Talk:Milton Berle

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equpiment[edit]

No mention of his equipment? I imagine everyone else inclined to add it ran into the same problems I did, the twin questions of where to put it and how to phrase it. --Charles A. L. 18:17, Dec 10, 2003 (UTC)

Hard to put it tastefully —
"You know the old story about Milton and Forrest Tucker having big _______, right? I guess Berle and Tuck both had ones in the 12" to 16" neighborhood. The show biz guys all had a steam room they went to in New York. Jackie Gleason was horsing around one afternoon, and decided he wanted to measure them to see who’s was bigger. Berle allegedly had the advantage by about 2". Gleason said, "Come on Milt, just take enough out to win the bet for me."
Dick Shawn described being in the steam room with Berle this way, "I didn’t have my glasses on. I thought he had a small child standing next to him… until I realized it was his ______."

Speculation about his many conquests revolved around Hollywood housewives seeking revenge on philandering husbands. - Sparky 03:42, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Well, if you want muckracking on Milton Berle, go to the Find-a-Death site and look up Milton Berle's entry (http://www.findadeath.com/). Man, this guy rakes Berle over the coals. Even though he's long dead now, Berle's estate could still probably win a libel and slander suit! Yanqui9 22:23, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
Try to make more constructive comments in the future, please.. This isn't some sort of forum. - Zero1328 Talk? 12:27, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

So, what's the story? Have we given up on trying to make any reference to the stories about his penis size? RMoloney (talk) 13:19, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

Not sure it would fit into the article. The reference, that is.Bjones 14:33, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

"He was born in a five-story walkup at 68 West 118th Street." Where? —LarryGilbert 23:07, 2004 Mar 21 (UTC)

Thanks, Nunh-huh! —LarryGilbert
No prob. I wonder about the née vs ne in the first line, but I suppose I worry too much<G> - Nunh-huh 23:23, 21 Mar 2004 (UTC)
In fact, you're right. He wore a dress onstage, he wasn't actually a woman. --♥ «Charles A. L.» 01:24, Apr 16, 2004 (UTC)

There should be some mention of it. Use the technical word "genitalia." Something along the lines of "Persistent Hollywood legend asserts that Berle had unusually large genitalia." Back up with some anecdotes such as the "just enough to win the bet" story. This is enough of a pop culture phenomenon that it deserves some mention and the size of his genitals is probably what he is most know for by the current generation.

Cleanup[edit]

I put cleanup tags on this article for several reasons. First, there are several cases where the style of the article is not what is expected of a WP article, i.e. having section headers like "Saturday Night Doomed" and "Goodbye Uncle Milty," or having sentences like "It was one of the finest performances in Berle's later life," or the whole last paragraph which offers an analysis of Berle's career that would be more at home in a research paper than an encyclopedia article.

There are instances of weasel words, as in "Berle's freewheeling, wildly antic style ensured his legend would outlive the show (which once owned America's home audience on Tuesday nights) and, some feel, his talent" (my italics).

Some of this wouldn't be too bad if the article cited sources. For instance, making the claim that "Milton Berle gave a new medium a shape that continues to be a reference point for both the best and the least of what that medium has since had to offer," really should be sourced as it is such a sweeping claim (it probably wouldn't be to difficult to find a notable critic who has said something like that. I mean, its Milton Berle!). A source for the remark about television sales probably should be sourced too, since without one, it seems like just a rumour.

All this seems to have been added by an anon on Jan. 20th, so it shouldn't be to difficult of a fix. If the above is strongly worded, I apologize, but I was rather jarred when I read this article.Gershwinrb 04:15, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Addendum: "glib" is the word I was looking for to describe parts of this article.Gershwinrb 20:20, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

Picture[edit]

I've removed the image that was on this page because it may not be fair use i.e. it was a screenshot from the Muppet Movie, and as licensed, can only be used for commentary on the movie. A publicity photo would be better. Gershwinrb 21:08, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

"...worked clean"[edit]

Does that phrase remind anyone of other comics? Bob Saget comes to my mind. WAVY 10 23:12, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Bob Saget does NOT work clean. After Full House and America's Funniest Home Videos, the most famous things he's done I can think of are his song "My Dog Licked My Balls" and his bit where he said "I sucked dick for crack" or some such in Half Backed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dsmccohen (talkcontribs) 20:16, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Family Member adds some editing and additional info[edit]

I am the adopted son of Milton Berle. I went through some of the material on the Milton Berle page, and made some additions and corrections. Any of the official Wikipedia editors or qualified administrators who wish to may contact me directly to verify some or all of the facts and opinions I edited into the page. There are a couple of things that I put on the page that I would personally wish to see remain on the page. Qualified Wikipedia administrators can contact Bill Berle victorbravo (at) sbcglobal {dot} net .

