Love is Inclusive

View of the crowds outside the Lafayette Theater, in Harlem, gathered for a performance by Johnny Hudgins and the Cotton Club Band, New York, 1920s. (Photo by E. Elcha Collection/Anthony Barboza/Getty Images)

Hi there. When I started this blog at the end of 2014 it was to provide a platform for myself as an author. I was writing my first book. A book about my father, Eddie Green. I have since written the book, had it published and even won an award. As Eddie died when I was 3 years old, researching the book allowed me to become acquainted with him and his life in entertainment. What I have learned is that the writing of the book did not mean that I had all of Eddie’s story.

Once people read the book they started sending me new information about Eddie. At library presentations people came up and told me stories about Eddie. I’ve been introduced to people in the magic entertainment venue because Eddie started out as a magician, and I’ve learned more new stuff. So, I started researching again. In the book I mentioned that Eddie wrote and staged a play titled Playing The Numbers. Just a couple of lines because that was all the information I had. Two weeks ago while reading an old 1920s magazine article I discovered how Eddie was presented with this opportunity.

According to the article, Frank Schiffman, general manager at the time, of the Lafayette Theater, New York, decided to remodel. On June 4, 1925 the theater hardly knew itself when the doors were thrown open for the opening. A new carpet was laid In the lobby. The entire front was scoured, revealing forgotten beauties In the exterior. A new electric lobby display was installed, new flooring was laid on the stage and the Interior repainted. A brand new pipe organ was also installed.

It was decided that Inasmuch as the management was so closely associated with the Apollo Theater which had been so successfully  operating for the past year, it was rather natural that a similar policy, somewhat modified, should be given a trial. Therefore Eddie Green who had been an Important comedian in the Apollo cast was commissioned to organize a miniature stock company that each week will present a IS-minute performance that will consist of mutual numbers and burlesque comedy bits. The bits, however, would be revised by Eddie to conform to the special requirements of the neighborhood. the Lafayette Theater reopened Thursday, June 4, with a program of continuous motion pictures and vaudeville.*

LAFAYETTF THEATRE
7th Ave. At 132nd-St.
Thur. Fri. Sat. Sun. JUNE 4-5-6,7
WM. de MILLE’S (Cecil’s brother, btw) MEN and WOMEN Produced by Paramount AND A Big Vaudeville Bill Including PLAYING THE NUMBERS Written and Staged by EDDIE GREEN With Henrietta Lovelace, Grace Smith, Eugene Pugh, Lorenzo McLane and a Chorus of CREOLE VAMPS Matinees 15c & 25c Eves. 25c, 35cf 50c
Midnight Show Every Friday Performances continuous I p.m. to 12 midnight
THE MOST ELEGANT THEATRE IN HARLEM CATERING TO THE BEST COLORED PATRONAGE

So now I know a bit more of the particulars. Frank Schiffman was also the man who fell in love with Eddie’s first movie Dress Rehearsal and made a deal to debut the movie at the Apollo Theater in April of 1939.

I have also learned a bit more about the star of the vaudeville bit, Henrietta Lovelace (sometimes spelled Loveless). I have really had to dig to get information on this lady. Unfortunately, pulling up Black entertainers names from the early 1900s from the internet is not as easy as 1, 2, 3. However, I did find this in the New York Age:

“HENRIETTA LOVELESS Of Washington, D. C, who went to New York with Irvin Miller’s Blue Moon early this season, is now on tour with Chappelle and Stinette’s Kentucky Sue. They played the Grand Theater in Chicago last week. Miss Loveless graduated from Fisk University in 1921 and studied music and voice culture under Mrs. J. A. Robinson, an Oberlin graduate. She is the wife of Lorenzo McLane, noted comedian, of Montgomery, Ala.”

Then there is this: 1924 Elmore Theater “In McLane and Loveless you will see the greatest musical comedy team that has been played in Dixie. Their comedy is clean and of the highest grade; their songs are snappy and the latest numbers. To hear Henrietta Loveless sing “Mammy Loves Her Child,” will knock one cold”, says J. A. Jackson in the Billboard; and this one: Jack’s Cabaret, on Congress St., officially opened for the summer Saturday night, beginning its 20th year as a local entertainment place. Miss Henrietta Loveless, who sings in the Sophie Tucker style, leads this year’s floor show.

