Local filmmakers Caroline Laskow and Ian Rosenberg’s documentary, “Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort,” is now available via download, on-demand and on DVD. The film, which first premiered in 2012, takes an up-close look at the last surviving Borscht Belt resort, Kutsher’s Hotel and Country Club, from its beginnings in 1907, through its heyday in the mid-20th century, and then to its closing last year.
Laskow said via email, “… the film tells the story of how the Catskills experience really began in the 1900s with immigrants leaving the LES to both become farmers/rooming-house owners, and to visit the country as guests seeking to get away from the city heat (just like today).”
It’s always been rumored, but never confirmed, that the fictional resort, “Kellerman’s,” in the film Dirty Dancing was based on Kutsher’s. Laskow and Rosenberg documented the end of the “Dirty Dancing-era Catskills experience,” and the decline of the once booming resort region, over a period of eight years.
The film’s website notes, “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. Watch Wilt Chamberlain both playing ball and working as a bellhop, Red Auerbach as the sports director, Maurice Stokes who created the All Star basketball tradition and watch Freddie Roman and his classic Borscht Belt routine.”
“Welcome to Kutsher’s” was the Closing Night Selection at The New York Jewish Film Festival at Lincoln Center and won the Best Documentary Audience Award at Miami Jewish Film Festival.
Read more about the film via ABCNews.com here.
You can buy or rent “Welcome to Kutsher’s” here.
And here’s the trailer: