Forget Amos ‘n’ Andy?

Gosden, Correll, Green, (?), Wade

Welcome! The one thing I have found over the last few years is that writing about and/or researching my father, Eddie Green, always makes me feel good, even if I am feeling low, focusing on Eddie makes me feel better. Writing his biography gave me a chance to “meet” him, since I was so young when he died. And I still love what I have found out about him as a man, a performer, a friend, a good husband to my mom, and a loving father to me. My shining example.

Eddie came from p o v e r t y. He chose to be an entertainer, and because he liked what he did and was good at what he did, he entertained when and where he could. He rolled with the times and he became successful. Circumstances in the early 1900s propelled him into action. And his outgoing, good guy personality made him a pleasure to work with, and helped bring him to fame.

In the late 1930s and early 1940s Eddie was on the Amos n Andy radio program. His role started out as LaGuardia Stonewall Jackson, but after the well-loved ex-Mayor of New York, Fiorello LaGuardia died, the name was shortened to Stonewall Jackson. The radio program featured two White men as Amos n Andy. Freeman Gosden was Amos and Charles Correll was Andy. The fact that Eddie, a Black man, had a role on this program was a big deal. Ernestine Wade, pictured above, was eventually hired to play Sapphire and would go on to have the same role on the TV program. The radio program became awesomely popular. The listening audience was estimated at over 40 million, almost one-third of Americans living at that time. Eddie had also begun “Duffy’s Tavern” and the money was coming in.

 

S. Williams and T. Moore

Not everyone was crazy about the fact that Gosden and Correll chose to use a “Negro dialect”, or that they seemed to appear as “lazy” and “shiftless” Black men. And when the program went to TV in 1951, the NAACP were not happy to see this played out on the screen. Even though the TV program used only Black actors. Spencer Williams played Andy and Tim Moore played George “Kingfish” Stevens. (These men actually took lessons from a White person on how to talk in “Negro dialect”). Due to protests the TV program was cancelled in 1953, putting some good actors out of work, but reruns were shown until 1966.

When asked if I would think about writing an article on “Should we forget Amos n Andy?” I did begin to think about it. This is a precursor.

In doing the research for my second book about The Jeffersons TV sitcom, I ran across a quote from Sherman Hemsley, he said he did not pay attention to racial discrimination and he said that: “I used to like ‘Amos and Andy.’ I loved them. I don’t see anything embarrassing about that show. Some people have to hide from things. I remember when people used to hide from kinky hair and things like that. “Everybody you talk to is a reflection of yourself—you’ve got to learn to see yourself in everybody.”

As for myself as a child I thought the Amos n Andy show was funny. It was always on TV at our house. So was the Mickey Mouse Club (I totally had a Mouseketeer hat), and Boxing and probably Ed Sullivan. I even had a Daniel Boone hat with the long tail. It was all about being entertained. Frankly, I believe that everything we lay eyes on and/or hear will always be in our memory banks. I give props to all of those people who choose to do what they love, bypassing the bad criticism and contributing some good to this life.

Hey, thanks, for stopping by.

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.

Doris Day-Cool; But, Remember The Mills Brothers?

Welcome!!

 

UNSPECIFIED – CIRCA 1935: Photo of Brothers Mills, The Mills Brothers signed 1935 by each of the brothers. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Today, watching Social Media, it has occurred to me that there are not many Black celebrities from back in the day remembered/celebrated for their many successes. The fact that I wrote my father’s biography was the best thing I could have done for his memory. People are so glad I wrote it! My father’s life story includes the fact that he sent one of his songs to a publisher in New York asking him to give it to the Mills Brothers or some such quartette. So I did a bit of research on the Mills Brothers. How many people remember the Mills Brothers? Probably a lot, but not as readily as they remember Doris Day. Maye it’s because no one talks about these Black giants of entertainment. And the Mills Brothers successes were phenomenal. The Mills Brothers made more than 2,000 recordings that sold more than 50 million copies and garnered at least three dozen gold records.

