Academy Awards® Show Manager Donates Rare Ray Bradbury Collection to So Pas Library

Michael Francis, Academy Awards Show Manager, has donated rare books to the library. Photo courtesy of So Pas Library

For 44 years, the name of Michael Francis could be prominently seen in the credits for the Academy Awards®.TV broadcast.  Michael is the Manager of Page Operations for the Oscars® show and manages a staff of 40-50. Michael performs the talent logistics for the show, and he and his staff make sure that presenters and performers are at the right place at the right time.   

While his staff consists of many veterans of the show who have worked with him for more than 20 years, Francis prides himself in being able to give young people their first break in show business.  Many have gone on to wonderful careers, like his former assistant Sean Barney, who has since produced many top TV commercials for the likes of Mercedes, PetSmart, Coke Zero, Mattel, Infiniti, and Lay’s. Another former assistant George Frangadakis took his abilities in prosthetic make-up and is now co-owner of Immortal Masks, the top mask making company in Hollywood. Yet another, Talicia Raggs, is the current Supervising Producer on “NCIS: New Orleans.”

Francis and his team have also worked on no less than 29 Primetime Emmy Awards®. 

Francis began his career in television at ABC TV in 1974 as a Page with the Guest Relations staff.  His first show was “Let’s Make A Deal”.  He went on to work on many popular shows of the era, including game shows, like “Password”, “Family Feud” and “Split Second”, as well as the “Merv Griffin Show” and “The Lawrence Welk Show.” He’s also worked on sitcoms like “Happy Days”, “Laverne & Shirley”, “Mork and Mindy”, and “Taxi,” as well as specials like the 1984 Olympic Gala.  His credits also include several early “American Music Awards.” and of course, the Oscars® and Emmys®.  Much of Michael’s time at ABC was also spent with Eyewitness News. 

Before television, Francis was a professional musician, playing saxophones while still in high school in San Jose   He was fortunate to play with the Stan Kenton Orchestra for a short time during the summer of 1967 until he moved south in 1968 to go to USC and Cal State LA to get into the recording business. Michael became a staff composer for the Southern California Collegiate Neophonic Orchestra, and a member of the orchestra from 1969 to 1971.  

Francis also worked on Hanna Barbera Cartoons from 1969-1971. He considers himself fortunate to have had his own big band that played around LA during the 70s. Up until the early 80s,

he produced and arranged recording sessions in Hollywood.

But his biggest claim to music fame comes from one of his earliest compositions.  His “Dreams of a Psychopath” has been performed and recorded by school and professional wind orchestras around the globe for many decades. 

Francis lives close to South Pasadena in the El Sereno area where he’s resided for the last 50 years. Back when Michael worked on the 49th Academy Awards in 1977, he got to know Ray Bradbury, who was one of the show’s writers.  He recently read about the South Pasadena Library development of a special collection to honor the extraordinary author and decided to donate his wonderful Bradbury collection to the South Pasadena Library where it will reside in the facility’s Ray Bradbury Conference Room.