Monday, November 28, 2011

Bold Negro from Nash County scares the Klan

Otis Baker? Humph where can I begin? When i read an article online about people thinking the Obamas were somewhat uppity I immediately thought of a story my father told me some years ago about a man from North Carolina, Nash County North Carolina He was a colored feller ( as my father would say) My father, grew up during the Great Depression of the 1930s and my grandfather was a share cropper for Otha Baker (Not related to Otis Baker.) Those times were hard times especially for a black man of color as my father would say "Especially in North Carolina" and probably even more so in Nash County which was then known as a one horse town

Otis Baker by fathers account was a nice lookin feller all even and light had some Indian in em, all Negros did back then that were light well he was downtown in the drug store and a bunch of the local white men swore he was looking at a white woman ( my father said he probably was things were quite intergrated when a white woman had a yen for a colored feller segregation flew out of the window as they found a placed to do as he called it "that thing") so as he was making leave to get back to his farm the white man said "Uppity Nigger we seen you looking at Missy So and so and we will be round to see you tonight" My Daddy said Otis coolly told them "You may but the first one come round that bend is gon be mine!" and he took his leave.

When they told you they would "see ya" that was code for your black ass was gonna be lynched, beaten or get a good tar and feathering, your house would be burned and your crops while your daughters would probably be raped. That was the antidote for dealing with a negro that didnt know his place.

No one came that night cause no one wanted to be first. Otis had a reputation for being a brawler his family picked up and moved before night fell the next night

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tim "KingFish" Moore "Boy! What A Girl"

Before I had ever seen the Amos and Andy show I saw Boy What A Girl in 2005 at the website that holds movies which have lost their copy right. I remember putting it on my IPOD and watching it on the TV at home with my 82 year old mother who actually had seen it the first time around and she said "Oh that's one of King Fishs movies" however I had no idea who the hell Kingfish was and at that time could care less. It wasn't until less than a week ago that I was in a old fashion mood ( An affectionate term my mate uses when I want to see a 20's, 30's or 40's pic) when I noticed the search engine picture ( as photographed above) but I opted to finally see if I could find Amos and Andy well I did and actually to my households dismay stayed up until 5:00 AM watching episodes on this channel had so many hilarious episodes of this TV classic that I well, sort of over dosed! Check it out it's a scream! and while your there why not give the owner a subscription and check out his wares!

Tim Moore (December 9, 1887 – December 13, 1958) was a celebrated African-American vaudevillian and comic actor of the first half of the 20th century. He gained his greatest recognition in the starring role of George "Kingfish" Stevens in the CBS television series, Amos 'n' Andy. He proudly stated, "I've made it a point never to tell a joke on stage that I couldn't tell in front of my mother."


[edit] Early years

Moore was born Harry Roscoe Moore in Rock Island, Illinois, one of 13 children of Harry and Cynthia Moore.[1][2] His father was a night watchman at a brewery. Tim Moore dropped out of high school to work at odd jobs in town and even danced for pennies in the streets with his friend, Romeo Washburn.[3][4]

In 1898, Moore and Washburn went into vaudeville in an act called "Cora Miskel and Her Gold Dust Twins." It was booked by agents and travelled through the United States and even Great Britain.[5][6][7] By 1904, the act had performed with the Barnum & Bailey Circus.[8] As Moore and Washburn grew older, the act became less effective and Miss Miskel sent them back to their parents in Rock Island. Shortly after this, Moore joined the medicine show of "Doctor Mick", a charlatan who sold a quack remedy called "Puritia." Doctor Mick travelled through the Midwestern states, with songs and dances provided by Moore and four Kickapoo Indians.[3][9] The young man also worked in a carnival sideshow and gave guided tours as a native tour guide in Hawaii.[3]

[edit] Boxer and entertainer

Early photo of Tim Moore.
Moore left Doctor Mick, first to become a stableboy and later a jockey. He also tried his hand as a boxer.[10][11] He returned to performing about 1906, with a troupe of minstrels called "The Rabbit's Foot Company."[12] By 1908, he was back in vaudeville and had met and married his first wife, Hester. They performed as a team, "The Moores - Tim & Hester", appearing in the United States and abroad.[13] In 1910, the couple was part of an act called the Four Moores.[14] They next performed together in "Georgia Sunflowers," a minstrel show that played the southern vaudeville circuit.[15] The Moores drew glowing reviews, Hester for her singing and Tim for his comedy.[16][17] By 1914, both Moores were part of an act with Tim Moore and Tom Delaney & Co.. Tim played the tuba and Hester played drums as part of a band. Moore's own stock company was responsible for all aspects of it.[18] The couple toured China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the Fiji Islands and Hawaii with a vaudeville troupe.[15] The marriage ended in 1915, and Moore married a vaudeville actress named Gertrude.[19] He returned to boxing as "Young Klondike", training in New Zealand. He fought there and in Australia, England, and Scotland.[20] Before this, Moore fought as "Kid Klondike" in the US, with Jack Johnson and Sam Langford as some of his opponents.[21] Moore also made his way into films by 1915, playing the part of an egotistical musician in His Inspiration.[22] Tim and Gertie also entertained in New Zealand. A story in The Evening Post from 28 May 1917, goes on to say, "Another "star" item will be that of Tim and Gertie Moore, who have earned a big reputation in America, and were booked for Fuller's direct from the well-known Orpheum circuit."[23] Moore became well known for his one-man presentation of Uncle Tom's Cabin, where he would play the role of both Simon Legree and Uncle Tom, applying white chalk to half his face, and burnt cork to the other.[9][15][24][25] Moore literally took his act into the street for the sale of War Stamps in 1918.[26]

Having made $141,000 with his fists, in 1921 Moore and his wife returned to vaudeville.[1][27][28] He formed his Chicago Follies troupe and was a favorite on the Theater Owners Bookers Association vaudeville circuit during the Roaring Twenties.[4][29][30] In 1923, Moore and his wife co-starred with Sandy Burns, Walter Long, and Bobby Smart in a silent film comedy, His Great Chance (North State Films).[9] The following year, the Moores toured together in "Aces and Queens".

[edit] Broadway

In June 1925, Tim Moore made his Broadway debut as the star of Lucky Sambo (based on "Aces and Queens'). However, the show closed after only a few performances. He was a success in 1926 with the hit show Rarin' to Go, followed in 1927 with The Southland Revue.[31] Moore wrote all of his own material and also did some writing for other performers; a Moore skit called, Not a Fit Night for Man nor Beast, was bought by W.C. Fields.[3][24][25] He also did some writing for the radio show of the Two Black Crows comedy team. Moore was brought to New York to sign a writing contract but before this was done, Charles Mack of the team was killed in an auto accident, thus ending the act.[20] Moore wrote sketches which became part of Lew Leslie's "Blackbirds" revues as well.[32]

