Texaco Star Theater

Season 7 Episode 1


Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Sep 21, 1954 on NBC

Episode Recap

Berle appears on a giant TV screen in a man's home, welcoming viewers to his seventh season on television. The viewer throws his shoe at Berle and breaks the screen.
Outside the Century Theater, new home for the series, Berle and dancers do a production number about the start of a new TV season. On his way in, he meets a street tough, Marlene Brando, who's the president of his fan club. (She's the only member!) She tells him that she puts his posters up on the subways, then goes back and corrects the spelling of what people write on them.
Milton sees Mickey Rooney and brings him into the theatre. As they enter, Rooney shows him the new device they use out in LA: "canned" laughter. Open the can a little, get a little laugh; open it big, get a big laugh. The two then sing a duet about nicknames.
Connie Russell performs a production number.
The two then start plotting ways to get Berle some publicity in the newspapers. Eureka! Berle decides to fake a broken leg since Jackie Gleason got news coverage for his. Berle calls columnists Dorthy Kilgallen, who bombards him with What's My Line?-type questions, and Jack O'Brien. Rooney calls an ambulance to rush him over to Bellevue Hospital.
Lying in a hospital bed with his fake cast on, Rooney plays his personal doctor (as Dr. Gillespie) to keep the real doctor from re-breaking his leg bone. Meanwhile, a loudly distraught patient is placed in the bed next to him.
Berle takes his cast off during an argument with Francis, who had hoped Milton actually was injured. A nurse brings in a baby and mistakenly hands it to Berle, just as the reporters arrive. They momentarily think Berle has given birth, until the nurse places the child with the correct parent--the distraught man in the other bed.
The next day, the headlines scream about Berle's feeble hoax to get attention. Milton and Mickey agree that publicity is no substitute for a good show!
With time to fill, Berle does a pitch for the '54 Buick, and reflects back on his seven seasons on television. He recalls that on his first night in 1948, he wondered how he was going to last a whole season. He plugs Martha Raye's show for next Tuesday, his for the week after, and sings his trademark song, "Near You".