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Program Comments from Lou @ oldiestelevision.com Broadway actress Gertrude Berg brought her stage personna Molly Goldberg to radio and early television, the matriarch of a Jewish family who moved from New York City to the suburbs. Gertrude (Trudy to friends) not only starred in the popular syndicated series, she served as executive producer (unusual for a woman in the television roots era) as well as co-writer and star. I think you will agree, more than sixty years later, The Goldbergs never lost the heartwarming charm. We loved it so much, we changed our minds from running just a clip to a full episode, this show a viewer's favorite from their 3rd season, 1955.


About The Goldbergs Gertrude Berg created Molly Goldberg for 1930s-1940s radio with the signature call from the kitchen window, "Yoo Hoo, Mrs Bloom!" Ms. Berg wrote, directed and starred in the radio comedy/drama as she did when The Goldbergs made the transition to television in the 50's. This episode, once thought lost through irreverent handling of film and kinescope, was a viewer favorite. The Goldbergs centers upon a middle class Jewish family in New York, Molly is the matriarch, her husband, Jake (Robert B. Harris) tries to "wear the pants around the house," their spirited daughter Rose (a/k/a Rosalie, Arlene McQuabe) and wise, old Uncle David (Eli Mintz). In some, not all episodes including this, Thomas Taylor played the now you see him now you don't Sammy Goldberg. A full profile of The Goldbergs and the founding woman who got it on the air (a pioneer for women as TV executives, before Lucy), Gertrude Berg, read on!

About Gertrude Berg Gertrude Berg portrayed and was the personification of the "Jewish mother" on radio, television, the stage and the screen. Millions of radio listeners were tuned in to her daily fifteen minute program, The Rise of the Goldbergs, when it went on the air on November 20, 1929. This show elevated her to celebrity status and made her one of the most successful women writers in the history of American entertainment.

She was born in the Jewish Harlem section of New York City, on October 3, 1899. She was the only child of Dinah and Jacob Edelstein. She attributed her major source of humor and Jewish life to her grandfather, Mordecai Edelstein, who was an immigrant from the Russian occupied area of Poland.

Prior to World War 1, her father took over the operation of a boarding house in Fleischmanns, New York. Her mother supervised the kitchen and bookkeeping and Gertrude entertained the guests by writing and performing skits.

It was here that she met Lewis Berg, a chemical engineer, who was regarded as an expert in his field as a sugar technologist. In 1918, they were married and for a while they lived on a sugar plantation in Louisiana. Their stay was brief and they returned to New York City where they had two children: a son, Cherney Robert, 1922, and a daughter, Harriet, in 1926.

In 1929, she submitted her once stage script for a daily radio show called The Rise of the Goldbergs, which was an instant hit. It was on the air six days a week and in 1931 it picked up a sponsor and it ran until 1934. Sol Lessor called her to Hollywood, where she wrote screen plays for he and child star, Bobby Breen. In 1938, she received a five-year, million dollar contract to write and star in the Goldberg series. It was on the air from 1938 to 1945. The problems of the Goldbergs became those of the listening audience.

Gertrude Berg was concerned about the growth of Fascism in the thirties and the welfare of European Jews. She became active in many Jewish groups and during World War II and participated in the larger war effort.

In her transition of The Goldbergs from radio to television, she achieved another success. Her opening television show line "Yoo hoo, Mrs. Bloom," became a national cliche. Gertrude Berg wrote and co- starred in the film, Molly, in 1951.

It was while in production of her starring role in The Play Girls that she had a heart attack and died on September 15, 1966. Brooks Atkinson, of The New York Times, in describing her writing and role of Molly said: "In her code of values, Mrs. Berg is more nearly right than Noel Coward, who is an expert playwright; and her family makes better company than the over-civilized family J.B. Priestly introduced to us in The Linden Tree. Gertrude Berg was a writer and actress who brought out the humanity, love and respect that people should have toward each other. Her contributions to American radio, television films and stage will always be remembered, especially by those who experienced hearing and seeing her perform.


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