Ernie Kovacs: Between the Laughter
This TV movie about the pioneering TV comedian spotlights the little known story of his two-year search for the two young daughters abducted by his ex-wife following a bitter custody struggle that raged while he was making his meteoric rise from local Philadelphia television personality to network star in the early '50s. Jeff Goldblum's portrayal was generally admired but most took exception to his physical casting as the bear-like Kovacs, and similar eyebrow-raising was caused by Cloris Leachman's somewhat outre performance as Kovacs' Hungarian-accented meddler of a mother, which won her an Emmy Award nomination.
Edie Adams, who had been a singer on Kovacs' show in Philadelphia and on the network while pursuing a stage career for herself ("Wonderful Town" and "Li'l Abner" remain her only two Broadway musicals) and, as his girlfriend at the time, remained at his side to share his agony, turned in a cameo appearance as Mae West to give timely show business advice to the screen Edie (Melody Anderson). She also is credited as technical advisor for the production and supplier of material incorporated into April Smith's Emmy Award-nominated script. Director Lamont Johnson also received a nomination.