Black Magician History Month

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I love researching topics for these posts. One of the ways I pick topics is to check the dictionary to see what words people are looking up currently. Through this process I get the experience of acquiring new knowledge. I have copied information here that I found “really” interesting and is a good fit for Black History Month.

I did a book reading at a local library this past Friday and while I was reading the first chapter of my book I was reminded that my father, Eddie Green, the subject of the book, had begun his entertainment career as a “Boy Magician.” Eddie left home at about age nine, taught himself to read, read books on magic and began performing around Baltimore in churches and halls. By the time he was sixteen he was hiring assistants and he performed his magic acts until he began appearing on stage at the Standard Theater in Philadelphia in 1917 and someone told him that his comedy act was so funny he should drop the magic part, which he did.

So I’m looking up words and I found the word “ruse” had been looked up quite a lot lately.  Hmmm. Ruse means a clever or artful skill, or artifice, i.e. trick. My personal opinion is that in these instances “ruse” was not looked up in regard to magic but I chose to use it that way because of this post.

I also found this article that states, “the methodology behind magic is often referred to as a science (often a branch of physics) while the performance aspect is more of an art form….Dedication to magic can teach confidence and creativity, as well as the work ethic associated with regular practice and the responsibility that comes with devotion to an art.  Hass, Larry & Burger, Eugene (November 2000). “The Theory and Art of Magic“. The Linking Ring. The International Brotherhood of Magicians. Magic is also a form of trickery, artifice or a ruse.

Eddie was very skillful in this art form. I believe magic is what helped Eddie hone his comedic presentation and also helped with his dedication to his career.

I decided to look up any other Black Magicians (cause I had never heard of any) and Lo and Behold I found a long list of men and one woman. I focused on this first guy Black Herman. So funny. He was born one year later than Eddie. And he was quite famous.

Black Herman was an African-American magician who combined magic with a strong separatist and militant political message, and became one of the most important Black magicians in history. His mission was to promote his view of Black power by attracting attention and support using stage magic, occult magic and superstition.
Born in Amherst, Virginia, Benjamin Rucker learned the art of illusions from a huckster named Prince Herman. The two ran a medicine show, performing magic tricks to attract customers for their “Secret African Remedy”, a tonic that was mostly alcohol with some common spices added for good measure. When Prince Herman died in 1909, Rucker, then only 17 years old, continued to travel with the show, focusing on the magic and dropping the medicine show.
Creating his own stage persona, Rucker took the name “Black Herman”, partially in honor of Prince Herman, and partly as an homage to Alonzo Moore, the famous African-American magician who was known as the “Black Herrmann”. (I never knew this.)

After 1910, Black Herman made Harlem, New York his home base. He was exposed to, and greatly influenced by, the radical racial philosophies of Marcus Garvey and others who were fighting to improve the lives of African Americans. He began to incorporate a political message into his shows, playing to all-Black audiences in the South, but to mixed crowds in the North, a very unusual and great achievement for his time.

Black Herman was an ethnic nationalist, a contemporary of activists Marcus Garvey and Booker T. Washington. Increasingly throughout his career, his shows promoted the message of Black pride. Garvey, Washington and Black Herman all offered talismans for sale to ward off racism. Benjamin Herman Rucker 1892-1934.

Thanks to  MagicTricks.com for providing this information.

Oh yea, one of the names on that list I found was, Eddie Green.

Hey, thanks, for stopping by. KCB

Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer, bearmanormedia.com

 

 

 

I didn’t think he’d go this far!

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My Grandson, Edward and my father. The idea to write my book came about through my desire to present to my grandson, Edward,  an example of what can be accomplished regardless of obstacles. I didn’t know he was gonna go this far!! The man has no fear. I turned on my computer, clicked on Facebook and here is a picture of Edward at an Alligator Park in Florida. What the!!. I am a grandmother so my first thought is What the!! Edward has lost his mind! My daughter’s reaction was that he is afraid of nothing. Like his great-grandfather.

Edward’s grandfather, Eddie Green despite being born in 1891 in Baltimore during an era of blatant racism to poverty-stricken parents,  rose to become a filmmaker, Broadway and movie star, composer, OTR icon and one of the most beloved comics of his time. Talent, determination and courage propelled Eddie to achieve the life he wanted for himself and those around him.

