Yoo-hoo, Mrs. Goldberg (2009)
Critic Consensus: Equal parts edification and entertainment, Kempner's tender tribute to a forgotten pioneer of American entertainment is both richly deserved and long overdue.
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Critic Reviews for Yoo-hoo, Mrs. Goldberg
It is only in the sequence about Berg's popular costar Philip Loeb that Aviva Kempner's documentary resonates.
Yoo-Hoo suggests that, yes, Berg broke new ground and, no, she shouldn't be forgotten. But it doesn't explain why she endured, or why she is so forgotten today.
History has been unfair to Berg, a fact that filmmaker Aviva Kempner hopes to correct with this illuminating documentary.
Aviva Kempner's documentary Yoo Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg is a delightful introduction to Berg, who began writing and performing skits at her father's resort hotel in the Catskill Mountains, then studied drama at Columbia University.
We're left with an impression of a vivacious pioneer; but warm shouldn't have to mean fuzzy.
Audience Reviews for Yoo-hoo, Mrs. Goldberg
"Yoo-Hoo, Mrs, Goldberg" is a charming and informative documentary about Getrude Berg, nee Tilly Edelstein, who was not only the star of "The Goldbergs," an immensely popular sitcom that originated on the radio, but also wrote the scripts in the days before word processors and computers with bad handwriting that puts my atrocious handwriting to shame.(One interviewee refers to her as the Oprah of her time.) What's especially noteworthy about "The Goldbergs" is that it is the prototypical family sitcom, influencing many sitcoms in the years to come.(Norman Lear is on hand to testify to this.) Although, to be honest, any television series that lasts for any period of time will have rising stars passing through at some point. "The Goldbergs" not only has an important place in television history but also in the current events of the times by presenting a Jewish family in New York City without stereotypes in a time of growing anti-semitism in the 1930's. And the television program would be adversely affected by the Blacklist of the 1950's, despite its huge popularity. Sadly enough, "The Goldbergs" has faded somewhat from memory as it has not found a new audience with younger generations which hopefully this fine documentary helps to rectify.
An informative documentary about Gertrude Berg, the writer, actress, and creator of The Goldbergs, a pioneering family sitcom on radio and then television, forerunner of many more famous ones to come, including 'Seinfeld' and Norman Lear's work. It was an urban sitcom set in the Bronx; late in its run, the setting was moved to the suburbs like the other family sitcoms, whereupon the show apparently became much less interesting. The movie explains the show's relevance and impact as well as the society it reflected, including the very sad story of a lead actor who was blacklisted in the Red Scare despite attempts by Berg and company to keep him employed. Berg was quite popular in her time and pretty influential. A good look at the life and legacy of a largely forgotten figure in entertainment.
Many associate Lucille Ball as the first woman of TV comedy - they are wrong - decades before Gertrude Berg paved the way for women on TV as well the modern day sitcom. Never heard of her? - neither had I. The docu from acclaimed filmmaker Aviva Kempner, tells the story of her start on radio just as the Depression hit America. Her down-home, good nature won over audiences & even had Roosevelt to proclaim "I didn't end the Depression, Gertrude Berg did!". From radio to TV, her popularity lasted for decades until the 1950's when her show was forced off the air. The title refers to her character being called to the window from a voice across the way "Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg" - somebody needed her motherly advice & attention. Though her character is portrayed as sweet & nurturing, off screen, Berg was tough & demanding - a perfectionist. When she was on the radio & it called for Mrs. Goldberg to be fixing eggs, she would fry up eggs while the live performance was going on (she wrote all the scripts daily & picked up inspiration by walking around her mostly Jewish neighbourhood in the Bronx.) The film has a variety of talking heads (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Norman Lear, etc.) & Berg showcased rising talents like Steve McQueen & Anne Bancroft. An enjoyable, brisk 90 min. docu which enlightened me to an era long since forgotten. It would be nice to have a Mrs. Goldberg to call out to today - but instead, we get the fist pumping Snookie's & reality TV starlets to be this generation's role models.
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