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Milton Berle

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
In addition to Dudley Moore, the world lost Milton Berle, yesterday. Maybe, I'm showing my age (44) but, I miss the older comedians: George Burns, Jack Benny and Bob Hope. (I know, Bob Hope isn't dead but, at 99, blind and deaf, he's not doing much.) Most of the current crop knows just one word: F@#$. My favorites are Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall: no dirt. Milton Berle never resorted to filth and was, still funny. He was, always, accused of stealing jokes but, he only stole from the best! Hats off to Uncle Miltie!
post #2 of 21
You aren't showing your age. Those classic comedians were just plain funny and didn't have to use the bad language. They just knew how to entertain. (I agree with you on Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall - they are both great! Even took my Dad, sister and her family to their show last year and we all had a ball.)

It is sad that we are losing these great talents. At least we have their shows, movies, etc. as a lasting tribute to them.
post #3 of 21
Uncle Miltie will be missed - I loved him! I don't know why comics today think it is funnieer if you swear - I don't normally mind people who swear. I personally don't find it necessary - the English language is huge - I can always find an alternative!
post #4 of 21
Hey, bill Cosby is still around. He is a funny person. I used to get his tapes. I love the jokes about raising a family how he says all children are brain damaged. I like when he tells about his wife getting pregnant. Or of Fat Albert. Bill Cosby dosen't use bad words. His comedy shows are great! I am not familiar with most of the old comedians accept George Burns and Bob Hope. What about Johnny Carson? One part is when Bill talks about one day his wife tells him to go fix breakfast for the children!
post #5 of 21
that is sad. the world lost 2 special people yesterday (in addition to all the other special people that we don't know about)
post #6 of 21
I was in grade school when Uncle Milty was on, and we were among those without a t.v., so I always managed to return a cup of sugar to the newlyweds next door, whether my mother had borrowed one or not! I always got to watch the Milton Berle show.
By the way, I agree with Nina10 about Bill Cosby. Have you ever heard "Noah?" It's a classic!
post #7 of 21
I respect those guys, in a way, but I can't say I like their humor. Of what I've seen of many of the 'older gen' comics, there is a lot of misogynistic jokes and things I find offensive. I like good, clean funny humor.
post #8 of 21
I agree with Alicat here. I respect those guys for what they contributed to the world, for sure- but I don't really like that kind of humor either. One of my absolute favorites is George Carlin. Yep, he swears on occasion, but I don't find that offensive- it even adds to what hes trying to convey, IMO.

I think its sad that the world lost these men because while I don't appreciate their talent the way some of you did, they did make their mark and will be missed by their fans. Thats always a sad thing
post #9 of 21
I, too, will miss Uncle Miltie. I'm new here but I s'pect I'm older than most of the gentle folks on the forum (60). I grew up listening to and watching Berle and Hope and Jack and Sid and George & Gracie and the Nelsons, etc. Even now I have about 200 audio tapes of old radio shows. Love 'em. Just a generational thing, I guess. Not that there aren't some very funny young comedians, there sure are. But listening to the old-timers takes me back to those simpler, more innocent times. (Oh, heck, I know they weren't really, but I like to think so.)

They also take me back to my youth in the '40s and '50s, and to my sweet cats of those days, like Fuzzy and Dolly and Miss Graylady. I still miss them, but I spose I'm getting closer to seeing them again at the Bridge.

And the young folks' heroes of those days. Roy Rogers and Gene and Hoppy. And the Lone Ranger. "Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. From out of the past come the thundering hoofbeats of the great horse Silver. The Lone Ranger rides again....!" Do the kids of today have good, clean heroes?

Wow, sorry for the thread drift. Get an old man talking.....

Time to feed the cats.
post #10 of 21
I'm sure it's true that some of the older comedians used blue humor, but you can be sure it was never seen on '50's t.v. Desi and Lucy had to use twin beds, and the word pregnant was not allowed on radio or t.v. Of course, Bill Cosby was very clean, but he was not of that era. The first comedian I heard use foul language was George Carlin, a comedic genius, who believes we have corrupted words, rather than been corrupted by words. I don't believe Jack Benny ever did blue comedy. Only in nightclubs would one have heard what is regularly seen on HBO today. Perhaps some of you are thinking of vaudeville, which went out of fashion twenty years before television was widely distributed. None of us is old enough to remember having seen vaudeville.
post #11 of 21
I think that the other thing to remember about the older comedians is that they were talking about society as they knew it. Society and especially society's view of women has changed dramatically. What to you may see as sexist was merely an acceptable comment at that time. It was perfectly acceptable and funny for Benny Hill to chase after women and look up their skirts. Now we see that as viewing women as objects.