Pennsylvania Historical Marker

They became local radio stars and got their major break when Duke Ellington and his Orchestra played a date in Cincinnati and he was able to hook them up with Okeh records, the same company that recorded my father.

“Tiger Rag” became a number 1 hit on the charts. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). They were a hit on CBS in 1930–1931, particularly when they co-starred on the popular The Fleischmann’s Yeast Hour hosted by Rudy Vallee (where my father would perform 1934-1937).

In 1934, The Mills Brothers became the first African-Americans to give a command performance before British royalty. They performed at the Regal Theatre for a special audience: King George V and Queen Mary. It was during this time that they lost their brother John, Jr. and their father took over his spot.

“I’ll Be Around” became a hit, and then a disk jockey played side B and “Paper Doll”, (written by Johnny S. Black) recorded in fifteen minutes, became a hit. It sold six million copies and became the group’s biggest hit 1943. “I’m gonna buy a Paper Doll that I can call my own”.

 

They appeared in movies in the 1930s and tv programs in the 50s (The Perry Como Show, The Tonight Show, The Dean Martin Show). 

The rise of rock and roll in the early fifties did little to decrease the Mills Brothers popularity. “Glow Worm” (Johnny Mercer version) became the 5th million selling record in 1952, they had a hit in 1958 with a cover version of “Get a Job” by The Silhouettes. Their last hit was “Cab Driver”.

In 1998 the Recording Academy recognized the Mills family’s contributions to popular music when it presented Donald, as the sole surviving member, with a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Mills Brothers Hollywood Walk of Fame

These four gentlemen were HOT. For quite a while. And it gives me great pleasure to know that my father wrote a song that he thought might work for The Mills Brothers. Doris Day was cool, I memorized “Que Sera, Sera” as a child and have seen almost all of her movies; but I love listening to those Mills Brothers. (“Shine little glow worm, glimmer, glimmer”) – Johnny Mercer version.

 

Hey, thanx for stopping by 🙂

 

 

 

wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mills_Brothers#References

Google Advanced Image Search

Interview: Guest “Staras” – Willie Tyler and Lester

Hi there you all. Well, I’ve spoken to my first person who guest starred on the tv sitcom, The Jeffersons. Mr. Willie Tyler, ventriloquist. Lester, his dummy, was not available.  I spoke with Willie for about 20 minutes via cell phone regarding this appearance. I got a big kick out of talking with him.  Willie told me he thinks of Lester as real, that way it’s easier to make him real to the audience. About Lester, according to a newspaper article I found on Fulton Postcards: “You would never know that the little fellow is not human once Willie Tyler sets the flashy little man on his knee and commences an act that has been applauded all over the world.”

Writing a book about The Jeffersons is going to give me the opportunity to talk with many more “staras” as my brother would say, and I’m loving it. I get to research these people and bring back an awareness of their works in the entertainment world. A lot of the people who worked on The Jeffersons are gone now. But not all of them.  Some are still doing their gigs to appreciative audiences. As is Willie Tyler and his buddy, Lester. Mr. Tyler is currently preparing to perform on a Cruise Ship. It’s amazing to me how this gentleman has done his ventriloquist act for more than 40 years. And he still loves doing it.

Willie Tyler and Lester appeared on The Jeffersons in 1978. I intend to share more in my book but I will tell you I found an old tv ad that reads: “George’s stockbroker is a ventriloquist, but is he a dummy? Only Louise knows the answer to that one.” Starring Isabel Sanford and Sherman Hemsley. Tarrytown NY Daily News (1978)

Willie Tyler and Lester appeared on the David Letterman show during “Ventriloquist Week” – take a gander, and, please, keep coming back.

 

ELLE VA – “She Goes”

 

1964 Elva Courier

Lately I have taken to signing my emails with my first name italicized, like this. I have also begun to use a different font from what’s used in the body of the message. Today I noticed that italicized letters give the illusion of movement. Elva. Which then reminded me of the fact that at one time the Elva racing car was quite popular. According to Wikipedia, Elva was a sports and racing car manufacturing company based in Bexhill, then Hastings and Rye, East Sussex, United Kingdom. The company was founded in 1955 by Frank G. Nichols. The name comes from the French phrase elle va (“she goes”). I have obviously started to think of myself as someone who is going forward. So my name is appropriate for this time of my life. My mother told me that my father chose my name and I always wondered how he came up with Elva. I know he took my mom to Paris once, maybe he heard it there. And I do love pairing it with a cool racing car.

