a new documentary film
about Sophie Tucker
including Dr. Lois Young-Tulin speaking
about her great-grand-aunt
Almost 50 years after Sophie Tucker’s death, there is still enough interest and fascination about her that another film, The Outrageous Sophie Tucker, an Innovative Films production, will be released by Meneshma Films on November 7. The documentary will include an interview with Lois Young-Tulin, Ph.D.
“The producers read my book and came to my house about three years ago to interview and film me.”
Producers Susan and Lloyd Ecker utilized more than 400 rediscovered Tucker personal scrapbooks, which frames the star’s 60-year career. It took the Eckers seven years to complete the film. The synopsis reads: “The rags to riches story of Sophie Tucker, an iconic superstar who ruled the worlds of vaudeville, Broadway, radio, television, and Hollywood throughout the 20th century. Before Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Bette Midler, Marilyn Monroe, and Mae West, Sophie Tucker was the first woman to infatuate her audiences with a bold, bawdy and brassy style unlike any other.”
The director is Academy Award nominee William Gazecki, and the executive producers are 14-time Grammy Award winner Phil Ramone and Gene Schwam. Among the others interviewed are Barbara Walters, Michael Feinstein, Tony Bennett, Carol Channing, Bruce Vilanch, Shecky Greene, Paul Anka, Kaye Ballard, Chubby Checker, Connie Stevens, Mickey Rooney and more.
The Toronto Star effuses: “Hugely enjoyable. Will prompt an outburst of Sophiemania.” Says the Toronto Film Scene: “A must see for anybody looking for the secret to getting ahead in life. The music is outstanding, but it’s the way that Sophie Tucker lived her life that is the most fascinating aspect. A shrewd business person, a caring individual, and a talent that continues to inspire.”
Though, the movie has had some early showings, it will officially debut on November 7 in 10 theaters in Miami, Aventura, Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Tamarac, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Lake Worth and Palm Beach Gardens in Florida. A Philadelphia debut is not known at this time. See the trailer here. More information at Meneshma Films and sophietucker.com.
a 2007 film
about Jewish comediennes including Dr. Lois Young-Tulin speaking
about her great-grand-aunt, Sophie Tucker
people are saying
Sophie Tucker to Lois Young-Tulin
Backstage at the Latin Casino, mid 1960s
When Lois Young-Tulin, Ph.D. (Wyncote, PA) decided to write Sophie and Me: Some of These Days about her special relationship with her great-grand-aunt, legendary singer, vaundeville, and film star, Sophie Tucker, she wanted to reflect on the star’s influence on her and pay a long overdue tribute to her beloved Sophie. Additionally, Young-Tulin wanted to create a legacy so other women comics and entertainers would know what a trailblazer Sophie Tucker was for them. Tucker was an original, an early feminist, someone who “made trouble.” The quote above, the inspiration to a young Lois, to pursue a career rather than “just be a housewife,” indicates how Sophie was ahead of her time. Lois, now an established writer and teacher with a doctorate, has written a sensitive and touching portrayal, showing another side of this popular entertainer, who was known as The Last of the Red Hot Mamas, her signature songs, Some of These Days, and My Yiddishe Mama, which didnt reflect her own life, and whose career as a singer, vaudeville and film star, who also appeared on TV, spanned more than 60 years. Yet, she took Lois under her wing like a surrogate granddaughter, and was a mentor from the time they first met in 1950 when Lois was 10, until Tuckers death in 1966. Though, the book was published in 2001, Lois is still receiving requests to speak about Sophie, indicating how the popularity of the entertainer has endured.
In 2005, The Jewish Women’s Archive of Brookline, MA organized an event to honor its founding Chair Board Barbara Dobkin. As part of the program a montage of funny Jewish women such as Molly Picon, Fannie Brice and Sophie Tucker was presented, with people talking about the entertainers’ contributions. From that event came the idea that more people should know about the legacy of these women. Two years later, the movie, Making Trouble, has been released. In addition to Picon, Brice and Tucker, Joan Rivers, Gilda Radner and Wendy Wasserstein are featured. Dr. Young-Tulin appears in the film talking about Sophie as the two legacy goals meet. The film is making the rounds of the country and was shown at the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival on Saturday, March 22, 2008. Gail Twersky Reimer, the founding director of The Jewish Women’s Archive, was the Executive Producer of the film. Producer and Director Rachel Talbot makes her directing debut after producing five acclaimed documentaries; Philip Shane was editor, while award-winning Joel Goodman was the composer.
On the Making Trouble web site, it notes: “Our hosts...are four of today’s leading Jewish women comedians, Judy Gold, Jackie Hoffman, Cory Kahaney and Jessica Kirson brought together at New York’s famed Katz’s Delicatessen to gab about these female comic pioneers and guide us through the chronicle of these amazing women. Making Trouble highlights the connection between our stars and our hosts, calling attention to an inspiring and continuing history of funny Jewish women.”
“The Jewish Women’s Archive...have done most of our work with ‘serious’ women...‘Funny’ is an equally compelling piece of women’s history,” said Reimer. “If Jewish women had not been able to laugh and make others laugh I wonder whether they could have surmounted the difficulties they have faced throughout history...As we gathered clips of Sophie Tucker, Fanny Brice, Molly Picon and others, we became convinced that the best way to tell their stories and highlight their contributions to Jewish and American culture would be to make a film -- one that would make us laugh and make us rethink what it is to be a Jewish woman.”
“When I began to do research for the film,...I realized there was more to these women than their ‘greatest hits,’” said Talbot. “These were truly exceptional women who not only possessed remarkable talent, but who lived lives of determination, humor and passion...I chose compelling moments from their careers that speak to larger themes. The lives of these six women span the last century and each of their stories illuminates important aspects of their time and what it meant to be Jewish, a woman, and to succeed on stage and screen.”
The film has been an official slection in Silver Docs, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, Boston Jewish Film Festival and Woodstock Film Festival and received Special Mention at Jerusalem Film Festival. For more information on the film and screening schedule see http://www.makingtrouble.com. For more information on the Jewish Women’s Archive, visit http://www.jwa.org. To read more about Dr. Young-Tulin and Sophie and Me: Some of these Days, see the press page and the rest of this site.