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...

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