Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Review of Yoo Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg.

Terrific, detailed review of the DVD of the superb documentary "Yoo Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg," made by Aviva Kempner. We have this DVD and it's really a MUST HAVE for anyone who loves television, history, and movies. Seriously. GO GET.

Included in the extra disk are interviews and stories that you cannot stop watching. This is a seriously great DVD.

It also includes information about Philip Loeb, who Jim talks about in "Zero Hour." From the review:

An excellent documentary about the talented comedienne, Gertrude Berg, who wrote, produced and starred in her own comedy series, first on radio and then very early on television, essentially inventing the family situation comedy for TV in the process, Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg, has been released by Docuramafilms and New Video.  Directed by Aviva Kempner, the movie has the advantage of being about an entertainer, so that it can always cut to the entertainment to keep its energy up, but Berg’s life was rich and fascinating—as a little girl, she helped out the family Catskill hotel business by ‘entertaining’ the guests—and parallels with equal fascination the epic transition in America from radio to TV.  It was her show, The Goldbergs, begun in 1949, that worked out the initial production strategies for live television while, week after week, she turned out basic but often brilliant scripts exploring the emotions of family life.  In doing so, she also aided greatly in the assimilation of Jewish culture into the American consciousness.  After the horrors of World War II, her weekly demonstrations that urban Jewish Americans, outside of the funny accents and a few exotic traditions, had the same problems, the same feelings and the same dreams that all Americans had, cannot be underestimated as a critical factor in the long term healing process, especially with those who had been influenced by reactionary American firebrands during the Depression and lived too far from urban centers to have any direct contact with Jews themselves.  In any case, Berg was a pioneer, an innovator, and an artist sensitive to the most delicate nuances of the human heart, and the 2009 feature certifies her deserved placement in the pantheon of American heroes (at the very least, as Kempner points out, they should issue a stamp already…).
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Hal Prince talks about Zero Mostel