Henrietta Loveless was born on August 26, 1903 in Polk County, Georgia, USA. She was an actress, known for Murder in Harlem (1935) and The Spider’s Web (1927), an Oscar Micheaux film. She died in 1934. Just before she passed away she was the star of the newest Broadway hit Swing Out The News. It was said that “the vehicle gives vent to all that it’s name implies—satire and burlesque on all present day affairs, especially The New Deal Administration. It’s swift gay, exhilarating. crisp and modern in every way. Rex Ingram, and Henrietta Loveless, playing the father and mother of Franklin D. Roosevelt Tones, the Harlem new-born son, on relief under the F. D. R. New Deal Program really steal the show.”

The play itself was supposed to celebrate the fact that there was a change a’comin for the poor and destitute of the country. And the New Deal programs did indeed put millions of Americans immediately back to work or at least helped them to survive, but thousands of blacks were thrown out of work and replaced by whites on jobs where they were paid less than the NRA’s wage minimums because some white employers considered the NRA’s minimum wage “too much money for Negroes”. However, since Blacks felt the sting of the depression’s wrath even more severely than Whites they welcomed any help. (Wikipedia) So I am going to continue to “lift” Black entertainers who persevered but seem to have been erased from history.

My father worked his butt off in order to bring himself out of the poverty into which he was born. He was talented and “a regular guy”. He got along with people. Even though he lived in one of the most dangerous periods of American history for a Black person.

And, of course, I am going to mention the White people who have been instrumental in helping their Black fellows progress. My father was a ham operator and he spoke to people all over the world. I love that!!!

Thanx, for stopping by!!

*Radio Daily, 1925

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Legendary, and Famous, Eddie Green

Well, it’s been two years since I published the biography on my father, Eddie Green. During the research period I searched and searched for a physical copy of this movie “What Goes Up“. Eddie wrote it, produced it, directed it and starred in it. The movie was made in Palisades, New Jersey in 1941. I am hoping to find it because, of course, it’s my father’s second movie and also because there is a member of the cast of this movie who has just celebrated her 101 years old birthday and she would love to see the movie one more time. She saw it when it first premiered in 1941 at the Apollo Theater in New York, of course, she and her mother. But not since then.

Last week I FINALLY found mention of the movie being shown at a theater in New York:

PLAZA
WILLIAM AT MONROE – Valerie Hobson THE SEA” Russell Hayden “RIDERS OF THE NORTHLAND” Serial, “OVERLAND MAIL”. Chapter 2
Also Eddie Green, Famous Colored Radio Star, in Featurette, “What Goes UpBuffalo NY Courier Express 1941

The Plaza was located near William and Monroe streets. 42 East 58th St. I believe this is in New York as the ad was in a New York newspaper. The ad itself is located way down in the bottom right hand corner of the newspaper. If you were not looking for it specifically, you probably would have missed it. Of course, sixty years later there is now a restaurant at that location. Still just the fact that I found mention of my father’s second movie being shown to an audience is FANTASTIC. And did you notice? The ad says he was “Famous”.

The fact that I have met so many people who are willing to take time out of their lives to participate in finding information about Eddie and getting that info to me is a great impetus for me to continue researching my father’s life. I was actually looking for news about the fact that Eddie was a magician before he became a comedian and a songwriter and a Old Time Radio star and a movie star. I may have to write a whole ‘nother book!!!

Thanks so much, for stopping by.

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

 

PRESS RELEASE-SPREAD THE WORD, YAWL!!

Eddie Green Biography Named 2016 Foreword INDIES Finalist

‘Eddie Green: The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer’ about legendary Black composer, actor, and filmmaker is recognized by independent publishing book award
Eddie Green
Eddie Green
Spread the Word

 

ALBANY, Ga.March 29, 2017 — BearManor Media is pleased to announce that Eddie Green: The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer by Elva Diane Green is a 2016 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards finalist in the Biography (Adult Nonfiction) and Performing Arts & Music (Adult Nonfiction) categories.

Eddie Green: The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer by daughter Elva Diane Green tells the rags-to-riches story of Green’s determination to rise above and triumph against all odds to become a pioneering Black filmmaker, and renowned songwriter, composer, radio icon, and movie actor.

