From Ike to Emmy: The history of the statuette

From Ike to Emmy: The history of the statuette

Autumn Gramigna, Arts & Entertainment Editor

64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards to air on Sunday, September 23, 2012.

“And the Emmy goes to…”

As the lucky recipient makes his or her way on to the stage and is handed the coveted Emmy statue, few of the audience, who are captivated by celebrities and speeches, will even notice the award statue being doled out.

So what is the actual design of the award? And what does it symbolize?

The design process for the Emmy statuette began in 1948 and was no easy task. According to Sandra Parker, a writer for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Academy members rejected a total of 47 proposals when deciding on the design for the Emmy statuette. Eventually the Academy decided on a design created by television engineer Louis McManus. McManus used his wife as the inspiration for its design.

The statuette itself is of a winged woman holding an atom. The wings represent the muse of art, whereas the atom symbolizes science. The two symbols together exemplify the culmination of the art and the science of television.

With the design created for the statuette, the next part was finding a name to accompany this award. Lisa Zadoc, a writer for Yahoo! News, said the original name proposed by the founder of the academy, Syd Cassyd, was “Ike.” Ike was used as a slang term for the television iconoscope tube. At the time the name was being chosen, “Ike” was synonymous with the famous war hero and future president, Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower. The Academy agreed on the name “Immy” instead, which was the common name for a certain kind of camera at the time. The name eventually changed to “Emmy,” because it sounded more feminine.

According to Parker, the Emmy statuette weighs in at approximately seven pounds. The materials used to make the Emmy are the elements copper, nickel, silver, and gold. From start to finish, it takes up to five and a half hours to complete one Emmy statuette. When handling one of these awards, white gloves must be worn to prevent fingerprints.

The Emmy statuette will be handed out to several lucky recipients on the 64th Annual prime-time Emmy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. The live broadcast is set to air on ABC at 8 p.m., on Sunday, September 23.