courage

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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.

 

 

 

 

Super Fans “Like” 1900s Entertainer Eddie Green

When I began this blog in 2014 I was still in the process of doing the research for the biography I wrote about my father. I had lots and lots of news articles about Eddie, I had pictures of Eddie that I didn’t even know existed before 2014 and I was finding more and more information about my father than I even suspected. As an entertainer in the early 1900s Eddie was busy. And his doings were routinely printed up in the local newspapers. Mostly the Black newspapers, but also in Billboard (which is still in business today). In the beginning they were just one-liners (Eddie Green at the Gayety), and then as time went by the articles became longer. Then interviews were printed as Eddie got more famous. Five yeas before Eddie died he was featured in the Paramount movie “Ed Gardner’s Duffy’s Tavern” (1945). The popularity of the Duffy’s Tavern radio program seemed like a good idea for a full-length movie in which the principal characters of the radio show were signed to play their same parts in the movie,  Ed Gardner as Archie, Charles Cantor as Finnegan, Eddie Green as Eddie the Waiter, and Ann Thomas as Miss Duffy. Paramount used almost their whole roster of stars in this movie:

Bing Crosby as himself; Betty Hutton as herself; Paulette Goddard as herself; Alan Ladd as himself; Dorothy Lamour as herself; Eddie Bracken as himself; Brian Donlevy as himself; Sonny Tufts as himself; Veronica Lake as herself; Arturo de Córdova as himself; Barry Fitzgerald as Bing Crosby’s Father; Cass Daley as herself; Diana Lynn as herself; Victor Moore as Michael O’Malley; Marjorie Reynolds as Peggy O’Malley; Barry Sullivan as Danny Murphy; Robert Benchley as himself. If you look this movie up on the Internet you can see a color poster of the whole cast, except for Eddie. But the longer I spent researching the book, the more I found. The photo at the top of this post (I hope it’s there), is a black and white version and Eddie is pictured at the bottom in the left hand corner, the only Black person in the cast. Being signed for a part in this movie was a good thing actually, for Eddie. Publicity-wise and money-wise.

Since publishing my father’s biography what I have discovered is that there exists much more information about my father that I did not find, but others have. Fans of my father have sent me pictures, articles and cd’s of Eddie’s radio shows. My publisher told me early on that I would probably find more information and that I should save it up for a second book about Eddie. Well, he was right. Even today 2020 in the past week I have been contacted by someone who has a couple of pictures and a Duffy’s Tavern (DT) beer mug from the 1948-49 season. I didn’t even know DT beer mugs existed. A Twitter friend sent me dozens of articles he found while doing some research. He said in his first email: “It’s been so interesting tracing Eddie’s career – he was really well-known, and liked.” This is so remarkable to me that these people have taken the time to trace Eddie’s career and have held on to items related to Eddie. If you are an old movie fan you will recognize the name Adolphe Menjou in the Lincoln Theatre ad. He was famous! And there’s Eddie Green appearing at the same theater.

Of course, I could go on and on about my father. Since I don’t really remember him, writing about and talking about him brings me a type of peace. Something that makes me feel good always. This is my Black History. This man though born in 1891 chose to drag himself out of his childhood poverty, taught himself to read and chose a path that he liked and was good at and became quite successful in the field of entertainment. Plus, he was a nice guy while doing so. He became well-known and “liked”.

Thanx, for stopping by and for new people to my blog: Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer is the name of my book. 🙂

BLACK HISTORY VS SUPER BOWL

I’m typing this on Super Bowl Sunday the second day of February. February has been designated Black History Month (or as Mr. Obama said: African-American History Month). We progressed over the years from 1926 when we celebrated Negro History Week. As a matter of fact there was a Negro Week at the 1940 New York World’s Fair. However, when Super Bowl Sunday rolls around on February 2, 2020 it’s all about football. Yea, it’s just one day. But the lead up is crazy. And do you know how much some of those tickets cost? This year I have noticed that people are focusing on civil and voting rights for Black Americans or lack thereof back in the day. What I want to do is celebrate Black Historical Americans. Especially those who may not receive much notice these days. Of course, I could just post about famous Black footballers like Ray Kemp. But I’m not really into football, so I would have to do a bit of extra research. Which is how I found this guy:

 

Raymond Howard Kemp (April 7, 1907 – March 26, 2002) was an American football player and a charter member of the Pittsburgh Pirates football team (now called the Pittsburgh Steelers). He was also the first African-American player in the team’s history. It’s kind of amazing to me that this man was still alive in 2002 and I’ve never heard mention of him. I am not a big football fan but I have watched a few games and I have seen the Gayle Sayers movie (a heart-breaker). What I’m saying is that there are a lot of Black Americans in history who have made great contributions that we do not hear about. Even if they played football.

