Eddie Green, “Moms” Mabley, “Dark” Gable, Yuletide at the Apollo

Christmas Show-Eddie Green, Jackie “Moms” Mabley, “Pigmeat”, James Baskette and Ralph Cooper, emcee

Merry Christmas, happy holidays and as my mom used to say, a happy 4th of July to you all from my blog celebrating my father, Eddie Green, Comedian, composer, filmmaker, entrepreneur and a good man.

I have posted this article from a 1930s newspaper simply because I waited till the last minute and I just happened to have the article because a Facebook friend found it and sent it to me. So cool! The one thing I like about these articles is that when I research the other people that are mentioned I acquire new knowledge. I’ve learned that sometimes one has to look extra hard in order to find information on these old time entertainers. As you can see my father, Eddie Green performed in this show along with other great Black entertainers of the day. I’ve added pics of Jackie “Moms” Mabley and Ralph Cooper further down.

Articles like this one here are only to be found in the Black newspapers of the day-once I found out what those were all I needed was the time and patience to go through the archives. This article happens to mention the same program as the first article. The first article mentions a Clarence Robinson and his “Christmas Carols” show. I wanted to get some information about these folks before I typed this post. Well, typing in Clarence’s name into the internet to get some background on him got me nada. So I typed in “Apollo”.

Hurtig&Seamons  was purchased in 1933 by Sidney Cohen,  and after lavish renovations it re-opened as the “Apollo Theater” on January 16, 1934, catering to the black community of Harlem, previously it had been a whites-only venue. The internet info on the Apollo stated that on February 14, 1934, the first major star to appear at the Apollo was jazz singer and Broadway star Adelaide Hall in Clarence Robinson’s production Chocolate Soldiers, which featured Sam Wooding’s Orchestra. The show ran for a limited engagement and was highly praised by the press, which helped establish the Apollo’s reputation. Well, there you go.

You’ll notice that Eddie was on this same bill with Jackie “Moms” Mabley. I discovered Moms Mabley when I was about sixteen. She cracked me up. Turns out that at the height of her career, she was earning US$10,000 a week at Harlem’s Apollo Theater. One of her regular themes was a romantic interest in handsome young men rather than old “washed-up geezers”, and she got away with it courtesy of her stage persona, where she appeared as a toothless, bedraggled woman in a house dress and floppy hat. I heard her talk about “George” and that white suit “I bought you”. She was too funny. And my father had once been on the stage with her. Remarkable.


And this is Ralph Cooper, the originator and master of ceremonies of Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Ralph, also known as “The Dark Gable” (so handsome) was an American actor, screenwriter, dancer and choreographer. Starred in “The Duke is Tops with Lena Horne” in 1938. Ralph was also a producer and a director and starred in at least ten movies. He was working in this capacity just ahead of Eddie who started his movie making career in 1939. Mr. Cooper was with us until 1992. I would have loved to have met him.

According to Wikipedia (which I love), although the theatre concentrated on showcasing African American acts, it also presented White acts such as swing bandleaders Harry James, Woody Herman and Charlie Barnett during the swing era, and, later, jazz greats Dave Brubeck, Stan Getz and Buddy Rich. Also, Jimi Hendrix won the first place prize in an amateur musician contest at the Apollo in 1964. And even these greats performed at the Apollo:  James Brown, George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic, and so many more.

Just one big happy family. Happy, happy Holidays everyone!!

And thanks, for stopping by.

Last minute gift: https://bearmanormedia.selz.com/item/eddie-green-ebook



Christmas 1939 Must Have Been Merry

On September 10, 1942 Eddie Green, my father, opened a dramatic training school in this building at 2352 Seventh Avenue, New York City. The school, called Sepia Artists offered services and classes for both amateurs and professionals. The Pittsburgh-Courier newspaper referred to Eddie in it’s article about the school as a comedian of radio and stage fame. I think it was a short-lived endeavor because in 1943 Eddie filed for bankruptcy. Before this from 1939 through 1941 Eddie was making movies and planning plans, so he had some money.


Chauncey Northern

In fact, there must have been enough money to hire this gentleman, Chauncey Northern. According to an article just before Christmas of 1939, Mr. Northern a recognized voice specialist and coach joined Eddie’s motion picture company as head of it’s music department. In this capacity he would have charge of  the arranging of voices for Eddie’s Sepia-Art Pictures choir which would be a permanent feature of the organization, New York Age, December 23, 1939. The article goes on to say that Mr. Northern’s studio was located in Carnegie Hall and that his studio was the mecca of many of the great artists of today.

In researching Chauncey Northern I learned that he was one of the first black opera singers (a tenor) to appear on the Italian stage, making his debut in the 1920’s at the Teatro Politeana in Naples and that he studied at the Juliard School of Music. I did not spend much time trying to find info on Mr. Northern while I was writing the book about my father, but today while trying to come up with a blog post I decided to dig a little further.

it’s amazing what can be found if you are really paying attention. I learned that in 1924 he wrote the music for the University of Hampton’s Alma Mater, one of the top historically black universities in the world.

An interesting fact is that this tree, The Emancipation Oak, stands near the entrance of the Hampton University campus and is a lasting symbol of the university’s rich heritage and perseverance. The peaceful shade of the young oak served as the first classroom for newly freed men and women, eager for an education. Mrs. Mary Peake, daughter of a freed colored woman and a Frenchman, conducted the first lessons taught under the oak located on the University’s campus. Classes continued with the The Butler School, which was constructed in 1863 next to the oak. One day in 1863, the members of the Virginia Peninsula’s black community gathered to hear a prayer answered. The Emancipation Oak was the site of the first Southern reading of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, an act which accelerated the demand for African-American education. And Chauncey Northern was a part of this history. And Eddie was a part of his history. And I am a part of their history. Awesome.

