KEENE, N.H.

Here’s Edie -- Edie Adams was once best known as the wife of comedian Ernie Kovacs until his death in 1962. Left with the large debts and obligations incurred by the deceased, Edie had to bring in the bucks by her own efforts and talents. Being absolutely gorgeous with a terrific sense of comedy and a more than merely adequate voice, she was given her own half-hour TV series, "Here’s Edie." It ran from April 1962 to June 1963. Then its name was changed to "The Edie Adams Show" and ran from September 1963 to March 1964, alternating with Sid Caesar’s show.

After the shows sat in some vault or another, MVD Visual has issued a four-DVD set, titled "Here’s Edie, the Edie Adams Television Collection" -- and it is certainly worth the watching!

Edie’s shows are mostly devoted to musical numbers -- the most popular of which are the Muriel Cigars commercials, in which the star makes smoking them a very sexy matter indeed. The comic routines tend to be a little routine, but her spoofing imitation of Marilyn Monroe is absolutely devastating.

Among the myriad stars who show up in the course of the 21 shows included in this set are Dick Shawn, Duke Ellington, Peter Faulk, Charlie Barnet, Rowan & Martin, Buddy Hackett, Bob Hope, Count Basie, Sammy Davis Jr., Terry-Thomas, Spike Jones, Bobby Darin and even Soupy Sales. There are too many bonus features listed in the informative booklet for my even mentioning selected ones; but they are on the discs for all to enjoy. Some are from the older Ernie Kovacs telecasts.

Note: There is a collection of those Kovacs shows on the Shout label that cuts out all the musical numbers because of copyright requirements. So some of these bonus tracks on "Here’s Edie" are particularly valuable to TV historians.

Entfuhrung Aus Dem Serail -- Mozart’s "Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail" ("The Abduction from the Seraglio," 1781) is a Singspiel, literally a sing-play, a work in German in which the musical numbers are followed by spoken dialogue.

At any rate, it was commissioned by Emperor Joseph II, who might or might not have actually said about it "Too many notes." Since then, productions have more or less kept all the notes but have been performed with much, most, some, or very little of the dialogue. The version that has been released on the Arthaus Musik label, presented at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1976, runs 130 minutes.

The plot was of a type popular in those days: the "rescue" tale in which a lover saves the beloved from a prison of some sort. In Beethoven’s "Fidelio," the rescuer is a woman. In "Abduction," it is Belmonte (Horst Laubenthal), a Spanish nobleman, who seeks to rescue his Konstanze (Zdzislawa Donat) from the clutches of Pasha Selim (Hans Peter Hallwachs) -- while his sidekick Pedrillo (Norbert Orth) seeks to rescue his Blonde (Barbara Vogel) from evil servant Osmin (Martti Talvela).

There are many video versions of this work, some of which play up the comedy. In the case of this 1976 performance, stage director Gunther Rennert has chosen to approach it on its own terms, making (as best he could, given these fairly cardboard characters) the cast act realistically. Of course, the stupid Osmin is supposed to be silly; and it helps that he is played by bass-baritone, who is over two meters tall (about 6.5 feet).

Blonde is petite and (wellÅ ) blonde, Konstanze mature and quite handsome, Belmonte young and handsome, Pedrillo young and definitely a sort of Figaro. This work is notable for having a main character given only dialogue, and actor Hallwachs speaks with dignity, although he plays the role of villain up to the "twist ending." They all sing well, but a few of Talvea’s very low notes are hard to hear. And it seems that Donat needs more projection in her major aria.

The scenery is not overly elaborate and, along with the costumes, represents the time and place very well. The colors are subdued, as is the acting itself. And I can find no fault in the conducting of Gary Bertini. All that the production lacks is a little excitement; but at least it does not indulge in "concept" nonsense.

The picture is in full screen 4:3 format and the subtitles are in three languages.

Frank Behrens reports on classical and Broadway music as well as recordings of books and plays.