The idea of writing the biography of my father came to me when Edward was about six years old.  He is twenty-six now. Edward has told me that the story of Eddie is indeed inspiring to him now as an adult because he can identify with some portions of the story.  He also told me the fact that I wrote a book is very inspiring to him now, showing him that if a person sets their mind to do something, they can.

One thing I have noticed is that through the years it took for me to write this book, Edward developed into a person who has chosen to be successful in life. He has had the courage to pursue that which he is excited about. He is a good citizen. His job appreciates him. He cooks for his mother when she visits. He likes cats and treats his lady respectfully.  And he is not afraid to pick up alligators. He really did not need this book to become who he is today. It’s probably in the genes.

Maybe a young person you know would be inspired by this biography Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer. Though it is written also for anyone looking for motivation.

Thanks, for stopping by. KCB

http://www.bearmanmedia.com (publisher)

 

 

 

Black History Month Grips Nation

 

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Eddie Green & Ed Gardner in Paramount’s Ed Gardner’s Duffy’s Tavern (1945)

From a 1950 article in the Chicago Defender newspaper regarding Eddie Green: “Radio was his forte. He became the lovable Eddie of Duffy’s Tavern and his quick answers to Ed “Archie” Gardner’s problems won him thousands of ardent fans”.

In honor of Black History Month I am promoting  my father as one of the pioneers of black history who so far has not gotten as much attention as say a Frederick Douglas, orator, writer and social reformer, or a William Grant Still, the first Black American composer to have an opera performed by the New York City Opera, though Eddie was a filmmaker, writer and director of his own movies and he was also a composer of twenty-nine songs, one being “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”. And I am promoting him because in the early 1900s he had thousands of ardent fans. Eddie has earned his place in America’s Black History.

I am glad we have a Black History Month. When I worked for the VA I was glad when they celebrated Hispanic History because bands came out and played and people brought books about their culture and everyone had a good time. Any celebration is good as far as I am concerned. Everyone should celebrate who they are.

Now, truth be told, until this year I have never studied the origins of Black History Month. I would acknowledge Jackie Robinson and George Washington Carver (the only black person I remember reading about when I was about eight years old), and I know I am black and before you knew it the month was over. I have written a book now about my father and in doing the research on this book I found a new interest in Black history.

My father was thirty-five years old in 1926 when the precursor to Black History Month, Negro History Week, was started.  On February 7, 1926, Carter G. Woodson initiated the first National Negro Week. Every club, society, church or school was entitled to the Negro History Week pamphlet free of charge.

By 1935 the New York Age newspaper printed this headline Negro History Week Grips Nation “Negro History Week literature has been distributed in batches of thousands throughout the country, and it may still be obtained from Dr. C. G. Woodson.” This idea was hot!! Fast forward to 1976 and as part of the United States Bicentennial, the informal expansion of Negro History Week to Black History Month was officially recognized by the U.S. government. Forward to now, where is the Black History Month Grips Nation headline? So I wrote it.

I know that Eddie would want me to celebrate Black History Month because here in America we have added the history of a Black President to what was once celebrated as Negro History Week.

Thank you so much, for stopping by.

http://www.bearmanormedi.com (Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer)

 

 

I will not be a “Droopy” Dog

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Okay, I’ve had enough. I am tired of reading words such as divisive, feud, and slur when reading about current political events. I do not want to buy into the idea that I should now be fearful of the future of my country or the world for that matter.

I will not look forward to “Doomsday.” I will not live my life by a “Doomsday Clock.” And the Doomsday Clock is trending on Facebook. A New York Times op-ed piece stated the members of the Chicago based bulletin of the Atomic Scientists have moved the Doomsday clock closer to midnight than ever before. They site nuclear weapons, climate change and certain statements of a single person. (Guess who.) We, people, got the idea for this clock back in 1947. A symbolic clock face representing a countdown to disaster. When I opened a page on Facebook I saw an atomic bomb mushroom cloud. What the?

I know there is doom and gloom upon the land, but that does not mean I must give up all hope. Maybe I get this outlook from my father. Who, after living through the dropping of the Atom Bomb decided to make a movie about it from his own frame of mind. Eddie liked to see people laugh. So in 1949 he decided to write, produce, direct and star in a movie that depicts a Black family’s reaction post-bomb but with humor and entertainment thrown in.

