EXPANDING MY MIND

350px-Tam_o'_Shanter_and_Souter_Johnny_at_Kirkton_Jean's

Tam and his Cronies drinking at Kirkton Jean’s-Courtesy Wikipedia

Hey there, welcome back.  Researching my father, Eddie Green, is proving to be so much fun and is also teaching me to broaden my mind-set.  Today, while trying to arrange my hard copy documents in a way that would allow me to make sure what I write is correct, I came across an article written in 1927 or 1928,  which introduces Eddie as the star in a play titled “Tam O’Shanter” at the Alhambra Theater.  (I have pictures of Eddie on some of my other posts, I just haven’t figured out how to incorporate them into current posts, in case you are new to my blog and wonder what Eddie looks like, and I think one shows up on my landing page at the bottom.)

By GERALDINE DISMOND , Eddie Green, who is famous for his ‘A Good Man is Hard To Find” and “Don’t Let No One Man Worry Your Mind” will appear all next week at the Alhambra,. playing the lead in “Tam O’ Shantcr,’ love story set to music – . ‘ “: .’. – ‘ ‘. – Mr. Green has been in the show business practically all his life. He was born in Baltimore and began his career as the “Boy Magician” playing small towns and ‘packing the “”entertainment halls….   He worked in burlesque four years for Columbia and has the distinction of having produced and managed for a year. ‘.’All in Fun, for Barney Gerard. Then followed a year with the Schuberts, and three ‘ years at the Apollo. He comes  to star in Tam O” Shanter. This week at the Alhambra.

This is exactly the type of article I need to help me stay organized.  My problem was, however, that every time I looked at this article, I wondered what he, Eddie, a black man, was doing in a play in 1927 with an Irish theme. The play, directed by R. E. Jefrey is about a man who recites a poem in a village inn.  The poem, I finally noticed, was written by the Scottish poet, Robert Burns, and it was titled “Tam o’Shanter”.  I realized that, of course, I had heard of Robert Burns but not the poem, so I looked it up.  The poem is about a man named Tam who spends a lot of time getting drunk with his friends, neglecting his wife.  It begins like this:

“When chapman billies leave the street, And drouthy neibors, neibors, meet; as market days are wearing late, and folk begin to tak the gate, while we sit bousing at the nappy, an’ getting fou and unco happy, we think na on the lang Scots miles, the mosses, waters, slaps and stiles, that lie between us and our hame, where sits our sulky, sullen dame, gathering her brows like gathering storm, nursing her wrath to keep it warm.”  

The actor sits in a chair and recites this play, which takes about 90 minutes.  It is one of Mr. Burns longer plays.  There are different versions if you care to look them up, or maybe unlike me, you have already done so.

I have just made the discovery that this is an extremely well known poem.  There has been an overture named after this poem.  There has been a hat named after this poem.  More recently, there has been an adaptation of this poem by a British heavy metal band.  Readers of history, painters and builders have made use of this poem.  The poem even mentions Cutty Sark, though not in the way I know Cutty Sark.  (It means “short shirt”, not hard liquor).  My point is, I have had a sort of narrow-mindedness due to a lack of knowledge in certain areas.

My father was a well read man.  As a former Burlesque comedian, Eddie probably used satire in his sketches.  At the time, satire was used to ridicule dignified works.  That the audience had a high degree of literacy was taken for granted, therefore the actor had to know his business.   Eddie read, he studied.  He prepared himself.  He did the work.   He was an Actor, period.  He acted in plays, period.  My vision of life and my mind is expanding, thanks to my father.

It has to be very freeing to simply decide what you want to do and proceed to do it.  Sounds simple.  I tended to proceed out of necessity most of my life.  The need and desire for additional life knowledge is providing me the impetus to continue going forward with this project.  It is absolutely stimulating.  Thanks for stopping by.   Do come back.

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