In 1928, Moore left vaudeville altogether for Broadway. This time he met with enormous success as the star comedian of Lew Leslie's hit musical comedy revue, the Blackbirds of 1928.[33] Moore's co-stars were singers Adelaide Hall and Aida Ward and renowned tap dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.[34] The hit musical scored high in Paris and London as well as on the road throughout the states. In 1931, Moore and his vaudeville straight man, Andrew Tribble,[35] performed one of their funniest routines in Oscar Micheaux's first talking picture, The Darktown Revue. After a disagreement with Lew Leslie, Moore starred in two unsuccessful Broadway revues, Fast and Furious (1931),[36] and The Blackberries of 1932.[37] In the former, Moore wrote some of the skits along with his friend and co-star Zora Neale Hurston.[38] Moore and fellow comedian Morton left the show in April, 1932, refusing to perform what were termed "dirty lines".[39] Needing each other, he and Leslie patched up their differences and Moore resumed his position as star comedian in the Blackbirds revues of 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, and 1939. Politics played a role in the demise of the 1936 edition of the Blackbirds, causing the London run to be shut down. At the time the troupe was booked in the United Kingdom, King Edward VIII had just abdicated the British throne for love of American Wallis Simpson. There was a wave of anti-Americanism, with women picketing performances of the Blackbirds, carrying signs disparaging American women.[40] In this last of the Blackbirds (1939), the principal singing star was Lena Horne.[41][42] Moore's last Broadway show was Harlem Cavalcade (1942), produced by Ed Sullivan and Noble Sissle.[43] During the late 1930s and early 1940s, Moore was one of the top comedians headlining at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.[44] He also performed on radio as a dramatic actor.[3][45][46]

In 1946, he starred as Bumpsie in the musical comedy film, Boy! What a Girl!.[9][47] He made some appearances on Ed Sullivan's television show, Toast of the Town, and at the Apollo Theater; Moore then retired from show business.[3][9][48] His wife Gertrude having died in 1934, Moore settled down with his third wife, Benzonia Davis Moore (1889–1956), in his home town of Rock Island, working the night shift at the Servus Rubber company, where boots and shoes were made.[4][9] The couple was married in 1941 and initially made their home in Baltimore.[1]

[edit] Television stardom

In 1951, Moore was recommended by his old vaudeville friend, Flournoy Miller, for the role of George "Kingfish" Stevens, a role which was voiced on radio by white actor Freeman Gosden.[25] He was called out of retirement by the Columbia Broadcasting System to star in a new television adaptation of Amos 'n' Andy.[49][50] As the radio series had developed in prior years, the scheming but henpecked Kingfish had become the central focus of most of the plots. In the television version, Moore played the character more broadly, with louder and more forceful delivery and a distinctive Georgia drawl, exaggerated for comic effect. Moore's Kingfish dominated the calmer and soft-spoken "Amos 'n' Andy" characters. Early in his career, Moore had developed a "con-man" routine he used for many years while in vaudeville; re-working some aspects of his old act produced the television character Kingfish.[25]

Moore was very popular in the show and for the first time in his career became a national celebrity as well as the first African American to win stardom on television. When leaving a train in Albuquerque to buy some Native American pottery, the proprietor recognized him immediately, saying, "You, you Kingfish." This was the first time it happened in Moore's 52 years in show business.[51] The show aired on prime-time TV from June 1951 to June 1953. Although quite popular, the series was eventually canceled due to complaints about ethnic stereotyping. Shortly after the television show left the air, there were plans to turn it into a vaudeville act in August 1953, with Moore, Williams, and Childress playing the same characters.[52] It is not known if this was ever realized. After the series was canceled, it was shown in syndication until 1966 when increasing condemnation and pressure from the NAACP persuaded the show's owners (CBS, which still owns the copyrights) to withdraw it from further exhibition. It was resurrected in the early days of home videotape through public domain video dealers who had acquired episodes from collectors of used 16mm TV prints, although the copyright was never in the public domain. Illegally produced copies continue to be sold over the internet.

Many of the episodes revolved around Moore's Kingfish character, supported by Ernestine Wade as his level-headed, emotionally strong wife Sapphire, and Amanda Randolph as his openly aggressive mother-in-law, without the participation of Amos or Andy. These Kingfish-only episodes were originally produced as a spinoff series, The Adventures of Kingfish, which made its debut on CBS on January 4, 1955 but lasted only a few episodes.[53][54] When the Amos 'n' Andy half-hours went into syndication, the Adventures of Kingfish shows were added to the syndicated package under the Amos 'n' Andy series title.

In 1956, Moore and his fellow cast mates Spencer Williams, Alvin Childress and Lillian Randolph with her choir, tried a tour of personal appearances as "The TV Stars of Amos 'n' Andy". The tour was halted by CBS, who viewed this as infringing on their exclusivity.[44] Moore, and fellow cast members Williams, Childress and Lee, were able to perform for one night in 1957 in Windsor, Ontario, apparently without legal action being taken against them.[55]

[edit] Later years

Moore married his last wife Vivian (1912–1988) eight months after Benzonia's death; they had been performing as a comedy team for some time before marrying in 1957.[10][56][57] This marriage won him considerable publicity thanks to the "Roast Beef Scandal" of January 1958. Moore fired a gunshot in his home because of his "mooching in-laws" (stepson, stepdaughter, and her husband) when he found that the last of the New Year's roast beef had been eaten by them.[44] Moore related, "These free-loaders have eaten everything in the house. My wife protects them and every time we talk about it, we get into an argument. The argument got a little loud and the next thing I knew, the big boy (his stepson Hubbard) jumped out of his chair. I ran upstairs and got out my old pistol. I didn't want to hit anybody."[58]

When the police arrived at the home, Moore, pistol still in his belt, told them, "I'm the old Kingfish, boys. I'm the one you want. I fired that shot. I didn't want to hit anyone, although I could have. Anyway, you should have seen the in-laws scatter when I fired that gun." [59] The shot Moore fired hit the china cabinet; he was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, with police calling him the "funniest prisoner in police history."[58] Moore was initially ordered held on $1,000 bond; the judge changed his mind and released Moore on his own recognizance.[59] Tim and his wife reconciled, with Vivian's pleading for the charges to be dropped.[60][61] Moore entered a not guilty plea before the case went to trial on March 24.[62] He received a $100 fine and a year's probation as his sentence.[63]

When the story broke, local television personality and columnist Paul Coates invited Tim Moore to appear on his KTTV television show; Moore explained the situation in two guest appearances. Coates was promptly taken to task for Moore's appearances on his show by Stanley Robertson, a journalist for the African-American newspaper, the Los Angeles Sentinel, calling Moore "disgraceful" and labeling the two shows with Moore as "television's darkest hour." Coates replied to his critic in his January 29, 1958 Los Angeles Times column, calling Moore "a pretty wonderful, sincere man" and saying he strongly resented Robertson's attack on him.[59]

Because of the "Roast Beef Scandal," Moore was once more in demand and even received a testimonial tribute dinner from the Friars Club of Beverly Hills, and appearing on The Tonight Show with Jack Paar.[64] The publicity also won him an extended performance engagement at the prominent Mocambo nightclub.[4]

[edit] Death

Moore died at age 71 on December 13, 1958 of pulmonary tuberculosis in Los Angeles, California, four days after his birthday. There was no money to pay for his hospital care or for his funeral, Moore having received his final $65.00 residual payment from Amos 'n' Andy in January, 1958. At one time Moore made $700 per week.[1][65][66]

After a large funeral at Mt. Sinai Baptist Church, he was buried at Rosedale Cemetery. 10,000 fans and mourners passed his open coffin; attendees included Freeman F. Gosden, Charles Correll, Spencer Williams, Jr., Alvin Childress, Ernestine Wade, Amanda Randolph, Johnny Lee, Lillian Randolph, Sammy Davis, Jr., Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, Andy Razaf, Roy Glenn, Mantan Moreland, Earl Grant.[67][68] Sammy Davis, Jr. later related that Frank Sinatra organized the effort to pay Tim Moore's funeral expenses.[69] Moore's grave remained unmarked from the time of his burial until 1983; fellow comedians Redd Foxx and George Kirby raised funds for a headstone.[70] There is now one marking the graves of Moore and his wife, Vivian, who died in 1988.[71][72]

