The first time Ray Walston was nominated for “Picket Fences,” he spent most of the evening in the men’s room of the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. “I was very nervous, so I was studying and studying these three pages I’d written in case I won,” Walston says. “Every commercial break, this very large men’s room would be loaded with guys who would come in and see me still studying this speech. I was in there over an hour until my category came up, and of course I didn’t win. One of the guys who came into the men’s room was from People magazine. He wrote an article about Ray Walston in the men’s room, studying his acceptance speech for an Emmy he didn’t win,” Walston laughs.
“The next year, I was nominated again and vowed to go and just enjoy myself. But when they announced my name, the emotion was instant relief, so I managed to give a pretty good impromptu acceptance speech. I said, ‘I have 30 seconds to tell you that I’ve been waiting 60 years to get up on this stage.’ ”