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!"


Anonymous said...

Mad was great then, but it's still daring and fun now. It's great to meet people half my age who read it regularly. Ernie was also in Gent magazine, April 1962 cover date (magazines often tended to predate their ussues by up to four months). Have a copy right here, covered in dust.

Al Quagliata said...


Thanks for stopping by! Hey, if you can scan the Gent cover/article and send it that would be cool. We'll do a blog post about it. I'm not familiar with that article and would love to read it.

Anonymous said...

It's "An Animated Interview With Ernie Kovacs," and runs a few pages or so. If I can scan it soon, I'll send the files (probably in jpg). Did Ernie do any cigar ads for TV or radio? Some of those might be online. At you can download (free, apparently legal) a Jack Benny Show ('59?) and a Dinah Shore Show from '57 on video with Kovacs as guest in each, as well as a Muriel tv ad with Edie and Stan Getz.

Al Quagliata said...


Ernie did a great many cigar ads for TV; radio I'm not sure about.

Most Ernie compliation DVDs ("The Best Of Ernie Kovacs" being a prime example) have spots for Dutch Masters. You can also see them on some of these video sharing sites.

Here's one we have on the blog that doesn't feature Ernie as its star, but is a Dutch Masters spot which was run during his game show "Take A Good Look":

Dutch Masters Ad

Thanks for the info on; I've seen the Getz/Adams ad. I'll have to go check out the other two.