The Life and Times of Ernie Kovacs

Most Neatoramanauts have probably never heard of Ernie Kovacs, as he died in an automobile accident in 1962. At the time of his death, he hosted a wildly popular television program, The Ernie Kovacs Show, and it, along with his earlier work in television, represented a milestone in network television. Kovacs was the first to make the television screen tilt, ripple, and tell video lies, all the while creating characters such as The Nairobi Trio that became famous - and infamous - in their day. Kovacs also starred in numerous feature films in the 1950's and early 1960's.

YouTube contains much of his television work, as represented by the embedded videos below, The first is a 'Best of' collection (there are several more) which contains high points from his television series. Ernie loved music and devoted several segments to it, audio set to video that has to be seen to be believed. These are well-represented in these collections. the best of which, IMHO, is seen in the second video.

They don't make 'em like Ernie Kovacs anymore, and more's the pity. He was my father's favorite television personality.

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PBS ran a series of Ernie Kovacs retrospectives when I was in the fourth grade, and my parents actually let us skip church to watch them (a huge deal!). I instantly became fascinated with the man and his comedy and spent the next several Halloweens dressed in a long coat, monkey mask, wig and bowler. He was one of the true innovators, and seemingly effortless at being funny in the moment. I'm always excited when people bring up one of my comedy heroes.
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