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

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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.
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I will not be a “Droopy” Dog

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Okay, I’ve had enough. I am tired of reading words such as divisive, feud, and slur when reading about current political events. I do not want to buy into the idea that I should now be fearful of the future of my country or the world for that matter.

I will not look forward to “Doomsday.” I will not live my life by a “Doomsday Clock.” And the Doomsday Clock is trending on Facebook. A New York Times op-ed piece stated the members of the Chicago based bulletin of the Atomic Scientists have moved the Doomsday clock closer to midnight than ever before. They site nuclear weapons, climate change and certain statements of a single person. (Guess who.) We, people, got the idea for this clock back in 1947. A symbolic clock face representing a countdown to disaster. When I opened a page on Facebook I saw an atomic bomb mushroom cloud. What the?

I know there is doom and gloom upon the land, but that does not mean I must give up all hope. Maybe I get this outlook from my father. Who, after living through the dropping of the Atom Bomb decided to make a movie about it from his own frame of mind. Eddie liked to see people laugh. So in 1949 he decided to write, produce, direct and star in a movie that depicts a Black family’s reaction post-bomb but with humor and entertainment thrown in.

The movie begins with the husband and the maid dancing to the latest jive record that they intend to play that evening for the daughter’s coming-out party. Mom comes out and after making hubby sit down they start to discuss their upstairs boarder’s comings and goings. They have a suspicion he is building a bomb because he sneaks in and out and keeps to himself. So they invite a detective (Eddie) to their party that night and ask him to check out Uncle Adam. There is a comedy skit and a chorus line at the party and Margaret Westfield sings a song Eddie wrote titled “You Can Always Believe Your Heart” while the detective investigates Mr. Adam’s room. In the end everything turns out hunky-dorey with a kind of sappy closing shot of Eddie

Most recently in 2008 I found this review of the song Eddie wrote “The audience  is asked to get excited about the daughter singing a boring romantic ballad that could easily have come out of a white sing-along movie of the time (1949.” Well!! I also found another review that contained these words “the avuncular old man (played by the only person in this movie who can actually act!)” Well!!! This same person said the main plot was for people to hear the daughter sing the song. Wrong!

Eddie’s original title for this movie was Mr. Atom’s Bomb. He had to copyright it as Mr. Adam’s Bomb. But he, like so many other people, was deeply affected by past events of the war and being an artist and a comedian he made this movie in reference to how Black people were feeling about the use of the atom bomb and as a way to stay positive. Even “Uncle Sam” gets a positive mention. The movie also starred Gene Ware and Jessica Grayson, both veteran actors. Ms. Grayson also appeared in a Bette Davis movie, The Little Foxes. I think Eddie used up all of his money making this last movie.

I am trying to figure out a way to stay positive today. I am planning to find some way to contribute to a more positive community outlook. Yesterday I went to the VA hospital where I used to work and I visited Bldg. 99 where the older veterans live. There was live music in the hall. The veterans are wheeled out or escorted and lunch is served while the musicians play. I actually saw a couple of familiar faces. So between the hugs and the smiles and conversations with the veteran’s and the music “Honeysuckle Rose”, by Fats Waller, and marching music, I felt pretty good when I left.

When I was little my favorite cartoon character was “Droopy”. He always walked around saying “Woe is me, woe is me”. I though he was funny. But I don’t want to be him.

Thanks, for stopping by. KCB

 

 

 

 

Look What I Found!

 

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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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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

Eddie Green -Social MediaOk, let’s see, how can I put this? I AM A PUBLISHED AUTHOR. Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer is now available for public consumption. Of course, I let family members know first and now I am announcing to my wonderful blogging family. Woo hoo!!!

On November 12, 2014 I wrote these next two paragraphs on my first post on my brand new laptop:

Bestsellng author, Dean Koontz said, “I really believe that everyone has a talent, ability or skill that he can mine to support himself and to succeed in life.”

I found this quote while doing some research for a book I will eventually complete.  I began my research in about 1998 because my then small grandson’s favorite words seemed to be “I can’t”.  Usually in regard to why he did not finish his homework.  His homework was always too hard.  I came up with the bright idea to enlighten him on what a person can accomplish by telling him about, and by writing a book for him about my father, his grandfather, who was a black man born in poverty in 1896 and who rose to prominence despite many obstacles.

Well, it is now 2016 and eventually has arrived. My original idea of writing a book was small. I mean, you know, you gather the information and type it up and you have a little book. And then you give him, your grandson, this little book. Once I began the research my knowledge of the true progression of my father’s life from poverty to prominence grew. I knew Eddie was a radio star, had written a song, had made a movie, had appeared in a movie. But since Eddie died when I was three and he had only been married to my mom for five years, I never really learned half of the things my father had accomplished. My little book grew.

