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

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, 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").

, 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!"