A tribute to Emily Post and her genteel rules of etiquette it was not.
Throughout Saturday evening at the Washington Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' edition of the Emmy Awards, the clatter of congratulation filled the cavernous Sheraton Washington ballroom. Producers, cameramen, on-air talent -- many of them conversed and conferred among themselves and their television compatriots, seemingly oblivious to the official goings-on. Clips from each nominated program whisked across a large monitor, acceptance speeches rang out and "Shhhhh!" seemed to be the catch phrase of the 29th annual event.
But when it was time for their organizations to step forward and catch some glitter, that was another story. As one winner, local producer Gertrude Houston, said, television is a very territorial and clannish business.
Employes of WRC, an NBC affiliate, and WUSA, a CBS affiliate, as usual had much to cheer. Their winnings dominated the black-tie affair, attended by about 300 involved in the Washington television industry. WRC won 20 of the golden statues given in the name and encouragement of excellence, while WUSA took 17. ABC affiliate WJLA won 12 Emmys, WTTG of the Fox Broadcasting Network 10.
Winners were greeted with cheers from their colleagues as they flounced to the podium to pick up their stash, and with sloppy kisses as they returned to their seats. Losers, in conjunction with the evening's attitude of altruism, uttered the "just-being-nominated-was-reward-enough" line like Barrymores.
Houston milled around in the cocktail area before the show kicked off, prepared to be a Barrymore if she had to. As it turned out, she didn't. Up for two Emmys, she walked away with one, for her production work on "Redskins Saturday Night." She was, quite simply, thrilled.
"In what other business are you awarded and recognized on a yearly basis?" she said.
For Roberta Baskin, a reporter for WJLA, Houston's summary was to live by. She won two Emmys for writing the news segments "Testing the Drug Testers" and "Bad Catch," bookends she planned to add to her five other Emmys at home. One of many in the Washington television industry recognized year after year, she gave a good portion of her credit, as most winners did, to those who worked with her.
"I have a terrific team, a good staff, and my station gives me terrific support.
"Plus," she added with a twinkle of feminism, "I have a great team who just happens to be composed of all women, and that makes a difference."
The idea of television teamwork, regardless of genderfication, was also touted by Ted Yates Award winner John Goldsmith, host of WUSA's "Capital Edition." The Yates Award is given annually to the individual who has demonstrated outstanding professional and personal qualities in contributing to Washington television news and public affairs.
"Anybody who gets a swelled head for getting one of these things is nuts," Goldsmith said. "No one does it alone."
WTTG Vice President Betty Endicott, close to tears after being selected the year's Board of Governors honoree, an award for outstanding achievement and unique accomplishments of duration, reiterated the teamwork attitude. "I wouldn't be up here," she said in a quite personal acceptance speech, "if it weren't for a lot of you out there."
WRC's Jim Vance was named best area news anchor, but was absent from the ceremony.
Of course, as with any awards gala, not all was smiles and thank-yous. Entertainment by the Capitol Steps, a troupe of Washington satirists, added some bite to the evening, which ran until 1 a.m., about two hours longer than expected.
Gary Hart and Donna Rice were among those trashed by the Steps in a wicked takeoff of Julio Iglesias' "To All the Girls I've Loved Before" (Gary: "To all the girls I've loved before ..." Donna: "Who traveled right out my back door"). Among those not amused at the swipe was Rice's representative Tricia Erickson, at the ceremony with WRC producer Henry Osborne.
Before the presentations, Erickson talked a bit about Rice's interview last week with ABC's Barbara Walters. "It was very hard for Donna to do," she said. "She couldn't sleep the night before and was very sick before she did it. The next day, I called her up and she said, 'Tricia, this is the first day in months that I've woken up without a cloud over my head.' Anyway, we're not even negotiating with anyone else now. We've still got this psychological mess to clean up."
Sports Programs: "Championship," Joseph Townley, Albert Calogero, L. Kelly Atkinson Jr., producers; Gerald Grossman, executive producer, WUSA; "Super Bowl," Joseph Townley, Albert Calogero, Glenn Brenner, producers; Gerald Grossman, executive producer, WUSA.
Sports Play-By-Play: "Washington Redskins vs. Atlanta Falcons -- NFL Pre-season Game," Ernie Baur, producer, WTTG.
Sports Segment: "Olympic Bobsledding," Bruce Kaufman, producer; George Michael, executive producer, WRC; "Todd Payton," Joe Schreiber, producer; George Michael, executive producer, WRC; "Skydiving," Joe Schreiber, producer; George Michael, executive producer, WRC.
Children's Programs: "Studio Four," Joelle Norwood, Julie Warmington, producers, WRC.
