Television: Return of an Old Ham

Eleven years ago in the predawn of TV, Milton Berle mused: "I'm not the manufactured Broadway comedian any more. I'm going back, back to my real talent. I began as a dramatic actor, you know." Instead, for eight razzle-dazzle years in which they both became U.S. living-room fixtures, TV made him a prisoner of comedy. Last week, after two years of well-paid retirement as a television personality,* Berle, 49, finally went back to his "real talent."

For his TV debut as a dramatic actor, he chose Material Witness, by Henry (Time Limit) Denker, and the title role of an average householder who...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!