Although Milton and I were estranged for the last few years of his life, I am very proud of his achievements and I want to have the stories told honestly.

For any of the others who posed questions about that thing of his, yes it was 100% true. A baby's arm holding an apple, as the old saying goes. I was adopted, so I got the sense of humor instead.

Bill Berle April 4, 2006

tone work[edit]

I worked on the tone up until the subheading "shooting star", this is long and tedious... I'm tired! Strongfaithin1 03:10, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

I spent some time on this article tonight working on style/tone and trying to make it flow better. If William Berle is reading this, I hope I have been true to the spirit of your additions. There is still quite a bit of work to be done on this article to bring it up to code; maybe I'll add more later. Clarke Ingram, webmaster of the DuMont Television Network web site 152.163.100.199 05:45, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

That image ok?[edit]

I uploaded an photo of him... you guys approve? Ben Tibbetts 22:11, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Joke theft[edit]

I've heard from at least a couple of sources, I think, that Berle had a reputation for using other comics' material and perhaps implicitly claiming it as his own -- earning him the sobriquet "The Thief of Bad-Gags." I don't have any citation. One of my sources may have been my late father, who worked on the periphery of show business as a theatrical photographer.

That was just another aspect of the act, like dressing up in drag. Berle was probably the originator of the line, revised by Monty Python, where another comedian makes a funny comment, Berle says "I wish I'd said that", to which the other comic replies "you will, Milton, you will." Kid Bugs (talk) 01:12, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
Berle did steal jokes -- as did every vaudeville comedian at the time. Keep in mind, in the pre-TV era everybody was on the road, performing live in a different theatre every night. A comic would hear a good line in Milwaukee and use it the next night in Buffalo. Berle did it too, like everyone else. He was the first comic to land his own TV show, so when he got on the air, and the other comics heard him telling their jokes, he was labeled a joke thief -- they all did it, he was just the first to be "outed" because he was the first to deliver material to a nationwide audience instead of one theatre in one town. And as Kid Bugs said, once the label stuck, rather than fight it he simply incorporated it into his act and kidded himself about it.
For what it's worth, joke stealing still goes on; one comedian in particular is quite famous for it: Several writer friends have told me (independently of each other) that "you have to be careful what you tell him; if it's funny, you could end up watching your story in his next movie." DoctorJoeE talk to me! 11:57, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

DoctorJoeE, you make a good point. I think it would be helpful to readers of the Berle article (who, I presume, don't often read the Talk section) if you incorporate the point into the article itself. Your point helps set the context for the accusation of Berle's joke rustling.Iss246 (talk) 13:59, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

Happy to, but I'll have to find the source -- I know I read it somewhere, just don't remember where. Give me a bit of time. DoctorJoeE talk to me! 15:08, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

Bill Berle[edit]

I edited this pretty heavily today, adding the infobox and a section on his early life to conform better to WP's biography style.

I also removed this paragraph, near the end:

While Berle's manic style may seem dated today, many TV styles are doomed to a short life, and Berle's career was among the first to show that the TV audience was extremely fickle. Nevertheless, Berle helped shape the new medium. He continues to be a reference point in the history of television, and he stands as a memorable icon of its early years.

I understand that material like this (giving either a positive or negative opinion instead of WP:NPOV) shouldn't be deleted but moved to this talk page instead. I also removed some of the citations, because they were all to the same online biographical article – but even worse is that they didn't have any relationship to the parts of this article they are supposed to support.

