Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams For Beginners
Edie Adams warrants more representation in the record racks. The Charming Miss Edie Adams (Varese Sarabande, 2012) is a reissue of her 1958 RKO Records LP of the same name, but it only scratches the surface of the singer she was. Omnivore has collected a bunch of Christmas songs from the daily Kovacs Unlimited shows (all from December 1952), The Edie Adams Christmas Album (Omnivore, 2012). While a holiday album may seem likely an unlikely reentry into the music marketplace, it is in this case fitting, because Adams was a huge fan of Christmas, and, frankly none of her records has ever given this much indication as to her stylistic range. But Christmas music can alternately be holy, swinging, comedic, and sentimental. And this disc-which includes Kovacs on a few duets-really points up to that.
Her "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" is a sweet little jewel. For those who like pop standards in the Jo Stafford vein, Christmas Album is very happy news. On the Collection Vol 2 DVD, her musical numbers from the daily shows were left off (as the cost of licensing the songs for video was prohibitive), and hopefully a disc will be assembled from the cutting room floor, because she turned in quite a few fantastic performances (as did daily show regular Matt Dennis, known mostly as a songwriter-"Angel Eyes" is his-but who was also a terrific singer and Shearing-esque pianist).
After Kovacs' untimely death in 1962 (car accident), she did a series of TV specials that are among the hidden gems of music on TV. She had saxophonist Stan Getz on one, playing music from Focus (Verve, 1962), his bold collaboration withcomposer/arranger Eddie Sauter, which is largely glossed over now, mostly because it is overshadowed by his bossa nova hits of the same period. Adams had very good taste in musical guests, and it would not be a disservice to see those shows resurrected.
Adams also wrote an autobiography, Sing A Pretty Song: the Offbeat Life of Edie Adams (William Morrow & Co, 1990) in which she spoke candidly-though not scandalously-of her life with and after Kovacs. Although out of print, it is well worth finding, and pops up on the usual used book websites often enough. She passed in October of 2008, 81 years old, a true grand dame of television's golden era.
Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams were TV's first truly hip married couple, their story worthy of a big book with lots of pictures and anecdotes. I am available to write it if anyone is interested. Their story gets more and more interesting the more you know of it and them. Going through my own notes for this-which date back to 1995, when I worked briefly for Adams and interviewed her extensively-I'm shocked that I've reduced things down this much. I've haven't touched hundreds of hours of TV, film roles, music, and even Kovacs' 1957 novel, Zoomar (Doubleday, out of print).
Dig in. There's a whole world here.