Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry XMAS From Kovacsland

Merry XMAS my fellow Kovacsians. As a general rule I don't post clips here, but this one was sent to me and its rare so I figured I would share it as sort of a holiday gift. Its a commercial for "Dutch Masters" from Ernie's quiz show "Take A Good Look":


video

You'll notice the commercial doesn't actually feature Ernie, outside of his intro and outro. That's the rarity of it. Most of the spots for "Dutch Masters" had Ernie in them. I love the goofy background music and cheap animation. There's nothing quite so joyous at XMAS time as a corny old "retro-mercial" with a tag line like "man alive, take five!"

I've been in contact with Diana Rico who wrote my favorite biography of all time, "Kovacsland: A Biography Of Ernie Kovacs." You've heard me say in the past what a great book this is and how its the ultimate source on Ernie. I'm saying it again! It makes a great holiday gift so please pick up a copy. I'm hoping to interview Diana for the blog sometime in January so stay tuned. In the meantime learn more about this writer/producer by clicking on her link above.

I run two other blogs; "The Jazz Guitar Corner," which is a tribute to jazz guitar, and "GEOMOP," which is a satire blog. Click on either link to be brought to the posts I'm about to describe.

In the guitar blog I put up a tribute today to the late great jazz pianist Oscar Peterson who passed away Sunday at the age of 82. It has a great film clip that I know you will love. While this isn't Ernie related Oscar was a giant of jazz and a profound influence on me as a musician. Since Ernie was such a fan of this music I think he would approve. There's now another creative giant up in heaven to join him and unfortunately many less creative giants on earth than there used to be.

On my satire blog I've posted a short that I made called "Here Comes Hoyt!". Its a dig at so-called "reality shows" done as an old kinescope from the early days of television. I kept Ernie in mind as I was making it and I hope his influence is apparent.

The Ernie Kovacs My Space Fan Page is up to 592 friends and pushing towards 600. Our thanks go out to anyone who requested us as a friend or who has accepted a friend request from us.

Until we meet again Kovacsians, Happy Holidays to all and a fond "It's been real!"

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ernie And Mad Magazine

As many of you knowledgeable Kovacsians may be aware Ernie was a contributor in the early days of "Mad Magazine." Well folks, our dear friend and "Kovacs Trivia King" Brian was kind enough to contribute some pics of pages from those early days of "Mad." Click on any one of the photos to get a larger view of the "Barker 61 Cigar", the rules to that classic old family board game"Gringo (aka 'Droongo')", or to enjoy the odd and wonderful tales of the "Strangely Believes Its":





And here my fellow Kovacsians, courtesy of "Trivia King Brian" are the original instructions for "Gringo/Droongo":

Mr. Ernie Kovacs, foremost Gringo player, is shown in the process of shouting "Gringo!" three times, as his Roundee lands in the High Roller Bonus square.

Gringo, which Mr. Kovacs himself introduced to the Western Hemisphere, promises to be the hottest parlor game since Monopoly, Scrabble and Lotto.

On our right is the directions sheet extracted from a set of Gringo. A careful reading will give you a clear idea of what the game is all about... and what will be plainer still is if you had one grunch but the egg-plant over there.

PICTURES BY WILL ELDER /
DIRECTIONS FOR PLAYING GRINGO BY ERNIE KOVACS

    IN EACH BOX
  • 27 small red squares which are called Enchiladoes
  • 13 blue, plastic triangles called Blue Plastic Triangles
  • 17 perforated disks, called Roundees
  • 113 Yellow darts
  • 113 Green darts
  • 113 White darts
  • 2 Orange darts
  • 1 deck of playing cards with pictures of former mayors of Hong Kong from the Ming Dynasty to the present era
  • 1 large GRINGO board with automatic lazy susan?

HOW TO PLAY
Any number of players may play GRINGO... two, three, four, seven, eleven, thirteen, one hundred and forty-four... whole towns have been known to play.

TO START THE GAME
The player who rolls the highest number on the eleven pairs of dice goes first. He rolls the same dice (with the exception of the one pair marked High Roller First, as this pair is only included in determining who is first.) After totalling his score on pencil and paper, he takes an Enchilado and moves it the corresponding number of squares on the Gringo board. He then rolls again, this time the pair of dice marked High Roller First may be included if his Enchilado landed on the square marked HIGH ROLLER BONUS.

ROUNDEE MOVE
On this roll he moves his Blue Plastic Triangle according to his total and moves a Roundee (the perforated tile disk) two and a half times one quarter the distance the total of the distance of the Enchilado and the Blue Plastic Triangle, unless the player on his RIGHT throws a Green dart into he air, shouting "GRINGO" three times, in which case player number one must move the Enchilado and the Roundee four times the cube root of the sum of throws, this is a special throw, on the dice marked HIGH ROLLER FIRST.

THIRD GRINGO RULE
He then moves his Roundee correspondingly, unless the Green dart thrown by the player to his RIGHT landed before the third "GRINGO". If the Green dart landed on the SECOND "GRINGO", player number one moves his Roundee ONE QUARTER way around the board PROVIDED the player to his LEFT does not call out the name of one of the Hong Kong Mayors as he throws a Yellow dart in the air on the first "GRINGO" shouted by the player to the RIGHT of the first player.

FREE THROW
This is standard procedure on first roll with ONE EXCEPTION: If the name of the Hong Kong Mayor called out by the player to the LEFT with the Yellow dart starts with the letter "B", then all must roll again and move their Roundees back two spaces, unless of course, their Blue Plastic Triangles are on a square marked Omit Hong Kong Mayor "B" penalty, in which case the player whose Blue Plastic Triangle is on this Omit Hong Kong Mayor "B" penalty square gets a free throw with a white dart, eliminating ANY player from the game he happens to hit.

So there you have it fellow Kovacsians.

The Ernie Kovacs My Space Fan Page is up to 579 friends this week. As always we thank everyone who requested an add or accepted a request from us.

Until we meet again Kovacsians, Happy Holidays to all and a fond "It's been real!"

Monday, October 29, 2007

Behind The Scenes At ABC

Just won this still on eBay, and thought I'd post it here. What intrigued me about this image is that it's a rehearsal shot, showing Ernie in director mode with Steve Blauner, getting ready for a dry run of the "Dinner Symphony". This was for the Kovacs ABC spec #2. The music was something of a mystery for a while. Irwin Chusid had wanted to include it on the Ernie Kovacs Record Collection CD, but no one was able to identify it. Some months after the CD's release, the piece was ID'ed as having been written by a lesser-known Hungarian composer named Kara Karajev.

Below is the info from the ABC photo dept attached to the still. It's still been real...

Ben Model - http://www.erniekovacs.info/


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

End Of The Weekly Ernie Kovacs Posts

Good day my fellow Kovacsians.

