The contestants on this quiz show had been involved in notable news events. Films clips or recordings of the event were shown; if they were unavailable, Kovacs and the three actors would ... See full summary »




1961   1960   1959  


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Complete series cast summary:
...  Panelist / ... 14 episodes, 1959-1961
...  Panelist / ... 9 episodes, 1959-1961
...  Panelist / ... 8 episodes, 1959-1961


The contestants on this quiz show had been involved in notable news events. Films clips or recordings of the event were shown; if they were unavailable, Kovacs and the three actors would act out the event. The panelists had to guess who the contestant was. Written by J.E. McKillop <>

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Plot Keywords:

quiz show | non fiction | See All (2) »


Family | Game-Show





Release Date:

22 October 1959 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Edited into Ernie Kovacs: Television's Original Genius (1982) See more »


Rialto Ripples Rag
Written by George Gershwin
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User Reviews

The importance of being Ernie
26 December 2002 | by See all my reviews

Ernie Kovacs was one of the great utility men of early television: although he had distinctive talents, he usually ended up doing whatever the station managers needed somebody to do. At one point in his career, Kovacs hosted a morning cookery show called 'Deadline for Breakfast'. The quiz show 'Take a Good Look' was several notches above that, but it definitely isn't one of the high marks of Kovacs's career. Still, any tv series starring Ernie Kovacs merits attention.

In terms of appeal, 'Take a Good Look' was similar to Groucho Marx's 'You Bet Your Life': both were nominally quiz shows, but in both cases the real appeal of the show was the host's quick-witted banter with his guests. Also, on both of these quiz shows, the amount of money at stake was too little to raise the stigma of corruption which plagued so many 1950s quiz programmes. For 'Take a Good Look', Ernie Kovacs (unlike Groucho) had the benefit of a rotating panel of celebrity guessers and Kovacs's cast of supporting comedians. Special praise should go to Bobby Lauher, a chirpy little blond man whose role in Kovacs's comedy universe is comparable to the work Howard Morris did in support of Sid Caesar.

In terms of content and rules, 'Take a Good Look' was similar to the earlier 'I've Got a Secret'. Each guest on the show had once done something which had briefly put him or her in the headlines. The celebrity panel had to guess what this person had done to earn his or her 15 minutes of fame. To make the panel's task easier(?), Kovacs's comedians would act out a brief skit which was meant to be a clue(?) to the guest's achievement. Of course, these skits actually made things more confusing ... but they were a big source of this show's entertainment value.

A typical example: one of Kovacs's guests was a former Olympic medallist in the decathlon, who had defeated his German rival by achieving a higher score in the broad jump. The skit featured one of Kovacs's stooges dressed as Huck Finn, fishing at the old fishin' hole. Up from the surface of the water pops the conning tower of a German U-boat, aiming its periscope at Huck Finn ... who immediately leaps over the U-boat and lands safely on the other side of the fishing hole. That's the clue. The panel of celebrities were supposed to guess the phrase 'Beat the Germans by a broad jump.' Of course they failed to guess ... so the decathlete won a small cash award.

'Take a Good Look' was not one of the all-time great quiz shows, but -- like 'You Bet Your Life', and for similar reasons -- these old episodes still make enjoyable viewing, many decades later. Kovacs wrote most of the skits himself, and his unique comedy touch is evident throughout. 'Take a Good Look' was produced by Irving Mansfield, who later shaped the career of his wife, novelist Jacqueline Susann.

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