Keeping my eye on the Beauty of the World

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Millicent Roberts receiving award from Eddie; with Miss Futter and Miss Graves.

Article in the Norfolk Journal and Guide: Some of Harlem’s most beautiful girls turned out for Eddie Green’s Second Annual “Night of Glamour”, last Thursday night at the Renaissance Casino when the popular comedian offered valuable prizes plus a movie contract with his Sepia Art Pictures Company. Eddie is standing next to the winner Millicent Roberts Miss Glamour.

 

As well as being a filmmaker, stage star, old time radio icon and composer, Eddie was also well-known for holding beauty contests, usually in Harlem, that featured beautiful Black women. He even put together the Miss Sepia America contest which was held at the 1939-40 World’s Fair in New York. There was a pavilion at the fair that showcased exhibits for and about Black people (though today it is difficult to find mention of this). 5814421775_46ea0e10b6_b

As I have mentioned in former posts Millicent (Miss Glamour) is still with us. She is a living testament to the fact of Black beauty contests. I don’t think we have those anymore.

My father believed in promoting Black people. Through beauty contests or in his movie studio and in his office. His letterhead from his movie studio read “Producing the best in Moving Pictures, of, by and with Negroes.” (We were negroes back in Eddie’s day and proud of it.)

Eddie possessed the ability to get along with people though, be they Black or White, men or women. It’s what helped propel him through his career as a comedian. It helped him work at the Apollo drilling white chorus girls for 45 weeks, and this was such a big deal it was written about in the local newspaper.

Lately, I have found it difficult to write upbeat posts because of the recent shootings of Black men. Eddie must have been extremely upset though back in the early 1900s. But he focused on the goals he wanted to achieve. He was a good husband to my mom. He was all-business when he was supposed to be. And he was a funny, if droll, comedian. People liked to see him coming. Eddie lived a good life through hellish times for Black people. Eddie lived through the depression, hellish times for everybody. And he just kept going.

I feel for all those who are losing loved ones to violence. And I know that positivity exists.

Thanx for stopping by and don’t forget to check out my book Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer

http://www.bearmanormedia.com

 

 

Scene 2 – Little Miss Fresh Mouth

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During the process of researching information on my father’s life for the biography I have written, I began to realize that not only would I learn interesting facts about my father during this research but that I would also learn new and interesting facts about those with whom he worked. As this writing process went on I found that the more I discovered, the more I discovered. And somehow the discoveries made in the latter part of my research matched up with the earlier discoveries.

For instance, in a 1940 Baltimore newspaper article, my father says that an important point in the making of any motion picture, but particularly in photographing Black actors, is an experienced cameraman, because of the wide variety of skin colors and tints to be found in the Black race. The article noted that Eddie said the cameraman he used most of the time was Dan Malcomes, a veteran when it comes to cameras.

In order to use this information in my book I began to research Dan Malcomes. I started this research in 2014. In 2015 I learned that a Don Malkames had worked as a cameraman back in 1939 for a Mr. Joseph Seiden of Seiden Cinema, located in Fort Lee, New Jersey, which is where movie-making was done before there was Hollywood. Mr. Malkames was the cinematographer on the movie Paradise In Harlem (1939) which was directed by Joseph Seiden.

My father, Eddie, also made a movie  that year (wrote, directed, produced and starred in) titled What Goes Up, in his movie studio in Fort Lee, New Jersey, Sepia Art Pictures.   Through more research I discovered that the cameraman that Eddie worked with for his promotional photos was in fact, Don Malkames, miss-printed in the newspaper as Dan Malcomes. A search on the Internet today will show a listing of the different spelling versions.

Two of the stars in Eddie’s movie What Goes Up were Bebe Mathews and Sydney Easton. Two of the performers in Paradise in Harlem were Bebe Mathews and Sydney Easton. What I find unsettling is that the Paradise movie can be found on the internet, but Eddie’s movie has disappeared.

That What Goes Up has not been found is unfortunate too, because in 2015 as some of you may know from an earlier post, I received an email from the granddaughter of a woman who was an actress in the movie. The actress’s name is Millicent Roberts and she is now ninety-nine years of age. She is one of the ladies who was picked up by a chauffer and driven to the set in New Jersey to rehearse and perform her part as “little miss fresh mouth.” She told her granddaughter that she remembers the White cameraman who took her promotional bathing suit pictures on the set. (Eddie’s movie set was all-black except for Don, on purpose.) Millicent says that the pictures “were glamourous, just like Hollywood photos.”

