[Ads-l] Oscar

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Feb 27 23:13:44 UTC 2023

In addition to “Osacar” for oscillations, there was also an actual mannequin/dummy called Oscar, with microphones where ears would be, used in testing and research for stereo recording and movie sound reproduction.

I have a discussion and pictures of the dummy on my blog post about Oscar.

I also discuss Oscar Smith’s career and speculation that he was the original Oscar.  His great-grand daughter claimed to have heard rumors that it was true.


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From: dave at wilton.net<mailto:dave at WILTON.NET>
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2023 2:33 PM
Subject: Re: Oscar

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Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       "dave at wilton.net" <dave at WILTON.NET>
Subject:      Re: Oscar

=0AOn his Big Apple website, Barry Popik suggests that Oscar may come from =
an industry slang term for oscillations, in reference to sonic or electro-m=
agnetic waveforms. Popik found a 1931 glossary with the term. Also, he note=
s that Emmy is a variation on Immy, short for "image orthicon," and Oscar c=
ould have followed a similar path.=0A =0A1931 was the first year that the A=
cademy gave out its Scientific and Technical Awards, and several of the fir=
st awards were for innovations in sound engineering. The timing is right, a=
nd it's plausible that Oscar could have originated in the technical film co=
mmunity with these first technical awards=E2=80=94back then the S&T awards =
were given out at the same banquet as the artistic ones. But it's still a h=
ypothesis with no real evidence to support it.=0A =0A =0A-----Original Mess=
age-----=0AFrom: "Bill Mullins" <amcombill at HOTMAIL.COM>=0ASent: Monday, Feb=
ruary 27, 2023 12:32pm=0ATo: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU=0ASubject: [ADS-L] Osca=
r=0A=0A=0A=0AI have no real evidence to support this, but here=E2=80=99s a =
possible explanation for =E2=80=9COscar=E2=80=9D:=0A=0A=0A=0A=0A=0A1933 Hol=
lywood Filmograph 22 Apr 3/1=0A=0AThe bootblacking business being rather du=
ll at the Paramount studios, Oscar Smith packed up his polishing kit and to=
day moved over to Fox Movietone City.=0A=0AOscar, who has polished up more =
stars than Father Time, plays the role of a porter in "The Power and the Gl=
ory," a Jesse L. Lasky production being directed by William K. Howard.=0A=
=0AOscar is perhaps one of the most astute business men in the movie indust=
ry.=0A=0AWhen polishing shoes isn=E2=80=99t so renumerative, he takes to ac=
ting and vice versa. Betwixt the two professions he waxes ebullient and sto=
ut.=0A=0A=E2=80=9CThe Power and the Glory=E2=80=9D marks the return of Coll=
een Moore to the screen. Others featured are Spencer Tracy, Ralph Morgan an=
d Helen Vinson.=0A=0A=0A1933 Photoplay Magazine Nov. 88/2=0A=0AOSCAR, the c=
olored Paramount bootblack, is the idol of Central Avenue, the colored dist=
rict of Los Angeles. Oscar played a small bit in "Gambling Ship." When the =
picture opened on Central Avenue it was billed like this:=0A=0A"Sensational=
 star in 'Gambling Ship,' Oscar supported by Cary Grant, Jack La Rue and Be=
nita Hume."=0A=0AAnd on the outside of the theater, nothing but pictures of=
 Oscar appeared.=0A=0A=0A=0A1935 Motion Picture August 59/1=0A=0AA white ma=
n, who operates a shop in Los Angeles' Chinatown, is always sought when the=
 studios require Chinese talent. He keeps a list of all the Chinese. Also h=
e acts as technical adviser in Chinese films. Oscar, the Paramount bootblac=
k, acts in the same capacity for the Negroes of Central Avenue and can furn=
ish colored talent for anything from a Harlem Easter parade to a native sce=
ne in darkest Africa.=0A=0A=0AOscar Smith's photo is here:=0Ahttps://archiv=
--------------------------------------------------=0AThe American Dialect S=
ociety - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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