Milton always closed his show with "September Song"
1908 - 2002
I Met Milton when he was headlining the Roy Radin Vaudeville Revue. Most people in the business think Milton was hard to deal with. That was only true if you didn't do your job. Milton was a hard taskmaster, but he never asked anyone to do anything he was not willing to do himself. He was the only act, in the history of the Radin Show, that actually insisted on going to every set-up, in every city, in every theater. If his name was associated with the show, it had to be perfect. Not for the fans as much as for himself.
The last tour Milton did with us was one of the toughest of all the tours. More dates, longer drives and a longer show. Everyone on the show was exhausted by the middle of the tour. Milton started having problems with the other acts, as they were tired and were just walking through their acts at night. After one extremely long week, Milton asked me to have the band stay on the bus, so he could talk to us. I thought we had a problem, that I did not know about. When all the acts got off the bus, he told the band "Don't talk to anyone. Just go to your room, drop your stuff and get back on the bus. We are going out to eat." We all thought we were going to IHOP, or Denny's, or Howard Johnson's. Much to our surprise, we arrived at a very nice seafood restaurant in Ocean City, Maryland. We were ushered into a private dining room and Milton began to speak. "This has been a very tough tour and as you all know, the unprofessionalizm on the show has been horrible. You guys are the only professionals on the show. You give 100% every show, no matter what, and you are paid the least. Tonight you can order anything you want on the menu. If you want two appetizers, get them. If you want two lobster dinners, get them. If you want to drink a beer, make it an imported beer. Live it up...you've earned it." And we did. We had the best time and nothing was ever said, to the rest of the cast, of where we went that night.
We all looked forward to the shows with Milton. He was non-stop energy and the show was never the same twice. The best part of the shows, for us, was if he had a heckler. God help them. He was so quick and would cut them off at the knees.
A few years before his passing, a reporter asked him if he was going to retire. His answer is the same as all the great older performers. "Retire to what?" He wanted to do nothing else and knew nothing else. He lived to perform and performed to live. When he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he was told he should start treatments for it. He refused, saying that he had lived a great life and that was that.
Milton's passing was a great loss to the entertainment community and to the world at large. He was the best!!!
BErLE AND LUCY BERLE AND SINATRA
BERLE AND ELVIS BERLE with MARTIN and LEWIS
PAUL DAFELMAIR, Milton's personal assistant and great guy. We all enjoyed getting to know him and the band dubbed him the "Koala". Why? Just look at him.
From what I have heard, Paul is the wardrobe supervisor for "NAVY NCIS". I'm sure he is as wonderful for them as he was for Milton. They are very lucky to have him.
Here is a copy of an e-mail I received, from a Radin Show audience member from the late 70s. It was such a lovely remembrance that I wanted to share it...along with the photo.
What wonderful memories your site has renewed. I had recently been telling a friend in Ohio of the great shows that Roy Radin would bring to our area. The shows were presented in Rome, New York, maybe 20 miles away from Utica, New York. The year that Eddie Fisher was the MC, we saw that one in Oneida, New York, which is 20 miles on the other side of Rome. The photo enclosed was in Uncle Miltie's dressing room and the flash didn't go off and it was the last film left in a Polaroid camera and he asked if I had another Flashcube (that'll take you back) and I did and he said TAKE IT AGAIN. It came out really good. I don't know how but it did. My son in the photo will be 42 on the 30th of April and my daughter will be 38 on December 1st. I've got some of the weirdest stories about meeting many of those great people behind the Capitol Theater while they were getting ready to get on the bus.
MAIN I O'CONNOR I FISHER I BERLE I MEKKA I BARTY I RADIN I JAZZ FEST I PHOTO GALLERY