Sylvania Award

Sylvania Award
Sylvania Award.JPG
Sponsored bySylvania Electric Products
CountryUnited States

The Sylvania Awards were given by the television manufacturer Sylvania Electric Products for various categories of television performance, broadcasting, scripts, music and other aspects of production between 1951 and 1959. In their day they rivaled the Emmy Award for prestige. They came to an end after the sponsor was merged into GTE.


Sylvania Electric Products, a television set manufacturer, gave the annual Sylvania Awards from 1951.[1] The awards were given for advancing creative television techniques.[2] The Sylvania Award was as prestigious as the Emmy Award in the early days of television.[3] It was one of several developed in the 1950s after the Emmy award was founded in 1949. Others included the TV Guide Award and the Look Magazine TV Award. Ed Sullivan gave out the Michael award in Los Angeles from 1950 to 1953.[4]

In 1951 the Sylvania award for best program suitable for children was given to Zoo Parade by the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, headed by Mrs. Johnny Hays.[5] The awards for 1953 were presented in New York on 1 December 1953, with winners announced in advance. No grand award was presented. Winners included Rod Steiger (actor) and Paddy Chayefsky (script) for Marty, Donald O'Connor, Danny Thomas and Mary Martin.[6] The 1955 awards were presented by broadcaster Deems Taylor on 29 November 1955. Sylvester L. Weaver Jr., head of NBC, received an award.[7]

1957 Sylvania Television Award winners included Mary Martin, Dinah Shore, Marian Anderson, Steve Allen and Jack Paar.[8] The 1958 awards were presented in January 1959 at a ceremony in the Grand Ballroom of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan attended by about 400 guests including performers and representatives of networks, TV stations and production companies. Comedian Orson Bean was the master of ceremonies. The awards were presented by Don G. Mitchell, chairman and president of Sylvania Electric Products.[9] In 1959 Sylvania Electric Products merged with General Telephone to form General Telephone and Electronics (GTE). The awards for 1959 were the last.[1]


The award winners received a trophy in the form of a clock. A walnut wood base is decorated by a high-relief sculpture of a woman in a robe who carries the clock face on her shoulders. The face is made of glass, with etched gilt stars at each hour and stylized metal lightning bolts for hands. Some versions of the award were functioning electric clocks made by Jefferson Electric Company of Bellwood, Illinois.[1] In others the clock hands were permanently attached to the glass face. The clock was about 14 inches (360 mm) tall, made by the Medallic Art Co. of New York, NY.[10]

Selected recipients

Year Award Recipient Show
1951 Director Max Liebman Your Show of Shows
1951 Best actor Sid Caesar Your Show of Shows
1951 Best actress Imogene Coca Your Show of Shows
1951 Best program suitable for children Zoo Parade[5]
1952 Thomas Granik Youth Wants to Know[10]
1952 Jess Oppenheimer I Love Lucy
1953 Franklin J. Schaffner [11]
1953 Goodson-Todman Productions What's My Line[3]
1953 Outstanding actor Rod Steiger Marty (NBC Television Theater)[6]
1953 Original script Paddy Chayefsky Marty[6][12]
1953 Variety performer Donald O'Connor [6]
1953 Comedy series Danny Thomas Make Way for Daddy[6]
1953 Comedy Mary Martin Fashion pantomime of Ford Anniversary Show[6]
1953 Best supporting actress Eileen Heckart The Haven[13]
1953 Law enforcement documentary Dragnet[14]
1954 Franklin J. Schaffner [11]
1954 Music score Steve Allen The Bachelor
1954 Television series for children of all ages Walt Disney Disneyland[15]
1954 Comedian George Gobel [2]
1954 Wholesome family entertainment Jane Wyatt Father Knows Best[2][16]
1954 Dramatic actor Steven Hill[2]
1955 Best teleplay Rod Serling Patterns[17]
1955 Best locally produced children's show Fred Rogers Children's Corner[18]
1956 Bob Keeshan Captain Kangaroo[19]
1956 Best teleplay Rod Serling Requiem for a Heavyweight[17]
1956 Comedy writer Louis M. Heyward The Ernie Kovacs Show
1957 Outstanding variety series William O. Harbach The Steve Allen Show
1957 Documentary Harry Preston Tornado
1957 Songwriting Robert Wells
1957 Comedy Ernie Kovacs Silent Show
1957 Investigative reporting Clark R. Mollenhoff Commentary on Senate Committee investigation of labor and management practices[20]
1958 Comedy Sid Caesar Sid Caesar Invites You[21][22]
1958 Public service series NBC Continental Classroom[23]
1958 Local educational series KQED San Francisco The Criminal Man[23]
1959 Best actor Laurence Olivier The Moon and Sixpence[24]
1959 Best actress Ingrid Bergman The Turn of the Screw[24]
1959 Script Loring Mandel Playhouse 90



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