Paying tribute to one of its favorite sons, the Rock Island Public Library held "Tim Moore Day" July 16, 2008. Moore's relatives in the area participated by sharing their memories of his life and work.[3]

[edit] References
1.^ a b c d e Johnson, Lillian (22 February 1941). "Played Best Theatres Of The World". The Afro-American. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
2.^ "Photo of Tim Moore with his parents and six of his seven brothers". Rock Island Argus. 13 August 1995. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
3.^ a b c d e f g "Celebrate Tim Moore Day at the Library". Rock Island Public Library. 1 July 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2011. (PDF)
4.^ a b c d "Tim Moore". Retrieved 21 October 2010.
5.^ "Tim Moore". Retrieved 28 September 2010.
6.^ "Tim Moore: The Gold Dust Twins". Yoda' Retrieved 10 November 2010.
7.^ "New York City-(Brooklyn)-Fulton Street Theater". The New York Clipper. 2 April 1904. Retrieved 12 June 2011. (PDF)
8.^ "Vaudeville and Minstrel". The New York Clipper. 22 October 1904. Retrieved 12 June 2011. (PDF)
9.^ a b c d e f "Tim Moore". Yoda' Retrieved 10 November 2010.
10.^ a b "TV Amos 'n' Andy Kingfish is Dead". Tri City Herald. 15 December 1958. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
11.^ Tyler, George (21 February 1931). "Harlem Rambles-Down Memory Lane With Tim Moore". The Afro American. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
12.^ "The Rabbit Foot Company". The Freeman. 1 August 1908. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
13.^ "Tim and Hester Moore Presenting 'In Dark Town Suffragette'". The Freeman. 8 November 1913. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
14.^ "The Pekin, Richmond, VA.". The Freeman. 1 October 1910. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
15.^ a b c Peterson, Bernard L., ed (1997). The African American Theatre Directory, 1816-1960: A Comprehensive Guide to Early Black Theatre Organizations, Companies, Theatres, and Performing Groups. Greenwood Press. pp. 336. ISBN 0313295379. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
16.^ "Tim and Hester Moore". The Freeman. 21 December 1912. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
17.^ "Tim Moore and Wife as a Heavy Box Office Attraction at the Monogram". The Freeman. 27 January 1912. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
18.^ "Dayton, Ohio". The Freeman. 9 May 1914. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
19.^ "50th Year for Lincoln Theater". Baltimore Afro American. 12 September 1959. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
20.^ a b "Two Comedians". The Afro American. 23 June 1934. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
21.^ Williams, Joe (8 February 1951). "Joe Williams says". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
22.^ "'His Inspiration'". The Evening Independent. 18 January 1915. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
23.^ "His Majesty's Theatre". The Evening Post. 28 May 1917. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
24.^ a b "More than the Kingfish, Actor Tim Moore". African American Registry. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
25.^ a b c d Wintz, Cary D.; Finkelman, Paul, eds (2004). Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance: Volume 2. Routledge. pp. 1392. ISBN 157958389X. Retrieved 28 November 2010.
26.^ "The Jose". The Freeman. 13 August 1918. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
27.^ McCollum, Obie (21 May 1927). "Says 'Dead' Chinese Actors Rise to Bow to Audiences". The Afro American. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
28.^ Why the Stars Go Broke. Ebony. July 1963. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
29.^ "Tim Moore's Chicago Follies Co.". The Afro American. 21 December 1923. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
30.^ "What the Stage Stars Were Doing 10 Years Ago". The Afro American. 27 February 1932. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
31.^ "Rarin' To Go". The Toledo News-Bee. 6 September 1926. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
32.^ "This Week in the Theatres". The Afro American. 14 July 1928. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
33.^ "Tim Moore To Be 'Blackbird'". The Afro American. 21 April 1928. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
34.^ "Sees Aida Ward As Future 'Flo' Mills". The Afro American. 26 May 1928. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
35.^ Tyler, George (14 February 1931). "Harlem Rambles". The Afro American. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
36.^ "3 Leading Comedians Neither Sing Nor Dance; But Are Hits". The Afro American. 10 October 1931. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
37.^ "1932: In Which Father Time Puts on The Worst Act Of His Career". The Afro American. 24 December 1932. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
38.^ "Many New Plays Slated To Run On Broadway". The Afro American. 8 August 1931. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
39.^ "Wouldn't Be Dirty, Comedians Quit Show". The Afro American. 7 May 1932. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
40.^ Matthews, Ralph (13 February 1937). "Who Killed Mr. Leslie's Blackbirds?". The Afro American. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
41.^ "New Romantic Opera". The Glasgow Herald. 19 March 1937. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
42.^ "'Blackbirds' To Get Another Try". Washington Afro-American. 11 February 1939. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
43.^ Wilson, Cleon (5 may 1942). "Cavalcade Scores On Broadway". The Afro American. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
44.^ a b c Clayton, Edward T. (October 1961). The Tragedy of Amos 'n' Andy. Ebony. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
45.^ "Eva Jessye In Radio Play". The Afro American. 8 April 1933. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
46.^ Bowen, Charles I. (22 April 1933). "On The Air-Eva Jessye, Radio Actress". The Afro American. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
47.^ "Marva Forced Out of New Film By Infected Throat". The Afro American. 28 September 1946. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
48.^ "Amos 'n' Andy Look For Exit As They Plan New TV Show". Reading Eagle. 17 June 1951. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
49.^ "Amos And Andy Name Subs For Television Roles". St. Petersburg Times. 18 June 1951. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
50.^ "Radio's Veteran Comics Smash Hit on Television". Eugene Register-Guard. 14 April 1954. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
51.^ Lyons, Leonard (11 August 1951). "The Lyons Den". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
52.^ "'Amos 'n' Andy' Set for Vaude". Baltimore Afro-American. 4 August 1953. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
53.^ New 'Kingfish' Series To Make TV Debut Jan. 4. Jet. 6 January 1955. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
54.^ Kantor, Michael; Maslon, Lawrence, eds (2008). Make 'Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America. Twelve. pp. 384. ISBN 9780446505314. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
55.^ Gardiner, John (25 June 1957). "The Theatre and its People". The Windsor Daily Star. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
56.^ "Amos 'n' Andy Show Figure To Wed Today". The Sun. 6 June 1957. Retrieved 10 November 2010. Pay Per View-"Tim Moore. 69. a widower, obtained the license with Mrs. Vivian J. Gravens. 39. and said they plan to be married tomorrow."
57.^ "Casino Features Chinese Dancer". The Pittsburgh Press. 12 December 1945. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
58.^ a b TV Kingfish and His Sapphire in Real-Life Domestic Brawl. Jet. 16 January 1958. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
59.^ a b c "The Daily Mirror". Los Angeles Times. 29 January 2008. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
60.^ Kingfish Dismissal Plea Denied, 2 Make Up. Jet. 30 January 1958. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
61.^ "Kingfish Arrested On Assault Charge". Associated Press. January 1958. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
62.^ Kingfish Pleads Not Guilty In Gun Fracas. Jet. 27 February 1958. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
63.^ Kingfish Fined $100 For Roast Beef Fracas. Jet. 10 April 1958. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
64.^ Words Of The Week. Jet. 23 January 1958. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
65.^ Critically Ill, Kingfish Tells Wife Of Fears, Disappointments. Jet. 18 December 1958. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
66.^ "Kingfish Succumbs". Baltimore Afro-American. 16 December 1958. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
67.^ 10,000 Mourners See TV's Kingfish Buried In style. Jet. 8 January 1959. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
68.^ Harry Moore, TV's Kingfish. Jet. 25 December 1958. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
69.^ Sinatra A Complex, Honest Guy, Says Sammy. Jet. 12 March 1959. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
70.^ Kingfish Discovery. Jet. 15 August 1983. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
71.^ "Tim and Vivian Moore Headstone". Find A Grave. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
72.^ "Vivian Moore, 75, Widow of Television's Kingfish". Los Angeles Daily News. 14 January 1988. Retrieved 23 January 2011."The widow of "Amos 'n' Andy" television star Tim "The Kingfish" Moore has died of heart failure after a lengthy illness at age 75, her son said Wednesday. Vivian Moore, whose husband was a vaudeville and Broadway star before securing his most famous role as George Stevens on "Amos 'n' Andy," died at her home in Los Angeles Saturday, said son Paul" (pay per view)
Works cited Bogle, Donald. Blacks in American Films and Television: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Simon and Schuster, 1988.
Ely, Melvin Patrick. The Adventures of Amos 'n' Andy: A Social History of an American Phenomenon, The Free Press, 1991

