CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

"Yoo Hoo Mrs. Goldberg!" is quite a contrast from Michael Moore's latest epic

While his latest documentary has received over 100 million dollars in free publicity from the major media outlets, Michael Moore's **Capitalism: A Love Story,** proved to be a box office disappointment with $5.2 million dollars in national release. In contrast, **Yoo Hoo Mrs. Goldberg!** opens tomorrow in local theaters with far smaller marketing budget than Michael Moore's latest rant. At least a **Mrs Goldberg** ticket buyer will leave the theater with a warm feeling about American Culture and her people.
Created by writer/actress Gertrude Berg, Molly Goldberg began as a radio character in November 1929, one month after the stock market crash that ignited the Great Depression. With a Yiddish accent and homespun wisdom, Molly Goldberg's radio program became a fixture on the airwaves. It was a sentimental comedy show that observed the life and nuances of tenement living in New York city.
Yet during the rise of Hitler during the 1930s, **The Goldbergs** became a series that acknowledged the plight of Molly's Jewish relatives in Europe. It was subtle, but this social consciousness had a major impact upon a young Jewish boy, Norman Milton Lear. Lear grew up to create comedies with serious themes like **All in the Family,** **Good Times,** and **One Day at a Time.**
With the advent of the new medium, television, **The Goldbergs** became the first situation comedy on the Columbia Broadcasting system. Each program opened with Molly Goldberg opening her apartment window to meet and greet the people in television land. After discussing the merits of Sanka coffee (the program sponsor), Molly would go inside and take part in the hi jinks involving her family and neighbors. For a year and a half, **The Goldbergs** sold a lot of Sanka to the American public, who were also buying this newfangled contraption called television.

Due to pressures from Senator Joe McCarthy, **The Goldbergs** television program ended it's run on CBS. It was alleged that Philip Loeb (the actor who portrayed Molly's husband) had Communist ties due to his union activity with actors. When the National Broadcasting Company commissioned new episodes of **The Goldbergs,** Philip Loeb was replaced by two other actors. **The Goldbergs** ran on NBC until 1956, when network executives thought it would be a good idea to move **The Goldbergs** from the city to the suburbs.

This movie review is spoiler free, **Yoo Hoo Mrs. Goldberg!** presents many slap-your-head-moments and presents much historical irony about American television icons. These moments will generate laughs with awe. Writer/Director Aviva Kempner has fashioned an entertaining piece of broadcast history, which is not surprising given her great baseball documentary, **The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg.** During a telephone interview with Aviva Kempner revealed to me her philosophy of creating documentaries about American Culture;

"You can learn and be entertained at the same time. You do not have to be Jewish to love Molly Goldberg. She confronted the nagging mother stereotype presented in the past."

As for a comparison between baseball ace Hank Greenberg and Gertrude Berg's alter ego Molly Golberg, Avina remarked that;
"Usually heroes deserve to be heroes."
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