I was searching YouTube for footage of Ernie Kovacs' character Percy Dovetonsils; I thought the comedian's portrayal of an effete poet might make for an amusing entry here. Turns out there's not much Dovetonsils material available, but what I did find was a small mind-blower: Footage from Kovacs'game show, Take A Good Look, which aired from 1959-61, a year before his death in an auto accident.
Now, I knew Kovacs' work from his startlingly surreal sketch show, but this gimpse of Take A Good Look shows Kovacs in fine, deconstructive form working in the game-show genre:
At the top of the show, Kovacs plays around with the audio in a disorienting, technologically sophisticated way for the era, playfully confusing the home viewer about who's talking. The opening credits verge on abstract art, fracturing famous faces by showing close-ups of only parts of them: noses, chins, ears. Ever genial, ever-puffing on a long cigar, Kovacs greets his panel of celebrity guests, Ceser Romero, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Jim Backus, doing so in such a blithe, chipper manner, who almost don't catch Kovacs' throwaway insult: "We're going to explain the game to you at home, and to the panel, who aren't particularly bright." He nods to the era's game-show scandals by noting that the prize money is "three hundred dollars--not enough to be crooked."
You get the feeling the game was less important than the way in which the game was presented, a signature of Kovacs' delightfully self-conscious style.