Enter Gertrude Berg, who is the focus of Aviva Kempner's new documentary Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg, which is hitting theaters this week in New York City before heading to DC on the 17th and LA on the 24th. This isn't your heart-tugging, dramatic art doc, but rather a straight-forward account of someone we should know because, frankly, her success was impressive. (That picture to the right -- that's Berg with her scripts.)
Turns out that before I Love Lucy, there was a show radio show that hit television called The Goldbergs. It was Berg's own creation -- a brainchild she shopped around herself, wrote, and starred in from 1929 to 1954. (Writing daily episodes while also raising children and being an all-round wonderwoman, I might add.) Billboard called her the First Lady of Radio, she nabbed the first Best Actress Emmy, was the highest-paid guest star on TV ... the list goes on and on.
Yoo-Hoo plays out as a simple, informative film, one bolstered mostly by the context it creates. Berg's influence extended to everyone from Ruth Bader Ginsberg to Ed Asner and Norman Lear, and her success is bolstered by the fact that she was a self-made female professional of the '20s, who fought for her success through the rise of Hitler (she was Jewish), and even against the rabid insanity of McCarthyism.
In other words, a kickass woman and talent we should all be familiar with.