Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Physically, the gangling, long-necked Jeff Goldblum is all wrong for the role of fabled TV comedian Ernie Kovacs (1919-1962) but you tend to forget this as Goldblum expertly reenacts some of Kovacs' most famous comic bits. No Kovacs bio would be complete without such scenes as the mustachioed, cigar-chomping Ernie delivering a radio broadcast while lying on a railroad track with a train rapidly approaching, or Kovacs "celebrating" the cancellation of his TV series by smashing up the set in full view of the home audience. As the title indicates, much of the film takes place between the laughs, as Kovacs desperately struggles to reclaim his children, who have been kidnapped by his emotionally disturbed ex-wife (Madolyn Smith) in the midst of an acrimonious custody battle. Melody Anderson plays Kovacs' second wife, singer Edie Adams, while the real Edie appears in a cameo as Mae West. Cloris Leachman tears a passion to tatters in the role of Ernie's outrageous Hungarian mother. Our favorite bit: Jeff Goldblum and Melody Anderson recreating Ernie's lisping, perpetually soused poet Percy Dovetonsils. Ernie Kovacs: Between the Laughter was first telecast May 14, 1984.
comedian, custody-battle, ex-wife, kidnapping, television, car-crash