Surrounded By Flowers

mildredandeddie1939but1946poster

So this is my father, in a photo at a studio, surrounded by beautiful women. I have recently purchased a copy of the original photo, minus all the text. I even know now who took the picture way back in 1940. I didn’t know, until about a year ago, that these photos still existed. That they had been donated to a library here in California. The fact that at least one of the ladies is still with us, (Millicent, in the black dress), was a wonderful piece of knowledge I have also recently received. New knowledge and acquisitions have necessitated a few minor revisions to my book, but it’s all good.  Looking at this particular picture reminds me of what my mom, Norma, once told me-that Eddie enjoyed being around pretty women.  Like being surrounded by flowers.

Something I have discovered in the last five years about my father, is that Eddie enjoyed getting married, too. I learned that Norma, my mom, was his fourth wife.  I always knew Eddie had been married once before mom, and that I had a half sister from that earlier union, but the fact that Eddie had two more wives was news to me.  I only found out through my census searches.

Eddie married for the first time in 1909, to a lady born about the same time he was born, and in 1910 he and his wife had a daughter.  By 1930, Eddie’s first wife and their daughter were living in Philadelphia, and Eddie was married to his second wife, a twenty-nine year old nightclub dancer, and living in Manhattan. This second marriage only lasted two years.  By 1932, Eddie married wife number three, a twenty-two year old Trenton, New Jersey lady.  They lived in Harlem on 138th Street. This marriage was the first marriage Eddie discussed in a newspaper interview saying his wife would stay home and listen to his radio broadcasts and then tell him how he sounded. Eddie said that sometimes with him “his voice gets too high.” This third marriage lasted through 1940 or so while Eddie was in his first movie making venture.

By 1944, Eddie moved to Los Angeles, alone.  One of Eddie’s friends was Louise Beavers (an actress who appeared in the movie Imitation of Life). Eddie boarded with Louise in her house in the “Sugar Hill” district of Los Angeles, until he found and bought his own house, announcing that “he was just waiting for the right lovely to come along.”  Enter wife number four, my mom, Norma, twenty-two years old.  Mom was Eddie’s last wife, as he died in 1950.  Mom was young and beautiful, and she had a lot of young and beautiful girlfriends who were always hanging around the house, because, she said, their house was the place to be.  Eddie was a lucky man, a gentleman and a Star.

Thank you, for stopping by.

 

 

A BOOGIE WOOGIE HALLOWEEN

images (10)

Hi, there.  Well, I would like to wish you a Happy Halloween, although the guy in the above photo would probably not agree with me as he doesn’t think Halloween should be a fun holiday like everyone else does.  But since it’s the season, I chose Oogie Boogie to lead off this post.  (Thank you, Mr. Burton.)  I also chose Oogie because of his last name, Boogie.

My father, Eddie Green, was doing well in radio entertainment career in the 40s.  According to the Syracuse New York Journal   One of the radio programs Eddie appeared on was the Canada Lee show on WEAF, ” Eight to the Bar.”  In the 1940s, the phrase “eight to the bar” was up-tempo slang meaning “a boogie beat.”

New York Post, Thursday, July 24, 1941, HIGH SPOTS OF THE DAY’S BROADCAST OFFERINGS

WEAF- Benny Goodman’s Orchestra. Joan Bennett.
8:15 WOR—Drama. Florence Reed in “An Englishman’s Home.”
8:30 WEAF—Drama. Canada Lee, Eddie Green in “Eight to the
Bar.”
WABC—Barber Shop Quartet Society.

There was a boogie-woogie dance:599fc67ba64af1846452c75a83984b41

In 1945, a person could buy  a Two-piano Boogie Woogie album for Dancing for $2.50.

When I found the “Eight to the Bar” Canada Lee program in the Syracuse newspaper, I remembered that I have in my possession a DVD of a Jubilee radio program from 1943 with Mr. Lee and my father doing a comedy skit together.  Being a good researcher, I looked up Mr. Lee, and I am so glad I did.  Canada Lee is another of those famous, successful, Black pioneers, like Eddie, who seems to have been forgotten by the general public.

