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.

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!

🙂

 

 

 

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!!!

 

Flawlessness-It Ain’t Gonna Happen

 Once you accept the fact that you’re not perfect, then you develop some confidence. ~Rosalynn Carter.

Perfectionism, in psychology, is a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting high performance standards, accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations. (Me, this is me)

Once in a Psych class we were given an assignment, to question our friends and relatives as to how they view us. One question was “describe my level of self-esteem.” Two people got me spot on. Johnny said that my level of self-esteem was not as high as I would like it to be, and that sometimes I am not happy about it. Karta said “I have seen you consciously make an effort to raise your level of self-esteem, unfortunately you still struggle, because a person cannot live up to impossible standards.”

My self-esteem is tied in with a desire to be flawless. So of course I am never quite satisfied with me. The class assignment was in 2004. Two days ago I fully realized the meaning in Karta’s words. I want to be perfect. A mundane thing opened my eyes to this big realization.

  I called the office of the producer of the tv sitcom The Jeffersons to speak with him to try and get some quotes for the new book I am writing on The Jeffersons. His assistant told me she would get back to me and let me know when he would be available. Thinking they would certainly not call back that same day, and needing groceries, I went to the market. I turn my cellphone off when I drive and when I shop. When I turned it back on later, they had called me and said I had 40 mins. to return their call before the producer went into his next meeting. Of course, that time had passed. Then began my “critical self-evaluation”. What a maroon!! I should’ve known they would call!! I blew it!! I’m a big dummy!!.

Then, from out of the blue, something occurred to me. I had to eat and there was no food in the fridge so I needed to go to the store. They will call again, she said so. This is not a bad thing, it’s simply a timing snafu. And then I realized that I had wanted the situation to work out perfectly. The way it had worked in my head. I want to be perfect in every thing I do. If something involving me does not work out my level of self-esteem plummets. Then it hit me. Aha!! I am not perfect. I will never be perfect. I don’t even know what perfect is, so if I reached it I wouldn’t even know! Right after I acknowledged that fact I DID begin to experience a feeling of confidence as Rosalynn Carter said. Now I will no longer spend 3 hours trying to find the perfect pictures to go with my posts!

So, I called the producer’s office again. I told them I just could not wait for them to call me back. I now have an appointment to speak via cellphone to the producer of The Jeffersons on the 29th of this month for 30 minutes!

I do get to experience things in life that I see as perfect. We have a new in-law and a brand new baby in our family. I think this is a perfect picture. Say hello to Mr. Spivey and his son Kaison.

And thanx, for stopping by. 🙂

1st All-Black Cast Movie on TV 1939 & My INDIE Award Nomination 2017

6765541_1_l
First all-Black Cast movie on Television 1939
Eddie Green’s All-Colored Flicker Telecast By Nat’l Broadcasting Co (NBC). Well-Known Radio and Stage Comedian Adds Another Television “First” As Dress Rehearsal Shows.
NEW YORK, Dec. 21., 1939—History was made here Saturday afternoon, Dec. 16, when the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) picked the Sepia-Art Pictures Company’s featurette, Dress Rehearsal, featuring Eddie Green, to broadcast over their television station here in New York City.  Not only is Dress Rehearsal the first ever Negro motion picture to be broadcast by television but it is to its credit that this picture was written and produced in its entirety by Negroes.  Eddie Green was the first negro performer to appear on television.  This first official broadcast took place July 7, 1936. Mr. Green breaks precedent by starring in the first film of this kind to be sent over the air.    The Pittsburgh Courier Theatrical News section
Hi there. The above article from 1939 mentions Sepia Art Pictures Company which is the movie production company my father owned in what was then known as Palisades, New Jersey. Eddie was among the very few Black people to own his own movie production company. As it says in the article, back then his “flickers” were all-colored or Negro. In order to be up-to-date I used Black in the photo caption. No matter the word used Eddie was a Pioneer of the entertainmet industry. This particular movie opened at the Apollo Theater in New York and was immensely popular.  Hence the NBC television broadcast.
Like Eddie I have my own “First”.  I am now an INDIES Award Nominee for 2017. This deserves it’s own post, so stay tuned for more.
Thanx, for stopping by. KCB
You can find my book Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer at http://www.bearmanormadia.com.

