Welcome to Throwback Thursday, a weekly photo feature in which we sift 116 years of Forward history to find snapshots of women’s lives.
Television’s golden age ran roughly from the late 1940s to the early 1960s — a quaint period in which not a single Jersey housewife or Kardashian made it on the air. Instead, viewers were treated to classical theater and original productions from the likes of Paddy Chayefsky, Gore Vidal and Rod Serling. Great actors and directors such as John Frankenheimer and Marlon Brando earned their chops in these early productions.
Fifty-five years ago today, union activist and thespian Philip Loeb checked himself into the Taft Hotel in Midtown Manhattan under a false name and took a fatal dose of sleeping pills. Targeted by the insidious blacklist, Loeb could no longer find work in his beloved acting profession and had reached rock bottom.
Gertrude Berg left this world at the age of 68 on September 14, 1966, two months to the day before I entered it. I’d like to think that maybe our souls met one another in a possible netherworld between life and death. I imagine that the departed Berg whispered something in my fetal ear — planted a seed — that would come to fruition exactly 43 years later, when I sat down last September at my laptop and wrote my first blog post as a first step on the path to a new career in journalism.
Before Beaver Cleaver introduced television watchers to his suburban boyhood, before Lucy and Desi’s domestic misadventures became ingrained in the consciousness of the American household, and before the world had even heard of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, Gertrude Berg was the queen of the American sitcom.