The movie begins with the husband and the maid dancing to the latest jive record that they intend to play that evening for the daughter’s coming-out party. Mom comes out and after making hubby sit down they start to discuss their upstairs boarder’s comings and goings. They have a suspicion he is building a bomb because he sneaks in and out and keeps to himself. So they invite a detective (Eddie) to their party that night and ask him to check out Uncle Adam. There is a comedy skit and a chorus line at the party and Margaret Westfield sings a song Eddie wrote titled “You Can Always Believe Your Heart” while the detective investigates Mr. Adam’s room. In the end everything turns out hunky-dorey with a kind of sappy closing shot of Eddie

Most recently in 2008 I found this review of the song Eddie wrote “The audience  is asked to get excited about the daughter singing a boring romantic ballad that could easily have come out of a white sing-along movie of the time (1949.” Well!! I also found another review that contained these words “the avuncular old man (played by the only person in this movie who can actually act!)” Well!!! This same person said the main plot was for people to hear the daughter sing the song. Wrong!

Eddie’s original title for this movie was Mr. Atom’s Bomb. He had to copyright it as Mr. Adam’s Bomb. But he, like so many other people, was deeply affected by past events of the war and being an artist and a comedian he made this movie in reference to how Black people were feeling about the use of the atom bomb and as a way to stay positive. Even “Uncle Sam” gets a positive mention. The movie also starred Gene Ware and Jessica Grayson, both veteran actors. Ms. Grayson also appeared in a Bette Davis movie, The Little Foxes. I think Eddie used up all of his money making this last movie.

I am trying to figure out a way to stay positive today. I am planning to find some way to contribute to a more positive community outlook. Yesterday I went to the VA hospital where I used to work and I visited Bldg. 99 where the older veterans live. There was live music in the hall. The veterans are wheeled out or escorted and lunch is served while the musicians play. I actually saw a couple of familiar faces. So between the hugs and the smiles and conversations with the veteran’s and the music “Honeysuckle Rose”, by Fats Waller, and marching music, I felt pretty good when I left.

When I was little my favorite cartoon character was “Droopy”. He always walked around saying “Woe is me, woe is me”. I though he was funny. But I don’t want to be him.

Thanks, for stopping by. KCB

 

 

 

 

Labor of Love

whyThis past week a political figure’s book sold out in 2 days on Amazon after he received an uncomplimentary response to an opinion that he voiced.  I wonder why? Did the book sell out because of controversy? Is that what people want? Of course, my bright brain then thought “hm, how could that work for me? Could I find someone of note to mention me in a bad light on the internet? Of course, they would have to mention the name of the book I authored, then people would rush to buy my book, to see if I really am as bad as that person said!”  Then I laughed out loud. I don’t want controversy to sell my inspiring, delightful biography about my legendary radio icon, filmmaker, comedian father, Eddie Green.

However, truth be told, I was a bit upset. People seem to be drawn to drama. And the aura surrounding the writing and publishing of this book has no negative drama. There is no negative drama in my life. Will my book sell well with no drama attached to it?

Drama could have been created back in the day when Mary O’Neil of the Knickerbocker News printed her opinion in 1937, she said:  “What that Eddie Green is doing in radio, I don’t know. I still can’t see his type of comedy. But as I said before Vallee can’t have a success every single time.” Rudy Vallee was Eddie’s mentor. (For you younger folks, Vallee was a radio and movie star who helped Eddie get noticed.) I don’t think everyone rushed eagerly to their radios that day to listen to Eddie Green, and see if they could tell just what kind of man Eddie was, but I do know that he eventually became one of the most popular and best loved comedians of his time through talent and determination. No drama necessary.

According to Mr. Frank of the Associated Negro Press Eddie had become very popular through his talent: “This brings up the subject of Eddie Green, the fine comedian who appears occasionally on the Rudy Vallee hour. Eddie, who specializes in burlesques of famous plays and men of history, is one of the few people of color ever to win such radio recognition as a comic.”

Today I looked up Mary O’Reily and I found a very interesting geneology site with information on her family from the 1700s to 2012. At the end of the article they stated that this information was a memorial to their ancestor’s sacrifices and hard work that got them to a nation where they could achieve and accomplish anything. I have warmed up to Mary O’Reily. She was a female journalist in 1937 doing her job. She said what she felt and she was glad to have her job.

My intent when writing this book was to inspire and possibly provide a pin prick of motivation to that person who feels the odds are against them. To be helpful in some way. Have someone say “yea, I could do that!” My focus was to be positive and upbeat. I don’t want controversy to spur sales of my book. This book writing venture has been smoother than smooth because it was supposed to happen. And I know my book will reach the people it is supposed to reach. Btw, the title of the book is Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer, for those of you new to this blog and Thank You for those of you who have purchased the book. You are all a part of my Labor of Love.