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Canada Lee was born Lionel Cornelius Canegata in 1907.  At one time he was a jockey, and then became a boxer, welterweight division, until he sustained an eye injury.  Before he had his radio show, Mr. Lee began an acting career. He was cast in his first major role, that of Banquo, in the legendary Federal Theatre Project (a New Deal program started to help struggling writers, actors, directors, and theater workers) production of Macbeth (1936), adapted and directed by Orson Welles, with an all-black cast.  Macbeth was sold out for ten weeks at the Lafayette Theatre.  Mr. Lee played Banquo (When Macbeth kills the king and takes the throne, Banquo—the only one aware of this encounter with the witches—reserves judgment for God.)  Having never read Macbeth, I had to read it to understand what the heck I was writing about in this post.  Anyhow, The play debuted in 1936 at Harlem’s Lafayette Theater and was performed for segregated audiences. It was so popular that it exceeded its initial run, then toured the country, spending two weeks in Dallas at the Texas Centennial Exposition.

Canada Lee appeared on Broadway in Anna Lucasta.  He also appeared in the movie Lifeboat in 1944, directed by Alfred Hitchcock:

300px-Lifeboat_(1944)_1

There is much more information out there to be found on Canada Lee, if you care to look it up.

Below is the comedy skit I referred to earlier.  Canada Lee and Eddie performed  in 1943, on Jubilee, a radio program that was broadcast to the nations military to help ease the stress of war.  The skit was titled “Boxing”, from January 5, 1943:  I have heard this skit and Mr. Lee has a nice, strong voice, where my father’s voice was a tad higher which Eddie said himself in a newspaper article. Hattie McDaniel acted as Mistress of Ceremony:
MISS McDANIEL: The clock says it’s laughing time. And when it’s time to laugh, then it’s time to listen to Eddie Green  and Canada Lee!
CANADA LEE: Remember some time ago, Eddie, I told you that I think you would make a good prize fighter?
EDDIE, laughing: .Yea, I member that, I do.
CANADA LEE: Well now, listen Eddie. Just like I told you. You’ve got the makings of a great fighter. I’m gonna build you up to be a champion.
EDDIE: No, is you?
CANADA LEE: Yea, I can see the whole thing.
EDDIE: You can.
CANADA LEE: Yea, First, I’ma have you fight some ham and eggers.
EDDIE:  some what?
CANADA LEE: Some ham and eggers.
EDDIE: Oh, right away I get scrambled.
CANADA LEE: No, no. I mean these fights are free, see. We pay these fighters to lay down.
EDDIE: Well, why can’t they pay me to lay down?
CANADA LEE: Oh Eddie, don’t be silly, you’re honest. When it comes to fighting you’re upright.
EDDIE: Yea, but not for long.

I started this blogging project as a way to get noticed by publishers, as a writer, which would help me when I was ready to publish the first book that I have written about my father for my grandson, because the general consensus is publishers want to see something other than just one book.  The blog is also a way for me to get over a fear of putting my writing out into the world.  What I did not expect was the education I would get from this process, through research.  Nor did I expect to have ideas about the possibility of continuing to write after this first book.  But I do.  Have ideas.  But first, I must finish proofing my first endeavor.

I like to finish my posts with something that refers back to the beginning:

untitled (26)6

Thanks, for stopping by.

Thank you Francis Lee

HANGING OUT AT THE WORLD’S FAIR

Hotmikado

Hello.  In the on-going saga of my research into my father’s life, as far as the book is concerned, I have completed my first draft.  So emotional…..I had to come to the end.  I cried for three days after I finished.  Going so thoroughly into Eddie’s life was almost like being there.  Of course, I still need to edit, add-on, delete, clean up the manuscript.  And I need to add the TOC and a Bibliography, etc.  But it is really happening!

In this blog, after showing you Eddie’s television debut in my last post, and after having already mentioned that Eddie opened a restaurant in Harlem in 1937, I am now at 1939.

“The  Hot Mikado” was a 1939 musical theatre adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado”, with an African-American cast. Mike Todd originally produced it after the Federal Theatre Project turned down his offer to manage the WPA production of “The Swing Mikado” (another all-black adaptation of “The Mikado”).  In this production, Eddie played, Koko, the High Executioner (formerly a tailor).

