Texaco Star Theater

June 8, 1948 - June 1956
NBC Comedy/Variety series

Milton Berle
Jimmy Durante
Mitzi Gaynor

Sid Stone
Jimmy Nelson
Jack Lescoulie

Fatso Marco
Ruth Gilbert
Bobby Sherwood
Arnold Stang
Jack Collins
Milton Frome

Allen Roth
Victor Young
Billy May

The most popular hour of the week during the early years
of television was Milton Berle's, on Tuesday night.
He fast developed into something of a national institution,
"Mr. Television," and it is said that he sold more TV sets
than any advertising campaign. People bought the newfangled
thing just to see this crazy comedian everyone was talking about.

The original Texaco Star Theater was built along
the lines of an old-fashioned vaudeville variety hour, with
half a dozen guests each week, including singers, comedians,
ventriloquists, and acrobats. But the star was Berle, and
he involved himself in many of the acts.

Soon the basic format was set. Each show opened with four
Texaco Service Men, singing the Texaco jingle and then working
into a musical introduction of Berle, who came on
dressed in some outlandish costume.

In one episode of the program a movie studio needs $150,000
to finish a movie, the film's producers send star Ronald Reagan
to New York to ask Milton Berle to furnish the necessary funds
as an investment. Milton misunderstands, thinking he has been
offered a starring role in Reagan's movie, and arrives at
the movie studio completely disrupting production.

Watch Ronald Reagan on The Milton Berle Show below

Elvis Presley made two appearances on the program.

Elvis Presley made his first appearance on the Milton Berle
Show on April 3, 1956 from the deck of the aircraft carrier,
the USS Hancock. Colonel Parker used the posters below
to publicly thank Milton Berle for having Elvis
perform on his national TV program.

On June 5, 1956 Elvis Presley made his second appearance
on the Milton Berle Show. Among his selections was a playfully
sensuous performance of "hound Dog" that drove the kids in
the audience wild, but some adult viewers were appalled.

Watch Elvis Presley on The Milton Berle Show below

In May 1949, Milton Berle became the first comedian to appear
simultaneously on the covers of Time and Newsweek.

Milton Berle received one of the first Emmy Awards ever given
for starring in NBC's Texaco Star Theater and was the first
person to be inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.
In 2009 twenty 44 USA commemorative classic TV postage stamps
were issued and one of them featured Milton Berle and
the Texaco Star Theater.

Each show would end with Berle singing his theme song, "Near You."

Texaco Star Theater was a hit on radio
before making it's way to television.
Click on the icon below to
listen to a sample episode.

OTRCAT has preserved 95
broadcasts that can be purchased
for just pennies per episode!
Click on the banner above to
to step back in time and listen
how this television classic began.

Milton Berle was the first person that
the world ever saw on television,
but he could also be heard on radio.
Click on the icon below to
listen to a sample episode.

OTRCAT has preserved 45
broadcasts that can be purchased
for just pennies per episode!
Click on the banner above to
to step back in time and listen
to the legendary Uncle Miltie.

Click HERE for Milton Berle's obituary.

Click above to purchase The Milton Berle Collection on DVD!

Click HERE to enter The Milton Berle Online Store!

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These links were last tested April 2011.

Check out these classic TV Guide covers...
April 9, 1954 TV Guide cover September 17, 1955 TV Guide cover January 10, 1959 TV Guide cover




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