UNCLE MILTIE’S BUTT
Milton Berle was early television’s first superstar, who constantly smoked (or chewed on) a cigar onscreen and off.
His show, “The Texaco Star Theater” so dominated Tuesday night television with as much as an 80% share of the viewing audience, some theaters, and restaurants shut down for the hour so their customers wouldn’t miss Uncle Miltie’s crazy vaudeville schtick. Berle's autobiography notes that in Detroit, "an investigation took place when the water levels took a drastic drop in the reservoirs on Tuesday nights between 9 and 9:05. It turned out that everyone waited until the end of the Texaco Star Theatre before going to the bathroom."
Television set sales more than doubled after Texaco Star Theatre's debut, reaching two million in 1949. Berle's stature earned him the nickname "Mr. Television"
When Berle left the butt of his contraband Cuban Cigar in Phil Savenick’s office, the producer asked him to sign it. After at first refusing, Savenick explained it would be the holiest relic in his Shrine of Comedy. “In Europe shrines have Saint Peter’s shinbone or Mary Magdalene’s skull, I want mine to have “Saint Milton's butt”. He got the joke and autographed his butt for our virtual museum.