The Ernie Kovacs My Space Fan Page has finally hit the 500 mark; we're up to 503 friends this week. Our thanks go out to anyone who requested us as a friend or who has accepted a friend request from us.

This will be the last regular weekly post. The blog was started in March 2007 as an adjunct to my Ernie Kovacs Tribute Site. I figured it could be used as a way to quickly publish articles, essays and trivia contests without having to constantly update the main site. It has served that purpose well and will continue to do so. Its become too time consuming, however, to publish weekly and there's really no need to. I still plan to post as the mood hits me or as any interesting news about Ernie presents itself. The main site will always be updated to let you know of any new posts and of course I will post bulletins on the My Space page whenever the blog is updated. Feel free to stop by anytime; there's always a chance that myself or contributing blogger Ben Model will have something new for you.

One interesting piece of news that I discovered today concerns a new facility in Virginia called the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center. You can read an article about it by clicking here. The article states that the facility "has kinescopes of the earliest black-and-white television shows of comedians such as Milton Berle and Ernie Kovacs." Hopefully it will be "new" material that hasn't been seen in years and isn't available anywhere else.

Until we meet again Kovacsians, "It's been real!"

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ernie Kovacs Cameraman Bob Kemp

Hello fellow Kovacsians.

The Ernie Kovacs My Space Fan Page is still at 495 friends this week; while we actually did add some new friends some others deleted their profiles so it all evened out. We also had to delete a couple of spam type requests. When friend requests are sent to us they are all checked to make sure that they are not porn or spam sites. If you send us a private profile we will add you but we immediately check it once we do to make sure it does not fit into either of those two categories. All that type of stuff is deleted and reported to MySpace.

For this week's post I'd like to direct you to an interview I did several years ago on my main website, http://www.erniekovacs.net/. It was with one of Ernie's most respected cameramen and friends, Bob Kemp. Bob not only served as a cameraman but also as sort of an unofficial photographer on the set. Ernie encouraged this and purchased many of Bob's photos. When you read what Bob has to say you get great insight into what it was like to work for television's original genius.

I'm still hoping to get some trivia questions from fans so that I can put up a user generated trivia quiz. Check out last week's post to find out how to submit your questions.

I didn't find any new blog posts or news about Ernie this week so until we meet again, "Its Been Real!"

Monday, August 20, 2007

Miklos Molnar The Soccer Playing Danish-Hungarian Chef

Hello my fellow Kovacsians. I'm putting up the weekly post on Monday instead of the usual Wednesday because I have to go out of town.

Last week's trivia question was once again successfully answered by Ernie Kovacs My Space Fan Page friend and Kovacs trivia queen Barbara. We're not sure what's happened to trivia "King Brian" as we haven't heard from him in while.

I put a link to a Wikipedia entry for a European sports star and asked the following question:

In what way does this former Danish soccer player relate to Ernie Kovacs?

Here's the answer in pictorial form:
As usual, nice going Barbara! Go figure that a famous soccer star would be given the same name as a beloved sketch comedy chef. Perhaps his parents were Ernie fans, although the Wiki article doesn't mention this.

I'm hoping to have some new trivia in the next post, some of which may even be contributed by fans as I'm receiving a lot of messages from people saying they'd like to come up with questions. So we shall see! Can you stump the mighty Kovacs Trivia Queen Barbara or that potentate of Kovacs Trivia, King Brian? Actually Queen Barbara wants to contribute some questions. Who shall she stump? I'm sure those questions will be really tough! I'll probably have to come up with new titles for people, but what's higher than King and Queen? Why do you people have to make my life so difficult?!

But I digress. If you'd like to submit some trivia questions for a future quiz you can do it in the the following way:

1. Post them here in the comments section.
2. Send them to me through the Ernie Kovacs My Space Fan Page
3. Email them to me by clicking HERE.

Be sure to let me know who you are. Credit will be given next to each question whereby you will achieve immortal blog fame. Management (namely me) reserves the right to delete any question that management has already asked. And we've asked a lot of them so think hard! Remember Kovacsians, to make Ernie proud!

The Ernie Kovacs My Space Fan Page is up to 495 friends this week, an increase of 4 from since last Wednesday's post. As always we thank everyone who requested an add or accepted a request from us.

One of our new friends is Jeff of the "Vegas Film Critic" MySpace Page. You may recall that back in June I wrote a post with a trivia question about an episode of the "Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour" called "Lucy Meets The Moustache" in which both Ernie and Edie guest starred. In that post I mentioned the episode is hard to find and that supposedly a new DVD with all 13 episodes (the Ernie episode is # 13) would be coming out. Jeff let me know that it is out. Here's a link to it on Amazon. Its referred to as "I Love Lucy - The Complete Seasons 7-9" which is the reason I think I had trouble finding it for you in the past. Thank you Jeff and to you we say "Welcome fellow Kovacsian!"

That's it for this week folks. I didn't find any new Ernie news items or great blog posts so that feature will have to wait until next time.

We shall return on Wednesday, August 29 2007. Until then, "Its Been Real!!"

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ernie Wants A Danish!

Good afternoon my fellow Kovacsians.

Some quick trivia. And this one, Kovacsians, is quite abstract. Click this link, study the page, and then answer the following:

In what way does this former Danish soccer player relate to Ernie Kovacs?

The Ernie Kovacs My Space Fan Page is up to 491 friends this week, an increase of 11 from last week. As always we thank everyone who requested an add or accepted a request from us. I'm hoping we'll hit 500 by next week!

I found no particularly interesting Ernie posts on the web or in the blogosphere this week.

Until next week, "Its Been Real!!"

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Bill Wendell


Good day, fellow Kovacsians. Last week I asked a trivia question based on a photo in a previous trivia question. I asked the following questions which were answered by Ernie Kovacs My Space Fan Page friend and Kovacs trivia queen Barbara:

1. Who is the gentleman seated next to Ernie?
Answer: Bill Wendell

2. What functions did he perform on the shows where Ernie used him? Answer: Announcer and sketch man (assisted in a lot of sketches)

3. What other famous performer did this man spend years performing these services for? Answer: David Letterman

Good job Barbara! The late Bill Wendell was an NBC Television staff announcer for almost his entire career. He would play straight man to Ernie in certain sketches like "Mr. Question Man" and also act as announcer on Ernie's shows. Barbara, who once worked as an intern in TV news, had an opportunity to interview Bill. Here's her reminiscence of that experience:

To tell you the truth, when I was 20 I was all hellfire to write a book about him, but didn't have a clue how to do it. Still don't, actually!

I worked in TV news as an intern and I wrote him a letter to ask if he would talk to me. I was sitting at home one day and he called from the control room at the Letterman show! I wish to hell I'd have recorded it. I was too young to know better.

He told me a story about a skit they did where they used gallons and gallons of water and everyone was sliding all over the place while having a food fight. He said Ernie had hands "the size of canned hams" and that he could hold and throw three times what everyone else could. He said that as talented as Letterman is, no one will ever touch Ernie, and that he missed him every day.