 

What I know a lot more about is my father’s life. As the title of my book says, a Black American Entertainment Pioneer. Eddie Green. In this post I am sharing about Eddie in 1941. He was 50 years old, and had become a filmmaker, working his way up from a poverty-stricken childhood, through vaudeville, burlesque, the stage and many radio programs as a magician, a dancer and comedian. His household fame hadn’t come yet, but his name was always in the local Black newspapers. Eddie used a lot of young women in his movies as chorus girls. He would find his ladies at beauty contests. In 1941 there was a contest at the Renaissance Club in Harlem. Eddie presented the winner of the “Miss Glamourous” contest. Her name is Millicent Roberts. Millicent was 101 years old a couple of years ago. A living legend of Black History-when we had Black beauty contests. She also had a part in one of Eddie’s movies “What’s Going Up”.

I celebrate Black history every day. Through my mother and my father. My mom’s got some Italian mixed in on her father’s side but she always identified as Black. (This sometimes caused her problems-in later life she told people she was a gypsy and they would not question her further.) Anyhow, I’ll be posting in celebration of Black History this month. 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.

Thanx, for stopping by and Keep Coming Back!

 

 

Photo of Ray Kemp: By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34938508

 

Oh No!!

To those new to this blog, say Hi to my father.

This was the look on my face when I realized that the Main Cover photo from this blog has been incorrect for the past three years. One day last week I noticed something was wrong with the photo. I zeroed in on the photo with my eyes. The title of my book was missing one word. Where else had I downloaded or uploaded the photo? My books printed correctly so I must have caught the error at some point. What a maroon!!

 

 

 

 

Well, it’s not that funny! Well, actually, I was able to laugh at myself, eventually. In this post I hope to impart to you the absolute necessity of “Proofreading!”. My error ought to provide propelling encouragement to get the writer immersed in proofreading every  aspect of getting your writings out to the public. Don’t confuse them. One title here, another title there (on the same book).

 

 

 

 

This is my book. Correct title. I love my book. I corrected my oversight on this blog and have forgiven myself.

Blunders happen-my encouraging advice for the day.

Thanx so much, for stopping by.

 

Celebrate BHM at a Library-Celebrate Libraries Anytime

Hello again. Here is a poster announcing my next appearance at a local library here in Los Angeles, the Eagle Rock Branch Library to share my father’s inspirational story. When I started this book writing journey my thoughts never went further than getting the writing done and getting a publisher. The idea of being asked to give a presentation at a library never entered my mind. I simply knew that I wanted to put my father’s story down on paper and present it to my grandson. My doctor asked me the other day how I wrote the book-did I have any help? I realized that this is one of the first questions people ask. So this past week I sat down and wrote out what I did to get this book written. Once I took a good look at what entails getting a book written, I was in awe of myself. I am beginning to realize what a big deal this is.

 

 

Here I am last week speaking about writing the biography of my father. I have pictures, we played a cd of a comedy skit with Lena Horne and I was happy to be there. Especially as there were two grammar school girls sitting in the front row. Paying attention. Sitting still. One little girl would take a photo I handed out, show it to her friend, have a little discussion and place the photo on the table. They even contributed to the discussion when I managed to touch on something currently relevant. I loved talking to them and assuring them that they too could achieve their dreams, like Eddie, if they learned as much as they could and believed in themselves.

Of course I told these young girls that I started my research in the Central Library in Los Angeles. That I went to the library a lot when I was little, which I did. And, in fact, the Central Library is exactly where I began my research for my book. My mother actually found the first picture we had of Eddie on stage doing an Amos n Andy radio show back in the 1930s or 40s. This is Central Library.

 

Central Library is beautiful. All of the information I found here about Eddie (and my mom) was housed in the basement level. So I went down this escalator many times. This is where I found the copyright entries for Eddie’s last movie. This is where I found old copies of Black newspapers that had so many articles about Eddie. And my mom. This is where I got carried away with reading those old newspapers. And how I found my aunt mentioned and my Nana. And my godfather. I even began genealogy research here. I made lots of copies here. I usually ate lunch in the building. And of course you can’t just visit one area of this library.

 

 

 

 

Along the way someone told me they had found information on Eddie at the Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills and suggested I check it out. This is the library for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It houses the Oscars library. So I went to this library. What an experience. First of all, I would have never thought of going to this library. Even though I knew my father was a filmmaker-I did not realize how big an impact Eddie had in the entertainment field. I must say here that at the time I did not have a car. I used public transportation. L. A. has good public transportation, but, some buses only run once an hour or once every 30 minutes. And visiting these libraries took me from the East to the West side of town. I visited the African American Museum in Exposition Park,  the Mayme Clayton Museum in Inglewood, AND I spent hours at the Family History Library in West L.A. (a 2 hour bus ride one-way), I found so many books here on US history.

