Manhattan hosts a night dedicated to Ernie Kovacs

In celebration of the upcoming release of The Ernie Kovacs Collection, there’s going to be a major panel about his life and work in New York City on April 12. Kovacs was one of the men who transformed what you could do on network TV during the 1950s and early ’60s. This panel featuring the people behind Mystery Science Theater 3000 and TV Funhouse shall sing the praises of the icon. This should be a great night for fans of TV comedy. Here’s the press release:

IT’S BEEN REAL: WORKS OF COMIC GENIUS ERNIE KOVACS TO BE SCREENED & DISCUSSED
AT PALEY CENTER IN NEW YORK APRIL 12

Keith Olbermann moderates a panel to include Mystery Science Theater 3000‘s Joel Hodgson, Humorist-Comedian-Writer Robert Smigel, Laugh-In‘s George Schlatter and Kovacs Cast Member Jolene Brand ; More Guests to be Added

LOS ANGELES, CA & NEW YORK, NY (March 16, 2011): The Paley Center (www.paleycenter.org) announced today that they will present an evening titled IT’S BEEN REAL: THE WORKS OF COMING GENIUS ERNIE KOVACS (www.erniekovacs.com) at its New York headquarters on April 12, 2011, that will include screenings of his work and a panel discussion with top comedic performers and writers.

Keith Olbermann will moderate a panel that will include comedian and Kovacs fan Joel Hodgson,(Mystery Science Theater 3000), humorist-comedian-writer Robert Smigel, Laugh In creator George Schlatter, Kovacs cast member on his ABC specials Jolene Brand and television historian & Kovacs curator Ben Model. The panel discussion will focus on the impact Kovacs has had on television in general and on specific creators long after his death in 1962. The program will incorporate a wide range of Kovacs’ work in its original form and some repackaged to address specific themes. Additional programming and scheduling details will be announced in the coming month.

Ernie Kovacs transformed television’s early era into his own personal playground—and invited viewers to enjoy every sight gag and loony character. Scholars have remarked that Kovacs understood the impact and possibilities of television before many of his contemporaries. In fact, Kovacs is credited with shaping the medium’s visual possibilities rather than simply putting a picture to a popular radio show.

The Paley Center event coincides with the distribution by Shout! Factory of the long-awaited The Ernie Kovacs Collection 6-DVD box set which will debut in stores across North America on April 19, 2011. This DVD box set is now available to pre-order at Amazon.com, Erniekovacs.com, edieadams.com, ShoutFactoryStore.com, and other online retailers.

Kovacs, whose offbeat humor graced the airwaves for just a decade in the 1950s and 60s, served healthy portions of the offbeat to his audiences, who had never seen anything quite like this cigar-wielding charmer. Wickedly funny but not offensive, Kovacs’ unique humor and flair for improvisation would ripple across generations, influencing TV funnymen from Johnny Carson and Monty Python to David Letterman, Pee Wee Herman and Saturday Night Live.

The Paley Center event and the distribution of this special collection are designed to introduce audiences to Kovacs’ genius. Kovacs, who died in a 1962 car accident, left behind a stunning body of work that survives thanks to the indefatigable efforts of his wife and co-star, the late Edie Adams. Most of these shows, which have never been screened since their original airings, have been newly transferred from original 16mm kinescopes and curated by noted film/television historian Ben Model, who will participate on the Paley panel.

Much of Kovacs’ works have been archived at the Paley Center since Edie Adams delivered original kinescopes and tapes dating back to the 1970s.

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About The Paley Center
The Paley Center for Media, with locations in New York and Los Angeles, leads the discussion about the cultural, creative, and social significance of television, radio, and emerging platforms for the professional community and media-interested public. Drawing upon its curatorial expertise, an international collection, and close relationships with the leaders of the media community, the Paley Center examines the intersections between media and society. The general public can access the collection and participate in programs that explore and celebrate the creativity, the innovations, the personalities, and the leaders who are shaping media. Through the global programs of its Media Council and International Council, the Paley Center also serves as a neutral setting where media professionals can engage in discussion and debate about the evolving media landscape. Previously known as The Museum of Television & Radio, the Paley Center was founded in 1975 by William S. Paley, a pioneering innovator in the industry. For more information, please visit www.paleycenter.org .

About Ediad Productions, Inc.
Formed by the late entertainer and Muriel Cigar girl Edie Adams, and currently run by her son Joshua Mills, Ediad Productions is home to what is likely the largest independent archive of early American television in existence. With more than 150 half-hours of content from legendary comedian Ernie Kovacs, as well as two seasons of Edie Adams’ prime time variety show from the mid-1960’s, Ediad Productions is a treasure trove of classic popular entertainment. Titles in the archive include The Ernie Kovacs Show, Ernie in Kovacsland, Take A Good Look (clues), the Kovacs specials for ABC, The Edie Adams Show, Here’s Edie! and much more. Ediad Productions is the go-to archive for television, digital & mobile entertainment content and is based in Los Angeles, California.

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