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:

According to this post Chicago's new "Museum Of Broadcast Communications" (, 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 :

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:

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!:


Pop Artist Marilyn Drexler Used Ernie As An Influence In Her Work:

Edie and Ernie are mentioned in this post by "Pop Culture Fan Boy"

The Classic Comedy Blog Mentions The Nairobi Trio:


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:

"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):

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, without me having to ask. Its talks about the ending credits for Ernie's show:

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

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

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Ernie On MySpace; "Mad Writer" Meets Edie Adams

Good morning folks (its almost afternoon actually, but to my tired middle aged body it feels like a hangover at 6am). I have several good things to tell you about today so let's get started.

First I want to address the frequency of the posts to this blog. I have three blogs (the other two are GEOMOP and Jazz Guitar Corner) and have found that its impossible given time constraints to write in each one every single day. So, I've put them on a weekly rotation. This blog will now be published to on Wednesdays, usually by the late morning or early afternoon. You can always look at the upper left corner of the blog to see when the next post will be. The exception here is because there is a contributor other than myself (Ben Model) there's a possibility that posts may show up on other days. Please feel free to check at anytime. You can be guaranteed, however, that there will at least be a weekly post. If for some reason I can't post on a particular Wednesday this will be notated in the upper left corner of the blog along with the next publish date.

I have a few MySpace pages and started to notice that many famous artists, jazz musicians, comics, etc. have tribute pages (most people know what MySpace is. If you don't, you can click the link to find out). While I was able to find someone using the MySpace addresses "Ernie Kovacs" and "The Nairobi Trio" I found they haven't logged in in almost a year, so the pages have nothing to do with Ernie accept for the fact that the avatars are pictures of him or the trio. Ernie deserves his own page on MySpace, so I went and created one. The address is I got the name from the title of one of Ernie's early TV shows titled "Ernie In Kovacsland." If I remember correctly the announcer Bill Wendell (David Letterman's announcer for years) used to say at the beginning "And now its time for "Ernie In Kovacsland," a fifteen minute program. It only seems long." Love it.

I started searching MySpace for Kovacs fans and sending out friend requests manually, something I will continue to do today. At first the page had maybe 7 friends, 5 of whom consisted of other pages I run and a couple of my comedian friends pages. As of right now, about 24 hours later, we have 125 "adds" out of the 200 or so I've sent so far. So the response has been overwhelming and I thank everyone who has added the Ernie page. People have posted great comments about how much they love Ernie Kovacs and have sent very nice messages. If you have a MySpace page and are reading this, I hope you will visit Ernie's page and put in a friend request. One person told me he was gratified to accept an "add" (MySpace parlance for adding a friend to your page) from Ernie as opposed to the usual requests from "Porn Whores." This made me laugh out loud, as MySpace is notoriously used by spammers who want to get traffic to porn sites. When used correctly, however, it is a great marketing tool and I certainly hope it will help to make the public more aware of Ernie's genius.

One MySpace friend, "MadWriter," sent me a reminiscence of an encounter with Edie Adams that I'd like to share with you:

I have been an Ernie Kovacs fan since the late 1970s when PBS was running The Best of Ernie Kovacs every Tuesday night. I have all the tapes and a poorly copied documentary hosted by John Barbour, and one hosted by Shecky Greene.

When I was working at Radio Shack in Studio City, California, a rather fed-up customer was pushed off onto me because no other sales associate wanted to deal with her. She wanted to return a portable DVD player. No biggie. I listened to her spout off about the inferior quality of the player and the troubles she had. Again, nothing to complain about. I gave her the return and put it back on her credit card.

As I looking at the card, I was shocked to read "EDITH ADAMS, EDIAD PRODUCTIONS." At which point I turned from helpful sales associate to babbling moron praising her for the work she had done to bring Ernie Kovacs to the world. And like an idiot, I forgot to praise her for her own works in music and acting. (I'm STILL kicking myself over that!)

Anyway, I love your site!!!

Thanks for the great story, "MadWriter."

One thing I plan to do everytime this blog is updated is look for articles posted to blogger in the last week which in some way mention or are about Ernie so you can go have a look. Here's a list of what I found today:

Changes In The Glass tells of an interesting "Ernie Kovacs Mashup"

Widescreen Mentions One Of Ernie's Famous Quotes About Television

The Second Rendition Likes Ernie's Famous Quote Also

Ernie Makes Forelle's Filosphy's List Of The Top 50 TV Shows List

Thanks for stopping by folks. Its been real!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Welcoming Contributor Ben Model

Its with great pleasure that I welcome Ben Model as a contributing writer to "The Ernie Kovacs Blog."

Many people ask me how I got started writing about Ernie Kovacs. It started simply enough. As an Ernie fan I was surfing the Internet about 8 years ago looking for Ernie sites. Ben's was one of best out there. I contacted him and started contributing articles. That led to me eventually start my own Ernie site,

In addition to his extensive knowledge about Ernie Kovacs, Ben is also a writer, musician, composer and expert on silent film who works regularly as a silent film accompanist. He runs a showcase called the Silent Clowns Film Series for which he provides the piano accompaniment. Its well worth your time to go see their offerings.

Click here to view Ben's blogger profile and view his blogs. Ben's Ernie Kovacs site can be found at