Anyway, I was still toying with the idea when Rico came out with her book, and well, she did a fine job. Somewhere, I still have all the library research I did (now you can buy all those magazines on eBay)...copies of microfiche, etc. But Bill was the only person I talked to, and he was a really nice man, who really loved Ernie a lot

Thanks again, Barbara.

The Ernie Kovacs My Space Fan Page is up to 480 friends this week, an increase of 17 from last week. As always we thank everyone who requested an add or accepted a request from us. I'm hoping we'll hit 500 by next week!

One of our new fan page friends, "Paulie," asked me if I knew where to find the Percy Dovetonsils poem "Ode To Stanley's Pussycat." This can be found on page 135 of "The Ernie Kovacs Phile" by the late David G. Walley. This is a must have book for any true Kovacsian so pick up a copy if you don't already have one.

And now, some interesting Kovacsian articles from the news and posts from the blogosphere:

PBS is planning a special slated for 2009 about the history of television. Ernie and Edie are prominently mentioned in the article.

Filmmaking 101 compares some of the video techniques used in the HBO
series "Flight Of The Conchords" as being similar to those pioneered by Ernie.

Laura's Miscellaneous Musings talks about the 1959 movie
"It Happened To Jane" which had Ernie as one of its stars.

Here's a very creative and interesting take on the tilted room bit that Ernie used in "The Silent Show" ("Eugene"). Apparently its by an Australian comic named Shaun Micallef.

Until next week, "Its Been Real!!"

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Short Ernie Kovacs Post

Good afternoon fellow Kovacsians. I'm calling this "A Short Ernie Kovacs Post" for two reasons:

1. Its exactly that.

2. When someone searches for Kovacs posts by title it will come up and we can draw some more attention to the blog.

So here are the questions. Take a look at the picture in this post and then answer the questions below:

1. Who is the gentleman seated next to Ernie?
2. What functions did he perform on the shows where Ernie used him?
3. What other famous performer did this man spend years performing these services for?

There are three ways to send me the answers:

1. Post them here in the comments section
2. Send them to me through the Ernie Kovacs My Space Fan Page
3. Email them to me by clicking HERE.

The Ernie Kovacs My Space Fan Page is up to 463 friends this week, an increase of 9 from last week. As always we thank everyone who requested an add or accepted a request from us.

I was unable to locate any interesting Kovacsian news stories or blog pieces this week so as I always I shall close by saying that until next week, "Its Been Real!!"

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Trivia Winners And Choco Spinners

Good day my fellow Kovacsians. Remember our trivia quiz from last week? And remember how I told you that "the folks who answer the trivia questions I post here are really hard to stump?" And I was so proud of myself because I thought I had designed a quiz that would be really hard? Well, it was hard. But my two top trivia "answer-ers" were not only the first to respond but they did a bang-up job answering the questions. I've included a photo of them along with the requisite crowns and approval from Percy Dovetonsils. Barbara is in color and resembles Edie a bit. Brian is in black and white. I think Ernie would have approved of both!

Barbara was the winner; she got all 20 questions right and is awarded the honorary title of "A genius or someone with way too much time on their hands." Brian got 18 right and gets the title of "An Honorary Kovacsian Scholar." The two Brian missed, by the way, were the hardest on the quiz. Congrats to both. They always respond to our trivia questions and they both really know their Kovacsian Lore!

I'm not going to tell you the answers because I want others to be able to enjoy the quiz if they haven't had a chance yet. You can get the QUIZ by left clicking the link (it will then open in a separate browser window) or by right clicking the link and choosing "Save Target As," at which point you can save it to your hard drive and open it that way. You have my promise that more quizzes will be introduced in the future.

The Ernie Kovacs My Space Fan Page is up to 454 friends this week, an increase of 9 from last week. As always we thank everyone who requested an add or accepted a request from us. We're averaging about 10 adds a week and are really happy about it!

And now, some interesting Kovacsian articles from the news and posts from the blogosphere:

Artist Rob Smith Jr. was happy that we liked his drawing and reciprocated with a very nice post about the blog and website.

WFMU's blog has a great piece on the radio great Henry Morgan. Ernie's mentioned briefly. I'm putting a link here because Henry Morgan was also a genius and if you don't know about him, you ought to.


Until next week, "Its Been Real!!"

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mr. Question Man & Dr. Stroehmann

Good day my fellow Kovacsians. I have a very special assignment for your this week.

The folks who answer the trivia questions I post here are really hard to stump. I mean REALLY hard to stump. And I've also found that the posts featuring trivia are the most popular ones on this blog.

So for this week, I've created a 20 question multiple choice quiz about Ernie Kovacs and some of the folks close to him. Its in PDF format which requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Almost every computer in the world has this but if you don't, you can get it for free by clicking the link above.

You can get the QUIZ by left clicking the link (it will then open in a separate browser window) or by right clicking the link and choosing "Save Target As," at which point you can save it to your hard drive and open it that way. My suggestion is that you then print it out to work on the questions; its a doozy and I don't want you to go blind staring at your screen!

There are three ways to send me the answers:

1. Post them here in the comments section
2. Send them to me through the Ernie Kovacs My Space Fan Page
3. Email them to me by clicking HERE.

Please put the question number with the letter answer next to it. In the next couple of weeks I will announce the answers and present the following awards of dubious distinction:

All 20 Correct: A genius or someone with way too much time on their hands.

17-19 Correct: An Honorary Kovacsian Scholar

13-16 Correct: A Senior Professor Of Kovacsian History

9-12 Correct: A Junior Observer Of Kovacsian Lore

5-8 Correct: Lay off the Harry Potter films and crack out those Kovacs books, tapes and DVDs!

1-4 Correct: Matzoh Hepplewhite gets to saw you in half as part of his next "trick."

Get to it folks!!

The Ernie Kovacs My Space Fan Page is up to 445 friends this week, an increase of 8 from last week. As always we thank everyone who requested an add or accepted a request from us.

Our My Space friend Rob sent me a note about his Granddad, who had a recurring part on Ernie's first morning show "3 To Get Ready:"

He was the actual Stroehmann's Bread delivery guy for the show. Ernie liked him and always invited him to watch the show. During one show he was live on camera and invited him onto camera and he addressed him as 'Dr Stroehmann'. Apparently his mother was watching the show and told Ernie that 'she liked that young man' and it became a recurring bit.

And now, some interesting Kovacsian articles from the news and posts from the blogosphere:

Artist Rob Smith Jr. has a great drawing of Ernie

"Smoldering Embers In A Mohawk Campfire" talks about Edie Adams for Muriel Cigars

An article on performance artist Dan Carbone who's work is influenced by Ernie

Until next week, "Its Been Real!!"

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Some Kovacsian Fun

Good morning my fellow Kovacsians. This week's post will be a quick one, sans pictures, because yours truly has a very busy day today.

