I wrote my first post in 2014. Beginning with the next paragraph I am going to reprint sections from my first post along with excerpts from other posts I’ve printed along the way. Basically, as a way to remind those who have followed me for awhile and for my new followers. I’ve been on WordPress the whole time and, trust me, I had a lot of learning to do in order to conquer this online technology. But I was determined to get myself on a platform so that people would find me and learn about the book I was writing. Little did I know that, as my brother would say, my book writing career snowballed, into learning marketing, giving talks at Rotary Clubs, Libraries, appearing on podiums (!), winding up all over Google (haha, that’s funny to me) and being asked to write another book and another and another! With my first book, I wrote:
Best-selling author, Dean Koontz said, “I really believe that everyone has a talent, ability or skill that he can mine to support himself and to succeed in life.”
I found this quote while doing some research for a book I will eventually complete. I began my research in about 1998 because my then small grandson’s favorite words seemed to be “I can’t”. Usually in regard to why he did not finish his homework. His homework was always too hard. I came up with the bright idea to enlighten him on what a person can accomplish by telling him about, and by writing a book for him about my father, his grandfather, who was a black man born in poverty in 1896 ( I discovered during my research that Eddie was really born in 1891) and who rose to prominence despite many obstacles.
While doing this research I discovered much more than I could have known, not just about my father’s rise, but also about what motivates people, and about determination and how much work actually goes into achieving one’s goals, and how that work can be extremely rewarding. What I hoped to impart to my grandson morphed into a desire to share inspiration to any person who feels they “can’t”.
Eddie was born in East Baltimore, one of the poorest neighborhoods. At age nine he left home determined to have a better life. He started out as a boy magician, got into vaudeville, burlesque, plays, musicals. He wrote songs. His most famous “A Good Man is Hard to Find”. He went on to radio appearances and became famous through “Duffy’s Tavern” and “Amos n Andy” radio shows. He wrote, produced, directed and starred in five movies. Guest starred in a couple of movies. He became successful. Eddie died in 1950 at the height of his fame. Here is an example of the jokes on “Duffy’s Tavern” – Eddie being Eddie, the waiter:
EDDIE: What is that sign you’re making, Mr. Archie, is it a welcome sign for Mr. Berle? ARCHIE: No Eddie, it’s a resolution, you know, one of those New Years things. Listen to it, “There is a well known golden rule, through the ages it’s been true, always be good to your neighbor, they may live next door to you.” That’s good, huh? EDDIE: Yea, it makes a lot of sense, too. How bout hangin up a sign for the waiter, me. ARCHIE: Like what, Eddie? EDDIE: Like this: “The golden rule has a fine intent, but a ten cent tip will pay the rent.
What motivates us? How do we determine that skill or ability we possess? What does it mean to succeed in life? These are questions I am going to explore in this blog through personal anecdotes, poetry and discussion. I want this experience to be as uplifting and inspirational as possible to those who could use a boost. In a 1939 interview, Eddie was quoted as saying “the best recipe for success that he has, is to find something you like to do, and do that the best you know how”.
Well, I found something I liked doing and the book has been completed. Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer was published in July of 2016. On June 24, 2017 I and my book became the 2016 Foreword INDIES WINNER in the Performing Arts & Music (Adult Nonfiction) category!
Upon completion of that book I was asked by my publisher to write another book, this time on the 1970s TV sitcom “The Jeffersons”. When I started the process of interviewing folks for my book on the 1975-1985 sitcom, I spoke with Mr. Norman Lear first. He talked about how he was influenced to produce a show like “The Jeffersons” by a few people who thought it would be a good idea to have a tv sitcom that portrayed affluent Black people who were coming up in the world as opposed to just struggling along, like the family from Good Times. It took a few years, a re-write and some anxious moments (hours, haha), but I did it.
Some great people helped me by granting interviews and sharing their memories. The book contains a lovely Foreword by Marla Gibbs and an Endword by Associate Professor John H. McWhorter, an extremely impressive person in my estimation. I am so happy to share this with you. Mr. McWhorter says it is a good source book for you Jefferson fans. Marla is sure you will find the book as interesting as she did.
The book published on June 22, 2022 and I have since had a couple of book signings and presentations. We had a marvelous surprise when a cast member of the show stopped by! His name is Ernest Harden, Jr., and he played for three (or four) seasons as Marcus Henderson, George Jefferson’s helper in his cleaners. I found out during my research that Ernest played opposite Bette Davis in “White Momma”. And he was in the movie “Cooley High”. He still acts today and has become a good friend.
At present I am working on a book about “Maude” a 1970s TV sitcom created by the brilliant Norman Lear. Brilliant because all of his TV sitcoms were hits. Back then there was one big similarity in his shows, they were all so loud. When I was researching “The Jeffersons,” I found many newspaper articles complaining about how loud the Jeffersons characters were, loud and rude to each other. People wanted to know why a Black family had to be portrayed in such an unfavorable light. Well, starting with the very first episode of “Maud”, I had to turn the volume down on my laptop. Maude hollers at Walter, the husband, Carol (the daughter, hollers at Maude, when their neighbor Arthur, comes over, they all holler at him-during the second episode Arthur shouts that he will never set foot in their house again! The sitcom went on from there for six seasons. Crazy! Of course, 30 some-odd years later I am probably a lot more sensitive to loud noises. Be that as it may, Maude was indeed a hit comedy show, and Bea Arthur was exactly the right choice to play her.
I’ve just remembered, I am writing this post during the beginning of Black History Month. My father’s biography was shared at a number of libraries for Black History Month when it first published, I had signed up to be a presenter. Have not been asked this year, for either of my first two books. But that’s OK. I celebrate Black History everyday. Anyhow, I’ll be posting in celebration of Black History because there is a lot of good information out there about African-American history that needs to be shared. History that has been blended in with the stories of America that make for great reading. And I have what I think is a really good episode from “Maude” to share with you, guest starring Mathew “Stymie” Beard.
Thanks, for stopping by.
Get your books. Through me or Amazon or Larry Edmunds Bookshop in Hollywood. Peace.