Friday, June 6, 2008

Going Back To The Corner With Kovacs

Good evening my fellow Kovacsians. Just a few tidbits of info for you tonight.

The Ernie Kovacs My Space Fan Page is up to 725 friends and as always we thank everyone who requested an add or accepted a request from us. It seems that the friend requests for the Fan Page have started to level off so I hope you'll encourage your friends to contact us if they haven't. I'd love it to hit 1,000 members by the end of the summer if possible.

I ran a piece on May 23rd called "Hanging Out On The Corner With Kovacs" in which I interviewed my friend from Pennsylvania, Mr. Jack Phillippe, about his appearance on a January, 1952 episode of "Kovacs On The Corner." Unfortunately I didn't have the photos I would liked to have run so I put up a pic of the street sign for Ernie Kovacs Street in Ernie's hometown of Trenton, New Jersey. I figured that would indicate the idea of "corner" well enough as the sign is at the corner of Stockton Street.

Well, Kovacsians, I have since acquired some photos that supplement the interview nicely and I'd like to share them with you. Better late than never is my motto. I couldn't have done this without Jack's help so thanks Jack!!

Here's a compilation of photos from the episode of "KOTC" on which Jack appeared:

Jack also has his original membership card in the "EEFMS" which was Ernie's fan club. He made me a copy and I've scanned it to share with you. I've shown photos of these cards before which have been sent to me by Ernie fans. The difference in this case is that those were from Ernie's days in NYC; this is an original card from his very first show on WPTZ Channel Three, NBC in Philadelphia, "3 To Get Ready." Enjoy, as I'm sure very few of these still exist:
Thanks for your help Jack and for taking us on this wonderful trip down memory lane!

Moving on to other news Kovacsians. My good friend and contributor to this blog, Ben "Undercrank" Model, is an expert on silent film (when you get a chance click on the link and you'll see what I mean). Ben sent me the following email:

A suggestion for the blog: you have the sub-head "A blog devoted to the Charlie Chaplin of Television, the late great Ernie Kovacs!"

I think of Kovacs as more a Buster Keaton than a Chaplin. BK used the medium of film in ways that Chaplin never bothered with, and occasionally called attention to the fact that you were watching a film. You might consider revising this. Just my $0.02...
Great idea Ben! Your $0.02 has been accepted and the sub-head has been changed. No offense to Mr. Chaplin if he's up there looking down at this...

I'd like to leave you with a couple of internet pieces I found enjoyable. The first is from the blog Boomerville, USA and it offers up some video of the infamous "Nairobi Trio." The second is a wonderful video celebrating the many years in television of station WIVB-TV. This Buffalo, New York station, which also broadcast Ernie's shows, did some wonderfully creative and original programs of their own during television's golden age. You won't see any Ernie material in the piece but its well worth watching. If only television were like this today!

Thanks for stopping by my friends and until we meet again I bid you a very heartfelt "It's Been Real!"


chrismath said...

Great blog site! Been a fan of Mr Kovacs since I was a little Dad still loves him.

Speaking of Nairobi Trio, I've been on a hunt for those gorilla masks forever. I heard that he found them at a corner store or something. Any rumor on a replica to be found anywhere? Still trying to find one that I could use for Halloween!

Great site again. Bookmarked!

Al Quagliata said...


Thanks for your comment. I'm very glad you enjoy the blog!

I'm not sure where Ernie found them but those things were typical of what you might have found in a novelty or costume store at the time. In a place like NYC you probably can find something similar.

I read somewhere that a broadcasting museusm in Chicago had the originals on display for a while but I'm not sure if they still do.

Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

I grew up in the Hillcrest section of Ewing. My best friend's dads said that he was a playmate of Ernie's. What I do not understand is that the bios that I see never mention him living on Parkway Avenue near the corner of Beechwood, which is where the locals all said he lived. There was also talk of making that house into a museum in his honor.

Also, before the old Parkway School buidling was demolished, we helkd a reunion. There was a program there from a show in which Ernie played Old King Cole as a grammar school student. Therefore I believe his interest in theatre began not at Trenton High (where I now teach), but at Parkway Elementary. Does anyone else know anything about this?

Al Quagliata said...


I don't know the answer to your question but perhaps someone will see your comment and post a response. Thanks for visiting us.

Anonymous said...

I'll stop by the Mercer HQ Branch and check the phonebooks from the 40s. It'll be in there if they had a phone.

Anonymous said...

I checked the Trenton directories and Ernie did indeed live in my old Ewing Twp neighborhood as a child and therefore did attend Parkway School, where I said he played Old King Cole in a school play. Trenton Directory lists Andrew Kovacs, occupation wiremaker, at address in city earlier, but then occupation as "cafe'" and later "trucking" when living in Ewing. His Ewing address from 1931-1934 (1929 directory wasn't there) is 1104 Parway Avenue. I think they must've renumbered the houses, as they did here in Lawrence, because his home, according to old playmate Jack Otto, would've been near the corner of Beechwood Ave and Parkway, which is more like 600 Parkway Ave today.
1948 directory lists Ernest as WTTM announcer living at 61 Vincent.

Al Quagliata said...


Interesting. Sorry it took me so long to post your comment.

In Diana Rico's book "Kovacsland: A Biography Of Ernie Kovacs" there is a picture of EK as "Old King Cole" with the entire cast of a school play called "Mother Goose's Goslings" from 1931.

Since that would make him around 12 years of age, my assumption is you are correct. He was imaginative and creative from a young age. However, it was Harold Van Kirk, his high school drama teacher, who really got him involved in theater.

Since you teach at Trenton High I hope you let all the kids know about EK's legacy! :-)