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Awards quiz: What does 'Emmy' mean?

August 2, 2011 |  3:59 pm

To see the correct answer, click on the "Continue Reading" link under the photo box below.



Two decades after the birth of the Academy Award for films, TV expanded briskly after World War II and its industry chiefs decided to launch their own award for excellence. To determine a name, they started with gender. They wanted to give Oscar a kudos sister. A statuette was created in the image of a woman — with lightning bolts for wings — who holds up a spinning electron, thus celebrating the magic of an electronic medium that could beam moving pictures invisibly across the sky.

Back in the late 1940s, the camera used most often to shoot TV shows was the image orthicon camera. Imagine Milton Berle during a commercial break on "Texaco Star Theater" shouting to his tech staff, "Hey, boys! Roll the immy over here!"

"Immy" was such a widely used word back then that it seemed like a good idea to feminize it in order to give the new, female TV prize its name. One other alternative name was seriously considered -- "Ike," which was the nickname of the iconoscope tube used inside TV cameras. Luckily, that wasn't the final choice, considering who assumed the U.S. presidency a few years later: Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower.

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Academy of Television Arts & Sciences