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.

 

SUNDAY SPECIAL

meonradio yesterdayusaGet ready, get ready, get ready. I am following in my father’s footsteps. On Sunday, July 31, at 7:30PM, I am going to be interviewed on an internet radio station with regard to my new book! Eddie, my father, was an Old Time Radio icon who appeared for ten years on the Duffy’s Tavern radio show, as well as appearing on The Radio Hall of Fame, Stage Door Canteen and many others. In his own words he was “one who knows the radio business.” In a letter he wrote to a radio station back in 1938 he introduced himself like this: “I am known in big time radio from coast to coast.”

Well, I am not known from coast to coast, yet, but I am working on it. Actually, I take that back, I am in L. A. and I do have a follower in Maine. Anywho, this will be the second interview I have done with this radio program which is hosted by John and Larry Gassman and Walden Hughes. The first interview was before my book was published.  Please tune in and enjoy the show. Just go online and enter Yesterday USA (see above photo) and click on either Red or Blue.

I like sharing my book writing journey here on WP. I am still surprised that I have finished writing the book.

I have just received my copy and looking through it and seeing the pictures and the index and all the chapters put together is like receiving a present from someone.Eddie Green -Social Media

I suggest if you have a desire to put a story in book form, do it!

Thanx again, 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!

Me, Tarzan

egamosnandy
Eddie Green (third from left) and radio cast of Amos n Andy

 

jesteramosnandytv
Front row third from left Jester Hairston Amos n Andy TV show

Ok, so you are probably wondering what Tarzan has to do with Eddie Green and Jester Hairston. Well, keep reading and be amazed.

Recently, I saw an article in the news about the current Tarzan movie, The Legend of Tarzan. The article spoke of this new Hollywood movie depicting a lingering racist mentality, because it shows a White man having to step in and help the African people out of trouble. The article mentions that the movie does make a limited attempt to show a sophisticated view of African society. Looking back now I can see that in the old Tarzan movies the African natives were depicted in a less than civilized manner. Of course the original book was written back in 1912 and unfortunately that was how some White people saw Africans. But instead of zeroing in on a racist element in this new movie, why not just enjoy the movie.

As a kid, what I saw when I watched Tarzan movies was Johnny Weismuller swinging from a tree with a monkey friend and a girlfriend named Jane.weismuller Yelling Ahahaahaha!

As a youngster I thought he was cool.  He was on television and I could watch and enjoy the show and learn the call. I don’t know if Edgar Rice Burroughs was a racist or a cook, if he was simply a writer of a story or if he was trying to make a point. Even after I grew I really didn’t care. Of course, I grew out of those old Tarzan and Jane movies but then I found George of the Jungle.georgeGeorge, George, George of the Jungle, watch out for that…..Treee!! As an adult I actually watched the cartoons because they were fun.

Jester Hairston and my father Eddie were friends, who worked on some of the same programs in the 1940s. Eddie started out in Vaudeville wearing Blackface because you could not get on stage with a White person if you did not wear Blackface, and went on to become a filmmaker, movie and Broadway star and a composer.

Jester Hairston who was born in 1901 and who lived to be 98 years old had a long career in show business. In his early career Jester got bit parts as a native in the old Tarzan movies. He said he ran naked yelling ‘Bwana, bwana!” through more Tarzan movies than he cared to remember.  According to Wikipedia, Jester said “We had a hard time then fighting for dignity,” he once said of his early roles. ” . . . We had no power. We had to take it, and because we took it the young people today have opportunities.

I like to focus on those actors (in this case Black actors) who helped the careers of today’s Black actors. Jester Hairston was the grandson of a slave, born in Belews Creek, N.C. Through his long career he appeared in movies like Lady Sings the Blues, To Kill A Mockingbird, and he appeared in television on the show That’s My Mama, and Amen with Sherman Hemsley.jesteramencase

Jester Hairston also had a career as a music conductor. He collaborated with Dimitri Tiomkin for 30 years and he wrote and arranged spirituals for Hollywood films. Continuing to conduct choirs in his 90s, he crisscrossed the world as a goodwill ambassador for the State Department.

These oldtimers that were relegated to playing what seemed at the time to some to be demeaning parts, paved the way. They were men and women trying to make a living doing what they liked to do, living out their dreams. Taking their audience on adventures. They did not spend a lot of their time feeling sorry for themselves.

Eddie and Jester were two Black men who persevered and became successful.

Times have changed. Even so, it may seem like a difficult task to make a Tarzan movie today without it seeming racist. But, if we can just see it as what it is, a movie about a fictional character in the Congo fighting computer made lions, while also managing to have a love interest, then why not do that. Get some popcorn and some malted milk balls and a large soda and have some fun.

Thanks, for stopping by.