The inside of the Margaret Herrick Library is gorgeous. One must leave one’s bags, coats and books in a little locker. When looking at photos or scripts of old papers, one must wear gloves and be very careful when handling delicate items such as old invoices. Oh, and you cannot just walk in, you have to have an appointment. The people that work in here are so nice. You tell them what you are looking for and they get it and bring it to you. I found Eddie’s movie scripts!! Posters of his movies!!! Invoices from Seiden Cinema in New Jersey for the film work they did for Eddie (with signatures). I even found the contract he made with Paramount when he was in the 1945 Duffy’s Tavern movie. Of course,, some of those items I could purchase, some not, but I could write down what I found and pay for copies. I made three trips to this library.

Visiting libraries and museums was a big part of my journey. There were also conventions. I spent many hours online. There was  a lot of reading, emailing, learning how to get with social media. Reading how-to books and articles. Reading other people’s biographies to study writing styles. Studying how to get a publisher. Biting my nails. After my mother passed in 2010 I used my grieving time to focus on the book. I was retired. Footloose and fancy-free. I had time to put into this book. Today, now that it is published I have time to share Eddie’s story in the libraries here in Los Angeles. This photo of Eagle Rock library is where I will be on the 24th of February 2018. I hope to get more kids involved. Because after all, I began this writing venture to try and motivate my grandson who grew up while I was in this process. But I also want to bring Eddie out of the shadows of time and share his many contributions to the entertainment industry and beyond.

Please ask for this book at your local library so that it can be available to more people. Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer.

Thanks so much, for stopping by.

 

Black Magician History Month

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I love researching topics for these posts. One of the ways I pick topics is to check the dictionary to see what words people are looking up currently. Through this process I get the experience of acquiring new knowledge. I have copied information here that I found “really” interesting and is a good fit for Black History Month.

I did a book reading at a local library this past Friday and while I was reading the first chapter of my book I was reminded that my father, Eddie Green, the subject of the book, had begun his entertainment career as a “Boy Magician.” Eddie left home at about age nine, taught himself to read, read books on magic and began performing around Baltimore in churches and halls. By the time he was sixteen he was hiring assistants and he performed his magic acts until he began appearing on stage at the Standard Theater in Philadelphia in 1917 and someone told him that his comedy act was so funny he should drop the magic part, which he did.

So I’m looking up words and I found the word “ruse” had been looked up quite a lot lately.  Hmmm. Ruse means a clever or artful skill, or artifice, i.e. trick. My personal opinion is that in these instances “ruse” was not looked up in regard to magic but I chose to use it that way because of this post.

I also found this article that states, “the methodology behind magic is often referred to as a science (often a branch of physics) while the performance aspect is more of an art form….Dedication to magic can teach confidence and creativity, as well as the work ethic associated with regular practice and the responsibility that comes with devotion to an art.  Hass, Larry & Burger, Eugene (November 2000). “The Theory and Art of Magic“. The Linking Ring. The International Brotherhood of Magicians. Magic is also a form of trickery, artifice or a ruse.

Eddie was very skillful in this art form. I believe magic is what helped Eddie hone his comedic presentation and also helped with his dedication to his career.

I decided to look up any other Black Magicians (cause I had never heard of any) and Lo and Behold I found a long list of men and one woman. I focused on this first guy Black Herman. So funny. He was born one year later than Eddie. And he was quite famous.

Black Herman was an African-American magician who combined magic with a strong separatist and militant political message, and became one of the most important Black magicians in history. His mission was to promote his view of Black power by attracting attention and support using stage magic, occult magic and superstition.
Born in Amherst, Virginia, Benjamin Rucker learned the art of illusions from a huckster named Prince Herman. The two ran a medicine show, performing magic tricks to attract customers for their “Secret African Remedy”, a tonic that was mostly alcohol with some common spices added for good measure. When Prince Herman died in 1909, Rucker, then only 17 years old, continued to travel with the show, focusing on the magic and dropping the medicine show.
Creating his own stage persona, Rucker took the name “Black Herman”, partially in honor of Prince Herman, and partly as an homage to Alonzo Moore, the famous African-American magician who was known as the “Black Herrmann”. (I never knew this.)

After 1910, Black Herman made Harlem, New York his home base. He was exposed to, and greatly influenced by, the radical racial philosophies of Marcus Garvey and others who were fighting to improve the lives of African Americans. He began to incorporate a political message into his shows, playing to all-Black audiences in the South, but to mixed crowds in the North, a very unusual and great achievement for his time.

