Year: 1983 (56th) Academy Awards
Category: Honorary Award
Winner: To Hal Roach, in recognition of his unparalleled record of distinguished contributions to the motion picture art form.
Presenter: Jackie Cooper, George "Spanky" McFarland
Date & Venue: April 9, 1984; Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Oh really, this is the nicest thing that has ever happened to me.
GEORGE "SPANKY" McFARLAND:
Well, the nicest thing that ever happened to me, Mr. Roach, was when you hired me fifty-two years ago. But there was something that I never did ask you. What was Hollywood really like out here in 1912?
Oh, 1912. The first day that I worked in motion pictures I received a dollar a day, car fare and lunch. The car fare was two tokens, from in front of the post office downtown to Hollywood, one to take you there and one to bring you back to Los Angeles. The lunch was two sandwiches and a banana. And that is a little start of the 1912 business.
But I understand the thing has grown a little more expensive today and people are trying a little harder to save money in making pictures. And they're doing a lot of things to try to curtail the expense. And the only thing I can add to that is my experience in those days as far as making pictures were concerned.
For example, when a comedian for Mack Sennett did a "Brodie" or fell on his rear, he fell on a cake of soap or a pile of oil or something like that, or something else, but anyway -- I got all screwed up to start with. I meant to say pratfall to start with. But anyway, the Hal Roach Studios did it a different way. You remember I said two sandwiches and a banana? Well, the property man after lunch would pick up all the banana skins and put 'em away for safekeeping. Then anytime that a Hal Roach comedian did a pratfall he slipped on the banana peel. And they slipped many times, and every time they did we used another thing. But the thing that was great about it was the fact that the bananas didn't cost me anything.
Just one thing in conclusion and that is this, that all these talented people that have been winning Oscars here tonight, they all make their money in an old-fashioned way. They earn it!
© Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
[Note: All winners are present except where noted; NOT all winners may have spoken.]