 

 

GOING PLACES

Eddie Green Cover Image composit
Eddie Green

I love this portrait. I found it online one day while looking for information for my book. At that time I had one head shot of my father that had been given to me by my mother for my 40th birthday, and a few pictures I had found at online auctions and in newspapers. I was so excited to see this portrait that I contacted the artist and thanked him. He sent me the portrait! He’s a fan. Well, this portrait will be featured on the front cover of my book, along with the title, Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer, and my name, of course.

The finished product is in the works as I write this.

I am fortunate to have a good number of followers of this blog, some for a long time and some very recent. For the more recent followers, this blog has pretty much been about my book writing journey regarding my father, Eddie Green who was a prominent moviemaker, film star, Old Time Radio icon and beloved comedian active in the early 1900s, but whose name became buried in the sands of time. I have spent years researching and in February of 2015 I bought my first laptop for the specific reason of writing my book which will be published this year. I will post a copy of the front and back covers on the book when I receive my completed copy.

The covers depict Eddie in white coat and black tie (he was always sharp), and it reminds me of the fact that he frequently emceed floor shows, also. Especially after he became famous as Eddie, the waiter on the Old Time Radio show Duffy’s Tavern. For instance, during the Spring of 1947 he emceed the 68th Anniversary of the leadership of Charlotta A. Bass of the California Eagle newspaper (In 1952, Bass became the first African-American woman nominated for Vice President, as a candidate of the Progressive Party.)

One of the performers in that floor show was Mabel Fairbanks, a Black ice skating star. Ms. Fairbanks performed in the 1930s through the 1940s, but because she was Black she was denied the chance to compete in the national qualifying events for the Olympics, though she did tour nationally. In 1997 she became the first African American to be inducted into the U. S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame. Today we have 19-year-old Simone Biles who has become the first woman to win four consecutive U. S. all-around titles in 42 years and who will be attending the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. It all blends together and becomes relevant to today’s generation.

All you wonderful people out there, I welcome comments, anecdotes or neighborly hellos, and tell your friends to check me out, cause we are going places.

Thanx, for stopping by, and keep coming back.

 

 

 

ANTICIPATION

eddieinoffice
Eddie and his secretary signing talent

 

Hi. So I have posted a picture of my father, Eddie in his office back in 1939 greeting young ladies who showed up for a chance to appear in one of his movies, produced by his Sepia Art Pictures Company movie studio. Eddie’s office was located on 7th Avenue in New York, which is where a good part of his career took place. He spent some time in Hollywood during 1936-38 appearing on various radio programs, but he did not have a home in California until 1945. Sepia Art Pictures had gone out of business by 1945, but that did not mean his movie making days were over.

Eddie was signed on to play “Eddie, the waiter” in a new radio program titled Duffy’s Tavern in 1941, and when Paramount decided to produce a movie version of the radio program in 1945, Eddie was signed for the role in the movie. Eddie’s movie making money had run out, but I do believe financial difficulties took a turn because he married my mom in 1945, bought his house in Los Angeles and started a new movie/television studio on Western Avenue in 1946.

Today I decided to make this a short post about Eddie because I want to write about me and my book writing journey.  I have a writer friend who is well versed in the etiquette of book writing. Meaning this friend has offered to help make sure I have not printed material that might show someone in a bad light. So my friend is reading my book. The book about my father is the first book I have ever written so I take all the help I can get. But……..the waiting is difficult. Even though I am perfectly aware of the time frame called for. My book is approximately 48,000 words in length. And people have other things to do. My friend has a family, a job, book signings. I am blessed to have this help. I am sharing this because maybe someone else is having the same issue. Learning how to wait with anticipation.

I was reminded today of the last opera I saw with my mom. It was Madama Butterfly. In one scene Madam Butterfly is waiting for her love to come back from the sea. She sits on the floor and waits.waiting 3And waits. And waits. Pretty soon some of the people in the audience at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion start getting a little fidgety. Madame Butterfly hasn’t moved. She’s waiting. After a while we, the audience, begin to understand that we have been invited to participate in order to understand how long Madama Butterfly waited for this man. We were waiting too. By the time her wait was over I had begun to question whether the producer of this play was a genius or a nut for making the audience wait so long. And when I thought of this today while I was standing on the bus stop, I laughed out loud. Which relieved some of the pressure that had begun to build up in me.

After all, judging by the past few years of this endeavor, everything I have needed I have received. I have no complaints. My grandson told me to remember, that no matter how things turn out, to remember that I said I was going to write a book and I did. I just need to sit back, relax and be prepared for the next phase of marketing this bad boy. Thank you, Jeremy.

Hey, thanks, for stopping by.

Sepia Pride

letterheadcropped

The above is a picture taken of the letterhead my father used during his 1939-41 movie making period. Eddie had two studios during his lifetime, the second studio he had was in Los Angeles in 1946-1950. As you can see, Eddie was very proud of his achievement and he was a man who was intent on furthering the African-American community.

