Doris Day-Cool; But, Remember The Mills Brothers?

Welcome!!

 

UNSPECIFIED – CIRCA 1935: Photo of Brothers Mills, The Mills Brothers signed 1935 by each of the brothers. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Today, watching Social Media, it has occurred to me that there are not many Black celebrities from back in the day remembered/celebrated for their many successes. The fact that I wrote my father’s biography was the best thing I could have done for his memory. People are so glad I wrote it! My father’s life story includes the fact that he sent one of his songs to a publisher in New York asking him to give it to the Mills Brothers or some such quartette. So I did a bit of research on the Mills Brothers. How many people remember the Mills Brothers? Probably a lot, but not as readily as they remember Doris Day. Maye it’s because no one talks about these Black giants of entertainment. And the Mills Brothers successes were phenomenal. The Mills Brothers made more than 2,000 recordings that sold more than 50 million copies and garnered at least three dozen gold records.

Pennsylvania Historical Marker

They became local radio stars and got their major break when Duke Ellington and his Orchestra played a date in Cincinnati and he was able to hook them up with Okeh records, the same company that recorded my father.

“Tiger Rag” became a number 1 hit on the charts. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). They were a hit on CBS in 1930–1931, particularly when they co-starred on the popular The Fleischmann’s Yeast Hour hosted by Rudy Vallee (where my father would perform 1934-1937).

In 1934, The Mills Brothers became the first African-Americans to give a command performance before British royalty. They performed at the Regal Theatre for a special audience: King George V and Queen Mary. It was during this time that they lost their brother John, Jr. and their father took over his spot.

“I’ll Be Around” became a hit, and then a disk jockey played side B and “Paper Doll”, (written by Johnny S. Black) recorded in fifteen minutes, became a hit. It sold six million copies and became the group’s biggest hit 1943. “I’m gonna buy a Paper Doll that I can call my own”.

 

They appeared in movies in the 1930s and tv programs in the 50s (The Perry Como Show, The Tonight Show, The Dean Martin Show). 

The rise of rock and roll in the early fifties did little to decrease the Mills Brothers popularity. “Glow Worm” (Johnny Mercer version) became the 5th million selling record in 1952, they had a hit in 1958 with a cover version of “Get a Job” by The Silhouettes. Their last hit was “Cab Driver”.

In 1998 the Recording Academy recognized the Mills family’s contributions to popular music when it presented Donald, as the sole surviving member, with a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Mills Brothers Hollywood Walk of Fame

These four gentlemen were HOT. For quite a while. And it gives me great pleasure to know that my father wrote a song that he thought might work for The Mills Brothers. Doris Day was cool, I memorized “Que Sera, Sera” as a child and have seen almost all of her movies; but I love listening to those Mills Brothers. (“Shine little glow worm, glimmer, glimmer”) – Johnny Mercer version.

 

Hey, thanx for stopping by 🙂

 

 

 

wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mills_Brothers#References

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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.