FUNNY IN TIMES OF CRISIS

I’ve been doing what I like to do best-researching. I saw a story online about the 1918 Spanish Flu and it dawned on me that my father was alive back then. As a matter of fact, he was married to his first wife, had his first daughter, had signed up for WWI, had written a song and was on the road traveling down south with his “Deluxe Players”. The 1918 pandemic lasted from, I think, August of 1918 through December of 1920. Eddie began his first on stage vaudeville work in 1920. He was a comedian. The 1918 flu was targeting young adults. About half of the deaths were in the 20-40 range. Eddie was about 29. He had already experienced diseases and poverty being born in 1891 in Baltimore during a time of no indoor plumbing and rampant Leukemia in the East Baltimore slums. It’s one of the reasons he left home at nine years old and worked as a boy magician until someone suggested that he was so funny he really didn’t need a lot of props to entertain people. It seems that Eddie never got sick. Vaudeville and Burlesque were pulling people in. Eddie was performing in Tampa, Fla., in 1919 with his Deluxe Players when he applied for and got a job as a comedian in New York in 1920. The flu had hit Haskell County, Kansas In January 1918.

Thinking about it now, I never really thought about the chaos that was going on in the world during those years.

How did people continue to think up gags and write songs that weren’t sad and forlorn. Eddie wrote “A Good Man is Hard to Find” in 1917. In my book I wrote that maybe he was actually talking about the fact that the armed services were drafting men to fight in WWI.  In 1920 he wrote “Don’t Let No One Man Worry Your Mind”, but this was probably for lovers. Anyhow, the flu was still raging and Eddie still had to entertain if he was going to earn money.

I read that in order to maintain morale, World War I censors minimized early reports of illness and mortality in Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States, which may have contributed to the spread. However, papers were free to report the epidemic’s effects in neutral Spain, such as the grave illness of King Alfonso XIII, and these stories created a false impression of Spain as especially hard hit, and may have given rise to the name “Spanish” Flu.

Military pathologists eventually reported the onset of a new disease with high mortality that they later recognized as the flu. Their overcrowded camps and hospitals were an ideal site for the spreading of a respiratory virus. When soldiers were sent home there was a second wave of flu victims in 1918.

It was discovered that what we now call social distancing was paramount in surviving that flu. The French colony of New Caledonia  succeeded in preventing even a single death from influenza through effective quarantines. And the world went on. And got better.

The “Roaring Twenties”. Booze and parties. Eddie was appearing onstage in “All In Fun”, dancing and singing now along with his comedy. I read he and his partner were encored many times. So everyone must have been having a good time. Duke Ellington was coming along. Eddie opened a publishing business, a movie studio and wrote “King Tut’s Blues” because of the discovery of the tomb in 1923. And better things were yet to come. Even so, there was also the fact that in those early 1900 years racism was also a death sentence for Blacks. And Eddie was touring the country with Burlesque shows. In Blackface. And he was a hit everywhere he went. Fascinating when you think about it.

I believe I inherited my father’s ability to see the better side of life-to be able to focus on positivity and to help others to experience joy. Yes, tragedy and despair and horror exist, I know-but I refuse to let it take me all the way down. As Miss Celie said: “This life be over soon” anyhow. And as my brother, Lance, used to say “You only go around once, so you might as well do it with Gusto”. (Yes, he stole it from a beer commercial-LOL).

Brian, Lance, Brad

Hey, Love you all, please, keep coming back.

 

 

 

 

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

 

Happy Holiday Surprise!!

SURPRISE!!!! About two weeks ago it Snowed in the Antelope Valley in Sunny Southern California! Real Snow. In Lancaster, where it was hot as the blazes a couple of months ago. Snow in the Valley. I’ve seen snow before, in Manassas, Va. Not here. So all the neighbors were out taking pics and some of them made snowmen and snowwomen (guess how you could tell the difference). All I could think of when I went outside was “Merry Christmas!!!!” So I shouted it out. An early White Christmas. I love it! It hung around for about 3 days before it melted away. I took this pic with my old “free” government phone.

I have since bought a brand new Moto phone mainly because I could and also because I needed to be caught up with technology. I am now freelancing as a book marketer because of the fact that I am a published author. For anyone new to this Blog, I began it to post about my 1st book Eddie Green, The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer. A book about my father. (this pic was a table set up by my daughter at a book presentation). Which led to my publisher asking me to finish a book writing project about The Jeffersons.

