Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas The Night Before Christmas…Dovetonsils-Style

The classic holiday poem was given a Percy Dovetonsils treatment by Ernie, and was published in the December 1961 issue of Playboy Magazine. Ernie also recorded it in the fall of that year for the Dovetonsils LP he did for Vanguard, which was never released (but master tapes survive).

Pour yourthelf thum thnappth, thnuggle up to the hearth in your thartreuthe theerthucker drething gown, and warm yourthelf with thith little bon mot --

*******************
THAT HOARY
HOLIDAY CHESTNUT
IS GIVEN A
PARK AVENUE
TWIST

by
ERNIE "PERCY LLEWELYN DOVETONSILS" KOVACS

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the duplex
Just a valet was pressing (a glen plaid with blue checks).
The nylons were hung by the chimney with care
C.O.D. from I. Magnin's (the bill was still there).

The boys home from prep school all snug in their beds,
While visions of Marilyn danced in their heads.
And Mumms in her Bergdorf and I in my Saks
Lay in Louis XIV (whose first name was Max).

When up in the penthouse there arose such a clatter
I summoned the butler, asked, "What was the matter?"
I ran through the room in a 40 yard sprint,
Pulled up the venetians and leaned out to squint.

The moon on the sidewalks of chic Sutton Place
Gave the color of liver to the old doorman's face.
When what to my wond'ring eyes did appear
But a Mercedes-Benz pulling up in high gear!

With a cute little driver so lively and quick
I knew 'twas the chauffeur of Jolly Saint Nick!
More rapid than Jags, his convertible came
And he whistled and shouted and called it by name.

"Now Stupid! Now Junk-heap! Now Bucket of Bolts!
Look out for those taxis! (Those drivers are dolts!)
Look out for the porch! Look out for the wall!
Whatever you do, Mercedes don't stall!"

As strollers 'fore taxis and buses do fly,
He hit a poor cop and knocked him sky high.
Then up to the duplex the convertible flew,
With a trunk full of toys and St. Nicholas, too.

And then in a twinkling like a fast-driving heiress,
He slammed on the brakes and parked on the terrace!
As I drew on my Homburg and was turning around
Down the stone fireplace Santa came with a bound!

He was dressed all in cashmere from his head to his foot.
Abercrombie & Fitch was stamped on each boot.
He had a Hathaway shirt -- and was looking quite dudie
As he took genteel puffs on a meerschaum Kaywoodie.

His Cavanaugh hat and bright Argyle socks
Matched the fur on his suit which was ermine, not fox.
His beard was white mink -- a right jolly old elf
And I laughed at his spats, in spite of myself.

But a look at his tie (shantung and in red!)
And I wished that I'd stood all snug in my bed.
He spoke not a word but went straight to his work
And drove Sardi's caterer fairly berserk.

He ate like a demon as he trimmed up the tree--
Pheasant, hors d'ouevres and lobster gelée.
In a fine linen hankie he blew on his nose,
Sucked in his tummy -- up the chimney he rose.

His driver was snoozing, a lovely young dame.
She woke with a smile when he called her by name.
Come Gina, Bambina, it's time for linguini --
But first to the Stork Club, a real dry martini.

He saw me and hollered ere he whizzed out of sight --
"I'll bill you next month for my labors tonight!"

OUR OWN BEN MODEL GIVES US HIS INTERPRETATION OF THE POEM "A LA DOVETONSILS".
PRINT OUT THE POEM AND FOLLOW ALONG:


video

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Kovacs Christmas List


 ED. NOTE, JULY 10, 2012: 

The last update to this page was made on the date above.  With the recent release of so much new Kovacs material it has become impractical to keep updating this page so this will be the last one.  There is still relevant information here so feel free to look.  This is where I list all of the films Ernie appeared in so you can search for them online. For the most up to date information on Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams merchandise visit the links page at "Ernie Kovacs Dot Net: A Tribute To Television's Original Genius."
 
It's that holiday time of year again and you're probably saying to yourself "Gee, what great Ernie Kovacs gifts can I get for a loved one?" Or if you're your own most loved one then get them for yourself!