The Ernie Kovacs My Space Fan Page is up to 437 friends this week, an increase of 15 from last week. We thank everyone who requested an add or accepted a request from us. We're quite grateful that almost every request we get is legitimate, which believe me, is a big deal on MySpace!!

Our good friend Ben Model, the webmaster of erniekovacs.info and a contributing writer to this blog, added a great post last Saturday which is a stream of the Ernie novelty tune (actually, all tunes Ernie recorded were novelties) "Hey Taxi!" Its goofy and a great deal of fun. For some reason this track was left off "The Ernie Kovacs Record Collection," but as Ben explains on his site its the B-Side of track 20 which is a remake of Ernie's Theme (also known as "The Oriental Blues") by "Leroy Holmes and his Tug Boat Eight." This track was taken from the original 45 rpm record; you can even hear the crackle of the phonograph player when you listen! Click the "Hey Taxi!" link above to do so. Thanks Ben!

And now, some interesting Kovacsian articles from the blogosphere:

Jett's 4–Wheel Drive Lounge Wrote A Nice Post About Ernie's Brilliance

Apocalypse Later: A Cinematic Travelogue Wrote This Post About "Our Man In Havana"

Until next week, "Its Been Real!!"

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Vision Of Ernie Kovacs

Let me start this post by wishing my fellow Kovacsians a happy 4th of July!

The Ernie Kovacs My Space Fan Page is up to 422 friends this week, an increase of 9 from last week. We thank everyone who requested an add or accepted a request from us.

Last week's trivia question was answered by Kovacs Trivia Masters Brian and Barbara, the two "B's," who are friends on My Space. To see the answers, scroll down to the comments section of the post. My profound thanks once again to the two B's.

The picture you see to the left is the cover of a book called "The Vision Of Ernie Kovacs" which you may not know about as its not one of the well known books either about or by Ernie. Its available from Amazon (click the link above) and can occasionally be found on Ebay. (ED NOTE: You can now buy this title directly through the parent site of this blog, Ernie Kovacs Dot Net. Click the link for more details.)

This 86 page paperback is actually a catalog of an Ernie Kovacs exhibition that took place at the Museum of TV and Radio (then known as the Museum of Broadcasting and now known as The Paley Center For Media) from May 30- September 4, 1986. Most of the copies of the book that I've seen available are used. The copy that I own was purchased at the Museum's New York City branch (there is another in Beverly Hills, CA) so they may still have copies in their store.

The publication of this book falls in between that of "The Ernie Kovacs Phile" by the late David Walley and "Kovacsland" by Diana Rico. Although Amazon credits the book to journalist Jeff Greenfield, who wrote the introduction, its actually a collection of essays written by a variety of authors. To site an example, one essay is by J. Hoberman and is entitled "Its Been Real: Ernie Kovacs Postmodernist." Edie Adams has a piece in a section called "Reflections" entitled "Strangely Believe It: Comedy Without Angst." There's an interview with Joe Behar who directed Ernie's shows for many years. Its really an intellectual analysis of Ernie's body of work rather than a straightforward bio: this puts it much more in line with the David Walley book than Diana Rico's tome. The book contains some wonderful photos which I've never seen anyplace else. Even though its only 86 pages in length there is a great deal of text in it as the type face is fairly small. The various essays contained within are the best analyses of Ernie's work that I've ever read. Its a wonderful addition to the collection of any Kovacsian so if you can find a copy I strongly suggest you pick one up.

I'm a frequent visitor to the museum and a former member (not because I don't want to be; I have to renew) and I can tell you that they do great retrospectives. Hopefully they'll do another on Ernie as its been a couple of decades since the last one (I'm such a fan that not only do I have the book but also the poster and t-shirt from the retrospective). Support the museum if you can. Its inexpensive to become a member and they do great work. You can click the link that says "member" to find out more.

And now for this weeks Kovacsian blog posts and news clips:

The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, CA, is launching a stage production of Bell, Book And Candle. As most Kovacs fans probably know, the 1958 movie version starred Jack Lemmon, Kim Novak and Ernie. If you live out that way I hope you'll go see it and let us know how it is!

Once again, happy 4th of July! And, until we meet again, "Its Been Real!"

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ernie, Edie, Lucy, Desi

Good day my fellow Kovacsians.

The first person to successfully answer last week's trivia question was our good My Space Fan Page friend Brian, who has become the Kovacs trivia master. To see the question and the answer click the link. The answer is in the comments section so once you read the question scroll all the way down. I'd also like to congratulate our good My Space friend Barbara who sent in her answer after Brian but also got it correct.


The Ernie My Space is up to 413 friends this week, an increase of 5 from last week. We thank everyone who requested an add or accepted a request from us.

And now for this week's trivia question. Have a look at the photo below:



1. What was the title of the episode that Ernie and Edie appeared in?

2. What was the plot of the episode?

3. Where is it that the Riccardo and Kovacs families live (city and state)?

4. What was the original air date of this episode?

5. Did Ernie's daughters appear on the program?

6. What is the significance of this episode in terms of the careers of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and in terms of the running order of episodes? What number episode is it in the series?

7. At one point in the episode Lucy stops by to visit Edie. Edie opens the refrigerator to show Lucy something. What is taking up the ENTIRE fridge?

FOR EXTRA CREDIT: Who was the program's sponsor?

This is a tough one folks but I know you can do it. I'll level with you; this is not an easy show to find. I've seen it at the Museum of TV and Radio and on TV Land; when they aired it I taped a VHS copy. The entire series was supposed to come out on DVD this year but has not yet and the VHS tapes of individual episodes are hard to come by. I know, however, that many of you have probably seen this episode. You can research most of these questions online and in Ernie biographies.

I didn't find any new blog posts or news clips this week, so until next week, "Its Been Real!!"

ED NOTE, 11/30/2010:  The entire series has been available on DVD for a while now and you can get it from Amazon

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Power's Out Post And Some Trivia

OK. I just had to rush over the the library to write this post, fellow Kovacsians, because the power in my building went out once again. Then, I had to wait until this morning to post it because I had left the photo file at home and couldn't get back to the library. That's why the post is a day late. Please accept my apologies. Twelve hours with no power is no fun!


Take a look at the photo to answer this week's trivia question:

1. What is the name of Ernie's character?

2. What is his profession? (the full title)

FOR EXTRA CREDIT: Name a couple of his fictitious sponsors and if you're feeling truly adventurous some of the "tunes" that are on the records in the picture.

