From Shtetl to Stardom
Jews and Hollywood
160 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
The influence of Jews in American entertainment from the early days of Hollywood to the present has proved an endlessly fascinating and controversial topic, for Jews and non-Jews alike. From Shtetl to Stardom: Jews and Hollywood takes an exciting and innovative approach to this rich and complex material.
Exploring the subject from a scholarly perspective as well as up close and personal, the book combines historical and theoretical analysis by leading academics in the field with inside information from prominent entertainment professionals. Essays range from Vincent Brook’s survey of the stubbornly persistent canard of Jewish industry "control" to Lawrence Baron and Joel Rosenberg’s panel presentations on the recent brouhaha over Ben Urwand’s book alleging collaboration between Hollywood and Hitler. Case studies by Howard Rodman and Joshua Louis Moss examine a key Coen brothers film, A Serious Man (Rodman), and Jill Soloway’s groundbreaking television series, Transparent (Moss). Jeffrey Shandler and Shaina Hamermann train their respective lenses on popular satirical comedians of yesteryear (Allan Sherman) and those currently all the rage (Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham, and Sarah Silverman). David Isaacs relates his years of agony and hilarity in the television comedy writers’ room, and interviews include in-depth discussions by Ross Melnick with Laemmle Theatres owner Greg Laemmle (relative of Universal Studios founder Carl Laemmle) and by Michael Renov with Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner.
In all, From Shtetl to Stardom offers a uniquely multifaceted, multimediated, and up-to-the-minute account of the remarkable role Jews have played in American movie and TV culture.
EDITORIAL INTRODUCTION, by Michael Renov and Vincent Brook, Guest Editors
PART 1: HISTORIES
CHAPTER 1: Still an Empire of Their Own: How Jews: Remain Atop a Reinvented Hollywood, by Vincent Brook
CHAPTER 2: The Ben Urwand Controversy: Exploring the Hollywood-Hitler Relationship, by Lawrence Baron and Joel Rosenberg, with a Coda by Vincent Brook
PART 2: CASE STUDIES
CHAPTER 3: Dirty Jews: Amy Schumer and Other Vulgar Jewesses, by Shaina Hammerman
CHAPTER 4: “The Woman Thing and the Jew Thing”: Transsexuality,
Transcomedy, and the Legacy of Subversive Jewishness in Transparent, by Joshua Louis Moss
CHAPTER 5: Eastern-European Fatalism in Minnesota: The Mournful Destinies of A Serious Man, by Howard A. Rodman
CHAPTER 6: “If Jewish People Wrote All the Songs”: The Anti-Folklore of Allan Sherman, by Jeffrey Shandler
PART 3: UP-CLOSE AND PERSONAL
CHAPTER 7: Comedy and Corned Beef: The Genesis of the Sitcom Writing Room, by David Isaacs
CHAPTER 8: The Faemmle Business: Laemmle Theaters, Los Angeles, and the Moviegoing Experience—An Interview with Bob and Greg Laemmle, by Ross Melnick
CHAPTER 9: An Outsider’s View of Sixties America: Matthew Weiner
Talks with Michael Renov about the Jews of Mad Men, by Michael Renov
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS ABOUT THE USC CASDEN INSTITUTE