Laughter, Love and Respect

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In 1936 my father had been in show business for nineteen years. He was forty-five years old. He had done so well that one newspaper wrote: 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.

By 1937 Eddie was appearing on a radio program with Louis Armstrong which was announced in a local New York newspaper: Standard Brands Inc. (Fleischmann Yeast) through J . Walter Thompson Co. yesterday announced the full talent line-up of its all-negro show which will make its debut over 30 NBC-Blue network stations, April 9 at 9-9: 30 p.m. Eddie Green and Gee Gee James, a comedy team, with Louis Armstrong and his orchestra will be the regular talent.

In 1938 the papers reported: Eddie Green, well known Black comedian of the stage and screen, with a long line of appearances to his credit, jumped into screen favor last week when he was given a screen test for the role of ‘Pork’ in the 20th Century Fox production of Gone With The Wind.

In the 1939-1940 Eddie was making, writing, directing, producing and starring in his own movies. (Back then they were called ‘race’ movies, meaning everyone associated with the movie was Black, at least that is what it meant to Eddie.) The Eddie’s Laugh Jamboree poster was from 1947, but the movies were made earlier.

During the time Eddie came to Hollywood for the screen test he met my mom, Norma. In my last post I showcased Norma, as in Norma Amato Green Beasley Washington. Amato was her maiden name and Green was her first married name. For those who have just found my blog and for all of the newcomers in the Green Beasley Washington families I will just share a bit about Eddie and Norma’s marriage, back in the day. They met at Clifton’s Cafeteria in Los Angeles when mom was about seventeen. They were married in 1945. Mom was twenty-two, Eddie was fifty-four. One article in the paper read:

Eddie Green Takes Bride – LOS ANGELES – Coming as a pleasant surprise to even his closest friends, Eddie Green, former New Yorker and one of the Nation’s top-flight comedians, and a member of “Duffy’s Tavern” radio show eloped with attractive Norma Amato, concert vocalist, last Wednesday.  The couple were married at Yuma, Arizona, where they spent a brief honeymoon before motoring back to Los Angeles.

They were married a little short of five years because Eddie died in September of 1950. Mom married two more times. The book I have written will introduce Eddie to all the members of all the branches of my family who have been born since 1950. My hope is that they can find Eddie’s life story of success relevant today, because as a Black man coming up in the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s Eddie’s life is a good example of personal achievement that I hope resonates with anyone, no matter what color,  who thinks because of this or that obstacle they will never be able to fulfill their dream.

One piece of knowledge that Eddie found in regard to dealing with one’s colleagues and achieving success was, “you get respect if you know your business.”

Thank you so much, for stopping by.

 

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