And Then There’s Maude!

Anything but tranquilizing, Right On, Maude! Hi there, well folks, I have begun writing my third book. I am awe struck that I have come this far as I only wanted to write one little book. I knew I could write one book. Today I am finishing my second book on The Jeffersons and I have started researching a third. I imagine that some of you beautiful people out there remember the 1970s tv sitcom, Maude. Maybe you watched it back then or you have seen reruns. I watched it, I liked Bea Arthur as Maude and Bill Macy as her husband, Walter. The reality of my life in the 70s though was that I was “doing my thing”. Remember “It’s Your Thing, Do What You Wanna Do”? Well I was partying hardy so even though I watched tv I barely remember most of the Maude episodes so I will be watching a lot of videos and I get to interview people who worked with the show.  I do remember the theme song which, I just found out about a month ago, was recorded by the famous Donnie Hathaway!

I know this is too interesting, but I just want to go back a bit to the beginning of my book writing online journey. I think it is amazing and right that the biography that I wrote about my father has a continuous connection to my second and third books. As if I am supposed to be writing these books. I started out by writing about my father who found his fame appearing as Eddie the waiter on the Duffy’s Tavern Radio Program from 1941-1950. They began taping in New York, moved to L. A. and then to Puerto Rico during these years. Duffy’s Tavern was a comedy and each episode (almost every one of them) a different guest appeared and became a part of the shenanigans. Way too many to list here, but a few were Bing Crosby, Dinah Shore, Billie Burke, Adolph Monjou, Charles Coburn, Boris Karloff, Larry Storch, Peggy Lee, Mickey Rooney, Ed Wynn and on and on. Ed Gardner, Jr. was the Bartender and Charles Cantor was the resident oddball guy who hung out at Duffy’s, by the name of Finnegan.

In 1945 Duffy’s Tavern with made into a movie by Paramount. In the movie they used almost every star on the Paramount lot, plus Ed, Eddie and Charlie. Bing Crosby was in this movie as you can see from this poster. Eddie’s picture is no where on this poster. Maybe he wasn’t famous enough yet. But after being in the entertainment business since about 1901 he was gettin’ there. Anywho, since I have written the book I have received pictures from fans of Eddie. Pictures that are treasures of theirs and now of mine.

 

Sometime in the early 40s this picture was taken. This is an old copy from the internet. I now have an original in hand. This is typed on the back of the picture: Produced by the Armed Forces Radio Service. Program: Jubilee. Bing Crosby and Eddie Green  “All Armed Forces Radio Service programs are stamped on flexible plastic transcription discs. In addition the the land-based broadcasting outlets ships of the United States Navy and Coast Guard in all oceans will receive the transcription of this show, which is not heard in the United States except in Army and Navy hospitals serving returned casualties.” Need I say more?

Going on to my second book. While writing The Jeffersons I discovered that a friend of Eddie’s, Lillian Randolph, had appeared in a Jeffersons episode as Mother Jefferson’s sister. Lillian and Eddie had appeared together on The Great Gildersleeves Radio Program and also on the Amos n Andy Radio Program. Lillian’s real life sister was Amanda Randolph who had stared in Eddie’s third movie Comes Midnight. Lillian is the woman who donated her dee-vorce money in It’s a Wonderful Life.

Back to Maude. I started researching my third book about the Maude tv sitcom about a month ago. I have had the great benefit of being able to call on writers who wrote for Maude and who also wrote  for The Jeffersons. (Mr. Moriarty was one writer who wrote 68 episodes according to Fandom). I’ve posted about this before but Mr. Bob Schiller and Mr. Bob Weiskopf not only wrote for Maude, they also wrote for All In The Family of which The Jeffersons was a spin-off and they wrote for Duffy’s Tavern Radio Show where it is quite possible they knew my father. It is all connected.

I was watching one of the Maude episodes, “The Kiss” when I realized Maude and Walter were so loud! I had found a newspaper article where the complaint about The Jeffersons in 1975 was that they were too loud. Well, this must have been a Norman Lear thing (I read that somewhere) because the characters in Maude talked really loud also. In “The Kiss” Walter tried to BS Maude about why she found him kissing the next door neighbor, Maude’s best friend. I wonder what I get to say about these episodes in my book? You’ll notice I said BS.

