On This Day: Premiere of Early TV’s Texaco Star Theater

The first episode of comedian Milton Berle’s Texaco Star Theater premiered on this day in 1948. Like many performers from television’s early days, Berle got his start on radio. After Texaco Star Theater had its premiere, he became the new medium’s first superstar, earning the nickname “Mr. Television.” Another of Berle’s nicknames, Uncle Miltie, reflected the way his weekly presence made him seem like a member of the family.

Berle was known for his clowning, often in outlandish costume, and was credited with driving up television sales. After Texaco withdrew its sponsorship in 1953, the name of the series was changed, and the singing quartet (“Oh, we’re the men of Texaco…”) who opened each week’s show became a fond memory.

Anyone out there remember watching the show when it was on? What was your favorite episode?

The Texaco Star Theater stamp was issued in 2009 as one of 20 stamps on the Early TV Memories stamp pane. The stamps are no longer available, but you can still get the stamped cards, a perfect way to keep those memories alive!

Texaco Star Theater Photo by: NBC Universal Photo Bank.