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(TV Series)

(1953)

Plot

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Summaries

  • Berle's guests include actor Jackie Cooper, singer Eddie Fisher, and comedienne Dagmar. Milton demonstrates the trials and tribulations of hosting a variety television show, complete with unoriginal staff, dim-witted crew, squabbling guest-stars - as well as the star who's convinced that his writers aren't giving him enough jokes. The story is told Dragnet-style, complete with Dragnet musical themes and stingers.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • Berle is the narrator for a Dragnet-style expose on what happens behind the scenes when putting on his variety show.

    The opening production number is set on a busy stage full of dancers and technicians, each addressing the camera as "Mr. Berle". The writers pitch him on a script, the dancers pitch him on a dance. His answer to all is, "No, no, no." Berle shows up on camera to take over.

    It's the first read-through and he's the only one there, except for his secretary Max, who has a huge crush on him. Jackie Cooper shows up and demands to do a dramatic sketch. Denise Darcel shows, kisses all over Cooper, and all three launch into "I Love Paris." Darcel doesn't want to sing, she wants jokes. Dagmar arrives and says she once went to Paris and saw the "Awful Tower." She wants to sing, not do comedy. While Berle goes to the Waldorf to get Damone, Darcel and Dagmar give Max advice on how to hook Berle.

    Damone wants to do drama, too, but Berle convinces him to sing "April in Portugal" instead.

    Back at the studio, Cooper plays drums while Dagmar and dancers do "Didn't It Rain, Children." Berle tells Damone all he needs is a bare stage to perform a song; Milton does "Sittin' on Top of the World" to demonstrate. Damone wants a chandelier, big set and girls for his number. Berle says no; he gets it anyway. He launches into "Thou Swell" joined by the whole cast for a dance finish.

    At the close of the show, Berle does a pitch for the Buick Skylark, which he drives, then brings out the cast for bows. He asks Damone to sing a chorus of a song since they have just a couple of minutes left. The audience applauds and Berle whistles at them to stop--he catches himself and says that "the new Berle doesn't whistle" at anyone anymore. He plugs Bob Hope's show in this time period next week.

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