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MILTON BERLE DIES AT 93 (1908 - 2002) 
Milton Berle was born Mendel Berlinger on July 12, 1908, in New York City
"Uncle Miltie," died Wednesday on March 28, 2002 at his home in Beverly Hills
While most TV hosts stunned Elvis Presley's volatile stage act, 
Milton Berle celebrated the birth of rock n roll.

1956 Elvis Presley performed on "The Milton Berle Show." The show was broadcast live from the aircraft carrier USS Hancock. Elvis played the songs, Heartbreak Hotel, Blue Suede Shoes


Milton Berle with Elvis
 

Elvis on the Milton Berle Show


Elvis appeared on the Milton Berle Show April 3
 (on the deck of the aircraft carrier, the USS Hancock.) and June 5 1956

Milton Berle - Milton Berle was nicknamed "Uncle Miltie" who hosted the Milton Berle Television Show.  Elvis appeared twice on the Milton Berle Show  April 3 and June 5 1956 when Berle played Elvis' twin brother Melvin Presley in a comedy skit. Milton Berle, the cigar-chomping comedian whose domination of television in the early '50s as the host of NBC's "Texaco Star Theatre" earned him the title "Mr. Television," died Wednesday after a lengthy illness. He was 93.

Milton Berle ShowBerle's career began when he was 5 years old and spanned more than 80 years in stage, film, radio, and television. He also penned some 400 published songs. But it was on television in the 1940s and '50s that Berle made his most lasting mark. 

Milton Berle died in his sleep at 2:45 p.m. at his home in Los Angeles with his wife, Lorna, and other family members at his side, Berle's long-time publicist Warren Cowan said. Berle had been diagnosed with colon cancer last year and had been under hospice care for the past few weeks.

Elvis appeared on the Milton Berle Show on April 3 (from the deck of the aircraft carrier, the USS Hancock.) and June 5 1956. Among his selections on his second appearance was a playfully sensuous performance of "Hound Dog" that drive the kids in the audience wild, and, the next day, has the press and some of the adult viewers appalled. It is one of his most controversial performances.

Milton Berle's career is one of the longest and most varied in show business, spanning silent film, vaudeville, radio, motion pictures, and television. He started in show business at the age of five, appearing as a child in The Perils of Pauline and Tillie's Punctured Romance. Through the 1920s, Berle moved up through the vaudeville circuit, finding his niche in the role of a brash comic known for stealing the material of fellow comedians. He also became a popular master of ceremonies in vaudeville, achieving top billing in the largest cities and theatres. During the 1930s, Berle appeared in a variety of Hollywood films and further polished his comedy routines in night clubs and on radio.

Berle is best known for his role as host of Texaco Star Theatre, television's most popular program during its early years. The show had begun on the ABC radio network in the spring of 1948, and Berle took part in a television test version for Texaco and NBC in June of that year. He was selected as host, and the first East Coast broadcast of the TV series began in September. Within two months, Berle became television's first super-star, with the highest ratings ever attained and was soon referred to as "Mr. Televi-sion," "Mr. Tuesday Night," and "Uncle Miltie." Restaurants, theatres, and nightclubs adjusted their schedules so patrons would not miss Berle's program at 8:00 P.M. on Tuesday nights. Berle is said to have stimulated television sales and audience size in the same way Amos 'n' Andy had sparked the growth of radio.

Although the budget for each program was a modest $15,000, many well-known entertainers were eager to appear for the public exposure Texaco Star Theatre afforded, providing further viewer appeal and popularity for the program. The one-hour live shows typically included visual vaudeville routines, music, comedy and sketches. Other regular features included the singing Texaco station attendants and the pitchman commercials by Sid Stone. Berle was noted for interjecting himself into the acts of his guests, which, along with his opening appearance in out-landish costumes, became a regular feature. His use of sight gags, props, and visual style seemed well-suited for the TV medium. In 1951, Berle signed a contract With NBC granting him $200,000 a year for 30 years providing he appear on NBC exclusively.

His was one of the first television shows to be promoted through merchandising, including Uncle Miltie T-shirts, comic books and chewing gum. When other programs evolved to compete with Berle's popularity, his dominance of the television audience began to wane, and Texaco ended its sponsorship. In the 1953-54 season, the Buick-Berle Show was set into the 8:00 P.M. Tuesday time slot. Facing greater competition and sensing the need for more determined effort to compensate for the dwindling novelty of both the program and the medium, Berle's staff and writers changed focus from the zany qualities of the show's early days to a more structured format. Berle continued to attract a substantial audience, but he was dropped by Buick at the end of the season in 1955. Hour long variety shows had become more difficult to orchestrate due to higher costs, in-creasing salary demands, and union complications. Also, Berle's persona had shifted from the impetuous and aggressive style of the Texaco Star Theatre days to a more cultivated, but less distinctive personality, leaving many fans somehow unsatisfied. The next year, a new Milton Berle Show was produced in California for the 1955-56 season, but it failed to capture either the spirit or the audience of Uncle Miltie in his prime. Berle was feature-red on Kraft Music Hall in the late 1950s and Jackpot Bowling, a 1960s game show. In 1965, Berle renegotiated his 30-year contract with NBC, allowing him to appear on any network. He later made guest appearances in dramas as well as comedy programs. In addition to television, Berle's career in the later years included film, night clubs, and benefit shows. He has been the subject of nearly every show business tribute and award, including an Emmy and TV specials devoted to his contributions and legacy in broadcasting. (B.R. Smith)

MILTON BERLE. (Mendel Berlinger). Born in New York City, New York, U.S., 12 July 1908. Attended Professional Children's School. Married 1) Joyce Mathews (twice) (divorced, twice); two children; 2) Ruth Gosgrove Rosenthal, 1953; children: Vicki and Billy. Began career by winning contest for Charlie Chaplin imitators, 1913; children's' roles in Biography silent film productions; cast member of E.W. Wolf's vaudeville children's acts; in theatre since Floradora, Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1920; debuted in New York City with Floradora, 1920; in radio, 1930s; toured with Ziegfeld Follies, 1936; television series and specials from 1948; lyricist of more than 300 songs; contributor to Variety magazine. Honorary H.H.D., McKendree College, Lebanon, Illinois, 1984. Member: ASCAP; American Guild of Authors and Composers; Grand Street Boys; Friar's (re-elected honorary abbot emeritus, 1968; president [Los Angeles] from 1978). Recipient: Yiddish Theatrical Alliance Humanitarian Award, 1951; Look magazine TV Award, 1951; National Academy of Arts and Sciences Award, Man of the Year, 1959; Emmy Award Nominee, 1961; AGVA Golden Award, 1977; Special Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement, 1978/79. (Source: the Museum of Broadcast Communications





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