My Father and the New York Police Department 1929

Due to a recent podcast I realized I needed to gain a greater degree of knowledge in regard to how my father, Eddie Green, got into the field of radio. In his words: “Radio for Negroes is a very hard field to get into . . . very hard! But the returns are so great that it’s worth the try.” Eddie was a living example of how one gets ahead in life. He stayed busy, he knew his talents and dedicated himself to making them pay off. His biggest break was in 1929.

I found an article from about 1928, by Chappy Gardner,  “Along the Rialto”, in the Pittsburgh Courier: “ Eddie Green, well-known songwriter, electrician, motion picture operator, famed comedian, opened on the Burlesque wheel this season. Played at Newark last week in A Perfect 36. Eddie appeared with the regular cast, being the only race performer, but was at his best in his single that wowed the customers”.

It took him a minute to realize his popularity. In his own words “In the meantime, I was so busy working here and there and doing a bit of writing on the side that I did not notice my own advancement. One indication of the change, I should have noticed, was the fact that I could see my name very frequently in the various trade papers”. Then along came George Immerman and opened a show called Hot Chocolates. I became the featured comic in this show. It turned out that none of the various scenes written for the show were good enough, so I was engaged to write the scenes”.

Hot Chocolates was a musical revue that  opened at the Hudson Theater in New York on June 20, 1929. The show was staged and directed by Leonard Harper, with songs by  and Thomas “Fats” Waller and Harry Brooks and book by Andy Razaf. The revue was touted as being fast, funny and frank. Hot Chocolates had a run of 219 performances.

Eddie double as a performer in the show along with these two gentlemen

  • Louis Armstrong  Ensemble (Armstrong made his Broadway debut with his role in the ensemble as part of the pit band for the show)
  • Jimmie Baskette Ensemble (Baskette later became well-known as the zip-a-dee-doo-da man, Uncle Remus, in Walt Disney’s movie “Song of the South” (1946)

A big hit from Hot Chocolates was “Big Business” written by Eddie. It was  a “talking song,” with Eddie, Billy Higgins and Company, and “Fats” Waller on piano.

Then there was the record that was produced from one of Eddie’s skits titled “Sending A Wire” on the Okeh record label:

And the  Warner Bros Vitaphone film “Sending A Wire” (directed by Murray Roth)  (courtesy IMDB) that featured synchronized sound. It was said to be the funniest Vitaphone comedy act “which has yet been produced,”, and that it “kept thousands shaking with laughter.”

At about the same time in another part of town,  Gannett Newspapers decided to put together a stellar list of entertainers to perform over radio stations WGY and WHAM, to be broadcast to “Little America” for the enjoyment of Commander Richard E. Byrd, an America Naval Officer, and his explorers, who had set up the “Little America” base camp on the Ross Ice Shelf.  Radio remained a primitive and exciting medium in 1929, and when the stations contacted Little America directly and spoke with Byrd or Hanson, it caused a worldwide sensation. They chose Eddie to be added to the broadcast to perform his “Sending a Wire” skit.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle said: “The whole town is talking about Eddie Green, prime colored comic, who will put on one of the funniest skits on the stage”. The “whole town” (New York) was talking about my father!! He was Big Time! Of course the radio people wanted him. He was Hot!! The “stellar” cast in this radio show also included: Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Rudy Vallee one of the first modern pop stars and Ted Healy, the creator of the Three Stooges.

Eddie had to perform in both of these venues on the same night. Problem was he had to be on stage at the Hudson at almost the same time the radio broadcast would begin. This was a predicament. In his words this is what happened: “The Police Department solved the problem by giving me a motorcycle escort from the theater to the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) studio”. He said that they went up Broadway on the wrong side of the street with the police sirens screaming. Can’t you just picture it? The police escorting Eddie through traffic trying not to hit the theater crowd, zigging and zagging!! Just to get him on that radio program so Commander Byrd could laugh his head off and forget about the cold in Antarctica!! I salute the New York Police Department!

Broadway about 1926-1929

Eddie was Hot!! They had to have him! If he were alive today he’d be on Ellen, Oprah, Steve, National Public Radio (NPR), Twitter, Internet. Because he was one of the best comedians of his time. THAT is how Eddie got into radio.

Hey, thanks for stopping by.

