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Movie Review: Yoo Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg

Alternate Title: Chicken Soup is Good for the Soul

Story: Before Lucille Ball, Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett Roseanne or Maude, there was Gertrude Berg. Who is Gertrude Berg, you say? For those like me, who are older than sand, you will remember fondly TV pioneer Gertrude Berg and her long running radio and TV show, Yoo Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg.

Documentary film maker Aviva Kempner (The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg) has taken on the long overdo task of introducing this first of the hyphenated TV stars and legend to new generations of fans.

Gertrude Berg began her radio show in 1929. She brought the Jewish immigrant experience into the homes of America. Her fictitious family hailed from the Bronx. Berg wrote over 12,000 of her own scripts for both TV and radio. She was a writer, producer and star in an era when woman had almost no power in any area but own's own kitchen. She was not afraid to tackle serious subjects such as the war in Europe, bad economic times and politics. Her blend of good humor had a warmth that crossed ethnic boundaries.

Director Kempner tried to cram too much into the film and it certainly could have used some editing but for those long ago fans, like me, it was a delight to see her again. Check out the film's website for some nostalgia too. http://www.mollygoldbergfilm.org/home.php

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPqeixM11nk

Acting: The archival film clips are precious. The many talking heads include Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sara Chase, Norman Lear, Margaret Nagle, Roberta Wallach and a wonderful segment from Edward R Murrow's TV interview show.

Trivia: Gertrude Berg's autobiography, Molly and Me, was published in 1961. Her papers, including many of her radio and television scripts, are collected at the George Arents Research Library at Syracuse University. It is worth noting that Berg took a stand against the blacklist in 1951, refusing to fire her long-time co-star Philip Loeb (Loeb resigned to prevent the show's cancellation and later committed suicide).

Predilection: I remember Molly

Critters: Dogs and cats

Food: Food is a big part of the Jewish home.

Sex Spectrum: Ha

Blatant Product Placement: Funny segments include Molly as spokesperson for the products produced by her major sponsors.

Visual Art: Seeing the 1950's home of the Goldbergs was a trip down memory lane.

Theater Audience: I saw this preview at the 92nd Street Y in a packed, loving house. The director, had a Q & A after the film.

Drift Factor: It needed some editing.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine.

Length: Under two hours.