THE SATURN AWARDS (our humble beginning)
The Saturn Awards is the official award presentation voted by the members of the The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. Our organization is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which was founded in 1972. In the begining, the organization's focus was to honor and recognize the genres of science fiction, fantasy and horror films. As the Academy became established in the world of genre entertainment and the film entertainment industry, the focus was broadened to include additional genres to the awards process. Additionally, we began voting awards of honor in the fields of television, home entertainment and, on occasion, live stage production.
The Saturn Awards is considered the premier organization in honoring and recognizing multi-genre entertainment. The event is annually supported and co-sponsored by the biggest and most successful talent and visionaries working in the film and teleivison field today. The organization has been presenting awards for over four decades.
The brains behind the Academy was Founder Dr. Donald A. Reed. He was a noted film historian who had a life long passion for this area of entertainment. Prior to establishing The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films in 1972, Dr. Reed headed an intimate social group would get together and discuss gothic literature and classic film releases. This group of passionate fans would occasionally hold luncheons to honor authors and film and television actors, directors, and producers. This was quite an achievement for any group which did not have formal financing to hold these events. It was all done with love and passion for the genres. These members of the industry attended to receive honors.
Once the Academy was established, the tradition of holding special events was formalized. An annual awards show was produced which began in 1973 (one year after founding the Academy). The membership of the Academy grew to several hundred members and began officially creating blue ribbon panels to nominate and vote these awards on an annual basis. T he Academy recently held it's 40th Annual Saturn Awards ceremony.
Sadly, Dr. Reed passed away in 2001. His dedicated staff and leadership continue his dream of honoring the most popular genres in film and television.
Past Honorees include:
Ann Robinson (star of War of the Worlds)
Bud Abbott (popular comedian who performed with Lou Costello)
Burgess Meredith (actor known for playing Batman's The Penguin)
Carl Laemmle (one of the early leaders in the film industry)
Dan Curtis (producer/director of The Night Stalk and Dark Shadows)
Darren McGivin (actor know for starring in The Night Stalker)
Elsa Lanchester (actress known for being the Bride of Frankenstein)
Francis Lederer (genre actor with popular roles in the 60s)
Gene Roddenberry (creator of Star Trek)
George Clayton Johnson (writer/author)
Gloria Swanson (screen star known for the film Sunset Bvld.)
Helen Gahagen Douglas (actress known for the film She)
Herman Cohen (producer of classic horror films of the 50s)
Jack Arnold (director of classic horror films of the 50s & 60s)
John Agar (popular actor of the 50s & 60s)
Lon Chaney Jr. (actor known for his role as The Wolfman)
Ray Bradbury (one of the greatest authors of the century)
Ray Harryhausen (one of the greatest visual effects creators)
Reginold Le Borg (director of notable films of the 50s & 60s)
Richard Matheson (legendary author of our century)
Rod Serling (creator/producer/writer of the classic series The Twilight Zone)
Rock Hudson (actor of the 50s, 60s, & 70s)
Robert Wise (legendary director of great classics films)
Roger Corman (producer/director of independent films in the 60s)
Rouben Mamoulian (legendary director of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde)
Robert Bloch (classic author)
Vincent Price (one of our genre's best actors)
Bryan Fuller (writer/producer/creator of innovative series such as Hannibal)
Cubby Broccoli (iconic producer of films including the James Bond Series)
Dean Devlin (producer/director/writer of film and television series)
Dino De Laurentiis (producer of classic genre films such as Barbarella)
Drew Struzan (graphic artist well known for his poster work)
Dustin Lance Black (writer/producer and close friend to our Founder)
Frank Darabont (director/producer of film and television)
Gale Anne Hurd (producer of genre film and television series)
Gregory Nicotero (make-up effects artist and director/producer)
Guillermo del Toro (director, producer, and screenplay writer)
J.J. Abrams (director and producer of film and television)
James Cameron (film director and producer)
Jonathan Frakes (actor/director of television and film)
Lance Henriksen (actor in film and television)
Malcolm McDowell (classic actor in film and television)
Marc Cushman (author of the current Star Trek Original Series books)
Sherry Lansing (former Studio Leader and actress)
Stan Lee (guiding force/editor of Marvel Comic books of the 60s)
Steven Spielberg (director/producer/writer and inspiration to future filmmakers)
Tim and Donna Lucas (author and developers of visionary book on Mario Bava)
Vince Gilligan (writer/producer/director of classic genre teleivsion series)
Wes Craven (director of film and television)
William Friedkin (director of The Exorcist and many other classic films)
(And this is only a fraction of the notable guests we have recognized in the last 40 years)
Between 1972 - 1988, the Saturn Awards focused mainly on films which had a science fiction, fantasy and horror storyline. It became evident to our leadership the genres were blending in with each other and into other genres such as suspense, thriller, action, dark drama, and even comedy. Good examples of this blending if genres are Alien, the James Bond film series, Ghostbusters, and Silence of the Lambs. With considerable thought put into this, we decided to begin opening up our nomination consideration process to include other genres. Our emphasis would continue to be the three original genres, but we would consider other genres in the voting process.
We also began considering other areas of award recognization and added television as part of our nomination consideration. This proved popular with the membership and we again expanded by adding home entertainment (video which would become dvd and blu-ray) and, in recent years, live stage production. We now have categories specifically created to honor particular genres such as thriller, super-hero, and action/adventure films. We also have categories which target Independent and International film releases.
We have embraced the terms "Enchanced Reality" and "Exaggerated Reality" to define the films which we consider for award nomination. We no longer lock ourselves into only honoring science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
Our most infamous moment took place in 1978 when our fifth awards show, The Sci Fi Film Awards, was televised and aired in syndication around the country. The co-host of this awards show was actor William Shatner (who co-hosted with actress Karen Black). On the show, Elton John's writing partner Bernie Taupin introduced a song which William Shatner sang on the show which was Rocket Man, made famous by Elton John. This performance has to be seen to be believed. You can watch it on YouTube.
We have had a great assortment of emcees to host our annual event over the years. The list of hosts for the Saturn Awards include Dr. Donald A. Reed, Jay Jay Stone, Bruce Campbell, Larry Cohen, Bobbie Bresee, Richard Hatch, Mark Hamill, Karen Black, William Shatner, William "Blacula" Marshall, Corey Feldman, Harry Blackstone, Jr., Adam West, Graham Chapman, Warwick Davis, Lance Reddick, and comedian Jeff Ross, who has hosted the event about a dozen times over the years.
The purpose behind the Saturn Awards Organization is to recognize the fine talent who work in the most imaginative and creative fields of entertainment. These are the genres which spark the imagination and wow us with incredible visual grandeur. At the core of any and all awards shows, this recognition is a humble "thank you" to the hard work and innovation which is created by the arts and sciences.
The popular San Diego Comic Con is a beacon for popular culture. The films which keep the studios flush are the genre films. The Saturn Awards are in the mix in honoring the most successful film and television programming on a year to year basis and our goal is to continue recongizing the quality of these enjoyable genres which become a part of genre history.
SATURN AWARDS HISTORY THROUGH IMAGES: