Lecturer Jason Payne Guest Hosts Yiddish Radio Program

October 25, 2013

Jason Payne recently appeared on an OSU Yiddish radio program broadcast via the web. He reports, "On 22 October, I guest-hosted the Center for Languages, Literatures and Cultures Yiddish Radio Show, talking about Yiddish theater and its relationship to Hollywood. Specifically, the discussion addressed a handful of the actors who grew up in Yiddish-speaking families in the Yiddish Theater District (i.e. the Lower East Side of New York City) and went on to perform in both/either Yiddish theater or mainstream Hollywood productions. Actors like Paul Muni, John Garfield, Edward G. Robinson, and Lee J. Cobb all made the transition from the Yiddish boards to the Hollywood set, in most cases becoming not only prominent but Academy Award-winning film stars. I also discussed the de-Judaizing nature of Hollywood in the 1940's and 1950's, which forced both name and voice changes, making them palatable for the Gentile audience (and ensuring good box office receipts). Lastly, the discussion turned to the socially progressive politics of most of the actors and how this led to the HUAC hearings and the blacklist, on which many of these actors found themselves." 

You can listen to his broadcast here. And tune in to listen to other OSU Yiddish radio broadcasts here.