Eddie Green
Eddie Green

The musical was first produced at the Broadhurst Theatre from March 23, 1939 to June 3, 1939, running for 85 performances. The original cast included Bill “Bojangles” Robinson as The Mikado; Frances Brock as Pitti-Sing; Rosa Brown as Katisha; Maurice Ellis as Pooh-Bah; Eddie Green as Ko-Ko; Rosetta LeNoire as Peep-Bo; James A. Lilliard as Pish-Tush; Bob Parrish as Nanki-Poo; Gwendolyn Reyde as Yum-Yum; Freddie Robinson as Messenger Boy; and Vincent Shields as Red Cap.

The musical was then produced at the 1939–1940 New York World’s Fair for two seasons and was reportedly one of the most popular attractions at the fair.

The video below, which I found on-line and which is extremely rare, is a silent filming of portions of the performance at the World’s Fair.  Eddie enters first as Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner, and then you see him standing next to Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, the “Mikado”.  Eddie appears in a few more places in the film.  As Ko-ko, Eddie performed a number of songs, including “Titwillow”, though this was not caught in the film.

“Titwillow”  occurs in a scene with the love interest, Katisha.  “Katisha wonders why death refuses to come and bring peace to her broken heart (she sings “Alone and Yet Alive),  and Ko-Ko springs into action, telling her that he’ll die on the spot if she doesn’t accept his love. Katisha claims no one has ever died of a broken heart, so Ko-Ko responds with the tragic tale of TitWillow, a little bird who wasted away due to blighted affection.”

My mom, Norma, told me about Eddie singing this song in a play, but never did I think I would actually see a portion of this play with my own eyes.  Picturing Eddie singing “Titwillow”, is not easy to do, but according to the Brooklyn Eagle on July 9, 1939:  “Anyway, he gets a hilarious twist into Ko-Ko that Messrs. G. and S. never thought of, and when he swings “Titwillow” usually comes close to stopping the show.”

Eddie was living in Harlem, by now with wife number three, or four, and he already had a grown daughter.  He had met my mother, through friends in Hollywood as he travelled a lot by then from New York, to L. A., but his home at the time was 138th Street in New York.  After the “Hot Mikado” Eddie would begin making his own films.

I love sharing this information.  It may be too old-timey for a younger generation, but keeping the achievements of those who came before us alive, allows the younger generation a chance to see from whence they have come and, also, to see how far they can go, especially with the knowledge, technology, and, yes, opportunities available today.

Hey, comments are welcome, keep comin’ back, and thanks, for stopping by.

 

 

Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

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.
*

 

 

 

MY FATHER, A MAN OF MANY TALENTS

blackface 179Introducing Eddie Green and Dancers in “Connie’s Hot Chocolates”, in its fourth month at the Hudson Theater in New York, 1929.

When I was young, about ten years old, my mom told me that my father said that he had never performed in blackface.  The way she said it, sounded to me like she was saying, he would not stoop so low.  But, maybe, he told her he would never perform in blackface again, as he had already been there and done that, because clearly Eddie did perform in blackface as the above picture shows.  I found this picture while searching the net and I was shocked.  Like Mr. Fallon says, I was like “Eww!”  Which is where my mindset was about this type of performing.  Whether it stems from societal influences or parental influences, I realized, at that time, that I was embarrassed for Eddie.  And, I did not know how I was going to be able to present this to the public.

Hm.  Obviously, I had a problem.  One minute I am so proud of my father and the next I want to hide a portion of his life.  I had to take a good look into my thought processes.  I had to educate myself about the business of performing in blackface.  So I started reading.

I learned that way back in the 1700s actors were performing in blackface-supposedly as an exaggerated, humorous imitation of blacks as they were perceived in those times.  I learned that minstrelsy became wildly popular as time went on, with troupes performing in circuses in the US and the UK, and that a circus was not considered complete without at least one minstrelsy act.  I learned that at one time blacks were not allowed to perform in blackface on stage with whites.  It was exclusively a white thing.  I learned that though whites performing in blackface was basically about making a black person seem ridiculous, it also assured that a black person had no opportunity of performing on stage and, maybe, becoming famous.  This, as I now know was to change.