SPREAD THE INSPIRATION

6765541_1_lThis movie, written, directed and produced by my father, Eddie Green, in which he also starred, prompted one journalist to refer to Eddie as the “comic movie making mogul”, because the movie proved to be quite popular.

Dress Rehearsal (1939) was Eddie’s first movie that was released under Sepia-Art Pictures Co. (which Eddie owned) at the 125th Street Apollo in New York on October 21, 1939. The film was also shown in the Lichtman chain of theaters in the South. Eddie’s sales manager reported that after the first showing of the movie the “White as well as the Black audiences grabbed at it greedily.” And that due to this unexpected phenomenon “the entire plant had to be reorganized.” The “plant” being Eddie’s movie studio in Palisades, New Jersey.

The next “first” for Eddie is that in December of 1939 the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) picked Dress Rehearsal for broadcast over their television station in New York, making this movie the first Black (Negro in those days) motion picture to be sent out over the air.

Unfortunately, I have yet to locate copies of this film, although I do have copies of a script. The original script is kept in the Margaret Herrick Museum which is a non-circulating reference and research collection devoted to the history and development of the motion picture.

Today, I am looking forward to my first “First,” my upcoming book signing event. On November 9, 2016 at 7:00PM PST I will be at Book Soup in Los Angeles signing Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer. When I started this book writing venture I concentrated only on research and writing. I intended to present this book to my grandson as inspiration to go forward with his life. It turns out that my father’s story has provided inspiration for me and a lot of other people who have read the book or seen this blog. During this process, however, it never dawned on me that I would have book signings.

To paraphrase Norma Desmond, after this book signing there will be another one and another one! I already have two invites. This first one though has become a sort of celebration for me so I am having snacks, and a comedy clip and a reading and a raffle. And of course my marketing continues. I have become a part of a couple of social media sites and I am beginning to be a bit more outgoing in regard to “selling” the book.

One thing I know is that if I have a desire to do something, I can. And if the something I want to do gives me pleasure I will take the necessary steps to get it done. My father was a good example of that. Anyone can do the same. I appreciate my followers on this site because they help me to keep writing.  I hope you will mention this blog to others so that we can spread the inspiration.

Thanks, for stopping by and KCB.

 

NOSTALGIA PIECE

eddiegreenandgrandmanorma

I am feeling nostalgic today. With my first book signing for the biography I wrote about my father, Eddie Green, coming up on November, I have, of course, been thinking about Eddie and my mom, Norma. Through a second marriage Norma is also the mom of my three brothers and one sister, Nathaniel Lance (who has passed on), Brad, Brian and Donna. Through them (and me) she was also grandma Norma and great-grandma Norma. Mom passed away this month in  2010. Her birthday month is November. My brother Brad’s birthday is in October. So, I think I just figured out why I am nostalgic. Plus, November is BIG for me in another anonymous way but I’ll save that for another post.

Back to mom. I showed my youngest brother Brian this picture of Eddie and mom and he did not recognize the lady in that fur. Our family does not have a lot of pictures from 1946, and mom didn’t talk to much about those years. As you can see, those years were pretty good for Eddie and Norma.

While doing my research for the book I found an article in the Los Angeles California Eagle newspaper by J. T. Gipson in her “Notes from a Newsgirl” column, that “Eddie (Duffy’s Tavern) Green and wife, nee Norma Amato, are vacationing in the East. Norma plans to relieve New York of some of their latest creations”.