[edit] External links
Tim Moore at the Internet Movie Database
Tim Moore biography
Tim Moore (comedian) at the Internet Broadway Database
Tim Moore (comedian) at Find a Grave

[edit] Watch
Amos 'n' Andy: Anatomy of a Controversy at Internet Movie Database-Video by Hulu
Boy! What a Girl! at Internet Archive.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Remembering Tondelyo Levy

The hardest thing about doing a blog that deals 90% with the obscure artists of yester year is the research. This one proved to date the hardest of all but finally we are introducing you to Ms. Tondelyo Levy.

I first learned of her years ago when researching Billie Holiday. In the late 1940's Billie took up with John Levy a very light skinned Arican American who described him self as half Jew, half Black. Cnferring with my usual sources for entertainers of days gone by ( BTW that list is getting shorter and shorter due to the Grimm reaper! and father Time) I was told that Tondaleyos was a club, another person told me why thats a character that Hedy LaMarr played years ago. Then my #1 all things Billie source said " Why Tondelyo Levy good god I havent heard that name in years she was beautiful made a film but was mostly a shake dancer and a very shrewed business woman but her name is really Willemenia Grey I believe the Levy was a married named. She was married and I believe had a baby by John Levy" I of course immediately put on my thinking cap was he talking about John Levy the bassist and former manager of nancy Wilson? Or Billie Holidays alledgly brutal pimp/manager boyfriend John Levy. I asked Which John Levy you talking about Mr. Hugh? He looked at me with a gleam in his eye that still makes me laugh to this day " Billies" I remember a slight intake of air and then a gasp! Mr. Hugh enjoying my effect went on speaking " Oh yes Tondelyo was married to John Levy and he use to beat her like he did all his womens and she was really a beautiful woman did her just like Lady Day and the thing is all of them knew each other from 133rd street days in harlem. John was a junkie an opium smoker and gambler finally Tonda got sick and tired of it and I think she escaped I forget how but she left that misreable, cheap SOB." He went , " I think well Im pretty sure she was in the Cotton Club Chorus kine way back in the 1930's. She and Levy opened a nightclub on W.52nd Street called Tondelyos.

Fasinating so I Googled Tondelyo nothing then Tondelyo Levy and I found but one actual write up but I did and I share with you here a movie she performed in ( Not dancing) but acting called "Sepia Cinderella" and yes she outlived them all

She was never a big star but more a popular local star it seems. I have but one question I wondered why she used her married name right up to her death. Who was the child? so many questions....enjoy

She Danced Around Fame In Her Art And Especially In Her Life, Tondalayo Levy Made Her Mark


Sunday, January 18, 1998

When Don Henley of the Eagles was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the Waldorf-Astoria on Monday, he told a sellout crowd he had mixed feelings about the honor, largely because of what the word "fame" has come to mean.

"The line between fame and accomplishment is becoming very, very blurred," he said. "If you're willing to be really obnoxious in public and make a complete fool of yourself, you too can be famous. . . . It's an ugly thing."

Henley's ruminations, mildly jarring at the Waldorf, are nonetheless quite true, and they echoed less than 12 hours later at a very different occasion and place: a funeral at Memorial Baptist Church on W. 115th St. for Tondalayo Levy. Never famous in today's manner of a tabloid-TV guest, Tondalayo was nonetheless an important and glamorous figure in New York nightlife from the '30s into the '50s.
Nobody upstaged Tonda," said Leroi Myers, who leads a magnificent band of old-time tap dancers called the Copasetics. "She sat in the back seat for no one."

She filled most of the seats at Memorial Baptist, and everybody had a Tonda story. After the service David Pagan, her son-in-law, talked about going to dinner with her at Lundy's in Sheepshead Bay.

"Now, when you went out with Tonda, you didn't wear just anything," he explained. "You passed inspection. And she was wearing a new full-length mink coat.

"You know Lundy's a thousand people, sawdust on the floor. Well, Tonda takes off that coat and drags it behind her. Right in the sawdust. And a thousand people are saying, 'Who is that woman?'

"She knew how to make an entrance."

Tondalayo took her stage name as a teenage chorus girl. Film fans know it as the name of Hedy Lamarr's character in "White Cargo," but in clubs here it was the property of Tondalayo Levy, who called her sultry, exotic moves "shake dancing."

Sepia Cinderella (1947)

70 min - Musical - 25 July 1947 (USA)


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The 2nd in a series of films, produced by Jack Goldberg and Arthur Leonard, made primarily for the 684 theatres (in 1947) that catered exclusively to Black audiences that were kept out... See full summary »

Arthur H. Leonard

Vincent Valentini

Billy Daniels, Sheila Guyse and Tondaleyo


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Cast overview, first billed only:

Billy Daniels


Bob (as Billy Daniel)

Sheila Guyse






Ruble Blakey



Jack Carter



Dusty Freeman



George Williams



Fred Gordon


Press Agent

Harold Norton


Night Club Master of Ceremonies

Hilda Offley


Mama Keyes (as Hilda Offley Thompson)

Emory Richardson


Great Joseph

Percy Verwayen



Al Young



Deek Watson


Himself (as Deek Watson and the Brown Dots)

Gertrude Saunders


Mrs. Dryden

Full cast and crew »


The 2nd in a series of films, produced by Jack Goldberg and Arthur Leonard, made primarily for the 684 theatres (in 1947) that catered exclusively to Black audiences that were kept out, or placed in a special balcony section, in most of the theatres in segregated America. Plot concerns a struggling band leader's rise to fame after overcoming many obstacles, including a bad-girl vs. good-girl situation. For reasons unknown, Freddie Bartholomew makes a guest-cameo appearnce at the night club, and was featured in the ads and posters for the film, but the producers were barking up an empty tree if the thought was that he would sell any extra tickets in any of the booking or white. Tondaleyo (the "bad girl") dances, and musical numbers feature Deek Watson and his Brown Dots, Walter Fuller's orchestra, John Kirby's band and Ruble Blakey, former soloist with Lionel Hampton. Written by Les Adams
Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:


Parents Guide:
Add content advisory for parents »



Release Date:
25 July 1947 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:
Herald Pictures See more »
Show detailed company contact information on IMDbPro »


Technical Specs

70 min | USA: 75 min (original release)

Sound Mix:

Black and White

Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See full technical specs »

Monday, November 21, 2011

Remembering Leonard Reed (Shim Sham Shimmy)

My great grandfather whom we called Pop use to have a little verse he use to say it went "Shim Sham Shim Sham Shimmy, Shim Sham, Shim Sham Shimmy now its to the left, now its too the right Mr. Charlie Mr. Charlie Aint treatin me right shim Sham Shim sham shimmy!"

