January 2, 2012

Santa’s Gift.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 5:45 pm

Santa brought me the Ernie Kovacs Collection, and I have spent a good deal of time enjoying it on the bigass TV, beginning with his earliest shows from 1951 and 1952. Kovacs, one of TV’s pioneers, was way, way ahead of his time. There was nothing like Kovacs’ show on television at the time. He created hilarious characters and very often flew by the seat of his pants. For example, during one show, he walked out of the studio and strolled down the hall to get a drink of water from the water cooler. He returned to doing the show as if the interruption never happened. I gather he was thirsty, and it was live TV, so why not go get a drink? It worked.

I only recently learned that Kovacs was from Trenton, New Jersey, and that he died in 1962 around the time of his 43rd birthday when the Chevy Corvair he was driving spun out of control and hit a telephone pole. You can see a photo of the car here. I can only imagine where he would have taken television had he not died so young.

I knew that he was married to Edie Adams, an extremely attractive woman who appeared regularly on the show (in the early days, he referred to her on the show as “Edith”). What I did not realize was that Edie Adams was a classically trained singer, as is evident from her performances in the 1951-1952 discs. She graduated from Juilliard and then the Columbia School of Drama. I’m sorry to say that I remember her best for singing cigar commercials. She passed away in 2008, but she was single handedly responsible for assembling the material that appears in the collection. She rescued (i.e. bought) the material from the networks before they discarded all of the old kinescopes and taped game shows over all the video tapes of Kovacs’ later shows).

If you are old enough to remember Ernie Kovacs, or if you have an interest in early television, I believe you would enjoy the collection.

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