Top positive review
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Good For A Laugh - And Much More
on June 30, 2014
My memories of Moms Mabley go back to my childhood in the 1960s, when my mother would call us in whenever a Black performer was appearing on network television (back in the 60s, that was an EVENT). I have been a Moms Mabley fan my whole life. I eagerly awaited "Whoopi Goldberg Presents" and when it arrived, I enjoyed it quite a lot. My quibbles with it are few and minor, but quibbles I have: as the title suggests, there's nearly as much Whoopi here as there is Moms; the vintage (1940s-50s) footage leaves me begging for more - and then doesn't give it to me; and I wearied of watching words dance across the screen as Mabley album clips played - seriously, kids, this ain't radio; and Moms did a LOT of Ed Sullivan Shows.
Still, the film is very entertaining (I laughed, a lot) and hugely informative: am I the only person who didn't know that off-stage, Moms was a men's-suit-wearing butch lesbian, known to friendly acquaintances as "Mr. Moms"? Moms Mabley's story is an important chapter in the history of show business, Black show business, and (Who knew?) gay show business. It's hardly perfect, but if "Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley" turns out to be the definitive film tribute to Moms; well, the old gal could do worse.