The following is my second of two entries for The 1961 Blogathon, being hosted by little ol’ me at this blog on April 27-29, 2018 in honor of my 57th birthday. Click on the above banner, and read bloggers’ tributes to a variety of movies released in or related to the year of 1961!
On Apr. 8, 1961 — 19 days before I was born, as it happens — in a letter to a friend, Stan Laurel wrote:
“You will be pleased I know to hear that I have been awarded an ‘Oscar’ – Danny Kaye will accept it for me on the Academy Awards show April 17th (TV.) needless to tell you I’m very thrilled – so unexpected.”
Sure enough, nine days later, Laurel was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Honorary Oscar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for “his creative pioneering in the field of cinema comedy.” Jerry Lewis, a distant friend of Laurel’s and a huge fan of his movies, had lobbied for Laurel to be awarded the Oscar. Comedian Danny Kaye accepted the Oscar on behalf of Laurel, who was too ill to attend the ceremony.
At this blog, I have previously written about how sad it was that Laurel and several other movie comedy legends were awarded only Honorary Oscars in the twilight of their lives, rather than “legitimate” Oscars at the time when they were doing their best movie work. That said, since comedy was regarded as a lower kind of movie by the Motion Picture Academy (at least until Woody Allen’s Annie Hall swept the Oscars in 1977), we should be grateful that our comedy heroes were acknowledged at all.
Here’s Danny Kaye accepting the award:
Letter source: Letters From Stan.com. http://www.lettersfromstan.com/stan-1961-04.html
(If you enjoyed reading this, click here to read my first blogathon entry, about the Bugs Bunny-Wile E. Coyote cartoon Compressed Hare.)