The Library of Congress has acquired a collection of more than 1,200 kinescopes, videotapes and home movies featuring Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams in a move to preserve their work.
The library bought the collection from Josh Mills, the president of Ediad Productions and Adams’ son.
Kovacs was best known for a surreal sense of humor that had a profound influence on numerous comedians, including David Letterman and Monty Python.
Kovacs died in a car crash in 1962 and Adams died of cancer in 2008. She made extensive efforts to preserve Kovacs work.
The Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams Collection includes videotape masters of all eight of Kovacs’ 1961-62 monthly ABC specials; 35 episodes of “Take a Good Look,” his 1959-61 ABC quiz show; kinescopes of 74 episodes of Kovacs’ 1956 NBC morning show; and videotape masters of all 21 episodes of “Here’s Edie,” Adams’ 1962-64 ABC sketch comedy show.
The Library of Congress has collections of material by performers including Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope, Groucho Marx, Danny Kaye, Johnny Carson, and Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
“The Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams Collection is an especially welcome acquisition for us,” said Mike Mashon, head of the Library’s Moving Image Section. “We’re very proud of our humor collections and we’re always looking to expand our holdings in early television. With Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams, we accomplish both.”
Mills said, “The Library of Congress is the ideal place for the Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams Collection, because both are synonymous with television history and the preservation of American popular culture. It’s immensely gratifying that Edie’s dedication to preserving the history of Ernie’s pioneering genius in television will ensure that both of their work will live on for generations to enjoy.”
In a separate announcement Thursday, Shout! Factory and Ediad Productions have extended the distribution of Ernie Kovacs’ visual archive, which aired in the 1950s and early ’60s, for five years through 2020.
In addition to the continued sale of existing packages of television shows, a newly amassed physical set will be released on Jan. 23, 2019 to coincide with the centennial of Kovacs’ birth. Entire episodes of previously unseen-since-broadcast shows from the Kovacs archive will be released digitally.