She’s the most famous woman in America you’ve never heard of. The amazing story of Gertrude Berg is told with humor and insight in this sparkling film biography. Berg was the Oprah of her day—radio and television creator; Emmy award–winning actress; celebrity guest on variety shows; Tony award winner on Broadway; and originator and star of America’s first sitcom, The Goldbergs. Writer of 12,000 scripts for the number one CBS show, she combined comedy and social commentary while introducing endearing Jewish characters to middle America, particularly Molly Goldberg, the family matriarch. In a battle to save the career of her co-star, union organizer Philip Loeb, Berg took on the McCarthy blacklist. That tragic witch hunt (memorialized in the 1976 film The Front) parallels other dramatic changes in television history: The tight-knit Goldberg family—first seen yelling across airshafts, baking bread in a steamy kitchen, playing chess and discussing Freud—moves from the Bronx to the suburbs. Then the show itself is cancelled—only to be replaced by the thoroughly modern I Love Lucy. Yoo-Hoo combines rare scenes from The Goldbergs, interviews with fans including Norman Lear and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and movie clips featuring the Marx Brothers and Zero Mostel. Filmmaker Kempner (see page xx) has created a star-studded social history of an American trailblazer.
Aviva Kempner has studied law and received her J.D. from the Antioch School of Law 1976, received a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan 1971, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan, 1969.
She has devoted the past twelve years of her life to complete the compelling documentary on the Jewish baseball slugger "Hammerin Hank" Greenberg – a film she wrote, directed, and produced. In the eighties, she co-wrote and produced Partisans of Vilna, a feature-length documentary film on Jewish resistance against the Nazis.
Ms. Kempner is a recipient of the 1996 Guggenheim Fellowship for filmmaking. She also consulted on a documentary on Shimon Peres, wrote narration for Promises to Keep – the Academy Award nominated documentary on the homeless, and is currently writing a feature script, No Good Bagels in Israel – a work-in-progress comedy feature.
Ms. Kempner writes film criticism and feature articles for numerous publications, including The Boston Globe, Washington Jewish Week and The Washington Post. She also lectures about cinema throughout the country. She is a Board Member of The Babe Ruth Museum, the Anti-Defamation League, and Friends of Hebrew University, to name a few, and she is the founder and past Director of the Washington Jewish Film Festival.