LOVE AND HAPPINESS EXIST

These days it is so difficult to write inspirational, motivating posts. Posts that bring smiles and laughter. Posts that are entertaining. The political climate sucks so bad right now it is impossible to ignore. I chose to watch an ad placed by President Trump recently. How disheartening. A Reuters headline read: “Sickening’: New anti-immigrant Trump campaign ad stokes outrage”. And it was sickening. And truly sad, to me. Sad and un-Presidential. Low. An article in the Politico talks about President Trump never being shy about branding female political enemies with “personal and demeaning” insults. How is this presidential? How can he even allow himself to communicate on such a level. He sits on the highest seat in the land, for Heavens sake. And I guess that is the point. He’s the President. He can pretty much do what he wants. Thank goodness he backtracked on that “consider it a rifle” statement about rocks being thrown by migrants towards U. S. military. The newspapers (Politico) printed that he has since said “I didn’t say shoot”.

But, truth be told, chaos, hatred, intolerance and violence are not new to 2018, and can be found in all walks of life, no matter race or gender or age. Mass shootings. Family murders. School shootings. Gangs. Road Rage.

Just as an example, I bought a Los Angeles Times this past week and was shocked to read an article about a happening on the Senate floor in 1856. I came home and looked up this affair on Wikipedia:

“The Brooks–Sumner Affair, occurred on May 22, 1856, in the United States Senate when Representative Preston Brooks (D-SC) used a walking cane to attack Senator Charles Sumner (R-MA), an abolitionist, in retaliation for a speech given by Sumner two days earlier in which he fiercely criticized slaveholders, including a relative of Brooks. Brooks beat Sumner severely on the head using a thick gutta-percha cane with a gold head. Brooks didn’t stop when his cane snapped; he continued thrashing Sumner with the piece which held the gold head. Brooks later boasted “[The pieces of my cane] are begged for as sacred relics.” Apparently, his constituents sent him hundreds of new canes. – “Caning of Charles Sumner”; Wikipedia”

One of Brooks buddies stood by and kept the other Senators from interring. One human being caning another, brutally. And getting kudos for doing so.

Another example closer to 2018:

“On February 20, 1939, the American Nazi Organization (The Bund) held an “Americanization” rally in New York’s Madison Square Garden, The rally, attended by 20,000 supporters and members, was protested by huge crowds of anti-Nazis, who were held back by 1,500 NYC police officers.” – June 2017 The Atlantic

My father lived in New York at the time. He had just returned from the Coast after trying out for a part in the movie Gone With The Wind. Three months later he was appearing on Broadway in a new play “Hot Mikado” with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. He had two bar-bee-que restaurants at the time in New York. As a Black man in 1939, who had been born back in 1891, this must have been a trying time.

Seems that there will always be some form of dis-unity on planet Earth. But we have not destroyed ourselves yet. Is that because the good is still outweighing the bad? Certainly no one man can destroy that which keeps us strong and resilient. Examples like my father show us that. Millions of survivors show us that. Kindness, Joy, Love and Happiness exist. Share it.

And thanx, for stopping by.

 

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1939 “NO KITCHEN DOOR FOR ME”


Gee Gee James Refuses To Bow To St. Louis Jim-Crow ‘NO KITCHEN DOOR FOR ME” So said she after being told she had to enter a nightclub through the back door.  In 1939, after being invited to see a play by the general manager of the Whites-Only Club Plantation in St Louis, Gee Gee was unpleasantly surprised to find when she got there that she would have to go in through the back door and through the kitchen.  She said that she “did not see why she should not be allowed to go through the front door like all the other paying guests.” She also said she “just can’t quite get used to prejudice and jim crowism.”

Apparently the Club Plantation was a hot spot in 1939 and was considered one of the outstanding spots In the nation and one of the most pleasing places for Black artists and entertainers to work, however Blacks were not allowed in to see the shows. Gee Gee was invited in because she was in vogue at the time as an actress, but they still would not let her arrive through the front door.

