I Stopped the Process

For those new to my blog and to refresh the memory of long time followers, I am posting a few pictures of Eddie’s entertainment life over the years. Eddie Green was my father. He died in 1950. Born in 1891. Over the years Eddie rose from poverty to prominence due to hard work, determination, talent and love for his fellow man. Eddie learned what was necessary to progress in his chosen field, starting out as a “Boy Magician”. He had a knack for comedy and he used his comedic talent to propel him along his way. And he was successful. He pulled himself up from poverty using his talents. From Vaudeville to Burlesque, to Broadway. From early radio and television to becoming the head of his own movie production studio, producing, directing, writing and starring in his own all-black cast films. From appearing in radio productions for the troops during WWII to becoming a major character on one of America’s best loved radio programs “Duffy’s Tavern“, while opening his third movie and television production studio.

While touring as a “Boy Magician” over the years Eddie added songwriting to his list of accomplishments. He wrote “A Good Man is Hard to Find” which he used in 1919 when he took his own show on tour. The show included singing, dancing girls and comedy. While in St. Louis with this show he saw an ad in the local Variety paper for a comic. Eddie sent an outstanding reply and was invited to become a part of a vaudeville show in New York. His performances here and in Burlesque working at the 125th Apollo, earned him inclusion into a hit Broadway musical Hot Chocolates by 1929.

 

 

In 1929, not only was he a part of the ensemble of Hot Chocolates, Eddie wrote all of the comedic skits for this show. His name is listed twice. The show ran for 219 performances. Two of the songs would go on to be recorded, one “Big Business” was recorded by Victor Records, and “Sending A Wire”. Sending A Wire would also be made into a Vitaphone short by Warner Bros.

 

 

 

Eventually, Eddie began appearing on the radio. Rudy Vallee introduced him to the radio audience, inviting him over and over due to audience reaction, and during the summer of 1937 Eddie was asked to join Louis Armstrong as co-hosts of the Fleischmann’s Yeast hour while Rudy was on vacation. Eddie had also appeared for a number of weeks as the featured attraction on the Sunday evening NBC “Echoes of New York” program. During the 30’s Eddie also had a “first”. He appeared as one of the very first two Black men on an RCA/NBC television broadcast-but I’m saving this for another post.

Eddie went on to become a filmmaker in 1939 making four movies Dress Rehearsal, What Goes Up, Comes Midnight and One Round Jones among other endeavors. In 1941 he joined the cast of Duffy’s Tavern where he became famous as one of America’s most beloved comedians.

When I started this blog Eddie had almost been completely forgotten. Almost. Despite his many accomplishments in the entertainment world and the business world, despite the many friends he made and how widely he became known, beside myself, there were not a lot of people remembering that old comic, Eddie Green. I have written a biography about my father. (Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer, get it on Amazon). Since I wrote the book I have had someone tell me that I stopped the process of my father being erased from history. Wow.

I mainly started the project to show my young (at the time) grandson what a person could do regardless of the obstacles life throws at us. But as I researched my father’s life I realized that his story, so full of inspirational stories, could help so many people. That his story as a Black man born in 1891 could prove to be motivational to Black people for sure, but also to anyone who feels that the odds are against them. Maybe you have someone in your family you could write about. Or you just have some inspirational stories you think might be of help  to others if they only knew about them.  You too can stop the process of someone being erased from history.

Hey, thanks, for stopping by.

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

 

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Celebrate BHM at a Library-Celebrate Libraries Anytime

Hello again. Here is a poster announcing my next appearance at a local library here in Los Angeles, the Eagle Rock Branch Library to share my father’s inspirational story. When I started this book writing journey my thoughts never went further than getting the writing done and getting a publisher. The idea of being asked to give a presentation at a library never entered my mind. I simply knew that I wanted to put my father’s story down on paper and present it to my grandson. My doctor asked me the other day how I wrote the book-did I have any help? I realized that this is one of the first questions people ask. So this past week I sat down and wrote out what I did to get this book written. Once I took a good look at what entails getting a book written, I was in awe of myself. I am beginning to realize what a big deal this is.

 

 

Here I am last week speaking about writing the biography of my father. I have pictures, we played a cd of a comedy skit with Lena Horne and I was happy to be there. Especially as there were two grammar school girls sitting in the front row. Paying attention. Sitting still. One little girl would take a photo I handed out, show it to her friend, have a little discussion and place the photo on the table. They even contributed to the discussion when I managed to touch on something currently relevant. I loved talking to them and assuring them that they too could achieve their dreams, like Eddie, if they learned as much as they could and believed in themselves.