I'm also uncertain about how to treat Mr. Bill Berle's additions. I have little doubt that he has given accurate information and I certainly don't intend to offend him, but I'm concerned about WP:CITE, WP:VERIFY, and WP:NOR. How does one cite himself or herself as a source? Does providing personal stories and memories count as original research? If not, why not - isn't a personal memory unverifiable? I've read all three of the applicable policies and I'm still unsure what to do. I've left the material alone for now, but I'd like to see what others think, since I'm a relative newcomer and I haven't personally met this issue prior to now. Perhaps it too should be moved here, to the talk page. BaseballBaby 23:35, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

1913 impersonation of Charlie Chaplin[edit]

"His onstage antics got underway in 1913 when he won a lookalike contest with his impersonation of Charlie Chaplin": How could Milton Berle win such a contest at the age of 5, when Chaplin's movie career (at Keystone) didn't really begin until 1914?

Caricature[edit]

I removed the goofy caricature as it's in poor taste and I doubt Berle (or anyone for that matter) would want that kind of a photo representing them in a recounting of their life. Quadzilla99 06:51, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

"photo"? It's not a photo; it's artwork. "representing them"? It was a common practice in the 1940s and 1950s for comedians to use caricatures in their ads and other promotional materials. Berle was caricatured many times. Martin & Lewis performed on television with huge caricature blow-ups behind them. Sam Berman was one of the great caricaturists, and NBC had him create caricatures not only of comedians but also vocalists and newsmen. "goofy"? A caricature is intended to be "goofy." That's the point! "poor taste"? Explain. I don't follow you. Why did people eat at Sardi's surrounded by hundreds of caricatures if poor taste? Pepso 17:31, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Specious reasoning. People ate at Sardi's so it's OK to use a caricature photo in a person's encyclopedia article? Are you really saying that? Quadzilla99 05:06, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Look, I empathize with not having enough quality pics for an encyclopedia article, but that photo is unacceptable. Quadzilla99 09:45, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Why do you keep calling it a "photo"? Pepso 07:27, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
The image is a cartoonic caricature. There's nothing special about this caricature compared to the other hundreds of caricatures done on countless people. The image doesn't add anything to the article in any way, other than for decoration, which is not permitted under fair-use policy. - Zero1328 Talk? 12:27, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Re: SNL debacle & citation needed[edit]

Regarding the "citation needed" tag(s) that I just added to the "SNL debacle" section, citation is needed for assertions like "Berle was apparently not ready to accept that...". Either get a citation (or, preferably, a quote) that says exactly that or else lose the weasel words ("was apparently"). No bad feelings here, I was just passing by and this jumped out at me. Mlibby 13:53, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Mendel?[edit]

Can't this be clarified? Dozens of sources, including the Guardian, CNN and the Voice of America say Berle's birth name was Mendel. Pepso 03:55, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

It is already clarified. Just get a copy of his birth certificate which clearly says Milton Berlinger. ChatNoir Please stop changing his birthname to Mendel. Anyone can check his birth certificate which clearly states MILTON BERLINGER.

