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31st Academy Awards at the Pantages

April 6, 1959: Crowds gather outside the Pantages Theater as stars arrive for the 31st Academy Awards.

Los Angeles Times motion-picture editor Philip K. Scheuer reported:

Hollywood staged its biggest annual shindig tonight (Monday) at RKO Pantages Theater – the 31st awards presentations of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Not only was the industry sponsoring its own program for the second time; it promised the longest (two hours) and most star-spangled show in Oscar history.

The entire event was telecast by NBC-TV over KRCA (4) from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., minus all commercials except one – that for the motion picture itself. Monday was chosen, rather than a mid-week night, at the behest of theatermen who have long complained that millions of potential customers stayed home to watch on a Wednesday or Thursday.

The movie “Gigi” won a record nine Oscars, only to be beat the next year by “Ben-Hur’s” 11. The next year, 1960, was also the last year the Academy Awards were held at the Pantages.

This photo was published the next morning on Page 2 of the Times.

For more historical photos from the Academy Awards, check out these galleries at The Envelope.com.

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