Percy Dovetonsils began with a pair of
novelty glasses from a novelty store in Philadelphia, purchased by Andy
McKay. McKay was Ernie's production assistant, ensemble player,
prop man, etc etc etc. Ernie drew the lines on the fake eyeballs
in the glasses to give him that half-awake look, and fashioned Percy's
persona after Ted Malone, who read poetry on a program called Between
the Bookends. Thus, Percy's lilting, lisping sign-off was always
"I'll see you just outside the bookends".
part of the stable of Kovacs characters from the early days in
Philadelphia in 1951 all the way to the end. In the fall of 1961
Kovacs recorded an album for Vanguard called "Perthy Dovetonthils
Thpeakth", which was never released. A few poems from it are on
the Columbia LP "The Ernie Kovacs Record", which was released in the
late 1970s. The original master tapes for the album, consisting
of 16 tracks, survives. So do the original Percy Dovetonsils
glasses that Andy McKay bought during the run of Three To Get Ready on
(presented here with permission from Ediad Productions, Inc. all
in the Booze
hail to thee, tiny insect so small,
on the ice cube, poor cold little thing.
stay there too long, you'll find with remorse,
ankles will numb and your buzz will get hoarse.
all little flies,
people hate flies, take my old Cousin Sam,
in a snit when you sit in his jam.
seen sister Sally turn red as a beet
you walk on her nose with your six sticky feet.
you walk on the ceiling, your brow seems to frown,
blood go to your head, when you stand upside down?
optometrist friend, a dear boy named Rex,
bifocals for flies - he calls them fly specs.
you're coughing because you are so full of trouble,
it the bourbon that's making you bubble?
should get off the ice, the temperature's minus,
get frost in your navel and a wee touch of sinus.
SICK OF DIETING
sick of dieting
really feel bombastic.
candy without sugar,
lard that's made of plastic.
the lowering of calories I've really grown to hate
so low now they're shoved in under the plate.
Suzette's were made for crepe-ing
cream is to be caked.
is great for vacation,
Alaska was made to be baked.
and Eve wore fig leaves,
earliest of earth's known years
wore them through Spring and through Summer,
caught dreadful colds though, soon after,
least historians so recall.
leaves were swell in the summer,
what happened to those leaves in the fall ?
Lisa you always smile
Heather up on the heath.
come you never laugh out loud,
be you have bad teeth?
moon is full of craters
some mountains too,
because there are no people,
goes to the Zoo.
cowboy so lean, O
cowboy so tall,
there straight as an arrow.
side-saddle you ride, instead
perhaps a gay ranchero?
SOMETIMES I WISH I WERE A DOG
sometimes I wish I were a dog,
or Cocker Spaniel
perhaps a German Spitz,
maybe a Chihuahua named Manuel.
I met a
girl named Doberman
without a doubt it's cinch, her
wish I were a Doberman Pinch-her.
FROM A GERM'S-EYE VIEWPOINT
germ I'm smaller than the flea.
can see you,
can't see me.
mother is in pictures,
seen her on the screen.
gave chicken pox to Allan Ladd
mumps to Bobby Breen.
sister is at Vassar,
sports she's really a dream.
week they made her captain
BIRTHDAY TO A BOOKWORM
to thee thou streamlined fellow,
through my books like
goes through Jell-O.
open a book and
back at the binding,
crumbs from your lunch
you first, so trim and so spruce,
gummed a few pages out of my mother goose.
browsed though my shelves, In your eye was a twinkle,
ate the first chapter of old Rip Van Winkle.
next time I saw you I was so miffed.
off the ending of inventor Tom Swift
made little bites so round and so tidy,
over the back of my copy of Heidi.
then you reached manhood, I recall with some pain
you first bit your way into Mickey Spillane.
chapter 1 and then began rushing,
chapter 13 I noticed you blushing.
years pass on by you continue to munch,
were big enough then to eat Ivanhoe for lunch.
you ate Lawrence of Arabia, I heard your loud sigh,
lay gasping for water - the book was so dry.
is your birthday, may you live good and long,
night will be filled with your nibbling song.
can eat my presents from the back to the front
today I've enrolled you in the "Book of the Month."
THE MEAN ANIMAL TRAINER
worked in a circus
worked in a great big cage.
smacked the lions
beat the bears
them all in a rage.
kicked the lions with iron sneakers
rolled up army cots.
cleaning fluid on all the leopards
sneered when they lost their spots.
chimpanzee got even with him...
got killed by some smells,
stuck his head the lion's mouth
read poetry on radio for many years, starting in the early 1930s, on a
program called "Between the Bookends". Supposedly Malone was an
inspiration for Percy, although aside from the reading of poetry and
Ernie's paraphrasing of Malone's program name in Percy's sign-off
("I'll see you just outside the bookends"), there is little else
resembling Ted Malone. Listen to Ted
recite "Why the Chimes Rang" and see for yourself. The Percy
persona and silliness most probably can be traced to Ernie's sense
of humor...and those glasses Andy McKay found at a 5 and 10 in Philly.