The one thing that Millicent, who lives on the East Coast, would like is to see the movie What Goes Up again. A few of our friends are endeavoring to discover the whereabouts of the physical copy of this movie.  Maybe you beautiful people out there could keep an eye out, also. The movie premiered at the Apollo in New York in 1939.

Millicent has seen the photographs that were taken of her but was never given copies. Thanks to the internet I found out Mr. Malkames’ relative Rick Malkames has followed in Don’s footsteps and currently is head of The Malkames Collection.  I was able to send an email but they have nothing in their archives.

Millicent and Eddie
Millicent and Eddie

Now that I have written Eddie’s biography, Millicent’s granddaughter has bought the book and reads portions of the book to her. She says her grandmother “is just beside herself(lol!!!)”.

I am going to end with this quote from Millicent’s granddaughter in regard to the book because I never expected to receive such a powerful response or such a wonderful compliment. Very positive!

“It (the book) is also an inside look at the resilience and fortitude of our brothers (Black Men) like Eddie -who were clearly brilliant, talented, and resourceful in a time when we (Blacks) were considered to be nothing of the sort! This book should be required reading in African American History courses in every College and University!”

Research in Black Culture-A Celebration

momwithfur (2)The latest good news is that the biography I have written about my father, Eddie Green, will now be featured in the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York.

The picture I have posted with Eddie and Mom (Norma) is in the Eddie Green Portrait Collection also at the Schomburg. I did not put this picture in the book because I do not own the photo. But I want to show it off here because these two look like they are enjoying the good life. Mom made her own hats back then. I don’t remember that fur coat but I do remember her fox fur stole. She kept it in that drawer that I wasn’t supposed to open.

If you have bought the book (thank you so much!!), you will see a picture of Eddie in a white suit and black tie, I was able to purchase a copy of the picture from the Schomburg and it works perfectly for my back cover.cropthisforpost (2)

As a filmmaker, movie and Broadway star and Old Time Radio Icon, Eddie was always sharp. He was a good business man. He was well-read. Eddie travelled with his books. He had his own library at the Hudson Theater in New York. They say a lot of those old time vaudeville actors read a lot of the classics in order to come up with ideas to incorporate into their funny skits, similar to a reference to Shakespeare’s Hamlet that was used in an old Three Stooges movie:

” Among the insane sights in this Stooges short is a burro wearing galoshes. The burro is named “Yorick,” and when it appears it was accidentally blown up, yes, we hear: “Alas, poor Yorick. We knew him well.”

Eddie was a comedian. A good comedian. He was funny, someone said he could not open his mouth without being funny. He didn’t mind acting funny, either.eddiegreensillyphotoas he did in his movie One Round Jones.

Over the time it took for me to write the book, I have had a number of people tell me that Eddie is looking down at me and smiling (even the lady who has my first consignment said it). I don’t know if this is so, but if it is he can now be proud that in 2016 both of our works are housed together in the same public access building in New York. I know I am proud. Thank you Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

And thank you, for stopping by and celebrating with me.

 

 

 

IF IT WAS NOT FOR EDWARD

myfamblyIf it wasn’t for Edward, I may not have written a book about my father.

My father’s birth name was Edward and he later changed it to Eddie. My grandson’s birth name is Edward (for reasons other than what one might think), and he later began to go by Eddie. The picture on this post is Melony (my gorgeous daughter), Edward (aka Eddie) and me, Grandma. Edward is about 24 in this picture and he was about six years old when I conceived the idea to write a book. This picture was taken about two years ago and my book has been published as of this past June.

My father, Eddie Green, died when I was a little child. I grew up with the knowledge that he had been “somebody” in the entertainment industry, but it had never been paramount in my mind. As a youngster I wanted to be an entertainer, I wanted to be a singer and entertain the world. When I thought I had said something funny, I would tell my mother it was because Eddie (the comedian) was my father. But I never wanted to write a book about my father.

I became aware as I got older that my father had been a successful man, as an actor, a composer, filmmaker, singer and Old Time Radio personality, especially as he was a Black man coming along in an era of major struggles for Black people trying to get into show business. Still, I did not consider writing a book. I was proud of the fact that my father had been in show business. I was proud of the fact that he wrote the song “A Good Man is Hard to Find”. I even heard Alberta Hunter singing the song on the Jazz radio station in Los Angeles in the 80s. Cool.

And then Melony had Edward. And then Edward began school, which meant homework. Nobody likes homework. Homework is hard. I think Edward is a genius now, but back then he had trouble with homework and when he was told to do his homework, he would say “I can’t”! Well, what grandma wants their grandkid to grow up thinking they can’t? So, I got the brilliant idea to use my father, his great-grandfather, as an example of what a person CAN do, no matter what. And so began the process of research.

