Third Decade 1947-1956

updated 04/11/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/11/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

No sooner had the war ended over there than the Academy embarked on its own war at home. The enemy? Television. The little black box was emptying movie theaters at an alarming rate. The studios retaliated at first with sex, violence and Cinemascope, then gave in. So did Oscar. The Academy Awards were telecast for the first time in 1953. Variety's headline heralded a new era: "1ST MAJOR PIX-TV WEDDING BIG CLICK"

Hope vs. Experience: Never a contender, presenter Bob Hope refused to relinquish Marlon Brando's 1954 Best Actor Oscar for On the Waterfront.

Father-Son Triumph: Many years ago, actor Walter Huston said he asked his son, John, "If you ever become a writer or director, please find a good part for your old man." John complied with The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and won 1948 Oscars for both of them.

All About Eve: Joseph Mankiewicz's crackerjack 1950 comedy still holds the record—14 nominations. Though Eve won six Oscars, including Best Picture, co-stars Bette Davis and Anne Baxter (with starlet Marilyn Monroe, below) both lost to Born Yesterday's Judy Holliday.

The Princess Bride-to-Be: A year before her royal wedding in 1956, The Country Girl's Grace Kelly scored an upset victory over Judy Garland in A Starts Born. The Kelly girl confided: "I wanted to win so badly, I was afraid that I would stand up no matter which name was read out."

Frank's Comeback: Having fought to play Maggio in 1953's From Here to Eternity, Sinatra triumphed (with co-winner Donna Reed). "I ducked the party and took a walk. Just me and Oscar."

Todd on Top: First-time film producer Mike Todd caught the 1956 Best Picture Oscar with his star-studded Around the World In 80 Days. "Imagine this—and being married to Liz too," he enthused.

From Here to Eternity: The salty 1953 film version of James Jones's Army-barracks novel won a whopping eight Oscars, including Best Picture. And Deborah Kerr's sexy roll on the sand with Burt Lancaster cracked her saintly image.

A Couple of Swells: Vivien Leigh copped her second Best Actress Oscar in 1951 for A Streetcar Named Desire. When the award was announced in Hollywood, Leigh was in New York, starring in Antony and Cleopatra with then husband Laurence Olivier. The two shared a backstage kiss after hearing the news on the radio.

Santa's Wish: "I've been on the stage and screen over 50 years, and this is the finest event of my life," said Edmund Gwenn, who taught little Natalie Wood the meaning of Christmas in Miracle on 34th Street and won a 1947 Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Twinkled Gwenn: "Now I know there's a Santa Claus."

Oscar's TV Debut: In Hollywood, Donald O'Connor watched Shirley Booth's reaction in New York on being named 1952's Best Actress for Come Back, Little Sheba. Meanwhile, the largest single audience (about 80 million) in TV's five-year history saw the first Oscarcast and made the show a perennial event.

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