I began researching and interviewing last December 2018. I am THIS close to having a rough draft for my publisher. I’ve spoken to cast and crew members, writers, directors and guests. I’ve spoken to those who cannot be done without – Administrative Assistants (I’ve been one so I know their importance). My self-imposed timeline to finish a rough for my publisher was the end of December 2019. It’s quite possible I may go a tad bit over. But everything about this book writing process is fun, except the proofing (:() Rather tedious, but necessary.

Don Coyote 1934 w/Reginald Denny

My new marketing project is about me posting information for others on Social Media sites. In 2014 when I bought my first laptop to write my first book I had no thought of what will I do after I write this book. None. In wanting this site to be inspirational I hoped others could begin their own books (you know the one you’ve been putting off for years). I really had no thought of where writing would lead me. I’m learning more now about the silent movie industry, aviation, race car driving and new phone technology. (Look for the new Reginald Denny book.)

So I’ve left my OG phone behind (now that I can afford an upgrade). I’m working hard on a new book about a TV sitcom that I loved and I’m looking way back into those yesteryears when you had to read what was on the screen. Which somehow seems to meld in to what we are doing today. Reading our screens. Anybody out there remember telephone party lines? Wishing you all a bunch of good Holiday Surprises!

Thanx, for stopping by and I’ll see you in the funny pages! (I don’t know what that means but my mom used to say it).

 

ACTORS: Remembering and Appreciating

Hello friends. The fact that I have begun the process of writing a book about The Jeffersons tv sitcom is beginning to make it clear just how diligent I am going to have to be in getting my facts straight. Somehow it seems a lot more involved than corroborating the information I learned about my father when writing his biography. In researching the actors and their participation in their various shows, I have found out that one person will say what they think things were like, some will say what they heard, and some will assume. Getting the actor’s stories in their own words is difficult, especially if those actors are no longer with us.

The three actors pictured, Sherman Hemsley, Isabel Sanford and Mike Evans have all died. Sherman in 2012, Isabel in 2004 and Mike in 2006. Sharing this writing process here on WordPress is so important in helping me with this book-writing learning experience. I am not using this forum to write the book from the beginning but to have some kind of clarity of where I am going.

Today I decided to write about actor Mike Evans who played the character Lionel Jefferson, the son of the Bunker’s new Black neighbors. The Bunkers were the family from “All In The Family” or AITF, with Carroll O’Conner, as Archie and Jean Stapleton, as Edith. Mike Evans began portraying Lionel in this AITF in 1971 through 1975 before moving on up to “The Jeffersons”.

As a child, Mike was “short, and fat, and funny-looking”. His parents divorced when he was a baby. As a young man he used his talent for art by making sculptures out of clothes hangers and selling them to hippies in Hollywood. By 18 he had enrolled in City College and was studying Psychology, then switched to an Acting major. He learned one day that a studio was looking for young, Black actors and so he went to audition and eventually got the part of Lionel. The one downside to this was that his father had died 3 months earlier so Mike was not able to share this with him.

In 1975 AITF produced the spin-off The Jeffersons and Mike continued to play his character. But after one season, Mike left the sitcom. According to The Las Vegas Sun-TV Scene. Sunday, February 20, 1977: He left because he “wasn’t having a good time on the show.” He did, however, return for the sixth through the eighth season. Mike had married in 1976 and his marriage lasted until 2002 when his wife died. Mike would die of throat cancer in 2006.

There is such an upside to writing this type of non-fiction book. The actors, writers, producers that I am able to be in contact with are given a boost just knowing that people are actually interested in them as artists and still remember them. And the relatives of those who have left us are pleased, also. They’ve told me so, and I can hear it in their voices.

I thank you so much for stopping by and for “clicking” on my posts.

🙂

 

 

MOVIN’ ON IN

Well, unlike George and Weezy I’ve moved on out of my old too expensive place “in” to a cheaper place. And what a relief it is. I’ve had to go backwards to move forward. Meaning I now have a bit more money to work with and I can be more comfortable while writing my second book and while I wait for my ship to come in. I’m sleeping with less stress as opposed to sleeping because of depression. And now I can focus on The Jeffersons. Getting back into doing research for a book helps balance me out.

When I started the process of interviewing folks for my book on the 1975-1985 tv sitcom The Jeffersons, I spoke with Mr. Norman Lear first. He talked about how he was influenced to produce a show like The Jeffersons by a few people who thought it would be a good idea to have a tv sitcom that portrayed affluent Black people who were coming up in the world as opposed to just struggling along, like the family from Good Times, so, he said “we moved on up”.

