Texaco Star Theater


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

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About

Texaco Star Theater was an American comedy-variety show, broadcast on radio from 1938 to 1949 and aired on television from 1948 to 1956. It was one of the first successful examples of American television broadcasting, remembered as the show that gave host Milton Berle the nickname "Mr. Television".

The classic 1940–44 version of the program, hosted by radio's Fred Allen, was followed by a radio series on ABC (the former NBC Blue) in the spring of 1948. When Texaco (now Chevron Corporation) first took it to television on NBC on June 8, 1948, the show was an instant hit and subsequently had a huge cultural impact.

On television, continuing a practice long established in radio, Texaco included its brand name in the show title. When the television version launched on June 8, 1948, Texaco also made sure its employees were featured prominently throughout the hour, usually appearing as smiling "guardian angels" performing good deeds of one or another kind, and a quartet of Texaco singers opened each week's show with the following theme song:

"Oh, we're the men of Texaco

We work from Maine to Mexico

There's nothing like this Texaco of ours!

 

Our show is very powerful

We'll wow you with an hour full

Of howls from a shower full of stars.

 

We're the merry Texaco men

Tonight we may be showmen

Tomorrow we'll be servicing your cars!

 

We wipe your pipe

We pump your gas

We jack your back

We scrub your glass

 

So join the ranks of those who know

And fill your tanks with Texaco

 

Fire Chief, fill up with Fire Chief, You will smile at the pile of new miles you will add

Sky Chief, fill up with Sky Chief

You'll find that Texaco's the finest friend your car has ever had

...And now, ladies and gentlemen... America's number one television star... MILTON BERLE!...

 

They didn't settle on Berle—who hosted a freshly revived radio version in spring 1948—as the permanent host right away; he hosted the first television Texaco Star Theater in June 1948 but was originally part of a rotation of hosts (Berle himself had only a four-week contract), until he was named the permanent host that fall.

Texaco dropped its sponsorship of the show and Buick became the new sponsor in 1953, prompting the show's name change to The Buick-Berle Show. Two years later, it became, simply, The Milton Berle Show, its title until its run ended at last in June 1956. By then, Berle and his audience had probably burned out on each other, and Buick had even dropped sponsorship of the show at the beginning of the 1955–1956 season (opting to sponsor Jackie Gleason's half-hour filmed edition of The Honeymooners), after ratings fell dramatically during the 1954–1955 as well (the higher ratings of his 1955–56 competition, The Phil Silvers Show on CBS, didn't help Berle, either); though Berle would remain one of the nation's beloved entertainers, overall, the show that made him a superstar was clearly spent for steam and fresh ideas, and two subsequent attempts at television comebacks hosting his own show lasted barely a year each. (Berle did, however, contribute his part to the making of a rock and roll legend: in his final season, he opened his stage to Elvis Presley amid the beginning of his international popularity.)

(from Wikipedia)

Highlights
Milton Berle on getting approached by Texaco to star in their new TV show, Texaco Star Theater
04:04
Ret Turner on doing wardrobe for Milton Berle on Texaco Star Theater
01:24
Milton Berle on the Texaco Star Theater theme song
01:25
William Clotworthy on working on Texaco Star Theater while he was an NBC page
01:53
Milton Berle on altercations on Texaco Star Theater that resulted from his perfectionism
02:10
Who talked about this show

Milton Berle

View Interview
Milton Berle on getting approached by Texaco to star in their new TV show, Texaco Star Theater
04:04
Milton Berle on altercations on Texaco Star Theater that resulted from his perfectionism
02:10
Milton Berle on the lore of him stealing jokes for Texaco Star Theater
03:51
Milton Berle on how he got his start in television with Texaco Star Theater
01:53
Milton Berle on the beginnings of Texaco Star Theater
02:46
Milton Berle on the very first broadcast of Texaco Star Theater
02:12
Milton Berle on how he contributed to the success of Texaco Star Theater
07:14
Milton Berle on not being afraid of entering television with Texaco Star Theater
02:28
Milton Berle on his material for the first shows of Texaco Star Theater
00:35
Milton Berle on bringing writers on staff for Texaco Star Theater
02:16
Milton Berle on the rapid pace of going through material for Texaco Star Theater
02:44
Milton Berle on the technological innovations that occurred during the early years of Texaco Star Theater
03:24
Milton Berle on the Texaco Star Theater theme song
01:25
Milton Berle on his costumes on Texaco Star Theater
05:30
Milton Berle on memorable live television mishaps on Texaco Star Theater
08:35
Milton Berle on a memorable live television mishap with Red Buttons on Texaco Star Theater
03:36
Milton Berle on the mishap with the "Barber of Seville" sketch on Texaco Star Theater and how it affected the subsequent sketch
04:26
Milton Berle on a typical work-week on Texaco Star Theater
10:01
Milton Berle on directing Texaco Star Theater rehearsals with a whistle
01:57
Milton Berle on a memorable flashback scene on Texaco Star Theater
04:25
Milton Berle on a fight with his brother Frank while on Texaco Star Theater
02:26
Milton Berle on memorable guest stars on Texaco Star Theater
06:12
Milton Berle on getting The Four Step Brothers on Texaco Star Theater
00:53
Milton Berle on how the moniker "Uncle Miltie" came about
05:17
Milton Berle on Texaco Star Theater winning Best Kinescope show and Milton Berle winning Most Outstanding Kinescope Personality at the 2nd Emmy Awards
01:31

Al Borden

View Interview
Al Borden on being propmaster for Texaco Star Theater with Milton Berle
03:22

Connie Chung

View Interview
Connie Chung on wanting to watch Texaco Star Theater and having to watch Life is Worth Living instead
01:43

William Clotworthy

View Interview
William Clotworthy on working on Texaco Star Theater while he was an NBC page
01:53

Michael Dann

View Interview
Michael Dann on Milton Berle's humor
00:39
Michael Dann on Milton Berle and Texaco Star Theater
02:55
Michael Dann on Milton Berle and the cancellation of Texaco Star Theater
00:57

Richard Donner

View Interview
Richard Donner on his first memory of television, watching Texaco Star Theater
03:13

Nanette Fabray

View Interview
Nanette Fabray on appearing on Texaco Star Theater with Milton Berle
01:49

Greg Garrison

View Interview
Greg Garrison on directing Texaco Star Theater with Milton Berle
02:40
Greg Garrison on directing Texaco Star Theater, starring Milton Berle
06:21
Greg Garrison on the decline of Texaco Star Theater and on leaving the show
02:16
Greg Garrison on the supporting cast of Texaco Star Theater
05:00
Greg Garrison on Frank Sinatra guest-starring with Milton Berle on Texaco Star Theater
02:56

Skitch Henderson

View Interview
Lyle "Skitch" Henderson on working on Texaco Star Theater with Milton Berle
01:16

Jerry Lewis

View Interview
Jerry Lewis on his appearance with Dean Martin on Texaco Star Theater
01:23

Joyce Randolph

View Interview
Joyce Randolph on working on Texaco Star Theater
00:58

Judith Sheindlin

View Interview
Judith Sheindlin (Judge Judy) on growing up watching Texaco Star Theater with Milton Berle; seeing the star in New York years later
01:58

Gale Storm

View Interview
Gale Storm on appearing on Milton Berle's variety show
02:16

Ret Turner

View Interview
Ret Turner on doing wardrobe for Milton Berle on Texaco Star Theater
01:24

Lou Weiss

View Interview
Lou Weiss on packaging Texaco Star Theater starring Milton Berle
02:02

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