This past week I had a library presentation in Los Angeles. I shared about the biography I have written about my father, Eddie Green. The book was published in 2016 and I am happy that I am still being asked to do these presentations. When I started writing the book I never even considered the possibility of appearing before a group of people to talk about the book. I just wanted to write it.

I have gone on to do presentations at libraries, Rotary Clubs, and clubs whose members are in the Entertainment business. I have done podcasts and radio interviews. Here I am at Mark Twain Library, still going, doing my thing-I think I am listening to a member of the audience. (I look just like my father!).

 

In the meantime, I have added to the process of going forward by starting the research on my second book by interviewing the producer of the tv sitcom, The Jeffersons. Yes, I had a 20 minute phone convo with Mr. Norman Lear. For those of you who don’t know, Norman Lear is an American television writer and producer who produced such 1970s sitcoms as All in the Family, Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, Good Times, and Maude. I wrote out my questions beforehand, went to the park and made the call. The cell phone didn’t cut off and Mr. Lear was easy to talk with. My second book will be about The Jeffersons 1970s-1980’s television program.

I have started to watch all the episodes of The Jeffersons (DVD), and I have even begun to try and get a cast member to do a foreword for the book. My wonderful publisher thinks I am just right for this book writing project, so I must be! ELVASHE GOES.

Hey, thanx, for stopping by!!!

 

Black Way Back Radio

“Radio for Negroes is a very hard field to get into . . . very hard! But the returns are so great that it’s worth the try.”

This is a quote from my father, Eddie Green, the gentleman sitting in the above picture (for those of you new to my blog). This quote appeared in a 1947 newspaper article for which Eddie was interviewed. Eddie had actually started radio work back in the late 20s. He said this in an article from The Negro Digest in 1949 stating, “It was during the year 1929. I was living in New York and trying every kind of theatrical job that was available. I had already played all kinds of vaudeville, burlesque, musical comedy and a few small radio programs.”

His radio popularity started, however with the Fleishman’s Yeast Hour Rudy Vallee Show, as shown here in this line from a local newspaper The Pittsburgh Courier, the article is about Eddie’s inclusion into yet another radio program in 1935, it said, “this was nothing new to Eddie Green, who worked several seasons very successfully with Rudy Vallee, in fact, so successfully he was returned three times by popular demand.” Eddie  went on to become Eddie the waiter on the very popular Duffy’s Tavern Radio Program from 1941-1950.

When I started this blog and began writing a biography of my father, until about 2 weeks ago, it hadn’t sunk in just how rare a Black man’s performances or contributions to radio in the early 1900s were. Probably because I wasn’t coming from a Black point of view but from a personal inspirational and hopefully, motivational point of view. Using Eddie to show my grandson how one can accomplish their goals despite obstacles, and then to show the same to anyone who is doubting their abilities. I have been sharing on Old Time Radio (OTR) blogs with much success in regard to meeting people who are genuinely interested in Eddie’s OTR life. However, what dawned on me is that yes, he was on the radio, but the radio show’s themselves were White produced programs.

Duffy’s Tavern and Amos n Andy. Today these two programs are not talked about a lot on the groups I follow. These groups talk about the Gildersleeves, The Shadow, the Gildersleeves (no, this is not an error), Jack Benny, Johnny Dollar, Groucho Marx and other similar programs. While sharing about my father’s appearances on the first two programs I realized interactions with those other OTR fans is very limited because there were not many Blacks on the radio back then. Period. My brain said “as a matter of fact, how come no one ever talks about Black old time radio?” That’s when I woke up.

