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Texaco Star Theater
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TV Series
    (June 8, 1948-May 6, 1956)
    Variety show on NBC
    Regulars included Milton Frome, Ruth Gilbert, Irving Benson, Fatso Marco, Bobby Sherwood and Arnold Stang
    Hosted by Milton Berle
    It frequently featured Texaco propaganda, showing their employees as guardian angels doing good deeds for the local white community.
    The shows opening theme implied that the entertainers you saw could be working on your car at any moment.
    Because of the show, Milton Berle was left over-exposed and burnt-out.
    Its humor is extremely dated.
    The network, thinking Berle was going to be popular forever, signed him to a $6 million 30-year contract without knowing the staying power of TV comedians.
    Berle's persona on the show as a fun-loving 'Uncle Miltie' was completely different from the asshole many reported him as being.
    It was a haven for stolen gags from other comedians.
    The show's motto must have been, 'When all else fails, show Milton in drag.'
    Texaco dropped its sponsorship and the title was bought by Buick as the 'Buick-Berle Hour.'
    The show was revived in 1966 and it failed to attract any viewers.
    Most movie stars would not do the show, as they saw television as beneath them.
    Since it was filmed live, there were many goofs.
    It was first huge hit on television.
    It made Milton Berle the first television star, earning him the nickname 'Mr. Television.'
    Four out of five TV-owning houses tuned in to his show every Tuesday.
    The show so badly cut into movie theater revenues on Tuesday nights. Theaters would offer premiums on Tuesday night, like free dishes to their patrons.
    Unlike other early television shows, it had lavish production values and treated its audience to a wide variety of entertainment.
    Many cite it as the reason working class families started buying televisions.
    Before it went on the air, only 50,000 TV sets had been sold nationwide. By the time it left the airwaves, the number inflated to over 30 million.
    It lead a revival in vaudevillian comedy.

Credit: Captain Howdy

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