The infamous opening number to the 1989 Academy Awards, which featured Snow White and Rob Lowe and killed the career of show producer Allen Carr, turned up on YouTube:

Seeing this for the first time, I thought the opening was campy, hokey and overdone, but that seemed like the point. You don't line up a dozen dancing tables with lampshade heads and a chorus line of male ushers belting out "whenever you're down in the dumps, try putting on Judy's red pumps" without knowing you're completely over the top.

The only unknowingly bad thing in the number is Lowe's singing.

After the show, Julie Andrews, Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, Billy Wilder, Sidney Lumet and 12 other "luminaries" wrote a public letter complaining about the show. I couldn't find the letter, but this April 29, 1989, New York Times item shows how seriously they took the matter:

The producers of the Academy Awards said today they had appointed a committee to review last month's Oscar show after such Hollywood stars as Julie Andrews and Paul Newman called it an embarrassment.

The show, produced by Allan Carr, was also assailed by critics but received the highest Oscar television ratings in five years.

Roger Kahn, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, said the committee would determine why the show had attracted such stinging criticism and see "what we should do in the future."

In a letter to the Academy signed by 17 Hollywood luminaries, including Miss Andrews, Mr. Newman, Gregory Peck, Billy Wilder and Sidney Lumet, the 61st Oscar show was called "an embarrassment to both the Academy and the entire motion picture industry."

"It is neither fitting nor acceptable that the best work in motion pictures be acknowledged in such a demeaning fashion," the letter, made public Thursday, said.

-- Rogers Cadenhead

Comments

Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore. If this wasn't one of the best little bits of camp lunacy I ever saw--it has everything: Merv Griffin, Lily Tomlin (I think, she looked like a vampire), a plus-size Carmen Miranda, and even Roy Rogers and Dale Evans! It just doesn't get any better than that. What was wrong with those tight-asses in Hollywood? Did someone put Ex-Lax in their pudding?

And I beg to differ, Rob Lowe's singing wasn't bad at all--he sings better than my idol Bob Dylan. I still prefer him as a porn-star, though.


 

Dude climbing down the stairs (on his belly) to get his hat, after Lily came out was wild. I coulda watched four minutes of that alone.


 

I lost a filling from grinding my teeth together too hard while watching this dreck. I only lasted until Merv before I went blind. Did Snow White get Prince Charming in the end, or just a subpoena for copyright infringement (on a character long in the public domain btw Disney)?


 

Perfectstorm:

It might have been Snow White's grating falsetto, or else you should stop doing Ecstasy. That's why they call it trance music, you know.


 

Who gives a shit.


 

Draz missed the fact that it was Lily Tomlin's SHOE that the dude bellied down the stairs for.
I enjoyed seeing the look on Robert Downey Jr.'s face as they got audience reaction shots. (Look closely and you'll see his girlfriend of 7 years, Sarah Jessica Parker.)


 

it was not that damn bad, not bad at all!


 

put back the video


 

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