Once again thanks to all the folks have put in a friend request on the Ernie Kovacs MySpace Fan Page. We've added eleven new friends since last week and are now up to 408.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Take A Good Look

Most Kovacsians are familiar with "Take A Good Look," a game show hosted by Ernie from October 22, 1959 to February 9, 1961, Thursday nights, 10:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. on ABC television. For those who are not, I've borrowed a description of the program from blog contributor Ben Model's website, "The Unofficial Official Ernie Kovacs Website:"

"Dutch Masters sponsored Ernie's version of the popular panel show, such as "What's My Line" and "To Tell the Truth," which he had been sending up for years on his own shows. The program was called "Take a Good Look" and aired from October 1959 through February 1961, when he began making his monthly specials. The concept was simple. Ernie's panelists had to guess his guest's occupation by asking the guest questions and watching 3 videotaped clues. The clues were basically Kovacs, Bobby Lauher and Jolene Brand doing blackout gags which had something -- something extremely remote -- to do with the guest's occupation. The clues were funny and surreal, but usually left the panel clueless. A couple of episodes were released on home video from 16mm kinnies (albeit surreptitiously) in the 1980s, and they pop up on eBay sporadically."

Thank you, Ben, for saving me some work. I'll add that some of the hapless panelists included Cesar Romero, Edie Adams, Hans Conreid and Carl Reiner. I also remember an episode with one of the Gabor sisters, but I can't recall which one (it was Eva or Zsa-Zsa, not Magda).

An Ernie fan showed me the bootleg video of "TAGL" to which Ben refers. Like Ben said it shows up sporadically on the websites of shady DVD sellers and on eBay. It contains several full episodes of "TAGL" with commercials. If you'd like to see the show your best bet is to visit the Museum Of TV And Radio in either New York City or Los Angeles where you can see full episodes. Your other option is to watch clips on "The Best Of Ernie Kovacs" 2 DVD set. Be advised that the clips only exist as extras on the 2 DVD set; the 5 VHS tape set DOESN'T have them. And speaking of the Museum Of TV And Radio I found out this morning that on June 5th they officially changed their name to "The Paley Center For Media" named for industry pioneer and former CBS chairman William S. Paley. For some reason there are two websites, one under the old name which can be accessed from the link above and one under the new name at http://www.paleycenter.org/.

There's another purpose to this week's post besides just educating you about "TAGL." A friend from "over the pond" in England contacted me with an interesting story. Here it is, in her own words:

This is my story- My name is Judy Stivers. I was born in Birmingham England and grew up there. In 1958 I met & married my husband (Bryant Stivers) who was in the air force @ the time. On a Pan Am flight to the United States I gave birth to twin girls. The plane was over the Atlantic 80 miles N.E. of Newfoundland at the time of their birth. Needless to say there was a lot of publicity about it. The Take A Good Look Staff contacted me by phone & I was on my way to CA to be on Ernie's show. Edie Adams, Cesar Romero and Rowan & Martin were the panelists. Ernie came out dressed in basketball attire and threw one basketball into the air and three came down. We were instructed to give one word answers to the panelist questions. They did not guess what had happened to me. I was given $300.00 for appearing on the show. In 1959 not everyone had a TV so we did not get to see the show which aired in Nov. 1959. If anyone has any information as to whether the show still exists I would appreciate any information you may have.

So there you have it folks. I told Judy that I don't know of a copy of that episode existing anyplace (its not on the bootleg DVD nor the "Best Of." I'm also not sure if the Museum Of TV And Radio has it); if anyone has info about this episode I hope you'll let me know, either by posting a comment here or by contacting me through my main site, http://www.erniekovacs.net/. You can also contact me through the Ernie Kovacs MySpace Fan Page which this week is up to 397 friends, an increase of 9 from last week's total of 388. Thanks as usual to everyone who added us or accepted a request from us.

And now, the Kovacsian blog posts and news clips from the past week in Kovacsland:

A great article by David Sarno of the LA Times about the proliferation of vintage video clips on sites such as YouTube

Dr. Wes Browning has a nice Ernie post this week

Have Opinion Will Travel with an Ernie post

Endless Mike's Farewell talks about Esquivel and shows a couple of Ernie clips


Until next week, "Its Been Real!"

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Trivia Answered / Remembering A Friend

Good afternoon fellow Kovacsians. Time for the weekly report.

Last week's trivia question was successfully answered by TWO MySpace Fan Page friends, "Sluggo" and Barbara. You can click the link above to see the original trivia post and accompanying photo. Here are the answers:

1. What is the name of Ernie's character? MATZOH HEPPLEWHITE

2. What is his profession? MAGICIAN

3. What word proceeds the name of his profession on screen and what does this word mean? (IE, if he were a plumber named Joe Smith, the title card might read "Joe Smith Master Plumber").

ITINERANT
, which basically means travelling from town to town or place to place, or covering a circuit of places. So, the full title on the screen was "MATZOH HEPPLEWHITE ITINERANT MAGICIAN."

FOR EXTRA CREDIT: The actor on the far right went on to fame as a soap opera star. What's his name, which soap opera, and what character did he play for many years and as recently as 2006? In the bit pictured above what was his function?

BILL HAYES who plays Doug Williams on the NBC soap Days Of Our Lives. Bill worked frequently on Ernie's shows and is interviewed in one of the documentaries about Ernie. His function in the bit was as an audience member, as pointed out by Barbara. He was actually up on stage to inspect the equipment, but Ernie's character kept pushing him off stage lest he find out any of the secrets to the poorly performed trick.

My thanks to both Barbara and "Sluggo" for a job well done. And my thanks, as always, to everyone who has added us as a friend or accepted a friend request from us for the MySpace Fan Page. We've added seven new friends this week and are now up to 388!

When I first started the fan page back in April I sent friend requests to people who had Ernie listed as an influence or favorite TV show/personality. One of the first folks to respond and accept a request was a gentleman by the name of Justin (aka "Goldbug") who was a lifelong Ernie fan. He was a very nice guy and always ready with a friendly note or reminiscence of Ernie; he grew up in the Philadelphia area and watched Ernie's shows in the 1950s.

I hadn't heard from Justin in a while and found out the other day that he passed away. Today's post is dedicated to him; if you have some time I hope you'll remember him along with me and read the piece that he wrote for us.

That's it for this week Kovacsians. As usual, here are a couple of interesting posts I found that mention Ernie:

Until next week, "Its Been Real!"

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I Need A Volunteer From The Audience

Good afternoon fellow Kovacsians. Greetings through your computer orthicon tube, if there is such a thing.

Last week's trivia question was successfully answered by Ernie MySpace Fan Page friends Brian and Craig. Kudos. To see the question and answer click here (the answer is in the comments section of the post). As of this writing the fan page is up to 381 friends, and increase of 9 friends since last week. Thanks to everyone who requested us as a friend or added us.

Here's this weeks trivia question. "Take A Good Look" at the photo to the left (pardon the pun and be advised that its not from that show).

1. What is the name of Ernie's character?

2. What is his profession?

3. What word proceeds the name of his profession on screen and what does this word mean? (IE, if he were a plumber named Joe Smith, the title card might read "Joe Smith Master Plumber").

