Sign in to follow this  
cigarjoe

Ernie Kovacs

49 posts in this topic

 Sort of a Salvador Dali of early TV. I've always liked the Nairobi Trio 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It didn't hurt that Edie Adams was his partner in crime for many of his projects. Here's a 1956 clip from the CBS game show "What's My Line" featuring Kovacs as a panelist and Adams as the mystery guest.

 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

 Sort of a Salvador Dali of early TV. I've always liked the Nairobi Trio 

It's possible that the timpanist that hits Kovacs (the seated member of the Trio with the banana) was Jack Lemmon. The piano player most likely was the actress Jolene Brand, who is married to George Schlatter -- the creator and producer of "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In." 

Lemmon and Kovacs were good friends and occasional co-stars ("It Happened to Jane," "Operation Mad Ball" and "Bell, Book and Candle"). Brand, who was one of the regulars of Kovacs' ABC show in the early 1960s, usually appeared in the bathtub comedy segments. 

Related image

flexible girl

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a treat it was to have this tribute night. In the early 1990's, there was a cable channel that aired episodes of Mr. Kovacs' TV show back to back with Spike Jones' show and silent film shorts. It might have been Comedy Central in it's infancy; I don't remember now. One day, the entire line-up disappeared. 😕

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, jakeem said:

It's possible that the timpanist that hits Kovacs (the seated member of the Trio with the banana) was Jack Lemmon.

I read somewhere that Frank Sinatra had also been the timpanist on some occasions.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, mr6666 said:

The National Comedy Center in Jamestown, N.Y. (outside Buffalo)

I visited there a couple years ago & it was outstanding! Definitely worth going back to see the Kovac material, thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, sagebrush said:

I read somewhere that Frank Sinatra had also been the timpanist on some occasions.

Edie Adams sat in as the pianist before her solo career as a singer and actress kept her busy in the early '60s. By the way, we all owe her a debt of gratitude. After her husband's death, she bought as many tapes and films of the old Kovacs shows as she could. Her preservation of the material prevented them from being taped over or dumped in landfills.

Image result for edie adams ernie kovacs 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always enjoy seeing all those old KOVACS shows.

I missed the first showing, just seeing the second one at 10:45, so I don't know if poet PERCY DOVETONSILS was shown or not.  :D

 

I remember a lot of that stuff from when it originally aired( Ernie a favorite in our house when growing up) and in the latter '70's the local PBS channel kept up regular profile/anthology programs about his shows.  On one of them, an old Kovacs show cast member( forgot who) talked about messing with that SWAMI character Ernie used to do.  After each "prediction" he'd take a slug from a bottle of Scotch, which usually was COLD TEA in the bottle, but one night( for a laugh) someone replaced the tea with REAL SCOTCH!  :D  And being the trouper he was, the cast member said, "It was fun watching Ernie try to "soldier through" the sketch while getting progressively schnockered."  :D  ...the sketch usually relying on about a dozen or so "shots" of tea.  ;) 

Sepiatone

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our library has Kovac's complete TV show available....but a search for KOVACS resulted in a few film titles I'm unfamiliar with:

IT HAPPENED TO JANE 1959 with Doris Day, Jack Lemmon

NORTH TO ALASKA 1960 with Joan Wayne, Stewart Granger & Capuchine

OUR MAN IN HAVANA 1959 with Alec Guinness, Burl Ives & Maureen O'Hara 

I'll skip STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET, sounds sordid from the description. At least "Jane" & "Havana" are comedies, although "Jane" sounds pretty unfunny from the description.

Any opinions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recorded all of the Ernie Kovacs programming last night (except Bell, Book and Candle).  I'd heard of his show, The Ernie Kovacs Show, but had never seen it before.  Having not known it was an experimental show, it was interesting.  Prior to this, I knew of Kovacs from 'Candle,' and also from his appearance with Edie Adams on the last episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour.  He does a trick where he draws an icebox on paper, cuts out a door and ice magically falls out.  Adams plays the piano and sings, "That's All."  When you hear the song in the context of knowing that this was the last time Lucy and Desi would appear together and that Lucy literally filed for divorce the day after this was filmed, it makes the song even more emotional and poignant.

I look forward to seeing more of Kovac's work and even reading up on him.  He sounds like he had an interesting life, albeit a short life.  Edie pops up a lot in 60s movies and I always enjoy her appearances.  Apparently Jeff Goldblum did a made for TV movie about Kovacs (I read that last night, hopefully I'm not mis-remembering).  That would be interesting to see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd almost forgotten it was on and missed the first 15 mins of the first episode (I recorded the later ones). Some weird stuff on there (for the time) I cant believe the censors signed off on that women's dressing scene! Looking forward to watching the other ones this wknd.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, Hibi said:

I'd almost forgotten it was on and missed the first 15 mins of the first episode (I recorded the later ones). Some weird stuff on there (for the time) I cant believe the censors signed off on that women's dressing scene! Looking forward to watching the other ones this wknd.