Never having experienced this I tend to forget that Black entertainers of the early 1900s faced blatant racism constantly. Maybe even daily. It had to have been a constant stressor. Yet, actors like Gee Gee and my father, Eddie Green, lit up a room when they walked in.  They were gracious off stage and dedicated to their craft on stage. These trailblazers have, because of their fortitude, become my heroes. I chose to write about Gee Gee James today because she and my father were once comedic partners. But like Eddie before I wrote my book, Gee Gee has pretty much been forgotten or over-looked. In this extremely bad copy you can see her from 1937:  “Luis Russell, Eddie Green, Gee Gee James and Louie Armstrong, who on Friday night, over station WJZ, under the sponsorship of the Fleischman Yeast Company, made show world history.”—Photo by Continental News 1937

I found this wonderful article by Billy Rowe, a well-known Black journalist of the Pittsburgh Courier (1937):

ROWE NEW YORK, April 15,—”A packed house, a wildly enthusiastic audience, an atmosphere of intense joy. A leader with a captivating personality, directing a band, which like himself, knew how to swing . . . Standing before the ears of the nation awaiting the signal to commence *the first all-colored coast to coast radio program. Yes, it was a great achievement, and a personal triumph for all connected with the presentation of Louie Armstrong and his orchestra, Gee Gee James and Eddie Green, for they were the feature players making history in the world of colored show business.”

Barrymore Theatre (1931)
Exterior
Property of Shubert Archive

Gee Gee had been in show business a few years before appearing on the radio program. She and her husband, actor Ernest Whitman, who also performed with my father, were featured in an Old Time Radio program “The Gibsons“. She was also a singer, a dancer and a Broadway star.

As a matter of fact, Gee Gee was performing on Broadway when she got the invite to the Club Plantation.  The play was No Time for Comedy at the Barrymore Theatre in 1939, and ran for 179 performances. The cast included Laurence Olivier as Gaylord Esterbrook and Katharine Cornell. Gee Gee was cast as “Clementine” and “has been received in millions of American homes via the airwaves and who is savoring success after success.”

Gee Gee James refused to be treated as less than any other human being just because she happened to be Black. In 1939. And she was successful. She helped pave the way for other Black people, other minorities, and other women to be treated with respect and dignity. I believe we must remember and uphold these trailblazers, and not let them fade out of view. Because though they are no longer here, they are still role-models and worthy of continued attention.

Well, after writing this I feel like I have just made a speech. So I will bow and say thank you, for stopping by.

Check me out on Facebook, too.

And thanx greg at dejawho

You Better Recognize!

Everyone can enjoy music. Any race or gender. It’s not normally about who is playing it. It really does not matter who is performing the music, only the notes matter. I think, however, what does matter is, who writes the notes and the lyrics. Who gets the recognition. I am happy that despite the fact that my father wrote his first song way back in 1917 his name is still listed as the writer. It’s pretty much a well known fact. And many, many people have recorded or performed Eddie’s song. Just recently a friend played it in a hotel where he works as a pianist. He was surprised how many people recognized the song, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is still being played by someone, somewhere in the world.

The song was made popular in 1919 by a White woman, Marion Harris, the first widely known White woman to sing jazz and blues. Then Sophie Tucker (the Red Hot Mama) fell in love with the song and sung it night after night in her nightclub act. Alberta Hunter took it after that. Bessie Smith, Louie Prima, and on and on. It’s been a fox trot, it’s been played with a ukulele. It was sung by Frank Sinatra in a movie joined by Shelley Winters. However, until I wrote Eddie’s biography most people were unaware that the writer of “A Good Man is Hard to Find” was a Black man.

What I have known for a long time is that there are many songs written and/or performed first by African-Americans that became widely popular through White singers who wound up getting the kudos (think Elvis and “Hound Dog”).

John Turner Layton, Jr., was an African-American songwriter, singer and pianist. Born 1894, he died in 1978. Turner Layton’s buddy, Harry Sterling Creamer, born 1879, died 1930, was also an African-American song lyricist. He co-wrote many popular songs in the years from 1900 to 1929. These men were talented, dedicated, and also patriotic as you can see by their first album. And like my father, Eddie, also appeared in vaudeville.

These two men wrote the song “After You’ve Gone” in 1918. Like Eddie’s song, Marion Harris helped make this song popular, as did Sophie Tucker. Edyie Gorme has sung the song, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra.

