From 1950 until he died in an auto accident in 1962, Ernie Kovacs created some of the most inventive and unusual television ever made. A new box set collects more than 13 hours of the TV pioneer's best and rarest programs. TV critic David Bianculli says it's "a mandatory purchase for anyone who loves TV."
Lehrer, whose topical songs include "Pollution" and "The Vatican Rag," is the subject of a new multimedia release called The Tom Lehrer Collection. David Bianculli reviews the two-disc set, which includes Lehrer's greatest hits and never-before-seen concert footage.
In 1955, Ford had a hit with his version of Merle Travis' "Sixteen Tons." Later, he was known for his gospel music and daytime and evening television shows. A new collection of his hits, "16 Tons of Boogie" is out on Rhino records.
Comedian Imogene Coca. Coca is a television legend, co-starring with Sid Caeser on the groundbreaking comedy series, "Your Show of Shows," in the 1950s. Since then, Coca's had numerous roles on TV, on stage, and in movies. Imogene Coca is teeming up with Sid Caesar once again, for a series of appearances at Michael's Pub in New York City, beginning April 17th.
Television Critic David Bianculli previews the 20th anniversary reunion of "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour." While the show features some clips from the original programs, it is composed mostly of updated skits featuring comics from including Steve Martin, Leigh French and Pat Paulson. The musicians include Glenn Campbell, John Hartford, Jennifer Warnes and Mason Williams.
Tom and Dick Smothers are known as the "Smothers Brothers," a musical comedy duo that began by satirizing the folk acts of their day. Their popularity in the 1960s led to a Sunday night variety show. The show, with its topical content, often clashed with censors, and in 1969, the brothers were fired. The Smothers Brothers reunited in 1980.
On this edition of "Hearing Secret Harmonies," rock critic Ken Tucker will review the television special "Motown: Yesterday, Today, Forever," and share some of the music "you didn't hear on the special," including songs by Jackie Wilson and Smokey Robinson. (PARTIAL REVIEW)
Singer and lyricist Peggy King was well known in the 1950s, especially for her appearances on television variety programs, such as the Mel Torme Show. She left the business to raise her children in Philadelphia, but has returned to performance. King will perform with the Philly Pops, singing a Johnny Mercer set.