"Anyone can check his birth certificate" does not constitute citing a reliable source. If you have such a source, please cite it. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 19:35, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
Editors should stop revising the name Mendel to Milton without providing a clear, authoritative reliable source. The article has now been updated with 3 reliable sources that state Berle's given name was Mendel Berlinger. More sources could be provided, but why do we need overkill? Unless an editor can find an equal or greater number of RS's that state the opposite, there should be no revisions or reversions. If there are a credible number of competing RS's, then the article should be notated to reflect a controversy between 2nd party sources.--Jburlinson (talk) 17:40, 22 November 2014 (UTC)
Thank you! This is what I have been trying to get across to the editor who persists in warring over this issue. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 19:10, 22 November 2014 (UTC)
Here are some sources for the correct birth name of Milton Berle: From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/1994/03/15/arts/review-television-milton-berle-mr-television-a-zillion-gags-not-counting-repeats.html Another one from The New York Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/miltie-1st-steps-mr-tv-began-life-harlem-walkup-article-1.478907 The California Museum: http://www.californiamuseum.org/inductee/milton-berle Encyclopædia Britannica: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/62052/Milton-Berle From CNN: http://www.cnn.com/SHOWBIZ/TV/9807/13/berle.update/index.html Jewish American Hall of Fame:http://amuseum.org/jahf/virtour/page40.html And finally, a close up of his birth certificate: http://www.bing.com/images/search? q=milton+berle+birth+certificate&FORM=HDRSC2&id=24617A2EBB12FD452EB8387A8C63FFE36291F1BE&selectedIndex=0#view=detail&id=24617A2EBB12FD452EB8387A8C63FFE36291F1BE&selectedIndex=0 ChatNoir24 (talk) 00:01, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
This is VERY strange, the photo was added within the last 48 hours. But this is the same document that I saw in actuality for 15 years. The original can be obtained from the State of New York. Also, on Amazon.com is an excerpt from Milton Berle's biography where he refers to the young Berle as Milton Berlinger. And he should know! ChatNoir24 (talk) 16:20, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
Welcome back. One wonders why it took this long to have this discussion. One also wonders why Berle's birth certificate would have a picture of him as an adult on it. In any case, a small sampling of the myriad sources that cite his birth name as Mendel are here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. So, we have a quandary. What to do, when sources conflict? We may have to say that most sources say "Mendel" but some say "Milton". Thoughts? DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 02:50, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
It seems like the best course would be to acknowledge the conflict in the article -- Something like: "Sources disagree concerning Berle's given name, with some indicating his first name was Milton, (ref, ref, ref) while others identify it as Mendel (ref,ref,ref)." 3 references on each side should be adequate. What do you think?--Jburlinson (talk) 16:42, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
That's basically what I had in mind, yes. If no one objects, I'll make the change. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 17:18, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
Here is an interview with Milton Berle where he refers to himself at the age of 5 as "little Milton" at 6:16 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmPYcM1UE9M ChatNoir24 (talk) 19:08, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
Nice clip, but hardly conclusive. He would hardly have called himself "little Mendel" because 99.9% of the audience wouldn't have known whom he was referring to. Berle also tells the interviewer that Berle was the newsboy in "Tillie's Punctured Romance", a claim that has been disputed repeatedly by film scholars who have identified the child actor as Gordon Griffith.--Jburlinson (talk) 19:44, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
On top of that, YouTube is not WP:RS -- and even if it were, in this case it would be a primary source. AND he's not answering our question anyway. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 21:01, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
No, he is not. But also in his biography he never mentions Mendel Berlinger. Here is his birth certificate again, this time without the added picture. http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=milton+berle+birth+certificate&FORM=HDRSC2&id=24617A2EBB12FD452EB8387A8C63FFE36291F1BE&selectedIndex=0#view=detail&id=24617A2EBB12FD452EB8387A8C63FFE36291F1BE&selectedIndex=0 From Las Vegas Sun: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/1997/may/16/columnist-joe-delaney-thank-you-milton-berle/ and from television critic Tim Goodman.http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/MILTON-BERLE-1908-2002-Mr-Television-dies-at-2861231.php ChatNoir24 (talk) 21:48, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

June 5 reversion[edit]

208.120.227.250 07:02, 6 June 2007 (UTC)Radio careers had not thrived for "longer" than two decades as of 1951. Milton Berle did not play a "role" on Jackpot Bowling. Berle did not "found" the Friars Club by himself. "Show business" is two words. Subjects of Friars roasts are not "truly embarrassed." Berle was well-known both for jokes about his penis and his joke thievery, and there is ample documentation for both. Please be less quick in the future to simply revert an edit, even to the point of restoring "showbusiness."—Preceding unsigned comment added by 208.120.227.250 (talkcontribs)

Huge Penis[edit]

According to the famous short story by Truman Capote, A Beautiful Child, Milton Berle had the biggest 'schlong' in Hollywood. If anyone would know for certain, it would be Mr. Capote.