Of course I told these young girls that I started my research in the Central Library in Los Angeles. That I went to the library a lot when I was little, which I did. And, in fact, the Central Library is exactly where I began my research for my book. My mother actually found the first picture we had of Eddie on stage doing an Amos n Andy radio show back in the 1930s or 40s. This is Central Library.

 

Central Library is beautiful. All of the information I found here about Eddie (and my mom) was housed in the basement level. So I went down this escalator many times. This is where I found the copyright entries for Eddie’s last movie. This is where I found old copies of Black newspapers that had so many articles about Eddie. And my mom. This is where I got carried away with reading those old newspapers. And how I found my aunt mentioned and my Nana. And my godfather. I even began genealogy research here. I made lots of copies here. I usually ate lunch in the building. And of course you can’t just visit one area of this library.

 

 

 

 

Along the way someone told me they had found information on Eddie at the Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills and suggested I check it out. This is the library for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It houses the Oscars library. So I went to this library. What an experience. First of all, I would have never thought of going to this library. Even though I knew my father was a filmmaker-I did not realize how big an impact Eddie had in the entertainment field. I must say here that at the time I did not have a car. I used public transportation. L. A. has good public transportation, but, some buses only run once an hour or once every 30 minutes. And visiting these libraries took me from the East to the West side of town. I visited the African American Museum in Exposition Park,  the Mayme Clayton Museum in Inglewood, AND I spent hours at the Family History Library in West L.A. (a 2 hour bus ride one-way), I found so many books here on US history.

The inside of the Margaret Herrick Library is gorgeous. One must leave one’s bags, coats and books in a little locker. When looking at photos or scripts of old papers, one must wear gloves and be very careful when handling delicate items such as old invoices. Oh, and you cannot just walk in, you have to have an appointment. The people that work in here are so nice. You tell them what you are looking for and they get it and bring it to you. I found Eddie’s movie scripts!! Posters of his movies!!! Invoices from Seiden Cinema in New Jersey for the film work they did for Eddie (with signatures). I even found the contract he made with Paramount when he was in the 1945 Duffy’s Tavern movie. Of course,, some of those items I could purchase, some not, but I could write down what I found and pay for copies. I made three trips to this library.

Visiting libraries and museums was a big part of my journey. There were also conventions. I spent many hours online. There was  a lot of reading, emailing, learning how to get with social media. Reading how-to books and articles. Reading other people’s biographies to study writing styles. Studying how to get a publisher. Biting my nails. After my mother passed in 2010 I used my grieving time to focus on the book. I was retired. Footloose and fancy-free. I had time to put into this book. Today, now that it is published I have time to share Eddie’s story in the libraries here in Los Angeles. This photo of Eagle Rock library is where I will be on the 24th of February 2018. I hope to get more kids involved. Because after all, I began this writing venture to try and motivate my grandson who grew up while I was in this process. But I also want to bring Eddie out of the shadows of time and share his many contributions to the entertainment industry and beyond.

Please ask for this book at your local library so that it can be available to more people. Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer.

Thanks so much, for stopping by.

 

Labor of Love

whyThis past week a political figure’s book sold out in 2 days on Amazon after he received an uncomplimentary response to an opinion that he voiced.  I wonder why? Did the book sell out because of controversy? Is that what people want? Of course, my bright brain then thought “hm, how could that work for me? Could I find someone of note to mention me in a bad light on the internet? Of course, they would have to mention the name of the book I authored, then people would rush to buy my book, to see if I really am as bad as that person said!”  Then I laughed out loud. I don’t want controversy to sell my inspiring, delightful biography about my legendary radio icon, filmmaker, comedian father, Eddie Green.

However, truth be told, I was a bit upset. People seem to be drawn to drama. And the aura surrounding the writing and publishing of this book has no negative drama. There is no negative drama in my life. Will my book sell well with no drama attached to it?

Drama could have been created back in the day when Mary O’Neil of the Knickerbocker News printed her opinion in 1937, she said:  “What that Eddie Green is doing in radio, I don’t know. I still can’t see his type of comedy. But as I said before Vallee can’t have a success every single time.” Rudy Vallee was Eddie’s mentor. (For you younger folks, Vallee was a radio and movie star who helped Eddie get noticed.) I don’t think everyone rushed eagerly to their radios that day to listen to Eddie Green, and see if they could tell just what kind of man Eddie was, but I do know that he eventually became one of the most popular and best loved comedians of his time through talent and determination. No drama necessary.

According to Mr. Frank of the Associated Negro Press Eddie had become very popular through his talent: “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.”