There is no set in stone title at this point. I’m wavering. Maybe God’ll get you for that, Walter or Right On Maude! (the 70s babee). I’ve got a year to figure it out. I love what I am doing. I love writing and research. I can get totally involved in it. My experience in this writing journey has far exceeded my imaginings.

I got an itch to do something and I did it and it has blossomed. I suggest to anyone else if you have something you think you can do or you have something you want to say, do it, put it down on paper, the sky’s is the limit but you gotta start the flight. And help will find you along the way.

Hey, thanks, for stopping by 🙂

But Was it Funny?

eddies laugh jamboree - green goodHello out there! What a lucky girl am I. I have started researching a third book. Just writing those words down makes me have to stop and ponder. I’ve never considered writing 3 books. Just the one-about my father- a rags-to-riches biography about the legendary Eddie Green, Old Time Radio icon (Duffy’s Tavern once a week radio show and others), composer, filmmaker, singer, dancer magician, TV star. A Black American who made it big despite the travails of Blacks in the early 1900s.

I never thought I would write a second book about a 70s TV sitcom, The Jeffersons, which I am working on finishing as I begin work on my new book about another 70s TV sitcom, Maude. Remarkable.

The first choice was mine, the next 2 were my publisher’s idea. Imagine that. And, it’s been a blast. I love research. I love reading. I started reading when I was four years old. My father left me a set of classics and a set of encyclopedias. I love words. Also, I have met the nicest people, period.

What these books have in common is that they are about Comedians and comedy. My father was into producing, he owned a string of restaurants, he wrote music, but he was first and foremost a comedian, he made his fame as Eddie the waiter, on the Duffy’s Tavern radio program in the 40s. The TV programs, The Jeffersons and Maude were comedic, while managing to focus on social controversial issues, such as abortion, politics and racism. But they made people laugh.

I was struck by a thought one day (probably because of the civil unrest these days) that most of the writers on each of these shows were White. Even on the almost all Black show The Jeffersons. One of the White writers on the Jeffersons was once asked by a Black person how he, a White man, could write for Black people. Basically his answer was a question: Did you laugh?

duffyscastonstageDuffy’s Tavern was on the air for ten years. It was funny. Especially Eddie the waiter’s lines. Apart from a very few, the weekly guests were White. The cast was White. The announcer was White. Eddie was the only Black cast member on that show. And he was hilarious.

The Jeffersons had very few Black writers. But the show was funny. It ran from 1975-1985.

I thought Maude was funny. Most of the writers were White. And I’m Black.

I think it sucks that Black writers, good Black writers, have to work at getting into script writing. Or that when they do get in, the public does not hear about it. I’ve spoken with a Black writer that wrote for a White TV show (had one Black cast member that I can think of) and that TV show made a mint for everybody thanks to that Black writer. Because people thought it was funny.

Maybe its just about being funny.

7109066004r (2)My father made a movie titled Mr. Adam’s Bomb (1949).  His idea was to show the world how regular every day Black people reacted to the use of the Atom Bomb. It was a horrible episode in our country. Eddie, as an ex vaudevillian and as a comedian chose to include humor and singing and dancing as in this movie as he had in his first four movies.

From the reviews I have read over the past ten years, some Black people don’t get it. They don’t get the dancing. The audience singing. And of course the comedy is way old time. But it was the only way Eddie knew to express himself as an entertainer. A Black comedic filmmaker, who liked using chorus girls in his movies, taking on the aftermath of the Atom Bomb through his people for his people and by his people.  But like I said above, some Black people today don’t get a Black man’s sense of humor from 1949. Eddie always wanted to look at the “up” side of life.

Anywho, maybe it doesn’t matter the color of the comedy writer. Maybe it’s just about being funny. Or silly. Some of the Walter and Maude lines cracked me up. Florence playing a old timey Black maid and shouting “Oh lawd” and throwing her hands up was too funny. Eddie in Duffy’s Tavern laughing out loud because someone called to make a reservation was hilarious.

The bobsSchillerandWeiskophNow here’s a Fun fact: Mr. Bob Schiller and Mr. Bob Weiskoph (both gone now) wrote for Maude. The two Bobs also wrote for Duffy’s Tavern and probably knew my father. I love their picture.

I hope you can find something to make you laugh out loud or to make you smile.

Thanks, for stopping by.

