IT JUST KEEPS ON GETTING BETTER

 You’ve Screamed at Him on Duffy’s Tavern In Person – EDDIE GREEN!

duffyscastonstage

This headline was from an article in 1945.  Eddie was scheduled to appear at the Orpheum Theater, in Los Angeles, on May 1st, along with The King Cole Trio, and, Johnny Otis and his Orchestra.

In case you are new to my blog, Eddie, my father, is the Black gentleman with the big smile on his face, in the above photo.  Kinda like my smile.  The gentleman in the hat, is Mr. Ed Gardner, creator of Duffy’s Tavern, the gentleman next to him is Charles Cantor and the lady is Florence Halop.

In the seven years prior to 1945, Eddie had owned two barbeque restaurants in New York (specializing in southern bar-bee-Q), he had made four of his own movies, and, he was on The Executive Board of the Negro Actors Guild of America, Noble Sissle, President, along with Mrs. Noble Sissle, and W. C. Handy.

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Ben Bernie, 1938 Google Advanced Image Search

Eddie had also appeared on  the Ben Bernie Music Quiz radio program.  Ben Bernie was a jazz violinist, and a bandleader as well as a radio personality, who was born in 1891 (like Eddie.)  He originated the term “yowsa, yowsah, yowsah,” that became a national catchphrase, and which was used in the movie, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

York_they_shoot

I thought They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, was very “deep” when I saw it, a movie about  a depression era dance marathon, with contestants desperate to win. I mean, these people stayed on their poor feet a long time.   Now, I am writing a book, years later,  about my father appearing on a radio program starring a man associated with this movie.  It just blows me away.  Small world.

Eddie had appeared on many radio programs, including a radio special titled, “All God’s Children,” with Paul Robeson. Eddie was even a guest on The Jell-O Program, starring Jack Benny.  In the following episode titled “Columbus Day,” (cause it was), Jack is talking on the phone to Rochester who needs $50 dollars to pay off some debts and he sends his friend, Columbus Smith (played by Eddie), to pick up the money from Jack.

jackbenny
Jack Benny Google Advanced Image Search
Knock, knock, knock.
BENNY:  Come in.
COLUMBUS:  Excuse me for intruding, Mr. Benny, but I got a note for you.
BENNY:  I’m sorry, I’m busy right now, come back later.
COLUMBUS:  I would advise you to take a quick gander at this communique.
BENNY: All right, what’s the note, what does it say?
COLUMBUS:  I’m only a carrier pigeon, we ain’t much on reading.
BENNY:  Oh, ok, let’s have it.
MARY LIVINGSTONE:  Who’s it from, Jack
BENNY:  It’s from, Rochester.  Listen to this, dear boss, please give bearer, Mr. Columbus Smith – Columbus?
COLUMBUS:  Yea, that’s me.
BENNY:  Oh.
MARY (to Columbus):  Happy Anniversary.
Loud laughter from the audience.

Eddie would find his greatest fame, however, through the popular radio show, Duffy’s Tavern. 

The show aired March 1, 1941. Once a week, Duffy’s Tavern entertained America’s citizen with the antics of Archie, the bartender, played by Ed Gardner, the creator of the show,  Eddie, the waiter played by my father Eddie Green, and the tavern regulars, Finnegan, played by Charles Cantor, and Miss Duffy, (the tavern owner’s daughter), played by Shirley Booth. Duffy of Duffy’s Tavern was never seen or heard, but the show would start off with Archie having a telephone conversation with his “boss”, Duffy.  The phone would ring, and Archie would answer:  “Hello, Duffy’s Tavern, where the elite meet to eat, Duffy ain’t here, Archie speaking, oh, hello, Duffy.”  Usually, the show featured a different celebrity guest each week.
Archie, the bartender, tended to misuse the English language and Eddie would usually call subtle attention to this fact:
Chapeau
Chapeau
EDDIE:  Mr. Archie, what happened to the sign?
ARCHIE:  What sign, Eddie.
EDDIE:  The “watch your hats and coats” sign.
ARCHIE:  There it is, only I rephrased the words so Clifton Fadiman would feel more at home here.  Read it.
EDDIE:  Maintain scrutiny of thy chapeaus and hats, umm, nice and confusing, ain’t it?
ARCHIE:  Yes, isn’t it?  It’s a quotation from Shakespeare.  Did you ever see any of Shakespeare’s
plays, Eddie?
EDDIE:  One, As You Like It.
ARCHIE:  Well?
EDDIE:  I didn’t like it.
Eddie would appear in every episode until his death in 1950, as well as appearing in the same role in the 1945 movie.
After Eddie got the role in Duffy’s Tavern, he was able to fulfill another dream of his, The Pittsburgh Courier reported “Eddie Green, comedian of radio and stage fame has opened a dramatic training school with services and classes for both amateurs and professionals.  The School is called Sepia Artists.”
Thank you for coming today.  I hope these stories of my father and his ambitions inspire you to go after your dreams, no matter how unattainable they may seem.
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2 thoughts on “IT JUST KEEPS ON GETTING BETTER

  1. Duffy’s Tavern is where I first came across your dad. He was very funny on that show. I love the show, but honestly after your dad wasn’t on it any more I feel it just wasn’t that good. Great blog post! Hope people will search out the radio show and give it a listen. A Google search will point you there.

    Liked by 1 person

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