“Way Down Yonder in New Orleans” was also a popular song with music by John Turner Layton, lyrics by Harry  Creamer. Sung by The Andrews Sisters (1950) Freddie Cannon, Bing Crosby, Jan and Dean (1963!) among others. Yet, how many people are aware of the fact that these songs were written by African-American men? Where is their recognition?

Layton and Creamer were even commissioned to do a play. ” COBURNS PLAN MUSICAL SHOW: Mr. and Mrs. Coburn. it was learned last week, have practically completed negotiations for a new musical play which they plan to produce. The play is called “The Three Showers,” and the book, lyrics and music were written Jointly by Harry S. Creamer and Turner Layton. If George M. Cohan consents to fix up the book of “The Three Showers,” as is contemplated by the Coburns.”

About 1924 Turner Layton went to Europe. He teamed up with a Mr. Clarence “Tandy” Johnstone and enjoyed a great deal of success. Per the Pittsburgh Courier, 1927: “Turner Layton, Clarence Johnstone Are Playing To Big Crowds In London.”

Like Eddie, Turner Layton was often mentioned in the Black newspapers even as late as 1950, Pittsburgh Courier, 1950: “The Turner Laytons with daughter Alelia vacationing in usual swank style on French Riviera. Turner Layton happy at relief of gas rationing . . . Rolls Royces do less than 8 miles to the gallon. ” The man had a Rolls Royce.

We hear the songs and even recognize the people who sing them and that’s cool. But the recognition of the fact that there is much widely popular music that was written by African-Americans is absent in America. There, I’ve said it. Which is why who wrote the music matters, today. Music is universal. As is the African-American contribution.

Hey, thanks, for stopping by.

Check out my book: Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer.

 

 

 

 

The Blues Can Be Fun-And Other Swirling Thoughts

Happy September 13th! No special reason, just feeling good today. I joined a couple of Facebook Blues Groups and found a whole ‘nuther group of folks who remember my father, Eddie Green, because of some of the songs he wrote. I love the Blues. I love music, period. Music is the one thing that can help me snap out of a funk. Haha, especially funky music. I have been listening to George Clinton and James Brown lately. And the Blues. The groups I found are basically into the Blues from the 20s, 30s and 40s. Down Home Blues. Blues. Butterbeans and Susie were a comedy team from 1917 until she died 47 years later. The typical act featured a duet, a blues song by Susie (often a “double entendre`” blues song), a cakewalk dance, and a comedy sketch.  One of their more popular double entendre` songs was “I Want a Hot Dog for My Roll”, performed by Susie.

 

https://archive.org/details/78_a-married-mans-a-fool_butterbeans-eddie-green-janie-edwards-clarence-williams_gbia0039656b

Eddie did not write the hot dog song but he did collaborate with Janie Edwards to write “A Married Man’s a Fool” which was sung by Butterbeans. “A Married Man’s a Fool If He Thinks His Wife Don’t Love Nobody but Him”, was also a favorite back in 1924. I enjoy sharing these pictures with groups because I found out that there are many people who want to not just read about different subjects, they also are more than willing to share the knowledge they have gained with others. Someone sent me the photo I have here. Eddie actually wrote a play with the same title. I thought that was all there was.

The biography I have written about my father, though well researched and full of interesting stories and articles about his life, could have been twice as long. Wrapping my head around beginning a second book about my father, “Eddie Green-Back By Popular Demand”, is still in the “Should I or Shouldn’t I” stage.

One of the other ideas I have been considering was suggested to me by a few friends. They think my book would make a good teaching tool in a college or university. Because it is an example of a Black man’s rags-to-riches climb through early 1900s America. What motivated him, how he sustained himself at nine years of age after leaving home. How he interacted with others that made them want him around. That made them keep calling him back to perform on their radio shows more than any other Black person at the time in the 1930s. How he used comedy to propel him to Hollywood. I did not even consider getting my book into schools until it was suggested. But, just last week someone mentioned it to me again. This week I asked for advice. I found out about curriculum development and matching it to the grade level and state learning objectives. I copied a paragraph from a friend to help me flesh out objectives:  “The book delves into his professional life, analyzing step by step his path through times in which few black entertainers could reach the kind of success he had. There’s also as much as possible about his personal life to give a sense of who and where he was while climbing the ladder to Fame”. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. But, by golly, I am Eddie Green’s daughter! And my mother’s daughter! Talk about inspiration. She lived ’till she was 87 and had been told she was going to die at age 36. She bought her first computer at age 80 when she came out of her first Hospice as a breast cancer survivor. Tenacity, Determination. An optimistic outlook. Or in my mother’s case, stubbornness.

