Ernie in Kovacsland: Writings, Drawings, and Photographs from Television's Original Genius (Paperback)
In celebration of this cockeyed genius and his prolific creative output, Fantagraphics presents a career retrospective of Ernie Kovacs featuring never-before-seen material from Kovacs's archive.
Best known for his wildly imaginative, gleefully absurdist television show in the 1950s, Ernie Kovacs (1919 – 1962) was also a notorious illustrator, novelist, essayist, newspaper columnist, and poet. In celebration of this cockeyed genius and his prolific creative output, Fantagraphics presents a career retrospective featuring never-before-seen photos from Kovacs's archive; excerpts of his magazine articles, columns and books, hand-notated TV scripts: a smattering of his "illustrated profuselies," the wacky improvisational sketches he drew on air; and more.
Curated by Josh Mills (son of Edie Adams, Kovacs's wife and a performer on his show), Edie/Ernie archivist Ben Model, and counterculture historian Pat Thomas, the book offers a unique glimpse into the mind of a pioneering comedian. The first Kovacs book to be published in 30 years, this impressive collection features previously unpublished Ernie photos, drawings and writings, vintage 1960s magazine articles reprinted for the first time, and new essays by Ann Magnuson and Ron Mael of Sparks.
Kovacs inspired countless comedians, musicians, humorists, and writers in the latter half of the 20th century and beyond. He is cited as a direct influence by the creators and stars of such innovative comedy series as Saturday Night Live, Monty Python, and Mystery Science Theater 3000. An award in his name has been granted to uproarious humorists like Amy Sedaris (Strangers with Candy) and Harry Shearer (This is Spinal Tap). A true visionary, Kovacs's iconoclastic approach has forever made its mark on the world of comedy.
About the Author
Ernest Edward Kovacs (1919 – 1962) was an American comedian, actor, and writer. Kovacs created the television comedy variety show The Ernie Kovacs Show (1952–53, 1956) and became noted for his zany slapstick sketches. He later hosted the quiz show Take a Good Look (1959–61) and acted in such films as Operation Mad Ball (1957) and Our Man in Havana (1960). Kovacs's visually experimental and often spontaneous comedic style influenced numerous television comedy programs for years after his death.
Joshua Mills is the only son of entertainer Edie Adams and celebrity photographer Martin Mills. He’s a music publicist and manager as well as head of the archive of both his parents’ works as well as that of Ernie Kovacs.
Ben Model is the archivist for the Ernie Kovacs collection and has programmed three DVD box sets of Kovacs television shows. He is also an internationally-renowned silent film accompanist and historian.
Pat Thomas is the co-editor of Invitation to Openness: the Jazz & Soul Photography of Les McCann 1960-1980 and Ernie in Kovacsland. He is the author of Material Wealth: Mining the Personal Archive of Allen Ginsberg, Listen Whitey! The Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975, and Did It! Jerry Rubin: An American Revolutionary. He lives in California.