Children's Specials: "In Our Lives," C.E. Nixon, Tina Mance-Lee, producers, WUSA.
Individual Achievement, Writing News: "Testing the Drug Testers," Roberta Baskin, WJLA; Composite, Mike Buchanan, WUSA; "Bad Catch," Roberta Baskin, WJLA.
Individual Achievement, Writing, Other: Composite, Dick Goggin, WRC; "In Our Lives," Bruce Elliot, WUSA.
News Segment: "Grand Jury Investigation," Pat Collins, producer, WRC; "Cumberland Plant," Jack Conaty, producer, WTTG; "Life on Hold," Peggy Girshman, Don Torrance, producers, WUSA.
News Segment: "Falling Trees," Mark Seeger, Mike Buchanan, producers, WUSA.
Individual Achievement, Lighting: "Capital Ghosts," Doug Wilkes, WTTG.
Individual Achievement, Graphics, Design: "Arch Campbell" Bumper Graphics, Bill Johnson, WRC.
Individual Achievement, Set Design: "Countdown to Kickoff," M.J. Vilardi, WUSA.
Regular Public Affairs: "22:26," Sue Ann Staake, Maureen Bunyan, producers, WUSA.
Regular Public Affairs, Location: "Capital Edition," Jan Thompson, John Goldsmith, producers, WUSA.
Spot News: "Amtrak Derails," Dave Statter, Kent Jarrell, Laura Daughtery, producers, WUSA; "Storms of '87," Daniel Cohen, Frank O'Donnell, Joe Rizzo, producers, WTTG.
Investigative Reports: "Nazi Network," Scott Klug, producer, WJLA.
Individual Achievement, Audio: "Ahead to the Past," Michael Trammell, WUSA.
Information-Oriented Programs: "Flood of Despair," Scott Klug, Gena Fitzgerald, WJLA; "Children and Divorce," Joelle Norwood, WRC.
Documentaries: "A Change of Heart," Phyllis J. Ward, WJLA.
Broadcast Image, Public Image: "Seven Salutes Seven Who Care," Gail Flannigan, WJLA.
Broadcast Image, Editorials: Composite, Angela Owens, producer, WRC.
Broadcast Image, Promotion: "Bombs on the Beltway," Dick Goggin, Rita Poore, producers, WRC; "Magnum Paradise," Mark Davidson, Coby Leydon, producers, WJLA; "D.C. Traffic Blues," Dick Goggin, Rita Poore, producers, WRC; "Morning Rap," Karla Halbakken, Ernest Crow, producers, WJLA.
Washington Community Service Award: "Beautiful Babies, Right From the Start," WRC.
Individual Achievement, Cinematography, News: Composite, Kline Mengle, WUSA; Composite, Gregory W. Guise, WUSA; Composite, Donald Smith, WRC.
Individual Achievement, Cinematography, News Features: Composite, Donald Schoenmann, WJLA.
Individual Achievement, Cinematography, Documentary: Composite, Chester Panzer, WRC.
Individual Achievement, Cinematography, Sports: Composite, Dave Silver, WRC.
Independent Productions: "Deaf Mosaic 212," Dr. Marin P. Allen, executive producer, Jim Dellon, producer; "Redskins Saturday Night," Gertrude Houston, producer.
Outstanding Commercial Announcement: "House Guest Horrors," Rick Marchesana, producer.
Entertainment Programs: "The Arch Campbell Show," Tod Mesirow, Tony Zanelotti, producers, WRC.
Individual Achievement, Editing, Feature, Spot News: Composite, Craig Wunderlich, WRC; "Back to the Bay Beaches," Jack Frame, WTTG.
Individual Achievement, Editing Programming: "Uncle Sam's Eagles," David Satchell, WUSA.
Individual Achievement, Editing Sports: Composite, Bob Peterson, WRC; Composite, Juan Jones, WRC.
Individual Achievement, Directing Live: "Washington Redskins vs. Atlanta Falcons -- NFL Pre-season Game," Ernie Bauer.
Individual Achievement, Directing, Other: Composite, Mark C. White.
Individual Achievement, Talent: "The Kids Game," Ed Turney.
News Series: "Women of Power, Women of Love," Vicki Hildner, Yvonee McGee, producers, WJLA; "My Child Is Gay," Marjorie Margolies, Mike Kiernan, Joe Hearn, producers, WJLA.
Program Segments: "He's Pete," Raul J. Rivero, producer, WUSA; "D.C. X-Press," Joel Loy, producer, WTTG; "Presidents, by George," Jane Stone, producer; "Shakers by Design," Jan Thompson, producer, WUSA.
Individual Achievement, Talent, News Anchor: Jim Vance, WRC.