The women's dressing scene oddly enough was one of my favorite parts of the episode.  It was pretty racy though for 1961 (?).  I will admit that I got sick of that song that seemingly played forever in the beginning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Our library has Kovac's complete TV show available....but a search for KOVACS resulted in a few film titles I'm unfamiliar with:

IT HAPPENED TO JANE 1959 with Doris Day, Jack Lemmon

NORTH TO ALASKA 1960 with Joan Wayne, Stewart Granger & Capuchine

OUR MAN IN HAVANA 1959 with Alec Guinness, Burl Ives & Maureen O'Hara 

I'll skip STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET, sounds sordid from the description. At least "Jane" & "Havana" are comedies, although "Jane" sounds pretty unfunny from the description.

Any opinions?

I'm pretty sure I remember Doris saying Jack Lemmon was her favorite actor to work with on the basis of this one movie. Kovacs' character was an oafish kind of villain and the movie was comic in a "folksy" way, without one-liners and mugging.

North to Alaska was a John Wayne bro-bonding adventure like Hatari! and Kovacs seemed to be there to help drive the comedy,

He played a heavy in Our Man in Havana, a corrupt police official, and seemed right at home. The movie is more black comedy and satire than "comedy".

I like Strangers When We Meet as the melodramatic potboiler it was; sordid yes, but the romance between Kirk Douglas and Kim Novak was plausible. Kovac played a smarmy writer of popular fiction who hired hot architect Douglas to build him a trophy house. 

  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also like 'Strangers When We Meet'; its really a moody kind of seaminess. Same kind of atmosphere as when Kirk did 'Two Weeks in Another Town'.

Johnny Horton (tragically foreshortened career), did the theme song for 'North To Alaska'. He's an artist worth seeking out for his other songs. You can find him jammin' on Grand Ole Opry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

p.s. Yes, Goldblum did a TV biopic, and yes its Jack Lemmon in 'Nairobi Trio' (or at least, this was always my understanding)

Wasn't Kovacs also in 'Teahouse of the August Moon' or something else Japanese themed?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually it was Jack Lemmon who said Doris (not sure when) was his favorite co-star (actress? not sure) that he'd ever worked with. Doris loved working with him, but I think Rock was Doris' favorite.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

 Sort of a Salvador Dali of early TV. I've always liked the Nairobi Trio 

 

Ditto!

I enjoyed the Dutch Masters ads, but would have enjoyed seeing more of Edie Adams, who was a doll. Enjoyed all Kovac's sight gags and if you didn't like one, just wait a minute for the next one to appear. Always liked him in movies too, like Bell, Book and Candle. I'm not gonna look this up so I will probably have it wrong, but didn't he do a character called Percy Dovetonsils also?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, sagebrush said:

What a treat it was to have this tribute night. In the early 1990's, there was a cable channel that aired episodes of Mr. Kovacs' TV show back to back with Spike Jones' show and silent film shorts. It might have been Comedy Central in it's infancy; I don't remember now. One day, the entire line-up disappeared. 😕

I bought in the last few years, a couple of dvd's from Movies Unlimited with Kovacs' old shows, which were marvelous and brought back fond memories of watching him on tv in the 1950's.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

I also like 'Strangers When We Meet'; its really a moody kind of seaminess. Same kind of atmosphere as when Kirk did 'Two Weeks in Another Town'.

Johnny Horton (tragically foreshortened career), did the theme song for 'North To Alaska'. He's an artist worth seeking out for his other songs. You can find him jammin' on Grand Ole Opry.

Kovacs is great as a rather unethical and crass character in things like Strangers When We Meet.

How odd that Horton's wife when he was killed, namely Billie Jean...was formerly married to Hank Williams, who was also killed tragically, after he got rid of the famous Audrey. Billie Jean must have been cursed to have two such famous hubbies die while ensconced in marital bliss with her. I wonder if she found a third guy to have nuptials with that was in show biz?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Hibi said:

Actually it was Jack Lemmon who said Doris (not sure when) was his favorite co-star (actress? not sure) that he'd ever worked with. Doris loved working with him, but I think Rock was Doris' favorite.....

I agree that Rock would seem to be the natural answer, but I'm still pretty sure I remember Doris citing Jack Lemmon, though it could be she was talking about her favorite actor out of all actors in general. I'll try to track it down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, jakeem said:

It didn't hurt that Edie Adams was his partner in crime for many of his projects. Here's a 1956 clip from the CBS game show "What's My Line" featuring Kovacs as a panelist and Adams as the mystery guest.

 

Her greatest role was as Mr. Sheldrake's secretary and former mistress in "The Apartment". Gotta love her in those white, cat's eye style glasses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us