You’ve Screamed at Him on Duffy’s Tavern – In Person – EDDIE GREEN!
This headline was from an article in 1945. Eddie was scheduled to appear at the Orpheum Theater, in Los Angeles, on May 1st, along with The King Cole Trio, and, Johnny Otis and his Orchestra.
In case you are new to my blog, Eddie, my father, is the Black gentleman with the big smile on his face, in the above photo. Kinda like my smile. The gentleman in the hat, is Mr. Ed Gardner, creator of Duffy’s Tavern, the gentleman next to him is Charles Cantor and the lady is Florence Halop.
In the seven years prior to 1945, Eddie had owned two barbeque restaurants in New York (specializing in southern bar-bee-Q), he had made four of his own movies, and, he was on The Executive Board of the Negro Actors Guild of America, Noble Sissle, President, along with Mrs. Noble Sissle, and W. C. Handy.
Eddie had also appeared on the Ben Bernie Music Quiz radio program. Ben Bernie was a jazz violinist, and a bandleader as well as a radio personality, who was born in 1891 (like Eddie.) He originated the term “yowsa, yowsah, yowsah,” that became a national catchphrase, and which was used in the movie, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
I thought They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, was very “deep” when I saw it, a movie about a depression era dance marathon, with contestants desperate to win. I mean, these people stayed on their poor feet a long time. Now, I am writing a book, years later, about my father appearing on a radio program starring a man associated with this movie. It just blows me away. Small world.
Eddie had appeared on many radio programs, including a radio special titled, “All God’s Children,” with Paul Robeson. Eddie was even a guest on The Jell-O Program, starring Jack Benny. In the following episode titled “Columbus Day,” (cause it was), Jack is talking on the phone to Rochester who needs $50 dollars to pay off some debts and he sends his friend, Columbus Smith (played by Eddie), to pick up the money from Jack.
BENNY: Come in.
COLUMBUS: Excuse me for intruding, Mr. Benny, but I got a note for you.
BENNY: I’m sorry, I’m busy right now, come back later.
COLUMBUS: I would advise you to take a quick gander at this communique.
BENNY: All right, what’s the note, what does it say?
COLUMBUS: I’m only a carrier pigeon, we ain’t much on reading.
BENNY: Oh, ok, let’s have it.
MARY LIVINGSTONE: Who’s it from, Jack
BENNY: It’s from, Rochester. Listen to this, dear boss, please give bearer, Mr. Columbus Smith – Columbus?
COLUMBUS: Yea, that’s me.
Eddie would find his greatest fame, however, through the popular radio show, Duffy’s Tavern.
ARCHIE: What sign, Eddie.
EDDIE: The “watch your hats and coats” sign.
ARCHIE: There it is, only I rephrased the words so Clifton Fadiman would feel more at home here. Read it.
EDDIE: Maintain scrutiny of thy chapeaus and hats, umm, nice and confusing, ain’t it?
ARCHIE: Yes, isn’t it? It’s a quotation from Shakespeare. Did you ever see any of Shakespeare’s
EDDIE: One, As You Like It.
EDDIE: I didn’t like it.