“As soon as I heard [Elva] was working on this book, I sought her out to be her publisher,” said Ben Ohmart, President of BearManor Media. “It’s an important story that deserves telling, and I was determined to be a part of that.”

In an era when Black entertainers struggled to gain a foothold in show business, Eddie Green rose from poverty to prominence. Green wrote Roaring Twenties blues standard “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” which was recorded by Sophie Tucker, Bessie Smith, Louis Prima, Frank Sinatra, and many others; starred in multiple Vitaphone short films and in 1939 Broadway musical The Hot Mikado; headlined at The Apollo; appeared memorably in two of America’s most popular long-running radio series, Amos ‘n’ Andy and Duffy’s Tavern, and rivaled Oscar Micheaux for honors as a pioneering Black filmmaker.

Talent and desire propelled Eddie on stage, over the air, and into films with Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Hattie McDaniel, Thomas “Fats” Waller, Jackie “Moms” Mabley, and James Baskette (Uncle Remus in Walt Disney’s Song of the South), Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, and Louise Beavers.

Foreword INDIES winners will be announced during the 2017 American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago on June 24, 2017.

Eddie Green: The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer ($31.95, 204 pages, 6″ x 9″, hardcover, ISBN:  978-1593939670 / $21.95, 204 pages, 6″ x 9″, paperback, ISBN: 978-1593939663) is available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and BearManor Media.

Elva Diane Green is the daughter and biographer of Black filmmaking pioneer and legendary songwriter and composer Eddie Green. She wrote Eddie Green: The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer to prove to her grandson that a person can succeed no matter the obstacles. Elva currently resides in Los Angeles.

BearManor Media is the award-winning and Pulitzer-nominated press publishes cutting-edge entertainment books, audio books, e-books, CDs, and DVDs on movies, television, radio, theater, animation, and more. Founded in 2001 by Publisher Ben Ohmart, the BearManor Media catalog now features more than 900 outstanding subjects from the obscure to the eminent.

A REAL LAUGH RIOT

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Otay.  Comes Midnight is the third picture my father made.  It is a story about two men (played by Eddie and Jimmie Baskette) who will receive $100 if they stay in Old Man Mose’s deserted house overnight in order to dig up his body and get the gold that has been placed under his body, and return it to the rightful owner.

It’s got really corny jokes in it such as:  1st person:  You know, old man Mose had a million dollars in gold ore.  2nd person:  Gold or what?

Supposedly, Eddie filmed this movie in a real haunted house in New Jersey.  The older residents of the neighborhood said they had heard weird groans and had seen a pale face pressed against the window.  One of the original cast members bowed out because he was too afraid to enter the house.

The movie had a great cast, though.

imagesK6TQ86AOJimmie Baskette, who you might remember as “Uncle Remus” or the man who sang “Zip A Dee Doo Da”.

imagesC02DE8VNAnd Amanda Randolph.  She was the first African-American performer to star in a regularly scheduled network television show, appearing in DuMont’s The Laytons.  Miss Randolph also   starred in “Beulah” in 1953.   She also appeared in 71 episodes of “Make Room for Daddy” with Danny Thomas. (Anybody out there remember at least one of these shows?)  I found the following information on the net, and it kind of upsets me:  Amanda Randolph appeared in a few Oscar Micheaux films.  The reason I get upset is also one of the reasons I am writing a book about my father.  Eddie made movies with the current  stars of his day, the same stars who appeared in Micheaux films and films produced by Whites, yet as far as the media goes, it is as though Eddie and his work with these actors has simply dropped through the floor.  I am a champion for my father.

The movie was a short, only twenty-one minutes, but it was a “real laugh-riot.”

Eddie, “Harlem’s favorite Hollywood comedian”  was quoted as saying this about his movie making skills:

“The first thing I try for,” he said, “is naturalness.  I write my own stories, building them around some incident that has been interesting, but not offensive.  Then I select the actors that I think are best suited to the parts, so that they need only be themselves.”

untitled (17)The movie had its first showing at the Brooklyn Apollo Theater at 1531 Fulton Avenue. The theater closed in 1965.

On Tuesday afternoon of July 30, 1940, if anyone was looking for a good short movie, according to the Television column, of The New York Sun, you could catch “Comes Midnight” at 3:55 p.m. that afternoon, right after the 3:48 p.m. film “Tour of the World’s Fair.”

