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Ernie Kovacs - "Eugene" Part 2, includes "The Tilted Table" sketch

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Uploaded on Feb 14, 2010

[From "Kovacs Corner" on YouTube.com] - This was one the last video productions completed by Ernie before his death in 1962. "Eugene" was a character from his Sylvania Award winning 30 minute NBC special "The Silent Show". By drawing together gags from his previous live shows, like the "Tilted Table", and combining them with new production techniques, like video superimpositions, Ernie left a final artistic work which could be reasonably classified alongside Charlie Chaplin, Marcel Marceau, and Buster Keaton. Way before chroma key, green screen, and CGI, Ernie tested the artistic elements of the new medium and it's primitive, by today's standards, video special effects. His early career in radio also made him open to the complimentary effects of sound and music, and not just the visual side of the medium. He no doubt gave many of today's on and off screen television and internet based talent the inspiration for their current work. The fact that Kovacs could take whatever shoestring budget he had, and make the best out of it, proves that imagination and talent have no limitations. ...BTW, Ernie recorded this sketch with an open microphone on the set. You can hear the control room crew laughing during many of the routines, especially "The Tilted Table".

[Updated July 20, 2010] - The background song that is played during the "The Tilted Table" sketch is entitled "There's a Little Spark of Love Still Burning". It was recorded in 1915 by tenor Henry Burr for RCA Victor and it can be found on the CD "The Ernie Kovacs Record Collection". Of course, every Kovacs aficionado knows that the miniature record player is playing one of Kovacs' signature songs "Mack the Knife" sung in German by Wolfgang Neuss.

[Updated January 25, 2011] - In 1957, Ernie Kovacs received the Sylvania Award for his work on the 1957 NBC special. As a result of the publicity for this TV special, Kovacs received a movie offer from Columbia Studios (which resulted in his role in the film Operation Mad Ball), and appeared on the cover of the April 15, 1957 issue of LIFE magazine. In 1962, Kovacs and his co-director, Joe Behar, received the Directors Guild of America Award for the second black and white videotaped version of this program shown over the ABC Television Network.

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