Tag Archives: Milton Berle

11 November: The perfect mug for television

Berle's first radio series was on CBS. (Photo: CBS.)

Berle’s first radio series was on CBS. (Photo: CBS.)

Anyone taking an objective look at Milton Berle’s career before television has to ask how he was able to forge any kind of radio life at all. Over some fourteen years’ effort, he’ll have only two top fifty seasonal ratings’ finishes to show for it. He’ll be known as either radio’s best-known failure (as John Dunning would phrase it) or “Tuesday’s Poor Relative” by Jim Ramsburg (in Network Radio Ratings, 1932-1953), the latter a nod to Berle’s most frequent night of trying and falling too far short.

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16 September: Nibbling the hand that can’t feed you

The Milton Berle Show: Salute to Radio (NBC, 1947)

Milton Berle, who never got vaudeville out of his blood. (Photo: NBC.)

Milton Berle, who never got vaudeville out of his blood or his brain. (Photo: NBC.)

It seems perversely appropriate that the nation’s Uncle Miltie-to-be delivers a good-natured satire of radio a year before he becomes Mr. Television. For all his radio years, Milton Berle will probably be the luckiest man alive to land his Texaco Star Theater television job and legend—because he’s actually known as old-time radio’s biggest prolonged failure.

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