"The Ernie Kovacs Collection" 6 DVD set, released on April 19, 2011, is the most comprehensive collection of video available to date. This is a must have for the diehard fan or anyone interested in Ernie’s work. Click the preceding link to learn more about this landmark set and to find out how you can order your copy. It will make a fantastic holiday gift!

Let's start out with some links to Ernie Kovacs items on the sites of various online retailers and auctioneers (if you have other sites let us know by posting a comment):

Ernie Kovacs At Amazon

Ernie Kovacs At Best Buy

Ernie Kovacs On Ebay

Ernie Kovacs At Powell's Books

You can also visit Barnes And Noble and search for "Ernie Kovacs"; for some reason I couldn't get the site to generate a direct search link that would work. They do, however, carry plenty of Kovacsian items.

Now for some descriptions of what to look for. In some cases I've provided direct links to specific Ernie items:

There is "The Best Of Ernie Kovacs" 2 DVD set that you can purchase (if you visit amazon.com you can also get the VHS tapes though we suggest the DVDs as they are better quality and have extras). (ED. NOTE, 8/8/2010: This title has gone out of print since the time of this post. Visit the links page at Ernie Kovacs Dot Net and look in the "Videos" section for links to sites where you may be able to acquire a used copy.)

For some great holiday fireside reading pick up a copy of Diana Rico's wonderful book "Kovacsland" which Ms. Rico suggests you buy from Powell's Books. The late great David Walley wrote the fantastic "Ernie Kovacs Phile" (an alternate title is "Nothing In Moderation: A Biography Of Ernie Kovacs") which you can find from most booksellers or used book dealers.

Ernie had two books of his own; "Zoomar" and "How To Talk At Gin." These are most easily found by searching those titles at Amazon and EBay where you will be able to obtain them used.

Edie Adams also wrote a book called Sing a Pretty Song: The Offbeat Life of Edie Adams, Including the Ernie Kovacs Years. The link here is to Amazon which seems to be the only retailer who carries it. I've read it and its very interesting; its a look at Edie's life and a perspective on Ernie from the person who knew him the most intimately.

There's a book I have called "The Vision Of Ernie Kovacs" which I had obtained from the The Paley Center For Media (known back then as "The Museum Of TV And Radio) in New York City. I also had a t-shirt and poster from the retrospective they based the book on. I don't have the t-shirt or poster anymore but I still have the book and its great. Usually you can find a copy on EBay. Look around for it; the book offers some great scholarly analysis of Ernie's work. If you can find the t-shirt and poster let me know; I'd love to replace the ones I lost! (ED NOTE: You can now buy the book and the t-shirt directly through the parent site of this blog, Ernie Kovacs Dot Net. Click the link for more details).

For the music fan there are "The Ernie Kovacs Album" released in 1976 on Columbia Records and "The Ernie Kovacs Record Collection" on July 15, 1997 on the Varese Sarabande label; the latter can still be found although its expensive and your best bet for the former is to search EBay and other auction sites.

Then of course there are the movies Ernie appeared in which are listed below chronologically along with an IMDB link where you can get a plot description. You can search for these on any site where you buy films and find them:
  1. Operation Mad Ball (1957)

  2. Bell Book And Candle (1958)

  3. It Happened To Jane (1959)

  4. Our Man In Havana (1960)

  5. Wake Me When It's Over (1960)

  6. Strangers When We Meet (1960)

  7. North To Alaska (1960)

  8. Pepe (1960)

  9. Five Golden Hours (1961)

  10. Sail A Crooked Ship (1962)

Episode 13 of The Lucy Desi Comedy Hour (click the link for the DVD on Amazon) was titled "Lucy Meets The Moustache" and is famous because it was the last time Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz ever appeared in a show together (Lucy filed for divorce the day after shooting ended). Ernie and Edie starred in this episode. The release of this DVD collection of all 13 episodes in 2007 marked the end of a long period where the Ernie/Edie episode was NOT available; the other 12 episodes were easily obtainable in one form or another. This makes a great gift because you get to see Ernie and Edie in a historic program and you get 12 other episodes and extras!

