Yoo-Hoo Mrs. Goldberg

(Rochester, NY) - From Aviva Kempner, maker of The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, comes this humorous and eye-opening story of television pioneer Gertrude Berg. Berg was the creator, principal writer, and star of The Goldbergs, a popular radio show that eventually became television’s first character-driven domestic sitcom in 1949. Yoo-Hoo Mrs. Goldberg airs Monday, December 10, 2012 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 1011 and 11). The film follows Berg's early years of marriage, her short period in New Orleans, her move to New York City, to her work in the radio and television renditions of The Goldbergs.

Born as Tillie Edelstein in New York City in 1898, Berg grew up working on her father’s resort in the Catskill Mountains, where she met her future husband, Lewis. Lewis, an engineer, found work on a sugar plantation in New Orleans, where Tillie joined him. The couple returned to New York after the plantation burned down. It was this journey that prompted Tillie to change her name to Gertrude Berg, pursue acting, and begin writing radio scripts about a fictional family named the Goldbergs. “The Goldbergs” premiered on radio in 1929 to enormous following. As Gertrude continued to capture the hearts of Americans with her family-oriented radio program, she was approached by CBS executives to be the lead writer, star, and producer of a television sitcom based on the radio program. In 1949, The Goldbergs premiered on CBS. In 1950, Gertrude was the first recipient of an Emmy Award for Best Actress. However, the Red Scare and McCarthy era derailed the career of popular costar Philip Loeb, and in turn the success of The Goldbergs. Blacklisted, she turned to theatre and other works. Berg died in 1966 while producing a Broadway show.

Yoo-Hoo Mrs. Goldberg includes interviews with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, actor Ed Asner, producers Norman Lear (All in the Family) and Gary David Goldberg (Family Ties), and NPR correspondent Susan Stamberg. Classic footage from Berg’s works, along with historical perspectives, enhance the profile of the most important woman in media that you may never have heard of.

Image: Gertrude Berg
Image credit: Courtesy of the Ciesla Foundation

 


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