The Jeffersons theme song “Movin’ On Up” was written by Ja’Net DuBois and Jeff Barry. I did not know until recently that the theme song was sung by Ja’Net DuBois. Ms. DuBois, you may remember, played the part of Willona Woods from the tv sitcom Good Times (I know you remember her). Ms. DuBois began her acting career in the theater and went on to television and movie roles. She also dances. And has won an TV Land Image Award for her role in Good Times. (Frederick M. Brown-Getty Images)

 

Jeff Barry, the co-writer of “Movin’ On Up” is a Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee. He has co-written songs for  The Monkees, The Shangri-las, The Ronettes, and he co-wrote “River Deep, Mountain High” recorded by Tina Turner. Wow. He is also the recipient of the Ahmet Ertegün Award from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He has a great online site, too. (Google Advanced Image Search)

 

One of my Facebook friends said she liked the episode that featured Sammy Davis, Jr. I did not see that one, didn’t even know he had been a guest. The episode was titled “What Makes Sammy Run”. It aired January 1, 1984. I wonder how I missed THAT one. Sammy even recorded the Theme Song. Let’s see if I can post it here:

 

Hey, thanx, for stopping by!

🙂

 

 

 

Swingin’, Singin’ and Dancin’

Paul Benedict, Zara Cully, Roxie Roker, Franklin Cover

Hi there-I’ve headed this post with a still from the 1975-1985 tv sitcom “The Jeffersons” just to let you know that I am still in the process of interviewing guests/writers from this series-for instance, I have been in touch with a lady by the name of Lydia Nicole who played a young female gang member who stabs George! I chose the above picture though because Zara Cully was a favorite of mine, I always thought she was so good as George’s mother. And I liked Paul Benedict as Mr. Bentley. He was a part of the show from the beginning all the way to the last episode. It will be a good couple of months ’till I begin my first rough draft.

In the meantime, I will post more articles about my father, Eddie Green! New articles. I have found a new internet source to get articles about Eddie’s entertainment life. It’s taken me 4 years to find this in print:

Hazel Scott was a classical pianist, singer and actor. She was married to Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (I was baptized by Rev. Powell). I wish I could have heard Eddie and Hazel on “The Bishop and the Gargoyle”. Hazel was a music prodigy and was given scholarships to Juilliard School from the age of 8.

The Bishop and the Gargoyle was a 30-minute old-time radio crime drama from September 30, 1936 – January 3, 1942. Bishop and the Gargoyle focused on the combined crime-fighting efforts of a retiring bishop of a church and a convict called the Gargoyle. As a member of the parole board at Sing Sing Prison, the Bishop met and befriended the Gargoyle. In return, the inmate helped the bishop “to track criminals and bring them to justice”. I can’t even imagine how they decided to cast Helen and Eddie-a pianist and a comedian. Richard Gordon played the part of the Bishop. I could not find much on Mr. Gordon until I discovered a podcast by J. Widner-apparently Mr. Gordon was a character on many radio shows; in 1933 he played S. Holmes with Leigh Lovell as Dr. Watson.

I also found an article in the Brooklyn Citizen newspaper from 1943 about Eddie being in a play with Mary Martin, you know, the lady who played Peter Pan. Mary was an award-winning actress, singer and Broadway star. At the time of this post Eddie had become a filmmaker, a well-known radio star, a music publisher and had been signed to appear in a Paramount movie.

Eddie was a hard-working show biz man. As I continue to write about him I am able to feel a part of those days when my father was alive. I no longer think of him as my father who died when I was only 3. If I could have a twilight zone episode or a one step beyond I would love to step back into those days and follow him around. I guess my research and writing about him helps me do that.

Hey, thanx, for stopping by.

To my new friends, the title of my father’s biography is Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer.

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

1939 “NO KITCHEN DOOR FOR ME”


Gee Gee James Refuses To Bow To St. Louis Jim-Crow ‘NO KITCHEN DOOR FOR ME” So said she after being told she had to enter a nightclub through the back door.  In 1939, after being invited to see a play by the general manager of the Whites-Only Club Plantation in St Louis, Gee Gee was unpleasantly surprised to find when she got there that she would have to go in through the back door and through the kitchen.  She said that she “did not see why she should not be allowed to go through the front door like all the other paying guests.” She also said she “just can’t quite get used to prejudice and jim crowism.”