My thoughts are swirling today. The anniversary of my mom’s death is coming up. She started out on this book writing journey with me but she did not see the published book, nor did she get to see even half of what I unearthed about Eddie’s life. Mom was 30 years his junior and was only married to him five years. During the time he was most famous. Of course, she had the real thing. Good thing Eddie didn’t believe that “A married man’s a fool” stuff. Mom was his 4th wife!

Hey, thank you, for continuing to stop by.

 

 

 

 

We Were THERE

My question is “didn’t Black people ever watch old time radio?” I have begun to realize the magnitude of commercialism and how it played into Blacks being ignored in this world in the early 1900s. While researching African-Americans and their relationship to Old Time Radio I did a Google search for “Old Time Radios”. The search engine game me dozens of images of families sitting around the radio listening to a program. Some actually were looking at the radio as if it was a television. However, none of these families were Black. I am trying to wrap my head around the idea that despite all the African-Americans in America at the time, there was little representation in the radio industry. According to J. Fred MacDonald “the industry in its so-called Golden Age offered only limited opportunities for black men and women to develop.” Even though there was a huge need for personnel.

Of course, there were Blacks working in radio as janitors, or electrical assistants and even an announcer or two. They had to come in the “other” door, though. And there were Blacks performing on the radio, such as my father, Eddie Green, who became Rudy Vallee’s protege’ or Eddie “Rochester” Anderson from the Jack Benny program. My father was evidently so funny that Rudy Vallee would feature Eddie over and over. Then there were shows that were hugely popular with everybody (maybe not the NAACP), such as, Amos n Andy. People everywhere literally stopped what they were doing to listen to this program. Eddie was the lawyer, Stonewall in this program. There must have been some Blacks sitting in front of their radios, or if they did not have one a person could stand in front of their local storefront and listen to the broadcasts. Yes, I am beginning to really see how segregation kept Black people “out of the picture”, except in some rare instances. I mean we were THERE.

Today, If you look up Old Time Radio (OTR), not the Beyonce’ concert, you will get a lot of information about all the White radio suspense, cowboy, comedy and horror shows.

Old Time Radio shows produced by Blacks got a toehold in maybe the late 30s. The one I have researched so far, though got its start on June 27, 1948. Mr. Richard Durham began a radio program titled “Destination Freedom”. Now….. if you look up OTR shows online you will get a lot of sites that post lists of shows and you will get sites that let you listen to lots of shows. Until two days ago I hadn’t found one site that had a list of a Black OTR program.

Two days ago I found one that has a list and lets you download shows of Mr. Durham’s Destination Freedom.  Old Time Radio Downloads. They have won my heart. They actually have clippings of each episode of “Destination Freedom” for my listening pleasure. I love them. Maybe some day this show will appear in the internet search engines under OTR, Old Time Radio, that is.

https://www.oldtimeradiodownloads.com/historical/destination-freedom/the-making-of-a-man-1948-07-25

Hey, thanks, for stopping by.

WHAT THE? Communication-Then and Now

 

 

In the 1940s when my father, Eddie Green, was looking for women to dance as chorus girls or to star in one of his movies, he would put on beauty contests. Beauty contests were not exactly new in 1940,  but they were definitely segregated. Which means that these contests only got media attention from the White owned newspapers. If you were to google “beauty contests” from the 1940s, you could find many images of the White ones, but none of the Black ones. This particular contest was for Miss Sepia America. Anyhwho, this is not a post about segregation. Or beautiful girls as it says in the first article from 1940. “Eddie Green Bringing Six Beautiful Girls to Affair At Claver (The St. Peter R. C. Claver Church, located in the Burrough of Brooklyn was hosting their annual post-season Basketball Game and Matinee Dance.)  This is a post about communication, then and now.

