2015 has been a good year for me. I have written a book, my first ever. In the process of writing this book, I have increased my knowledge of show business, of people and of life in general. In order to write, I have had to read. Through careful reading, I have found helpful information that I would not have found otherwise.
I have met wonderful people who have provided me with great information, and hooked me up with other wonderful people, from the US to the UK. I have even met the family of a woman who was in one of my father’s (Eddie Green) movies from 1939.
I have enjoyed every minute of this experience, well, maybe not every minute, proofing my own work proved to be tiresome, after all, there is spellcheck, and one has to concentrate when proofreading, you can’t just skim through your manuscript. Anyhow, I do love it. I recommend biographical writing as a good way to learn history.
I have acquired a following. Haha, who would have thunk it! My brother told me it would happen. Keeps a smile on my face.
When I began this blog, I searched a certain site for images of my father and I could not find one picture. Now, I think there are three pictures of Eddie on the site and one of ME.
January will be the beginning of the proofing and editing of my book.
May you all have a glorious new year’s eve and a happy, prosperous 2016.
I am a writer. I am writing a book. I have begun to think of myself as a writer. A writer spends an enormous amount of time writing, and editing. Writers spend a huge amount of time editing, one would hope. Then re-writing.
It’s addicting. Sitting at a desk can get really comfortable if you have the right cushions. I have to pull myself away from the desk in order to get some exercise, and I have to pull myself away from the book in order to post to my blog. It’s bad enough I have to leave my desk to shop for food (not really). But when I am at my desk, I want to finish polishing my book, period. When I remember that I have a blog to post to, and posts to read, I tell myself, ok, I’ll just finish proofing these next two pages, and before I know it, it’s an hour later. I absolutely love what I am doing, though. Love it.
Today, I want to veer slightly away from my normal subject. my father, star of stage, screen and radio, Eddie Green, to talk about a Mr. Joe Cook. I found a blurb in a newspaper that said something like, “this week Eddie Green will appear on the Joe Cook show.” Who the heck is Joe Cook? I found out that Mr. Cook is another person, like Eddie, who became quite famous in the 1920s and 1930s, but, due to “circumstances”, is not widely remembered today.
I, myself, am not really a big fan of old time stuff, necessarily, like vaudeville, or burlesque. My focus is basically on the fact that society tends to remember, and talk about, the same people, over and over. Take Marilyn Monroe, for instance.
Sure, she was gorgeous. And men still wait for the wind to blow up some ladies dress. My mom was sitting on the bus stop one day, next to a little old guy, mom was about 76 at the time, and she was dressed, as usual, in a skirt, and the wind started to blow. Mom told me that the old man next to her started saying, out loud, “blow wind, blow.”
I mean, can we find someone else to talk about, for Heaven’s sake?
Like Joe Cook.
Mr. Joe Cook was born in 1890 as Joe Lopez. Joe was orphaned at the age of three, and grew up an adoptee. In 1909, Joe left home and joined the circus.
Joe became a fantastic juggler, he could walk the tightrope, he was a mime, as a matter of fact, he became a major star in the circus.
Joe went on to prosper in Vaudeville, working the stage for fifteen years. Joe’s nickname at the time was “one man vaudeville,” because he was so versatile. He could play the piano, the ukulele and the violin. He told hilarious stories. The audiences loved him.
In the 1930s Joe became a Broadway musical comedy star. And in the late 1930s, Joe had his own radio shows, one on which he chose Eddie to make an appearance, and, he was also constantly receiving requests to be a guest on shows other than his own. He was quite popular. Let’s not forget Joe Cook.
Neither Joe, nor Eddie, were beautiful girls with their skirts flying up in the air, but they did provide laughter, and that is something that is always welcome.
I am left-handed. When I was still in elementary school learning how to write, we had to have a writing pad to practice with.
These pads were set up for right-handed people, because one was supposed to “slant” ones letters to the right. And my mom was determined that when I wrote, first, I would not right with my left hand all twisted around (bad enough I was left-handed), and second, I would make those letters slant the right way. My mother was right-handed and had beautiful hand-writing. I still don’t think my writing slants correctly, but I do not write with my left hand curved around in a circle. Only because I got hollered at if I did. Anyhoo, my mom was just doing what she thought best, and I do not have a problem being left-handed. Except when I have to sign one of those machines at the pharmacy after I slide my card-they are only made to turn to the left to make it easy for right-handed people to sign.
The other day I went to lunch with my daughter, Melony and my grandson, Edward, because Edward is moving to Nevada. We had a ball. As you can see, Edward is right-handed so I couldn’t sit too close to him as our elbows would crash together, My original idea for writing a book about my father, Eddie Green, came to me when Edward was about six years old. You can see how long he has been waiting for me to write this book.
Of course, today, in regard to writing my book, I don’t actually write anything.
It has all been done on my trusty laptop. And I think I am happy to say that I hope to be ready to hand over my manuscript for outside editing by the end of the month. I think I am happy because I feel slightly queasy. Although, this endeavor has never been about fame and fortune, only a way to share with Edward and others, that a person can achieve their goals against all odds. Eddie did.
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.
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. .”
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