As always, thanks, for stopping by.

Obstacles….NOT!

obstacles-notLet 2017 be your year of overcoming the obstacles. In our world today there seems to be a lot of obstacles: racism, poverty, joblessness. But I have come to learn in my own life and through writing my father’s biography, that obstacles don’t signify stopping points. Unless you live in Chester’s Mill “Under the Dome.” (A fictional TV program that I loved-the town people couldn’t go under the Dome or around it or through it.) In real life obstacles can be overcome.

If you have followed my blog for awhile you know that I have published a book about my father, Eddie Green. My intent was for this blog and the book to be inspirational. To maybe help motivate someone to follow their dreams no matter how difficult it may seem. My family laughs at the title of my blog Pin In The Tush. But I told them it is supposed to bring to mind what happens when someone is stuck in the tush (or butt, if you prefer) with a pin, they usually jump-they are motivated! Anyhow, the book talks about the fact that my father was a Black man born in 1891 in the most poverty-stricken, segregated part of Baltimore, Md. Jobs were few and far between. I think his mother took in washing and I have almost no knowledge of his father, except that maybe he worked the docks when he could. There was no sewage system then and the houses were falling apart alley houses.

Despite the racism, the lack of jobs, and the poverty, or maybe because of it, Eddie left home at nine years of age, taught himself how to read, through books learned the art of magic and performed magic acts in churches and halls in and around Baltimore. He found work as a handy man where he could and wound up working at a theater where they also let him perform. He wrote a song (a bestseller), and sold it for next to nothing. (It became a bestseller after he sold it.) He took himself and a group of ladies out on the road in the South with his song. He got more work in the Theater, wrote more songs and just climbed from there to become extremely successful in the world of entertainment. Racism did not stop him. He was one of the most sought after comedians on White radio programs. He played Eddie, the waiter on the Duffy’s Tavern radio program through the last ten years of his life. Poverty motivated him. The necessity of having money gave him the impetus to teach himself a skill.

Anyone can enjoy a good life despite the seeming let-downs or road-blocks. This year have faith in yourself, treat yourself well, put in the work, learn something new, love your neighbors and see how you can be an inspiration to someone else.

Hey, thanks for stopping by and please, share this with a friend.

And read: Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer. Publisher: BearManorMedia.com

 

 

What is theWebster’s Dictionary Word of 2016?

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While typing the title of this post I was reminded of  my step-dad, Nate. He used to pick random times to sit me and my siblings down and give us a word to define. Just out of the blue. Of course we never knew the word, we were just kids, but I became a reader of the Dictionary. He also made us do math problems, but today my math skills suck. Anywho, in looking through internet sites trying to find inspiration for writing this post, maybe something about encouragement or love, I came upon the most looked up word in the dictionary for 2016.

One of the words in the running for 2016 was the word “flummadiddle.” It means something foolish or worthless. According to Webster’s Dictionary, flummadidle spiked in look ups around this year’s election process.

It caught my attention because it looked just like a word my father, Eddie Green, made popular back in 1926. The word was “fummadiddle.” As in “Dad doesn’t go in for fummadiddles,” from a story in 1928, or as in “If you got much to say, be quick about it cause I ain’t got no time fo’ fummadiddles!”, from a story in 1919. According to the Dobbs Ferry Register back in 1926: Newest of the catch phrases to sweep the Country via radio is “fummadiddles” and the promoter of the new word is Eddie Green, whose comedy has been heard several times on the Rudy Vallee program. Eddie’s word was said to be the modern equivalent of “Wanna Buy a Duck?”, which was a silly phrase back in the 1920s. Or it was just another way of  was saying “Balderdash!”.

Anyhow,  whether flummadiddles or fummadidles, either word fits in with the in’s and out’s of this years election.

By the way, Webster’s Dictionary Word of the Year is: Surreal-meaning “marked by the intense irrationality of a dream.” A word that also spiked in look ups last month.

Thank you so much, for stopping by.

Dictionary picture courtesy of Google Advanced Image Search

 

 

YES, you can.

yesyoucan2Inspire someone today. I chose to write a book “Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer” to inspire my grandson. He was six when I came up with the idea, he is twenty-six today and the book just published in July of this year.

