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Texaco Star Theatre (TV Series 1948–1956) Poster

(1948–1956)

Trivia

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.
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The show's sponsorship shifted from Texaco to Buick in 1953 and it became known as "The Buick-Berle Show", continuing to be broadcast on Tuesday nights at 8:00 pm. In 1954 it became known simply as "The Milton Berle Show".
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Episode records are incomplete. Berle did not begin as the permanent emcee; hosts rotated during the summer of 1948 (Morey Amsterdam, Harry Richman, Georgie Price, Henny Youngman, Jack Carter and Peter Donald all were rotating hosts) but Berle won out as an audience favorite and was retained as the permanent host/star by September, 1948.
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Jimmy Durante's TV debut.
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On 11 August 2009 the US Postal Service issued a pane of twenty 44¢ commemorative postage stamps honoring early USA television programs. A booklet with 20 picture postal cards was also issued. On the stamp honoring "Texaco Star Theater" (titled Texaco Star Theatre (1948), 1954-1956), star/host, Milton Berle appears. Other shows honored in the Early TV Memories issue were: The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (1952), Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955), The Dinah Shore Show (1951), Dragnet (1951), "The Ed Sullivan Show" (originally titled The Ed Sullivan Show (1948)), The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (1950), Hopalong Cassidy (1952), The Honeymooners (1955), "The Howdy Doody Show" (original title: The Howdy Doody Show (1947)), I Love Lucy (1951), Kukla, Fran and Ollie (1947), Lassie (1954), The Lone Ranger (1949), Perry Mason (1957), The Phil Silvers Show (1955), The Red Skelton Hour (1951), The Tonight Show (which began as Tonight! (1953)), Twilight Zone (1959), and You Bet Your Life (1950).
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