 

 

 

As it is next to impossible to read this article from 1941, I will type it out. From the Courier-Post (Camden, New Jersey) – 09 Oct 1941: “Each and every fine cat in Harlem is figgering on draping out in their most much of hard-hitting togs, donning their up-to-date sky pieces and collaring a broom down the midway to Harlem’s Renaissance Casino on the early black of Oct. 9. To dig the most mad lay-out of fine and mellow chicks Eddie Green’s gonna drop on them. Now Eddie is a square (and actually needs some prayer) when it comes to beating up his chops on a bid like this to you. So trilly up Harlem way and dig in on something to gumbeat about . . .Now if that spiel is too panicky for you to latch on, and you’re a Lane from Spokane, or a Home from Rome, may I simply say the date is the early black of Oct 9th. So be on hand to gim those gams…..Dig?”

The funny part here is that it says my father was a square which is probably why I think of myself as being square. But I had a difficult time trying to understand just what this article was talking about!

I do know what “fine cat” means (I’m not THAT square) and I know togs are clothes. And back in the 1940s men were always sharp (meaning they always made sure they looked good). If you were going to the Renaissance Casino you definitely had to look good because the Renaissance Casino, provided the backdrop for the area’s most elegant dances and exciting sporting and political events. In the 1940s it was also one of the few places Black people could go to have a good time. And of course I know the article must mean Eddie was bringing some of his beauty contestants for the fellows to ogle.

After I read that article from the Courier I just had to look up some other terms people have used over the years since the forties. I didn’t really use much slang until the 60s when everything was groovy. I particularly liked “Be there or be square”. Oh, and “book it” (meaning to leave from where you were. “Chick” is a word I still use today. My step-dad could always use some extra “bread”.

Then “book it” became “split”. If you were smoking some grass you had to watch out for the “fuzz”, can you dig it? Women were “foxy” and “phat”, word? Pretty soon everything was “totally tubular”, dude. And then along came Run DMC and I was “illin”. As far as slang goes I think I kind of petered out about this time, though I still hang on to “cool”. So before I bounce I will share with you what I think about slang today. WTF does cray-cray mean anyhow?  Being a square, of course I thought LOL meant “Lots of Love”. (LMAO) It took me an hour to figure out what my daughter meant when she sent me this one night while texting: gn. (Oh! good night) She ended one of her texts with ty-I thought “why would she end her text with my nephews name-then I found out it meant thank you (ty, get it?) ROFL. Sometimes it’s hard AF to figure out what people are talking about. But it’s all good.

KCB

(Keep Coming Back)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love is Inclusive

View of the crowds outside the Lafayette Theater, in Harlem, gathered for a performance by Johnny Hudgins and the Cotton Club Band, New York, 1920s. (Photo by E. Elcha Collection/Anthony Barboza/Getty Images)

Hi there. When I started this blog at the end of 2014 it was to provide a platform for myself as an author. I was writing my first book. A book about my father, Eddie Green. I have since written the book, had it published and even won an award. As Eddie died when I was 3 years old, researching the book allowed me to become acquainted with him and his life in entertainment. What I have learned is that the writing of the book did not mean that I had all of Eddie’s story.

Once people read the book they started sending me new information about Eddie. At library presentations people came up and told me stories about Eddie. I’ve been introduced to people in the magic entertainment venue because Eddie started out as a magician, and I’ve learned more new stuff. So, I started researching again. In the book I mentioned that Eddie wrote and staged a play titled Playing The Numbers. Just a couple of lines because that was all the information I had. Two weeks ago while reading an old 1920s magazine article I discovered how Eddie was presented with this opportunity.

According to the article, Frank Schiffman, general manager at the time, of the Lafayette Theater, New York, decided to remodel. On June 4, 1925 the theater hardly knew itself when the doors were thrown open for the opening. A new carpet was laid In the lobby. The entire front was scoured, revealing forgotten beauties In the exterior. A new electric lobby display was installed, new flooring was laid on the stage and the Interior repainted. A brand new pipe organ was also installed.

