Return of the Goldbergs

December 2, 2009

Usually I don’t post DVD news here, but this is too big a scoop to resist.

I’ve been informed by a reliable source that The Goldbergs, the Jewish family comedy first telecast from 1949-1956, will be coming to DVD in a big way in early 2010.

This Goldbergs release will be a “complete” series set, compiled by a well-known DVD producer and distributed by another label that specializes in classic television.  “Complete” appears in quotation marks because The Goldbergs was, of course, staged live during all but its final season, so many of the episodes no longer exist.  But the DVD set will gather all of the surviving kinescopes from the series’ various incarnations – it had runs on CBS, NBC, and DuMont, with a number of cast changes along the way – as well as all thirty-nine segments shot on film for the show’s last season.  I don’t know the exact tally, but it will be over sixty episodes.

The 1950 feature film version of The Goldbergs (a Paramount property) will not be included.  But the DVD set will contain some segments from the radio version of The Goldbergs, which ran on NBC and CBS for nearly twenty years, as well as the pilot for Berg’s next series, Mrs. G Goes to College.

I’ve only seen one episode of The Goldbergs and have no idea how well the show will hold up, as a comedy, today.  But its cultural significance is enormous.  The Goldbergs was the most popular of the “ethnic” situation comedies that thrived in the early fifties but died out as TV expanded outward from New York and Chicago into America’s less diverse regions.  Maybe even more importantly, The Goldbergs was the first TV series with a female “showrunner”; Gertrude Berg, the creator, star, and frequent writer, reportedly had total control over the show’s content.

Of course, I’ll have more to say about this exciting development once it becomes a reality.


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