My very first post talked about the words “I can’t” because I heard that from my grandson a lot when he was little. Just so happens my father, who died when I was three, found success through talent and determination to escape the poverty he was born into. I figured his story would show my grandson that “you can” despite seeming obstacles.

Eddie’s rise from poverty played out mostly in the world of entertainment, with offshoots into the restaurant business. And the book became not only a book to inspire my grandson but a book about the entertainment business in the 1900s. Because Eddie was Black the book is also filled with information about other Blacks prominent in show business back in the day. It became sort of a Black Entertainment history book. So it became a book  about a Black man in America, as well as an inspirational book. People have told me the book should be required reading for young people in schools. So could also be seen as educational. My main group has proven to be people who follow entertainment nostalgia. Old time Hollywood, Old Time Radio shows, old all-black cast movies. A wide variety of folks, young and not so young.

yesyoucanMy desire to inspire my grandson with his great-grandfather’s story morphed into wanting to inspire any person who thinks “they can’t .” So I was blown away with the interest generated by this book in the Nostalgia field. I have discovered that a lot of people knew about, remembered and have actually seen my father perform. I have been made aware of the fact that there are young people  who are fascinated with success stories from the 1900s, for the very reason I wrote the book, inspiration. Also, I have happily realized the interest this book can garner in the Black community as a success story of a Black man, both personally and professionally, in a time of great racial discord.

I am going to put more energy also into sharing Eddie’s rags-to-riches story with as many people as possible, such as The young adult (YA) age group, or teen-group.  Because they are the future. They need to have access to stories that will give them hope. I hope to make this book available to younger children although it doesn’t have any colorful pictures. I also want to market to Black Ancestry sites because genealogy is a big deal today.

Sure, I want to sell a million books. My father’s first song sold a million copies in one year in 1919 (A Good Man is Hard to Find), and people are still recording it, imagine that! But this book began out of love for my grandson and grew into something I could share with people everywhere which makes me happy. And if I make lots of money I will be able to say that I am self-supporting through my own contributions.

In the late 1930s my father told a reporter that in his opinion “radio was a very, very difficult field for Negroes to get into, but the benefits were worth the try.” If he could see how effort has worked toward America having it’s first black President, I know he would be very proud.

Thanks, for stopping by.

 

 

Look What I Found!

 

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Ernie Whitman, Lena Horne, Eddie Green (my father)

 

Family, friends, young and old, prepare to be blown away.. Here is a photo of Ernie Whitman, Lena Horne and my father, Eddie Green! My publisher told me I would find more information on my father once I published the book and he was right. For whatever reason I decided today to search for new pictures of Eddie, so I went to Google Advanced Search and typed in Eddie’s and Lena’s names (I chose Lena because she and Eddie performed together and for once I was “thinking outside the box”) and Lo and Behold there they were. This photo was taken back in the 1940’s while they were waiting to perform on a Jubilee radio show for our troops in WWII.

For those who don’t know:

Ernie Whitman .(February 21, 1893 Fort Smith, Arkansas – August 5, 1954 Hollywood, California) was the wartime host of the Jubilee radio show aimed at African-American troops and he was a stage and screen actor appearing in such films as
The Green Pastures (1936), Jesse James (1939), Gone With the Wind (1939), Third Finger, Left Hand (1940), Among the Living (1941), Road to Zanzibar (1941), Cabin in the Sky (1943), Stormy Weather (1943), The Lost Weekend (1945).

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne (June 30, 1917 – May 9, 2010) was an Award–winning jazz and pop music singer, dancer, actress, and civil rights activist. Horne’s career spanned over 70 years appearing in film, television, and theater. Her film appearances were many including Cabin in the Sky (1943) and Stormy Weather (1943). There may be some younger folks out there reading this blog who have never heard of Lena Horne (what!!). She was beautiful and sexy and someone said she had a sultry voice.

Anyhow, finding this picture was a new thrill for me today and helps to keep me motivated to write these posts and also to get out and market my book. This month I will be visiting libraries in California performing readings for nostalgia buffs and spreading the word. I will probably “tweet” the dates and places.

In my book Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer I have included a portion of a Jubilee radio program these three did together in 1942.

If you haven’t read the book yet, you might want to check it out. I’m told that it is an enjoyable read. (Christmas is coming!)

Thanks for stopping by and KCB.

(photo provided by ebay on Google Advanced Image Search)