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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Ernie Kovacs: The ABC Specials')

Written and Starring Ernie Kovacs
USA 1961-1962


Before his untimely death at the age of 42, television pioneer Ernie Kovacs left us with a sublime body of comedy work whose influence can be seen on everything from Monty Python to SNL and David Letterman. He made eight TV specials for ABC in 1961, the final year of his life, and they 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.

Theatrical Release: September 21st, 1961 - January 23rd, 1962

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DVD Review: Shout! Factory - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Shout! Factory - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 28:45 X 5 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.2 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None

Release Information:
Studio: Shout! Factory

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Dutch Masters Cigar Commercials 

DVD Release Date: April 17th, 2012

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 5



Ernie Kovacs was a breath of fresh air. Combinations of Chaplin, Tati and his own inventive spirit. For many these ABC specials - just prior to his untimely dearth - are solid gold.

While the image shows combing or 'trailing' - this is not due to an interlaced transfer - this was the raw kinescope appearance. It kinda looks like it might have on a early TV set. Strangely, there are rounded corners and detail is extremely soft but I wouldn't say it detracted from the comedy one bit. On the contrary, it added another layer of the time period it was broadcast. Audio is surprisingly strong - not matching the video appearance. There are no subtitles offered don the region 1 - NTSC disc.

We get one disc here that is labeled 'Disc 5' (see menus directly below) meaning it was the fifth disc of Shout! Factory's 6-disc Ernie Kovacs Collection from 2011. This consists of 5 of the ABC Specials - about 1/2 each, from September 21st, 1961 - January 23rd, 1962, on the dual-layered SD-DVD. So that is the content along with a video piece on some of the interesting Dutch Master Cigar commercials with Kovacs' style apparent in the advert.

This is wonderful to own in my digital library. When you've had enough of the plastic, superficialities of modern television - this is what you put on to remind you there was some creative genius back in the day who laid the groundwork for many classics that came after him. Recommended!  

Gary W. Tooze


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Distribution Shout! Factory - Region 1 - NTSC

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