MAUdie is here

Bea Arthur (Fanpop)

Hello again, I’m finally paying attention to my WordPress world. I’m wrestling with my 3rd book on the TV Sitcom Maude, which means I have not been able to share much here. When I wrote my first book about my father I did not know as much about him as I did after I wrote the book. But he was my father, and over the course of his life a lot was written about him in the newspapers because he was a rising star in Entertainment and people liked him as a person. I learned about his personal character through articles and of course, through my mom. In writing about Maude I am wanting to get to know more about the person who played the character, Bea Arthur, to understand how Arthur was able to so completely BE Maude.

In an article in the Nyak New York Journal, 1974, titled “No, I’m Not Maude”, she stated: “Although I can rant and rave as much as Maude does when the need arises. I don’t have her persistence. If someone calls my bluff and yells back at me. I usually back down. In all honesty. I’m afraid the tiger in my tank is really a pussycat. And I can’t identify too closely with the women’s lib movement, either, because I’ve always felt liberated.” Arthur, when she is at home, likes browsing in antique shops, watching old movies on TV, and doing family activities, dogs and all.

In a way, I identify with Bea Arthur. Because as I’ve listened to her interviews and talked with people who met her she does seem rather complex. I came across a 1968 article that was written while Arthur and her husband Gene Sax were making a movie titled “A Mother’s Kisses,” she was urged to accept the
leading role. She said yes — if her husband could direct. “After all,” she says in her familiar tones of authoritative femininity, “I’m the power behind the throne.” So it seems that though she is a pussycat, she also has an authoritative side, according to the person who witnessed her “authoritative femininity.”

Bea Arthur as Maude was Maude to her viewers, she received many letters attesting to that fact. After reading her statement in that 1974 article I believe she knew that maybe a bit of her own personality was injected into her character, this is what she was quoted as saying: “You see, it was my intention from the beginning of the series to show that there is a soft spot or two in Maude’s armor of steel, and its’ gratifying to know that viewers see her as I do.”

I could see these two personality traits when Cousin Maude was introduced into All in the Family. She was asked by Edith to come and help with the family as they were all down with the flu. Archie did not like Cousin Maude and sent her a letter telling her not to come. She came. At the beginning of the episode, while comforting Edith, she looks at Archie with a scathing look and says: “MAUdie is here.” Towards the end of the episode, she has a sweet smile on her face while assuring Archie that “Maudie is here.”

MAUdie is here
Maudie is here

Bea Arthur, a consummate actor. She brought her all to Maude. Looks like I am going to have to bring my all to the writing of my take on the sitcom. Thanks for hanging in here with me. You are all a part of my “becoming” a writer.

Thanks, for stopping by 🙂

Interview: Guest “Staras” – Willie Tyler and Lester

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

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

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

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

 

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