Now looking at Leonard Reed you know he's mixed hes black white and Choctaw (native American) and was born in 1907. He was a vaudevillian that played in black face but because of his complexion he played in black vaudeville casts and all white casts. Usually passing as white but more often then not he was found out and at various time run completely out of town considering the times in which he lived one can barely blame him. Much better money was paid to white performers during that era.
That color issue among blacks was something else and still prevails today. Light
skin good dark skin bad. Unlike vaudeville, some things never go Bye-bye

American Dance Legends

Leonard Reed

Leonard Reed, 97,
Tap Dancer Known for
Shim Sham Shimmy, Dies

Published: April 10, 2004

Leonard Reed, a tap dance pioneer who was co-creator of the famous Shim Sham Shimmy dance routine, died here on Monday. He was 97.

The cause was heart failure, his family said.

Mr. Reed, with his dance partner, Willie Bryant, invented the shimmy routine as a flashy finale to their dance act in the late 1920's.

In their book "Jazz Dance," Marshall Winslow Stearns and Jean Stearns describe it as "a one-chorus routine to a 32-bar tune, with eight bars each," consisting of the double shuffle, crossover, an up-and-back shuffle and then another move, characterized as "falling off a log."

Mr. Reed was born in Lightning Creek, Okla., on Jan. 7, 1907. He was of black, white and Choctaw descent. His mother died of pneumonia when he was 2, and he never knew his father.

Reared by relatives and other guardians in Kansas City, Mo., he won contests dancing the Charleston and performed the dance at carnivals during the summers. He attended Cornell University but dropped out to pursue a dance career.

Mr. Reed paired with Bryant in a vaudeville act they called "Brains as Well as Feet."

"Dancing has been my only love," he said in an interview with The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "But I didn't let dancing stop me from doing other things. I had the ability to be multitalented."

Mr. Reed produced shows at the Cotton Club in Chicago and was master of ceremonies for 20 years at the Apollo Theater in New York. When he was not dancing, he was a songwriter, bandleader and comedian.

In the 1960's, Mr. Reed began producing for record companies and helped start the career of the singer Dinah Washington.

He once said his long, active life could be credited to "women, golf and show business," but not necessarily in that order.

In 2000 Mr. Reed received a lifetime achievement award from the American Music Awards. Two years later he received an honorary doctor of performing arts degree from Oklahoma City University.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara; a daughter; a granddaughter; and two great-grandchildren.

Leonard Reed

Published: April 10, 2004

Leonard Reed, who died on April 5 aged 97, was one of the greatest tap dancers of the 20th century, and the creator, with his partner Willie Bryant, of its most widely popularised form, the Shim Sham Shimmy.

Reed's professional career was short, lasting only from 1922 until 1933. The tremendous success that he achieved in that period, and the reason it came to an end, had a common origin: the tall, fair-complexioned, blue-eyed Reed was in fact of mixed black and white blood. Until he was exposed, he was able to pass for both races and, in the age of segregation, worked both the black theatres that were the laboratories of tap, as well as the more lucrative - but white - vaudeville venues.

He began in entertainment as a specialist Charleston dancer, doing three-minute slots in the shows that toured the black theatre circuits of the South and Mid-West. He learned to tap by watching other performers, and while appearing in a revue called Hits and Bits of 1922 was forced to parade his new skills when its star, Travis Tucker, was found to be too drunk to appear. Reed was 15.

Soon he was a regular visitor to the Hoofers Club, on 7th Avenue in Harlem, where dancers such as Bill Robinson traded steps and styles with all comers. Reed started working for the Whitman Sisters, who were acknowledged to have the best black revue, and formed a partnership with the similarly light-skinned Willie Bryant: "Reed & Bryant - Brains as well as Feet".

In about 1930, Reed and Bryant devised a new finale for their eight-minute show, a step of simple heel-and-toe combinations danced to four eight-bar choruses - tunes such as Tuxedo Junction or Ain't What You Do. Like most forms of tap, it was probably an adaptation of an earlier dance, but at some point Reed, who always retained traces of his flamboyant Charleston style in his taps, added a shimmy of the shoulders, perhaps at the prompting of the Whitman girls.

He and Bryant originally called it "Goofus", but it became known as the Shim Sham after a club where they regularly appeared. Its simplicity, and suitability as a line dance, especially with the newly popular swing music, meant that it was quickly picked up and disseminated by clubgoers. It has endured ever since, and has been called the anthem of tap.

For the next three years Reed and Bryant were never out of work, appearing in both black and white venues, notably the Palace Theatre, New York.

While a teenager at a white dance contest, Reed had once been revealed as black by an usherette and had been chased from the hall. In 1933, the secret of his mixed blood again slipped out, and he found himself barred from the white vaudeville circuit.

He and Bryant broke up, and at the age of 26 he largely retired from dancing, becoming instead a producer at the Cotton Club.

Nonetheless, his elegant, spacious tap style remained the dominant influence on such dancers as Maceo Anderson and the Nicholas Brothers, Fayard and Harold, whom Fred Astaire considered to be the greatest exponents of the form and who, in the 1940s, would immortalise many of Reed's own moves in the Hollywood films in which they starred.

Leonard Reed was born in a tepee at Lightning Creek, Oklahoma, on January 7 1907. His mother, who died when he was two, was half-Choctaw Cherokee Indian and half-black. She had been raped by his father, who was white, and whom he also never knew. He was raised by his great-grandmother until he was 11, when he was placed in a foster home in Kansas City, Missouri.

He was soon running with the wrong crowd, and at the age of 13 was threatened with a four-year stretch in reform school for buying alcohol under-age. However, the headmaster of his high school knew that Leonard was being habitually assaulted by the guardian of the foster home, and offered to adopt him if he were not jailed.

By 15, Leonard had a weekend job selling popcorn at a theatre in Kansas City. The Charleston craze was sweeping the United States, and he learned how to dance it by copying the performers on stage.

Soon Reed was good enough to win local Charleston contests and spent the summer of 1922 as the barker for a black "tent show", or travelling revue.

He began to work for the likes of Travis Tucker in his holidays and then, at 18, while in New York visiting his prospective university, Cornell, entered and won a Charleston competition for whites. The victory proved to be his passport to the white theatres as well.

After the discovery of his racial origins, Reed turned to production and choreography. In 1934, he staged Rhythm Bound, with 40 singers, at the Harlem Opera House, and from the mid-Thirties worked in-house at the Cotton Club, arranging music and producing shows for Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Ethel Waters, Billie Holiday and the Nicholases.

In 1937, he was injured in a car accident and so was unfit for service during the Second World War, which he spent entertaining troops. He later wrote music for Lionel Hampton and Ella Fitzgerald, and then from 1950 until 1960 was the manager of the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, then greatly celebrated for its talent shows. Among those that Reed helped to unearth was Dinah Washington. During the 1960s, he choreographed dances for Motown stars.

