The literary archive of Milton Berle
Comprising loose and bound scripts from Berle's vaudeville, radio, television, film and theatrical career; musical manuscripts (original scores and arrangements); recordings (sound and video); correspondence and other documents, totaling nearly 100 linear feet of material. Contents include the following:
BOUND SCRIPTS. 116 volumes, uniformly bound in red, blue or green, spines lettered in gilt with Berle's name and the particular show. A nearly complete (lacking only one volume) run of working scripts from Berle's radio, television, and film career. Highlights include early radio performances, Texaco Star Theatre (radio and TV); other television appearances; Berle's film appearances; vaudeville and nightclub sketches; and Fun Master, a professional comedy service.
OTHER WORKING SCRIPTS, loose or housed in black spring binders, including radio sketches, monologues, and jokes (18 banker's boxes). Many of these appear to be preliminary drafts, as they are not in standard script format. Titles include the following:
The Bob Hope Show, The Eddie Cantor Show, The Fred Allen Show, The Jack Benny Show, The Kate Smith Show, and 5 boxes of loose working scripts from Texaco Star Theatre.
MUSIC. 18 banker's boxes of original manuscript scores and ozalid arrangements of songs used by Berle in radio, television, and live performances, 1940s-1990s. Includes many standard tunes turned into parodies by Berle. Many compositions with full arrangement for big band or orchestra.
RECORDINGS. A large sampling of recorded material covering over 60 years, in various formats including LP, reel-to-reel, cassette, and video. Includes the following:
4 wooden crates (3 x 3 x 4 feet) of vintage test pressings, 1930s-1940s, recordings of Berle's various appearances on his own and other shows. (Three crates not opened by Bonhams due to fragility.)
19 banker's boxes of Ampex video cassettes, copies of later television appearances (shows, guest appearances, media appearances, some live Vegas performances).
10 banker's boxes of reel-to-reel tapes, many reissues of radio appearances.
4 banker's boxes of VHS tapes, some commercial issue, some tapes of appearances.
OFFICE FILES. 10 banker's boxes of files relating to Berle's business interests, including correspondence with agents and producers, contracts relating to the television show and other projects, and general business housekeeping. There is also a large selection of scripts submitted to Milton Berle productions over the years, many never produced.
A more detailed listing is available upon request. Highlights from this lot will be on display at the preview exhibition, but to preview the full lot please contact the department for an appointment.