Ernie Kovacs was a groundbreaking TV pioneer in his ability to push the comic possibilities of the new medium. He pushed comedy deeper than radio and vaudeville routines on a variety of shows over his career. While he died in 1962, his fertile view of having fun with cameras, video technology and studio space is still being referenced. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth, plenty of events will happen starting with the release of Ernie Kovacs : The Centennial Edition, a boxset that combines previously released material that’s perfect for those who have recently discovered the genius of Kovacs. Here’s the press release from Shout! Factory:
LEGENDARY COMEDIAN ERNIE KOVACS CENTENNIAL KICKS OFF WITH CAREER SPANNING DVD SET Ernie Kovacs : The Centennial Edition
Shout! Factory’s Nine-Disc Box Set and Never-Before-Seen Kovacs Hand-Drawn Lithographs Officially Launch Television’s Original Genius 100th Birthday Celebration
Additional Kovacs Centennial Plans Include Coffee Table Book, Album Reissues, Multiple Live Panels Events as well as Television & Film Screenings Throughout 2019
LOS ANGELES, CA., (WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 3, 2018) – Ediad Productions announced today that legendary comedian Ernie Kovacs centennial celebration officially kicks off this November 13 with a new DVD box set The Ernie Kovacs : The Centennial Edition.
To celebrate the 100th birthday of television’s original genius, this nine-disc collection combines previously released volumes of groundbreaking, rule-breaking, surreal and charmingly silly comedy of Ernie Kovacs. Included are over 22 hours of decidedly offbeat entertainment from across his many television shows and specials, all of which showcase an utterly unique sensibility that has influenced such comedy institutions as Monty Python and Saturday Night Live. Included are episodes from his local and national morning shows, his NBC prime-time show, five of his ABC Specials, the color version of his legendary silent show, “Eugene”, his iconic Dutch Masters cigar commercials and much more.
In addition to the DVD package, a limited edition set of hand numbered Ernie Kovacs “Illustrated Profuselies” lithographs are also being released for sale for the first time. Born on television as “Profuselies” and later recreated, these lithographs were printed more than fifty years ago to promote a one-hour special that aired on ABC on April 9, 1968 called The Comedy of Ernie Kovacs. These rarely seen lithographs showcase Ernie Kovacs’ surrealistic, fertile and sometimes scattered visual creativity.
Throughout 2019, the 100th anniversary of Ernie Kovacs birth (January 23, 1919) will be commemorated in a variety of ways throughout the year including a new coffee table of unseen personal items and unpublished writings, album reissues and multiple live events including moderator and panels discussions about Kovacs as well as screenings of his best film and television work.
Ernie Kovacs was an influential figure for late night entertainers like Steve Allen, David Letterman, and Conan O’Brien, whose work has been cited appreciatively by Martin Scorsese, Harold Prince, Matt Groening (The Simpsons), Robert Smigel (Saturday TV Funhouse, Triumph: The Insult Comic Dog), Joel Hodgson (Mystery Science Theater 3000), Paul Reubens (Pee-wee Herman), Andrea Martin (SCTV), Terry Gilliam (Monty Python), and author Jonathan Lethem, among others.
A pioneer in early television whose inventive use of the medium inspired countless performers, directors, and video artists, Ernie Kovacs created indelible characters such as Percy Dovetonsils, Matzoh Hepplewhite, and Uncle Gruesome, Kovacs invented a distinctly modern form of comedy that playfully subverted the television medium. Edie Adams was his on-screen partner as well as his wife. After his death in 1962 Adams was instrumental in not only saving but also preserving Kovacs’ body of work during the 1960s when she bought all existing Kovacs materials – including the masters that the television networks were planning to destroy them due to cost and storage issues.
Since 2010, Ediad Productions has released new video and audio material from the collection, most of which has never been seen or heard in more than 50 years. This includes Kovacs DVD packages from Shout! Factory, a four-disc Edie Adams DVD box set from MVD entitled Here’s Edie and new LP, CD and digital releases from Omnivore Recordings.
Retrospectives on Ernie Kovacs and his work have also been feted at such prestigious institutions as The Paley Center for Media, Museum of the Moving Image, the National Gallery, AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, American Cinematheque, Long Beach Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona, Spain.
About Ediad Productions
Formed and based in Los Angeles 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 one of the largest independent archives of early American television. The archives include more than 150 half-hours of visual content from legendary comedian Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams’ as well as more than 100 hours of rare Kovacs and Adams audio content. Titles include The Ernie Kovacs Show, Ernie in Kovacsland, Take A Good Look, the Kovacs ABC specials, The Edie Adams Show, Here’s Edie! and much more.
Tags: Edie Adams, Ernie Kovacs, Shout! Factory