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OF THE 1940'S & 50'S





Milton Berle

Milton Berle, too!

Uncle Miltie
1991: The first inductee into the International Comedy Hall of Fame


Milton Berle with his classic cigarBerle, Milton, American comedian and actor, the first American television (TV) superstar, who gained prominence in the late 1940s as host of "Texaco Star Theatre" (1948-1956) on the National Broadcasting Company  (NBC) network. His popularity is believed to have aided the sale of TV sets to working-class families, earning him the nickname Mr. Television. To young viewers he was famed as Uncle Miltie.

Born Milton Berlinger in New York City, Berle performed in silent movies as a child.  In the 1920s he worked in vaudeville, where he developed broad and brash comedy routines. He also appeared in Broadway shows in New York City. In the 1930s he hosted a number of variety shows (programs made up of several separate performances, such as songs, skits, comedy Milton Berle with Lucille Ballroutines, and dances) on radio without achieving any real measure of fame. When he began appearing on television in the 1940s, however, he achieved nationwide popularity, since he specialized in physical comedy suited for a visual medium and America's ripe viewing audience.

Milton Chiquita Banana BerleNBC had meant to use a rotation of hosts on its "Texaco Star Theatre" when it was launched in 1948, but Berle was such an instant success that he became the sole host. Audiences loved his sight gags, puns, funny ways of walking, and outlandish costumes. His popularity faded in the mid-1950s, however, as television viewers grew more sophisticated. "Texaco Star Theatre," which had been renamed "The Milton Berle Show" in 1954, ended in 1956. Berle continued to make guest appearances on similar programs during the mid-1960s, and an attempt in 1966 to revive his variety show was unsuccessful.

Milton Berle with Bob HopeIn the 1960s Berle switched careers to focus solely on acting, and he appeared in roles in dramatic TV programs; in TV series, such as "F Troop" (1965-1967), "Batman" (1966-1968), and "The Love Boat" (1977-1986); and in TV movies. He won Emmy Awards in 1949 (for "Texaco Star Theatre") and 1979 (special award for Berle's contribution to television), and in 1984 he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.



1948-56 Texaco Star Theater
1958-59 Milton Berle Starring in the Kraft Music Hall 1960-61 Jackpot Bowling
1966-67 The Milton Berle Show


1970 Seven In Darkness
1972 Evil Roy Slade
1975 The Legend of Valentino
1988 Side By Side



1950 Uncle Miltie's Christmas Party
1950 Show of the Year (host)
1951 Uncle Miltie's Easter Party
1955 The Big Time (co-host)
1959 The Milton Berle Special
1959 The Milton Berle Special
1961 The Chrysler Television Special
1962 The Milton Berle Special
1972 Opening Night: U.S.A.
1973 A Show Business Salute to Milton Berle
1975 Milton Berle's Mad Mad Mad World of Comedy
1976 The First 50 Years (co-host)
1978 A Tribute to "Mr. Television" Milton Berle
1986 NBC's 60th Anniversary Celebration (co-host)

Uncle MiltieFILMS (selection)

Various Biography silent productions; New Faces of 1937; Radio City Revels, 1938; Tall, Dark, and Handsome, 1941; Sun Valley Serenade, 1941; Rise and Shine, 1941; A Gentleman at Heart, 1942; Over My Dead Body, 1942; Whispering Ghosts, 1942; Margin for Error, 1943; Always Leave Them Laughing, 1949; Let's Make Love, 1960; It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, 1963; The Loved One, 1965; The Oscar, 1966; The Happening, 1967; Who's Minding the Mint?, 1967; Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows, 1968; For Singles Only, 1968; Can Hieronymous Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?, 1969; Lepke, 1975; The Muppet Movie, 1979; Broadway Danny Rose, 1984; Driving Me Crazy, 1992; Storybook, 1995.

RADIO (selection)

Texaco Star Theater, 1939-1948; The Milton Berle Show, 1939; Stop Me if You've Heard This One (co-host); Let Yourself Go, 1944; Kiss and Make Up, 1946.


Floradora, 1920; Earl Carroll Vanities, 1932; Saluta, 1934; Life Begins at 8:40, 1935; See My Lawyer, 1939; I'll Take the High Road, 1943; Spring in Brazil, 1945; Seventeen, 1951; Top Banana, 1963; The Goodbye People, 1968; Two by Two, 1971; The Milton Berle Show, 1971; Last of the Red Hot Lovers, 1970-71; Norman, Is That You?, 1973-75; The Best of Everybody, 1975; The Sunshine Boys, 1976.


Laughingly Yours. New York, Los Angeles: Samuel French, 1939.
Out of My Trunk. Garden City, New York: Blue Ribbon Books, 1945.
Earthquake. New York: Random House, 1959.
Milton Berle: An Autobiography with Haskel Frankel. New York: Delacourte, 1974.
B.S. I Love You. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1987.
Milton Berle's Private Joke File. New York: Crown, 1989.
More of the Best of Milton Berle's Private Joke File. New York: William Morrow, 1993.

Thank you to Encarta for information about Uncle Miltie
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