On the Silver Screen: 1936-38

Yidl Mitn Fidl, theatrical poster, 1936

Molly began these years on radio as the host of the Maxwell House Coffee Program on WHN, before returning to Broadway to appear again with Sophie Tucker.  In 1936, Molly and Yonkel returned to Poland so Molly could star in Yidl Mitn Fidl, one of the most successful Yiddish talkies.  The film featured Molly as a fiddle-playing girl who dresses like a boy in order to continue playing with her impoverished father’s band.  Before returning home to New York, Molly played a concert in Warsaw, where Yonkel's mother was in the audience.

"The wedding scene in Yiddel took over thirty consecutive hours to film.  The food had to be truly kosher, because we hired the Orthodox Jewish men, women and children of Kazimierz to be the guests.  As we filmed, they ate, and for the successive shots of the table, the food had to be replenished, over and over again.  Our poverty-stricken guests couldn’t figure out what was happening.  They thought they had been invited to a real wedding."

After a brief spell at home when Molly opened two new shows, Molly and Yonkel returned to Poland so she could star in another film, Mamele.  It was to be the last Yiddish film made in Poland before the Nazi onslaught.  Molly played a girl whose mother dies and leaves her to care for an unpredictable family living in the shtetl.  As the film wrapped, Molly felt the increasing pressure of anti-Semitism, and cut a scheduled tour short to return to America.

Molly performing on radio, on the Maxwell House Coffee Program, 1938

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