I recently saw a George Carlin special, who is one of my other favorite comedians, from the early 80s. This show was even from before he was very political. I was amazed at some of the things that he said that are not acceptable by today's standards. (of course, I can't think of what it was exactly, but I remember being almost shocked )
post #12 of 21
Gary, the only reason those were simpler times is because you were young. Everything seems simpler when we look back on childhood.

Not much of a Milton Berle fan either, though I did enjoy George and Gracie. I remember when he died, the first thing I thought was they were finally together again. They really loved each other, as far as I can tell. Anyway, what I remember about those older comedians is that they used to donate time to entertain the troops and they would really perform! If the current stars do that, they mostly just sign autographs.

Plus, they were ground-breaking for the era. Television was new and nobody knew how to use it as a medium. They were adapting the familiar to the novel. We hear those jokes today and we think "Oh how corny" but for lots of people back in those days, it was new.
post #13 of 21
To be honest, I was not a huge Milton Berle fan, but wanted to pay homage to his contribution to TV. Once Jackie Gleason came on I didn't care whether or not I missed Uncle Milty. Watching the Honeymooners today, and seeing Ralph threaten with his fist to send Alice to the moon is still funny because we knew Ralph would never have laid a finger on her. However, in real life, the police at that time could not arrest a wife abuser unless she pressed charges. There have been many changes since "Happy Days", some of them great-women's lib., the Civil Rights movement, but along with these changes came a change in acceptable morals, which worries me. I don't want to get too controversial here, but absolutes don't change. Why did we throw the baby out with the bathwater?
post #14 of 21
My mother saw Milton Berle perform live in Las Vegas. It was the dinner show and was supposed to be family friendly. She was really shocked at the off color jokes he told. She said she would have hated to have heard his adult show. Since this was before I was born I didn't expect she would tell me what he said. It would probably seem mild now but she had a notion that he was like he was on TV.

Anyway, it is sad he died but he lived a long life. I liked Dudley Moore and he seemed younger than 66 but he must have been really ill.
post #15 of 21
Jenaie, what do you mean about throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

Maybe being raised by a single mom, and only being 24 makes a difference, but I have never found the Honeymooners or All in the Family to be funny. I think they are racist, sexist shows, and now that we know better, shouldn't be on reruns. TV networks need to take more responsibility for the influence they have on society and not show things that teach kids it's ok to threaten your wives or make racist comments.
post #16 of 21
I don't know about the Honeymooners, but All in the Family at the time was also groundbreaking. I think it was on the air too long (I could live w / Mike and Gloria moving away, but that Puerto Rican maid, the little girl, Edith's death, and Archie buying the bar, all of those were just stops on the long slide to cliche-ville) but the early years were pretty good.

Of course, Americans no longer use absurdity as a visual medium. Satire doesn't play well for us, which is why Wag the Dog did so poorly at the box office. Archie wasn't supposed to be a hero. He was funny because he was such a predictable loud-mouthed bigot. He was middle class America at it's worst. In later years they tried to soften him, sort of turn him into a grumpy old man with a heart of gold, but that wasn't the original vision. He was supposed to be ignorant, Edith was supposed to be a little downtrodden, Gloria was supposed to be whiny and shrill, Meathead / Mike was supposed to be so educated he had no practical skills. They were stereotypes of the 70's. Most sit-com characters are stereotypes, otherwise you couldn't tell the story in 30 minutes, it would take too long for character development.