Such as this ensemble or these hats from 1946: womensfashion1940hats

In those days mom was always in the news. Before she married Eddie she had aspired to become an opera star. Here is what was printed in  another article in a 1944 Los Angeles California Eagle newspaper: “Keep your ears on Norma Amato’s delightful thrushing…she has the kind of voice you hear only in a dream”.

dreamscometrue

Together, she and Eddie liked to entertain at home. Jessie Mae Brown of the Los Angeles California Eagle reported in her column “What’s Doing in the Social Set” that “Television with all its newness will be the incentive for an exclusive soiree at the Eddie Green’s Second avenue home. After waiting several years in suspense for television, I look forward to this party with keen interest as well as pleasure.”

I found a picture of a 1946 television set. I don’t know if this was the same one or even the same day, but mom told me that Eddie cut a hole in the wall between the kitchen and the dining room and set the tv in the hole, leaving the ugly back of the set sticking out into the kitchen.tv1946

Eddie did not start out in life this way. He was born in an alley house in Baltimore (no sewage system and disease) to struggling parents. He ran away from home when he was nine and by the time he was seventeen he was working but still lived in an alley house on Ten Pin Alley (an actual alley listed on a map).

svf_b_streets_biddle_alley

Eddie worked his way up. He taught himself to read. He discovered what he liked to do and he determined to do it the best he knew how. My father was thirty years older than mom. By the time she met Eddie it was all about traveling, nightclubs, parties, dinners, she did not talk much about what she knew of Eddie’s early life. He took her to Baltimore to show her his old living situation. She met his daughter from a previous marriage. But it was necessary for me to do extensive research in order to write the biography Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer. And thank goodness I did because my father’s story radiated inspiration for me. I’ve heard that others have felt the same after reading the book.

My next post will be from my new, updated blog which will feature news of the book, purchasing and what not, and it will also feature reviews I have received (all wonderful so far!). Thank you so much for being a part of my journey here on this blog.

And thank you, for stopping by.

 

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.

 

Untitled Post

eg

Hello there. If you are new to my blog Welcome and if you are a follower Welcome Back. I wrote early on in 2014 that I had been procrastinating in writing this book and that I needed to either start writing or get off the pot.  My sister-in-law, Christal, sent me a message: Write the book!! Well, once I got started it was full steam ahead, and now today I am working on setting up the cover page for the book. So, I have actually made a decision on which photo of my father to use for the cover of my book. Eddie’s photo in white tux will be the main photo. I still have to order the photo (when I get the $50), which will be soon.

new eddie

The stage picture of Duffy’s Tavern radio program and one or two poster’s of  movies that Eddie produced and starred in will be featured also. Duffy’s Tavern radio program is where Eddie rise took him on his journey from the alley house he lived in as a child in Baltimore. On his way to Duffy’s though he made movies, wrote songs (A Good Man is Hard to Find) owned a string of Barbecue restaurants, and even performed on the very first demonstration of television in 1936. In 1940 Eddie’s movie Dress Rehearsal was the first all-black cast movie to be shown on television, a short (20 mins) which came on right after a film about the World’s Fair.

courtesy live auctioneers
courtesy live auctioneers

I have put these elements together as a book cover, but I can’t figure out how to paste it into this post.  Of course, when the whole thing is put together, I will announce it here with pictures.

My father’s life is a true inspiration to me, especially as he started out in the early 1900’s when it was a truly difficult world for people of color, but Eddie took the bull by the horns and ran with it. Eddie’s faith in himself and his process secured him his break into burlesque theater in New York.  He was in Tampa, Florida in 1920 touring with his company when he noticed an advertisement in the Billboard for a comedian.  Eddie had an engraver make him a letterhead with a fancy border and big letters that read “De Luxe Players”. There were 18 players in his company so he listed himself as “Eddie Green, owner-comedian-manager-director-organizer”.   He got the job.  He also got the job because he was truly funny. He put in the work to get where he got. Eddie was quoted as saying “You get respect, if you know your business.”

Have faith in yourself, know your business and do the work, and great things will happen in your life.

Thanks, for stopping by.