This was the look on my face when I realized that the Main Cover photo from this blog has been incorrect for the past three years. One day last week I noticed something was wrong with the photo. I zeroed in on the photo with my eyes. The title of my book was missing one word. Where else had I downloaded or uploaded the photo? My books printed correctly so I must have caught the error at some point. What a maroon!!
Well, it’s not that funny! Well, actually, I was able to laugh at myself, eventually. In this post I hope to impart to you the absolute necessity of “Proofreading!”. My error ought to provide propelling encouragement to get the writer immersed in proofreading every aspect of getting your writings out to the public. Don’t confuse them. One title here, another title there (on the same book).
This is my book. Correct title. I love my book. I corrected my oversight on this blog and have forgiven myself.
Blunders happen-my encouraging advice for the day.
Hello again. Here is a poster announcing my next appearance at a local library here in Los Angeles, the Eagle Rock Branch Library to share my father’s inspirational story. When I started this book writing journey my thoughts never went further than getting the writing done and getting a publisher. The idea of being asked to give a presentation at a library never entered my mind. I simply knew that I wanted to put my father’s story down on paper and present it to my grandson. My doctor asked me the other day how I wrote the book-did I have any help? I realized that this is one of the first questions people ask. So this past week I sat down and wrote out what I did to get this book written. Once I took a good look at what entails getting a book written, I was in awe of myself. I am beginning to realize what a big deal this is.
Here I am last week speaking about writing the biography of my father. I have pictures, we played a cd of a comedy skit with Lena Horne and I was happy to be there. Especially as there were two grammar school girls sitting in the front row. Paying attention. Sitting still. One little girl would take a photo I handed out, show it to her friend, have a little discussion and place the photo on the table. They even contributed to the discussion when I managed to touch on something currently relevant. I loved talking to them and assuring them that they too could achieve their dreams, like Eddie, if they learned as much as they could and believed in themselves.
Of course I told these young girls that I started my research in the Central Library in Los Angeles. That I went to the library a lot when I was little, which I did. And, in fact, the Central Library is exactly where I began my research for my book. My mother actually found the first picture we had of Eddie on stage doing an Amos n Andy radio show back in the 1930s or 40s. This is Central Library.
Central Library is beautiful. All of the information I found here about Eddie (and my mom) was housed in the basement level. So I went down this escalator many times. This is where I found the copyright entries for Eddie’s last movie. This is where I found old copies of Black newspapers that had so many articles about Eddie. And my mom. This is where I got carried away with reading those old newspapers. And how I found my aunt mentioned and my Nana. And my godfather. I even began genealogy research here. I made lots of copies here. I usually ate lunch in the building. And of course you can’t just visit one area of this library.
Along the way someone told me they had found information on Eddie at the Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills and suggested I check it out. This is the library for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It houses the Oscars library. So I went to this library. What an experience. First of all, I would have never thought of going to this library. Even though I knew my father was a filmmaker-I did not realize how big an impact Eddie had in the entertainment field. I must say here that at the time I did not have a car. I used public transportation. L. A. has good public transportation, but, some buses only run once an hour or once every 30 minutes. And visiting these libraries took me from the East to the West side of town. I visited the African American Museum in Exposition Park, the Mayme Clayton Museum in Inglewood, AND I spent hours at the Family History Library in West L.A. (a 2 hour bus ride one-way), I found so many books here on US history.
The inside of the Margaret Herrick Library is gorgeous. One must leave one’s bags, coats and books in a little locker. When looking at photos or scripts of old papers, one must wear gloves and be very careful when handling delicate items such as old invoices. Oh, and you cannot just walk in, you have to have an appointment. The people that work in here are so nice. You tell them what you are looking for and they get it and bring it to you. I found Eddie’s movie scripts!! Posters of his movies!!! Invoices from Seiden Cinema in New Jersey for the film work they did for Eddie (with signatures). I even found the contract he made with Paramount when he was in the 1945 Duffy’s Tavern movie. Of course,, some of those items I could purchase, some not, but I could write down what I found and pay for copies. I made three trips to this library.
