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home > Gems from the Archive > Week 18

Learn about Nahum Stutchkoff, another great Yiddish dramatist.


"Men Without Eyes: Part 1," one of Yiddish radio's most successful melodramas.

For the next five weeks, Gems will feature highlights from Men Without Eyes, one of Yiddish radio's most successful melodramas. The twelve-part series, which ran on New York's WVFW in the spring of 1941, told the story of Betty Nussbaum, a beautiful teenager whose life is thrown into a whirlpool of despair when an accident strikes her middle-class Brooklyn home. The story was 100% melodrama -- for half a century the forte of the Yiddish stage. Starting at the turn of the 19th century, melodramas were the runaway favorite among the New York's Jewish immigrants, whose love for the genre sustained over twenty Yiddish-language theaters, more than one-in-four of the city's total. Yet of the tens of thousands of plays that were performed, none was ever recorded or filmed. The radio melodrama Men Without Eyes is the closest we are likely to come to experiencing Yiddish melodrama as it was performed during its heyday.

Our first installment of Men Without Eyes begins with Betty arriving home to celebrate her sweet-sixteen birthday party.

Special thanks go to Betty Perlov (who plays Betty Nussbaum) for contributing Men Without Eyes to the Yiddish Radio Project collection. Betty's father, Israel Rosenberg, wrote, directed, and starred in this series, as well as a host of other Yiddish radio and stage plays.

Listen now to "Men Without Eyes: Part 1" with your RealPlayer.

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