FOR EXTRA CREDIT: The actor on the far right went on to fame as a soap opera star. What's his name, which soap opera, and what character did he play for many years and as recently as 2006? In the bit pictured above what was his function?

As always you can message the answers to my at the Ernie MySpace Fan Page or post them as comments here.


Until next week Kovacsians, "Its Been Real!"

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dancing Office Furniture Trivia

OK fellow Kovacsians, its time for a new trivia question and I promise its not as hard as the last one:

"What is the name of the music used as the soundtrack to Ernie's famous "Musical Office" sketch and who performed it?"

If you'd like to the view the sketch you can do so either by looking on the VHS "Best Of Kovacs" collection or the DVD. On the DVD its chapter 8 on the menu and is called "Musical Office." On the VHS series the sketch is located on Volume One, which is the tape in the dark red box. "The Turksville Trolley Blog" also has a stream of the sketch which you can view by clicking here.

This is one of my all time favorite Ernie sketches; its an absolute piece of inspired genius that works splendidly on both visual and musical levels. The late, great author David Walley who wrote "The Ernie Kovacs Phile" (a wonderful book that every Kovacsian should own) put a series of appendices in the back which are quite informative. Appendix B is the "text of memo sent to staff for third Special, taped May 28, 1961, aired May 15, 1961 (I realize that the dates don't seem to make chronological sense, but that's what it says). This is Ernie's memo to the staff about how to execute the bit and also contains what he called the bit, which is a hint to part of the song title. Its an amazing read, as is the whole book so get a hold of it if you don't already own it. The book had several printings and is also known as "Nothing In Moderation: A Biography Of Ernie Kovacs." Many libraries have a copy.

Every week I say thanks to anyone who has accepted a friend request from or put in a friend request to the Ernie Kovacs MySpace Fan Page. We are up to 372 friends from last week's total of 361. Please tell your friends about us if they don't know and ask them to put in a request if they have a MySpace page.

When I started acting back in around 1988 I did a student film at the State University Of New York At Purchase. Parker Posey, an amazing actress whose films are well worth you time, was a student there and was the lead in the film. She's in a new film called Fay Grim and this review mentions Ernie. Since I love them both I thought I'd share it with you.

Well, fellow Kovacsians, I close this week with my usual list of blogs and articles that mention our dear friend Ernie:


Until next week friends, "Its Been Real!!"

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Masked Man Finally Is Un-Masked!

OK. I know that there are many of you that are dying to know the answers to the infamous trivia question and I'm happy to say that someone has finally gotten it. I promise I won't keep you in suspense for much longer.

But first, I want to thank (as I always do each week) anyone who has accepted a friend request or requested to be a friend on Ernie's MySpace Fan Page. As of my last post there were 348 friends and there are now 361. Please let other Ernie fans who have MySpace pages know about us if they don't already. We will gladly process their friend requests.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for. The trivia question was answered by our dear MySpace friend Brian, pictured to the left ( I think this photo may have been taking after some painful dental surgery). Here are the answers. Ernie would have been proud:

1. What was the name of this western?
"Das Einsame Aufseher"

2. What is the LITERAL translation of the title.
"The Lonely Overseer"


3. Who is the character a satire of? The Lone Ranger

4. What is the name of the desperado Ernie is going to fight, as played by Joe Mikolas? "Schwarze Bart"

5. What is the translation of the desperado's name?
"Black Bart" (Or "Black Beard" since Bart = beard in German)

6. What does Ernie put in his six shooter? "Silber Kugels!" = silver bullets

7. What language are they supposedly speaking in this "European Western?"
Mangled German

Brian speaks some German and I accept his answers as more correct than the ones I came up with when I first wrote the question. I thought that "Das Einsame Aufseher" meant "The Lonely Custodians," but that was probably because the translation website I used is inaccurate.

Here's Brian's take on it:

In fact, I remembered the whole sketch except for the word "Aufseher", and had to play the video to get that. "Aufseher" means literally "out-seer", and the dictionary says it means overseer or supervisor. I think Kovacs might have meant it in the sense of a scout, which would be "Spaher" (umlaut (little dots) over the a). I speak enough German to wince at how "Wolfgang Sauerbraten" mangles the language!

So there you have it. A profound thanks to Brian for his good sportsmanship and fine effort. I'm giving him extra points because he had to look on the VHS tapes to get some of the answers and didn't have the help of an easy to search DVD.

Another MySpace friend, "MadWriter," was asking me about the two versions of "Eugene" (aka "The Silent Show") that were done. Yes, there were two! The first was in color and was the only time Ernie ever appeared on TELEVISION in color. He appeared in movies in color all the time. Here's what I told "MadWriter":

When Jerry Lewis split with "Dino" in 1956 he was given a 90 minute special by NBC to go out on his own with. Thing is, his agent told them Jerry didn't want to do 90 minutes.

So, they needed to fill the extra 1/2 hour. They offered it to many well known comics but NO ONE was crazy enough to go on after Lewis who was extremely popular at that time. No one except for Ernie that is. And he did Eugene for his 1/2 hour and garnered lots of acclaim. That version is in color. The only place I've ever seen it, or part of it anyway, was at the "Museum Of TV And Radio" here in New York (http://www.mtr.org/). And its the only time Ernie was ever in color on TV. And, it was LIVE. Of course, Ernie was in color in the movies quite a bit.

The version on the VHS or DVD is one of the ABC specials from 1961 (November I believe) and that is the one most everyone knows.

Last week a magician named Glenn Bishop wrote a very nice post about this blog and I hope you'll all go read it. Once you're there be sure to check out all of Glenn's blogs. There are some great video clips and info on magic, which used to be a hobby of mine. Glenn's a really talented magician and a fellow Ernie fan with an interesting take on Ernie's process. Thanks for the post Glenn!

I'll close as always with some other blog posts and articles I found this week in cyberspace:

The column "Pop Matters" talks about the pros and cons of "The Nairobi Trio"

Steve Gerber Gives Us A Quick Opinion On "The Nairobi Trio"

Inner Toob Gives A Quick Nod To Ernie

Some more "Nairobi Trio

Until next week, friends, "Its Been Real!"

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Ernie's Slow News Week

Good morning fellow Kovacsians. Not much to report this week, so here goes:

The trivia question from two weeks ago still has not been answered. If no one gets it this week, I will post the answer next week. Post your answer in the form of a comment or contact me with the answer via the Ernie Kovacs MySpace Fan Page.

Speaking of the MySpace Fan Page, we're up to 348 friends this week from 332 friends last week. Thanks to everyone who has requested an add or accepted a request from us. Please let other Kovacs fans know about us if you haven't.

Contributing blogger Ben "Undercrank" Model wrote a post Monday I know you'll enjoy. Check it out if you haven't already by clicking here. And therein lies an answer to part of the aforementioned trivia question so read carefully.


LATEST ERNIE POSTS FROM THE "BLOG-O-SPHERE":


Until next week friends, "Its been real!"