 

 

 

courage

Baltimore1890horsedrawnambulance
Baltimore 1890 Horsedrawn Ambulance-courtesy Google Images

It’s not always easy to figure out how to begin a post. Especially if my brain wants to think about something else, like going to the store to buy cookies (I just discovered Biscoff Lotus cookies). Or if my brain simply doesn’t want to work at all. But since the pandemic has blown up again it’s good for me to sit here and share. Between this latest virus and the riots across the world I fear for us (people). It’s difficult to see a future of joy and happiness. However, I know that we, as human beings are capable of having such a future. In life today though it seems that Blacks still have to fight the hardest to be happy. It seems that more and more Black men are being shot by police. Can this change for the better? Judging by the past I think that it can, however, it will be a mighty long process. When my father was born, 1891 and as he performed as a comedian through the Southern states of America, Blacks were  being lynched on a constant basis.

As far as pandemics go, when he was a small child in East Baltimore he lived with typhus due to the fact that there was no sewage system, especially in the poor neighborhoods. By 1890 Baltimore Harbor was a national joke. While other cities in Europe and in the United States had installed sewers Baltimore had not. Outbreaks of cholera, typhoid or other diseases occurred fairly often. City code required indoor toilets, but it was up to individual property owners to build cesspools, cisterns, or gutters. These emptied into an unfortunate stream called the Jones Falls; its polluted course ran from the wealthier to the poorer areas of town and finally into the harbor. As Eddie’s family were desperately poor this was one reason he left home at nine years old-he wanted to find a better life for himself.

Perrybradford-1200x1200-croppedI have been asked to do an essay on a Mr. Perry Bradford. Perry was born in 1893. As a vaudeville performer and composer and songwriter, he too worked in theater circuits throughout the South and into the North. I imagine that he had the same worries as every other Black man in the South at that time. But he had a goal in mind. Bradford persevered in getting the recording industry to value recordings of African-American artists. In 1957, Little Richard had a hit with Bradford’s “Keep A-Knockin'”. In 1965 he wrote his autobiography Born With the Blues. Later in 1994 his song “Crazy Blues” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Perry lived a long time, too. He died in 1970.

ArlandoSmithMore recently, there was Arlando Smith, born 1952. Arlando came up during the Civil Rights era, police with hoses and dogs and batons. He worked at becoming successful. Arlando was a TV writer and director. During my research for my book on The Jeffersons I learned about this gentleman. He worked on What’s Happening Now, All In The Family, Silver Spoons, 227, The Richard Pryor Show, She’s The Sheriff, The Robert Guillaume Show. The Jeffersons (2 episodes) and Malcolm and Eddie. He was the stage manager for All in the Family, 51st Annual Academy Awards, The Richard Pryor Show, What’s Happening, Sanford and Son, That’s My Mama, Good Times, and The Jeffersons (48 episodes). In 2015 when Arlando Cooper Smith died The San Pedro Sun reported that: “Smith was an award-winning director who directed the first episode of La Isla Bonita Telenovela. He also contributed to several American television series, Arlando Cooper Smith made the Isla Bonita his home, has selflessly supported the island in ways too numerous to count for many years. He will be missed by all those who knew and loved him.”

These gentlemen became successful in their fields despite the Race issue, despite lynchings, typhus, and lack of money. Despite hard times. You don’t hear too much about these men. Until I wrote the book about my father few people knew of his many contributions to the entertainment industry. These men were either forgotten or overshadowed. Or simply not known about because of their positions in the background as opposed to being a principal character on a program. Because of who they were-their character-and because of their courage they achieved success, friendship and love.

May we all have courage.

 

 

 

 

I LOVE YOU MAN!

Quote from Nelson Mandella:

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

I have been wracking my brain to figure out how I could discuss the subject of police procedures if I have yet to offer any kind of solution. Talking about how heart wrenching it is to watch a person being held down with a knee till dead or being shot is just that, talk. So what can we do?

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says the city will have a moratorium on adding new names to the statewide gang member database; Los Angeles Police Commission President Eileen Decker said the department will also review the process governing use of force reviews, and will include accelerated efforts to train officers in de-escalation and crowd control; The commission will support the use of an independent prosecutor to oversee police misconduct cases, and She said the city will also support legislation for increased juvenile diversion programs. Okay gang database, use of force reviews, crowd control, overseeing police misconduct cases and legislation for increased juvenile diversion programs.  Why talk about our juveniles right now? And crowd control? what about the Knee on the Neck Issue which has led to a Black man’s death?

