Friday, January 13, 2012

"It's been real."

Friday the 13th, 2012.  I've been thinking a lot about this unlucky day for the past 2 weeks.  As I get in the frame of mind of Space Pirate Radio anniversary time, my mood has recently been nostalgic for the classic satire that inspired me.  In early 2011, I bought myself the Ernie Kovacs Collection; the six dvd collection of nearly lost, mostly never seen Kovacs comedy of Ernie's from the Fifties.  As a comedy innovator and surrealist, Ernie probably had the second closest impact on my hyper perceptive youth.  First would be Mad Magazine.  So as an influence on my mindset and later work, I would have to call this unit a collective.  The vision of Harvey Kurtzman, along with William Gaines and Al Feldstein.  The artists who had the cosmic effect of being psychedelicized without one realizing it:  Will Elder, Frank Kelly Freas, Wally Wood, Norman Mingo, Basil Wolverton, Mort Drucker, Jack Davis and Al Jaffee.  The writers.  Every electric bulb in the pack.

And that, on occasion, included Ernie Kovacs.  So back to the date at hand.  It boggles der mind that 50 years ago today, Ernie Kovacs was killed driving his Corvair into a pole on a wet Mulholland Drive after a late night poker party.  I remember seeing the photo in the Los Angeles newspaper, Ernie dead, crumpled out the driver's side.

A little too much for a kid still in Junior High.  All I knew was that this cigar smoking man with the moustache did the most insane things with sound and vision.  I lived for those monthly Ernie Kovacs specials on ABC-TV.  They came on late.  9:30pm or 10 on a weeknight, and I had to beg or plead to stay up.  I was hooked.  I had to hear Mack the Knife, see the oscilloscope and watch the magic lunacy.  The Fourth Wall fell down, literally...and Anything was Possible.

If I ever had any thoughts about entering the priesthood, watching Ernie Kovacs changed that forever.