It was Mr Capote's story, but it was Marilyn Monroe who told him, and she would know having slept with him

Penis Pic?[edit]

Would an illustration of Berle's penis be called for? Obviously, not under normal circumstances, but in this case it's a big part of the man's story (no pun intended). I know there are pictures in existence. --johnhenrybonham

I think it's a good idea.--cliff777

I know I'd like to see it.--jakethejoker

Will it be life size?--noyabiznus

In Always Leave Them Laughing, there is a scene in which Berle is in a transparent water tank and is wearing tight shorts. This scene should effectively prove that the rumor regarding Berle's physical attribute is completely unfounded.173.72.63.150 (talk)The Honourable Ronald Adair — Preceding undated comment added 04:35, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Berle was something of a bs artist, either for self-flattery or comedic effect. It makes it rather difficult to to untangle the truth from the cow pie. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 172.78.69.92 (talk) 06:33, 11 September 2016 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Leavelaugh.jpg[edit]

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Citations & References[edit]

See Wikipedia:Footnotes for an explanation of how to generate footnotes using the <ref(erences/)> tags Nhl4hamilton (talk) 10:55, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

WP:WikiProject Actors and Filmmakers priority assessment[edit]

Per debate and discussion re: assessment of the approximate 100 top priority articles of the project, this article has been included as a top priority article. Wildhartlivie (talk) 10:20, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

1982 Emmys[edit]

That anecdote about Berle matching wits with Joe Flaherty is a great anecdote. But what's the source? Minaker (talk) 08:07, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Explanation[edit]

I removed the Popular Culture section because it was just a list of people comparing their genitalia to Milton Berle's. I would think that the section should talk about more profound and meaningful aspects of Berle's influences.--Mr Fink (talk) 16:19, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Religion[edit]

He is categorized as being a Christian Scientist yet I didn't see any evidence in the article that supports that. Was he both Jewish and Christian Scientist? Did he convert to Christian Science and abandon Judaism? I am just curious as to what his true religion is because I know that he was Jewish for a large portion of his life but with the Christianity factor in place it raises a few questions. Selma Simpson (talk) 17:21, 4 December 2010

You don't stop being a Jew. Regardless, what do the sources say about his religious beliefs? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 17:22, 4 December 2010 (UTC)

Well, it says that he was born to Jewish parents and raised in that faith. There was no indication whatsoever in the article about him becoming involved in Christian Science. Selma Simpson (talk) 18:13, 4 December 2010

OH! NEVER MIND I FOUND THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE REFERENCE, I OVERLOOKED IT. THIS IS CONVERSATION IS NOW CLOSED!Selma Simpson (talk) 18:17, 4 December 2010

Change in licensing for File:Berleberman.jpg[edit]

As a result of some research, I found the copyrights for these images were not renewed. Full details can be found on the file. Because of this conversation, am changing the licenses of the images in the NBC Parade of Stars portfolio to public domain-copyright not renewed. We hope (talk) 19:24, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

Texaco Star Theater[edit]

His famous TV comedy-variety series of the late 1940s/early 1950s was called 'The Texaco Star Theater' for a while, but he eventually changed sponsors. By 1952 or 1953, his sponsor was Buick, and it was known as 'The Buick-Berle Show.' — Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.29.165.122 (talk) 06:14, 26 October 2011 (UTC) Note: the body of the article is correct, it's the introductory paragraph that implies the show was always 'The Texaco Star Theater.' — Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.29.165.122 (talk) 06:23, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Written by editors who did not experience the "golden age" of television?[edit]

Looking back I noticed the deletion (per discussion) of

While Berle's manic style may seem dated today, many TV styles are doomed to a short life, and Berle's career was among the first to show that the TV audience was extremely fickle. Nevertheless, Berle helped shape the new medium. He continues to be a reference point in the history of television, and he stands as a memorable icon of its early years.

Seems to me the article is preoccupied with his later decline and ignores his role in the ascent of the new medium of television. VєсrumЬа TALK 02:34, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

What's perhaps curious is that the schtick that worked in the 50s didn't work so well in later decades. His shows were basically vaudeville on TV, and audiences started to get somewhat more sophisticated as time passed, or at least their tastes shifted toward sitcoms. What happened to Berle also happened to Sid Caesar. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:41, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Another good example, Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, later including Carl Reiner, and the "Show of Shows." That said, needs more on the launching of the TV era. VєсrumЬа TALK 15:02, 21 June 2012 (UTC)]

‎Light show's deletion Dec 17, 2013[edit]

It is a well-meaning mistake to delete the paragraph Light show deleted today. What was deleted is part of the Berle persona. Of course the deleted Berle material linked to Truman Capote, Phil Silvers, Freddie Roman, and Howard Stern is vulgar. That material was part of Berle story. Berle did not discourage those discourage those stories. It should be restored. Iss246 (talk) 22:28, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

