Monday, May 21, 2007

The Buick Berle Show (1955) - Footage Offline 2/26/08

An hour's worth of The Buick -Berle Show, obviously with Milton Berle but also guest stars Peter Lawford and Carol Channing -posted by Ira Gallen of This was the seventh season of The Milton Berle Show, now with a new sponsor. Like most early television shows, and the radio programs that came before them, a show's name was at the mercy of a sponsor. Formerly The Texaco Star Theatre we see it now as The Buick Berle Show. I'm sure most people just called it The Milton Berle Show ... much to the shagrin of network suits. And to Milton's consternation the show changed from a weekly Milton showcase to just twice a month, The Martha Raye Show co-starring Wally Cox picking up the timeslot for the other two weeks. Goodman Ace and the number one female television and radio comedy writer for over forty years, Selma Diamond, were writers on this incarnation of the Berle show. You can listen to a nice chunk of the Selma Diamond Talks LP, pictured above, on this episode of The Generation Exploitation Podcast. It is a collection of audio from Selma's appearances on The Tonight Show with Jack Paar.

Like most episodes, this one opens with a ridiculously elaborate opening number of chorus dancers and soft shoe. Berle makes reference to 1986 in his opening monologue. At the six minute and forty second mark the hilarious bird faced Arnold Stang makes his appearance. Stang started with Berle on radio and constantly upstaged the famous cigar chomper (not an easy feat!). Stang was piss-your-pants funny and the highlight of most Milton Berle shows. He of course went on to be the voice of Hanna-Barbera's Top Cat. Wally Cox played a like-minded wimp on The Martha Raye Show, although Stang's meek self was likely to blow his top at Berle each week, where Cox was more likely to be pushed around, leaving his glasses crooked.

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