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There she is, folks — that's Molly Goldberg, a woman with a place in every heart and a finger in every pie.

If you are like me (a week ago) you have NO idea who Molly Goldberg/Gertrude Berg is.

I was listening to NPR on Friday and heard a very interesting story. It was about this Jewish woman in the 1920's who created a sitcom, The Goldbergs. In fact, she created the genre of sitcom, to an extent. It started as a radio show and then was adapted to television. It went off the air in the 1950's. Sadly, most of the episodes were destroyed but there are a few historical records of the radio show and television show.

I read a great article on about The Goldbergs. Read it here
Also, there is a new film out called, Yoo-hoo, Mrs. Goldberg (a signature call of that show), by Aviva Kempner. Here is the interview with Aviva on NPR (which is what sparked my curiosity).

Gertrude Berg was an actress and writer (screenwriter, eventually), one of the first women to hold those roles. She was born in NY to a Jewish family and wrote about what she knew, Jewish family life in NYC. She was the first person to receive the Emmy for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series but things weren't always funny for Gertrude. She was loyal to her cast/friends, almost to a fault. When her television husband, Phillip Loeb, was accused of Communism (he was involved in the Actor's Equity Union and AFRA to better conditions for actors), Gertrude stood by him... until she was forced to let him go for fear that the show would be taken off the air. She did, however, keep him quietly on the payroll because he was eminently unemployable after being blacklisted by McCarthy. Though she provided for him, Phillip Loeb sank into a depression. Being unable to work and with failing eyesight, he ultimately committed suicide in 1955.

Gertrude addressed real issues affecting Jews in America with her scripts. Ms. Kempner mentions this in her interview with NPR, "Very early on as Hitler rose in power, she had a very overt Passover scene on radio," says Kempner. "Some months after Kristallnacht, she had a stone being thrown through the window on the radio show, and while no one was addressing the Holocaust on TV, she had an episode where she got letters from her relatives."

But Molly Goldberg was everyone's mother during those 26 years (20 years on radio and six years on television)... imagine that! 26 years! We are lucky if a show lasts one year these days.

She was the stereotypical Jewish mother but not in a negative way. Always positive and with dignity. It didn't matter where you lived or if you had ever met a Jew, you loved Molly Goldberg.
President Roosevelt supposedly said, "I didn't get us out of the Depression, The Goldbergs did."

Once the television show went off the air, Gertrude moved onto the Broadway stage earning a Tony for her work in A Majority of One.

Gertrude Berg (zt"l) passed away in 1966.

What a powerful history that I never knew. I will be looking for anything I can find from the amazing 26 years of The Goldbergs and if you want to see something now, the article from has a few clips.

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