 

 

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Eddie Green and Baltimore, 2 Greats

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The two pictures posted here today have brought me much joy recently. The head and shoulders shot is my father Eddie Green with his Amateur Short-wave Radio Operator pin on his lapel, circa 1940, and the other is a still from a Warner Bros. 1929 Vitaphone film titled “Sending a Wire”. That’s Eddie as a customer trying to send a telegram. The headshot is located at the New York Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in the Eddie Green Photo Collection. I got the still from The Vitaphone Project where the employees are endeavoring to preserve old Warner Bros. films.

Eddie was born in Baltimore in 1891. So a few days ago I posted these photos on a Baltimore Old Photos website group. I have been blown away by the response I have received from Baltimore residents. As I type this I have received over 600 replies (likes, comments, reactions) and they are still coming in. Of course I have responded to each comment so I’ve been reluctant to leave my computer because I want to answer immediately. So far placing these photos in the Baltimore site had nothing to do with the biography I have written on my father. The people who are reacting to these pictures are simply people who love their city. They love their city history. Judging by the faces on their posts (I guess they are avatars) these are young people, middle age, older folks, and different ethnicities. To me this is a proud community.

I absolutely do not like to fly but it looks like I am going to have to visit my father’s birthplace. I would love to experience the atmosphere. There has got to be a lot of love in that city. I posted a blurb from my book that said Eddie Green was “a feather in the hat of East Baltimore” according to the local newspaper from 1925. Wait until they get the word that I have written a book about him. From the comments I have received Baltimoreans will be happy to learn more about one of theirs.

I am trying not to get too excited here because life is about ups and downs, but I am having so much fun. Since I started this blog however the process has been up all the way.  I’ve written my book, had it published, and gained followers and friends.  Because of my desire to see my father’s story brought back to the fore of people’s minds in order that they might see an example of reaching one’s goals no matter how many obstacles there are, and because Life has shown me that this is what is supposed to happen, I feel this path I am on is only going to bring me and others more happiness. How it will bring happiness to others is that people who visit my site can be encouraged to pursue their dreams and they will feel fulfilled in doing so.

I love this!

Thanx, for stopping by. And please KCB.

 

 

 

 

ANTICIPATION

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Eddie and his secretary signing talent

 

Hi. So I have posted a picture of my father, Eddie in his office back in 1939 greeting young ladies who showed up for a chance to appear in one of his movies, produced by his Sepia Art Pictures Company movie studio. Eddie’s office was located on 7th Avenue in New York, which is where a good part of his career took place. He spent some time in Hollywood during 1936-38 appearing on various radio programs, but he did not have a home in California until 1945. Sepia Art Pictures had gone out of business by 1945, but that did not mean his movie making days were over.

Eddie was signed on to play “Eddie, the waiter” in a new radio program titled Duffy’s Tavern in 1941, and when Paramount decided to produce a movie version of the radio program in 1945, Eddie was signed for the role in the movie. Eddie’s movie making money had run out, but I do believe financial difficulties took a turn because he married my mom in 1945, bought his house in Los Angeles and started a new movie/television studio on Western Avenue in 1946.

Today I decided to make this a short post about Eddie because I want to write about me and my book writing journey.  I have a writer friend who is well versed in the etiquette of book writing. Meaning this friend has offered to help make sure I have not printed material that might show someone in a bad light. So my friend is reading my book. The book about my father is the first book I have ever written so I take all the help I can get. But……..the waiting is difficult. Even though I am perfectly aware of the time frame called for. My book is approximately 48,000 words in length. And people have other things to do. My friend has a family, a job, book signings. I am blessed to have this help. I am sharing this because maybe someone else is having the same issue. Learning how to wait with anticipation.

I was reminded today of the last opera I saw with my mom. It was Madama Butterfly. In one scene Madam Butterfly is waiting for her love to come back from the sea. She sits on the floor and waits.waiting 3And waits. And waits. Pretty soon some of the people in the audience at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion start getting a little fidgety. Madame Butterfly hasn’t moved. She’s waiting. After a while we, the audience, begin to understand that we have been invited to participate in order to understand how long Madama Butterfly waited for this man. We were waiting too. By the time her wait was over I had begun to question whether the producer of this play was a genius or a nut for making the audience wait so long. And when I thought of this today while I was standing on the bus stop, I laughed out loud. Which relieved some of the pressure that had begun to build up in me.

After all, judging by the past few years of this endeavor, everything I have needed I have received. I have no complaints. My grandson told me to remember, that no matter how things turn out, to remember that I said I was going to write a book and I did. I just need to sit back, relax and be prepared for the next phase of marketing this bad boy. Thank you, Jeremy.

