Return to homepage

Bookmark This Site
Search our site
WOLFE'S WORDSApril 16, 2010
Send this page to a friendDecrease Font
Page DownBottom

Share this page
Product Placement In "Fiddler On The Roof"
by: Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Important dates

This Month...

Editor's Comment
Michael looks at:
Farewell, Shalom and Adieu

Being Jewish Magazine

see a .pdf copy of the current issue

An Open Letter from Abba to His Family

Enough With The Political Finger-Pointing!

Revisiting the Haggadah

Eddy's Recipe List
Victoria Sponge

Book Review
Unstrung Heroes

The Outspeaker
Encouraging violence is never correct

Good times and bad times with Batya

Nathan Weissler
What my friendship with Michael Hanna-Fein meant to me

BC's Backlot
The Last Shalom

This And That
My Treasure Chest

Three Symbols of Passover


Lynn Ruth Miller
How we all became part of a bigger story

Mel Yahre
A few words for my friend

Eddy's Thoughts
Don't let life flutter by

The Bear Facts
How I found Michael


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 story.

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 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 capitalist."

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).

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.

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,
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? 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-

Remember Perchik,
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!

PAPA--(Hodel Sings)
"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?

[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 Tribe")?

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 here.
Marjorie Wolfe
19 Market Dr.
Syosset, NY 11791
$13 (plus $3.50 postage & handling, USA)
$13 (pus $5.00 postage & handling, Canada


Page UpTop Small Monitor Subscribe Tzedakeh Links

Subscribe (free) to the Gantseh Megillah. The Gantseh Megillah and are designed and hosted by HannaVisioN About this site Send a financial contribution to this site Contact us See our glossary of Yiddish words and expressions Log In Join
Personal insights from two yiddishe meydls Life stories from the heart News and information with a lighter touch Politics and policy with a Yiddishe taam