Apparently the Club Plantation was a hot spot in 1939 and was considered one of the outstanding spots In the nation and one of the most pleasing places for Black artists and entertainers to work, however Blacks were not allowed in to see the shows. Gee Gee was invited in because she was in vogue at the time as an actress, but they still would not let her arrive through the front door.

Never having experienced this I tend to forget that Black entertainers of the early 1900s faced blatant racism constantly. Maybe even daily. It had to have been a constant stressor. Yet, actors like Gee Gee and my father, Eddie Green, lit up a room when they walked in.  They were gracious off stage and dedicated to their craft on stage. These trailblazers have, because of their fortitude, become my heroes. I chose to write about Gee Gee James today because she and my father were once comedic partners. But like Eddie before I wrote my book, Gee Gee has pretty much been forgotten or over-looked. In this extremely bad copy you can see her from 1937:  “Luis Russell, Eddie Green, Gee Gee James and Louie Armstrong, who on Friday night, over station WJZ, under the sponsorship of the Fleischman Yeast Company, made show world history.”—Photo by Continental News 1937

I found this wonderful article by Billy Rowe, a well-known Black journalist of the Pittsburgh Courier (1937):

ROWE NEW YORK, April 15,—”A packed house, a wildly enthusiastic audience, an atmosphere of intense joy. A leader with a captivating personality, directing a band, which like himself, knew how to swing . . . Standing before the ears of the nation awaiting the signal to commence *the first all-colored coast to coast radio program. Yes, it was a great achievement, and a personal triumph for all connected with the presentation of Louie Armstrong and his orchestra, Gee Gee James and Eddie Green, for they were the feature players making history in the world of colored show business.”

Barrymore Theatre (1931)
Exterior
Property of Shubert Archive

Gee Gee had been in show business a few years before appearing on the radio program. She and her husband, actor Ernest Whitman, who also performed with my father, were featured in an Old Time Radio program “The Gibsons“. She was also a singer, a dancer and a Broadway star.

As a matter of fact, Gee Gee was performing on Broadway when she got the invite to the Club Plantation.  The play was No Time for Comedy at the Barrymore Theatre in 1939, and ran for 179 performances. The cast included Laurence Olivier as Gaylord Esterbrook and Katharine Cornell. Gee Gee was cast as “Clementine” and “has been received in millions of American homes via the airwaves and who is savoring success after success.”

Gee Gee James refused to be treated as less than any other human being just because she happened to be Black. In 1939. And she was successful. She helped pave the way for other Black people, other minorities, and other women to be treated with respect and dignity. I believe we must remember and uphold these trailblazers, and not let them fade out of view. Because though they are no longer here, they are still role-models and worthy of continued attention.

Well, after writing this I feel like I have just made a speech. So I will bow and say thank you, for stopping by.

Check me out on Facebook, too.

And thanx greg at dejawho

You Better Recognize!

Everyone can enjoy music. Any race or gender. It’s not normally about who is playing it. It really does not matter who is performing the music, only the notes matter. I think, however, what does matter is, who writes the notes and the lyrics. Who gets the recognition. I am happy that despite the fact that my father wrote his first song way back in 1917 his name is still listed as the writer. It’s pretty much a well known fact. And many, many people have recorded or performed Eddie’s song. Just recently a friend played it in a hotel where he works as a pianist. He was surprised how many people recognized the song, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is still being played by someone, somewhere in the world.

The song was made popular in 1919 by a White woman, Marion Harris, the first widely known White woman to sing jazz and blues. Then Sophie Tucker (the Red Hot Mama) fell in love with the song and sung it night after night in her nightclub act. Alberta Hunter took it after that. Bessie Smith, Louie Prima, and on and on. It’s been a fox trot, it’s been played with a ukulele. It was sung by Frank Sinatra in a movie joined by Shelley Winters. However, until I wrote Eddie’s biography most people were unaware that the writer of “A Good Man is Hard to Find” was a Black man.

What I have known for a long time is that there are many songs written and/or performed first by African-Americans that became widely popular through White singers who wound up getting the kudos (think Elvis and “Hound Dog”).

John Turner Layton, Jr., was an African-American songwriter, singer and pianist. Born 1894, he died in 1978. Turner Layton’s buddy, Harry Sterling Creamer, born 1879, died 1930, was also an African-American song lyricist. He co-wrote many popular songs in the years from 1900 to 1929. These men were talented, dedicated, and also patriotic as you can see by their first album. And like my father, Eddie, also appeared in vaudeville.