Hey, thanks, for stopping by.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I AM WRITING FOR POSITIVITY

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Hi there!!  The above picture is me working on the proofing and editing of the first draft of the book about my father, Eddie Green, Star of Stage, Screen and Radio from the 1920s through 1950.

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It’s hard work!  And very time consuming!  And in the process of verifying information, I keep finding new information that just must go in the book!

For instance, I found my father’s 1917 WWI registration card and on the card where it says “Race”, Eddie wrote in “African”.  So I started reading about Africa and how Blacks first came to America and what happened after they got here, and I wound up on a site discussing Billie Holiday and her singing of the song “Strange Fruit.”  So I looked up “Strange Fruit” and found the story of the man who wrote the song.

Mr. Abel Meeropol (February 10, 1903-October 30, 1986), was a writer, teacher and song-writer.  Mr. Meeropol wrote this song after seeing a photo of the hanging of a black man because the photo affected him so profoundly, in regards to the inhumanity of racism.  Billie Holliday received the song through another source and recorded the song and Mr. Meerepool became well-known through this song.

Mr. Meerepol was a man of compassion.  He cared about people.   He was at the house of W. E. B. DuBois one evening and he met the orphaned sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.  Mr. Meerepol and his wife got to know the boys and began to care for them and eventually adopted the boys.  Mr. Meeropol passed away due to complications of pneumonia at a Jewish Nursing Home in Massachusettes when he was 83 years old.

Mr. Meerepol was the type of person I would like to know.  His thought process is what attracts me and somehow ties in with what I have been trying to incorporate into my posts.  That even though there are awful things that happen in the life, there are people who genuinely care about others, no matter what their “color”.   It’s people working together.

Ok, then I was thinking about all the help I have had since I began my book project from people who don’t know me from Adam.  I have received legal help, help with radio scripts, cd’s, free books.  I talk with people in the U.K.  I have been feeling really grateful for the help I have received.  And just wishing the race question could be a little simpler.

So then I start thinking about what to put in my post today.  My last post dealt with Eddie’s first movie in 1939, so I decided to write about the fact that Eddie, while working in the “Hot Mikado”, and contemplating his next movie, was also in charge of “The Miss Sepia Beauty Contest” at the 1939 Worlds Fair.  But when I went on-line to get information, I could find nothing about Miss Sepia or Eddie at the World’s Fair.

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The Perisphere NYWF 1939-40

However, at the New York Public Library there is archived information about:

39negr

All correspondence, speeches, exhibition material, pass and address lists, and financial records  relating to the planning and presentation of “Negro Week” at the New York World’s Fair, 1940, became the property of the growing Schomburg Collection in New York.

“Negro Week” consisted of festivals, exhibitions, song and dance recitals, choral and symphonic music, concerts, religious services, guest speakers and a children’s program.  Noted events during the week included a dramatic sketch of the “Life of Booker T. Washington” performed by the Rose McClendon Players and performances by the Karamu Dancers, Eubie Blake, W. C. Handy, James P. Johnson, Cecil Mack and Philippa Schuyler.  There were speeches by W.E.B. DuBois and L. D. Reddick relating to various aspects of black contributions to American culture.

There was also a beauty contest.  The Pittsburgh Courier printed “South Carolina Beauty Wins
“Miss Sepia America Crown”, with a picture and this blurb under the picture:  ” Helen Lewis, wins first prize honors in nation-wide beauty contest in New York.   The second photo presents “Miss (Sepia) America” and her running mates.   “New York is a great place,” Helen agrees in final photo, as she goes on sight-seeing tour with Eddie Green, master-mind behind contest.”

Back in the day, news about Black endeavors only made it into Black newspapers.  Things have changed.  We, people, make the changes together.

imagesThank you so much for stopping by.

NPR music, E. Blair npr.org 2012

Pittsburgh Courier, 1940

 

 

 

CAMERAS, LIGHTS……..

 

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When trying to write a book and posts for a blog, I forget there are other things to attend to.  Like grocery shopping, washing, visiting friends, calling people, eating three meals a day (ha!).  So every now and then I have to do these things.  When I get back to my laptop, it takes a while for my brain to settle back into the writing process (where was I?, what did I do with my highlighter?), so I waste a few minutes getting back in the groove of writing, and I was wondering today how in the world my father could do everything he did as a comedian, businessman, a director and a writer?  Then I remembered, he had a wife.  I just have me.

