EDDIE GREEN: THE RISE OF AN EARLY 1900s BLACK AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT PIONEER (HARDCOVER EDITION) by Elva Diane Green

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A good man is hard to find, as the famous 1919 song by Eddie Green attests, but the pioneering Black filmmaker, movie star, Old Time Radio icon, and composer established himself as the living portrait of all that is admirable. His legacy now inspires a whole new generation. 

 

In an era when Black entertainers struggled to gain a foothold in show business, Eddie Green starred in a silent movie, starred in one of the first Vitaphone talking pictures in 1929, starred on Broadway, headlined at The Apollo, appeared memorably in two of America’s most popular long-running radio series, and rivaled Oscar Micheaux for honors as a pioneering Black filmmaker. From poverty to prominence, Eddie accomplished more in his short life than most people could dream.

 

Talent and desire propelled Eddie on stage, over the air, and into films with Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Hattie McDaniel, Thomas “Fats” Waller, Jackie “Moms” Mabley, and James Baskette (Uncle Remus in Walt Disney’s Song of the South), Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, and Louise Beavers. His close friends included Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Mantan Moreland, Attorney Walter L. Gordon, Jr. (attorney for Billie Holiday), Clarence Muse, and Maria Cole (Nat Cole’s wife).

 

Eddie’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find” was recorded by Marion Harris, Sophie Tucker, Bessie Smith, Louis Prima, Cass Daley, Frank Sinatra, and many others.

 

Discover Eddie’s rags-to-riches story as told by his daughter. Her years of research through major archives have unearthed long-buried revelations and enlightening images that testify to one man’s determination to rise above all obstacles and triumph against all odds. See him through the eyes of the press as he journeys through five decades from Vaudeville to television and then into the stuff of legends.

 

The sands of time may have buried his name, but Eddie Green’s laughter still echoes around the world. Thanks to this first-ever biography, a good man is no longer hard to find.  

 

Illustrated with rare photos, many unpublished. Appendices include songs written by Eddie Green; the radio programs and movies in which he appeared; the movies he wrote, produced, and directed; rare script excerpts featuring him in his most famous roles as Eddie The Waiter on Duffy’s Tavern and as Stonewall The Lawyer on Amos ‘n’ Andy; and excepts from Jubilee radio programs.


"Sometimes a tragedy in life may ultimately

result in a wonderful journey of discovery-- and

we the readers are privileged to accompany a

lady in search of a father who died when she was

only three! This is the case with the first

comprehensive biography of a writer, director,

producer, songwriter, dancer, vaudeville

comedian, and film mogul, not to mention a radio,

movie, and television performer. He even ran a

music business and served as a successful

restaurateur! All of this is recounted in this book

written by his daughter, Elva Diane Green.

In thinking about the tone of Ms. Green's

writing, I'm reminded of a spiritual pilgrim in

search of historical knowledge which will not only

document her father's many accomplishments,

but also provide a fuller understanding of his

motivation to achieve success and his desire to

help other performers succeed. In addition, the

author offers the reader brief, but significant

introductions to many who shared in Eddie

Green's life and career. Ms. Green's enthusiasm

for her father's movies also encourages us to

attempt to find copies of many lost Eddie Green

self-produced short films!

This book will help you to understand how

Green's own personal voyage brought him from

the dismal surroundings of the poorest part of

East Baltimore, Maryland to the career heights he

enjoyed in New York and Los Angeles. Eddie,

born in 1891 , began as a magician at sixteen. He

was advised to drop the magic and concentrate

on comedy.

In 1917 he wrote his first song "A Good Man is

Hard to Find" which was recorded by such diverse

artists as Sophie Tucker, "Fats" Waller, Bessie

Smith, Billie Holiday, Louis Prima, Rosemary

Clooney, Brenda Lee, Nancy Wilson, Carol

Channing, and Frank Sinatra-just to name a

few!

He was a part of many legendary theatrical

productions including Mike Todd's "Hot Mikado" in

which he co-starred with Bill ' Bojangles"

Robinson. He appeared on the first public

demonstration of television which NBC broadcast

in 1936. He was even working at Billy Minsky's

Theater the very evening that was later

immortalized in the film "The Night They Raided

Minsky's"!

Perhaps you, too, will be struck by the

numerous legendary stars who formed close knit

professional and personal relationships with

Green and who continued to influence the course

of theater, film, and television long after his

untimely death in 1950. Hattie McDaniel

(Academy award winner for "Gone with The

Wind"), James Basquette (Star of the Disney film

"Song of the South", Tim Moore (immortalized as

The Kingfish on the "Amos and Andy'' television

show); as well as fellow comedian Jackie "Moms"

Mabley and actor Eddie "Rochester" Anderson (of

Jack Benny fame). The quiet dignity. and pride

with which Ms. Green tells her father's story are

also quite remarkable and refreshing.

If you're like me, you probably only knew

Green as Eddie, the Waiter on the Golden Age

radio program "Duffy's Tavern". I learned that

Green appeared on many radio shows including

Raymond Knight's early comedy hit 'The Cuckoo

Hour", Jack Benny's "The Jell-0 Program", and

such prestigious experimental productions as

"The Columbia Workshop".

As you read the book, you'll learn that Green

mastered all the phases of show business,

balanced multiple careers at a breakneck pace of

work, and still found time to treat his colleagues,

friends, and family with kindness, and fairness. In

a business sometimes marked by envy and 7

bitterness-and in a life which was much too

short-- Eddie Green appears to have been

beloved by everyone who knew him. Perhaps

that may be his greatest achievement.

Through her in-depth research and

accompanying photographs, Ms. Green has

presented to her own family, and to her readers, a

biography which restores to Eddie Green his

rightful, distinguished place in the performing arts.

That may be her greatest achievement!"

- Radio Recall



Article from UnlikelyStories.org

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