Now that I have written the biography of my father, the manuscript has been sent for editing after which I will get to make any revisions deemed necessary and then the publisher will take over. So, the focus of this blog will eventually shift from writing about Eddie’s life to writing about how the book is received. Whether it will attract readers and whether it will hopefully provide inspiration. I will also write about how this book writing journey has helped to increase my understanding of the struggles that still exist for black independent film makers today.

I have become almost painfully aware of the lack of movies being made by African-Americans, of African-Americans and with African-Americans. Movies written by, produced by, and directed by African-Americans with an all-black cast.

Before 1950 there was The Lincoln Motion Picture Company of George and Noble Johnson. This company is considered to be the first all-black movie production company. The company made and distributed only five films. These films were limited to African American audiences in churches, schools, and “Colored Only” theaters, despite the Johnson brothers wanting a wider audience. Unfortunately production expenses and low sales halted future films to be made and distributed. There was Spencer Williams (he of Amos n Andy television fame), Williams along with a partner formed a movie and newsreel company, the Lincoln Talking Pictures Company. There was Oscar Micheaux of the Micheaux Book & Film Company (probably the most well-known early black film maker, who directed and produced over 40 films.) And there was Eddie Green, who owned two studios, Sepia-Art Pictures and Sepia Production Co. Like the Lincoln Motion Picture Company Eddie produced only five movies, four in 1939-1941 and one in 1949. Eddie directed, wrote, produced and acted in each movie.

Eddie died in 1950. Oscar Micheaux died in 1951. By then black owned studios were becoming a thing of the past, mostly due to production expenses.  White movie producers began producing the so-called “race” movies and were able to woo black actors with bigger paychecks.

Once Hollywood took off, black actors became famous through these mainstream “Hollywood” made movies, movies like  St. Louis Blues (1958) with Nat King Cole, Eartha Kitt, Ruby Dee, Ella Fitzgerald. Superfly (1972) which was produced by Warner Bros.

Then along came Spike Lee in the early 1980s, with his 40 Acres and a Mule Productions. I could be wrong, but from what I have researched he wrote, produced, directed and starred in She’s Gotta Have It, and the movie had an all-black cast in a black neighborhood. Hello!

Now, of course, there are more independent black owned film companies, but you have to stumble upon them. Well, maybe not Harpo, which produced the movie Beloved, which had a white director.

The integration of blacks into movies made by the major movie studios contributed to the decline of all black cast movies. Lack of money was a major factor. The deaths of our pioneers was another major factor. The early independent pioneers struggled. Blacks, whites, women.   Blacks have blended into the movie industry very well on the screen. The so-called “race” movies that were produced, directed, written, and photographed and starred in by only blacks, seem to no longer exist. There are how many black-owned film studios? Few. There is still a struggle going on.

Going forward with this blog, I want to research and write about more people who are working to achieve recognition. Who deserve recognition. There is room at the top and I would like to put some effort into pushing someone up. My book is about my father who happens to be black which gives me a good reason to focus on black progress. But my major desire is to be able to contribute some positivity to anyone’s ability to rise.

 

 

 

 

The Size of Success

eddieandhattieThough this picture is very small, I wanted to lead this post with it because in more ways than one it signifies success. From left to right are my mom Norma, my father Eddie, actress Louise Beavers, Louise Beavers’ father, Academy Award Winner Hattie McDaniel, and unfortunately I have not identified the woman on the far right. This photo was taken about 1939.  Eddie, Ms. Beavers and Ms. McDaniel were role models of success in the entertainment business, especially in the African-American community. My mom had begun to achieve success as an opera singer. My daughter, Melony (a success in more eyes than just mine), loves this picture.

I have realized over the past few days that success for me is finishing the book about my father’s life.  Relatively speaking, it’s a small thing. Thousands of people have written books. But today I actually felt successful. I had the motivation and the ability to search out information and put it down on paper. My skills with a laptop grew along with my need to use a laptop. Every person has the ability to succeed in life, whether it be on a grand scale or on a less than grand scale.

I have learned that success is achieved with the help of others. I never thought that I would receive as much help as I have during this process. From the beginning of my research for my book, through the writing, the proofing, until today, I have received support and encouragement from people I have met along the way.

Of course, it’s not finished yet. I am working on a Book Cover design (with help). And I have to get a picture taken of myself for marketing purposes (which means I need a new outfit, a manicure, hahaha). By the way, the title of the book is: Eddie Green – The Rise of an Early African-American Entertainment Pioneer.

I started my very first blog post back in 2014 with this sentence:  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 wanted this blog to help others determine the skills or abilities they possessed. I hoped to be able to help determine what motivates each individual person, and what it means to succeed in life. Hey, if I can do it………..

Thanks, for stopping by.