Which brings me to an article I found written in 1940, about Eddie, after he had begun his movie making career.  This was a full page article discussing Eddie as a comedian (funny), and as a business man (sensible).  It begins:  “Everybody knows Eddie Green as Koko in the “Hot Mikado”, or as the chief characters in his skit on Christopher Columbus and on Jonah and the Whale, (which he did on the Rudy Valley radio show), but there is another Eddie Green who is akin to these characters, but who is also very different.  That is Eddie Green Himself.”

The article goes on to discuss Eddie’s comedic talent, the fact that he owns and operates two barbecue restaurants in New York,

“Eddie Green’s Bar-Bee-Q 2149 8th (near 116) Specializing in Southern Bar-Bee-Q.
Always Open. Finest South’n hospitality. E. Green, Host.”

and that he is a writer and producer of “what many people believe are the finest films being released about our people.”  This paper was the Baltimore Afro American.   The article includes this quote from Eddie:

“The first thing I try for is naturalness.  I write my own stories, building them around some incident that has been interesting, but not offensive.”

The article mentions, that although Eddie had already released three films, he had no picture scheduled that summer because he was concentrating on a beauty contest at the World’s Fair.

Towards the end of the article, they talk about Eddie’s typical day.  He is up at 8 and off to the office.  At lunch he has coffee with Mrs. Green, at home, or she comes to the office.  If he is broadcasting, he goes to rehearsal, if not, he goes back to his office until dinner, then he goes home to eat.  He likes ham and cabbage which he taught Mrs. Green to cook.  He tinkers with his ham radio, then at 10:00p.m. he goes to check on his restaurants till about 12:00, then goes back home.  Mrs. Green, (the wife before my mom), was an entertainer, but decided to become a stay-at-home wife.  I assume that she did all the shopping, and washing, and cleaning, so Eddie had only to concentrate on his career path, he didn’t have to worry about thing falling apart at home.

In 1939, Eddie began a new venture and opened his own motion picture company:

movie company formed
in harlem
NEW YORK, Aug. 24  With familiar theatrical figure Eddie Green as guiding light, a new motion picture company was formed this week, the “Sepia Arts Pictures Company.”  Los Angeles California Eagle, August 24, 1939

Eddie’s first film was:

courtesy live auctioneers
courtesy live auctioneers

In my ongoing research I have actually seen my father’s original script for this movie.  Remarkable!  Though the script lists the cast members, it is difficult to tell which person was in which movie.  Anywho, “Dress Rehearsal” would have a long run, at theaters and on television, as noted below:

NEW YORK, Dec. 21.—History was made here Saturday
afternoon, Dec. 16, when the National Broadcasting Company 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 ” Negro motion picture ever to be broadcast by television, Mr. Green breaks a precedent by staring in the first film of its kind ever to be sent over the air.  Pittsburgh Courier  12/23/39

AND, at the

Vogue  1905 Columbia
Edw. G. Robinson, “Destroyer”
Eddie Green, “Dress Rehearsal”   Dec 9, 1943

I do not have the rights yet, if ever, to post much information regarding scripts, but I did get a piece of a skit:  Eddie (who is the Director, the Writer and the Star of this featurette) is late getting to the set, so he is speeding and gets stopped by a policeman.  The policeman asks Eddie where he is coming from, Eddie says New Jersey, the policeman says “how did you ever get through the Harlem Tunnel?  Eddie says, “there’s a hole on both ends!”  Ba Dump Bump!

I hope that those reading these posts find inspiration for pursuing their own goals even though they may seem unattainable.  No matter the time period or the climate.  More action coming up!  Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THERE ARE BIG DEALS IN LIFE

Hi there.  In recounting my father’s (Eddie Green) life in the entertainment business on this blog, I have also been writing a biography of my father.  Eddie died in 1950 and I am now in the year 1949 when he began to experience his medical problems.  So, I am almost finished with my first draft, minus add-ons and proofreading.  I have deliberately let this blog lag behind the book so no one will get the whole story before the book comes out.  I have to leave something for which folks will clamor.  Or, not.

Eddie Green-Getty Image
My father, Eddie Green

I have shared in my “Hookups” post about a radio show that Eddie  was on in 1935, “Uncle Charlies Tent Show” starring Charles Winninger, and about Eddie being on the Rudy Vallee show, and about Eddie appearing in and writing comedy sketches for “Hot Chocolates” in 1929, with the music of Fats Waller and Andy Razaf, and Louis Armstrong.  And today I would like to share a bit of my father with you, as he appeared on the first public broadcast demonstration of television.  Woo Hoo!