I learned that George M. Cohan, young author and actor, who became famous, appeared in blackface in 1891. he played  in his father’s production of “The Molly Maguires”; and he was co-proprietor and part producer of Cohan and Harris’ Minstrels, the first performance of which was at the Apollo Theatre, Atlantic City, N. J., July 27, 1908.*

I learned the  by the 19th century, blacks were allowed to appear on stage with whites only if they wore blackface. They painted their lips white and their costumes were usually gaudy combinations of formal wear; swallowtail coats, striped trousers, and top hats.  I learned that Bert Williams popped up, and of course, became famous.   Mr. Williams was the most popular blackface comedians of his day,and, was also the highest-paid in 1912, working for Ziegfeld Follies after signing a 3-year contract for $62,400 or $1.5 million today.  ( Strausbaugh 2006, p. 136)  I learned that It was through blackface minstrelsy that African American performers first entered the mainstream of American show business.*

I went back to some of the articles I have found in which Eddie’s performances were reviewed.  In an article of Stage and Screen it says:  “Eddie Green, late star of “Plantation Days, as he was billed on the program, was also exceptionally good.  His was a blackface number, dancing and singing and his droll manner won fave.  His talking song “Previous” was enjoyed.  He also did some clever dancing.”  The Utica Herald says “Eddie Green scores a hit with his softshoe dancing.”  A blurb in The Billboard from 1921 says,  Eddie “Simp” (his nickname to those who knew and loved him) Green, the acrobatic dancer is singing his own songs with “The Girls De Looks” Burlesque Show.  Eddie is a good business man and has his own publishing business. . . . He is contracted with the show for the next two years.”

Today, my personal perception of Eddie’s life as a performer has changed drastically.  My father was not degrading himself by doing blackface, he was presenting himself as the actor that he was in the makeup expected for the roles he played.  He had a plan.  He knew where he was going and what it was going to take to get there.  What to some was disgraceful, provided Eddie with a stepping stone to a better life.  He constantly received kudos.  I discovered new information from these articles, also.  Mom never told me that Eddie was an acrobatic dancer?  A softshoe dancer?  Really.  Eddie was exceptionally good at whatever he put his hand to.  That is the point.

Eddie wrote a letter to The Billboard in 1920 to let his fellow actors know about the most convenient place to get a room, the Hotel Francis, opposite the New York City Depot.  The editor of The Billboard had this to say about that letter:  “The following letter from Eddie (Simp) Green. . . . is beyond doubt the most unselfish communication that has come to us since the department has started, . . . Eddie Green writes something besides letters.  He wrote “A Good Man is Hard To Find”, “Algiers”, and the “Blind Man’s Blues.  He also has written himself into a class of regular fellows with the above letter.”

A class of regular fellows.  A good man.  A man of many talents.  My father, of whom I am proud.

p.s. I forgot to mention, is he surrounded by beautiful women, or what?

*Excerpts from Monarchs of Minstrelsy (1911)
by Edward Le Roy Rice (1871-1940)

Research-Extremely Satisfying

king tut papers

One of the things I did not count on when I decided to research my father’s life, was the amount of paperwork I would have to browse through to verify my writing.  I started out at the central library in downtown Los Angeles.  I had to search the Catalogue of Copyright Entries and I had no idea how to read these catalogues.  But I learned.  Eventually, I learned to peruse these catalogues on-line, but since I only had a cell phone at the time, it was slow going.  I ended up at the local family history library where I was able to print whatever information I found on Eddie Green.  Which brings me to this document regarding the song “King Tut Blues” written by my father.

This is a copy of the catalogue entry for my father’s song, “King Tut Blues”, (listed at the top of the third column) written back in 1923, showing Eddie as the Author of words and music and showing also that he renewed this song in 1950, about six months before he died.  I was able to locate this last piece of information with the help of one of the readers of my blog posts, which just goes to show that we can and do participate in each other’s progress through our posts.  Which is something else I never expected when I was stressing over whether I could even maintain a blog.  Even if my book flops, this experience will totally be worth the time and effort.