Monday, May 7, 2007

Ernie & Edie's NYC Penthouse

Here's a photo I snapped (from inside Central Park) a few months ago of the El Dorado, on Central Park West between West 90th and West 91st Streets. This is the building Ernie and Edie lived in during the mid-1950's in that giant penthouse. If the building looks familiar, it's because it's the building that Ghostbusters takes place in. Was that location a suggestion of Dan Aykroyd's, who was/is a major Kovacs fan? Who knows. The interior of the penthouse apartment is shown in some of the photos in the Life Magazine article from 4/15/57 (pick yours up on eBay if you haven't already).

"Silver kuggels!!"

Ben

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Ernie Trivia Redux

Hi folks. Welcome to this week's "Kovacsian" blog post.

Every week I thank the people who have sent in friend requests or accepted our requests from the Ernie Kovacs MySpace Page. The page was started just about a month ago and we are already up to 331 friends as of this writing. Please encourage any Ernie fans you know to come join us!

Last week's trivia question was a toughie and I received NO answers. I must admit this surprised me very much given the knowledgeable Ernie fans who read these posts. So, here's the link so you can give it another shot:


I know you guys can do it! Post your answer in the form of a comment here or send it through the Ernie MySpace page.

Every week I search the news and blogspot for any relevant Ernie posts. I didn't find anything in the news but here are the blog posts I found:

"Revolution 21's Blog For The People" discusses the old NBC radio show "Monitor" on which Ernie was a regular presence:


"The Almost Daily Rooster" discuses Ernie in the article "Some Radio & TV Nostalgia"

"CW's Cynictionary" posts a famous quote of Ernie's:

An interesting post by "Mercedes-Benz Videos" discussing Ernie's relationship to a "300-SL" in "Our Man In Havana":
http://mercedesvideos.blogspot.com/2007/04/our-man-in-havana-ernie-kovacs-mercedes.html

Mike from "Films2See" mentions a showing of "Our Man In Havana" which will take place Monday, May 7 in New York City. If you're in the area go check it out:

That's all for this week kids. Remember to work on that trivia question!

Until next time "Its been real!"

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Who Is That Masked Man?

"There's a standard formula for success in the entertainment medium and that is beat it do death if it succeeds."- Ernie Kovacs, 1961

That quote from Ernie was in one of his ABC specials from the early 1960s and directly preceded a sketch he did parodying the TV western, which was the most predominant genre on TV at that time (Think "reality TV" and apply the same quote. Works rather well, doesn't it?).

Now take a look at the photo above. One of the bits in the sketch was, according to Ernie, "a new European Western." And that dear friends will lead us to this week's trivia question. It has several parts. Have fun, hombres:

1. What was the name of this western?
2. What is the LITERAL translation of the title.
3. Who is the character a satire of?
4. What is the name of the desperado Ernie is going to fight, as played by Joe Mikolas?
5. What is the translation of the desperado's name?
6. What does Ernie put in his six shooter?
7. What language are they supposedly speaking in this "European Western?"

Some hints: If you have "The Best Of Ernie Kovacs" two DVD or five VHS tape set you can find the answer pretty easily. As far as translating goes there are plenty of sites on the Internet for that. It's a doozy right? Didja think every question was going to be about the "Nairobi Trio?"

You can post your answers here or if you're an Ernie MySpace friend feel free to message me your answers and I'll take care of the posting. And speaking of the MySpace page it is now up to 315 friends. We're averaging several friend requests a day and thank everyone who has added us or requested to be added.

I had someone email me asking if there were any pictures of Ernie without a moustache. In the book "Kovacsland" by Diano Rico there is a picture of him in high school with no moustache but I don't know of any of him as an adult and I don't think he was ever without it as an adult. So, I decided to send a pic of him to the "photoshop barber" so we can see what he would have looked like were he not hirsute under the proboscis. Picasso I ain't, but I think you'll get the point.

I found some nice Ernie links this week to share with you:

John Parnell of "Down The Rabbit Hole" writes about Ernie's genius and gives us some analysis on the meaning of "The Nairbobi Trio". It's an interesting, well written piece:

http://downrabbitholemacon.blogspot.com/2007/04/ernie-kovacs-rocks-its-shame-that-ernie.html

According to this post Chicago's new "Museum Of Broadcast Communications" (www.museum.tv), in conjunction with "TV Land," is displaying the masks Ernie used in the Nairobi Trio; read this carefully as some of the dates don't seem to make sense and if you are in the Windy City you may wish to contact the museum before visiting. You'll have to scroll a bit to see this and if you do go I hope you'll take a pic and let us know how it was :

http://chicago1000.blogspot.com/2007/04/tv-land-and-chicagos-museum-of.html

Associated Content is a website which allows writers to submit articles for publication and hopefully receive payment for them. Here's an Ernie bio that was published this week. Its nothing out of the ordinary in terms of new info but is a job well done nonetheless:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/218917/ernie_kovacs_biography.html

Until next week, folks, "It's Been Real!"

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Edie!!

I want to start off by wishing a very happy birthday to Edie Adams, who turned 80 on April 16th! Still beautiful I might add!

In other news, the Ernie MySpace page is up to almost 300 friends! Once again I'd like to thank those that have accepted our friend invitations and those who have seeked us out to be added. If you'd like to be a friend visit the page by clicking on the link above and put in a request!

On Friday I threw out my back and was laid up for a few days. Its still hard for me to sit up straight, so I'm going to close for today with the weekly Ernie links which I get off blogger and the web. Enjoy!:


ERNIE POSTS THIS WEEK ON BLOGGER:

Pop Artist Marilyn Drexler Used Ernie As An Influence In Her Work:
http://fallonandrosof.blogspot.com/2007/04/drexler-mania.html

Edie and Ernie are mentioned in this post by "Pop Culture Fan Boy"
http://popculturefanboy.blogspot.com/2007/04/april-16-happy-birthday-1971-selena.html

The Classic Comedy Blog Mentions The Nairobi Trio:

ERNIE IN THE NEWS:

Lauren Zalaznick, President Of Trio TV, mentions Ernie in Esquire. This is good news to Ernie fans; if you have Trio is carried by your cable system you will get to see Ernie's shows. I've seen this in the past and they show a great deal of interesting stuff which you may not have seen as its not all shows from the Best Of DVDs:
http://www.esquire.com/features/the-screen/ESQ0903_resurrection

"Pulse Of The Twin Cities" has an article recounting Jack Lemmon talking to Larry King about Ernie and then tells its readers about Ernie (scroll down to the middle of the page):
http://www.pulsetc.com/article.php?sid=3080

Until next week folks I bid you all a fond "It's been real!"

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Reminiscence From "Goldbug"

Let me start off by saying that Ernie's MySpace Fan Page is up to 269 friends. Once again (and I can't say it enough) a profound thanks to all the folks who accepted our invitation. Please let your friends know about us as well.