First, however, I am going to post some information about Mr. George Wiltshire.  George Wiltshire was my father’s “straight man” in an act Eddie had going in 1936.  I needed to do some background searching on George before writing about him, so yesterday I looked him up and while doing so I became aware of the fact that there are a lot of people who have had successful careers in show business of whom we no longer hear.

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GEORGE WILTSHIRE

What a handsome man.  George Wiltshire was born in 1900.  I read that he was an actor, known for Killer Diller (1948), Midnight Menace (1946) and Hi-De-Ho (1947), that he first appeared in the 1930 Broadway revue play “Hot Rhythm” at the Times Square Theatre, that he made his first film appearance in the 1938 all-black film “Keep Punching” and, more recently, that he had  appeared in a couple of episodes of “Sanford and Son” in 1976, as Elroy Pitt, a sidekick of Hutch (Arnold Johnson), and a friend of “Fred” (Redd Foxx).   Imagine that, one person who was alive in 1976, besides my mom and my Godfather, who knew Eddie.   I found an article that spotlighted George  in 1939 as having been one of the leading straight men and as the  only “straight man” still carrying on.  George  died in 1976 in California.   What I found in only one place was this:

EDDIE GREEN AMD GEORGE WILTSHIRE
ON TELEVISION TRYOUT BROADCAST
NEW YORK CITY, July —Eddie Green., popular stage, radio and screen comedian, and George Wiltshire, well-known “straight-man,” are the two men of color chosen to lend their bit to the first test television broadcast by the Radio Corporation of America.  The program was specially broadcast to a select group of listeners and watchers.  The program, announced by Milton Cross, also featured Ed Wynn, Graham MacNamarra, Henry Hull and the Pickens Sisters.

July 7 – At David Sarnoff’s request for an experiment of RCA’s electronic television technology, NBC’s first attempt at actual programming is a 30-minute variety show featuring speeches, dance ensembles, monologues, vocal numbers, and film clips. It is shown to 225 of RCA’s licensees on 22 centimeter screens.

The film can actually be found online as “First Television Broadcast NBC/RCA July 7, 1936 Part 2 of 2.”  Eddie and George’s act is at the very beginning of Part 2.  Trust me, I was a bit shocked at first at the way they looked, but there they were in 1936, on television, because these two men were who the people wanted to see.  As far as I have been able to ascertain, Eddie Green and George Wiltshire were the first two black men to appear on television.  Be aware, the film may begin in the middle on my site, so you might have to run it back to the very beginning which is where you will hear Milton Cross make the introduction, Eddie and George are the first act to appear, then the Rockettes, etc.  If you would like to see an explanation of this broadcast with David Sarnoff go to “First Television Broadcast NBC/RCA July 7, 1936 Part 1 of 2.”

I did not type the whole act, but simply as clarification, I have typed in a portion of Eddie’s “Grandfather Joke”, the last joke of the skit, because the sound portion of the film is not very good.   This was one of Eddie’s stock in trade jokes that his audiences got a kick out of.  This particular joke was about how fast his grandfather can cook a meal in his restaurant (I typed a mini version):

(Eddie) “75 people were coming from L. A. to New York and they only had 10 minutes for lunch.  (George)  There were 75 people and they only had 10 minutes for lunch?  (Eddie)  That’s right.  (George) I bet it scared him (grandpa) to death.  (Eddie) It didn’t even scare the waiter.  Grandpa was back in the kitchen smokin’ a pipe.  The waiter just walked over to the kitchen door and yelled “HAM AND EGGS FOR SEVENTY-FIVE”.  (George) And what did grandpa say?  (Eddie) TAKE ‘EM AWAY BEFORE I BURN THEM!

Ha ha, so funny.  I didn’t even get the joke for about two weeks, probably because I was so busy focusing on the white lips.  I got over it, though.  I love seeing my father on stage, especially since I was only three years old when Eddie died.  I have come to realize that Eddie put in the work necessary to get where he eventually got.   I actually found the script for the joke in the library last month.  I did not put the film up on the internet, but I thank those who did.  I thank Mr. Wiltshire’s people, if there are any left out there, for the chance to bring him a bit of recognition.  And I certainly thank those of you who have stopped by and are hanging in here with me.