Visiting libraries and museums was a big part of my journey. There were also conventions. I spent many hours online. There was a lot of reading, emailing, learning how to get with social media. Reading how-to books and articles. Reading other people’s biographies to study writing styles. Studying how to get a publisher. Biting my nails. After my mother passed in 2010 I used my grieving time to focus on the book. I was retired. Footloose and fancy-free. I had time to put into this book. Today, now that it is published I have time to share Eddie’s story in the libraries here in Los Angeles. This photo of Eagle Rock library is where I will be on the 24th of February 2018. I hope to get more kids involved. Because after all, I began this writing venture to try and motivate my grandson who grew up while I was in this process. But I also want to bring Eddie out of the shadows of time and share his many contributions to the entertainment industry and beyond.
Please ask for this book at your local library so that it can be available to more people. Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer.
I WISH FRIENDS, FAMILY, FOLLOWERS, VISITORS AND ALL THOSE YOU LOVE A HAPPY AND SAFE THANKSGIVING DAY. I AM THANKFUL THAT THIS BLOG CONTINUES TO ATTRACT ATTENTION, ESPECIALLY AS I BEGAN AS A NEWBIE WITH MY FIRST EVER LAPTOP THAT I GOT FOR A STEAL PRICEWISE. I KNOW THIS WAS MEANT TO HAPPEN NOT JUST TO SHARE MY WRITING JOURNEY BUT BECAUSE I HAVE MET SO MANY WONDERFUL PEOPLE. HAVE FUN!
Ok, so here I was a short while ago, ready to go into a radio sound-proof booth to be interviewed by Mr. John L. Hanson of the NPR radio program In Black America. An honor. Well, for your listening enjoyment you can click on this link he sent me and listen for yourself (my daughter says I sound so good over the air.) http://kut.org/post/elva-diane-green-her-father-eddie-green-pioneering-black-filmmaker-and-songwriter.
I was a bit nervous but once I started talking I was ok. I have interviewed before on Yesterday USA and on podcasts, so I am getting better. For people newer to my blog, when I began writing this book being interviewed was the last thing I thought about. Even calling myself an “author” wasn’t a necessity. I simply wanted to get the book out there so that it could inspire others and so Eddie could receive the acknowledgement he deserves as an entertainment pioneer. It dawned on me after the book was published that I, the author, the birther of the book now had to spread the word so people would find and read the book. Not just that, I had to let people know who I am. Elva Diane Green looks good on the cover but it does not make me a recognized author. So began the next leg of my writing journey. Promotion.
I am rather introverted. Unless I think I have some information you need to fix your life. You know, I am good at giving advice whether you ask for it or not. But normally I am not the one to walk up and shake your hand and introduce myself and exchange pleasantries. No. So for me to be an “author” who has written and published a book is something I have had to grow into. For instance, my publisher’s “writer’s guide” says: Hand your cards out everywhere, put them on people’s windshields, leave them at libraries, give them to everyone you meet or pass in the market. Unfortunately, half of the time I forget I even have cards. Cards that I spent time making up. Cards that I spent money on. So I have had to leave my cards out where I can see them at all times, stuff them in my pockets so they will make me uncomfortable.
Anywho, the fact that I started this writing journey using WP as a place to express myself has been one of the best ideas I have had. The fact that I have gained a following of supportive, interested, friendly people has absolutely helped me stay on track. (tears!). I now have an Amazon Author Page that will increase my reach. I tweet (but twitter is more radical than I really like), I have a Facebook Page for the book and a Facebook Page for me and the book.
And I have my father, Eddie Green as an example of how to get things done. When he wanted to get somewhere, he did. In his words: “It was during the year 1929. I was living in New York and trying every kind of theatrical job that was available. I had already played all kinds of Vaudeville, Burlesque, musical comedy and a few small radio programs “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.” When Eddie wanted to open his own movie studio he did: From the local newspaper “Upon returning to the West Coast, Eddie announced the opening of his new film company, Sepia Productions, Inc., with himself as President.”
So, onward and upward. Thanks so much for stopping by.
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. .”