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Yoo Hoo Mrs Goldberg

4.7 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Subtitled as The Most Famous Woman in America You've Never Heard Of," this documentary captures the essence of a most amazing American. Hailed in the 1930s as The First Woman of Radio," Gertrude Berg was a first-generation, Jewish-American female who helped build the very industry that seems to have forgotten her. This wonderful documentary by Aviva Kempner retells her triumphant story. 2 DVDs. 2009/color-b&w/92 min/NR/fullscreen.

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Long before Roots, All in the Family, and Tyler Perry, there was Mrs. Goldberg. Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg is a documentary that explores the wonderful cultural significance of a creative, energetic Jewish woman, Gertrude Berg, and how her vision and drive broke cultural boundaries in the 1930s and beyond. Berg created a character, Mrs. Goldberg, a lovable and loving Jewish mother, shaped in the immigrant neighborhoods of New York City, who became a national heroine and one of the first true pop culture icons of the 20th century. Directed by Aviva Kempner, Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg traces the story of young Tillie Edelstein, granddaughter of Jewish refugees, who was born in 1898 in East Harlem. Young Tillie was inquisitive and formed her love for theater at her father's hotel in the Catskills. Later, upon returning to Manhattan, Tillie married and continued to write, supported by her loving husband. Eventually she changed her name to Gertrude and used her married last name, Berg, and became an early radio star in a series based on her insular Jewish neighborhood. The radio show eventually became a TV series--and giant national hit--earning Berg the first Best Actress Emmy. But the power of Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg lies in Kempner's meticulous, captivating storytelling. There are interviews with fans from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg to NPR's Susan Stamberg--who relates the possibly apocryphal quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt that it wasn't he who led America out of the Great Depression, "it was Mrs. Goldberg" and the nurturing popularity of the radio series that bore her name. This boxed set is a rich exploration of the America of the 20th century, of the bridging of ethnic worlds, and of the vision and energy of one talented lady who captivated America and helped pave the way for the multicultural America that would lie ahead. The disc includes a great commentary by Kempner, several episodes of the original TV series, and interviews with Edward R. Morrow and others about Berg, who freely admits she "spends more time as Mrs. Goldberg than as myself." Fans of pop culture history and the evolving role of Jews in America will especially love Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg --A.T. Hurley

Product Details

  • Actors: Gertrude Berg, Lewis Berg, Sara Chase, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Viola Harris
  • Directors: Aviva Kempner
  • Producers: Aviva Kempner, Leah Ramsay
  • Format: Color, Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: August 24, 2010
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003MWHUFG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,636 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Yoo Hoo Mrs Goldberg" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Miles D. Moore on November 5, 2009
For more than a quarter-century, during the halcyon days of radio and early television, actress-playwright Gertrude Berg ruled the airwaves as Molly Goldberg, a kindly Jewish mother dispensing homespun wisdom to her family and neighbors in the Bronx. Berg told Edward R. Murrow that she spent more time as Molly Goldberg than she did as Gertrude Berg, and this was the plain truth: she wrote, produced and starred in more than 5,000 episodes of "The Goldbergs," making her one of the true creative dynamos of American entertainment history. At the peak of her fame, Berg was second in the public trust only to Eleanor Roosevelt. Unfortunately, the blacklist damaged her career, and destroyed that of her co-star, Philip Loeb, who subsequently committed suicide. Also, the poor picture quality and erratic distibution of the kinescopes of "The Goldbergs" guaranteed that Molly Goldberg wouldn't remain a household name, as Lucy Ricardo and Ralph Kramden did.

"Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg!", Aviva Kempner's fascinating and touching documentary, reclaims the story of Molly Goldberg and her creator for modern audiences. Along with vintage clips from the radio and TV programs, Kempner presents interviews with Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Norman Lear, Susan Stamberg and other luminaries who testify to their love of Molly Goldberg and the importance of having a radio and TV character who reflected the reality of their own lives. "Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg!" is an apt tribute to an unjustly forgotten pioneer of situation comedy.
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You don't have to be Jewish to love "The Goldbergs." This film is a simply wonderful documentary about a self-made Jewish woman (whose real name is Gertrude Berg) who - through force of personality and hard work - stormed into the radio business in the 1930's and then persuaded the producers to allow her to make the first TV family "sitcom" before "I Love Lucy" or "The Cosby's. Gertrude Berg invented the genre and was the queen of television for years. The movie includes quite a few clips of some of her actual episodes; Many will be curious to see the TV shows in full. (Now that is possible with a new DVD collection). My best friend who grew up in the 1940's opined that this was his favorite television program. Perhaps Gertrude Berg will get her much deserved re-recognition in the 21st century. I was terribly impressed that Gertrude Berg wrote a new TV episode EVERY NIGHT, then directed her co-actors in the morning, became the leading star, and then completed filming that episode in the afternoon. Then, in the remaining hours of the same day she wrote her next episode and did this thousands of times. Let's face it...that is a brilliant accomplishment that no one - male or woman - has ever matched!

What made the TV show so interesting is that Molly bridged two worlds - between the old immigrant way of life and the New World of American consumerism; All along, she retained those important family values of honest work and community compassion. Why did the TV show go out of fashion? Did the New Americans merge into mainstream culture so completely that old time values became less interesting on television?

The documentary is also important for its frank discussion of blacklisting.
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Yoo Hoo Mrs. Goldberg, for those of us 55+ is an opportunity to go back in television history and witness one of the pioneer women of radio and television programs. This documentary covers many aspects of her personal and professional life. It makes you realize what a strong personality and great talent she had! A pure joy!
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What a wonderful and insightful look into the life and times of Gertrude Berg/Molly Goldberg. A special view of the lady who was so creative and talented. This is a must see to all who enjoy great television!
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A must see, not only was Gertrude Berg a radio and TV icon, she was a pre-feminist era Wonder Woman. She wrote, produced, directed and starred in her own series This film also gives a special insight into that dread Blacklist era of the 50s. Wonderful commentary by Justice Ginsberg and many others she influenced.
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An interesting niche film primarily for nostalgia buffs with a strong emphasis on the 1950's and the birth of modern television. Because it is comprised essentially of film clips and interviews, it is a little draggy at times. There is a socio-political component as well-- with a through account of the Jewish-American immigration experience, Jewish humor, McCarthyism, feminism, etc. The creator of this film is apparently undergoing some of the financial stresses of production, so if you do decide to view it in a theater, you will be supporting her efforts.
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...but you do have to appreciate the child-of-immigrant-parents' struggle to educate herself, to find her voice as an author, to plug her radio scripts to NBC, and to portray her people, always in a positive light, despite the rampant anti-semitism of the time.

Gertrude Berg is revealed here as someone of enormous energy, drive and creativity. Despite her immigrant roots and the racial prejudice against her fellow Jews, she managed to write and act in her own radio show based on her fictitious family, the Goldbergs. They faced assimilation problems typical of all immigrant families of the period who were seeking, and finding, the American Dream. What a concept! Too bad Molly's brand of patriotism can't be taught to all immigrant families who currently struggle with their identities as Americans. Berg's view of Jewish immigrant life in the Bronx circa 1930 through 1955 revealed these new citizens to be 100% American through and through.

This film was enlightening, interesting and above all entertaining. I enjoyed watching it a second time with the director's commentary turned on. Don't miss this look at a broadcasting pioneer; you'll be calling 'yoo hoo' to your own neighbors.
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