It’s Time to Rock The Red Carpet! Photos, Facts & Crazy Events Of Oscars Past

4/10/1967-Hollywood, CA-ORIGINAL CAPTION READS: Actor Steve McQueen and his wife arrive for the Academy Awards.

“The truth of the red carpet today is that it is one big P.R. party and the goal is to get noticed.” So said Joan Rivers, who should have indeed known! But perhaps you didn’t know that the iconic walkway on which stars dream of getting noticed made its debut in 1961 at the 33rd Academy Awards, or that its rich hue is a bit misleading, since the carpet is dyed with an exclusive blend of shades to make it appear “Nancy Reagan Red” on TV, then sealed against the depredations of pricey stilettos. It has also grown to a behemoth length of 16,500 square feet that takes two days to install and must be replaced every two years.

Joan Rivers during 71st Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, California, United States.


Still, as Joan could also have said, no rug will ever be as noteworthy as the celebrities who walk it … and they, like the rug, require some preparatory maintenance for that annual exhibition. Liposuction and Pilates may not have existed in vintage Tinseltown, but yesteryear’s stars had their own punishing beauty routines to prepare them for the biggest night of their careers: Think Marilyn Monroe’s raw eggs in milk, Greta Garbo’s “celery loaf” (whatever that was!) or MGM management barring poor Judy Garland from ingesting anything other than noodle-free chicken consommé at the commissary. As female attendees’ attire gradually prioritized ever more daring scantiness over classic glamor, it’s not hard to imagine a lot of growling stomachs under all that sparkle.

American actress and singer Judy Garland (1922 - 1969) eating soup, circa 1955.

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Of course, some stars not only cared little for red carpet glitz, but also viewed the Oscars in general with a jaundiced eye. Dudley Nichols, winner of the Best Screenplay award for 1935’s The Informer, was the first to refuse his statuette, participating in a boycott of the Academy Awards by fledgling actor, writer and director guilds. Other no-shows included Best Actor winners George C. Scott in 1971, who called the awards ceremony a “two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons,” and Marlon Brando in 1973, who sent Sacheen Littlefeather in his place to read part of a statement he’d written denouncing Hollywood’s role in “degrading the Indian and making a mockery of his character, describing him as savage, hostile and evil.”

Even those thrilled to publicly accept their awards had to also accept a bit of patriotic sacrifice when the Academy banned formal dress in the first year after the U.S. entered World War II (many men donned military uniforms instead), and handed out plaster rather than metal statuettes. Once the fighting was over, a more traditional trade-up was available.

American actor James Stewart (1908 - 1997) in a United States Army Air Corps uniform, with actress Ginger Rogers (1911 - 1995) at the Academy Awards dinner in Los Angeles, 26th February 1942.

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James Stewart  in a United States Army Air Corps uniform, with actress Ginger Rogers in 1942


Nowadays? The more things have changed, the more they’ve stayed the same. Some lament that old Hollywood classiness is forever gone; others prefer their celebs more down to earth. Black actors have left the back of the room, but protests still flare over racial diversity. Yet behind all the controversies, the jeers at fashion faux pas and claims that voters got it wrong, who among us doesn’t still occasionally wonder how it feels to shimmer and pose like royalty on that fabled path of scarlet?

American actress Halle Berry accepts the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in "Monster's Ball", at the 74th Annual Academy Awards, held at the Kodak Theater In Hollywood, California, March 24, 2002. Applauding her (left) is Australian actor Russell Crowe.

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Halle Berry made history in 2002 as she was the first African American actress to take home a statue for Best Actress in Monster’s Ball


Take a walk down memory lane with some of these classic Oscar arrivals and wins throughout the years.

Shirley TempleShirley Temple Gives "Acadamy Awards" Trophies to Walt Disney for "7 Dwarfs" Los Angeles, Calif.: Above: Walt Disney and Shirley Temple are pictures standing by the large statue and seven small statuettes presented Disney by Miss temple for his outstanding cartoon, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." Miss Temple made her presentation to Disney during the eleventh annual dinner of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and sciences, held at the Biltmore Hotel, during which Spencer Tracy and Bette Davis were honored for their outstanding motion picture performances of the year. 2/24/1939

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1939: Shirley Temple presents Walt Disney with one large and seven small statuettes for his outstanding cartoon, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs


Irish-born actor Barry Fitzgerald (1888 - 1966) (left) holds his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor while American actor Bing Crosby (1904 - 1977) holds his Oscar for Best Actor, both for their roles in 'Going My Way,' Academy Awards, Los Angeles, California, March 15, 1945.

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1945: Barry Fitzgerald and Bing Crosby hold their Oscars for their roles in Going My Way


American actor Donna Reed (1921 - 1986) signs an autograph while holding her Oscar trophy at the Academy Awards, Los Angeles, California, March 25, 1954.

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1954: Donna Reed signs an autograph while holding her Oscar trophy, she won best actress for From Here to Eternity


11th April 1962: American actor Warren Beatty and actress Natalie Wood (1938 - 1981) at the Oscars award ceremony in Hollywood.

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1962: Warren Beatty and actress Natalie Wood on the red carpet


American film actor Gregory Peck (1916 - 2003) and his wife Veronique being photographed at the Oscars ceremony in Hollywood, 11th April 1962. The photographer is using a Leica M series camera with direct optical viewfinder.

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1962: Gregory Peck arrives with his wife Veronique and are being photographed


17th April 1964: Crowds gathered outside the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel in Hollywood for the Academy Awards ceremony.

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1964: Crowds gathered outside the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel in Hollywood


British actor Julie Andrews (right) holds her Oscar while standing with Belgian born actor Audrey Hepburn (1929 - 1983) at the Academy Awards ceremonies in Santa Monica, California, April 5, 1965. Andrews won Best Actress for her performance in the film, 'Mary Poppins,' directed by Robert Stephenson.

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1965: Julie Andrews and Audrey Hepburn celebrate Andrews’ win for Best Actress in the film, Mary Poppins


Actors and spouses Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor sharing a toast to celebrate her Best Actress Academy Award for the film 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?', 1966.

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1966: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton celebrate her win for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?


Actors (L-R) Raquel Welch, Gene Hackman and Cloris Leachman (holding her Best Supporting Actress Oscar) at the 44th Academy Awards in Hollywood, CA, April 17th 1972.

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1972: Raquel Welch, Gene Hackman and Cloris Leachman back stage. Leachman won Best Supporting Actress for The Last Picture Show


British-born actress Elizabeth Taylor laughs as she remarks that she was upstaged by streaker Robert Opal before presenting the Oscar for Best Picture at the 46th Annual Academy Awards ceremony, Los Angeles, California, April 2, 1974. At right, Opal darts across the stage naked just as David Niven was introducing Taylor.

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1974: Elizabeth Taylor laughs as streaker Robert Opal upstaged her before presenting the Oscar for Best Picture
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