These two men wrote the song “After You’ve Gone” in 1918. Like Eddie’s song, Marion Harris helped make this song popular, as did Sophie Tucker. Edyie Gorme has sung the song, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra.

“Way Down Yonder in New Orleans” was also a popular song with music by John Turner Layton, lyrics by Harry  Creamer. Sung by The Andrews Sisters (1950) Freddie Cannon, Bing Crosby, Jan and Dean (1963!) among others. Yet, how many people are aware of the fact that these songs were written by African-American men? Where is their recognition?

Layton and Creamer were even commissioned to do a play. ” COBURNS PLAN MUSICAL SHOW: Mr. and Mrs. Coburn. it was learned last week, have practically completed negotiations for a new musical play which they plan to produce. The play is called “The Three Showers,” and the book, lyrics and music were written Jointly by Harry S. Creamer and Turner Layton. If George M. Cohan consents to fix up the book of “The Three Showers,” as is contemplated by the Coburns.”

About 1924 Turner Layton went to Europe. He teamed up with a Mr. Clarence “Tandy” Johnstone and enjoyed a great deal of success. Per the Pittsburgh Courier, 1927: “Turner Layton, Clarence Johnstone Are Playing To Big Crowds In London.”

Like Eddie, Turner Layton was often mentioned in the Black newspapers even as late as 1950, Pittsburgh Courier, 1950: “The Turner Laytons with daughter Alelia vacationing in usual swank style on French Riviera. Turner Layton happy at relief of gas rationing . . . Rolls Royces do less than 8 miles to the gallon. ” The man had a Rolls Royce.

We hear the songs and even recognize the people who sing them and that’s cool. But the recognition of the fact that there is much widely popular music that was written by African-Americans is absent in America. There, I’ve said it. Which is why who wrote the music matters, today. Music is universal. As is the African-American contribution.

Hey, thanks, for stopping by.

Check out my book: Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer.

 

 

 

 

We Were THERE

My question is “didn’t Black people ever watch old time radio?” I have begun to realize the magnitude of commercialism and how it played into Blacks being ignored in this world in the early 1900s. While researching African-Americans and their relationship to Old Time Radio I did a Google search for “Old Time Radios”. The search engine game me dozens of images of families sitting around the radio listening to a program. Some actually were looking at the radio as if it was a television. However, none of these families were Black. I am trying to wrap my head around the idea that despite all the African-Americans in America at the time, there was little representation in the radio industry. According to J. Fred MacDonald “the industry in its so-called Golden Age offered only limited opportunities for black men and women to develop.” Even though there was a huge need for personnel.

Of course, there were Blacks working in radio as janitors, or electrical assistants and even an announcer or two. They had to come in the “other” door, though. And there were Blacks performing on the radio, such as my father, Eddie Green, who became Rudy Vallee’s protege’ or Eddie “Rochester” Anderson from the Jack Benny program. My father was evidently so funny that Rudy Vallee would feature Eddie over and over. Then there were shows that were hugely popular with everybody (maybe not the NAACP), such as, Amos n Andy. People everywhere literally stopped what they were doing to listen to this program. Eddie was the lawyer, Stonewall in this program. There must have been some Blacks sitting in front of their radios, or if they did not have one a person could stand in front of their local storefront and listen to the broadcasts. Yes, I am beginning to really see how segregation kept Black people “out of the picture”, except in some rare instances. I mean we were THERE.

Today, If you look up Old Time Radio (OTR), not the Beyonce’ concert, you will get a lot of information about all the White radio suspense, cowboy, comedy and horror shows.

Old Time Radio shows produced by Blacks got a toehold in maybe the late 30s. The one I have researched so far, though got its start on June 27, 1948. Mr. Richard Durham began a radio program titled “Destination Freedom”. Now….. if you look up OTR shows online you will get a lot of sites that post lists of shows and you will get sites that let you listen to lots of shows. Until two days ago I hadn’t found one site that had a list of a Black OTR program.

Two days ago I found one that has a list and lets you download shows of Mr. Durham’s Destination Freedom.  Old Time Radio Downloads. They have won my heart. They actually have clippings of each episode of “Destination Freedom” for my listening pleasure. I love them. Maybe some day this show will appear in the internet search engines under OTR, Old Time Radio, that is.

https://www.oldtimeradiodownloads.com/historical/destination-freedom/the-making-of-a-man-1948-07-25

Hey, thanks, for stopping by.