In the infancy of any medium, there will be some who realize its potential well before anyone else. Ernie Kovacs was such a visionary, and between 1951 and 1962 he broke rules that hadnt even been made yet and created a language that is now taken for granted.
The Ernie Kovacs Collection includes six DVDs and over 15 hours of programs that span the all-too-brief but brilliant television career of this hugely influential comic artist, from his earliest local morning shows in Philadelphia through his NBC prime-time shows and the ABC specials that represented the peak of his offbeat humor and creative experimentation with the medium. The Ernie Kovacs Collection is a treasure trove of comedy from televisions original genius, most of it unseen for over 50 years.
* Episodes From His Local and National Morning Shows
* Episodes From His NBC Prime-Time Show
* Kovacs On Music
* Five ABC TV Specials
* The Color Version of His Legendary Silent Show, Eugene
* His Award-Winning Commercials for Dutch Masters Cigars
* Short Films, Tributes, Rarities
* 44-Page Booklet Featuring Rare Photos, Program Notes and an Essay by Jonathan Lethem ( Motherless Brooklyn)
The material compiled on the six-disc Ernie Kovacs Collection, much of which comprises the only surviving masters of his work (wife and costar Edie Adams spent the four decades following his death attempting to save his shows from the networks, which were all too ready to destroy the tapes), provides an overview of Kovacs's television career, with full discs devoted to his local and national morning shows as well as his prime-time efforts, including the legendary silent special, Eugene, which finds Kovacs's titular innocent abroad in a world driven by visual puns. An episode of his truly offbeat game show, Take a Good Look, is also featured, as well as a sampling of his brilliant commercials for Dutch Masters cigars, and a full disc is given over to his best-loved skits and characters, including the wiggy poet Percy Dovetonsils, proto-horror host Uncle Gruesome, grumpy Hungarian TV host Miklos Molnar (who tangles with Howdy Doody), and the legendary Nairobi Trio, which is still capable of generating gales of laughter, despite its simple premise, after five decades. A treasure trove of supplemental material, from 8mm home movies and short films to a collection of Edie Adams's sultry spots for Muriel Cigars, rounds out this set that cements Kovacs's status as one of television's most extraordinary personalities. --Paul Gaita