At least California Governor Newsome has ordered carotid hold be removed from state police training materials. Ok, this is good, hopefully it will be enforced.  However will all police forces adhere to this?

I found the Minneapolis Police Policy online which defines Neck Restraint: and Chokeholds as two separate things:  USE OF NECK RESTRAINTS AND CHOKE HOLDS

Choke Hold: Deadly force option. Defined as applying direct pressure on a person’s trachea or airway (front of the neck), blocking or obstructing the airway

Neck Restraint: Non-deadly force option. Defined as compressing one or both sides of a person’s neck with an arm or leg, without applying direct pressure to the trachea or airway (front of the neck). Only sworn employees who have received training from the MPD Training Unit are authorized to use neck restraints. The MPD authorizes two types of neck restraints: Conscious Neck Restraint and Unconscious Neck Restraint.

Conscious Neck Restraint: The subject is placed in a neck restraint with intent to control, and not to render the subject unconscious, by only applying light to moderate pressure. (04/16/12)

Unconscious Neck Restraint: The subject is placed in a neck restraint with the intention of rendering the person unconscious by applying adequate pressure. (04/16/1

Steve Karnowski of the Associated Press reported: “Minneapolis agreed Friday to ban chokeholds (my bolding) by police and to require officers to try to stop any other officers they see using improper force, in the first concrete steps to remake the city’s police department”. So, technically, this may not stop Minneapolis police from using neck restraint, in my opinion.

Why not consider teaching our old timer police officers and our new inductees how to love? Human Beings are not born with Hate. Hate grows in us. But Love is more natural to the Human soul. I have known a young man who was brought up to hate Black people, period. But at the age of about 21 he wound up with having to become familiar with a group that included Black people. He told me, and I could see it on his face, that his hatred had become uncomfortable. His upbringing had been all wrong. His feelings of hate had changed. To Love. Just plain and simple love for people, period.

No, I don’t visualize police going around hugging people. But we could institute Attitude Adjustment training. I’ve written to two presidents regarding war and the killing of Black men. I will write to Heads of Police Departments regarding police training. I imagine I will be the subject of many jokes. Hahah! Attitude Adjustment! She must be crazy!

Through no fault of my own, I have had unpleasant dealings with the police. Their approach is usually intimidating-“What are you doing in this neighborhood”?; “Let me see your pupils”!, “Get out of the car”! “What do ya mean you don’t know where he lives?!”. There is no “Good afternoon, how are you”? or “How Can I help you”? Or, can you help us? To Protect and Serve is just something painted on their cars. When I was little we used to wave at the police when they drove by. Police Mens mean business today. And they carry Power.

In the beginning humans are like the little boy in this post. They really love each other. We can help others find that within themselves again. Preserve law and order, by all means, protect citizens, but lose the battalion-like attitude.

Love and Peace, ya’ll and thanks, for stopping by.

Elva

My Experience of Continuous Positivity

Well, here we are all quarantined together. A good time to take a look back into the past. The first picture on this post is a copy of a financial document from my father to Joe Seiden from about 1939. Eddie had his first movie studio in Palisades, New Jersey as did Seiden (Seiden Cinemas). Seiden edited Eddie’s films and helped with sound and the making of prints. Eddie made his first four films here from 1939-1941. What is now Fort Lee, New Jersey was, at one time, the “movie capital” before there was “Hollywood”. Fox, Universal, Biograph studios all began here. Oscar Micheaux was at Metropolitan Studios at this site. The last movie Eddie made here was “One Round Jones”, a movie about a nightclub owner who comes up with the idea to pay $50 to anyone who can go “one round” with his mystery fighter, who of course turns out to be Eddie.

When I wrote the biography about my father I discovered one thing. The more I searched for information, the more I found. This has carried over until today. When I first received this press sheet I was overjoyed. I had to have permission to use it in the marketing of my book which was fine with me. What I didn’t realize was that this sheet held a font of information that would eventually hook me up with more information four year after publication of the book. My first example is in the lower portion of the 4th column of this article a Mr. Lorenzo Tucker is mentioned as part of the cast. I did not expand on this in the book, mainly because I had no idea exactly who he was and how he would pop up in future. About a month ago I heard from an Eddie Green fan who had some original photos of my father that he wanted to gift to me. One of the photos is of Eddie and Louis Jordan and a woman name June Richmond. Louis and June had starred in the 1947 movie Reet, Petite and Gone. I decided to research this movie and learned that  Lorenzo Tucker appeared in this movie as the shyster lawyer, Henry Talbot.

