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Milton Berle "Mr. Television" - The Texaco Star Theater Intro

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Published on May 17, 2010

[From "Kovacs Corner" on YouTube.com] - On the evening of January 13, 1962, Ernie Kovacs arrived at the Beverly Hills California mansion of director Billy Wilder to celebrate with his fellow cigar-smoking card partner Milton "Mr. Television" Berle and his wife Ruth the adoption of their son. After arriving in his Rolls Royce after a long production day, Ernie and Edie spent the evening mingling with their friends. Upon leaving, Ernie made the fateful decision to drive home with the car that Edie had driven to the party - a 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Lakewood Station Wagon. Encountering an unusual Southern California rainfall, Ernie lost control of the vehicle and crashed driver's side into a utility pole at the corner of Beverly Glen and Santa Monica Boulevards. He died instantly from a fractured skull. After becoming concerned over Ernie's apparent delay in arriving at home, she received word of the accident. Edie called the Los Angeles Police and she quotes them as saying "It's Mrs. Kovacs, he's on his way to the coroner. What should I tell her?" Edie became so inconsolable upon hearing of Ernie's death that she requested that his best friend, actor Jack Lemmon, make the solumn trip the Los Angeles County morgue to identify the body. Ernie's funeral service was held at the Beverly Hills Presbyterian Community Church. He had requested no eulogy or fanfare. The mourners at that service would read like an elite list of old Hollywood. In addition to the Berles, it included Edward G. Robinson, George Burns, Jack Benny, Herbert Marshall, Samuel Goldwyn, Groucho Marx, Donna Reed, Kirk Douglas, Janet Leigh, Polly Bergen, James Stewart, Johnny Mercer, Kim Novak, Cesar Romero, Jayne Mansfield (who would also lose her life in an automobile accident five years later), Buster Keaton, Greer Garson, Charlton Heston, restaurateur Mike Romanoff, director Vincente Minelli, and producer William Wyler. His pallbearers were Jack Lemmon, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, directors Billy Wilder and Mervyn Leroy, and Ernie's on camera sidekick Joe Mikolas, Ernie Kovacs is buried in Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles. Appropriately, his epitaph reads "Nothing in moderation". In another ironic twist of fate, his only child with Edie Adams, Mia Susan, was killed May 8, 1982 in an automobile accident not far from the same intersection where her father died 20 years earlier.

[Update May 22, 2010] Way before it had taken any other meaning, one of "Uncle Miltie's" shticks was to dress in drag. Here he dresses as a "June bride". Fast forward fifty years later!!!

[Update June 13, 2010] Almost thirty years later, and in the same Studio 8H at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, "Uncle" Miltie was a guest host on 'Saturday Nigh Live". Supposedly he was such an unbearable prick that Lorne Michaels vowed to NEVER rerun that episode ever again! Well, he did see fit to release it on DVD. Here is a link to the Amazon.com preview spoofing this exact intro... http://www.amazon.com/Milton-Berle-Or...

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