The centennial birthday celebration of television’s original genius, Ernie Kovacs, continues with Omnivore Recordings’ announcement that the comedian’s long-out-of-print Grammy-nominated 1977 album, The Ernie Kovacs Record, is set for reissue July 5, 2019.
The Ernie Kovacs Record Centennial Edition has been completely remastered from the original sources and will be reissued on CD and digital formats for the first time ever. The new collection has been expanded to include six bonus tracks, expanded liner notes from television critic Diane Werts, never-before-seen photos, and will feature the original album artwork.
Licensed from Ediad Productions in conjunction with the Ernie Kovacs estate, Omnivore Recordings’ The Ernie Kovacs Record Centennial Edition is the fourth audio project collaboration together. Each track on the album was taken from more than 120 hours of audio-only material recently found in the Ernie Kovacs archive and the bonus tracks have not been heard since originally broadcast on radio or television.
The Kovacs Centennial celebration continues throughout the year with upcoming live events:
- An Evening With Changemaker Ernie Kovacs at the Library of Congress in Culpeper, Va., May 10.
- A Special Tribute Commemorating the Centennial of Ernie Kovacs’ Birthday at the New Jersey State Museum Auditorium in Kovacs’ hometown of Trenton,May 22.
- The Ernie Kovacs Centennial Exhibit at the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, N.Y., opening August 7 as part of the annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival.
Additional events will be announced shortly.
Kovacs was a pioneer in early television whose inventive use of the medium inspired countless performers, directors, and video artists. The creator of a distinctly modern form of comedy that playfully subverted the television medium, he was an influential figure for many late-night entertainers, from Steve Allen and Johnny Carson to David Letterman and Conan O’Brien. His work has been cited appreciatively by Martin Scorsese, Harold Prince, Matt Groening (The Simpsons), Robert Smigel (Saturday TV Funhouse, Triumph: The Insult Comic Dog), Joel Hodgson (Mystery Science Theater 3000), Paul Reubens (Pee-wee Herman), Andrea Martin (SCTV), Terry Gilliam (Monty Python), and author Jonathan Lethem, among others.
Edie Adams was Kovacs’ on-screen partner as well as his wife. After his death in 1962 Adams was instrumental in not only saving but also preserving Kovacs’ body of work. She bought all existing Kovacs materials — including the masters that the television networks were planning to destroy due to financial and storage issues.
An Ernie Kovacs coffee-table book of rarely (if ever) seen writings, drawings and photographs from his archive will be released in 2020 by Fantagraphics Books.