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Book cover of "Something On My Own": Gertrude Berg and American Broadcasting, 1929-1956

"Something On My Own": Gertrude Berg and American Broadcasting, 1929-1956

by Glenn D. Smith

Publisher: Syracuse University Press
Pages: 293
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780815608875






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Overview of "Something On My Own": Gertrude Berg and American Broadcasting, 1929-1956

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 investigationby the House Un-American Activities Committee. The book also chronicles Berg's accomplishments in theater, film, and literature.

Synopsis of "Something On My Own": Gertrude Berg and American Broadcasting, 1929-1956

A compelling biography of a pioneering woman in broadcasting; an edifying companion to radio and TV broadcast history.

American Journalism

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

About the Author, Glenn D. Smith

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

Reviews of "Something On My Own": Gertrude Berg and American Broadcasting, 1929-1956

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Editorials

American Journalism

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

Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

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

Shofar

An engrossing narrative of a woman who became hugely popular-and powerful-during the first half of the twentieth century.

The Journal of American History

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.

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