Eddie was about 22 when he wrote this song in 1923.  My mother, Eddie’s third wife, was born November 17, 1923.  Her parents at the time lived in Los Angeles, California on Jefferson Street.  They lived very close to the Triple A Automobile Club which was located on Adams Boulevard and Figueroa Street and is still there today.  As a matter of fact, after living all over Los Angeles County, my mom died while living back on Adams Boulevard about 5 minutes from the Automobile Club.

Auto_Club_ca1926

My mom’s mother, Sinclaire White-Murdock was, in 1923, the President of The Music Arts Association,  which held regular weekly meetings at the Sojourner Truth Home, in Los Angeles.   Sinclaire was a violinist, so I guess it was bound to happen that when Eddie got to Los Angeles years later, he and Sinclaire would meet through musical venues.  But that wouldn’t happen for another 20 years.

I encourage you, out there, to consider researching someone in your family, it really is extremely satisfying.  Thanks for stopping by.

On The Road of Discovery

329

Hi there and welcome.

In 2010 I started research on my father, Eddie Green.   I have now begun putting my research in book form.   It has taken a lot longer than I expected because I was not truly aware of all the work Eddie had put into his chosen career. I found a lot of newspapers articles.  The process of putting together this information has been roundabout, which was also unexpected, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey so far.

To give you an idea of how I was able to collect information, in 2014, I discovered a magazine article that had been stored in the back of a bottom drawer in a neighborhood museum, that was written by Eddie in 1949.   The article is about how he got his big break in 1929.  In this article there were about six lines that helped me corroborate ten years of previous information I had acquired.

photo-chicago-halsted-and-madison-star-and-garter-theater-jays-sign-1955

In the article, Eddie wrote that prior to 1929 he had played Vaudeville, Burlesque and musical comedy and that he had done some writing.  Well, I had a newspaper article from 1920 that I found in 2012, announcing Eddie playing at the Star and Garter Burlesque Theater in Chicago in 1920.  He also played at theaters in Kansas City, Buffalo and Boston.  Eddie was on the “Columbia Circuit” of theater, and was on this circuit for years.   I also have copies of copyrighted material I found this year, documenting songs he wrote in 1920, 1923 and 1924.

In 2013 I found another newspaper article from 1925, that also talks about Eddie’s endeavors in the theater.   It mentions his songwriting, “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”, which helps me know I am tracking the right Eddie Green, and it mentions a newer song, “Don’t Let No One Man Worry Your Mind”, which I know Eddie wrote, and it mentions his work in Burlesque.  I found a 1927 article about the same time that touted Eddie as a well-known, song writer, electrician, motion picture operator, and famed comedian, and that he had played the Apollo, which he had, how do I know?  Because I the newspaper article that mentions, Eddie Green, writer of “A Good Man…….”, is now working stock at the Apollo.  By now Eddie had also written and copyrighted eight more songs.  I have many other articles that help me to link Eddie’s progress through the years.  Eddie was a busy man in the 1920’s.  In the 1949 magazine article, Eddie wrote that he was so busy during those years, he did not notice his own advancement, nor did he notice the fact that his name appeared very frequently in the various trade papers.

When I started this research, somehow I lucked up and found one specific place I could peruse that had all the information I needed from these early years.  This is how I found out about the various venues Eddie played and how I found out about the songs Eddie wrote,  I also spent hours searching the Copyright Catalogues, because even though the information is in the newspaper, does not make it correct.  The feeling I get from each discovery is marvelous.  It is well worth the bus rides and sifting through paperwork. The process is time-consuming and involved, but I have become talented at backtracking.  Eddie had talent and he put in the effort it took to progress.  It was not an overnight happening.  In Eddie’s own words, “If you’ve got the talent, you can’t miss in the long run, even if it’s mighty long!”

It’s Time To Write The Book!

my father & mother 1945
my father & mother 1945

I have put a lot of time and effort into finding out all I could about my father.  I was only three when he died and I basically have no memory of him.  He was 30 years older than my mother and they were only married for five years.  During my research I have found out my mom knew very little about the man she married, or, what she told me was very little.  Eddie was an actor, a songwriter, a singer, a restaurant owner, a dancer, a movie producer, a movie star, a radio personality and I could go on, but I won’t.  The thing is, I have only learned most of this information in the last four years, mom never told me half of this stuff.  I figure since she was only in her early 20’s when she married Eddie and he had money at the time, their life was too busy for her to worry about what he had done before she met him.  They traveled and gave “soirees” and went to nightclubs all the time, and had me, so mom only knew what was going on from the time she married Eddie.

