually win a competitive award the following year for On Golden Pond.

Brooke Shields and Eddie Murphy

The hosts of the 55th Academy Awards were Walter Matthau, Liza Minnelli, Dudley Moore and Richard Pryor. I guess that somehow made sense in 1983. Among the presenters that year were Brooke Shields Elizabeth McGovern and Eddie Murphy. One can imagine that their banter went something along the lines of, “You were in The Blue Lagoon, and I’m a blue haired goon…”

Keaton, Kinski

Meanwhile, Michael Keaton and Nastassja Kinski presented the award for Best Cinematography to Billy Williams and Ronnie Taylor for Gandhi.

Production number 1987

The 60th Academy Awards took place in April 1988, opening with a pretty amazing lasers and dancing Oscars production number.

Glover, Gibson

Retiring Police Sgt. Roger Murtaugh and his loose cannon partner Martin Riggs presented an award to Vittorio Storaro for his work on The Last Emperor.

David Byrne

David Byrne and his collaborators on the score for The Last Emperor, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Cong Su, picked up the Award for Best Score.

Tom Selleck, Mickey Mouse

Also on hand were Tom Selleck and his close personal friend, Mickey Mouse.


I learned a couple of things from the image above: That song Shakedown was in fact by Bob Seger. Shakedown was from the soundtrack to Beverly Hills Cop II. Shakedown was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. And Shakedown was performed for the broadcast by Little Richard.

The song didn’t stand a chance against (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.

Best Director

We’ll end here: Robin Williams and his mid-80s moustache presenting the Award for Best Director to Bertolucci for The Last Emperor. It seems like the good guys won that year.

party in the u.s.a!

Gary Cooper, Sally Eilers, Chaplin, Elsa Maxwell, Countess Dorothy Di Frasso, Jessica Stewart Sargent—wife of Richard Bartelmess, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. Circa 1928.

party in the u.s.a!

Greta Garbo, Emil Jannings and Norma Shearer. Circa 1927.

party in the u.s.a!

Maurice Chevalier, Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper at the premiere of The Sign of the Cross. 1932.

party in the u.s.a!

The Lubitschs (whoa, the second Mrs. Lubitsch, Vivian Gaye, was kind of hot) host a party in Hollywood. Also in the mix are E.A. Dupont, Peter Lorre and Otto Preminger

party in the u.s.a!

Legends gather at a Hollywood Party. 1925.

Personal note: Now is probably a good time to mention that I’m now a regular contributor at the great If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger,
There’d Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats
. Seeing as how this site is little more than a shameless rip off of that one, it should be a good fit. Please enjoy.