Today I looked up Mary O’Reily and I found a very interesting geneology site with information on her family from the 1700s to 2012. At the end of the article they stated that this information was a memorial to their ancestor’s sacrifices and hard work that got them to a nation where they could achieve and accomplish anything. I have warmed up to Mary O’Reily. She was a female journalist in 1937 doing her job. She said what she felt and she was glad to have her job.

My intent when writing this book was to inspire and possibly provide a pin prick of motivation to that person who feels the odds are against them. To be helpful in some way. Have someone say “yea, I could do that!” My focus was to be positive and upbeat. I don’t want controversy to spur sales of my book. This book writing venture has been smoother than smooth because it was supposed to happen. And I know my book will reach the people it is supposed to reach. Btw, the title of the book is Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer, for those of you new to this blog and Thank You for those of you who have purchased the book. You are all a part of my Labor of Love.

As always, thanks, for stopping by.

Book Reviews – so far so good

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L to R: My mom, Atty. Walter Gordon, Jr., Kay Seeley, Eddie, Mrs. William Dickerson, unidentified guest, Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Rev. Clayton Russell and Rev. George Garner (oh, and I am in the middle!)

When I began this post I got a little teary eyed, and I think it is because it is just beginning to soak in that I have actually had a book published. Me. A book about my father (with a chapter on my mom). People have read the book and have posted reviews in newsletters, online and have sent their thoughts through email. So far the reviews are good.

For those new to this blog I have written a rags-to-riches biography about my father, the legendary Eddie Green, filmmaker, movie and Broadway star, old time radio icon and composer, who died when I was three.  Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer. The idea occurred to me back in 1996. With help from my mom, a lot of research and determination and love, the book was published in July, 2016.

Below is a excerpt from an email I received from Patricia, the lady that interviewed me during my second appearance on the YesterdayUSA internet radio program:

What a remarkable and seamless blend of personal thoughts and feelings you captured (which added such warmth and life to the book) while at the same time maintaining an objective distance that made the book impartial and educational and Eddie Green captivating.

Kudos are marvelous, darling! So I am trying with this post to learn a bit more about setting up a site that includes more than just my posts. I am attempting to have Category pages, for instance: Reviews, Book Info, Events.

When I started out my idea of writing a book was small. With time the idea and my realizations grew.

Maybe Eddie was thinking about the future of his daughter as he looked at me at my christening. He looks very contemplative. Bet he never thought I would grow up and write a book about his life that would bring him from out of the shadows back into the light of acknowledgement he deserves.

Book reviews were not something I considered during this book writing process, but, boy and I glad to see them, so far. But even if I only get one star instead of five stars, this journey continues to lift my spirits. I hope you are inspired, uplifted and encouraged to soar.

Thanks, for stopping by.

 

 

Research in Black Culture-A Celebration

momwithfur (2)The latest good news is that the biography I have written about my father, Eddie Green, will now be featured in the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York.

The picture I have posted with Eddie and Mom (Norma) is in the Eddie Green Portrait Collection also at the Schomburg. I did not put this picture in the book because I do not own the photo. But I want to show it off here because these two look like they are enjoying the good life. Mom made her own hats back then. I don’t remember that fur coat but I do remember her fox fur stole. She kept it in that drawer that I wasn’t supposed to open.

If you have bought the book (thank you so much!!), you will see a picture of Eddie in a white suit and black tie, I was able to purchase a copy of the picture from the Schomburg and it works perfectly for my back cover.cropthisforpost (2)

As a filmmaker, movie and Broadway star and Old Time Radio Icon, Eddie was always sharp. He was a good business man. He was well-read. Eddie travelled with his books. He had his own library at the Hudson Theater in New York. They say a lot of those old time vaudeville actors read a lot of the classics in order to come up with ideas to incorporate into their funny skits, similar to a reference to Shakespeare’s Hamlet that was used in an old Three Stooges movie:

” Among the insane sights in this Stooges short is a burro wearing galoshes. The burro is named “Yorick,” and when it appears it was accidentally blown up, yes, we hear: “Alas, poor Yorick. We knew him well.”

Eddie was a comedian. A good comedian. He was funny, someone said he could not open his mouth without being funny. He didn’t mind acting funny, either.eddiegreensillyphotoas he did in his movie One Round Jones.

Over the time it took for me to write the book, I have had a number of people tell me that Eddie is looking down at me and smiling (even the lady who has my first consignment said it). I don’t know if this is so, but if it is he can now be proud that in 2016 both of our works are housed together in the same public access building in New York. I know I am proud. Thank you Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

And thank you, for stopping by and celebrating with me.