Friday Video: Syncopated Simian Simulacra

Ernie Kovacs inspires and is inspired.

One of the intriguing “what could have been?” scenarios of sixties pop culture was a project that teamed Ernie Kovacs and Buster Keaton. Unfortunately, Kovacs died in car accident before the two started work.

I’ve shared Keaton videos here before, but this skit is one of my Kovacs favorites. Kovacs staged this many times with various performers in the monkey suits. According to Kovacs Corner, a YouTube Ernie Kovacs channel, this was from an ABC Network broadcast on January 23rd, 1962 — ten days after Kovacs died. Kovacs played the ape conductor in the center, Jolene Brand was the pianist, and the conductor’s percussive nemesis could be Bobby Lauher.

Let me lay on you, the one… the only… The Nairobi Trio!

And here’s Edie Adams telling how singer Peter Hanley played a 45 record of Robert Maxwell’s Solfeggio back when he was part of the ensemble on “The Ernie Kovacs Show” on the Dumont Network in 1954 and how it swiftly inspired Kovacs to create the Nairobi Trio skit.