I began to research African-American OTR. I found a lot of articles, such as this one from J. Fred MacDonald that says: “Certainly, there were black radio performers like Eddie Anderson, Lillian and Amanda Randolph, Eddie Green, Hattie McDaniel, Ruby Dandridge, and Juano Hernandez, but their roles were either stereotypically comedic or insubstantial. And there were so many areas where African Americans never participated: No black men or women reported the news; there were no black sportscasters, no black soap operas; and no substantial black roles appeared in romances or dramas or Westerns or detective shows.

Tens of millions of citizens tuned in thousands of stations to hear news, sports, drama, comedy, and the various other formats by which broadcasters had adapted radio to aural entertainment. To staff such operations, moreover, the stations and networks employed countless numbers of writers, directors, actors, and technicians. Thus, aside from its popularity, the radio industry was a massive commercial operation. Despite its tremendous need for personnel, however, the industry in its so-called Golden Age offered only limited opportunities for black men and women to develop.”

This was borrowed from J. Fred MacDonald who died while I was writing my book in 2015 and whose archives by the end of the 20th century, were termed by the Library of Congress to be “the most important archive in private hands in the United States.”

I did find Richard Durham. Richard Durham was born September 6, 1917 in Raymond Mississippi and was raised in Chicago. He died April 24, 1984. Durham developed an interest for radio during the depression as a young dramatist with the Writers Project of the WPA. Durham studied at Northwestern University in Chicago and was the editor of the local black newspaper, The Chicago Defender. His first major radio experience came in Chicago with the series “Democracy USA”, which he wrote for the CBS station WBBM and with Here Comes Tomorrow, a black soap opera he wrote for WJJD. His radio program Destination Freedom premiered on June 27, 1948 on Chicago radio WMAQ and consisted of 91 different scripts produced solely by Richard Durham. Destination Freedom was a provocative half-hour show that showcased the lives and accomplishments of prominent African Americans. Did you notice he wrote a Black soap opera?

My father obviously knew what he was talking about when he said radio for Negroes was a very hard field to get into way back in the day. I am beginning to understand how much effort it took for my father to achieve his dream of becoming a show business personality, as a Black man. How truly difficult it was for a Black person to step into certain positions in the early 1900s in America. Eddie’s success was unusual, then. And it is still unusual for some to discuss today. This is just a reality. I am going to delve a bit more into this Black radio thing because it interests me very much.

It fits right in with my decision to become a Cheerleader for Trailblazers (this is going to be my twitter hashtag). So many people have done so much in this world that no one talks about or acknowledges. Not just Black trailblazers, though we have become more of a priority for me-but also of young trailblazers, female trailblazers, piano-playing trailblazers. Send me a trailblazing subject, I love research.

Thanks, for stopping by

Title of this post provided by Brian Beasley, my brother 🙂

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

 

 

 

“The Whole Town is Talking About Eddie Green”

According to today’s news, a new Black female movie director who has just finished directing Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle In Time”, has been chosen to direct Jack Kirby’s “New Gods” for Warner Bros. I have been following her rise, and when I read the words Warner Bros., my father flashed into my mind because he did a Warner Bros. Vitaphone Film.

The film is titled Sending A Wire. I felt that here is a connection (if somewhat remote) I can use to help make Eddie relevant to today. You know, Eddie was Black, he was a director, he worked with Warner Bros. and he was a Trailblazer.

I also communicate via Twitter. So I tweeted this information to the female director, yes, hoping for some type of acknowledgement. I am still in the process of promoting the biography I have written about my father and I am trying every way I can think of to get his story seen. I read somewhere that I should “do the same thing everyone else does, but do it differently”. Huh?? So I’m just doing what I think this advice is saying. I want to bring Eddie back to the fore of people’s minds. Because he was a trailblazer who was the best at what he did. His story can provide that pin-in-the-tush type of motivation for others.

Sending A Wire started out as a skit in a play titled Hot Chocolates and went on to become quite popular. From my book:

There was also “Sending A Wire”, written by Eddie, featuring Eddie and Jimmy Baskette, as a customer and clerk, respectively, in a telegraph office. The New York Age called Sending A Wire “riotously funny”. Evidently, Eddie was “knocking them ga-ga” in his telegraph skit at the Hudson.

