Tag Archives: You Bet Your Life

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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The end of an era for Jack Benny: Old-time radio listening, 26 December

The Jack Benny Program: The Last Show for NBC (NBC, 1949)

An NBC fixture since 1932, Jack Benny says goodbye to his longtime radio home following the network’s hubris—and personal humiliation—negotiating a new deal with its most popular comedian . . . (Photo: NBC)

Jack Benny says farewell to the network that’s been his radio home since 1932, preparing to move in a week to CBS. What’s the big deal, considering how frequently shows changed networks—usually, when they changed sponsors—prior to tonight? Easy: NBC has been Benny’s radio home since 1932, and his loyalty inside the industry is the proverbial stuff of legend.

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Further Pearl aftermath: Old-time radio listening, 10 December

Texaco Star Theater with Fred Allen: Death Valley Takes a Holiday (CBS, 1941)

Mr. Allen wasn’t averse to appearing in wartime hint ads from his Texaco Star Theater sponsor.

As proves so with just about all radio entertainers, Fred Allen yields to the impact of Pearl Harbour on his first show following the atrocity. The classic Texaco Star Theater introduction—the clanging bells and siren, punctuated by the cartoonish car horn, telegraphing a brief fanfare and announcer Jimmy Wallington’s hail (“It’s Texaco time with Fred Allen!”)—is muted for once.

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