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Review: Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg

The woman behind the big heart
By BETSY SHERMAN  |  August 4, 2009
3.5 3.5 Stars

The Goldbergs debuted in 1929 as radio's first domestic sit-com; it moved to TV in 1949. As part of her series on Jewish heroes, Aviva Kempner (The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg) spotlights the show's star, Gertrude Berg, who few realized was its writer/producer.

Seizing opportunity in the young medium, Berg was a shrewd businesswoman as well as a creative dynamo. Among those who recount fond memories of zaftig Bronx housewife Molly Goldberg is Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Kempner profiles the woman behind the big-hearted Molly, who caught the show-biz bug organizing theatricals at her father's Catskills resort.

The real world intruded into the Goldbergs' happy home when Molly's TV husband, Philip Loeb, was branded a subversive by an anti-Communist rag; his was one of the most tragic stories of the blacklisting era. In the years since the show's demise, TheGoldbergs has been dismissed as schmaltz. Kempner convinces that it deserves better, as does its groundbreaking creator.

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