James “Jimmie” Baskette, born February 16, 1904, would later become best known as “Uncle Remus” singing the song “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah” in the 1946 Disney feature film, Song of the South.
Connie’s Hot Chocolates was hailed by critics and was touted as being fast, funny and frank. Hot Chocolates would go on to have 219 performances. The closing date was December 14, 1929.

The skit from “Connie’s Hot Chocolates”, “Sending A Wire”, became a Warner Brother’s Vitaphone film that was said to be the funniest Vitaphone comedy act “which has yet been produced”, and that it “kept thousands shaking with laughter.” The film is registered in the Library of Congress as Sending A Wire, Eddie Green and Co. New York Age February 1, 1930.

“Sending A Wire”, would go on to be shown at Loew’s Main St. New Rochelle Theater, December 7, 8 and 9, billed as “Eddie Green & Co.”, featured between the Hearst Metrotone News and Irene Franklin, and, at the Strand Theater on the same program with a Mickey Mouse cartoon called The Jazz Fool.

Okeh Records would record the song “Sending A Wire” with Eddie Green and Company (which can be found at the Library of Congress under Black Films: Paper Print Collection.)


At the time, Commander Richard E. Byrd, an America Naval Officer had started an expedition to the Antarctic, and had set up a base camp named “Little America” in the Antarctic on the Ross Ice Shelf. The Gannet Newspapers, which at the time included the Albany News and The Knickerbocker Press, decided to put together a stellar list of entertainers to perform over radio stations WGY and WHAM to be broadcast to “Little America”, for the enjoyment of the explorers. Commander Byrd would receive the short wave and the broadcast wave lengths to all broadcast listeners in the United States. Amsterdam Evening Recorder: “Tonight’s radio program for Commander Byrd-Radio entertainment, originating in three different cities will be broadcast by WGY and its short wave stations to Commander Richard Byrd and his men in Little America.

Eddie was added to the program specifically to do his “Telegraph Skit” which was said to be “one of the funniest skits on the stage.” Eddie would perform along with Ralph Rainger, the composer of “Moanin’ Low”, who was also invited. Some of the other stellar performers included Rudy Vallee, Fred Allen and comedian Ted Healy. At the end of the program letters and messages from the men’s families were read over the air.

Regarding Eddie Green’s performance on the radio program, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle said “The whole town is talking about Eddie Green, prime colored comic, who will put on one of the funniest skits on the stage. He will dash from the Hudson Theater immediately after the final curtain to the National Broadcasting Company where he will re-enact his side-splitting “Telegraph Office” skit for Commander Byrd and his crew.”  (Brooklyn Daily Eagle July 18, 1929).

“The whole town is talking about Eddie Green.” What a wonderful line to read about one’s father in the newspaper.

Thank you so much, for stopping by.

Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer-BearManor Media publisher

A Cheerleader for TrailBlazers!!

On March 7th I had the best time doing a book talk at a local library here in Los Angeles. There was a nice group of people, snacks and tea and I was prepared. But, I was a bit nervous. I think I was worried about how “cute” I was, or not. I said “uh” a lot. After I shared the Toastmaster tips I was not following I got a laugh and I felt more at ease. I spoke for almost an hour. I passed photos around. One thing I have noticed is that once the audience begins to hear my father’s rags-to-riches story they become truly interested. They are amazed in some instances and sad in others. And they laugh. His story is inspiring. I love it. I have begun to want to be a Cheerleader for Trailblazers, not only Eddie, but others. I find that keeping in mind those that paved the way is a motivating factor for future endeavors. One of the things I talked about was that Eddie wrote the song “A Good Man is Hard to Find” way back in 1917. During the early 1920s Sophie Tucker loved this song so much she sang it in her nightclub act every night for ten weeks.

