Author Topic: Milton Berle's Private Joke File  (Read 178 times)

Offline bmj2k (Barry)

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Milton Berle's Private Joke File
« on: April 29, 2013, 09:54:36 PM »
HEY! Uncle Miltie's joke file is going on the auction block, 2 big file cabinets full of his entire career's worth of material for only $15,000. Cheap! I know a certain bmj2k who would reeeelllly like this for his brithday, hint hint hint.

The late Milton Berle’s legendary joke file, chock-full of vintage one-liners and wisecracks delivered across the decades, hits the auction block May 5.
Uncle Miltie carefully maintained his collection in a pair of 4-feet high, eight-drawer file cabinets kept in his office. After his death in 2002, they were quickly put into storage.
While some of these bits are old enough for hieroglyphics, all are typed neatly on matching index cards — and stored alphabetically by topic, starting with aardvarks.
The lot offered by the Los Angeles branch of Bonhams auction house also includes six additional boxes of material from Berle’s storied past.
“The sheer volume is overwhelming,” said Catherine Williamson, Bonhams’ director of entertainment memorabilia. “It is staggering. The breadth of the subject matter is amazing, too.”
Some of the jokes and gibes date to the 1920s, when Berle (his career began at age 5) was still a child star.Two decades later, on June 8, 1948, Berle’s “Texaco Star Theater” made its TV debut — and much of that material is in the files, too.
The assortment includes monologue jokes from Berle’s radio and TV days — along with, no doubt, a few bits filched from other comics.
The cigar-chomping Berle was known as “The Thief of Bad Gags” for his propensity to appropriate other jokers’ material.
The exact number of jokes is unclear, but Berle scoured his files to fill two books packed with more than 20,000 rib-ticklers.
There are doctor jokes: “A specialist is a doctor with a smaller practice but a bigger home!”
There’s a pot shot at sots: “He drinks so much, he’s 2,000 swallows ahead of Capistrano.”
There’s also plenty of showbiz history, including one index card from a Berle television appearance in the 1960s.
“Don’t think it’s easy getting applause like that . . . 600 relatives cost money,” reads the card — marked as “1st joke” for Berle’s monologue on Aug. 30, 1966.
The presale estimate for the trove was $10,000 to $15,000.
Berle considered the joke file his most valuable resource from a career that started in vaudeville.
“There’s something here for everybody,” said Williamson.
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Offline Janece

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Re: Milton Berle's Private Joke File
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2013, 12:38:06 PM »
OH!  We could do this like one of the car companies is doing for grads.....Grandma buys the wheels, Dad buys the doors, Mom buys the steering wheel and so on.  Pretty soon, you have a whole car.

Somebody could buy the filing cabinets, someone else could buy the first 20 years' or so worth of material, someone else could buy the final years' material, and so on.  Someone could even buy the leftover and used cigars.  But, who are we going to get to buy you Uncle Miltie's dresses and wigs???   ::)
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Offline Jim

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Re: Milton Berle's Private Joke File
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2013, 06:30:37 PM »
I wonder if that is something that will actually go up in value over time?  Considering what it represents, the price almost seems low.

Offline jake

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Re: Milton Berle's Private Joke File
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2013, 09:03:15 AM »
I know who'll get the highest bid: the woman in the front row, plucking the chicken...
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Offline Meow?

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Re: Milton Berle's Private Joke File
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2013, 05:12:24 PM »
If I remember right, Phyllis Diller donated her files to the Smithsonian a bit before her death, on an unrelated related topic.