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Archive Television Treasures: The Edie Adams Show

Sammy Davis Jr. and Edie Adams
December 17, 2020 - 4:00 pm

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Made possible by the John H. Mitchell Television Programming Endowment

The Edie Adams Show (a.k.a. Here’s Edie)  (ABC, 12/5/1963)

Whether co-starring alongside her beloved husband and partner Ernie Kovacs in innumerous landmark television productions, or stealing scenes in a classic feature film such as Billy Wilder’s The Apartment, entertainer, actor and comedienne Edie Adams (1927-2008) illuminated screens big and small with her outsized combination of smarts and talent. Following the tragic, unexpected death of Kovacs in a freak car accident in 1962, Adams soon found herself with an extended family to solely provide for and financial responsibility for her husband’s significant gambling and I.R.S. debts. Adams channeled her devastating grief into action, lining up much-needed revenue from nightclub gigs and developing a TV series for family friend and sponsor, Jack Mogulescu of the Consolidated Cigar Corporation. The resulting variety program, Here’s Edie (later retitled, The Edie Adams Show), proved a showcase both for Adams’ substantial creative abilities (given full control, she hand-picked acts and designed the costumes under her real given name “Enke”) and her notable business acumen (her contract afforded her ownership of her series). For their investment and trust, Consolidated Cigar Corporation saw Adams’ memorable role as a sophisticated and sexy TV and print spokesperson for their Muriel Cigar line push sales exponentially through the roof. The cigar maker would keep Adams under contract for decades, while the artist continued to amass a wealth of credits in movies and on television. Adams passed away in 2008 at age 81, leaving a long legacy not only in entertainment, but as an influential early advocate for the importance of television preservation.

Alternating every other week with The Sid Caesar Show on ABC, the Emmy-nominated Here’s Edie/The Edie Adams Show offered a lean 30-minute variety format that gave top-level performers an artful platform to display their talents. In this December 5, 1963 episode, Adams offers a mod behind-the-scenes look at the production of her series and special guest Sammy Davis Jr. brings it all—singing with a live orchestra, doing a litany of Hollywood impressions, and stopping the show with his trademark footwork. With original cigar commercials and a few surprise bonuses—including color amateur footage promoting Adams’ “Cut & Curl” beauty salon franchises in the 1960s.

An Ediad Production. Director: Joe Behar. Executive Producer: David Oppenheim. No writer credits on program. Starring: Edie Adams. Guests: Sammy Davis, Jr., Charlie Brill, Mitzi McCall.

Program in b&w and color. Total running time: 55 min.

Josh Mills, Ernie Kovacs historian and son of Edie Adams, will join Television Archivist Mark Quigley for a conversation following the screening.

Program curated and notes written by Mark Quigley, John H. Mitchell Television Archivist.

Visit the official Edie Adams website.