Gloss, grandeur and gaiety at the Emmy Awards

LOS ANGELES: What a day it was! The stars of American television descended in droves to Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium for the 55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.

The heat and suffocating humidity of the Los Angeles sun did not perturb any of them in the least as they walked the red carpet in their dampening Armanis, their Chanel suits sweat dripping from their foreheads, to the cheers and screams of the paparazzi and fans lining the sidewalk.

It was quite a circus with television crews from almost every network - Fox, ABC, E! - vying to get a leg up on the Emmys action. Fox, of course had the advantage, being a preferred broadcast partner. Every celebrity was greeted with 'Oohs' and 'Aahs' and photographers pleaded with the celebs to hold that pose for them.

Gubernatorial candidate and porn star, clad in a blue dress, Mary Carey more than obliged, actually lifting up and accentuating her ample bosom with her palms for the cameras which merrily clicked away.

Sarah Jessica Parker nominated for her part in Sex in The City was exactly the opposite. She downplayed herself, smiling and dignified with husband Mathew Broderick in tow. A roar went up as she walked down the carpet. Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox Arquette, Matthew Perry, Matt Leblanc, Kim Catarall, Stockard Channing, Jenifer Garner, Christina Applegate, Debra Messing met a similar reception.

Gary Coleman (remember "What you talking about" Arnold of Different Strokes) another gubernatorial candidate was more than willing to talk to the waiting journalists. The dwarf like Coleman smiled and preened himself even as his white companion clung on to his elbow.

The elderly Doris Roberts walked in almost unnoticed as did Micheal Chiklis, who plays detective Vic Mackey in The Shield. Wannabes strode close to the stars in a desperate bid to get pictured alongside them, even as the security consistently requested them to move in to the auditorium. But they stayed put. As the show flag off time neared they moved in to collect their Emmys souvenir. Some of them chose to pick up a $20 or $30 glass of their favourite poison, sipping away even as they craned their necks to catch a glimpse of the stars entering late in the lobby of the auditorium.

The female bar tender remarked, "While the Emmys score high amongst the awards ceremonies, it's the Oscars which are unmatchable. I've been mixing drinks here for sometime and I know what I am saying."

Gradually, the crowd dissipated up in to their respective seats in the holy of holies. Producer Don Mischer counted down the start of the 55th Emmy Awards ceremony.

The show had its moments which were meant to shock: there was a takeoff of the Madonna Britney Spears kiss between actors Garry Shandling and Brad Garrett, Matthew Perry's smooch with the elderly Emmy winner Dorris Roberts, the standing ovation to Walter Cronkite, the moment's silence to the late Fred Rogers, Bob Hope and Three's Company star John Ritter, Martin Short's eulogy to the losers, Ellen DeGeneres monologue, and of course George Lopez's standup and Darrell Hammond with his imitation of Arnold Schwarznegger.

The show ended with all the winners coming on stage for a finale. However, the festivities continued at the Governors Ball in the Shrine, with chocolates by Ethel M being given away along with chocolate cigars, and a lobster dinner prepared by world renowned Patina chef Joachim Splichal, all at between $600 and $1000 a pop.

The theme of the Governors Ball this year was "Club 55 at the Cocoanut Grove."

This year's theme was "Club 55 at Cocoanut Grove"," inspired by the legendary Ambassador Hotel nightclub. Of course elsewhere in the city, the HBO, Fox, West Wing, TV Guide parties kept the winners and nominees up through the night and up till the next morning.

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