 

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Pittsburgh Courier July 16, 1936

New York Age, November 18, 1938

A Hodgepodge of Family and Historical Information

 

 

EDDIE GREEN OPENS
HARLEM RESTAURANT  August 7, 1937

Eddie Green, star of the radio.
stage and screen, has entered another
field with the opening of his
swanky and cozy Bar-Bee-Q shop on
Seventh avenue near 126th street In
the heart of the section frequented
by sportsmen, actors and artists of all
kinds. In the short space that it has
been opened, this food emporium has
become a rendezvous for celebrities of
the theatrical world.

The above is a quote from the New York Age newspaper, August 7, 1937.

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Paul Whiteman

In the Brooklyn Eagle, 1939 it says:  Eddie “Is one of Harlem’s busiest citizens.  Outside of theater and radio work, owns and operates two barbeque emporiums.  Serves nothing but spareribs.  Says Paul Whiteman is his best customer at the one on 7th Avenue.

 

Eddie came from East Baltimore’s alley house area where he was born in 1891, and worked himself up to owning two restaurants in Harlem.

I watched the funeral for B. B. King today and the Rev. Herron Wilson, said, in his eulogy, talking about life and death and conduct,  “It’s not where you come from, it’s where you’re headed.”  So far, Eddie is headed in a good direction.

Eddie, at this time, was married to a lady by the name of Constance from Newark, New Jersey, happily married according to the newspaper.  He hadn’t met my mother, yet.

I decided to insert her into this post since they would meet soon, and because mom was pursuing her own career in the entertainment field at about this same time.

Found this particular article today, just by chance, so I thought I could put it here as a bit of background on my mom’s home life.  In 1933, when my mom was ten years old, she found out that the man who she thought was her father, was not.  In those days, everybody’s business got in the papers, I guess just like today.  This is what happened with my mom’s mother, Sinclaire and her husband, Alfonso Murdock:

WHITE MAN NAMED CORRESPONDENT
IN SENSATIONAL DIVORCE SUIT
Californian Accused Wife of Remaining Away From
Home On Pretext of Caring For Sick Friends

LOS ANGELES, CaL, June 8.—(ANP)—Declaring that
his wife had remained away from home weeks at a time residing
in San Bernardino, Cal., Alfonso Murdock, pioneer
and widely known in social circles, was granted a divorce
Wednesday by Judge Harry F. Sewell, from Sinclaire White
Murdock.

Mr. Murdook testified that his
wife would come home only to get
fresh clothes and return to San
Bernardino. He said that he
thought at first that his wife was
caring for a sick friend and did
not learn different until he went
there and made the discovery that
his wife was attending different
places in company with Joe Amato,
white.

This was the prelude to me learning who my mother’s biological father was.  In fact, my mother was not 100% certain before she died and I have only verified who Amato was within the last few years.  That he was indeed white, an Italian gentleman that her mother had been seeing on the side for years and that he was my mother’s father.    Sinclaire eventually took the name Amato for herself and my mom.   At ten years of age my mother wasn’t quite sure what had transpired, except that Murdock was gone and never wanted to see them again and Joe became a permanent fixture.  And she had to change her last name from Murdock to Amato.

Sinclaire, my grandmother, was a “pillar” of the church.  She taught violin and piano.  She taught my mother.  Here is an article from the Los Angeles California Eagle:

Music loving Southlanders
crowded to capacity the auditorium of the Zion Hill Church
when Professor William T. Wilkins.
director of the well-known
Wilkin’s Piano Academy presented his show.
With the appearance of Professor Wilkins on
the stage there came a deafening
round of applause … he was
ably assisted by Mme. Sinclair White Amato, violin virtuoso,
whose several violin pupils were
also a part of the splendid programme . . . too many numbers
to mention each one in detail; but
many received an unusual
amount of applause. I refer to the violin playing of little Norma
Anne Amato . . . .
In 1937 Eddie was in the news in New York, and mom was beginning to be mentioned in the news in Los Angeles.  Mom was 14.  Eddie was 46.  They would not meet for another three years.

My mom was also in pursuit of a career on the stage as an opera singer and as she got older she began to sing and play the piano at weddings at a place called the Wilfandel Club in the Historic West Adams District, while in serious operatic study.

