"Something on My Own": Gertrude Berg and American Broadcasting, 1929-1956 (Television and Popular Culture)

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In 1929 "The Goldbergs" debuted on the air, introducing Gertrude Berg -- and her radio alter ego, Bronx housewife Molly Goldberg - to the nation. The show would become one of the most beloved and enduring sitcoms of Golden Age radio, and early TV. At the helm was Berg who, as creator, star, writer, and producer, became a force to be reckoned with. This multi-faceted biography provides a penetrating look at how Gertrude Berg carved a special place for herself in the annals of broadcast history. Decades before Lucille Ball, Berg triumphed as a woman of commercial and creative consequence in what was essentially a male-dominated arena.
For over three decades, Berg's "Molly" fluttered about and hung out her kitchen window dispensing motherly advice laced with engaging malapropisms, insights, and lots of "schmaltz". The show offered a warmly comedic look at the lives and dreams of working-class American Jews, and subtle insights into the nature of assimilation. While Molly, husband Jake, and Uncle David represent Old World Jewish stereotypes, children Rosalie and Sammy are as American as apple pie. Berg makes it clear that the only thing separating shtetl and middle-class new world values is style.
Drawing on Gertrude Berg's papers at Syracuse University's Bird Library, and rare interviews with her family and colleagues, the author reveals her as shrewd, creative, and forthright. Unlike "Molly," Berg was a cultivated woman and a Columbia graduate. A pioneer in the concept of product tie-in, she parlayed the show's popularity into a movie, short stories, and even a cookbook. In 1951 she stood up to the blacklist by refusing to fire longtime co-star Philip Loeb who was under fire by the House un-American Committee. The book also chronicles Berg's accomplishments in theater, film, and literature.

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About the Author:

Glenn D. Smith, Jr. is a visiting assistant professor in communications at Mississippi State University.

Review:

A major figure in broadcast history and a key player in Jewish popular culture...Smith more than makes his case for Berg's historical significance. -- The Journal of American History

An engrossing narrative of a woman who became hugely popular--and powerful--during the first half of the twentieth century. -- Shofar Book Reviews, Midwest Jewish Studies Association

Berg was a trailblazer for actors to follow for years to come. This well-written, well-documented book is highly recommended. -- Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

Smith has added to [the] body of knowledge. . . . This book is the rediscovery of Berg and the media empire she created. -- American Journalism

Smith...is at his best in chronicling Berg's tortured relatonships with networks and sponsors...first comprehensive biography of the star... -- David Marc, TV Quarterly, Volume 34, Issue 1, Fall 2007

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Book Description Syracuse University Press, United States, 2007. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In 1929, The Goldbergs debuted on the air, introducing Gertrude Berg - and her radio alter ego, Bronx housewife Molly Goldberg - to the nation. The show would become one of the most beloved and enduring programs of Golden Age radio and of early TV. At the helm was Berg who, as creator, star, writer, and producer, became a force to be reckoned with. This multifaceted biography provides a penetrating look at how Gertrude Berg carved a special place for herself in the annals of broadcast history. Decades before Lucille Ball, Berg triumphed as a woman of commercial and creative consequence in what was essentially a male-dominated arena. For over three decades, Berg s Molly fluttered about and hung out her kitchen window dispensing motherly advice laced with engaging malapropisms, insights, and lots of schmaltz. The show offered a warmly comedic look at the lives and dreams of working-class American Jews and subtle insights into the nature of assimilation. While Molly, husband Jake, and Uncle David represent Old World Jewish stereotypes, children Rosalie and Sammy are as American as apple pie. A sentimental portrait of the immigrant experience, The Goldbergs offered a mythic ideal of the American dream. Drawing on Gertrude Berg s papers at Syracuse University s Bird Library and rare interviews with her family and colleagues, the author reveals her as shrewd, creative, and forthright. Unlike Molly, Berg was a cultivated woman and a Columbia graduate. A pioneer in the concept of product tie-in, she parlayed the show s popularity into a movie, short stories, and even a cookbook. In 1951, she stood up to the blacklist by refusing to fire longtime co-star Philip Loeb who was under investigation by the House Un-American Activities Committee. The book also chronicles Berg s accomplishments in theater, film, and literature. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780815608875

