Brooklyn Bridge was an autobiographical venture on the part of its creator, Gary David Goldberg. His alter ego on the show was Alan Silver, a 14-year old Jewish boy coming of age in 1956. George was his postal-worker father, Phyllis his homemaker mom, and Nathaniel his little brother. They all lived in an apartment in the same building as Alan’s maternal grandparents, Jules and Sophie Berger. Sophie was the kind of grand matriarch figure who lorded over them all.
Outside the home, Alan had a multi-ethnic collection of friends in Nicholas, Benny and Warren. Alan also had a girlfriend in Katie Monahan, and the fact that she was Catholic drove Sophie nuts.
The show was fondly received by critics for combining strong writing and performances (Marion Ross’ work as Sophie was a particular critical favorite) with an unerring sense of period detail. Since Goldberg was drawing off his 50’s New York childhood, he was able to pack the show’s setting and stories with time-specific details like vintage rock and roll music and radio coverage of Dodger games (provided by Vin Scully, a real Dodgers announcer).
The show won several awards during its two year run from sources as diverse as the American Society of Cinematographers, the Golden Globes, the Human Family Educational & Cultural Institute, and the Viewers For Quality Television Awards, but audience support was a little harder to come by. A devoted fan base absolutely adored the show, but Brooklyn Bridge was never able to attract the wide audience of more mainstream nostalgic fare like Happy Days and The Wonder Years.
USA / CBS / x25 minute episodes / Broadcast 20 September 1991 – 6 August 1993
Marion Ross as Sophie Berger
Louis Zorich as Jules Berger
Amy Aquino as Phyllis Silver
Peter Friedman as George Silver
Danny Gerard as Alan Silver
Matthew Louis Siegel as Nathaniel Silver
Jenny Lewis as Katie Monahan
Constance McCashin as Rosemary Monahan, Katie’s mother
James Naughton as Patrick Monahan, Katie’s father
Yvonne Suhor as Colleen Monahan, Katie’s sister
Jake Jundef as Benny Belinski
Aeryk Egan as Warren Butcher
David Whol as Sid
Carol Kane as Sylvia, Sophie’s daughter