It was decided that Inasmuch as the management was so closely associated with the Apollo Theater which had been so successfully  operating for the past year, it was rather natural that a similar policy, somewhat modified, should be given a trial. Therefore Eddie Green who had been an Important comedian in the Apollo cast was commissioned to organize a miniature stock company that each week will present a IS-minute performance that will consist of mutual numbers and burlesque comedy bits. The bits, however, would be revised by Eddie to conform to the special requirements of the neighborhood. the Lafayette Theater reopened Thursday, June 4, with a program of continuous motion pictures and vaudeville.*

LAFAYETTF THEATRE
7th Ave. At 132nd-St.
Thur. Fri. Sat. Sun. JUNE 4-5-6,7
WM. de MILLE’S (Cecil’s brother, btw) MEN and WOMEN Produced by Paramount AND A Big Vaudeville Bill Including PLAYING THE NUMBERS Written and Staged by EDDIE GREEN With Henrietta Lovelace, Grace Smith, Eugene Pugh, Lorenzo McLane and a Chorus of CREOLE VAMPS Matinees 15c & 25c Eves. 25c, 35cf 50c
Midnight Show Every Friday Performances continuous I p.m. to 12 midnight
THE MOST ELEGANT THEATRE IN HARLEM CATERING TO THE BEST COLORED PATRONAGE

So now I know a bit more of the particulars. Frank Schiffman was also the man who fell in love with Eddie’s first movie Dress Rehearsal and made a deal to debut the movie at the Apollo Theater in April of 1939.

I have also learned a bit more about the star of the vaudeville bit, Henrietta Lovelace (sometimes spelled Loveless). I have really had to dig to get information on this lady. Unfortunately, pulling up Black entertainers names from the early 1900s from the internet is not as easy as 1, 2, 3. However, I did find this in the New York Age:

“HENRIETTA LOVELESS Of Washington, D. C, who went to New York with Irvin Miller’s Blue Moon early this season, is now on tour with Chappelle and Stinette’s Kentucky Sue. They played the Grand Theater in Chicago last week. Miss Loveless graduated from Fisk University in 1921 and studied music and voice culture under Mrs. J. A. Robinson, an Oberlin graduate. She is the wife of Lorenzo McLane, noted comedian, of Montgomery, Ala.”

Then there is this: 1924 Elmore Theater “In McLane and Loveless you will see the greatest musical comedy team that has been played in Dixie. Their comedy is clean and of the highest grade; their songs are snappy and the latest numbers. To hear Henrietta Loveless sing “Mammy Loves Her Child,” will knock one cold”, says J. A. Jackson in the Billboard; and this one: Jack’s Cabaret, on Congress St., officially opened for the summer Saturday night, beginning its 20th year as a local entertainment place. Miss Henrietta Loveless, who sings in the Sophie Tucker style, leads this year’s floor show.

Henrietta Loveless was born on August 26, 1903 in Polk County, Georgia, USA. She was an actress, known for Murder in Harlem (1935) and The Spider’s Web (1927), an Oscar Micheaux film. She died in 1934. Just before she passed away she was the star of the newest Broadway hit Swing Out The News. It was said that “the vehicle gives vent to all that it’s name implies—satire and burlesque on all present day affairs, especially The New Deal Administration. It’s swift gay, exhilarating. crisp and modern in every way. Rex Ingram, and Henrietta Loveless, playing the father and mother of Franklin D. Roosevelt Tones, the Harlem new-born son, on relief under the F. D. R. New Deal Program really steal the show.”

The play itself was supposed to celebrate the fact that there was a change a’comin for the poor and destitute of the country. And the New Deal programs did indeed put millions of Americans immediately back to work or at least helped them to survive, but thousands of blacks were thrown out of work and replaced by whites on jobs where they were paid less than the NRA’s wage minimums because some white employers considered the NRA’s minimum wage “too much money for Negroes”. However, since Blacks felt the sting of the depression’s wrath even more severely than Whites they welcomed any help. (Wikipedia) So I am going to continue to “lift” Black entertainers who persevered but seem to have been erased from history.

