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David Walley research material about Ernie Kovacs, ca. 1972-1975
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: David Walley research material about Ernie Kovacs
    Date (inclusive): ca. 1972-1975
    Collection number: 2107
    Creator: David Walley
    Extent: 1 boxes (0.5 linear ft.)
    Abstract: Research material collected by David Walley during the early 1970s for the writing of his biography on Ernie Kovacs.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UC Regents. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of David Walley, 1976.

    Processing Note

    Processed by Chris Marino in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Megan Hahn Fraser, August 2011.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], David Walley research material about Ernie Kovacs (Collection 2107). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4233950 


    David G. Walley was born March 18, 1945 in Plainfield, New Jersey, son of Miron Monroe (a lawyer) and Sylvia Silot Walley. In 1967 Walley graduated with a BA from Rutgers University and continued his education at Hofstra University from 1967 to 1968. He worked as a columnist for Jazz and Pop magazine and the East Village Other, and wrote music reviews in Zygote, Fusion, and Changes. He was later Arts Editor of the L.A. Free Press. His books include: No Commercial Potential: The Saga of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention (1972), Nothing in Moderation: a Biography of Ernie Kovacs (1975), and Teenage Nervous Breakdown: Music Politics in the Post-Elvis Age (c. 1998). Throughout his career he worked as a music critic, book and arts reviewer, editor, lecturer, and media consultant. Walley died in 2006 at the age of 61. At the time he was in the process of finishing a biography of the historian Herbert Feis entitled The Shackled Historian: The Life and Times of Herbert Feis.
    Ernie Kovacs was born Ernest Edward Kovacs on January 23, 1919 in Trenton, New Jersey. After graduating acting school at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Kovacs found work as a disc jockey on Trenton's WTTM radio and as a columnist for Trenton's local weekly newspaper The Trentonian. It was in Trenton where Kovacs developed his ad-libbed comedic style. Kovacs found success as a character actor in films such as: Operation Mad Ball, Wake Me When It's Over, Our Man in Havana, Bell Book and Candle, It Happened to Jane, Five Golden Hours, and Sail a Crooked Ship. He also did several TV specials: Silent Show and the Ernie Kovacs Special. Kovacs died in an automobile accident in Southern California when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a power pole on January 13, 1962. Kovacs was only 43 years old.

    Scope and Content

    Collection consists of research material assembled by Walley for his book about Ernie Kovacs called Nothing in Moderation: a biography of Ernie Kovacs (1976). Collected by Walley in the early 1970s, some of the material actually dates from the 1950s and 1960s. Research materials include newspaper clippings (majority are photocopies of the original newspaper), transcribed interviews Walley conducted with Kovacs friends and co-workers, correspondence, annotated production memos, literature on Kovacs, publicity photographs and stills of movies that Kovacs was in, and Walley's annotated draft of the biography.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Walley, David --Archives.
    Kovacs, Ernie, 1919-1962.
    Authors, American --Archival resources.
    Comedians --United States.
    Television actors and actresses --United States.
    Motion picture actors and actresses --United States.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    manuscripts for publication.