It's not a mistake to delete totally off-topic third-party "rumors" about penises, which has nothing to do with persona. But considering there's already an article on micropenises, maybe a new one for macropenises would be another beneficial article someone can start for this valuable physical science topic. Or else a new well-cited-rumors "Milton Berle" section for the existing Human penis size article, unless that 33Kb article is already too long. --Light show (talk) 22:56, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

The past day or two there's been a series of reversions relating to material about Berle's penis. It would probably be best to work through this issue here on the talk page, rather than continuing to revert with only edit summaries. I support retaining the material and plan to revert to a previous version of the article. My reasons are:

  1. This is definitely part of the Berle persona, well-known within the entertainment community during his lifetime and common knowledge for anyone with an interest in the time period. Leaving it out would deprive the WP reader of information that is relevant to Berle, his times and his type of comedy.
  2. The jokes that have been part of the article are illustrative of the type of humor that was common on the vaudeville and nightclub circuits. Berle was a product of this milieu. This type of comedy was also typical of the humor practiced by comedians of the '50's--'70's, where comics all knew each other well and needled each other in public, developing public characters and personae that were recognizable to their fans. Many of the routines of comics like Berle, Bob Hope, George Burns, Jack Benny, Henny Youngman, etc etc were full of references to other comedians and their stereotypical foibles. Berle's penis was as much a part of this frame of reference as Benny's stinginess or Hope's lousy golf game. This kind of personality-based comedy isn't as prevalent today. Including examples in articles about comics of the period gives the reader a sense of the culture of the time.

What do you think? --Jburlinson (talk) 23:30, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

I agree with Jburlinson. Although the material is vulgar, it should not be deleted because the material reflects on Berle's persona. Berle traded on it too. He told the "take out enough to win Miltie" story on the Stern show (the description on the WP Berle page is a little off; as Berle related the story to Stern, it took place in a locker room after a celebrity golf tournament involving Forrest Tucker). Iss246 (talk) 00:16, 18 December 2013 (UTC)


Since you both seem intent on vulgarizing Berle's bio with undue trivia, claiming it's part of his "persona", then it's key to prove that point. Please support the fact that someone, besides porn stars, have had their persona defined by their penis size. Otherwise, consider some of the suggestions above. I also agree with Jburlinson however, excluding points 1 and 2. --Light show (talk) 00:57, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
Actually, this type of vulgarity was commonplace in the mainstream entertainment community of yesteryear -- just as it is in the culture at large today. Betty Grable once said: "They say the two best-hung men in Hollywood are Forrest Tucker and Milton Berle. What a shame -- it's never the handsome ones. The bigger they are, the homelier." A good source is The Book of the Penis by Maggie Paley. There are a large number of famous performers from the past with reputations for the size of their penises -- Frank Sinatra, Walter Pidgeon, Groucho Marx and Aldo Ray, just two name a few. It may not be worth mentioning in all the articles on these celebrities, but in Berle's case, it was particularly significant, in that it was part of his "legend", one that he, himself, played up, and it's mentioned repeatedly in reliable published sources. Thus, it's fair game for wikipedia. --Jburlinson (talk) 01:42, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedians did not expurgate the entries on George Carlin, Sarah Silverman, and others. It does not make sense to expurgate the section on Berle. Iss246 (talk) 01:51, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
While respecting your scholarly expertise on Hollywood penisology, neither of you have yet supported the basis for adding the off-topic vulgarity, namely that it's part of his, or maybe anyone's "persona." --Light show (talk) 04:19, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
It's not "off-topic" if it relates to the topic -- which is Milton Berle, his personality, comedy and milieu. And the judgement as to whether or not it's part of his persona is not made by WP editors, it's made by reliable sources, which are cited. --Jburlinson (talk) 20:28, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
It's as off-topic here as stating his heart rate, body weight, height, shoe size, or his favorite wine or restaurant. We don't need to know his street addresses, the name of his barber, or his favorite brand of toothpaste. Your obsessive focus on his sexual organs is completely off-topic in this bio, and hopefully anyone's bio, as it would be laughably off-topic even on his doctor's medical examination report. The fact that you have a pile of rumors does not make any of that part of his "legend," except maybe to someone who happened to manufacturer custom prophylactics or jock straps. Your only edits to his bio are related to his penis size, which you seriously claim are part of his "persona" and "legend." --Light show (talk) 22:18, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
Let's get this straight. This isn't about what I consider to be on-topic or off-topic, it's what reliable secondary sources consider to be on-topic. This is considered important enough to be mentioned in more than one reliable source. If, for some reason, reliable sources consider "heart rate, body weight, height, shoe size" etc etc to be significant enough to mention, then it would be something to consider putting in a WP article. If nobody mentioned it, or if only one RS brought it up, that would be one thing; but it's mentioned often enough in the literature to be meaningful. Sure it's vulgar; but humor is often vulgar and Berle was a humorist. And wikipedia is not a children's encyclopedia. --Jburlinson (talk) 22:55, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