Reet, Petite and Gone is about an Old-time musical star Schyler Jarvis, now wealthy, who is dying; his last act is a visionary plan for the future happiness of his son, swing bandleader Louis Jarvis, and Honey Carter, daughter of his long-lost love. But crooked lawyer Talbot has a nefarious scheme to get his hands on the Jarvis money. There is also plenty of swing from Louis Jordan’s Bands. Lorenzo Tucker also appeared in 18 of Oscar Micheaux’s films. He eventually went totally off the movie track and became an autopsy technician for the New York City medical examiner, where he worked on the body of Malcolm X. That original photo that is being gifted to me shines more light. Lorenzo seems to have started out with my father’s movie studio.

Then I noticed that Mr. J. Louis Johnson was also in the 1947 movie Reet, Petite and Gone. He played Senator Morton’s Butler. Well, J. Louis Johnson was a cast member in my father’s Sepia Art Pictures Company, Inc. in 1939. I did mention him in the book but I just did not see the connection. Mr. Johnson was in a lot of great movies. Mostly bit parts, but hey, he must have been a good actor because he worked with such stars as Clark Gable in Homecoming (1948), Lena Horne and Eddie “Rochester” Anderson in Cabin In The Sky (19400, and he had parts in Hitchcock’s Strangers On A Train and Orson Welles The Magnificent Ambersons (1942). But he was with Eddie before these others.

One last thing I discovered so far from researching Reet, Petite and Gone from 1947 is that the cinematographer used in the movie is the same cinematographer Eddie used in One Round Jones in 1939, Don Malkames.  I even have a quote from Eddie about Don: The cameraman he uses most of the time is “Don Malkames, a veteran when it comes to cameras”. Eddie noted that “an important attribute in the making of any motion picture is an experienced cameraman, particularly in photographing Black actors as there is a wide variety of skin colors and tints to be found in the colored race.” Eddie was working early on with some of the best in their fields. He knew talent when he saw it.

Because I began the process and wrote the book more and more information is being found and revealed to me four years later from people who have had an interest in Eddie Green before I wrote the book and who are now able to share their interest with me because of the book. This has been an expanding learning event for me. The book, this blog, the people I have met have been a continual source of positivity, and I really only started this writing thing to pass on some information to my grandson. I have found that I love bringing to light people who have contributed to this world in a positive manner but who have been overshadowed. Blacks, yes, because that is where my roots are along with my Italian roots. So when I say “people” I mean anyone, really. I just like to acknowledge people who deserve acknowledgement, in my opinion.

I want to thank all of my followers here at WordPress for hanging in here with me. My next book, tentatively titled The Jeffersons – A Fresh Look Back is just waiting for me to complete a couple of interviews, fill in a few more kudos to the crew and I’ll be afraid to, no, I mean I’ll be ready to show it to my publisher.

Thanks, for stopping by.

And thank you, Dan H. for keeping me continually proud of my father.

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

I MUST Be a Genius

Thank Goodness for rough drafts. One is SUPPOSED to make mistakes, lose paragraphs, misspell words (though I am a spelling champ). I was so excited, no, not excited, emotional. I was so emotional last week the day I printed out my first rough draft of my second book. Such a big deal! Then I realized I had left out a good 10,000 words. And of course I had to figure out where they needed to be inserted. Then I realized “red” does not print because I only have a Black ink cartridge. Then I ran out of Black ink. And of course I have no money so I have to wait until next week to get more ink. But, 2 weeks before this I was on the phone with my daughter crying about my inability to do justice to a second book.  Anyhow, I wound up with copy paper here, there and everywhere, making insertion notes, and adding in additional pages I was able to print out.

But that’s okay because evidently this is what geniuses do. We are messy. So getting messy with a rough draft is perfect. Thinking of myself as a creative genius will keep me from stressing out. Because I know I am a good writer, otherwise I would have never attempted that first book. I also believe that there are many good writers out there, otherwise how would we fill our libraries. Which is one thing that helped me realize I could write a book. Millions of people have written books. Books, songs, screenplays, scripts for TV sitcoms.

