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The Ernie Kovacs Collection, Vol. 2 (1951)

Ernie Kovacs , Ernie Kovacs  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ernie Kovacs
  • Directors: Ernie Kovacs
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: October 23, 2012
  • Run Time: 540 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,125 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The second volume of Shout! Factory's Ernie Kovacs Collection confirms what its predecessor from 2011 proved in spades: that the praise heaped upon television comic Ernie Kovacs over the last half-century was not just a case of nostalgic "pining for the old days" of TV, but genuine respect for one of the medium's true visionary figures. Though slimmer by half than the previous volume, the material contained on volume two's three discs stands up to the better-known sketches and shows on volume one by presenting Kovacs in one of his best showcases: his live morning show on NBC, which ran from 1955 to 1956. Here, he positively revels in the anarchy inherent to live entertainment, ad-libbing with abandon while gleefully flaunting the rules and regulations of how a TV program should be conducted. He gently mocks the artificiality of a variety format as well as the network powers that be (NBC's then-head of programming Pat Weaver and president Robert Sarnoff) and even his own failed gags. Recurring characters like besotted poet Percy Dovetonsils, Teutonic DJ Wolfgang von Sauerbraten, and the ill-tempered Miklos Molnar are also given the spotlight, as is the talented Edie Adams, whose triple-threat status as singer, comedian, and sounding board for Kovacs (in addition to being his spouse and tireless preservationist of his television output) is confirmed with several lovely musical numbers and a terrific Marilyn Monroe impersonation. A third disc is given over to Kovacs's intentionally baffling game show Take a Good Look, which again finds its host gleefully deconstructing accepted notions of how a quiz program should operate by offering impossible-to-figure-out clues to a host of celebrity guests, including Adams, Tony Randall, and Cesar Romero. The show also features Kovacs's legendary ads for Dutch Masters cigars, which represent a high-water mark for visual humor in the medium. Kovacs's experiments with the technical possibilities of television are less in focus here, save for a charmingly goofy sketch featuring the Kapusta Kid puppets in the abundant extras, which also include a lengthy interview with Kovacs for the CBC; an unaired pilot for a Western comedy called A Pony for Chris, which partnered Kovacs with Buster Keaton; and a lengthy panel discussion from 2011. The discussion features comments on Kovacs's artistry from collaborators and admirers, including Merrill Markoe, Harry Shearer, Bob Odenkirk, producer George Schlatter and wife Jolene Brand (who costarred on Good Look and his ABC specials), Jeff Garlin, and DVD-set curator Ben Model, who also penned the comprehensive liner notes. Trailers for Kovacs's feature work, including Wake Me When It's Over, and color home movies with Kovacs, Adams, and Jackie Gleason round out this essential set for vintage TV fans, comedy history buffs, and armchair anarchists of all stripes. --Paul Gaita

Product Description

This second volume of The Ernie Kovacs Collection digs deeper into a gold mine of comedy from television’s original genius. Kovacs fans, both longtime and new, will marvel at the sheer invention, wit and goofy charm of these landmark programs, all presented on home video for the first time. Ernie Kovacs was a creative force of nature, and this new collection of his riches (historic, unique and endlessly entertaining) will seal his legacy.


8 More Episodes From Kovacs’ National Morning Show

18 Bonus Sketches Featuring Many Of His Most Beloved Characters

3 Complete Episodes Of His Offbeat Game Show Take A Good Look

A Pony For Chris: His Rare TV Pilot For Medicine Man Costarring Buster Keaton

The Lively Arts Featuring The Only Existing Filmed Solo Interview With Ernie Kovacs

2011 American Cinematheque Panel

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
In 2011 there was great joy among fans of the late comedian/actor/writer Ernie Kovacs when the first volume of ultra rare Kovacs material was released by Shout Factory. The volume garnered many five-star reviews (including mine here on Amazon) and introduced a whole new generation (actually TWO generations, since Kovacs died in 1962 and his name had all but been forgotten - except by those of us who grew up watching him on TV.)

We were told that there was more material "in the vaults" - meaning that it was held by Kovacs widow - Edie Adams - who bought all the original video tapes and kinescopes from the networks when they were ready to erase the tapes and re-use them. The time has come and we now have Volume Two, a somewhat smaller set (just three DVDs this time) but there is still a lot of VERY funny material.

But for those new to Kovacs, let me provide some background:

Long before Monty Python, Saturday Night Live, and David Letterman's late night TV shows, there was Ernie Kovacs. It's almost certain that the creators of these sketch comedy and host-behind-the desk shows watched Kovacs during his all too brief career. (He died in a car crash in 1962, at age 47, barely 12 years since first appeared on local TV in Philadelphia). As irony would have it, Comedy Central host Jon Stewart was born in Trenton, New Jersey - Kovacs birthplace as well - the same year that Kovacs died. And Stewart (real name: Jonathan Stuart Liebowitz) would not be the success he is if Kovacs hadn't paved the way. (I, too, was born in Trenton and remember as a young kid, when Kovacs made the move from radio in Trenton to television in Philly.)

For the last four decades Kovacs was an "underground" celebrity. He was often overlooked in the history of TV and comedy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is the 3rd Ernie Kovacs release from Shout Factory the others being the first lengthy set and a single dvd containing 5 of his ABC specials. This set is less enjoyable than the first because the scope of Kovacs' work is limited. The first set chronologically covers his afternoon show filmed in Philadelphia to his ABC Specials shot in California. That set offers a little of everything that led to where Ernie was going within the TV medium.

This set, while enjoyable feels more like a collection of material omitted from the first set so to keep the price down for the consumer. This isn't a complaint, I definitely recommend purchasing this set AFTER getting the first set, but does feel like the case.

I first became aware of these half hour morning shows via Comdey Central reruns back when the channel didn't have the budget to run their own programs. I became an immediate fan of his offbeat humor and even the liberal amount of interaction he has with his studio audience. You'd think decades of television later would dull the viewers senses of a tv show and its host gleefully shattering the fourth wall. These shows are pioneering and still refreshing.

Take a Good Look game shows are for me the weakest part of this set. This show bridges the gap between his variety type of sketch humor and the ABC Specials. Bobby Lauher and Jolene Brand do much of the acting with Ernie in the skits which vaguely offered the hints of the identity of the mystery guests. Some of the mystery guests were fun to see. Mack Sennett, Clarence Nash, Daniel Inouye, and Carl Reiner. The format is something I didn't enjoy as much as the morning shows.

Bonus features are excellent again with this set.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MORE COMEDY CLASSICS!! March 15, 2013
By Joe A
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Once again, an excellent package, though containing less material than the 1st collection. Helping immensely is the fact that it was obviously a labor of love (literally, for the late Edie Adams), and the actual content is of course just as zany and brilliant. Make a present of these collections soon and spread the laughter!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Look back at a different age of TV February 26, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It you are younger than 50 this DVD may not seem like such a big deal, but those of us who remember how "stiff" TV used to be can appreciate Kovac's attempts to rattle the networks cages. Not every bit is hilarious but it does serve as a reminder of how things were and how much they have changed, for better or worse
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love anything Ernie does! February 4, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Natural dry sense of humor, he couls crack you up reading the phone book out loud! Pure genius inventive comic mind!
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