Product placement subtly advertises products on "televisye,"
movies, video games, and books. It's nothing "nay" (new) to consumers.
Who can forget when Molly Goldberg (Gertrude Berg) leaned out of "der
fentster" (the window) of the family's Bronx apartment and spoke directly to
the camera telling viewers about Sanka decaffeinated "kave" (coffee).
American Airlines and Hilton hotels scored big with the movie, "Up in the Air.'
The film promoted the brands and their presence made sense in the context of the
After Steven Spielberg's movie, "E.T" was shown, sales of Reese's Pieces went
through the "dakh" (roof) children everywhere imitated their
furrow-skinned movie hero.
And WISEGEEK.com said, "If James Bond shoots out a Coca-Cola display, for
example, "der oylem" (the audience) will remember that sequence long
after the movie ends.
No character from Yiddish literature is more universally recognized than Tevye,
the dairy-man in Fiddler on the Roof. He's forever citing Scripture and speaking
to God. David G. Roskies (Commentary, Oct. 1999), says, "Tevye watches
helplessly as his daughters choose husbands representing the most powerful
currents of modernity: a socialist agitator, a Gentile humanist, a rich
Fiddler opened on Broadway in 1962 and played to capacity houses for a total of
over 3,000 performances. Now imagine that the show is back on B'way, starring
Harvey Fierstein, and product placement helps fund the costs. Here are some
examples of product placement in the script. (Script taken from the book,
"Fiddler on the Roof" by Joseph Stein).
ACT ONE - PROLOGUE
The exterior of Tevye's house. A fiddler is seated on the GREEN roof,
installations by ROOFSCAPES. The GREEN roof insulates the building from both
heat and "kalt", absorbs "vaser" runoff, and offsets noise
pollution. Tevye is outside the house.
A fiddler on the GREEN roof. Sounds crazy, no? But in our little village of
Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof, trying to
scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck...MASSAGE THERAPY
FOR NECK PAIN. CHECK OUT WELLNESSTWEETS.COM.
And in the circle of our little village, we have always had our special types.
For instance, Yente, the matchmaker. She has "tsuris." Competition is
keen. Our daughters are breaking with tradition and seeking assistance from
websites like JDate, CHAI EXPECTATIONS, PLENTYOFFISH.COM, SHOSHANNA'S MATCHES,
FRUMSTER.COM, SAWYOUATSINAI.COM, ALMOSTMETJEW.COM, and STINGLES.COM
(get-together group for Jewish unmarried FBI personnel). :-)
Yente would probably be a multimillionaire; but today's matchmakers are more
likely to look as if they walked off a runway than stepped out of a shtetl.
SCENE ONE - GOLDE
It's almost Sabbath and he [Tevye] worries a lot when he'll be home! All day
long riding on top of his wagon like a prince.
Mama, you know that Papa works hard. I think he deserves a GARMIN GPS
navigational system. It'll get him from point A to point B quickly and safely.
What does that poor little tailor, Motel, want with Tzeitel?
They have been friends since they were babies together. They talk, they play,
they do GOOGLE, TWITTER, FACEBOOK, YOUTUBE, and all that fancy technology. Why
Motel even went on CRAIGSLIST to buy a used "neymashin" (sewing machine).
[Tevye's oldest daughter, Tzeitel, has been chosen by Lazar Wolf to be his wife]
May all your futures be pleasant ones,
Not like our present ones,
To Life, L'Chaim,
It takes a wedding to make us say,
"Let's live another day."
Drink, L'Chaim, to Life.
We'll raise a glass and sip a drop of schnapps,
or HE'BREW, THE CHOSEN BEER,
in honor of the great good luck that favored you.
[Tzeitel does not wish to marry Lazar Wolf] and asks her sisters whether it's
acceptable to dump someone via E-MAIL MESSAGE, TEXT-MESSAGING, or TWEET. She is
told, "Avoid texting shorthand; Lazer Wolf, the butcher wouldn't understand "i
h8 to 1/2 to tell u."
Outside Tevye's house, PERCHIK is teaching SHPRINTZE and BIELKE while they peel
potatoes. RACHEL RAY 3 in 1 POTATO VEGETABLE PEELER AND BRUSH. Hodel is cleaning
pails at the pump.
Part of Tevye's yard. Night. Tzeitel, in a DAVID'S BRIDAL GOWN (the Wal-Mart of
weddings), enters, followed by Tevye, Golde, Hodel, Bielke, Chava, Shprintze,
and relations. MOTEL enters, followed by his parents and relatives...The men
take their places on the right, as a group; the women on the left. MOTEL places
a veil over Tzeitel's head. VEIL'S BY CHOSSONKALLAH.COM.
Tzeitel whispers a few haiku, taken from Eugenie Olson's book, "Wedding Haiku":
Pantyhose on? Check
Gown zipped? Check. Train fluffed
nicely? And...now I have to pee.
One bridesmaid's six-two,
One's pregnant, and one's fifteen
Where does a bride start?
I want to announce that the bride's parents are giving the newlyweds the
following: a new featherbed from 1-800-MATTRESS, and a pair of pillows from BED
BATH & BEYOND BRIDAL & GIFT REGISTRY (20% OFF, with coupon!)
Do I love you?
With our daughters getting married and this trouble in the town
You're upset, you're worn out, Go inside, take FRIEDA KOSHER VITAMINS
Maybe it's indigestion. NEXIUM, the PURPLE PILL..
Listen, everybody, terrible news--terrible-
who started all the trouble?
Well, I just heard, from someone who should know,
That Golde's been arrested, And Hodel's gone to Kiev,
Motel studies dancing at THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORAS,
and Tevye's acting strange.
Shprintze has the measles,
And Bielke has the mumps.
And that's what comes from men and women dancing!
"Far From the Home I Love"
How can I hope to make you understand
Why I do what I do,
Why I must travel to a distant land
Far from the home I love?
A NICE JEWISH BOY MOVING & STORAGE.
[Chava wants to marry Fyedka. She tells Tevye that Fyedka is not a creature. He
is a man.]
Who says that he isn't? It's just that he is a different kind of man. As the
Good Book says, "Each shall seek his own kind." Which translated means, "A bird
may love a fish, but where would they build a home together?
Couldn't you have chosen a N.J.B. (Nice Jewish Boy) or a M.O.T. ("Member of the
Maybe next time, Golde, we will meet on happier occasions. Meanwhile, we suffer,
we suffer, we suffer in silence! Right? Of course, right. (She exits. Golde sits
on a large trunk, sadly wrapping a pair of silver goblets. Tevye enters,
carrying a bundle of books, and puts them on the wagon.)
Golde says, "Teyve, perhaps it's time to invest in KINDLE. KINDLE'S paperback
size and expandable memory lets you travel light with your Jewish library.
I don't need your advice, Golde. Tzeitel, don't forget the baby. We have to
catch a train, and a boat. Bielke, Shprintze, put the bundles on the wagon.
[Teyve moves the wagon to the center of the stage, and Motel puts the SWISS ARMY
OFFICERS TRUNK on it. Tzitel brings the baby out of the house. They turn to one
another for goodbyes.]
Tevye begins to pull his wagon upstage, revealing the Fiddler playing his theme.
Tevye stops, turns, beckons to him. The Fiddler tucks his violin under his arm
and follows the family upstage, as the curtain falls.
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe is the author of a new book titled, "Yiddish for Dog &
Cat Lovers." To order, click
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