Sitcoms like The Jeffersons. The subject of my newest book. The Jeffersons was a spin-off of All In The Family. George, Louise and Lionel were introduced to the Bunkers during the early 1970s and the sitcom itself aired January 18, 1975. The idea was to annoy Archie Bunker by moving a Black family into the neighborhood. Archie wasn’t too fond of Black people and George wasn’t crazy about Whites and somehow this program was going to use these two characters to provide comedic entertainment for the TV audience. Between Carroll O’Conner and Sherman Hemsley they did just that. I love working on this book, but I do miss writing my first book about my father, Eddie Green. Another well-known and successful comedian who didn’t get the chance to work in television as he died too early.

This is me at a library in Los Angeles giving a presentation of my father’s biography. I believe I was preparing to play a cd of different people recording my father’s first song written in 1917 “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, or maybe I played “You’ve Got The Right Key, But The Wrong Keyhole”. I know we had fun that day. The cool part about this still today is that I continue to receive pictures, articles, and messages from fans of my father. I was only 3 when he died. I basically have no memory of him, maybe a shadowy lap in a dark suit. So I have only gotten to know my father after I have reached adulthood. I will probably never stop sharing about him, no matter how many other stories I write. Would you believe my daughter actually put the video of me at this library on Youtube?! Genius At Work.

Hey, thanx, for stopping by.

Reminder: My first book Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer  Check out the reviews on Amazon or just buy it and read it for yourself, you’ll be glad you did.

Awesome Women-Then and Always

Marla Gibbs

Hey there! As James Brown would say “I’m back!”. Not that I’ve gone anywhere, just haven’t posted lately. I have discovered that writing a second book is not as easy as my first book was. My expectations were not as high-I was simply writing a book that could possibly provide inspiration and encouragement. Just a little book. But this second book is going to be about a beloved 70s and 80s tv sitcom with moving stars and everything. Will I do it justice? (Faint hint of tears, right now!) So instead of staying at my laptop I go to the thrift store. Or the market. Or I take a nap. And then another day has passed. And my online postings dwindle. So, I am back and I am starting with this beautiful picture of Marla Gibbs because she has a trophy in her hands. I am hoping to get a quote or two or three from Ms. Gibbs as she was such a major part of the sitcom I will be writing about. The Jeffersons was a show that ran from 1975 until 1985 and can probably still be seen somewhere in re-runs. A top ten show for many years. (Do you know some folks have never heard of this show, either they are too young, or from another country or just don’t watch tv.)

However, today I am writing about Marla Gibbs agent, Ms. Ernestine McClendon. I was watching an interview with Ms. Gibbs and I heard her mention her agent’s name. Ernestine McClendon was her agent when she auditioned for The Jeffersons. So, I looked up Ms. McClendon. There is not much information immediately available for this lady. The fact that she was an agent, and an actress, and had been  in a few movies in the 80s was about all I got, at first. I couldn’t even find a picture of her.

Ernestine McClendon was a Black woman. Born in 1918. I found out that not only had she been in three movies in the 80s and 90s, she had also appeared in the Schlitz Playhouse in 1952! I finally remembered my newspaper account and that’s when I found her picture. (it pays to be diligent) She had a leading role in a play around 1954 titled Anniversary Waltz (she is second from left).

In 1961 she was cast in A Raisin in the Sun. According to the local newspaper: “HYDE PARK. N.Y. August 29 to September 3 Only Mid-Hudson Area Production “A RAISIN IN THE SUN” with ERNESTINE McCLENDON RAYMOND ST. JACQUES. Ernestine McClendon plays the courageous Mama who tries to keep her family together. Miss McClendon received rave reviews for her performance of this role this summer. A noted actress, Miss McClendon appeared in New York in Alley of the Sunset and Member of the Wedding and on television in Lights Out, and The Schlitz Playhouse of Stars.”

Somewhat like my father, Eddie Green, Ms. McClendon was well-received as an actor but does not get a lot of online mention. Maybe because she stopped acting for awhile and became an Agent. But she was a successful Agent. Especially for her Black clients. She worked hard to get them into casting rooms. Then went back to acting! Ms. McClendon was acting until 1991 when she died. Maybe there just wasn’t someone to do a whole lot of research on Ms. McClendon.

