THE ERNIE KOVACS SHOW/CBS/NBC/1952-56 (Mute)
Eugene (Ernie Kovacs), a silent, seemingly mute blithe spirit of a man dressed in a hat and tight fitting plaid jacket who wandered through a menagerie of television visual and audio effects.
On an episode sketch entitled “Library Bit” (10/15/56) Eugene opens a copy of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” and hears explosive cannon fire and bugle calls issue from the tome. Pulling a copy of “The Old Man and the Sea” gets Eugene sprayed with water. And when he peruses a copy of the classic novel “Camille,” the sound of a delicate cough is heard.
Note: Years earlier, silent film star Buster Keaton performed a similar bit when in a library he opens the cover of a book entitled “The Art of Pugilism” and is punched in the face with a boxing glove.