But if you don't remember when feminism was called "women's lib", you probably won't get All in the Family.
post #17 of 21
Alicat, You misunderstood. What I meant was that the young people of the sixties had wonderful ideas, but they were reactionaries, as most of us are. They threw away the old sexist and racist ideas, thank God, but they also threw away what was good about their parents'generation. I was in my twenties at that time, so I was not an old fogie! I agreed with their rebellion against war; I am a pacifist myself. However, I did not agree with "drop out and turn on." The sixties are romanticized, just as the 50's were. The truth is that free love didn't mean making love to someone you loved; it meant free sex with multiple partners. And "drop out and turn on" meant to reject jobs, money, your parents and the law, and use drugs. Make love, not war, sounded wonderful, but it did not just mean love your fellow man; it also meant sleep with anyone and everyone.
Since you are seeing "All in the Family" in reruns, you couldn't be expected to know that Norman Lear, the creator, used it to ridicule racists. It was his contribution to the Civil Rights movement. As for Ralph Kramden, he was meant to be considered a loser, a good hearted, short tempered loser. If you check these things out, you'll find them to be true. There is no reason to disagree because of age. We learn from each other. I didn't know today's young people didn't know the story behind the creation of Archie Bunker, and you had not heard the saying "Throwing the baby out with the bath water." It is an idiom having nothing to do with babies.
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
Yay, Jeannie. You're a Purrson, after my own heart. These young kids have been so programmed, by the thought police, they can't think for themselves and recognize satire. Its like the current hype about the effect of cartoons on kids. I grew up, watching the Roadrunner and Popeye. I was able to distinguish between them and reality. Are kids, today, so stupid that they think that a coyote can fall off of a cliff and survive? The overeducated idiots, that promote this stuff are just rying to justify their existences and keep that grant money coming in.
post #19 of 21
Well, the parents of the kids who were lost in New York sewers for a day or so because they thought they'd find Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles there may disagree with that one. I think what kids watch affects them hugely. The same with adults to an extent. We all respond to what we see and hear to some level, in our subconcious, even if its something as 'simple' as becoming accostomed to violence to the point where it doesn't bother you to see it anymore.

My own kids aren't permitted to watch violent cartoons or TV shows, and I think i'm doing them a big favor. Eventually, they will see it of course, but if I can protect their innocence for a while longer- great.

As far as 'kids these days' not appreciating things as the generation before them does, isn't that true with every new generation that comes along? Out with the old and in with the new has been the adage since humans existed- Advancement in culture is a positive thing, IMO, and that means setting things aside to make way for the new things.
post #20 of 21
I think one of the problems is that, even tho' I watched a considerable amount of television as a child, Iived in a house in the suburbs, near a woods, with a garden, an at-home mom, and a neighborhood full of other kids who were also at home after school. I had a lot of interaction with the physical, natural world.

Nowadays (and for all of us, not just kids) most of our interaction is thru' electronic media. Kids don't play baseball in the backyard (unless they're in a league), they play a video game. They don't observe nature unless it's on Animal Planet. They don't talk face to face, they phone or chat online. They don't have the time or opportunity to experience the physical world, and when they do, they aren't inclined to because "it's boring". Based on kids I know, and I do know a few exceptions too.

But kids who have never, I don't know, thrown rocks off a cliff, might not understand that they don't bounce. That was what was funny about those old cartoons: People knew what would happen in real life, but something different happened in the cartoon. How can a child tell the difference between say professional wrestling and a real fistfight? If television is the primary way a kid interacts with the wider world, the source of information and entertainment, the only experience they have in common, then television becomes the standard against which all other experiences are measured.

Now I enjoy television. But I think it pays to be choosy about what you watch and to make sure you meet other people in your community and turn off the box sometimes.
post #21 of 21
When there are two diametrically opposed views, the truth is usually somewhere near the middle. In education flash cards were forbidden in some school districts; they were too traditional, and therefore not approved. They were boring. Now we know that for memorization of "times tables", there is nothing quite as good. However, we can add a twist to the old and make it relevant, not throw it all away. If we threw away all the knowledge before the present generation, we would have to learn how to make fire! I am an educator, and I believe in flash cards AND computer aided education. If it works, it's good. Some of the greatest movies of all time-such as the Wizard of Oz, are appreciated today more than ever. Some things are just too good to dispose of.
Values are even more important. Most of us accept a code of ethics that goes back thousands of years.(Regardless of what faith you hold, or the lack thereof) Lately, however, much of that code is on hold. That happened to the Roman Empire and, as we all know, destroyed it. People learned from that and we will too. The pendulum usually swings too far the other way before it settles down. I hope that will prove to be true again.
P.S. Movies and t.v. from my childhood did not contain 1/5 of the violence or blatant promiscuity of today. I don't know that that is a good thing. We have to depend on parents monitoring t.v., movies, the internet, and music much more than my parents did-yet, these are not inherently evil. It's what we do with them.
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