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MILTON BERLE & VIRGINIA MAYO IN 'ALWAYS LEAVE THEM LAUGHING'

Title: ALWAYS LEAVE THEM LAUGHING Year: 1949 Rating: ****

In the frame story of the first television star Milton Berle's 1949 big screen debut ALWAYS LEAVE THEM LAUGHING, a young comic watches Milton as fictional-self Kipling "Kip" Cooper filming his own successful TV-variety show... 

Which is supposed to be what Berle's Kip worked so hard to perfect: a vaudeville-trained standup comedian's hyperactive struggle to reach the point of being, basically, TV's beloved Milton Berle...

Credits for ALWAYS LEAVE THEM LAUGHING

Yet ironically, this supposed creative peak is worse than the deliberately low-rent gigs leading up: ranging from a heckling men's club violently preferring strippers to comics, or lying about a lucrative musical role to his girlfriend...

And despite the second-billing and poster covers, it's not Virginia Mayo... her part's relatively peripheral as the gold-digging wife of a comic superstar that Kip... who makes a sparse living imitating more famous comedians...  ultimately aspires to: until taking over hospitalized Bert Lahr's Broadway Show, where leggy bombshell Mayo's both wife and on-stage co-star, now edging towards a spicy romance with Kip...

Milton Berle with Virginia Mayo and Bert Lahr in Always Leave Them Laughing

Meanwhile his genuine love-interest (initially more engaged in friendship than romance) is the strongest character aboard in Ruth Roman's Fay Washburn... along with Lloyd Gough's caustic yet dependable agent, she remains faithful to a zig-zagging career where Berle desperately tries to, as the title goes, ALWAYS LEAVE THEM LAUGHING: a propaganda programmer that both overreaches and entertains like the fervent entertainer being depicted...

And yet, despite TV's biggest star financially flopping on the big screen, a vigorous, determined, always-moving Milton Berle proves he can try being funny like no one else, keeping busy enough so not to rest on his laurels: which would ironically happen for the rest of his hit-and-miss (real life) career.

Milton Berle and genuine second-star Ruth Roman in Always Leave Them Laughing
Milton Berle and Max Showalter in Always Leave Them Laughing
Milton Berle with Virginia Mayo in Always Leave Them Laughing
Milton Berle as Iris Adrian in Always Leave Them Laughing
Milton Berle in blackface from Always Leave Them Laughing
Milton Berle with Virginia Mayo in Always Leave Them Laughing
Milton Berle and Ruth Roman in Always Leave Them Laughing
Milton Berle with Ruth Roman in Always Leave Them Laughing
Lloyd Gough as the agent from Always Leave Them Laughing
Milton Berle in Always Leave Them Laughing
Milton Berle with Ruth Roman in Always Leave Them Laughing
Milton Berle with Virginia Mayo in Always Leave Them Laughing
Milton Berle with Virginia Mayo in Always Leave Them Laughing
Ruth Roman with Milton Berle in Always Leave Them Laughing
Milton Berle and Ruth Roman in Always Leave Them Laughing
Milton Berle and Ruth Roman in Always Leave Them Laughing
Milton Berle and Ruth Roman in Always Leave Them Laughing with Lloyd Gough
Alan Hale and Grace Hayes with Milton Berle in Always Leave Them Laughing
Bert Lahr with Virginia Mayo in Always Leave Them Laughing
Bert Lahr with Virginia Mayo in Always Leave Them Laughing
Bert Lahr with Virginia Mayo in Always Leave Them Laughing
Ruth Roman in Always Leave Them Laughing
Ruth Roman with Milton Berle in Always Leave Them Laughing
Max Showalter with Milton Berle in Always Leave Them Laughing
Virginia Mayo in Always Leave Them Laughing
Virginia Mayo and Milton Berle in Always Leave Them Laughing

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