The Texaco Star Theatre was one of the most popular shows in the history of television. In the first year, Milton Berle was not the permanent emcee, but once he replaced the rotation, the show soared to ratings dominance (Number One in 1950-51), NBC dominated Tuesday night, and Berle became the first great star of the new medium, "Mr. Television". The basic format was modeled after a vaudeville variety hour, spotlighting Berle's jokes, sight gags, and costumes. Written by
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First televised 8 June 1948. This hour-long NBC comedy-variety series was enormously popular and responsible for exponentially increasing the sales of TV sets across the US. It wound down (some would say it just ran out of gas) in June 1956 and Milton Berle
took a couple of years off before returning with a slightly revamped 30-minute version on NBC in October 1958, which failed to click with an audience now enamored by westerns, detective shows and anthology dramas. This second version left the air in May 1959. Berle spent the next seven years doing the TV guest star bit along with taking on noticeable roles in major Hollywood productions (It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
(1963), Who's Minding the Mint?
(1967)) when ABC offered him another crack at hour-long prime time in September 1966, but gave him a slot up against Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, and it was bumped off in the ratings by the forces of U.N.C.L.E. The last show was broadcast on January 6, 1967. See more
Oh, we're the men of Texaco. / We work from Maine to Mexico. / There's nothing like this Texaco of ours; / Our show tonight is powerful, / We'll wow you with an hourful / of howls from a showerful / of stars; / We're the merry Texaco-men. / Tonight we may be showmen; / Tomorrow we'll be servicing / your cars."