My father worked his butt off in order to bring himself out of the poverty into which he was born. He was talented and “a regular guy”. He got along with people. Even though he lived in one of the most dangerous periods of American history for a Black person.

And, of course, I am going to mention the White people who have been instrumental in helping their Black fellows progress. My father was a ham operator and he spoke to people all over the world. I love that!!!

Thanx, for stopping by!!

*Radio Daily, 1925

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Propelling Pioneers and Trailblazers

eddiegreenblogbannerI’m mortified. I have not posted for almost two weeks. Periodically, my depression gets the better of me, plus it’s been as high as 117 degrees where I live, so, I have isolated. When up I have focused on gaining followers to my other social media sites. This month it has been two years since the biography I wrote about my father, Eddie Green, was published. Approximately one year since I won the Foreword INDIES 2016 Bronze Book Award for the book. I set up this blog in 2014 for the specific purpose of chronicling my book writing journey and to have a “platform” as those in the know suggested.

Lafayette-Theatre-Macbeth-1936-2I began the research for the book in the late 1990s. It has all been worth it. And then some. Since the book was published I have begun getting all sorts of new information about Eddie. People have sent me never before seen pictures of Eddie. They have sent me new newspaper articles. I have heard new stories from old timers who showed up at my library presentations. I have met thee nicest, helpful, caring people. Gaining new information and meeting new people has spurred me on to further research about Eddie. The information I have found is adding up to me being able to possibly write another book. For instance, in regard to a play titled Playing The Numbers to be shown at the Lafayette Theater in New York, 1925: “Therefore Eddie Green who had been an Important comedian in the Apollo cast was commissioned to organize a miniature stock company that each week will present a 45 minute performance that will consist of musical numbers and burlesque comedy bits. The bits, however, will be revised by Eddie to conform to the special requirements of the neighborhood.” I knew Eddie had been a part of the play but now I’ve learned how big of a part he really played.

brendaleeIn order to not share too much of the new stuff here and also to phase out of sharing stories from the first book, I will be posting additional information on little known and sometimes well-known pioneers of the entertainment industry and/or pioneers of civic issues. Earlier this morning on a news site I saw “Today in History”. Out of 24 items listed, only 2 were about Black people. One item was: 1960 Fifteen-year-old Brenda Lee earns a #1 hit with “I’m Sorry”. As you can see she actually also recorded my father’s song! The SECOND item about a Black person was: 1995 Barack Obama’s “Dreams from My Father” is published. Yay!!

Lemuel_HaynesI am adding one more which kind of goes with today’s climate: Lemuel Haynes, first Black to serve as minister to a White congregation, born July 18 1753 to a White mother and an African-American father. At the age of five months, Lemuel Haynes was given over to indentured servitude. He was freed in 1774 when his indenture expired. Haynes was ordained in 1785 and settled at Hemlock Congregational Church in Torrington, Connecticut. He was the first African American ordained in the United States. On March 28, 1788, Haynes left his pastorate at Torrington to accept a call at the West Parish Church of Rutland, Vermont (now West Rutland’s United Church of Christ), where he served the mostly white congregation for 30 years. Fun Fact: Haynes himself was known to say that “he lived with the people of Rutland thirty years, and they were so sagacious that at the end of that time they found out that he was a (insert N-word here), and so turned on him”. (https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part2/2p29.html). Looking at this gentleman’s picture I can see how he could have been considered White. And, it seems as if he may have been trying to pass if it took 30 years for the congregation to realize he was a Black man.

Anyhow, the one thing I truly like about writing this blog is doing the research. Sharing it with others is my way of Cheering For Trailblazers. Thanks for joining me on this journey.

And thanks, for stopping by.

The Legendary, and Famous, Eddie Green

Well, it’s been two years since I published the biography on my father, Eddie Green. During the research period I searched and searched for a physical copy of this movie “What Goes Up“. Eddie wrote it, produced it, directed it and starred in it. The movie was made in Palisades, New Jersey in 1941. I am hoping to find it because, of course, it’s my father’s second movie and also because there is a member of the cast of this movie who has just celebrated her 101 years old birthday and she would love to see the movie one more time. She saw it when it first premiered in 1941 at the Apollo Theater in New York, of course, she and her mother. But not since then.

