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As the Academy goes into late December without a host to replace Kevin Hart at the helm of the 2019 Oscars show, talk has turned to the idea of having a show without a host. It has been done a few times in the past, both in shows in the late ’60s and early ’70s and then again as recently as 1989.

But be careful what you wish for, all you who are proposing a hostless Oscars.

After all, the last Academy Awards show that didn’t have a host, the 61st Oscars in 1989, is widely considered the worst Oscars ever. No, the lack of a host didn’t really have much to do with the show’s multitudinous failures. And no, this year’s producer, Donna Gigliotti, and co-producer and director, Glenn Weiss, aren’t likely to make the kind of mistakes that Allan Carr made back then.

But looking at that show, it’s hard not to think that a steady hand at the helm would have helped.

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If you remember that show, you probably don’t remember it as the Oscars that brought awards to Jodie Foster, Dustin Hoffman and “Rain Man.” Or as the first Oscars to replace the words “and the winner is…” with the less exclusionary “and the Oscar goes to…” Or as the first to hire writer Bruce Vilanch, the Oscars’ chief comic voice for the next two decades. Or as the first to find corporate partners for promotional tie-ins.

Or as the Oscars that gave awards to Marcel Ophuls’ landmark documentary “Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie,” to Bille August’s classic “Pelle the Conqueror” and to John Lasseter for the early Pixar short “Tin Toy,” the first CGI film to win an Oscar.

No, you remember it as the Academy Awards where Rob Lowe danced with Snow White.

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That is the misfortune of the Oscars of March 29, 1989, a show that was launched into the realm of hapless legend by Allan Carr. The producer, whom everybody called “a showman,” had managed stars like Ann-Margret and Dyan Cannon, run the Oscar campaign that helped secure the Best Picture award for “The Deer Hunter” in 1978, produced movies like “Grease” and “Where the Boys Are ’84” and won a Tony for the Broadway adaptation of the French film “La Cage Aux Folles.”

Carr was short and rotund, swathed in custom caftans when he wasn’t wrapped in a robe or smoking jacket. “He was the ringmaster of the whole ’70s party scene, which took place on the East Coast in nightclubs like Studio 54, but on the West Coast at Allan’s house,” Vilanch once old me.

Carr desperately wanted to produce the Oscars, and in the fall of 1988 Academy President Richard Kahn offered him what was at the time an unpaid job. In interview after interview, the excitable producer said it would be the biggest, the most glamorous, the most fabulous Oscars ever. He did most of his planning at Hillhaven Lodge, his Beverly Hills estate, where he placed a six-foot Oscar statue by the front door. (It had previously belonged to Ingrid Bergman and Kim Novak; more recently, Brett Ratner lived there when he had his own crash-and-burn Oscars experience.)

Carr’s priority was glamour. “I remember going with him for our first survey of the Shrine,” said Jeff Margolis, the director of that show, which was held at the aging Shrine Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles. “He walked in and [said] ‘I’m not doing the show here unless they redo all the bathrooms. And I want all the hallways and the lobby painted. I want it to smell like it’s brand new.'”

Carr got his renovations, whereupon he had a million tulips flown in from the Netherlands and 50,000 glass beads affixed to the Shrine’s curtain.

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Backstage, Carr created the most elaborate green room the Oscars had ever seen — “Club Oscar,” he called it — and planned to fill it with presenters who fit his theme of couples, costars, companions and compadres. He got Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, Michael Caine and Sean Connery and Roger Moore, Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, Bob Hope and Lucille Ball, though some other notables turned him down: Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward said they didn’t like to fly, Brigitte Bardot said she’d do it only if she could talk about animal rights, Loretta Young only if she could give out Best Picture by herself.

Carr positioned the stars to be “Friends of Oscar,” glorified presenters who would take the place of the usual host. But without an emcee, he needed to kick things off with something particularly fabulous, so he turned to a satirical, campy musical revue, “Beach Blanket Babylon,” which had been playing in San Francisco. Carr persuaded that show’s creator, Steve Silver, to whip up an Oscars opening number that employed his usual array of pop-culture icons taking a tour through Hollywood history. Snow White would be the tour guide.