Black Herman was an ethnic nationalist, a contemporary of activists Marcus Garvey and Booker T. Washington. Increasingly throughout his career, his shows promoted the message of Black pride. Garvey, Washington and Black Herman all offered talismans for sale to ward off racism. Benjamin Herman Rucker 1892-1934.

Thanks to  MagicTricks.com for providing this information.

Oh yea, one of the names on that list I found was, Eddie Green.

Hey, thanks, for stopping by. KCB

Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer, bearmanormedia.com

 

 

 

I didn’t think he’d go this far!

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My Grandson, Edward and my father. The idea to write my book came about through my desire to present to my grandson, Edward,  an example of what can be accomplished regardless of obstacles. I didn’t know he was gonna go this far!! The man has no fear. I turned on my computer, clicked on Facebook and here is a picture of Edward at an Alligator Park in Florida. What the!!. I am a grandmother so my first thought is What the!! Edward has lost his mind! My daughter’s reaction was that he is afraid of nothing. Like his great-grandfather.

Edward’s grandfather, Eddie Green despite being born in 1891 in Baltimore during an era of blatant racism to poverty-stricken parents,  rose to become a filmmaker, Broadway and movie star, composer, OTR icon and one of the most beloved comics of his time. Talent, determination and courage propelled Eddie to achieve the life he wanted for himself and those around him.

The idea of writing the biography of my father came to me when Edward was about six years old.  He is twenty-six now. Edward has told me that the story of Eddie is indeed inspiring to him now as an adult because he can identify with some portions of the story.  He also told me the fact that I wrote a book is very inspiring to him now, showing him that if a person sets their mind to do something, they can.

One thing I have noticed is that through the years it took for me to write this book, Edward developed into a person who has chosen to be successful in life. He has had the courage to pursue that which he is excited about. He is a good citizen. His job appreciates him. He cooks for his mother when she visits. He likes cats and treats his lady respectfully.  And he is not afraid to pick up alligators. He really did not need this book to become who he is today. It’s probably in the genes.

Maybe a young person you know would be inspired by this biography Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer. Though it is written also for anyone looking for motivation.

Thanks, for stopping by. KCB

http://www.bearmanmedia.com (publisher)

 

 

 

Black History Month Grips Nation

 

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Eddie Green & Ed Gardner in Paramount’s Ed Gardner’s Duffy’s Tavern (1945)

From a 1950 article in the Chicago Defender newspaper regarding Eddie Green: “Radio was his forte. He became the lovable Eddie of Duffy’s Tavern and his quick answers to Ed “Archie” Gardner’s problems won him thousands of ardent fans”.

In honor of Black History Month I am promoting  my father as one of the pioneers of black history who so far has not gotten as much attention as say a Frederick Douglas, orator, writer and social reformer, or a William Grant Still, the first Black American composer to have an opera performed by the New York City Opera, though Eddie was a filmmaker, writer and director of his own movies and he was also a composer of twenty-nine songs, one being “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”. And I am promoting him because in the early 1900s he had thousands of ardent fans. Eddie has earned his place in America’s Black History.

I am glad we have a Black History Month. When I worked for the VA I was glad when they celebrated Hispanic History because bands came out and played and people brought books about their culture and everyone had a good time. Any celebration is good as far as I am concerned. Everyone should celebrate who they are.

Now, truth be told, until this year I have never studied the origins of Black History Month. I would acknowledge Jackie Robinson and George Washington Carver (the only black person I remember reading about when I was about eight years old), and I know I am black and before you knew it the month was over. I have written a book now about my father and in doing the research on this book I found a new interest in Black history.

My father was thirty-five years old in 1926 when the precursor to Black History Month, Negro History Week, was started.  On February 7, 1926, Carter G. Woodson initiated the first National Negro Week. Every club, society, church or school was entitled to the Negro History Week pamphlet free of charge.

By 1935 the New York Age newspaper printed this headline Negro History Week Grips Nation “Negro History Week literature has been distributed in batches of thousands throughout the country, and it may still be obtained from Dr. C. G. Woodson.” This idea was hot!! Fast forward to 1976 and as part of the United States Bicentennial, the informal expansion of Negro History Week to Black History Month was officially recognized by the U.S. government. Forward to now, where is the Black History Month Grips Nation headline? So I wrote it.

I know that Eddie would want me to celebrate Black History Month because here in America we have added the history of a Black President to what was once celebrated as Negro History Week.

Thank you so much, for stopping by.

http://www.bearmanormedi.com (Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer)