The Best of Ernie Kovacs (1950) USA
The Best of Ernie Kovacs Image Cover
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Director:Lamont Johnson
Studio:White Star
Writer:April Smith
Rating:4.5 (16 votes)
Date Added:2008-03-29
Awards:Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys,
Aspect Ratio:1.33:1
Features:Black and White
Lamont Johnson  ...  (Director)
April Smith  ...  (Writer)
Ernie Kovacs  ...  
Jeff Goldblum  ...  Ernie Kovacs
Melody Anderson  ...  Edie Adams
Madolyn Smith Osborne  ...  Dorothy Kovacs
John Glover  ...  Pierre Lafitte
Cloris Leachman  ...  Mary Kovacs
Joseph Mascolo  ...  Richards
Jordan Charney  ...  Harry Ascot
Francis X. McCarthy  ...  Judge (as Frank McCarthy)
Lois De Banzie  ...  Mrs. Enke
Murphy Dunne  ...  Leon Lane
Steven M. Porter  ...  Rusty Valentine
Edie Adams  ...  Mae West
Fran Bennett  ...  Miss Deal
Weldon Boyce Bleiler  ...  Bum Detective
Bryan Englund  ...  Cab Driver
Weldon Bleiler  ...  Bum Detective (as Weldon Boyce Bleiler)
Summary: For anyone interested in the history of television comedy, "The Best of Ernie Kovacs" is indispensable. This five-part series, originally broadcast on PBS, is a six-hour guided tour through Kovacsland, and a more surreal or cockeyed landscape has never been broadcast over "the orthicon tube." The best cigar-mustache combo since Groucho, Kovacs, who perished in a car wreck in 1962, was one of the fledgling medium's pioneers. He turned staid television convention on its ear and satirized the medium itself (David Letterman is a kindred spirit). "The Best of Ernie Kovacs" offers a generous sampling of more than 100 blackouts, musical diversions (including a simian version of "Swan Lake"), sketches, and technological dalliances. The macabre game show "Whom Dunnit," in which a panel must determine the identity of the mystery guest who has wounded an unfortunate studio audience member, would not be out of place on "Saturday Night Live." Another highlight is "Eugene," a 1961 broadcast in which not a word is uttered. And let's not forget the musical gorilla-costumed Nairobi Trio, one of Kovacs's signature creations. The DVD edition has a few noteworthy additions, including a clip from Kovacs's 1959 quiz show, "Take a Good Look". In another memorable clip, Edie Adams, Kovacs's wife, performs her definitive impersonation of Marilyn Monroe (singing "The Ballad of Davy Crockett"). Though this footage dates back to television's early days, this is no antiquated museum piece. Some of it is dated, but much of what Kovacs unleashed on an unsuspecting public is fresher, funnier, and more original than most of what passes for prime-time programming. Boy, do we need him now. "--Donald Liebenson"