By: Sharon Aron Baron
Residents won’t have to travel far to visit a place they may remember vividly from the past when they see Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort at a theater in Tamarac.
This new documentary, by Caroline Laskow and Ian Rosenberg finally makes its way to Broward County where local audiences will be able to to view the last surviving Jewish resort in the Catskills: Kutsher’s Country Club.
One of the legendary Borscht Belt hotels during its heyday, Kutsher’s was family-owned and operated for over 100 years. Exploring the full Dirty Dancing-era Catskills experience, and how it changed American pop culture in the comedy, sports and vacation industries this award-winning documentary captures a last glimpse of a lost world as it disappears before our eyes.
“I remember owners Helen and Mark Kutsher, and used to spend every summer there – my sister and my mother and I.” Said Ann Zucker President of the Weston Democratic Club and Special Projects Coordinator for Senior Life Safety for the Broward Sheriff’s Office. “I have some wonderful memories. As a child, we would sneak into the pool or into the night club,” she said laughing.
Around the late 50’s, Zucker would visit from Brooklyn and went on to eventually work as a counselor in the Catskills. She said that going to Kutsher’s and resorts like it in the Catskills was an amazing time to grow up and she wishes all Jewish children could have experienced what she did. “I’m saying this as a person that grew up there and whose children grew up there.”
The Catskills resorts were not only a Jewish refuge and family vacation paradise, they also gave birth to American stand-up comedy, an NBA All-Star tradition, and all-inclusive resorts.
Basketball star Wilt Chamberlain is featured playing ball and working as a bellhop at Kutsher’s; Red Auerbach as the Kutsher’s Sports Director; and Kutsher’s Maurice Stokes benefit game create an All-Star basketball tradition.
Audiences will laugh with appreciation at Freddie Roman as his classic Borscht Belt routine still brings down the house, and watch as comedian Andy Kaufman wrestles a female guest for $50.
The film also focuses on the hearty kosher feasts where no one can get away with ordering just one main dish, and the non-stop whirl of recreational activities.
And as the Catskills decline, this film provides unprecedented eyewitness documentation of Kutsher’s from its 100th anniversary season through the next seven years until the hotel is sold and demolished in 2014.
The story of Kutsher’s is uniquely American, unexpectedly moving and a vital chapter, previously unexplored, of the modern Jewish experience that shouldn’t be missed by anyone.
Opening day is Friday, April 10 at the The Last Picture Show Movie Theater 10036 W McNab Rd Tamarac, Florida 954-726-3500.