And here we have an extra bit of Black History-because of course I had to look up the Wilfandel Club and I found that the architect was Mr. Paul R. Williams. PAUL_R._WILLIAMSC_A.I.A._-_NOTED_ARCHITECT_-_NARA_-_53569_Straightened

Paul Revere Williams,  (February 18, 1894 – January 23, 1980) was an American architect based in Los Angeles, California. He practiced largely in Southern California, and designed the homes of numerous celebrities, including Lon Chaney, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and Frank Sinatra. He also designed many public and private buildings, such as The Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration and the Los Angeles County Courthouse and the First African Methodist Episcopalian (FAME) church in Los Angeles.  Who knew?  Mom did, she mentioned to me a few times how unfortunate it was that Paul Williams did not get the recognition he deserved for his works.

l
Wilfandlel Club on Adams Blvd.

 

The thing about this research I am doing is that I can in almost every instance link Eddie up with all the folks I mention.  And I found an article that does just that in this instance also:

At the 68th Anniversary celebration of  the Los Angeles California Eagle , on April 3, 1947, Paul R. Williams was the main speaker and Eddie Green, of “Duffy’s Tavern”, was the emcee for a sparkling floor show featuring Mabel Fairbanks, ice-skating star, the Basin Street Boys, and Phil Moore, singer and composer.

In 2010 when my mom died, she lived on Adams and St. Andrews Place, within walking distance from the Winfandel Club’s building, which still stands.

Thank you so much for dropping by.

 

FROM NEW YORK TO HOLLYWOOD

1939 Downtown District-Manhattan-Courtesy Google Images
1939 Downtown District-Manhattan-Courtesy Google Images

I am deep into writing my book about my father, Eddie Green, and his life as a star of Stage, Screen and Radio, and how he has become literally wiped from most people’s memory, I believe, because he died in 1950, and when he died his works were put aside by those who knew him, and life moved on.  Now, for me as an adult with a grandson, I am trying to document Eddie’s time on this earth because Eddie contributed much to society, despite the poverty of his family, and the segregation of his time.  As I began to discover, through my research, what my father had accomplished, I was rather upset that even though Eddie worked with some of the greats of the 30s and 40s, he is not remembered as they are remembered.  So I am trying to change that with my book.

Unfortunately, I wind up putting my posting aside.  I know there is no one I need to apologize to for not posting more often, but I also know had I not started this blog, I may not have started actually writing my book.  The research began some years ago, and, for someone who may be contemplating book-writing, research is on-going.

Over the past month I have discovered a Paramount Contract Eddie had in 1945, I have read scripts from some of his movies (I will get to those later), and I have found about fifteen original photos from the sets of Eddie’s movies.  It’s fascinating and absolutely unexpected.

But before I get to that part of Eddie’s life, I will share with you what I found today.  I have been searching the World Wide Web for just the right thing to share and lo and behold, I came across the best picture.

Eddie lived in New York for a large part of his career.  He lived in Manhattan and worked in Harlem.  He was called “The Harlem Funster”.  In 1937 Rudy Vallee had a Radio Program on NBC-Blue Network and when Mr. Vallee went on his summer vacation, he convinced his sponsor, Fleischman’s Yeast, to hire Louie Armstrong to host the show for the summer.  In 1937, at Vallée’s insistence, Louis Armstrong hosted the show during Vallée’s summer vacation. This made Armstrong the first African American to host a national network program.  Guess who shared billing with Mr. Armstrong as one of the shows comedians.

According to BALLSTON SPA DAILY JOURNAL, BALLSTON SPA, NEW YORK, FRIDAY, APRIL 9, 1937:

A new variety show, an all-negro revue, makes its debut on* WJZ-NBC revue, at 9 p.m.  Based on the hot rhythm of Harlem as dispensed by Louis Armstrong’s orchestra, together with his trumpet, it will present Eddie Green and Gee Gee James, comedy team, and guest artists.  The script is being put together by Octavus Roy Cohen.

Below is the picture I mentioned, celebrating this huge event.

.

Left to right are Luis Rusell, Eddie Green, Gee,-Gee James aid Louie Armstrong, •/ho on Friday night, over station WJZ, under the sponsorship of the Flelschman Yeast Company, made show world history.—Photo by Continental News.
Left to right are Luis Rusell, Eddie Green, Gee,-Gee James and Louie Armstrong,
•/ho on Friday night, over station WJZ, under the sponsorship of the Flelschman
Yeast Company, made show world history.—Photo by Continental News.

RECEIVE CONGRATULATIONS FROM COAST-TO-COAST
APRIL 17, 1937
T h e Pitttburgh Courier

The first time I have ever seen this picture.  It’s too bad Mr. Armstrong is difficult to see, but it’s an old picture and I have a cheap printer.  Anyhow, there they are.  Making history.  But who remembers Eddie Green?  Well, I guess I do and I am sharing him with the world of today, not just because Eddie became  “somebody”, despite the obstacles, but because there are still people who believe they cannot achieve their goals because of seeming obstacles.