For many years, Reed was also the manager of Joe Louis's personal appearances, and helped the boxer work up the nightclub comedy act for which he was also known.

Both Reed and Louis were good golf players, and Reed is credited with having become the first black player to have taken part in a PGA tournament when, in San Diego in the mid-1940s, he was accidentally given a tour card by an official who thought he was white. Tiger Woods recently praised Reed's many years of work against segregation in golf.

Leonard Reed lived in southern California, and until his late nineties continued to teach tap dancing.

He married, in 1951, Barbara De Costa.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Discovering brooklyn New Yorks Jazz History part 1

More and more of the clubs that use to define Brooklyn, New York from the swing era till the 1960's are slowly becoming empty vacant buildings whispering a whine to tell their past. Well, always willing to oblige the obsolete ghosts of yesterdays for the next few weeks we will explore a number of closed bars here in Brooklyn, NY and hopefully uncover their contribution to jazz is a interesing article from the American Music review to get us started:

American Music Review

Formerly the Institute for Studies in American Music Newsletter

H. Wiley Hitchcock for Studies in American Music
Conservatory of Music, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York

Volume XXXVI I I

No. 2 Spring 2009

Charles Ives and His Tunes, review by Tom C. Owens
Across the East River: Searching for Brooklyn’s Jazz History


Jeffrey Taylor

The Night of the Cookers (Blue Note Records, 1965)

On 9 and 10 April 1965, a series of musical performances took place at Brooklyn’s Club La Marchal, located at Nostrand Avenue and President Street. The event was sponsored by “Jest Us,” an enterprising group of women who happened to be the wives of trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, pianists and composers Cedar Walton, Bobby Timmons, and several other of the era’s best-know jazz performers. Hubbard, who had replaced Lee Morgan in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers three years earlier, was the headliner (his name is highlighted on the original album cover) but he is joined by a unique gathering of jazz individuals, most from his own band at the time: reed and wind player James Spaulding, pianist Harold Mabern, bass player Larry Ridley, Pete La Roca on drums, Big Black (Daniel Ray) on congas, and, perhaps most importantly, Morgan himself. The performances were recorded by Blue Note and issued as The Night of the Cookers.

The Night of the Cookers is a remarkable aural document. Each tune lasts twenty minutes or more, which forced Blue Note to issue the recording in two volumes (it is now available on a 2-CD reissue, Blue Note/EMI 7243 5 94323 2 8), and it shows, better than most live recordings, the potent relationship between audience and performer. As the original liner notes by Alfred Davis observes: “Throughout this album you will become more and more aware of the total freedom, almost to the point where the artists and audience become one in their appreciation of each other.” But most jazz fans relish the two cuts that feature both Morgan and Hubbard in cordial exchanges. In the opening track, Clare Fischer’s Latin-tinged “Pensativa,” (an Art Blakey standard) a muted solo by Morgan gives way to an open-horn improvisation by Hubbard; after a solo by Mabern, Morgan removes his mute and engages in a lengthy conversation with Hubbard, the two throwing ideas back and forth (“Camptown Races” makes several appearances, for some reason). The performance gives listeners a rare opportunity to hear these two great artists, born the same year, play side by side, with Hubbard’s famous warm tone making a perfect foil for Morgan’s slightly edgy, bluesier sound. Though the tune builds in intensity until brought to a close by James Spaulding’s return on flute, there is less a sense of competition here than of friendly exchange and the occasional humorous tweak. And throughout the audience is a partner in the proceedings, yelling out encouragement and laughing at the witty jibes.

Night of the Cookers is undoubtedly the most famous jazz album recorded in Brooklyn, but few know about the musical setting in which the events of that evening took place. Hubbard, whom we sadly lost last December, had immortalized that scene—especially in the mostly African-American neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant—three years earlier with “Nostrand and Fulton,” a catchy tune deftly combining hard bop motives and a lilting waltz. The trumpeter, who lived in the borough during the 1960s, was only one of dozens of jazz artists who were fixtures in Brooklyn jazz during what some call the “glory days” of jazz in the borough, from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s. But scan the “Nightclubs and Other Venues” section of The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, and one finds only three references to Brooklyn among the dozens of Manhattan clubs listed (and all three are out of business). There is not even an entry for the Blue Coronet, a long-running club on Fulton Street that hosted John Coltrane in the 1950s while he was playing at Manhattan’s Five Spot with Thelonious Monk, and Miles Davis in the late 1960s just as he was embarking on his controversial “Bitches Brew” period (a bootleg recording of the latter’s performance there has circulated for years). Nor is there mention of Putnam Central, a men’s social club that featured Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, J.J. Johnson, and many others. Then again, much of what made Brooklyn’s jazz community special were not the performance venues, but the musicians’ homes, where innumerable jam sessions took place, or the long-gone Bickford’s Coffee Shop, where players would meet after gigs to socialize and discuss music.

It is hardly surprising that Manhattan’s jazz history has overshadowed that of Brooklyn, for the latter borough had nothing like the organized entertainment industry that took root on Broadway or 52nd Street. But just ask those who lived in Brooklyn during those glory days—most notably pianist, composer and bandleader Randy Weston—and you will get an earful: not just about the clubs, though there were many, but about community, about a social network that existed among jazz musicians of which most historians are completely unaware. Weston is a walking dictionary of Brooklyn jazz history, and his autobiography, due out next year, will no doubt begin to give the borough a privileged place in the story of this music. Yet, a conversation with this famous Brooklyn son, still inexhaustibly robust at 83, only confirms that there is much more to be discovered about Brooklyn’s role in jazz’s development.

In our Spring 2004 issue,1 Robin D. G. Kelley discussed Brooklyn’s recent “jazz renaissance,” focusing primarily on organizations such as the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium as he framed the revitalization of the scene as largely a local community project. And just this spring, during our Brooklyn jazz symposium, (see p. 2), Kelley showed how Thelonious Monk was influenced by the time he spent immersed in Brooklyn’s jazz community, though he lived in Manhattan. Weston, in turn, was of course influenced by Monk’s idiosyncratic approach to the piano. Yet though the lively community remembered by Monk and Weston is only beginning to be fully appreciated, the history of jazz in Brooklyn goes back much further, to the early years of the twentieth century.

One might begin before jazz even arrives, with the work of ragtime pianists and composers who made Brooklyn their home. Of particular importance is Joseph F. Lamb who, along with Scott Joplin and James Scott, is considered one of the greatest composers of advanced “classical” ragtime. Though Lamb was born in New Jersey, he moved to Brooklyn after his marriage in 1911, and remained there until his death in 1960. I often walk by his modest house in Sheepshead Bay, built when much of Brooklyn was still farmland, and the local elementary school has been renamed in his honor.

Another ragtime and popular song composer with ties to Brooklyn is James Hubert “Eubie” Blake (1887-1983). Blake was born in Baltimore and spent much of his career in Manhattan, where he had an immense impact on the New York entertainment scene, particularly with his all-black show “Shuffle Along” of 1921, co-written with his partner Noble Sissle. Blake moved to Brooklyn around 1940 after his wife Avis died, and the borough can lay claim to many of his later works, including “Rhapsody in Ragtime” and the hauntingly beautiful “Eubie’s Classical Rag.” He boasts a plaque on the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s “Walk of Fame,” alongside the likes of Aaron Copland, Barbra Streisand, and George Gershwin.

