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The Ernie Kovacs Collection

DVD | Box Set

4.2 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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(Apr 19, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Television’s Original Genius


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 hadn’t 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 television’s original genius, most of it unseen for over 50 years.

Featuring:

* 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)

Amazon.com

Genius is a term that's tossed around with a considerable lack of care when it comes to entertainment, but in the case of television personality Ernie Kovacs, the appellation is not only deserved but also historically accurate, as this long-overdue retrospective proves. From 1951 until his untimely death in 1962, Kovacs broadened the horizons of the television medium in the most outrageous and creative ways, starting with regional programming in New York and Philadelphia and later through his own shows, including a slew of brilliant specials, on the networks. Kovacs is widely credited as the first television performer to grasp the medium's possibilities, and he tackled them with the wicked glee of a boy let loose in a toy store, experimenting with breaking the fourth wall, early in-camera effects, and visual non sequiturs that rivaled everything from Mad magazine (for which Kovacs wrote) to Marcel Duchamp in their surreal assault on accepted reality. And years before Steve Allen, David Letterman, and Conan O'Brien, Kovacs was also the first television figure to demolish the rules of acceptable on-air behavior by revealing the inner workings of his programs to his viewers or pulling them along for improvised excursions into his studio audience or the street outside his studio.

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

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Special features

None.

Product details

  • Actors: Ernie Kovacs
  • Directors: Ernie Kovacs
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: April 19, 2011
  • Run Time: 780 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B004IB04NU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,865 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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