Just to give you an idea of what you're getting here's a clip of Edie performing in the Ricardo's home in Westport, Connecticut (OK, it was a Desilu Studios in Hollywood but its SUPPOSED to be Connecticut):


Many times you will find Ernie tidbits on EBay that are bootlegs; old kinescopes someone is selling of shows like "Kovacs On The Corner" or "Silents Please." While I don't endorse this I won't say it doesn't exist. What I will say is be careful; they're not always the greatest quality and as far as giving them as gifts is concerned the packaging never looks great nor do the contents.

Well my fellow Kovacsians that is the Kovacs Christmas List. I hope you've found it helpful. And now on to some other Kovacsian points of interest:

The Ernie Kovacs My Space Fan Page is up to 847 friends this week. We thank everyone who requested an add or accepted a request from us.

Here are a couple of interesting and fairly recent news stories that involve Ernie albeit indirectly:

New City Neighbors Oppose O&R's Plan To Build Substation ( I know; you're wondering how can this involve Ernie? Just click the link will ya? We haven't steered you wrong yet, have we?)

Comedy Writer Irving Brecher Dies At The Age Of 94

On behalf of Ben Model and myself here is wishing all Ernie Kovacs fans everywhere the most joyous and wonderful holiday season and a most spectacular 2009! We thank all of you very kindly and are most grateful for your support of our continuing efforts to keep alive the legacy of the great Ernie Kovacs.

And as always, in closing, I bid you a fond and heartfelt "It's Been Real!" - Al Quagliata


ADDITIONAL NOTES (ADDED AFTER THE ORIGINAL DATE OF THIS POST)

Here are three new DVDs we've come across in the last year that have EK in them:

Bob Hope: The Ultimate Collection

Producers Showcase: Festival Of Magic

"OUR MAN IN HAVANA" from BARNES AND NOBLE and also from AMAZON.

And from www.erniekovacs.net there's "The Vision Of Ernie Kovacs" Book and T-Shirt ; two hard to find items which are a great addition to your "Kovacs Chrismtas List"!

In April of 2010, Andy Horton's book on Ernie was released. Here are links to his page and different sites where you can obtain this title:

ANDY HORTON AUTHOR OF
"ERNIE KOVACS & EARLY TV COMEDY: NOTHING IN MODERATION"
ALSO AVAILABLE FROM AMAZON AND BARNES AND NOBLE


On Tuesday, July 10, 2012 it was announced that "Shout! Factory" will release "The Ernie Kovacs Collection: Volume 2"
3 DVD set, consisting of some very interesting material not included on Volume 1, including the television pilot "The Medicine Man (A Pony For Chris)," which Ernie completed right before his untimely passing. The set must be ordered directly from "Shout! Factory" to receive a fourth bonus DVD containing seven full episodes of Ernie’s classsic game show, "Take A Good Look." You can pre-order the set directly from here by clicking the preceding link. To learn more about the contents of this new DVD set, visit The Ernie Kovacs Blog.

On January 23, 2012 (Ernie’s birthday) Omnivore Recordings announced they will soon be releasing "Percy Dovetonsils Thpeaks," a previously unreleased comedy album featuring Kovacs’ best–known and beloved character, originally recorded in 1961. Omnivore also plans to release other audio material from the Kovacs archive in the future.

Above we mentioned "The Ernie Kovacs Collection" 6 DVD set, released on April 19, 2011, the most comprehensive collection of video available to date. This is a must have for the diehard fan or anyone interested in Ernie’s work. On April 17, 2012, disc 5 is being released as "Ernie Kovacs: The ABC Specials," and is now available for pre – order. Click the preceding link to learn more about this landmark set and to find out how you can order your copy.

It's also necessary to point out that in 2012 some selections of Ernie’s work have been made available on Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and iTunes. You can find links to these in the video section of the links pag e on my main website, www.erniekovacs.net.


Happy Holidays!