One thing I discovered which I could not share with my mom because she had passed on by 2010, was that my father lied about his age. She thought Eddie had been born in 1896, but according to his Social Security Application from 1937, Eddie was actually born in 1891. So when my twenty-two year old mother married Eddie he was actually fifty-four, not forty-nine. I learned that not only had Eddie written one song “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, he wrote twenty-nine songs. Not only did he make one movie, he made wrote, produced, directed and acted in five all-black cast movies. He had appeared on and co-hosted radio shows, he had appeared on Broadway and on and on and on. My little book became a BOOK. And the progression has been documented on this blog.

I have loved every minute of sharing my journey here through WP, and I am very happy that I have a loyal group of followers (which I acknowledged in my book). This journey is not over. I have the job of marketing to do. I will continue to post regarding progress, and I will continue to share other items of interest to keep the spark of inspiration going. Thank you all so much for being a part of this journey. Check me out at http://www.bearmanormedia.com.

and we have a Facebook site for the book:

https://www.facebook.com/EddieGreenBook/?view_public_for=1134428443290744

As always, Thanks, for stopping by, and Spread The Word!

Laughter, Love and Respect

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In 1936 my father had been in show business for nineteen years. He was forty-five years old. He had done so well that one newspaper wrote: This brings up the subject of Eddie Green, the fine comedian who appears occasionally on the Rudy Vallee hour. Eddie who specializes in burlesques of famous plays and men of history, is one of the few people of color ever to win such radio recognition as a comic.

By 1937 Eddie was appearing on a radio program with Louis Armstrong which was announced in a local New York newspaper: Standard Brands Inc. (Fleischmann Yeast) through J . Walter Thompson Co. yesterday announced the full talent line-up of its all-negro show which will make its debut over 30 NBC-Blue network stations, April 9 at 9-9: 30 p.m. Eddie Green and Gee Gee James, a comedy team, with Louis Armstrong and his orchestra will be the regular talent.

In 1938 the papers reported: Eddie Green, well known Black comedian of the stage and screen, with a long line of appearances to his credit, jumped into screen favor last week when he was given a screen test for the role of ‘Pork’ in the 20th Century Fox production of Gone With The Wind.

In the 1939-1940 Eddie was making, writing, directing, producing and starring in his own movies. (Back then they were called ‘race’ movies, meaning everyone associated with the movie was Black, at least that is what it meant to Eddie.) The Eddie’s Laugh Jamboree poster was from 1947, but the movies were made earlier.

During the time Eddie came to Hollywood for the screen test he met my mom, Norma. In my last post I showcased Norma, as in Norma Amato Green Beasley Washington. Amato was her maiden name and Green was her first married name. For those who have just found my blog and for all of the newcomers in the Green Beasley Washington families I will just share a bit about Eddie and Norma’s marriage, back in the day. They met at Clifton’s Cafeteria in Los Angeles when mom was about seventeen. They were married in 1945. Mom was twenty-two, Eddie was fifty-four. One article in the paper read:

Eddie Green Takes Bride – LOS ANGELES – Coming as a pleasant surprise to even his closest friends, Eddie Green, former New Yorker and one of the Nation’s top-flight comedians, and a member of “Duffy’s Tavern” radio show eloped with attractive Norma Amato, concert vocalist, last Wednesday.  The couple were married at Yuma, Arizona, where they spent a brief honeymoon before motoring back to Los Angeles.

They were married a little short of five years because Eddie died in September of 1950. Mom married two more times. The book I have written will introduce Eddie to all the members of all the branches of my family who have been born since 1950. My hope is that they can find Eddie’s life story of success relevant today, because as a Black man coming up in the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s Eddie’s life is a good example of personal achievement that I hope resonates with anyone, no matter what color,  who thinks because of this or that obstacle they will never be able to fulfill their dream.

One piece of knowledge that Eddie found in regard to dealing with one’s colleagues and achieving success was, “you get respect if you know your business.”

Thank you so much, for stopping by.

 

It has been eleven days since my last post. Now that I have finished writing the biography of my father’s (Eddie Green) life and signed with a publisher I have been concentrating on the book cover design. Actually, I have been obsessing over it. Morning, noon, and night. Today I went out to the dentist and I was so anxious to get back home to my computer, I forgot to bring home something for dinner. I have been wracking my brain over what pictures to use.

Eddie’s forte was comedy, but he also sang, wrote songs, ran a string of restaurants, owned a movie picture/television station and was a government licensed ham radio operator. In the early 1900s Eddie was what Bob Hope called “a man of all trades, master of fun.” He was present before, during and after the Harlem Renaissance. So there are photos that I can use on the cover page, but in most of them Eddie was either acting silly, as in the picture from his movie “One Round Jones” (1941), or he is making a funny face in character. Anyhow, what I want to use is a picture that showed Eddie as the business man that he was because even as a comedian he was all business.

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EDDIE GREEN IN ONE ROUND JONES

So, I have chosen the only photo that I have – a head shot of Eddie in his usual attire when he wasn’t in character – a sharp suit and a snazzy hat. Back east in the 40s and 50s men wore snazzy hats. Once the design is done, I will post it here. I think I will place small images of one or two of the comedies he made on the cover also.

