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Entertaining America : Jews, Movies, and Broadcasting - J. Hoberman

Entertaining America

Jews, Movies, and Broadcasting

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"Entertaining America" is a captivating look at one of the longest-running and most provocative public discussions in America: the relationship between the nation's Jews and its entertainment media. This colorfully written, lavishly illustrated book surveys how Jews have participated in--and been identified with--American movies, radio, and television from the nickelodeon era at the turn of the twentieth century to the present day.

Throughout, the tone is lively, the design is playful, and key points are visually enhanced by stills, publicity photos, and memorabilia. This anthology of original analyses and primary texts covers a wide range of topics, including the multiple versions of "The Jazz Singer," the saga of the Hollywood movie moguls, the irrepressible Goldbergs of radio and television fame, the representation of the Holocaust, how Charlie Chaplin and other non-Jewish stars became "virtual Jews," and the dazzling success of the television series "Seinfeld." There is also an illustrated gallery of more than twenty Jewish-American stars from Theda Bara to Adam Sandler.

The principal authors, J. Hoberman and Jeffrey Shandler, examine not only the history of Jews in the industry but also the steady stream of richly varied voices that have had something to say about this history--in fan magazines as well as literary fiction, by religious and political leaders as well as journalists, historians, and Jews in the entertainment business themselves.

"Entertaining America," which accompanies an exhibition opening at The Jewish Museum, is itself tremendously entertaining while providing the most expansive, authoritative look at this fascinating subject. In its pages, readers will find ample material to help them formulate their own responses to this frank, contentious, multilayered discussion.


The Jewish Museum, New York
February 21 - September 14, 2003
The Jewish Museum of Maryland, Baltimore
October 16, 2003 - January 18, 2004

Industry Reviews

"A thought-provoking read."--Grace Glueck, New York Times "Acculturation, driven irresistibly by the mass media, was inevitable in 20th century America. Entertaining America ... is very good, and subtle, on this subject. It demonstrates that Jewishness was one of the givens of early movies and broadcasting--not exactly flaunted but not entirely avoided either."--Richard Schickel, Los Angeles Times "A sumptuous read and a visual treat."--Library Journal "What emerges from this book is a persuasively intelligent case that the relationship between Jews, the movies, and broadcasting goes well beyond entertaining America. Without simplifying any of these key terms, the authors have produced a work that should speak simultaneously to a general and specialized reader... Keenly aware of their place within this century long debate, the authors have produced not just the latest but also the best installment yet... [T]hey do a remarkable job of both synthesizing existing scholarship and breaking new ground."--Art Simon, Cineaste "[A] meticulously researched and gorgeously illustrated volume... It's a brilliantly written, superbly informative work."--Elaine Ives-Cameron, Jewish Chronicle

Forewordp. 8
Acknowledgmentsp. 10
Introduction: Entertaining "Entertaining America"p. 11
Nickelodeon Nation
Introductionp. 15
The Nickelodeon Boom in Manhattanp. 23
Charles Steiner and the Houston Hippodromep. 28
The First "Jewish" Superstar: Charlie Chaplinp. 34
Virtually Jewishp. 40
Introductionp. 45
Hollywood's Jewish Questionp. 47
On The Jazz Singerp. 77
The Jazz Singer: A Chronologyp. 84
Putting Blackface in Its Placep. 93
An American at Home, a Jew on the Air
Introductionp. 101
The Media That "Speak Your Language": American Yiddish Radio and Filmp. 104
Goldberg Variations: The Achievements of Gertrude Bergp. 113
The Goldbergs: A Chronologyp. 124
Religion, Democracy, and Radio Waves: The Eternal Lightp. 130
Our Show of Showsp. 144
Star Gallery
Introductionp. 151
Theda Barap. 152
Bronco Billy Andersonp. 153
Fanny Bricep. 154
Eddie Cantorp. 156
Sylvia Sidneyp. 158
The Marx Brothersp. 159
Betty Boopp. 164
Supermanp. 166
Bess Myersonp. 167
Paul Munip. 169
Judy Hollidayp. 171
John Garfieldp. 173
Shelley Wintersp. 176
Danny Kayep. 178
Marilyn Monroep. 182
Sammy Davis, Jr.p. 189
Anne Frankp. 192
Barbra Streisandp. 196
Dustin Hoffmanp. 198
Roseannep. 199
Howard Sternp. 201
Adam Sandlerp. 203
Stand-Up Jews
Introductionp. 205
Exodus: Real to Reel to Realp. 207
Flaunting It: The Rise and Fall of Hollywood's "Nice" Jewish (Bad) Boysp. 220
At Home on the Small Screen: Television's New York Jewsp. 244
American Media and the Holocaustp. 258
The Virtual Rebbep. 264
Bill Clinton, Hollywood President: A Chronologyp. 268
Not the Last Word: A Conversationp. 274
Notes and Timelinep. 280
Selected Bibliographyp. 316
Contributorsp. 320
Indexp. 323
Text and Illustration Creditsp. 332
Table of Contents provided by Rittenhouse. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691113029
ISBN-10: 0691113025
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 4th March 2003
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 27.94 x 23.5  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 1.75