Throughout rehearsals, the number grew and grew; Margolis said Silver was the one who kept expanding it, while Silver’s widow, Jo Schuman Silver, said Carr super-sized it himself over her husband’s objections. Late in the game, though, even Carr realized it had grown too big, and killed segments featuring the tap-dancing legends the Nicholas Brothers and the young actress Mayim Bialik.

On Oscar night, dancers filled the aisles as the show began. “The curtain was a dazzling, shimmering, huge piece of sequins and velvet,” said Doug Stewart, who created video packages for the show. “Then these characters filled up the aisles. The whole house was just so intrigued, so curious, so excited about what was going to happen.”

Bruce Davis, soon to be the Academy’s executive director, sat nearby not knowing what to expect. “He wanted it to all be a surprise, not only to the audience but to us,” Davis said. “And when I saw Snow White walk down the aisle, I thought, ‘Oh, my God, I wonder if anybody’s cleared that.’ I knew there were some things you have to do some checking around on.”

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What everybody remembers is that Snow White – played by a 22-year-old San Diego actress named Eileen Bowman – danced with Rob Lowe as they “sang” (to use that word generously) a rewritten version of “Proud Mary.” But that was only a portion of the 12-minute extravaganza, which also featured Merv Griffin singing “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts” while a batch of legendary stars (Dorothy Lamour, Cyd Charisse, Vincent Price, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans…) were sprinkled across the Shrine stage like so much window dressing.

“His mistake was having that first number go on for so long,” said Gil Cates, the late producer who would produce 14 Oscar shows after Carr. “When you see something that doesn’t work, by four minutes it’s terrible, by five minutes it’s outrageous, by eight minutes it’s the kiss of death and by 12 minutes it’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen in your life.”

Another, even longer production number came midway through the show, with a dozen young “stars of tomorrow” singing a misbegotten would-be anthem titled “I Wanna Be an Oscar Winner.” For the record, none of the participants ever have become an Oscar winner; they included Christian Slater sword-fighting with Tyrone Power, Jr., Patrick Dempsey undertaking a soft shoe, Chad Lowe hollering “I’m a thespian in the classic sense!,” 15-year-old Savion Glover tap dancing, Corey Feldman trotting out his Michael Jackson impersonation and other offerings from Blair Underwood, Joely Fisher, Ricki Lake and others, most of whom looked vaguely embarrassed to be there.

The rest of the show had a few nice moments, but for the most part the chit-chat between the “Friends of Oscar” was cutesy and interminable. Still, Jeff Margolis remembered that spirits were high after the show. But things got ugly the next morning, when the reviews were mostly savage and Richard Kahn got a 9:00 a.m. call from Disney president Frank Wells, who said, “I think we have a real problem.”

It turned out that Bruce Davis’ suspicions were correct: Carr had neglected to get Disney’s permission to use Snow White. Disney sued for copyright infringement, though they dropped the suit 11 days later when the Academy formally apologized at a press conference.

Meanwhile, Gregory Peck wrote a scathing letter to Kahn, threatening to give back his two Oscars if future shows looked like Carr’s. And 17 Academy members, including Paul Newman, Billy Wilder and Julie Andrews, signed an open letter calling the show “an embarrassment both to the Academy and the motion picture industry.”

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The Academy convened a committee to study the show and figure out how to keep anything like it from happening again. Chaired by Gil Cates, the panel came back with a series of recommendations, which included paying the producer, using single presenters rather than couples to eliminate the chit-chat, relying more on film clips than production numbers – and, yes, hiring a single host.

Carr, meanwhile, was shell-shocked by the reaction to his show, and spent much of the next 10 years in relative seclusion. “Allan was blindsided completely, and it devastated him,” said associate producer Michael Seligman. “He never got over that.” The producer died of liver cancer at the age of 62 in 1999.

And yet his touches live on at the Oscars: the promotional tie-ins, the fancy green room, “and the Oscar goes to …” “That was widely felt to be a disastrous show, both inside and outside the Academy,” Davis said. “But it’s amazing how many of the innovations that Mr. Carr introduced are still with us today.”

But not the hostless Oscars. Nobody has dared try that again.

Interviews used in this story were conducted for Steve Pond’s book “The Big Show: High Times and Dirty Dealings Backstage at the Academy Awards” (Faber and Faber, 2005).

