Shout! Factory has announced the October 17, 2017, release of a spectacular new 7-DVD box set, Ernie Kovacs: Take A Good Look – The Definitive Collection, in collaboration with Ediad Productions, Inc. With the exception of a handful of episodes, this show has been largely unseen for the last 60 years. The set is available now for pre-order on Shoutfactory.com (includes an exclusive bonus disc) and Amazon.com.
Ernie Kovacs was a consummate comedian, influencing TV funnymen such as Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Jim Henson, Pee-wee Herman, Billy Crystal, as well as Monty Python and Saturday Night Live. Take A Good Look is Ernie’s aphoristic “if a tree falls in the woods” answer to the panel quiz show. Ernie turns the secret guest show formula on its ear and almost inverts it. In Take A Good Look, it is the host who gives the panel hints about the secret guest’s identity and in the form of surreal sight gags, blackouts and sketches. The clues only really make sense if you know who the guest is, to begin with. Throughout the series’ run, different approaches were taken to address this. Early on in season one, Ernie himself has trouble explaining the show’s formula to the home audience. Throughout the show’s two seasons, panelists periodically complain to Ernie that the clues don’t make sense; there’s one show where Hans Conried protests, “Please, Ernie … tell them it’s rigged!”
All in all, it is Ernie who seems to be enjoying the game the most, making these crazy blackouts as well as the commercials for Dutch Masters cigars. You watch the episodes of this game show and wonder “Did this really air on network television?”
Airing October 22, 1959 to July 21, 1960, and October 27, 1960 to March 16, 1961 on ABC, Take A Good Look hosted an eclectic mix of guest stars, such as his then wife, Performer Edie Adams, Writer/Director Carl Reiner, the glamorous Zsa Zsa Gabor, comedian Mort Sahl, Our Gang’s Jean Darling, chess world champion Bobby Fischer, Major League Baseball’s Rogers Hornsby, White House Butler Alonzo Fields, Los Angeles Dodgers Chuck Essegian and Don Drysdale, Hawaiian Congressman Daniel Inouye, Miss America 1959 Mary Ann Mobley, several Olympic athletes, and many more.
The Library of Congress, who acquired the entire collection of the Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams in 2015, has digitized, restored and preserved the material contained within this DVD set. In all, that is more than 20 hours of additional rare Kovacs material that fans have been clamoring for more than 60 years
The first 1,000 orders of Ernie Kovacs: Take A Good Look – The Definitive Collection from ShoutFactory.com will include an exclusive bonus disc containing Private Eye, Private Eye, a delicious sketch comedy starring Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams lampooning the detective shows that filled the airwaves at the time. Featured are some of Kovacs’ most iconic creations, including Percy Dovetonsils as a Sherlock Holmes character and the Nairobi Trio as safecrackers. Ernie and Edie are supported by Hans Conried, Pat Carroll, and Kovacs stalwart Peter Hanley, and the show was produced by Max Liebman (Your Show of Shows). The show aired as part of the U.S. Steel Hour and hasn’t been seen by the public since its original broadcast in 1961!
Ernie Kovacs: Take A Good Look – The Definitive Collection joins Shout! Factory’s first-rate Kovacs catalog, which includes The Ernie Kovacs Collection, the first-ever comprehensive collection of Kovacs’ work–encompassing the full breadth of existing material, from his local Philadelphia morning shows in the early 1950’s and national evening shows to the ABC prime time specials in the early 1960’s that cemented his legend. It also includes The Ernie Kovacs Collection Volume 2, which includes more than 9 hours of previously unreleased & rare classic television content, and The ABC Specials, also from 1961, the final year of his life, which show Kovacs at the peak of his creative experimentation with the medium, featuring many of his comic masterpieces and iconic set pieces. Five of these programs are presented here in complete uncut form, along with many of his celebrated — and delightfully offbeat — commercials for Dutch Masters cigars.