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



You Learn Something New Every Day

I have a few newer followers to this blog. So I am posting a bit of information, some of which is in my book, for the newer people, though I have added new information in this post that I have only found today. I have also included a YouTube video, so there should be something for everybody. Say Hi to this guy Eddie Green, my father. I began this blog in order to chronicle my research into and my writing of his biography. A rags-to-riches story of a man who was a composer, Broadway and movie star, an Old Time Radio icon and filmmaker.  The book has been published and has even won a Foreword INDIES 2016 Bronze Book Award (yay!!). I am in the process now of visiting libraries and Rotary Clubs and other venues to give presentations. I have been interviewed on podcasts and a National Radio program, and on YesterdayUSA.  And I am continuing to post on this blog, one reason being that I am still learning new information about my father, another is that I continue to make good friends as well as good contacts. And I continue to discover that there are lots of people in this world who knew of my father and wanted to learn more.

The title of the book is Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer. In the book I mention a song that Eddie and another actor, Ernest Whitman, sang in 1945, “One Meatball”. I decided to post a YouTube video so that my audience (you) can hear Eddie announced and, can hear his voice.

When I logged onto the YouTube site I noticed these comments from tugOjackson from 2000: Eddie Green was beloved by millions of Americans who knew him as “Eddie the Waiter” on the Duffy’s Tavern radio show (which was the basis of the Cheers TV show.) Eddie was a marvelous talent and I know he would have been just as successful today. Thanks (jazzman) for not letting him be forgotten. And who knew Ernie & Eddie could sing jazz too? Their jazz/comic timing is superb in this clip! This may be the best version of “One Meatball” ever recorded! Listening again to this superb rendition of “One Meatball”. Eddie Green’s spoken comic asides as Ernie sings the first chorus are pure jazz improvisation. And Ernie can really sing too. By the way Mark Twain mentions this song in his book Roughing It, so it goes waay back. (I have tried to locate these two  gentleman to thank them for their comments, but no luck so far.)

The song is by Hy Zaret and Lou Singer.  What I didn’t put in the book is the journey this song took before it got it’s current name. In 1855 while living at Cloverden in Cambridge, Massachusetts, George Martin Lane wrote the song “The Lone Fish Ball”; after decades as a staple of Harvard undergraduates, it was modernized into the popular hit “One Meat Ball”. The song is composed upon an old english folk song entitled “Sucking Cider Through a Straw”. According to Professor Morris H. Morgan, the song is based upon an actual experience of Lane’s at a restaurant in Boston, although the reality involved a half-portion of macaroni, rather than a fish ball. The song goes on to relate the impoverished diner’s embarrassment at the hands of a disdainful waiter.

After becoming popular among Harvard undergraduates, it was translated into a mock Italian operetta, “Il Pesceballo”, by faculty members Francis James Child, James Russell Lowell and John Knowles Paine, set to a pastiche of grand opera music, and performed in Boston and Cambridge to raise funds for the Union army. A fish ball was for breakfast, cooked fish and potatoes pan fried together.

In 1944, the song was revived by Tin Pan Alley songwriters Hy Zaret and Lou Singer in a more bluesy format as “One Meat Ball”, and the recording by Josh White became one of the biggest hits of the early part of the American folk music revival. The song has been performed by  The Andrews Sisters, Bing Crosby, Jimmy Savo, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and others. Hy Zaret lived to be 99 years old, dying in 2007.


So, take a few more minutes, sit back and enjoy seeing my father, Eddie Green, and his friend Ernest Whitman in this compilation of images put together by jazzman and tugOjackson just so I could find it and share it with you.

As always, thanks, for stopping by.




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.