After Mr, Northern’s debut in Naples, he remained in Europe until 1937, when he returned to the United States and established the Northern Vocal Arts School at Carnegie Hall, where he taught until his death in 1992. The main hall of Carnegie Hall was home to the performances of the New York Philharmonic from 1892 until 1962. The building also contains the Carnegie Hall Archives, established in 1986, and the Rose Museum, which opened in 1991. Until 2009 studios above the Hall contained working spaces for artists in the performing and graphic arts including music, drama, dance, as well as architects, playwrights, literary agents, photographers and painters. The spaces were unusual in being purpose-designed for artistic work, with very high ceilings, skylights and large windows for natural light.  In 1906 both Mark Twain and Booker T. Washington spoke here. Chauncey Northern had his studio here!

Today a person has to dig to find out information on Mr. Northern, just like I had to dig to get my information on Eddie, even though he was a major player in entertainment. Most of the information of pioneering Black people can only be found in Black newspaper archives. However, I did find a Facebook page for a woman who knew Mr. Northern and who is still active today. Hopefully she will “friend” me. If not, she has a web site. History is fascinating. I love research. I can go back in time to 1939 and I can travel the world, visit universities and meet new people right here with my laptop.

Hey, thanks, for stopping by.

Info on Chauncey Northern and Carnegie Hall courtesy of the World Wide Web

For the Biography of Eddie Green Visit t hen click “Shop Now”: https://www.facebook.com/elvagreenbookpage/



Look What I Found!


Ernie Whitman, Lena Horne, Eddie Green (my father)


Family, friends, young and old, prepare to be blown away.. Here is a photo of Ernie Whitman, Lena Horne and my father, Eddie Green! My publisher told me I would find more information on my father once I published the book and he was right. For whatever reason I decided today to search for new pictures of Eddie, so I went to Google Advanced Search and typed in Eddie’s and Lena’s names (I chose Lena because she and Eddie performed together and for once I was “thinking outside the box”) and Lo and Behold there they were. This photo was taken back in the 1940’s while they were waiting to perform on a Jubilee radio show for our troops in WWII.

For those who don’t know:

Ernie Whitman .(February 21, 1893 Fort Smith, Arkansas – August 5, 1954 Hollywood, California) was the wartime host of the Jubilee radio show aimed at African-American troops and he was a stage and screen actor appearing in such films as
The Green Pastures (1936), Jesse James (1939), Gone With the Wind (1939), Third Finger, Left Hand (1940), Among the Living (1941), Road to Zanzibar (1941), Cabin in the Sky (1943), Stormy Weather (1943), The Lost Weekend (1945).

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne (June 30, 1917 – May 9, 2010) was an Award–winning jazz and pop music singer, dancer, actress, and civil rights activist. Horne’s career spanned over 70 years appearing in film, television, and theater. Her film appearances were many including Cabin in the Sky (1943) and Stormy Weather (1943). There may be some younger folks out there reading this blog who have never heard of Lena Horne (what!!). She was beautiful and sexy and someone said she had a sultry voice.

Anyhow, finding this picture was a new thrill for me today and helps to keep me motivated to write these posts and also to get out and market my book. This month I will be visiting libraries in California performing readings for nostalgia buffs and spreading the word. I will probably “tweet” the dates and places.

In my book Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer I have included a portion of a Jubilee radio program these three did together in 1942.

If you haven’t read the book yet, you might want to check it out. I’m told that it is an enjoyable read. (Christmas is coming!)

Thanks for stopping by and KCB.

(photo provided by ebay on Google Advanced Image Search)







My Brother Was Right!

jay-z-holiday-charity (2)
Jay-z holiday charity*

Happy Holidays to everyone!! My brother, Brad Beasley, has told me from the day I started writing a biography on my father, Eddie Green, that Eddie was just like Jay-Z, who is a hard-working man who has made a name for himself as a rapper and as an entrepreneur, and who is married to a gorgeous, talented woman. I put off mention of any similarities, cause I couldn’t figure out how to write a relevant post.  At last I have found what I needed!  A picture of Jay-Z and friends at a holiday charity.

This provided a link that I could work with, because, not only was my father, Eddie, also a hard-working man who made a name for himself as a songwriter, actor and as an entrepreneur, and who was married to a gorgeous, talented woman (my mother), Eddie was also involved in holiday charity work.  Thanks to the research I have done, I just happened to have a newspaper article that covered Eddie’s act of charity on Christmas of 1940.  Following is the article.

As per the New York Age, Saturday, December 21, 1940:  Eddie Green to Play Host to 250 Poor Christmas Eve.

importfromphonejuly 132

“Eddie Green will play host to 250 of New York City’s poor on Christmas eve morning. Along with Arthur Oliver, manager, and about a dozen of the girl employees of Eddie Green’s Bar-Bee-Q, they will assemble at the Eighth avenue link of this popular chain of restaurants where they will pack and hand out Christmas baskets containing roasting chicken and all of the fixings that go to make up a good dinner. Tickets for these baskets have been distributed among quite a few responsible persons who in turn are giving them to families that they know to be needy.”

Then and now these two gentlemen had and have the spirit of Christmas. Decades apart, yet similar in outlook. Role models.

I wish you a safe and happy holiday season. Thank you so much for stopping by!

*Jay-Z holiday picture courtesy http://www.fuse.tv and Google Advanced Images