Monday, October 4, 2010

Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg, written and directed by Aviva Kempner, 2009 (documentary)

"The documentary Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg salutes Berg and her far-reaching influence." from a review by Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times in July, 2009

Gertrude Berg (the stage name of Tillie Edelstein 1898-1966), whose father owned a Catskills hotel in Fleishmanns, New York, became an early pioneer in radio and TV, creating and playing the character Molly Goldberg from 1929 into the 1950’s.

It is very interesting to hear Gertrude Berg talk in her own cultured voice about the character of Molly who spoke with a pronounced Yiddish-inflected voice. Berg did not only act the part, she wrote thoughtful but often humorous scripts, forging the way for the weekly situation comedy which was to become a staple of television programming, introducing what became a beloved character to all America. Through interviews with Gertrude Berg and others, as well as through excerpts from the shows, the film recounts how important and popular the Goldberg family became to a very large and varied audience. In fact, Berg received the first "lead actress in a comic series" Emmy award.

The documentary also deals extensively with the actor Philip Loeb who played her husband on the show but who was blacklisted and the insidious effect blacklisting had on writers and actors in the entertainment industry, many of them Jewish.

Mordechai Edelstein –Tillie Edelstein’s grandfather
    Jacob Edelstein – his son; Tillie’s father
    Dina Edelstein – his wife; Tillie’s mother
        Tillie Edelstein (Gertrude Berg who played Molly Goldberg) – their daughter
        Cherney Edelstein – their son
        Lewis Berg – Gertrude’s husband
            Harriett Berg Schwartz – their daughter
            Dr. David Schwartz – their son-in-law
                Adam Berg – her grandson
                Anne Schwartz – her granddaughter
                Henry Schwarz – her grandson
Philip Loeb – actor on show
Anna Berger – actress on show
Fannie Merrill – her secretary/friend
    Judith Abrams – Fannie Merrill’s daughter

To learn more about the film and see family pictures click here.
To see a twelve minute trailer click here.

Fleishmanns, New York
New York City, New York

1 comment:

  1. I was saddened to read that Ms Berg's grandson-the very fine actor Adam Berg, aka Adam Williams-was blacklisted. After all, he won the Navy Cross in WWII. But his career took off after being in North By Northwest, as he made numerous appearances on The Rifleman, Gunsmoke, and Have Gun Will Travel. Good for you, Adam.