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The 26th Annual Academy Awards, held on March 25, 1954 from the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.

When the first Academy Awards were handed out on May 16, 1929, movies had just begun to talk. That first ceremony took place during an Academy banquet in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The attendance was 270 and guest tickets cost $5. It was a long banquet, filled with speeches, but presentation of the statuettes was handled expeditiously by Academy President Douglas Fairbanks.

The suspense that now touches most of the world at Oscar® time was not always a characteristic of the Awards presentation. That first year, the award recipients were announced to the public three months ahead of the ceremony. For the next decade, the results were given in advance to newspapers for publication at 11 p.m. on the night of the Awards. But in 1940, much to the Academy’s dismay, the Los Angeles Times broke the embargo and announced the winning achievements in its evening edition, which was readily available to guests arriving for the affair. As a result, the Academy adopted the sealed-envelope system the next year, and the system remains in use today.

Since the earliest years, interest in the Academy Awards has run high, if not at the modern fever pitch. The first presentation was the only one to escape a media audience; by the second year, enthusiasm for the Awards was such that a Los Angeles radio station actually did a live one-hour broadcast of the event. The ceremony has had broadcast coverage ever since.

For 15 years the Academy Awards presentations were banquet affairs; after the first at the Hollywood Roosevelt, they were held at the Ambassador and Biltmore hotels. The custom of presenting the statuettes at a banquet was discontinued after the 1942 Awards. Increased attendance and the war had made banquets impractical, and the presentation ceremonies have since been held in theaters.

The 16th Awards ceremony was held at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. It was covered by network radio for the first time and broadcast overseas to American GIs. The Awards stayed at Grauman’s for three years, then moved to the Shrine Civic Auditorium. Two years later, in March 1949, the 21st Awards ceremony took place in the Academy’s own Melrose Avenue theater. For the next 11 years, the annual Awards were held at the RKO Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. It was there, on March 19, 1953, that the Academy Awards Presentation was first televised. The NBC-TV and radio network carried the 25th Academy Awards ceremonies live from Hollywood with Bob Hope as master of ceremonies, and from the NBC International Theatre in New York with Fredric March making the presentations.

In 1961 the Awards moved to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, and for the subsequent 10 years, the ABC-TV network handled the broadcasting duties. In 1966 the Oscars® were first broadcast in color. From 1971 through 1975, the NBC-TV network carried the Awards. ABC has telecast the show since 1976 and is under contract through 2014.

On April 14, 1969, the 41st Academy Awards ceremonies moved to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles County Music Center. It was the first major event for this now world-renowned cultural center.

The Awards remained at the Music Center until 1987, then the ceremonies returned to the Shrine Auditorium for the 60th and 61st Awards. For a dozen years, the event alternated venues – the 62nd, 64th, 65th, 66th, 68th and 71st Awards were held at the Music Center, while the 63rd, 67th, 69th, 70th, 72nd and 73rd were at the Shrine. Since 2002, the Academy Awards have been held at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood and Highland Center® in Hollywood.

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