Otay. Comes Midnight is the third picture my father made. It is a story about two men (played by Eddie and Jimmie Baskette) who will receive $100 if they stay in Old Man Mose’s deserted house overnight in order to dig up his body and get the gold that has been placed under his body, and return it to the rightful owner.
It’s got really corny jokes in it such as: 1st person: You know, old man Mose had a million dollars in gold ore. 2nd person: Gold or what?
Supposedly, Eddie filmed this movie in a real haunted house in New Jersey. The older residents of the neighborhood said they had heard weird groans and had seen a pale face pressed against the window. One of the original cast members bowed out because he was too afraid to enter the house.
The movie had a great cast, though.
Jimmie Baskette, who you might remember as “Uncle Remus” or the man who sang “Zip A Dee Doo Da”.
And Amanda Randolph. She was the first African-American performer to star in a regularly scheduled network television show, appearing in DuMont’s The Laytons. Miss Randolph also starred in “Beulah” in 1953. She also appeared in 71 episodes of “Make Room for Daddy” with Danny Thomas. (Anybody out there remember at least one of these shows?) I found the following information on the net, and it kind of upsets me: Amanda Randolph appeared in a few Oscar Micheaux films. The reason I get upset is also one of the reasons I am writing a book about my father. Eddie made movies with the current stars of his day, the same stars who appeared in Micheaux films and films produced by Whites, yet as far as the media goes, it is as though Eddie and his work with these actors has simply dropped through the floor. I am a champion for my father.
The movie was a short, only twenty-one minutes, but it was a “real laugh-riot.”
Eddie, “Harlem’s favorite Hollywood comedian” was quoted as saying this about his movie making skills:
“The first thing I try for,” he said, “is naturalness. I write my own stories, building them around some incident that has been interesting, but not offensive. Then I select the actors that I think are best suited to the parts, so that they need only be themselves.”
The movie had its first showing at the Brooklyn Apollo Theater at 1531 Fulton Avenue. The theater closed in 1965.
On Tuesday afternoon of July 30, 1940, if anyone was looking for a good short movie, according to the Television column, of The New York Sun, you could catch “Comes Midnight” at 3:55 p.m. that afternoon, right after the 3:48 p.m. film “Tour of the World’s Fair.”
Just before Eddie started making “Comes Midnight”, he went to Hollywood from New York to audition for the part of “Pork” in Gone With the Wind. He did not get the part, but, hey, nothing beats a failure but a try, right?
The update on my first try at writing a book is that I now have a 48,061 word manuscript, including title sheet, TOC, dedication, introduction, appendices and bibliography. I’m done, basically, I know I am. I am sending it piecemeal to my brother, who is helping me with editing, and, of course I am proofing also. I will be looking for a “real” editor any day now.
I am still having fun. And I thank you effusively for stopping by and hanging in.