“Yoo hoo! Mrs. Goldberg ….”

April 25, 2009

 

GERTRUDE BERG

GERTRUDE BERG

We were happy last night to find that the web site http://www.archive.org has several episodes of the television series “The Goldbergs,” a program far superior to most half-hour shows today, with allowances for the technical advances that have taken place since the ’50s. This is a warm show, humorous without being silly, with a solid dramatic basis. The show starred Gertrude Berg, who also owned it and wrote it and insisted on such things as everday situations and no laugh track. The Goldberg family consisted of Molly Goldberg; her husband, Jake, who was in the wholesale garment business; her uncle, David Romaine; and her children, Rosalie and Sammy – to whom Molly always referred as “my Rosalie” and “Samalie.” The family first appeared in a long-lived radio series and also was portrayed in a Broadway play written by Berg and in a film. The episode we watched last night was the final season in what was not a continuous run. In this 1955 show, the family had just moved to the suburbs from The Bronx – mirroring what was actually going on with a lot of urban Jewish families at the time – and Molly was having a hard time adjusting to an unfamiliar neighborhood. The dialogue in this show is priceless; Berg had a good ear for how people talk. Molly and David, in particular, use a peculiar verbal shorthand one doesn’t hear often. For instance, when Molly wants to say, “Give me a minute to write that down,” she says, “Pardon me while I jot.” We’re grateful for whoever preserved these shows.

 

GERTRUDE BERG and PHILIP LOEB

GERTRUDE BERG and PHILIP LOEB

There was a shadow over “The Goldbergs.” Philip Loeb, who was cast as Jake when the television series was on CBS, was fingered as a Communist by Lee J. Cobb and Elia Kazan in their testimony in 1950 before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Berg was pressured to fire Loeb, and she refused, so CBS dropped the show. Loeb resigned and accepted a monetary settlement, but he committed suicide in 1955. Eight months after CBS dropped it, NBC picked the show up with another actor in the role.

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2 Responses to ““Yoo hoo! Mrs. Goldberg ….””

  1. Susan Senk Says:

    Charles
    thre is a new film opening this summer entitled Yoo Hoo Mrs. Goldberg- if you are interested in seeing an advnace of it- let us know at
    SusanSenkPR@aol.com

  2. Susan Senk Says:

    We saw your blog. We represent a film that opens this summer, Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg about the lives and times of Gertrude Berg. Please contact us so we can send you an advance copy.

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