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Vaudeo - Berle, Miranda

by Ethan Thompson

This sequence from the Texaco Star Theater provides a good example of "vaudeo"--how early television variety was modeled on vaudeville style performance. The experience of the TV viewer is essentially that of being in the audience of the theater. The performers play to the theater audience, not the TV audience. There is interaction between the performers and the live audience. Carmen Miranda messes up a joke, but that is a part of the spontaneity and live appeal. Watch for the moment after the Valvoline salesman skit ends and Berle asks for someone to clean up the stage. The audience in the theater breaks into laughter. But the TV audience doesn't know why until Berle bends down and picks up a mop that has been thrown at him.

Texaco Star Theater with Milton Berle and Carmen Miranda

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This sequence from Texaco Star Theater includes a comic bit with Valvoline Motor Oil, Milton Berle introducing Carmen Miranda, a couple of songs, and a zany cross-dressing finish.

from Texaco Star Theatre (1949)
Creator: NBC
Posted by Ethan Thompson