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As an up-and-coming filmmaker, Jarom Lürsen never wanted to make a World War II movie. A preponderance of those stories have already been told, after all. But when a monument was made for someone no one really knew about in his home country of the Netherlands, Lürsen found himself drawn to the little-known tale.

“He was a hero that was always hidden,” Lürsen told TheWrap’s Steve Pond at a Q&A on Tuesday following a screening of his film “The Resistance Banker,” the Netherlands entry in the Oscar foreign film race and this year’s winner of four Golden Calves — the equivalent of the Oscars in the Netherlands — including best film and best actor.

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As the title suggests, “The Resistance Banker” tells the story of an upper-class banker who, with his brother, helps finance the resistance against Germany in the Netherlands by risking their careers and livelihoods to start a secret bank. Walraven van Hall (Barry Atsma) plays the brother, husband and father of two who first decides to help the resistance, building a team to forge bonds that will be turned in for money to help Jewish people fearful of deportation and protestors fearful of going broke. Actor Jacob Derwig plays Walraven’s brother, Gijs.

Lürsen told the audience at the Landmark Theater in Los Angeles that the van Halls didn’t help the resistance because they were Jewish. In fact, they weren’t Jewish at all and could have easily fled to England if they wanted to. But instead, the van Halls felt they were in the best position to help their fellow people.

“[Walraven] starts out resisting the resistance,” Lürsen said.  “In the end, he becomes the spider in the web of the whole resistance.”

In fact, Walraven would become so interwoven in the resistance that he ended up going by five different code names with almost no one knowing his true identity, according to Lürsen. While this is not exactly what is depicted in the final Netflix-acquired film — Walraven goes by van Tuyl to conceal his identity — Lürsen and the producers of the film made sure to reach out to the descendants of the van Halls to get the story as accurate as possible.

Initially the van Hall family was hesitant about agreeing to help the film, fearing it would turn into a “big action movie.”

“Our fathers never had guns,” Lürsen said the van Halls had told him.

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Lürsen assured them the story would focus on two things: First, it would be a story following the emotional relationship between brothers. Second, it would try to depict the “biggest bank robbery in Dutch history” in a way that paid tribute but also stayed honest about what actually happened.

One of the ways the production stayed honest was filming scenes in locations as similar to the ones during the actual time period as possible. For example, the bank they are seen robbing in the film is the actual one they robbed 70-some years ago. The shooting schedule was rigorous in part due to their precise filming locations. Lürsen confessed the production traversed 18 different cities in 36 days across the Netherlands and Belgium, often needing to stop heavy traffic just to get one shot off.

But the work required was worth it. Now that the monument commemorating Walraven was erected across from the Dutch State Bank in 2010, there is a living memorial of his effort depicted in the film. Lürsen said the van Halls invited 300 of their family members to watch the film for a special screening when the movie opened. Afterward, Lürsen heard three words the assured him it was all worth it.

“Now, you’re family,” they told him.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are soaking up the last of the Sydney Invictus Games.

The royal couple, who are expecting their first child in the spring, headed to the wheelchair basketball final on Saturday (local time). England won third in bronze medal match against New Zealand while the Netherlands and the U.S. competed in the gold medal game.

Meghan was dressed in a maroon top by Australian brand Scanlan Theodore and black pants with her hair styled half-up, half-down while Harry wore a black Invictus Games polo shirt. The parents-to-be, who were greeted by attendees with a roaring applause, were seated with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defence Minister Christopher Pyne.

David Beckham, who serves as an Invictus Games ambassador, was also spotted in the crowd with his son Romeo, though they appeared to be seated on the opposite side.

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Later, the couple presented gold medals to Team USA as they congratulated each player on their victory.

Harry and Meghan kicked off the Paralympic-style competition for wounded and recovering service members and veterans with the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge last week — while wearing matching Invictus Games shirts!

They then headed to the opening ceremony, where Harry couldn’t help but mention their exciting baby news.

“First of all, thank you for the welcome you have given Meghan and I over the last few days,” he shared with the crowd gathered at the Sydney Opera House. “I have been so proud to be able to introduce my wife to you and we have been so happy to be able to celebrate the personal joy of our newest addition with you all.”

Before heading to Fiji and Tonga, Harry attended a cycling race before being joined by Meghan on a boat to cheer on competitors in a sailing event.

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