(Left to right) Gertrude Berg, Roy Neal, Phillip Loeb and Eli Mintz

(Click on the image to see a larger version)


This picture is from the WPTZ broadcast hosted by Roy Neal called, "Open House" which aired Wednesday evenings from 7 to 7:30 pm. Ironic that in a few years, "The Goldbergs" television show would take over that very time period.

The television program, “The Goldbergs,” was based on the life of one Molly Goldberg and her family and suggested from the long running radio show. “The Rise of the Goldbergs” (later “The Goldbergs”), was created by lead actress, Gertrude Berg. It evolved from skits she produced at her family’s hotel in the Catskills Mountains of New York. Its TV life started in 1949 on CBS-TV and was aired live.

The Goldbergs live in Apartment 3-B of 1030 East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx. Residents included the Parents, Molly and Jake and their children Rosalie and Sammy and, of course, Uncle David (played by Eli Mintz). During its life on CBS-TV, the program aired on Monday evenings in three different time periods. The show disappeared in June of 1951 and resurfaced in February of the next year on another network, NBC-TV. In only ran to July and aired Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday from 7:15 to 7:30 pm. The format didn’t work and the show again went away and reappeared a year later as a Friday evening half-hour weekly broadcast, again on NBC. It lasted only a couple of months and the next spring (April of 1954), the struggling DuMont network picked it up as a Tuesday evening half-hour program. It went off the air that fall and resurfaced as a first-run filmed, syndicated program (called “Molly”) during the 1955-1956 television season.

Molly Goldberg’s husband was initially portrayed on television by actor Phillip Loeb. He’s the reason the show went off the air in 1951. Loeb was a victim of McCarthyism and was labeled a communist. Loeb had always denied the charged but the network and sponsors demanded that he be dropped from the cast and replaced. When Berg didn’t cave in, the network dropped the broadcast. When the show returned to television a year later, Loeb was gone and replaced by Harold J. Stone. But the publicity hurt the program so much that it never really recovered from the bad press.

In 1955, depressed and out of work, Loeb killed himself. Less than 10% of the shows exist today. Contracts between the networks and the producers demanded that any kinescopes (film recordings shot off a television screen) be destroyed three months after the initial airing. Few of the “live” shows survived into the 21st century. Only the filmed syndicated program exist intact today but none on the original 35mm masters.

Larry Schiff, a visitor to our website e-mailed:

...My brother came across the story of Roy Neal's Open House show on WPTZ concerning The Goldbergs.

I'll try to make this as short as I can - we're originally from the Bronx and one day during either March or April 1950 during lunch break, a kid came into the school yard telling us the cast from The Goldbergs were at a party in an apartment building nearby.

He told us to follow him and he took off with a bunch of us following closely - I lucked out being one of the fast runners and stood next to the kid at an apartment door while he knocked - someone answered the knock and invited a few of us in - later we found it was a ploy to get a bunch of kids to run around making noise in back of the building while movies were being taken. Meanwhile a few of us that were in front at the door were invited in - we had cake and got autographs (if I look hard enough I think I still have them). The show aired the following Monday I believe. I appeared for a second or two in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

The premise of that show was a neighbor of the Goldbergs was annoyed at all the noise in the neighborhood (the show opened with a construction worker using a jack-hammer and eventually showed the film of all the kids running around making a lot of noise).

We were all late and because someone told their teacher, (I was probably the leader) I got called down to the Principal's Office and I thought I was in for it, but Gertrude Berg was there with a photographer who took some pictures. Miss Berg convinced the Principal it was not the kid's fault and promised if no punishment was given they would mention our school on the show..., which they did - our school was P.S. 94.

It's too bad that less than 10% of the kinescopes have survived - it would be neat to be able to see it again.

I guess that was my 15 minutes of fame.

This photo was taken by Broadcast Pioneers member Preston Stover. Preston was on staff at WPTZ but moonlighted taking pictures of Channel 3 shows and selling them. Mrs. Stover told us that Preston would take the snapshot and then develop it that night in their bathtub. They were saving up to purchase a home and his photography work gave them the money for a down payment. Stover started at WPTZ as a cameraman and quickly rose through the ranks to become a Director/Producer. He stayed with the station until it was traded to NBC. At that time, his family moved to Cleveland and the newly acquired Westinghouse properties there.

From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photo donated by Roy Neal
Researched and compiled by Broadcast Pioneers member Gerry Wilkinson
© 2002, All Rights Reserved

The e-mail address of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia is pioneers@broadcastpioneers.com