Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kapusta Kids And Nairobi Trios: IN COLOR

Did the title grab your attention Kovacsians? Good. It was supposed to.

I have a great visual treat for you today and considering Ernie was such a visual comic the shoe, or in this case the shoes, masks, scarves and hats, fit.

The Hollywood Entertainment Museum held an auction this past weekend of their 100 year old collection of television and film memorabilia in order to raise money for at-risk youth. Included in the inventory of this most worthwhile cause were a mother lode of goodies from Kovacsland.

Wonderful puppets from Ernie's parody of children's sci-fi and puppet shows, "The Kapusta Kid In Outer Space," were some of the featured items. Rick Spector, a new fan of the blog and website, was the lucky winner of the EK puppet which you see pictured below. He seems to think these puppets may have been made by the late puppeteer Larry Berthelson and this certainly may be the case as his puppets appeared regularly in Ernie's early shows. "Kapusta" incidentally is the Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, and Slovak word for cabbage. You might say Ernie's puppets were the original "Cabbage Patch Kids."

In addition to the puppets, the masks and costumes of Ernie's legendary "Nairobi Trio" were also up for auction. And, as if that wasn't enough, throw in some title cards from two of Ernie's early shows, "3 To Get Ready" and "Kovacs Unlimited," some assorted props (including the "Nairobi Trio" mallets) and an odd prop with dials known as "Gearshift's Mechano Almanac" which, quite frankly, I've never heard of. It's amazing what great shape these items are in considering they date back to the early 1950s. (ED. NOTE: I have to make a correction as we've just been informed that the masks pictured are not the actual ones, but facsimiles since the original is very fragile and I'm assuming they decided not to handle it too much. Please read the comments section for additional clarification. My apologies!)

I certainly hope you enjoy the color photos posted below; something different since they, along with Ernie, were always seen on TV in black and white:

Well, there you have it Kovacsians. Until next time Happy Holidays and a very sincere "It's Been Real!"

ED. NOTE, DEC. 26TH, 2009:

The Museum Of Broadcast Communications in Chicago has their archives listed online so you can view the list. Some of these listings have a digital file accompanying them for viewing and ⁄ or listening.

"The Ernie Kovacs Show" from December 19th, 1955, is one of these. The show contains as one of its sketches "The Kapusta Kid In Outer Space." I uncovered this while doing some further research on the puppets. The EK puppet is not in the sketch but many of the others are.

To view this file:
  1. Visit this link and sign up. It’s free.

  2. Once you login choose the "TV" link, put Ernie Kovacs in "Keywords" and check the box at the bottom that says "Digital File Available". Then click submit. The archive listings for several files along with links to them will then come up. Look for catalog # TV_05449-3 with a date of 12/19/1955.
Most people who visit my EK sites know I don't usually promote online files because most of the time the person uploading them does not have permission to do so. Many times I'm sent emails with links to EK file downloads which I ignore and delete. My assumption here is that a broadcast museum is not just putting up clips without permission.