Friday, November 2, 2007

A Look Back Showing the Way Forward

While the video you will see on the right has been on THE ALMOST DAILY ROOSTER for a time now I have moved it here since more people will view it.

As was announced in an earlier commentary the TABLETALK program on November 18 (Airtime 8 AM Eastern--and on the web ) my guests will be the Siegels and they will be talking about their book "RADIO AND THE JEWS". Among the many things we will be talking about will be about the person pictured here. Gertrude Berg. Creator and star of the 2d longest running radio program of all time. Amos and Andy were #1.

On the right is a wonderful video that I hope you will view. You will have 12 minutes of historical radio and television significance. You will find that the besides presenting a wonderful portrait of a Jewish family on radio over the years. Something unknown over the country. The television version was truly the origination of "sit-coms". All done live.

You will also find out, in this video, about the supporting cast with special attention paid to Philip Loeb, the co-star who was later blacklisted but who was in the front of the Actors Union getting paid for rehearsal time and other things that were never paid for before him.

Rather than telling you more---watch the video. Those too young to know of the "Golden Age" of radio will be impressed and those of the right age will have a wonderful trip back to that time. The time when Edward R Murrow was the prime source of news and later--as you will see here (much against his will) --host of a TV program that visits the homes of stars. Gertrude Berg in her 5th Avenue apartment being one.

Having seen the video I think you will appreciate the chat I have with the Siegels about radio in their most readable and fascinating book. The book comes with a CD that has clips from many programs and also of the anti-Semitic tirades of Father Coughlin. It also has a wonderful piece by Edward R Murrow that listeners to SUNDAY SIMCHA (Sundays 10-11 AM Eastern--and on the web-- ) will be hearing on Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2008.

While this page usually is for items about my 3 programs---TRADITIONS / SUNDAY SIMCHA / TABLETALK it also is about giving you some updates about upcoming events and memorable moments; if you will.

Upcoming events:

Modern Man will be at Bodles Opera House on 11/10. Chester NY and at Temple Emanuel in New Hyde Park on 11/17. On 12/16 the will be at the Orangeburg Library (Orangeburg NY tel:845 359-2244) for a FREE concert but seating is limited. Call the number to reserve a seat. If you were born with a seat of your own---park it wherever you like.



The memorable moments that this time of year of long and colder nights brings along are reminiscences of some of the wonderful people that have been part of doing the various programs---so--- a little history. This time only one brief story more to come if they are welcome. TABLETALK and how it came about.

Elizabeth Swados was going to appear at the BOTTOM LINE (now, sadly, defunct) and I asked the owner if there was a way I might get to interview this wonderful writer and performer. Her musicals range from the one at left (Runaways) to Dispatches, Haggadah, and more. He arranged for us to meet at her most eclectic abode.

A digression here. RUNAWAYS was the only of her musicals ever recorded for distribution on LP or CD. As she told me that it was truly a shame because, in my opinion, they were all gems we do not see much of anymore.

Now the problem---where to air this interview. WFDU, being the eclectic and all encompassing station that it is the Program Director allowed me a "one-shot" on Radio Omnibus when there was an open slot. It was well received and so TABLETALK was born and the guests over the years have been a veritable roll call of great artists, writers, and---as I say---="...people of interest". Authors of books ranging from the Israeli 1967 War, Katherine Hepburn to a producer of a film about a true spy story and the musical director of Spamalot (0n how one creates for a Bway musical). That is only the tip of the ice-berg---and not the one that sunk the Titanic--the one that holds the treasure of the talent that has graced TABLETALK.

So for that one does have to thank WFDU and its management for the open mind that allows for creativity. Which, finally, brings us to the other video on this site. Check on the right and enjoy what you ---the listeners--have wrought and what Gertrude Berg was all about

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