To make a point that bothers me, I need to mention that Ann Sothern was also in that Schlitz Playhouse of Stars episode which was titled “Lady With a Will”. Ms. Sothern may be a bit more familiar to some of you. She certainly has more information listed online. Born in 1909 she too was in show business for many years. Worked on stage, radio, film and had her own television show. Her last film was Whales of August in 1987. She died in 2001. Maybe Ms. Sothern has a bigger presence online because she worked in television. There are a lot of pictures of Ann Sothern online also. Somebody took the time to take those pictures. She was pretty. Ernestine’s picture is not the best, but it looks like she was pretty, too.

Anyhow, it’s a good thing I like writing about those entertainers who had successful careers but kinda fell into obscurity.

One last thing, somehow we all seem to wind up crossing each others paths. Ms. Sothern died in Ketchum, Idaho. My father worked on Duffy’s Tavern with Ed Gardner. When I wrote my father’s biography I met Ed Gardner’s son and we became pen pals. He lived in Ketchum, Idaho. Ms. Sothern worked with Ernestine McClendon who knew Marla Gibbs. Awesome-sauce!!

Hey, thanx, for stopping by. 🙂

 

ACTORS: Remembering and Appreciating

Hello friends. The fact that I have begun the process of writing a book about The Jeffersons tv sitcom is beginning to make it clear just how diligent I am going to have to be in getting my facts straight. Somehow it seems a lot more involved than corroborating the information I learned about my father when writing his biography. In researching the actors and their participation in their various shows, I have found out that one person will say what they think things were like, some will say what they heard, and some will assume. Getting the actor’s stories in their own words is difficult, especially if those actors are no longer with us.

The three actors pictured, Sherman Hemsley, Isabel Sanford and Mike Evans have all died. Sherman in 2012, Isabel in 2004 and Mike in 2006. Sharing this writing process here on WordPress is so important in helping me with this book-writing learning experience. I am not using this forum to write the book from the beginning but to have some kind of clarity of where I am going.

Today I decided to write about actor Mike Evans who played the character Lionel Jefferson, the son of the Bunker’s new Black neighbors. The Bunkers were the family from “All In The Family” or AITF, with Carroll O’Conner, as Archie and Jean Stapleton, as Edith. Mike Evans began portraying Lionel in this AITF in 1971 through 1975 before moving on up to “The Jeffersons”.

As a child, Mike was “short, and fat, and funny-looking”. His parents divorced when he was a baby. As a young man he used his talent for art by making sculptures out of clothes hangers and selling them to hippies in Hollywood. By 18 he had enrolled in City College and was studying Psychology, then switched to an Acting major. He learned one day that a studio was looking for young, Black actors and so he went to audition and eventually got the part of Lionel. The one downside to this was that his father had died 3 months earlier so Mike was not able to share this with him.

In 1975 AITF produced the spin-off The Jeffersons and Mike continued to play his character. But after one season, Mike left the sitcom. According to The Las Vegas Sun-TV Scene. Sunday, February 20, 1977: He left because he “wasn’t having a good time on the show.” He did, however, return for the sixth through the eighth season. Mike had married in 1976 and his marriage lasted until 2002 when his wife died. Mike would die of throat cancer in 2006.

There is such an upside to writing this type of non-fiction book. The actors, writers, producers that I am able to be in contact with are given a boost just knowing that people are actually interested in them as artists and still remember them. And the relatives of those who have left us are pleased, also. They’ve told me so, and I can hear it in their voices.

I thank you so much for stopping by and for “clicking” on my posts.

🙂

 

 

Swingin’, Singin’ and Dancin’

Paul Benedict, Zara Cully, Roxie Roker, Franklin Cover

Hi there-I’ve headed this post with a still from the 1975-1985 tv sitcom “The Jeffersons” just to let you know that I am still in the process of interviewing guests/writers from this series-for instance, I have been in touch with a lady by the name of Lydia Nicole who played a young female gang member who stabs George! I chose the above picture though because Zara Cully was a favorite of mine, I always thought she was so good as George’s mother. And I liked Paul Benedict as Mr. Bentley. He was a part of the show from the beginning all the way to the last episode. It will be a good couple of months ’till I begin my first rough draft.

In the meantime, I will post more articles about my father, Eddie Green! New articles. I have found a new internet source to get articles about Eddie’s entertainment life. It’s taken me 4 years to find this in print:

Hazel Scott was a classical pianist, singer and actor. She was married to Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (I was baptized by Rev. Powell). I wish I could have heard Eddie and Hazel on “The Bishop and the Gargoyle”. Hazel was a music prodigy and was given scholarships to Juilliard School from the age of 8.