I have realized recently that when I post to this blog I post as if I am sending my stuff out to the whole world, worrying that if I put too much in the blog who will buy this book? But, hello, silly me, the whole world is not following my blog! I have realized that I think of my blog followers as the whole world which is a good thing. Because that means I am pleased and satisfied with the progress of this endeavor.

Once my book publishes of course, I will be making a serious effort to see that it gets out to as many people as possible.

Hey, thanks, for stopping by.

The Size of Success

eddieandhattieThough this picture is very small, I wanted to lead this post with it because in more ways than one it signifies success. From left to right are my mom Norma, my father Eddie, actress Louise Beavers, Louise Beavers’ father, Academy Award Winner Hattie McDaniel, and unfortunately I have not identified the woman on the far right. This photo was taken about 1939.  Eddie, Ms. Beavers and Ms. McDaniel were role models of success in the entertainment business, especially in the African-American community. My mom had begun to achieve success as an opera singer. My daughter, Melony (a success in more eyes than just mine), loves this picture.

I have realized over the past few days that success for me is finishing the book about my father’s life.  Relatively speaking, it’s a small thing. Thousands of people have written books. But today I actually felt successful. I had the motivation and the ability to search out information and put it down on paper. My skills with a laptop grew along with my need to use a laptop. Every person has the ability to succeed in life, whether it be on a grand scale or on a less than grand scale.

I have learned that success is achieved with the help of others. I never thought that I would receive as much help as I have during this process. From the beginning of my research for my book, through the writing, the proofing, until today, I have received support and encouragement from people I have met along the way.

Of course, it’s not finished yet. I am working on a Book Cover design (with help). And I have to get a picture taken of myself for marketing purposes (which means I need a new outfit, a manicure, hahaha). By the way, the title of the book is: Eddie Green – The Rise of an Early African-American Entertainment Pioneer.

I started my very first blog post back in 2014 with this sentence:  Best-selling author, Dean Koontz said, “I really believe that everyone has a talent, ability or skill that he can mine to support himself and to succeed in life.” I wanted this blog to help others determine the skills or abilities they possessed. I hoped to be able to help determine what motivates each individual person, and what it means to succeed in life. Hey, if I can do it………..

Thanks, for stopping by.

 

 

 

My Brother Was Right!

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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.

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“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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m So Excited

th (6)I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it
I’m about to lose control and I think I like it!

 

Hi, there!  I have been working diligently on the biography of my father, Eddie Green, for the past couple of weeks, because I am so close to finishing and I want to get the manuscript sent out for proofreading before I send it to a publisher. One year ago I bought my first laptop and started this project. AND THEN, last week, out of the blue, I received a message from a lady whose 90-plus year old Grandmother, whose name is Millicent, had been in one of the movies my father directed, produced and starred in, “What Goes Up.” The movie was made in Fort Lee, New Jersey in 1939.

Evidently, Millicent had for years been telling  the younger members of her family about those days, but no one really listened until one family member decided to investigate. She went on line and found my blog (yay!) after typing in Eddie’s name, and now I get to add a bit more information to my book, and I get to share a little of Millicent’s story (she played a chorus girl in the movie) with my readers. This is exactly the type of thing I wanted to happen, though I wasn’t sure it would.

Millicent is the shorter woman in the front in the black dress.  I have had a copy of this photo for a long time, but had no idea who these women were. Now I know one of them.  Millicent and I live in different cities and have never met, but, boy, am I glad her relative found me.  (Laugh Jamboree was a Toddy Pictures production, though the movies, Dress Rehearsal, What Goes Up and Comes Midnight, were Eddie’s.)

Through her granddaughter, Millicent has provided me with more insight into Eddie as an entertainer and as a movie producer than she will ever know.  For instance, she says that Eddie was “all business”.  Well, in a Baltimore Newspaper article from around the same time that Millicent knew Eddie, the headline reads: ” As a Comedian, He’s Very Funny, As a Business Man, He’s Very Sensible and Comedy is a Business.” The article goes on to say “The fact that Eddie is so funny on the screen, stage and radio is due to the highly intelligent and efficient manner in which he conducts his work.”

The other thing about this contact with Millicent, is that, had my mother, Norma, still been alive today, she would have been 92 years old. For those that don’t know Eddie married my mom when he was 54 and mom was 22. So Millicent was a cast member in Eddie’s movie, about the same time Eddie first met my mom.  I love Millicent, I don’t know her, but that’s ok. I have a few more tidbits to share (Millicent was a beauty contest winner), but I will save them for another post.

Being able  to look back and “experience” the past through my book and this blog, brings me so much joy.  I mean, just because its 2015 does not mean past times are inconsequential. Past times, older people,  are extremely important to who we have become today, and well worth the attention, in my opinion.

Thank you, Sharon.

And, thank you, for stopping by.

Lyrics for “I’m So Excited” courtesy of The Pointer Sisters

 

 

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