Last week I FINALLY found mention of the movie being shown at a theater in New York:

PLAZA
WILLIAM AT MONROE – Valerie Hobson THE SEA” Russell Hayden “RIDERS OF THE NORTHLAND” Serial, “OVERLAND MAIL”. Chapter 2
Also Eddie Green, Famous Colored Radio Star, in Featurette, “What Goes UpBuffalo NY Courier Express 1941

The Plaza was located near William and Monroe streets. 42 East 58th St. I believe this is in New York as the ad was in a New York newspaper. The ad itself is located way down in the bottom right hand corner of the newspaper. If you were not looking for it specifically, you probably would have missed it. Of course, sixty years later there is now a restaurant at that location. Still just the fact that I found mention of my father’s second movie being shown to an audience is FANTASTIC. And did you notice? The ad says he was “Famous”.

The fact that I have met so many people who are willing to take time out of their lives to participate in finding information about Eddie and getting that info to me is a great impetus for me to continue researching my father’s life. I was actually looking for news about the fact that Eddie was a magician before he became a comedian and a songwriter and a Old Time Radio star and a movie star. I may have to write a whole ‘nother book!!!

Thanks so much, for stopping by.

Book: Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer

 

Kristina and Bessie – Perfection

Welcome. June is Black Music Month. In 2017 I wrote an article for an online magazine Unlikely Stories Mark V BlackArtMatters – this post uses a portion of that article.

My father, Eddie Green, wrote many songs in the early 1900s. His 1921 writings included “You Can Read My Letters, But You Sure Can’t Read My Mind,” “You’ve Got What I Like,” and “The World’s All Wrong.” Miss Sophie Tucker, known as “The Red-Hot Mama”, became interested in Eddie’s songs and commissioned special band arrangements for “The World’s All Wrong,” and “You Can Read My Letters, But You Sure Can’t Read My Mind,” she also had Eddie write a special version of “You’ve Got What I Like” for one of her performances.

Eddie collaborated with Cuney Conner, a music writer and musical director who wrote the music for “The World’s All Wrong.” The song is about a man who has been searching for his sweetheart and finds her at her dress rehearsal where she appears as a chorus girl. He tries to talk her into coming back to him but she wants nothing to do with him, until he happens to tell her that he has come into an inheritance. The upshot of the song is that it is not the world that is wrong but the people in it.

The words to the “The World’s All Wrong” can be found in the Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills, California. The Margaret Herrick Library houses a world-renowned, non-circulating reference and research collection devoted to the history and development of the motion picture as an art form and an industry. This song is included in the library’s archives because Eddie used it in one of his movies, Dress Rehearsal (1939).

Eddie’s very first song was, however, destined to become a hit, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” written in 1917, is still being recorded one hundred years later. “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” was copyrighted by Eddie on December 28, 1917. His song writing style was relevant to the times in which he was living and in 1917 the blues was becoming a major part of the music scene. “A Good Man is Hard to Find” was written in a bluesy style, probably so that it would better relate to the general public. Not being psychic, Eddie could not possibly have known to what heights this song would reach. He had written one of the Jazz standards of the Roaring 20s.

Eddie sold his song in 1918 to Pace & Handy. W. C. Handy, musician, met Harry H. Pace at the Solvent Savings Bank in Memphis. Pace was the valedictorian of his graduating class at Atlanta University and a student of W. E. B. Du Bois. By the time of their meeting, Pace had already demonstrated a strong understanding of business. He earned his reputation by recreating failing businesses. Handy liked him, and Pace later became the manager of Pace & Handy Sheet Music. His published musical works were groundbreaking because of his ethnicity, and he was among the first blacks to achieve economic success from publishing. By January 1919, Pace & Handy were advertising to supply performers with knock-out material, in the way of current songs, one of which was the 1,000,000 copy hit, sure-fire applause getter “A Good Man is Hard to Find.”

In 2017 at my book signing, my niece gave Eddie and I the great honor of singing “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” in the style of Bessie Smith. Unfortunately, I have not been able to figure out how to get Kristina’s version on this blog, but here is Bessie’s. Stay tuned for Kristina’s version and thanks, for stopping by.