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Ernie Kovacs (1919-1962)

  1. Fred Astaire, The Notorious Landlady, 1961.   Two stories, two disputes… Some say the top TV satirist was posthumously replaced by Astaire.    Hardly true as the weak Kim Novak-Jack Lemmoncomedy was completed months before Kovacs’ death in a car accident. Lemmon was one of his pals and said Ernie “was always 15 years ahead of everyone else.”
  2. Sid Cesar, It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World, 1963.      Like almost every comic in town, old and new, Ernie was (allegedly) booked by producer-director Stanley Kramer. Yet Kovacs’ wife, Edie Adams said:  “That, I do not know.”  She had been due to play his screen wife and Kramer persuaded her to stay on as Mrs Melville Cramp after Kovacs’s shock death.  . (She did so to help pay off his debts).  In a 1986 tribute, the Pulitzer Prize winning TV critic, William Henry III, said Kovacs “was television's first significant video artist… its first surrealist... its most daring and imaginative writer... television's first and possibly only auteur. Kovacs’ genius lay in the realm of art. There, a genius is someone who causes an audience to look at the world in a new way.”   Rather like Tony Newley in the UK.





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