I’m putting together Jerry Lewis blog posts, but as I was watching Jerry perform dialogue-less routines on foreign TV shows, I was reminded of the master of silent TV comedy (and pretty much everything else he tried). Here’s an extremely rare slice of Ernie Kovacs doing his “Silent Show” as it aired in color. The show was done twice, the first time in 1957, when it aired following a Jerry TV special and got much better reviews (perhaps the reason Jerry is dismissive of Kovacs to this day). The version called “Eugene” that is available on the one currently-available DVD set is the redo Ernie did a few years later for ABC.
We do have Ernie in color in various films directed by his friend Richard Quine, but here he is doing his pioneering TV comedy “across the orthicon tube,” as Percy Dovetonsils put it….