Depending on who was talking about it, the song was listed as a Blues song or a Fox Trot or as Jazz. Sophie did a Blues version. As you can see by this poster she was a red hot mamma, so you can imagine how she must have sang that song. After my talk at the library, a few of the people stayed around to talk with me. One of them was a gentleman who just happened to be a big Sophie Tucker fan and an Eddie Green fan. When I got home he had posted this message on my Facebook Book Page: “Dear Miss Green, I attended your talk at Memorial Library yesterday afternoon and enjoyed it very much. I am going to order the book from Amazon and look forward to reading it. Good luck to you and thank you for bringing Eddie Green back to life.” Now, of course, he did not know it but basically this is exactly what I was hoping to do with my book. Bring Eddie back to the fore of the public’s mind because of his many achievements during his lifetime which people have forgotten. What a treat to have spoken with this man.

The gentleman also told me a story I had never heard before about Sophie Tucker and Alberta Hunter. Alberta Hunter was an American jazz singer and songwriter who had a successful career from the early 1920s to the late 1950s. He saw Alberta Hunter on a late night talk show probably in the 60s or 70s. She was discussing the night she decided to sing “Sophie’s” song-A Good Man is Hard to Find-on stage. And so she did. With Sophie Tucker sitting right there in the audience. So there!! They each participated in making the song a big hit. The gentleman who told me this story also said he looked and looked for a Sophie Tucker recorded version and finally found it just by happenstance. And here he was now talking to the daughter of the man who wrote the song. This is one of the reasons I love doing these talks. I get to meet and connect with people who know about my father or want to know. Since Eddie died when I was three this is so special for me.

Eddie wrote the song in 1917 and sold it in 1918. He was pretty poor back then and I’m sure needed the money. He didn’t know the song was going to become a mega best-seller and that people today, still, are recording and performing his song over 100 years later. Impresses the heck outta me.

I do request that you ask for the book at your local library so that they will stock it. Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer. And tell your friends.

Thanks, 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.

 

Alberta Hunter and The Influence of Old Timers

This is the first lady that I heard sing my father’s song “A Good Man is Hard to Find” on a Los Angeles Jazz radio station in 1988. A friend recorded it to a cassette for me. The song I have placed in this post is different but connected. See, I started to write this post about the difficulty in getting today’s public interested in radio artists from the 20s, 30s, and 40s, unless they are older people or people who are into entertainment nostalgia.  And how difficult it has been to get today’s Black people interested in Black entertainers from the same era. Because there are people today (like my younger brother Brian) who have contempt for the “Rochesters” or “Fettchits”. Those slow-talking, yes, sah Blacks, thus making it harder to market the biography I have written about my father who was successful during the early 1900s. They are not proud of these old timers. But I think the fact that these entertainers persevered and succeeded during a time of great hardship for Americans and particularly Black people makes a powerful statement of tenacity that ought to be passed on and on. For instance, our kids today are listening to songs that contain profanity and outright sexual lyrics. But guess what? They need to know that this is not new, they are simply re-stating the same ideas that began back in the 20s with songs like the one below from youtube. Only a bit more subtle.

 

 

Yes, Alberta Hunter! 1895-1984. We now have the internet and cable and smartphones and no longer sit around the radio waiting for Amos n Andy or The Hit Parade or Duffy’s Tavern (with Eddie Green as Eddie, the waiter), or The Shadow, but we ought to remember these pioneers and their determination to follow and achieve their dreams. Black or White.

Then, this morning, my focus for this post began to include Racism. I read an article. On March 31, 2017 someone left a noose in the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D. C. The world may have moved on technology-wise, but racism and hatred are still with us. For my Black brothers and sisters this may very well prove to be a reason for not wanting to look back at what some see as negative Black images from the 20s, 30s or 40s. Or maybe they see these as simply by-gone days. But remember, these Black entertainers who came before us witnessed lynchings and still chose to pursue their entertainment dreams. Through courage and determination these old timers left legacies of courage and success. They prove that perseverance, love of life and the desire to provide happiness to others can and will stop negativity from overtaking this world, that the desire to harm others can be lessened and a greater desire to help others can be achieved.

Hey, thanks for stopping by and please share this book info with others.

https://www.facebook.com/EddieGreenBook/