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Book Description Syracuse University Press, United States, 2007. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In 1929, The Goldbergs debuted on the air, introducing Gertrude Berg - and her radio alter ego, Bronx housewife Molly Goldberg - to the nation. The show would become one of the most beloved and enduring programs of Golden Age radio and of early TV. At the helm was Berg who, as creator, star, writer, and producer, became a force to be reckoned with. This multifaceted biography provides a penetrating look at how Gertrude Berg carved a special place for herself in the annals of broadcast history. Decades before Lucille Ball, Berg triumphed as a woman of commercial and creative consequence in what was essentially a male-dominated arena. For over three decades, Berg s Molly fluttered about and hung out her kitchen window dispensing motherly advice laced with engaging malapropisms, insights, and lots of schmaltz. The show offered a warmly comedic look at the lives and dreams of working-class American Jews and subtle insights into the nature of assimilation. While Molly, husband Jake, and Uncle David represent Old World Jewish stereotypes, children Rosalie and Sammy are as American as apple pie. A sentimental portrait of the immigrant experience, The Goldbergs offered a mythic ideal of the American dream. Drawing on Gertrude Berg s papers at Syracuse University s Bird Library and rare interviews with her family and colleagues, the author reveals her as shrewd, creative, and forthright. Unlike Molly, Berg was a cultivated woman and a Columbia graduate. A pioneer in the concept of product tie-in, she parlayed the show s popularity into a movie, short stories, and even a cookbook. In 1951, she stood up to the blacklist by refusing to fire longtime co-star Philip Loeb who was under investigation by the House Un-American Activities Committee. The book also chronicles Berg s accomplishments in theater, film, and literature. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780815608875

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Book Description Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1st. Hardcover. In 1929, The Goldbergs debuted on the air, introducing Gertrude Berg - and her radio alter ego, Bronx housewife Molly Goldberg - to the nation. The show would become one of the most belove.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 293 pages. 0.567. Bookseller Inventory # 9780815608875

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Book Description Syracuse Univ Pr (Sd). Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Hardcover. 293 pages. Dimensions: 9.3in. x 6.3in. x 1.0in.In 1929, The Goldbergs debuted on the air, introducing Gertrude Berg - and her radio alter ego, Bronx housewife Molly Goldberg - to the nation. The show would become one of the most beloved and enduring programs of Golden Age radio and of early TV. At the helm was Berg who, as creator, star, writer, and producer, became a force to be reckoned with. This multifaceted biography provides a penetrating look at how Gertrude Berg carved a special place for herself in the annals of broadcast history. Decades before Lucille Ball, Berg triumphed as a woman of commercial and creative consequence in what was essentially a male-dominated arena. For over three decades, Bergs Molly fluttered about and hung out her kitchen window dispensing motherly advice laced with engaging malapropisms, insights, and lots of schmaltz. The show offered a warmly comedic look at the lives and dreams of working-class American Jews and subtle insights into the nature of assimilation. While Molly, husband Jake, and Uncle David represent Old World Jewish stereotypes, children Rosalie and Sammy are as American as apple pie. A sentimental portrait of the immigrant experience, The Goldbergs offered a mythic ideal of the American dream. Drawing on Gertrude Bergs papers at Syracuse Universitys Bird Library and rare interviews with her family and colleagues, the author reveals her as shrewd, creative, and forthright. Unlike Molly, Berg was a cultivated woman and a Columbia graduate. A pioneer in the concept of product tie-in, she parlayed the shows popularity into a movie, short stories, and even a cookbook. In 1951, she stood up to the blacklist by refusing to fire longtime co-star Philip Loeb who was under investigation by the House Un-American Activities Committee. The book also chronicles Bergs accomplishments in theater, film, and literature. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Hardcover. Bookseller Inventory # 9780815608875

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