One of those friends is a great guy who goes by the name of "Goldbug" on MySpace and is a devout Ernie-phile, "Kovacs-phile" or as I like to say "Kovacsian" which I guess is sort of an Armenian term. Here he remembers the first time he ever saw the great Ernie Kovacs:

I was always "blamed" for the fact that my family became the third on our block to own a television set. (When did they stop calling them "sets"?)

The second set belonged to the family of the only other little kid on the block. She had recently turned five. I was three-and-a-half. We were playmates; and she'd introduced me to the Howdy Doody Show. It aired just as her family were preparing to sit down to dinner; and I had to be removed– kicking and screaming– to my own television-less home. My Father always claimed that he bought the damned thing just to shut me up...

On the last Saturday morning of 1950, a truck from the local appliance store pulled into our driveway. It was bitter cold outside, with wind-driven snow flurries. Two men in coveralls manhandled an enormously heavy Westinghouse table-top black-and-white– with a HUGE 17-inch screen– up the front steps and into the corner of the living room that had been vacated, the day before, by the Christmas tree which by then had served its purpose. They set up the TV, then left my Father in charge of its operation. He twiddled its knobs, and twisted its rabbit-ears, as a test-screen came into focus. I wanted to watch Howdy Doody then and there, and couldn't understand why that wasn't possible. In his most imperious tone, the Old Man warned me that I was never to touch his television without a grownup in attendance. It had cost him six hundred dollars. (And those were 1950 dollars!)

I did I was told through Sunday. But by Monday morning, I couldn't resist any longer. Immediately after breakfast– while nobody was looking, I turned it on. To my disappointment, Howdy Doody was a no-show. Instead, there appeared a man with a moustache and a cigar. The picture flickered and rolled. I whined. Somebody came into the living room; and after scolding me for messing with the television unattended, adjusted the picture, and left me alone to watch. Thus came my first introduction to Ernie Kovacs.

The show, of course, was 3 To Get Ready. I don't remember any details of what Ernie did that day, but it was sufficiently zany and infectious that from that moment forward, Howdy Doody was eclipsed. I still watched him, of course. Religiously. As did my friend Karin. Our set was newer than theirs, the screen was larger, and the picture sharper. But for me, the real thrill of the day was Ernie. I never missed him. I considered myself very privileged not to have to go to work or school, as my Father and sisters did. I stayed tuned for the whole show.

I remember the clock in the corner, the Kapusta Kid, Gertrude the giant rag-doll, and Norman Brooks, the news-man. I remember watching the test screen, knowing that at any moment, the fun would begin. And it always did. I recall Ernie running down a corridor, toward the camera, calling "I'm coming! I'm coming!" One morning, when he wasn't there, an announcer introduced "The star of our show" and Gertrude came flying into view from off-camera, to the shrill sound of a siren-whistle. She landed head-first, and sprawled across the floor. Another time, Ernie climbed out of the ceiling...

Forty years later, I relived those days in the pages of "Kovacsland." Once, in an admiring imitation of Ernie, I flung a cold pancake across the kitchen. Instead of a laugh, I got a spanking. I distinctly remember the hands of the clock behind Norm Brooks spinning in fast-motion. And I remember water dripping on the hapless newsman from above, while he maintained his composure and continued reading the news with a straight face. I laughed myself silly.

Ernie kept popping up during the day. At less than four years of age, I wasn't big on cooking shows. I remember "plugs" for Deadline for Dinner on the station breaks, but the show never interested me– until the day Ernie showed up, and made a shambles of the kitchen while appearing to have the time of his life. And there was "Kovacs on the Corner" with Pete Boyle (who, several years later, introduced my generation of Philadelphia kids to The Little Rascals) and Al the Dog. Supposedly, Al was invisible to grownups. Somebody played along with the gag one day, and I became a true believer.

Then Edith Adams joined the fun. I thought her name was "Eat-It." She wasn't on "Deadline for Dinner" but Ernie was. I thought maybe she "ate" the zany concoctions Ernie cooked up in the afternoon. But I never saw her eat. She sang; and laughed; and was pretty...

"Ernie in Kovacsland" came on shortly before my bedtime. I laughed so hard I couldn't fall asleep. His humor seemed specially designed to appeal to little kids. I'd seen his daughters on TTGR. They were mine and Karin's ages. He knew how to make us laugh; and seemed to take great pleasure in doing so.

Then one day, to my horror, he was gone. By sheer coincidence, he left WPTZ at just about the same time that the grand steam locomotives of the Pennsylvania and the Reading Railroads were replaced by those boxy, boring diesels. In my young mind, I always equated the disappearance of Ernie and the steam trains, and thought there was a connection. Now, in his place on Channel 3 was some bespectacled guy with a boring voice and a chimpanzee. I cried and whined until the grownups warned me that if I didn't desist, they'd give me something to cry about.

I don't remember "Kovacs Unlimited" at all. Either it wasn't on in Philadelphia; or it came on past my bedtime. Fortunately, by the time the ill-fated Ernie Kovacs Show aired, my parents were bored of Uncle Miltie. Plus, they too had enjoyed Ernie in his local Philadelphia days. I don't think I ever missed the show during its short run. In fact, for the rest of his lifetime, I don't think I missed anything that Ernie Kovacs appeared in. Today, I own the DVD's; the videotapes; a copy of a circa-1988 special from the Classic Movie Channel; A&E's Biography of Ernie; a copy of "Between the Laughter" with Jeff Goldblum; and "Kovacsland" by Diana Rico.

One Saturday morning in January 1962, I awoke to the horrifying news that Ernie had died in a car crash the night before. I was fourteen-and-a-half by then, and had been a fan for eleven years. That coming week, I was to give an oral report in English class, on my favorite television show. Naturally, I had chosen the Ernie Kovacs Dutch Masters Specials. That Saturday, I closed myself in my room and cried all day. It was the first time in my life that I'd ever cried over someone's death. By Tuesday, I had prepared a "substitute" report on "The Flintstones" because I was afraid I'd cry in front of my English class, if I tried to do the one on Ernie.

Today, I'm into my 57th year as an Erniephile. And I'm sure I'll continue to be one, until I draw my final breath...

Thanks, Goldbug, for a great story! And, my friend, for saving me from having to write a lot today!

I like to end every post with some relevant Ernie links which I've found during the previous week either on blogs or on the web. Here's one that was nice enough to link to my site, http://www.erniekovacs.net/ without me having to ask. Its talks about the ending credits for Ernie's show:

http://themoderatevoice.com/entertainment/11996/classic-comedy-ernie-kovacs-final-shows-opening-credits/

And, I found this blog entry about the Nairobi Trio from fellow blogger "Sisysphus:"

http://hoosierinva.blogspot.com/2007/04/more-friday-fun.html

That's all for this week. Thanks folks. Its been real!