A certified comic genius, Ernie Kovacs' great accomplishments lay in his sublimely creative, way-ahead-of-its-time television work. Born in New Jersey to Hungarian immigrants, Kovacs was an unremarkable student, though he excelled in high-school theatricals. A serious bout with pleurisy ended his training at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. After working with a ragtag theatrical troupe, Kovacs attained his first radio work as an announcer for Trenton's WTTM. As the station's director of special events, the mustachioed, cigar-smoking Kovacs gained a fan following by staging such zany events as lying on a railroad track as a train approached, informing the listeners at home how it felt to be so close to death! He inaugurated his television career at Philadelphia's WPTZ in 1950, where he stretched the limits of the primitive medium with wild sketches, non sequitur sight gags, and trick photography. He carried this innovative spirit into his first network program, 1952's Kovacs Unlimited.