The Ernie Kovacs Collection (2011) [Six-disc edition, DVD2]
DVD Video | 780 minutes | NTSC 4:3 | 720x480 | 6.33 Gb
English: Dolby AC3, 2 ch
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.