The story of jazz in Brooklyn seems to begin in earnest at Coney Island, a thriving amusement park and beach getaway in the 1910s and 20s. The area boasted a vigorous nightlife, much of it built up by Frankie Yale, an infamous Brooklyn underworld figure and associate of Al Capone. The best-known of Yale’s clubs was the College Inn (not to be confused with the famous Chicago club of the same name), where the Original Dixieland Jazz Band played after their famous gig at Reisenweber’s in 1917. Throughout the late 1910s and 1920s, a variety of performers that often featured jazz held forth at Coney Island, including Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante. Further research will be needed to learn more about this club scene, though we do know that not all the performers were white: we have learned from Lawrence Gushee’s research that the Creole Band played at Coney Island in 1915.2 One can’t help wondering, too, if any of the famous early jazz musicians who were active in Manhattan in the 1920s made it down to this popular playground on a hot summer day. Did Louis Armstrong take the train out there in 1924, perhaps, with his cornet tucked under his arm?

During the swing-crazed 1930s and 40s, the greatest big bands of the day worked at the Brooklyn Paramount (called that to distinguish it from the Paramount in Manhattan). Built in 1928, the Paramount was located in downtown Brooklyn, at the current site of Long Island University at DeKalb and Flatbush Avenues (part of the ballroom—and the organ—still exist, though most of the building was absorbed by LIU’s gymnasium). Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway were among the stars who brought their orchestras into this imposing structure in the 1930s, and later Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Miles Davis appeared there as well. In the 1950s, the Paramount became famous for Alan Freed’s broadcast live rock ‘n roll shows, which featured Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, and others—making it something of an epicenter for the development of modern popular music. But during the Swing Era, one can’t help wonder if the publicity given the Brooklyn Paramount obscured other Brooklyn venues that might have provided music and dancing space to Depression-weary audiences. It’s not difficult to imagine that other perhaps less prestigious venues offered music for dancers and listeners, perhaps performed by local musicians.

Which brings us to the previously-mentioned glory days of the late 1940s through the 1960s discussed by Robin Kelley, the world experienced by Weston, Monk, Hubbard, Max Roach, and others. This musical scene is, of course, still vividly remembered by many, though their numbers are quickly disappearing. Interviews with musicians, club owners, and audiences, as well as examination of advertisements and reviews await the ambitious researcher. But time is pressing; in the next decade most of the first-hand accounts of this time will no longer be available to us. Luckily, the Brooklyn Historical Society, as well as some other institutions, are working to preserve the living legacy of Brooklyn’s jazz history. We hope these efforts, combined with a careful look at how jazz arose and flourished in this borough, will help us better understand a story that has long been overlooked to the detriment of jazz scholarship everywhere.

As this project, now obviously in its early stages, moves forward, I invite readers who may be able to shed light on Brooklyn’s jazz scene to contact us. For too long it has been assumed that Manhattan remained the only borough worth investigating by jazz historians. But it is now clear that just across the river there is a vital part of the music’s story waiting to be discovered.

—Jeffrey Taylor


1 Robin D. G. Kelly, “Brooklyn’s Jazz Renaissance,” I.S.A.M. Newsletter 23, no. 2 (Spring 2004): 4-5; 14.

2 Lawrence Gushee, Pioneers of Jazz: the Story of The Creole Band (Oxford University Press, 2005), 180-181.

A Hot Time In Old Town Tonight ( Pictures from Alabama University with video) and Lavwern Baker

Theodore M Metz (m) Joseph Hayden (l)

As Sung By:

Bessie Smith rec Mar 2nd 1927 New York
The Carter Family '31
Bing Crosby w Jack Halloran's Orch & Chorus '59
Ottilie Patterson w Chris Barber's Jazz Band
Lavern Baker

Come along, get ready, wear your grand brand-new gown,
For there's going to be a meeting in this good good old town.
When you know everybody and they all know you,
And you get a rabbit's foot to keep away them hoodoos.

When you hear the preachin' has begin,
Bend down low for to drive away your sin;
When you get religion you'll wanna shout and sing,
There'll be a hot time in old town tonight!

My baby, when you hear them bells go dingaling,
All turn around and sweetly you must sing.
When the birds dance too, and the poets will all join in,
There'll be a hot time in old town tonight!

There'll be girls for everybody in this good good old town,
There's Miss Gonzola Davis and Miss Gondoola Brown,
There's Miss Henrietta Caesar, and she's all dressed in red;
I just hug and kiss her, and to me then she said;

"Please, oh please, oh do not let me fall,
You are mine and I love you best of all!
You be my man, I'll have no man at all,
There'll be a hot time in old town tonight!"

My baby, when you hear them bells go dingaling,
All join around and sweetly you must sing.
When the birds dance too, and the poets will all join in,
There'll be a hot time in old town tonight!

One of my favorite songs of all time. I love that line " You must be my man or ill have no man at all!"

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oh sing a song unto our selves "Stump and Stumpy"

Doing some research at the local libary I read a fasinating interview that Linda Kuel had with James Cross from the Stump and Stumpy team. After wondering what this guy looked like that was a name dropper and seemingly over the top character who seemed to know everything about anyone who was some one in Harlems heyday I finally decided to buckle down and take a moment to write it out ( or rather type it out) so I could share a wonderful clip and a bit of obscure Harlem history

Stump and Stumpy were a dance/comedy/acting duo popular from the mid 1930s to the 1950s, consisting of James "Stump" Cross, and either Eddie Hartman or Harold Cromer as "Stumpy". Their act was mostly jazz tap, and comedy expressed through song and movement.

This two man comedy dance act, big in nightclubs, radio, television and films in the 40s and 50s, was a tremendous influence on many other performers, including Martin and Lewis, and Larry Storch, who had a night club act prior to his best known role as Cpl. Agarn on F Troop. Originally consisting of James “Stump” Cross (whose birthday it is today) and Eddie “Stumpy” Hartman,the team started out on the all-black vaudeville circuits before debuting at the Apollo Theatre (where they became a staple for decades) in 1938. Harold Cromer (himself already a show biz veteran) replaced Eddie Hartman as “Stumpy” in the late 40s. Harold continued performing long after Cross dropped out — his last movie was 1984′s The Cotton Club, and you can see him perform live in about a month at the Jersey Tap Fest. You can see the team at the peak of their hilarious form here.

To find out more about these variety artists and the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble,

Friday, November 18, 2011

What Do You Know About Singer Pha Terrell "Until the real thing comes along"

So what do you know about singer Pha Terrell best known in some circles for "Until The Real Thing Comes along" with the great Andy Kirk band of the 1930s. Also he was a young Billie Holidays boyfriend and had a beautiful voice....can you say obscure? hes definately obscure today
My mother remembered this singer and her remark was No one ever sang that song like Pha and he was a cute cat

Best known as a vocalist for Andy Kirk's Twelve Clouds of Joy, the unusual first name of this artist would become an item on a Vietnamese restaurant menu if the proper vowel were switched. Pha Terrell, sometimes known to his friends as Elmer, was discovered by Kirk in the early '30s while toiling as a combination of dancer, singer, and semi-hustler at a Kansas City club. Terrell sang with the Kirk band between 1933 and 1941, after which he headed for Indianapolis, at that time a thriving jazz center. He worked there in smoochy Clarence Love's Orchestra, often tying knots in whatever strings of one-nighters were available to this type of territory band. Like just about any standup singer, Terrell eventually decided to go it alone, a career move that in his case he made out on the West Coast. A kidney ailment took him down when he was just getting started.