Little did I know that Eddie’s career as an entertainer and as an entrepreneur was far greater than I had thought. His life story truly was inspiring. And could inspire other people struggling with the seeming difficulties in life. The fact that Eddie was a Black man born in 1891 who attained certain heights in what was seen as a White man’s world just made his story more awe-inspiring, to me. Being a modern Black woman, I had to get over my feelings of discomfort when I saw my father in black-face on stage on television,  I researched the issue and gained a better understanding of why. But the fact that my father is one of the first Black men to be  on the first RCA-NBC 1936 test demonstrations of television BLOWS me away. The man is on the internet today! He looks funny, but if it had not been for people like Eddie back then, Blacks would probably not be where they are today. If it had not been for people like Eddie, who rose against all odds, I would not have this story to tell to provide motivation to anyone who needs it.

If it had not been for Edward, my grandson, I may not have known that I could write a book. He told me after the book was written that “no matter what else happens, just remember that you wrote the book”.  (He is a genius) And that was the point. To write a book demonstrating a persons ability to achieve success in their endeavors, no matter what.

Wow, I was long-winded today. Hey, thanks for stopping by.

 

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

Eddie Green -Social MediaOk, let’s see, how can I put this? I AM A PUBLISHED AUTHOR. Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer is now available for public consumption. Of course, I let family members know first and now I am announcing to my wonderful blogging family. Woo hoo!!!

On November 12, 2014 I wrote these next two paragraphs on my first post on my brand new laptop:

Bestsellng 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 and who rose to prominence despite many obstacles.

Well, it is now 2016 and eventually has arrived. My original idea of writing a book was small. I mean, you know, you gather the information and type it up and you have a little book. And then you give him, your grandson, this little book. Once I began the research my knowledge of the true progression of my father’s life from poverty to prominence grew. I knew Eddie was a radio star, had written a song, had made a movie, had appeared in a movie. But since Eddie died when I was three and he had only been married to my mom for five years, I never really learned half of the things my father had accomplished. My little book grew.

One thing I discovered which I could not share with my mom because she had passed on by 2010, was that my father lied about his age. She thought Eddie had been born in 1896, but according to his Social Security Application from 1937, Eddie was actually born in 1891. So when my twenty-two year old mother married Eddie he was actually fifty-four, not forty-nine. I learned that not only had Eddie written one song “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, he wrote twenty-nine songs. Not only did he make one movie, he made wrote, produced, directed and acted in five all-black cast movies. He had appeared on and co-hosted radio shows, he had appeared on Broadway and on and on and on. My little book became a BOOK. And the progression has been documented on this blog.

I have loved every minute of sharing my journey here through WP, and I am very happy that I have a loyal group of followers (which I acknowledged in my book). This journey is not over. I have the job of marketing to do. I will continue to post regarding progress, and I will continue to share other items of interest to keep the spark of inspiration going. Thank you all so much for being a part of this journey. Check me out at http://www.bearmanormedia.com.

and we have a Facebook site for the book:

https://www.facebook.com/EddieGreenBook/?view_public_for=1134428443290744

As always, Thanks, for stopping by, and Spread The Word!

Tooting My Own Horn

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Me

Hi, this post will be short and sweet. This is me, Elva Diane Green. This is the photo that will be used on one-page brochures, postcards and flyers by the publisher of the biography I have written on my father Eddie Green. To announce, report, notify, no Broadcast that by the end of this year this visage will be visible all over! Me. Who woulda thunk it?

 

Must be in my genes. Eddie being a songwriter, movie, Broadway and radio star with his picture in the papers back in the day, and my mom pictured alongside of him all dolled up. 3rd set with new pictures 277Maybe it was inevitable that I write the book and have my picture added to the mix.

Stay tuned, more to come.

Thanx, for stopping by.

APPRECIATION IS THE KEY

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my father and mother 1945

The book I have written (yay!) on my father, Eddie Green includes a chapter donated specifically to my mom, Norma Anne Amato Green Beasley Washington. As this blog is basically about inspiring folks through the life story of my father’s success in the early 1900s in the entertainment industry I haven’t written a lot about my mom. For instance, Norma is not just “my” mom. As a Beasley she had four more children, Lance, Brad, Donna and Brian. Lancie-pants is no longer with us. Mom died in 2010. She was 87. If Eddie had lived until 2010 he would have been 119 years old. Yea, he was a lot older than Norma when they married.