Re: User:DoctorJoeE's unexplained reverting a number of separate and justified edits, he stated it was based on a talk page discussion, which it's not, as he has said nothing about any of those deletions. Each was supported by a separate rationale. His edits are therefore unwarranted and reverted on the assumption that they were nonetheless made in good faith. --Light show (talk) 18:26, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

I've reverted the material on Berle's penis again and have added three more references to reliable sources. The issue here is whether or not this was part of Berle's "legend". There is ample evidence in the literature to demonstrate that it was. The various rationales provided for deleting each reference individually as opposed to deleting the entire section were not particularly convincing, particularly the one that said it belonged in Wikiquotes as opposed to Wikipedia. It belongs in both. It seems to me that a consensus has emerged that this material should remain in the article, with only one editor opposed. Is that a fair perception? --Jburlinson (talk) 19:55, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
You've failed to correct most of the issues stated as rationales for the deletions you've reverted: There is still no source that claims he was "famous," for that topic, nor any stating it was "legendary" or part of his "persona," which makes it your personal opinion. There are still mostly anecdotes based on various comedians' rumors, used to insert cherry-picked quotes; there are still unreliable sources restored; there are still fiction-based story-tales by Capote and others; there are still post-death quotes by comedians in a section related to his offstage activities, etc. One of your uncited contributions is an example: " Phil Silvers once told a story about standing next to Berle at a urinal, glancing down, and quipping, "You'd better feed that thing, or it's liable to turn on you!"
Therefore, by adding even more such trivia, maybe suitable for an out-dated coffee-shop comedy club, the material is still off-topic at best, and probably not even useful for Wikiquotes. All the material by Stern is about Stern and his desire to keep listeners involved at the cost of embarrassing his guest, Berle: "Oh, stop, that's terrible," Milton protested to Stern, "Milton wanted to drop the subject." (Private Parts) One of your sources, Thumin, even implies that all the rumors about his member were simply part of an ongoing joke by others meant to counter the impression Berle left from his early comedy shows where he dressed as a woman, and therefore contradicts the essence of the fame, legend and persona you keep implying. Consider reading the first sentence of this bio, noting that he "was an American comedian and actor," and try adding something valuable to that aspect. --Light show (talk) 21:33, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
Hence, unless you can find a first-person source for what all your sources state are rumors, mostly in jest, then your 200-word mini-essay, mostly anecdotal, focused entirely on his penis, should be considered unsupported, off-topic, and as per almost unanimous consensus, "vulgar." --Light show (talk) 21:33, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
You seem to be missing the point -- which is that, as the first sentence of the paragraph in question reads: "Berle was famous within show business for the rumored size of his penis." Take a look at the five reliable sources that attest to that statement. All the anecdotes that comprise the rest of the paragraph support that thesis statement and, with the exception of the Phil Silvers joke, all are attributed to acceptable sources. Feel free to delete the Silvers quote if you like. The question isn't the actual size of Berle's penis, it's whether or not this was something he was known for; and many, many sources document that. And the Stern material is obviously about both Stern and Berle. --Jburlinson (talk) 21:47, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
You seem to be missing the point that "reliable rumors" are not reliable sources. --Light show (talk) 21:52, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
It's not a "rumor" that "Berle was famous within show business for the rumored size of his penis", it's a fact. And it has multiple reliable sources that attest to it. I'm reverting the paragraph one more time (which is twice for me within a 24 hour time period). I also think we've gone about as far as we can go on the talk page. So the next step is to file a Dispute resolution noticeboard/request. I'll do that as soon as I finish typing this sentence. --Jburlinson (talk) 22:07, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
You might want to mention there that in your stated opinion earlier, "wikipedia is not a children's encyclopedia." --Light show (talk) 22:23, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I would have perhaps gone with an RFC before a DR as the normal route of escalation. For what its worth, the information is very reliably sourced (certainly for this type of info any way), and wikipedia is WP:NOTCENSORED. Gaijin42 (talk) 22:25, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

