Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg": A New Film by Aviva Kempner

The Museum of Family History is very pleased to present to you a film preview of "Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg," the twenty-third film preview on display within its Screening Room. "You-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg" is a film created by Aviva Kempner, whose other film credits include "The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg" and "Partisans of Vilna."

Gertrude Berg became a cultural icon against the backdrop of the twentieth century’s most difficult years for American Jews. Berg’s radio show, The Goldbergs, which she created, wrote, and starred in, premiered a week after the stock market crash of 1929. The show rose in popularity at the same time Hitler rose to power in Germany. She combined social commentary, family values and comedy to win the hearts of America. In 1949, she brought The Goldbergs to television, and it became the new medium’s very first character-driven domestic sitcom. She weathered yet another minefield of American history, Senator Joseph McCarthy’s blacklist, which had a devastating effect on the entertainment industry.

Gertrude Berg became an important public figure at a time when positive images of Jews, especially mothers, were rarely shown in public. The “Oprah of her day,” Berg was a media trailblazer with a cookbook, advice column, and clothing line in addition to popular radio and television serials. Her creation of a specifically ethnic, but far from atypical, American life in The Goldbergs carries through to this day.

Among those interviewed for the film are actor Ed Asner, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, TV producers Gary David Goldberg (Family Ties) and Norman Lear (All in the Family), CBS anchor Andrea Roane, and NPR commentator Susan Stamberg. Those who recall the show will recognize familiar faces from The Goldbergs, including Berg’s talent discoveries, Anne Bancroft and Steve McQueen.

Footage includes short clips from beloved motion pictures, such as The Marx Brothers' The Cocoanuts, Martin Ritt’s The Front, and Charlie Chaplin’s The Immigrant, as well as evocative footage from the Depression, World War II, and the Lower East Side.

The film preview can be seen by clicking on www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/sr-23-goldberg.htm.

The Museum's complete listing and links to all its film previews can be found at www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/screeningroom.htm.

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