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Re: “The Tube’s First Concept Humorist

If Ernie Kovacs's revolutionary work is impressive by today's standards, it was positively other-worldly when it first saw it five decades ago. His achievements remain wonderfully inventive and engagingly funny.

Kovacs appeared in a few motion pictures but none of them captured the true spirit of his humor--with one notable (albeit obscure) exception. Kovacs wrote and directed the theatrical trailer for OPERATION MAD BALL (1957), a military comedy in which he co-starred with Jack Lemmon. Thanks to Kovacs, it's an inspired parody of trailers, as our host Ernie shows no interest in accurately promoting the film. Instead, Kovacs piles one deliberate falsehood upon another, spicing things up with absurd sight gags and random excerpts that make absolutely no sense (at one point, he even tosses in a brief clip from an unrelated Glenn Ford picture). The trailer is posted on YouTube--Kovacs enthusiasts should check it out.

Kovacs was slated to play opposite Edie Adams in Stanley Kramer's IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD. After his death, he was replaced by Sid Caesar.

After all these years, there's still no one remotely like him--the mark of a true original.

Ted Okuda

Posted by Ted Okuda on 05/04/2011 at 3:07 PM

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