When I was about ten or twelve, Mom told me that Eddie had written a song titled, A Good Man Is Hard To Find. She also told me that he said he had written it for her.  I always thought that was really sweet, until I grew up and found out that the song was written in 1917 and Mom wasn’t even born until 1923. I guess Mom knew that Eddie hadn’t really written that song for her as they didn’t meet until 1939 or so, but the fact that he told her it was written for her shows us that how we want to be treated as significant others never really changes.

Lately, it seems to me that a lot of comments have been placed on a certain social media site regarding how men need to learn how to treat their women. Appreciation is a big deal. Well, these types of issues were relevant back in 1917 also. Only in Eddie’s case it was about how  women need to treat their men. Eddie’s song was a major hit and was recorded many times by well-known and little-known artists, check out Bessie Smith’s version.

Thanks, for stopping by.

Elva D. Green

 

 

 

I HAVE A PUBLISHER!

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When questioned about his recipe for success, my father Eddie Green said the best recipe that he has for success, is to find what you like to do and do it the best you know how.

I decided to write a biography of my father. Once I got into the process of researching this gentleman who died when I was three years old, I found that I liked doing the research. I have the patience needed for this type of project, of course, I have an interest in the subject, and as time went on the information I discovered gave me the impetus to keep searching. I was amazed at how much my father had accomplished in his lifetime that I never knew about. I began to like what I was doing. The book writing idea began back in about 1998, but the serious work began in 2010. I like it and I have done it the best I know how. This week I am signing a contract with a publisher. The very publisher I had planned to contact when I was ready (meaning when I got over being afraid of certain rejection).

I have a PUBLISHER. The cover photo is on my previous post and the title is: Eddie Green – The Rise of an Early 1900s African-American Pioneer.

And just in case here is another picture of Eddie:(Hopefully, WordPress places it here)

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Eddie is the little short dude standing next to Mr. Ed Gardner, his boss in the Duffy’s Tavern 1945 movie. I have to point out here, that Eddie and Ed became good friends and I have had the pleasure of being in contact with Ed Gardner’s son.

This week I am addressing the proofreading “those wonderful people out there” did for me, and beginning my photo scanning.

I am now in a new phase of my book writing project and I will continue to post about it here because, after all, this is why I bought this, my very first laptop. I wanted this blog to be an inspiration to others. I believe it has been judging by my friendly followers. So, stay tuned for more good news!

And Thanks! For stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PICTURE THIS ON A BOOK COVER

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EDDIE GREEN

This is the picture I want to use on the cover of the biography I have written about my father.  This is the only picture that I own. Norma, my mother, gave me this picture in 1980, I think, as a birthday present.  It was the only picture she had. Eddie died in 1950 and over the years, the other pictures that she had were lost. Some in a house fire in the 70s. I saw the pictures, when I was a little girl.  There was a picture of Eddie and Frank Sinatra on a stage, there was a picture of me in my bassinet with Eddie and Mom standing over me, and there was a picture of Norma’s mother, Sinclaire, with her hair piled up on top of her head and staring stone faced at the camera.  Sinclaire had on a floor length, white dress with buttons all the way up to her chin. An old photo from the 1920s or 1930s. I was shocked when mom gave me this picture of Eddie. She loved this picture.

In the past almost six years that I have been doing the research on the book, I have discovered other pictures of Eddie. Eddie as a customer in a 1929 Vitaphone fifteen-minute movie, Eddie as Ko-ko, the High Executioner in the Hot Mikado on Broadway in 1939, Eddie as a boxer in his own movie One Round Jones, Eddie with Louis Armstrong preparing for their radio program in 1937, Eddie chatting with George Burns, Eddie on an advertisement for the Community Chest during the war years, Eddie and Mom with Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. at my christening.

None of these pictures belong to me. In order to use them in my book, I need to get permission from the copyright holders and pay a fee based on how many books I hope to sell, unless the pictures are in the public domain. Or a family member objects. It’s been so awesome discovering these pictures that I want to put them all in the book.  I am in the process of scanning the ones I can use, however, so that is a good thing.  The publisher may have a say-so on the book cover, but I think they will like Eddie’s “entrepreneurial, star quality” headshot.

Speaking of the publisher.  I have been in communication with a publisher.  Yes!  Soon I will have the pleasure of discussing the publishing side of this venture.  I haven’t exactly started jumping up and down yet, but I am so glad I started this journey. And I am not finished.  I am in the midst of what has become a serious learning process, that of going over my proofreader’s suggestions.

I think that there are many of us who have family members they would like to write about, be they movie stars or stay at home moms, or Uncle Jim, you know, the one who always makes you laugh.  I know there are people out here who are looking for good, uplifting stories. Share yours.

 

Thank you so much, for stopping by.