Vol 4: Clubhouse Comedy After a four-year run as Sergeant Ernie Bilko, Phil Silvers starred in a series of specials in which he returned to his musical comedy roots. His 1960 special Just Polly and Me, featuring Polly Bergen, provides a rare glimpse of Silvers in sketch comedy. Ernie Kovacs was a true television innovator. Inspired by a nearly non-existent budget, he developed the idea of a television show as an informal clubhouse. A 1956 episode of his daytime show features Kovacs's experiments with trick photography and a reading from his oddball poet character, Percy Dovetonsils. Kovacs's influence on subsequent television comedians is immeasurable. David Letterman is clearly a disciple. In fact, Bill Wendell, the young announcer on the Kovacs show, served in that capacity with Letterman years later. Another purveyor of the television-show-as-clubhouse format was Soupy Sales. He is seen here in a silent sketch from a 1962 episode of The Soupy Sales Show.
The Shows "The Golden Age of Comedy" chronicles the early days of live American television, a time when a wildly creative group of comedic talents resurrected a dying art form - vaudeville. In the late 1940's and throughout the 50's, the variety show format became a television fixture and the comedians who had honed their craft on the vaudeville stage became TV's first super-stars. But instead of a theatre with an audience of a thousand people, they now played to millions in living rooms across the country and later, internationally. And it was all done live! Time Life brings you classic original recordings of the very best and most memorable gags and routines from the greatest stars of the generation. "The Golden Age of Comedy" series features Bob Hope, Phil Silvers, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Buster Keaton, Groucho Marx, Abbott and Costello, Jack Benny, The Three Stooges and many more. Due to the age and nature of the film and video elements, you may notice occasional flaws in the image and sound quality. Whenever possible, we have sought out and restored the original materials to ensure the best possible quality.