Just before Eddie started making “Comes Midnight”, he went to Hollywood from New York to audition for the part of “Pork” in Gone With the Wind. He did not get the part, but, hey, nothing beats a failure but a try, right?

The update on my first try at writing a book is that I now have a 48,061 word manuscript, including title sheet, TOC, dedication, introduction, appendices and bibliography.  I’m done, basically, I know I am.  I am sending it piecemeal to my brother, who is helping me with editing, and, of course I am proofing also.  I will be looking for a “real” editor any day now.

I am still having fun.  And I thank you effusively for stopping by and hanging in.

HOOKUPS

 

Times Square 1935
Times Square 1935

 

 

EDDIE GREEN SIGNED FOR NBC HOOKUP

Eddie Green-Getty Image

NEW YORK

Billed on Broadway and elsewhere as an ace black-face comedian, Eddie Green has been signed for twenty-six weeks to co-feature on a bill with Ernest Whitman and Charles Winnenger.  The program will be aired every Sunday from 10 o’clock to 11:00 over WEAF NBC national hookup.  Nothing new to EG who worked several seasons very successfully with Rudy V., in fact so successfully he was returned 3 times by popular demand.  Leaving the Vallee hour a year ago, he worked through a long term contract engagement at the Apollo, where with his original style of getting laughs won an uncountable following.  June 22, 1935, Pittsburgh Courier.

The program for which Eddie was signed was “Uncle Charlie’s Tent Show”.  Charles Winninger was “Uncle Charley”.   Charles Winnenger  (May 26, 1884-January 27, 1969), was a stage and film actor, who began in Vaudeville, and became known for his role in a Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II musical “Show Boat” in 1927, 1932 and in film in 1936.  Mr. Winninger would go on to appear in over 20 films.

charles winnnger charles-winninger-02

Each Sunday night Uncle

Charley’s Tent Show parades into your loudspeaker

amid a blare of parade revelry as the performers meander down

the streets of a designated city and come to a

stop in front of the canvas top which houses their act.

imagesFXV126IJuntitled (7)

 Two of those performers were Eddie Green and Ernest Whitman, who were cast as Sam and Jerry,  were the  only Negro comedians on a network , according to the August 3, 1935 issue of Radio Guide magazine.

Eddie Green, (left), my father, was at this time, a stage and radio performer, who had performed in Vaudeville,  and Ernest Whitman (February 21, 1893-August 5, 1954), was a stage and screen actor who had appeared in a number of films, including “Green Pastures”, “, Gone With The Wind”, Stormy Weather and “The Lost Weekend”.

Eddie and Ernest would team up later and record  a song together, and Eddie also went on to Hollywood to join the cast of the Showboat Radio program, starring Charles Winnenger as  (Cap’n Henry), see above picture.

It was on the “Show Boat” radio program that my father and Hattie McDaniel (first Black female Oscar winner, for her role in the movie “Gone With The Wind”), performed the comedy skit, “Ulysses and the Siren”, which was a poem, written by Samuel Daniel 1562-1619 (who knew?).

Here is a picture of two versions of “Ulysses and the Siren”.

ulysees and the

Neither one the these pictures look anything like Eddie and Hattie.  Of course, looks don’t really matter when you are broadcasting over the radio, do they?  Hattie actually went on to be cast in the 1936 film version of “Showboat”.

These people worked together and I believe they looked out for each other.  During the 30s times were hard for everybody, but the entertainment industry was there to provide a bit of relief.  Radio was going strong.

Of course, there is always somebody with a different opinion.  One was a writer with the Knickerbocker News.  I found this article but I have not been able to print it all because the type just won’t act right, but she started out by saying “What that Eddie Green is doing in radio I don’t know.  I still can’t see his type of comedy.”  Good thing she was not in the majority.  Anyhow, they say even bad publicity is good, cause it means people are talking about you, you are causing a stir, people are noticing you.  In Eddie’s case it was a good thing.  Find what you do best and go out there and get noticed.  Have fun and spread the love.

I have a picture of Eddie and Hattie, after she won her Oscar.eddieandhattieFor those of you who don’t know, Hattie is the fifth person from the left, and Eddie is the second man from the left.  My mom is here also, first lady on the left.  She told me she could not remember whose house they were in at the time, but it was definitely in Los Angeles.  Thanx for stopping by.