The Bishop and the Gargoyle was a 30-minute old-time radio crime drama from September 30, 1936 – January 3, 1942. Bishop and the Gargoyle focused on the combined crime-fighting efforts of a retiring bishop of a church and a convict called the Gargoyle. As a member of the parole board at Sing Sing Prison, the Bishop met and befriended the Gargoyle. In return, the inmate helped the bishop “to track criminals and bring them to justice”. I can’t even imagine how they decided to cast Helen and Eddie-a pianist and a comedian. Richard Gordon played the part of the Bishop. I could not find much on Mr. Gordon until I discovered a podcast by J. Widner-apparently Mr. Gordon was a character on many radio shows; in 1933 he played S. Holmes with Leigh Lovell as Dr. Watson.

I also found an article in the Brooklyn Citizen newspaper from 1943 about Eddie being in a play with Mary Martin, you know, the lady who played Peter Pan. Mary was an award-winning actress, singer and Broadway star. At the time of this post Eddie had become a filmmaker, a well-known radio star, a music publisher and had been signed to appear in a Paramount movie.

Eddie was a hard-working show biz man. As I continue to write about him I am able to feel a part of those days when my father was alive. I no longer think of him as my father who died when I was only 3. If I could have a twilight zone episode or a one step beyond I would love to step back into those days and follow him around. I guess my research and writing about him helps me do that.

Hey, thanx, for stopping by.

To my new friends, the title of my father’s biography is Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer.

What Makes U Smile?

What makes you smile before you even know you are smiling? It’s a nice thing to have happen. It’s nice to know that in a world where bad things happen, there exists happenings that make me smile, automatically. My lips turn up at the corners by themselves. For instance, a few days ago I got up, turned on my laptop and checked my mail.  There was a message from a friend in England. She started her message with “Hello Dearest Elva”. Since it was early morning I hadn’t had time to become grumpy so I was able to receive this greeting as I know it was meant. My friend is such a nice lady. Someone I met during my book writing journey. She is a good-hearted person. And I know she is genuine. And so it made me feel good to hear from her. It was like an “Awwww” moment. While reading the rest of her message  my lips began to smile of their own accord. She had found an article in a book that was a copy of correspondence my father, Eddie Green had, probably in 1949, with a man by the name of Joe Davis. The article stated:

Early in April, Davis heard from one of his old contacts from the 1920s, Eddie Green. Now managing Sepia Productions in Los Angeles, Green had written to offer a song: “I am sending you this record of ‘You Can Always Believe Your Heart.’ This was taken from the sound track of the picture Mr. Adam’s Bomb’ which I have just produced. This was a short subject produced by us primarily for the Colored theatres. I think I mentioned this to you when I was in New York last summer. This tune should be a great tune for the Mills Brothers or a quartette like them. I am sending it to you because I believe that you, being there in the big City, could reach them better than I can out here.”

Addressing him as Eddie, Davis wrote back immediately: “You know how it always gives me great pleasure to hear from you. As soon as I receive the record of ‘You Can Always Believe Your Heart,’ I will be only too pleased to go over it, and if you have any other songs, please send them to me, as I sure would like to publish a few things more by you.”

The thing is, I have been looking for the copyright of that song since 2014. Or a copy of the lyrics. Or something to prove that Eddie did indeed write the song. So, talk about pleased, I was so happy to see that my friend had actually found a letter from Eddie stating exactly what he did with the song he wrote for his movie! It was amazing to me. When I took my eyes off the page, I realized I had been smiling the whole time. That is such a blessing.

The song was sung in the movie by Margaret Westfield. I snapped this while watching the movie on Youtube from the Internet Archives. Unfortunately I have not been able yet to find anything on her. Though she had a lovely voice.

According to the internet “Joseph M. “Joe” Davis (October 6, 1896 – September 3, 1978[1]) was an American music producer, publisher and promoter in jazz, rhythm and blues and pop music. I might have found him had I known about him in the 70s.

I am in the process of gathering all of Eddie’s songs for possible re-release. Though it is a process. I have to verify copyright and also deal with folks who may claim copyright falsely. I don’t want Eddie’s work to stay hidden. I also want to have the paperwork for my grandson. Any money I make will be minimal-for me, it’s mainly about showcasing my father’s many talents. It’s about what I feel in my Heart. And what makes me Smile.

May you become more aware of what makes YOU smile.

Thanx so much, for stopping by. 🙂