Uncle Miltie

By | Jul 12, 2012

He was the first Superstar of Television and in the late 40s/Early 50s he was the one of the most watched, with people scheduling their evening around his show. Uncle Miltie was Milton Berle and June 12 is the anniversary of his birth. He was born Mendel Berlinger in New York in 1908.

He spend nearly all of his life in show business becoming a child performer after he won a contest at the age of 5. He claimed that he performed as a child actor in a few Silent Films, including the serial Perils of Pauline, but since records weren’t kept on who appeared in the films this has been debated.

What is known is that in 1916 at the age of twelve he enrolled in the Professional Children’s School and made his Broadway debut in Florodora. This lead to his long career. He took the name Milton Berle at the age of 16.

Berle’s first appearance on Television came not in the 40s, but in 1929 when he emceed an experimental closed-circuit telecast to 129 people in Chicago. In 1948, NBC moved the Texaco Star Theater from radio to television. In its first year he was one of the 4 rotating hosts and in its 2nd he became the lone host.

Berle is credited with selling many televisions. As the decade of the ’50’s began his show owned Tuesday night. But Television hosts didn’t seem to have the lasting effects that Radio had and by 1956 his show had lost its audience, although it did have two appearances by a young popular singer named Elvis in that year.

At the age of 93 he died died on March 27, 2002 in Los Angeles, California.


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