It is understandable that Light Show, like most of us, does not want to include rumors in WP. Even if the size of Berle's member is a rumor, it has been comedy shtick that has gotten a lot of play from Berle himself and from others in the show business community associated with Berle. It's part of the comedy. Berle's penis continues to get play in comedy (e.g., Curb Your Enthusiasm). Howard Stern has done an opposite play over his self-proclaimed small penis. That has been part of Stern's shtick. I realize that some WP readers may find the relevant text offensive but the text helps represent a facet of who these people are. It distorts the entry to censor out the text. Iss246 (talk) 22:44, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
Even if it was part of Berle's routine, which none of the sources imply, it's ridiculous to have the article's longest paragraph devoted to such nonsense rumor-trivia, sourced with comedian jokes. Contrary to rationales by some, it was not "part of Berle's shtick," but part of others'. The Career sections covering his first 25 years on stage, radio, and TV are only 1,000 words, which makes a 200-word mini-essay about other people's jokes about his member off-topic and overweight. It should at most be mentioned as a single sentence. Even Berle said the joke was offensive when Stern drew attention to it. IMHO, any editors whose only additions focus on this kind of trivia by others, effectively ignoring his 85-years as a comedian, are essentially defaming and undermining his career, thereby corrupting his WP biography. --Light show (talk) 23:53, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
Comment on the above. No one is defaming Berle. He was a funny, successful comedian who helped pioneer TV programming.
Light Show changed his or her argument. It is now about paragraph length, excuse the pun. If Light Show uses a Berle reference from the Stern show that the joke was offensive we have to take that with a pinch of salt. It was Berle who told the story on the Stern show about a locker room incident. In the incident attendees at the celebrity golf tournament, after the tournament was over, asked Berle to participate in a locker room contest with Forrest Tucker on member length. Berle told how he demurred from the contest. And then he told Stern how one guy in the locker room yelled out, Miltie take out just enough to win. Berle's story got laughs. Iss246 (talk) 00:32, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
No, Light show did not change his argument, he simply added to it. And defamation doesn't need to be intended. --Light show (talk) 00:41, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
Disagree, on both counts. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 15:12, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
user:Light show user:DoctorJoeE user:Iss246 A request for dispute resolution has been filed here. I requested a DR because WP:3 says that if there are more than 2 editors involved in a discussion, "editors should follow the other steps in the dispute resolution process such as the dispute resolution noticeboard or request for comment." It didn't sound like there was a preferred sequence to follow, so I picked DRN over RFC Sorry if I made an error. Please feel free to participate if you'd like. Thanks. --Jburlinson (talk) 22:51, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

I think I can help with the debate about Berle's first name. Jewish families in the Diaspora in the U.S. and elsewhere gave their children two different sets of first names. One set comprised stately English names (e.g., Milton, Seymour, Irving, Monroe, etc.). The other set comprised Yiddish or Hebrew first names (e.g., Mendel, Menachem, Kussiel, Kalman, etc.). Often the first letter of the English name evokes the sound of the first letter of the Yiddish/Hebrew name: Milton-Mendel. Parents may use one first name when the child is young and switch to the other first name when the child gets older (and even switch back again later). Or parents may stick with the Yiddish/Hebrew name but put the English name on a birth certificate to ensure the child's bona fides as an American, Englishman, etc. The family may use one name at home and the other name in school. I think Berle had two names like most American Jews. Iss246 (talk) 23:13, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

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