Available recordings by this singer can basically be evenly split between Kirk collections and various compilations based on themes such as early R&B and the Kansas City scene. His biggest hit with the Kirk outfit was the patient "Until the Real Thing Comes Along" in 1936. "All the Jive Is Gone" is another of Terrell's finest moments -- hippies will say it is "Pha Out!" -- yet listeners who find the singer's high tenor voice eerie and/or obnoxious may think the song's title best describes Terrell's departure from the Kirk band

Until the Real Thing Comes Along
(Cahn, Chaplin, Freeman, Holiner, Nichols)

Transcribed from Andy Kirk and His Twelve Clouds of Joy, vocal by Ben Thigpen, recorded March 11, 1936.
From Andy Kirk and His Twelve Clouds of Joy, 1936-1937, Chronological Classics vol. 573.

I would work for you, slave for you,
Work my body to a grave for you;
If that ain't love, it's got to do,
Until the real thing comes along.

I would moan for you, groan for you,
Work my fingers to the bones for you,
If that ain't love, it's got to do,
Until the real thing comes along.

Maybe someday, I'll go far away,
I should leave, you know I won't stay;
I need you now more than ever, somehow,
If you should leave, you know we'd both grieve.

I would rob, steal, beg, borrow, and I'd lie for you,
Lay my body down and die for you,
If that ain't love, it's got to do,
Until the real thing comes along.

Maybe someday, I'll go far away,
I should leave, you know I won't stay,
I need you now more than ever, somehow,
If you should leave, you know we'd both grieve.

I would rob, steal, beg, borrow, and I'd lie for you,
Lay my body down and die for you,
If that ain't love, it's got to do,
Until the real thing comes along.


what little is on the internet about this man:Elmer "Pha" Terrell (May 25, 1910, Kansas City, Missouri - October 14, 1945, Los Angeles) was an American jazz singer.

Terrell was working in nightclubs locally in Kansas City in the early 1930s as a singer, dancer, and emcee when he was discovered by Andy Kirk, who hired him to be the vocalist for his group the Twelve Clouds of Joy. Terrell sang with Kirk for eight years, from 1933 to 1941, and recorded with him extensively for Decca Records, singing hits such as 1936's "Until the Real Thing Comes Along".

After 1941 Terrell moved to Indianapolis to play with Clarence Love's territory band, then moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a soloist. Terrell died of kidney failure in 1945.

Doc Cheatham

Cheatham was born in Nashville, Tennessee. He noted there was no jazz music there in his youth; like many in the United States he was introduced to the style by early recordings and touring groups at the end of the 1910s. He abandoned his family's plans for him to be a pharmacist (although retaining the medically inspired nickname "Doc") to play music, initially playing soprano and tenor saxophone in addition to trumpet in Nashville's African American Vaudeville theater. Cheatham later toured in band accompanying blues singers on the Theater Owners Booking Association circuit.[1] His early jazz influences included Henry Busse and Johnny Dunn, but when he moved to Chicago in 1924 he heard King Oliver. Oliver's playing was a revelation to Cheatham. Cheatham followed the jazz King around. Oliver gave young Cheatham a mute which Cheatham treasured and performed with for the rest of his career. A further revelation came the following year when Louis Armstrong returned to Chicago. Armstrong would be a lifelong influence on Cheatham.

[edit] Working with the name bands

Cheatham played in Albert Wynn's band (and occasionally substituted for Armstrong at the Vendome Theater), and recorded on sax with Ma Rainey before moving to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1927, where he worked with the bands of Bobby Lee and Wilber de Paris before moving to New York City the following year. After a short stint with Chick Webb he left to tour Europe with Sam Wooding's band.

Cheatham returned to the United States in 1930, and played with Marion Handy and McKinney's Cotton Pickers before landing a job with Cab Calloway. Cheatham was Calloway's lead trumpeter from 1932 through 1939.

He performed with Benny Carter, Teddy Wilson, Fletcher Henderson, and Claude Hopkins in the 1940s; after World War II he started working regularly with Latin bands in New York City, including the bands of Perez Prado, Marcelino Guerra, Ricardo Ray (on whose catchy, hook-laden album "Jala, Jala Boogaloo, Volume II", he played exquisitely (but uncredited), particularly on the track "Mr. Trumpet Man"), Machito, and others. In addition to continuing Latin gigs, he played again with Wilbur de Paris and Sammy Price. He led his own band on Broadway for five years starting in 1960, after which he toured with Benny Goodman.

[edit] Later work

In the 1970s, Doc Cheatham made a vigorous self-assessment to improve his playing, including taping himself and critically listening to the recordings, then endeavoring to eliminate all clich├ęs from his playing. The discipline paid off, and Doc received ever-improving critical attention.

His singing career began almost by accident in a Paris recording studio on 2 May 1977. As a level and microphone check at the start of a recording session with Sammy Price's band, Cheatham sang and scatted his way through a couple of choruses of "What Can I Say Dear After I Say I'm Sorry". The miking happened to be good from the start and the tape machine was already rolling, and the track was issued on the LP Doc Cheatham: Good for What Ails You. His singing was well received and Cheatham continued to sing in addition to play music for the rest of his career.

Cheatham toured widely in addition to his regular Sunday gig leading the band at Sweet Basil in Manhattan's Greenwich Village in his final decade. During one of his frequent trips to New Orleans, Louisiana he met and befriended young trumpet virtuoso Nicholas Payton. In 1996 the two trumpeters and pianist Butch Thompson recorded a CD for Verve Records, Doc Cheatham and Nicholas Payton, which won them a Grammy Award.

Doc Cheatham continued playing until two days before his death, eleven days shy of his 92nd birthday.[2]

Friday, November 11, 2011

Who was Billie Holidays boyfriend Joe Guy and what happened to him?

Billie Holiday and her men. One thing can be said about Lady, she could pick a handsome cat. Her first husband Jimmy Monroe was a frail pimply looking cat who had been married to none other than Nina Mae McKinney (Think Halleijuah and Pinky)rumour has it he got Nina involved in drug use too hell, all parties are dead now but Jimmy was the brother of Clark Monroe who ran Monroes in Harlem which later became Mintons ( The home of bop) still their too! You know Clarke he also dated Billie, Havent been able to lay hands on a picture of clarke yet I know they exsist im just lazy as hell. Joeseph Luke Guy was Jimmys suscessor and he seems to have been by all accounts a weak man. Heres the lowdown: Joe Guy had a brief and rather odd career. A promising trumpeter who was heavily influenced by Roy Eldridge, Guy's style looked ahead towards bop. However due to his heroin use, he never developed beyond a certain intermediate level and the results, although fiery, consistently sounded uncomfortable. Guy played briefly with Teddy Hill's Orchestra in 1938 (succeeding Dizzy Gillespie) and was a key soloist with the short-lived Coleman Hawkins big band of 1940. During 1940-42 Guy played regularly at Minton's Playhouse and he appeared on many privately recorded (and later released) jam sessions. His long solos, heard next to Charlie Christian, Thelonious Monk, Hot Lips Page and Roy Eldridge, usually failed to hold their own since he was not on their level; but then again he was just in his very early twenties. Guy worked with the big bands of Lucky Millinder, Charlie Barnet and Cootie Williams (in 1942 he encouraged Williams to use some of Monk's compositions). During 1945-46 was closely associated (both musically and personally) with Billie Holiday. However Joe Guy was eventually busted for drug possession and after 1947 very little was heard from him. He died in obscurity in his home town of Birmingham at the age of 41. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi

Read more: definately a Bama.