Of course, we have to put in the work, acquire as much knowledge as we can about our pursuits, and if we have a talent, put it out there.  I read that my father said that talent is respected in his business, and you have to keep at it because all the work and practice and time you put in pays off in the end.

Speaking of work.  Right after the ending of the Fleischman Yeast’s Summer Program, Eddie was off to Hollywood where he appeared on “Showboat” a radio program which I talked about on my previous post.   But before he left New York, Eddie had another bit of  business to attend to, per the Pittsburgh Courier  “Eddie Green, the radio comic, has gone Into the restaurant bis. He’s now the proud owner of a Bar-Bee-Q eatery off 139th” street on Seventh avenue. .”

Busy, the man was busy.

Thanks for stopping by.
*

 

 

 

Let The Good Times Roll

GothamCity
Gotham City-1920s

Hi there.  I have become addicted to finding images for my posts.  The thing is, once I start looking at the different pictures, I absolutely must look at just a few more, and then I want to know more about these pictures and before I know it, I have lost track of time.  Which means I start my posts later than planned.  The above photo is New York circa 1925.  My father, Eddie Green, was producing a play and performing at the Lafayette and other venues in New York, as opposed to being on the road in 1924 and 1925, so he brought his mother to live here.

In 1924 Eddie was working the Burlesque Circuit, first as the star of “Plantation Days”, which was a musical review.  According to A Century of Musicals in Black and White by Bernard L Peterson, (1993), Greenwood Press,  “The original “Plantation Days” toured from New York City in 1922, playing such eastern and Midwestern cities as Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, Toledo, and Chicago; staged by Leonard Harper.  Starring the dancing team of Harper & Blanks (Leonard Harper and his wife, Osceola Blanks), comedian Eddie Green, James P Johnson and The Plantation Days Syncopated Orchestra.”  After which they returned to New York.  Eddie went on to work with Barney Gerard in “All In Fun” with the Columbia Circuit where he was listed as: EDDIE GREEN-Late Star of Plantation Days.”

In September of 1924, Eddie found himself working, once again, with Leonard Harper, who had staged “Plantation Days.”  Mr Harper was a well-known producer, stager, choreographer and studio owner.

lips that touch liquor

Eddie was hired to produce the “Stepping High Creole Review” for Leonard Harper in September of 1924. at what was then the Hollywood Cabaret at 203 West 49th Street, in New York.  The Hollywood Cabaret was a nightclub that was very popular at the time, the band that was featured was referred to by Hollywood ads as either, “Washingtonian’s Hollywood Jazz Orchestra” or “Washington’s Hollywood Jazz Orchestra”, of which Duke Ellington was a member.  The Cabaret also served liquor. And since Prohibition was in effect, they also had liquor raids, here is an excerpt from court documents:

The search warrant which was issued recited as follows:
“Whereas, it appears from the affidavit of Frank Rickey, that certain intoxicating liquor containing more than ½ of 1 per cent. of alcohol by volume and fit for use for beverage purposes is unlawfully held and possessed in a certain cabaret known as Hollywood Cabaret, located in the basement of the building at 203 West Forty-Ninth street, borough of Manhattan, city and Southern District of New York, and in any closet, vault, safe, cellar, subcellar, kitchen, ice box, room or rooms connected with or used in connection with said restaurant.

I also found this little blurb:  “Wild Throng Dances Madly in Cellar Club, says the Morning Telegraph Hotels Restaurants and Cabarets column in the July 13 edition of the Morning Telegraph”.  Liquor can do this.

audience-dancing

As my mom would say, “This must be the place.”

Unfortunately, according to a New York newspaper article:

“The Hollywood engagement was ended by a fire at 5 o’clock the next morning. The fire ‘wrecked’ the club and damaged stores in the building. Water from the firefighters’ hoses poured into the subway; the Daily Star reported 2 feet of water delayed the Long Island city bound B.M.T. trains a short while, other papers reported there was no delay. Ellington, too, recalled a fire around Christmastime.”

I keep thinking Eddie must have had a Blast living his life.  I am getting a picture of a man who did not focus on what could not be done.  Eddie suited up and showed up.  That is how a person keeps moving forward.

Is there someone who inspires you to move forward?  Think about it.

Thanks for stopping by.