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":

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.


  • 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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!"