My problem now is that I have almost no information on my father’s early years.  I know where he was born, that he was extremely poor and that he left home at about nine years of age.  I know that he taught himself to read and taught himself magic tricks and became the “Boy Magician” traveling around Baltimore putting on shows in churches and halls.  And that is about it.  He was born in 1891 and I have been told his birth certificate no longer exists.  I have his parents names (finally) but cannot find them in any census.  I want to start my book but I hate to begin the book with sketchy information, and the longer I put if off, the more I feel that I am procrastinating.

My really good information starts when Eddie wrote his first song.  According to the Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Eddie copyrighted “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” on December 28, 1917 in Chicago under his given name, Edward Green.  He sold it a year later, but continued to perform the song in places like the Booker Washington Theater in St. Louis until 1920.

A Good Man Is Hard To Find

Advertisement
Pace and Handy Building, 232 West, 42nd ST., New York
on sale at Pace & Handy Co., Inc., Publishers. Price 15 c. Composed by Eddie Green.

From there it is easy to trace Eddie because his name stays in the paper as his career and his entrepreneurial life grows.  As a matter of fact, his name was in the paper so much, I was beginning to wonder if he was paying someone to see that it was.

Anyhow, I am going to start my very first book writing adventure for the new year and I hope to take you along with me.  I will use my blog as a place for updates of my progress and to ask for suggestions or words of encouragement, while continuing to post what I think are inspirational posts from myself or others, inspirational poetry if I find any, or information on motivational blogs I run across.  And speaking of inspiration and motivation, I know that my father started out with nothing, very little schooling and entered into a world that, in the early 1900’s was a truly difficult world for people of color, but Eddie took the bull by the horns and ran with it and became an upstanding man who was well-liked by those who knew him, both professionally and personally and always got asked back.  I am very proud to be his daughter.  Thanks for stopping by.

RESEARCH, ANYONE?

For four years now I have been researching my father’s life.  Basically before I began my research, the only information I had about my father, was that he married my mom in 1945, he had a little money (mom said he was one of the few people who had a refrigerator as opposed to an icebox), he had written a song that had become a hit, that he was a fanatic about short wave radio and that he had been an old time radio star.   I only had one (1) picture of Eddie, a head shot, that my mother gave me when I turned 40 years old.  And I had seen my father in a movie once when I was eight, he played the waiter in the movie which was also the part he played in the radio program “Duffy’s Tavern”.

What I have discovered in the past four years is that the more information I find, the more information I find.  For instance, this past month I read two articles that mentioned Eddie Green being in the Army around 1942.  Well, even though I had not found any information on Eddie being in the Service, I really did not think these articles were talking about my father, since  Eddie was a bit old to be in the Army during WWII.  But I wrote myself a little note and a few days later, I got on the net and looked up my father’s name in the WWII draft registration cards and his name was there on the screen.

Eddie had at some point and time decided to change his birth year from 1891 to 1896.   The good thing about this discovery is that the birth date of the draft registration card matched the date on Eddie’s Social Security Card Application which I had just received in the mail.  And the signatures matched.  So now I know his real age.  What I don’t know is why he would be signing up for the draft at 50 years of age.  Being curious, I went on-line and queried WWII and that is how I found out about the “old man’s draft”.  The government decided to have a registration in April of 1942 and to sign up all men of a certain age, not to fight, but to be available, just in case.

There was one other thing the draft registration card gave me,the address of Eddie’s place of business, which was the same address listed in a 1942 Pittsburgh newspaper article which stated “Eddie Green Opens Musicians’ School”.  I had found the article about a year ago, but I needed verification and now I had it.

My research is paying off big-time.  There is nothing I would rather be doing.  I am getting another chance to meet my father, a man I only remember as a vague somebody who would sit me on his lap.  Who are you thinking about researching?