There are several television programs that are much better watched in company -- football bowl gomes, Miss America pageants and next Monday night's Academy Awards.
Despite its potential for talent and glamor, the program generally manages to produce the excitement of a plumber's convention, so it is up to you and your guests to fill the void. Ask everyone to come dressed as their favorite movie part. This is not only fun for people who enjoy dressing up, but lets those who don't off the hook: They can say they are dressed like a Kramer in "Kramer vs." or Woody Allen or Diane Keaton in "manhattan," or even John Wayne, only they forgot their cowboy hat.
But there is also the possibility of encountering Rudolph Valentino as "the Sheik," or the high-heeled wiggle of Marilyn Monroe in "niagara." Not to mention the toga-draped Charlton Heston in anything.
Red shelf paper can serve as a red carpet, and you might induce a child or two to spotlight arriving guests with flashlights. If you have a tape recorder, another child can serve as a pushy radio interviewer, asking each arrival who they think will win.
You can have you own Oscars, paper dolls painted gold, enough so everyone gets one: Best Guesser, for whoever guesses the most winners; Best Entrance for anyone who manages to walk the whole length of shelf paper without tearing it; Best Costume (unless everyone comes dressed in ordinary clothes, in which case, Best Excuse for Coming Dressed in Ordinary Clothes).
for drinks, you could serve a Tarzan Cocktail, an Edgar Rice Burroughs recipe printed in a 1935 book called (really) "so Red the Nose, or Breath in the Afternoon":
Mix 1 ounce Barcardi with 1 teaspoon cointreau, the juice of half a lime and 1/3 teaspoon sugar. Shake well with shaved ice until enough ice has melted to produce a 2-ounce drink.
The same book also offers Ernest Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon Cocktail, certainly a drink glamorous enough for the Academy Awards:
Pour 1 jigger of absinthe (it would have to be Pernod today) into a champagne glass. Add iced champayne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness.
From another book, "282 Ways of Making a Salad," published in 1950, comes a chance to eat like the stars, most of whom seem to have been dieting. Though Greer Garson's Vegetable Aspic Salad With Chicken might be a little difficult to manage in front of a TV set, and Ray Miland's Lobster Salad, is too expensive, Frank Sinatra's Melons would make a pretty, easy-to-eat dessert:
Scoop balls from honeydew and canataloupe. Place into glasses and cover with lemon sauce, made as follows: Grated rind and juice of 1/2 a lemon and 1/2 an orange. Cook with 3/4 cup sugar in a double saucepan until a heavy syrup is formed."
Or, if you're on a budget, you could simple serve the moviegoers' delight: popcorn.