Cotton Comes to Harlem was Emanuel Gerard's third feature film released in 1970. Ossie Davis made his directorial debut with this action packed crime comedy set in Harlem, N.Y. This film, based upon the novel by Chester Himes, starred Godfrey Cambridge and Raymond St. Jacques as the hard boiled detectives Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson. An early entry in the "blaxploitation" genre, Cotton comes to Harlem remains one of the most colorful and exciting films of the era. Beautifully shot by Gerald Hirschfeld, the film captured the true atmosphere of Harlem, particularly with it's vivid location shots of Seventh Avenue and 125th Street and such other landmarks as the Apollo Theatre, the Spanish-American Barbershop and Frank's Cafe.

Starring: Raymond St. Jacques; Godfrey Cambridge; Calvin Lockhart; Judy Pace; Redd Foxx; John Anderson; Emily Yancy; J.D. Cannon; Mabel Robinson; Dick Sabol; Theodore Wilson; Eugene Roche; Frederick O'Neal; Vinette Carrol; Gene Lindsey; Van Kirksey; Cleavon Little; Helen Martin; Turk Turpin; Tom Lane; Arnold Williams; Lou Jacobi; Leonardo Cimino; Maxwell Glanville; Irwin C. Watson;

Short Summary: Respected actor Ossie Davis made his directorial debut with this successful black action movie in 1970. The plot concerns Reverend Deke O'Malley, who convinces his Harlem congregation to raise almost $90,000 to fund his 'Boat To Africa'. As his rally comes to an end the money is seized by armed robbers. Harlem policemen Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson give chase but lose the robbers. Convinced that O'Malley is responsible, they try to find him despite precinct captain Bryce's objections. O'Malley disappears, sure that he has been double-crossed by his white partner Calhoun. Calhoun meanwhile is sure that O'Malley took the money. The cash, hidden in a cotton bale, ends up falling off the getaway truck and is picked up by junk collector Uncle Bud. Bud disappears and O'Malley is detained by the police, but has to be freed after his followers riot. Jones and Johnson calm the crowd by promising to return the money, despite being taken off the case. They follow up a tip-off and end up at the Apollo Theatre, where the cotton bale has become a prop in an exotic dancer's show. As the show goes on, the conflict is resolved as the local Mafia boss is persuaded to fund the lost cash in return for black power easing off Mafia activities in Harlem.

Uncle Bud has, of course, taken the money back to Africa!

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Call Sheet from the film, dated May 26, 1969.

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Special effects breakaway glass pricelist.

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The corner of 120th Street and 8th Avenue circa 1969.

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Rehearsing the "Back to Africa" rally sequence.

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Two views of the mural that Manny Gerard designed for the rally sequence. Rob ert Drumheller can be seen in the lower right hand corner of the photo.

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Outside of the original theatre herald from the premiere in New York, 1970.

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Inside of the herald displaying the crew and cast and a brief description of the film.

About the Director and Key Actors

Ossie Davis

Early life

Davis was born Raiford Chatman Davis in Cogdell, Clinch County, Georgia. The name Ossie came from a county clerk who misheard his mother's pronunciation of his initials "R.C." when he was born.[1] Following the wishes of his parents, he attended Howard University but dropped out in 1939 to pursue his acting career in New York; he later attended Columbia University School of General Studies. His acting career, which spanned seven decades, began in 1939 with the Rose McClendon Players in Harlem . He made his film debut in 1950 in the Si dney Poitier film No Way Out.


Ossie Davis experienced many of the same struggles that most African American actors of his generation underwent; he wanted to act but he did not want to play stereotypical subservient roles, such as a butler , that was the standard for black actors of his generation. Instead, he tried to follow the example of Si dney Poitier and play more distinguished characters. When he found it necessary to play a P ullman port er or a butler, he tried to inject the role with a certain degree of dignity.

In addition to acting, Davis, along with Melvin Van Peebles, and Gord on Parks was one of the notable African American directors of his generation. Along with Bill Cosby and Poitier, Davis was one of a handful of African American actors able to find commercial success while avoiding stereotypical roles prior to 1970. However, Davis never had the tremendous commercial or critical success that Cosby and Poitier enjoyed. As a playwr ight, Davis wrote Paul Robeson: All-American, which is frequently performed in theatre programs for young audiences.

Davis found recognition late in his life by working in several of director Spike Lee's films, including Do The Right Thing, Jung le Fever, She Hate Me and Ge t on the Bus. He also found work as a commercial voice- over artist and served as the narrator of the early-1990s CBS sitcom Eve ning Shade, starring Burt Reynolds, where he also played one of the residents of a small southern town.

Davis at the New York City premiere of the Spike Lee film She Hate Me, 2004
Davis at the New York City premiere of the Spike Lee film She Hate Me, 2004

In 1948, Ossie Davis married actress Ruby Dee; in their joint autobiography With Ossie and Ruby, they later described their decision to have an ope n marriage.[2] They were well-known as civil rights activists, and were close personal friends of Malcolm X, Jes se Jackson, Martin Luther King Jr. and other icons of the era. Davis and Dee's deep involvement in the movement is characterized by how instrumental they were in organizing the 1963 civil rights March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, even to the point of serving as emcee. Davis, alongside Ahmed Osman, delivered the eulogy at the funeral of Malcolm X; he re-read part of this eulogy at the end of Spike Lee's film Malcolm X. He also delivered the eulogy for Martin Luther King, Jr.

Davis and wife Ruby Dee were recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2004. They were also named to the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame in 1989. Their son Guy Davis is a blues musician and former actor, who appeared in the film Beat Street and the daytime soap opera One Life to Live.


Davis was found dead on Februa ry 4, 2005, in a hotel room in Miami, Florida, of natural causes. He was in the first stages of working on a film called Retirement.[3]

His last role was a several episode guest role on the groundbreaking Showtime drama series The L Word as a father struggling with the acceptance of his daught...Je nnifer Beals) parenting a child with her lesbian partner. In his final episodes, his character was taken ill and died. His wife Ruby Dee was present during the filming of his own death scene. That episode, which aired shortly after Davis's own death, aired with a dedication to the actor.

At the 2007 Grammy awards he and his wife were tied winners in the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album with former President Jimm y Carter.

Godfrey Cambridge

February 26

Godfrey Cambridge

*On this date in 1933, Godfrey Cambridge was born. He was an African American actor and comedian, one of the most unique comics of the early 1970’s. Born to parents who emigrated from British Guiana, he attended pubic schools in Nova Scotia while living with his grandparents. Cambridge finished his education in New York at Flushing High School and Hofstra College, then he began to study acting. He made his Broadway debut in Natures Way in 1956 and was seen in Purlie Victorious in 1961. He also appeared in a number of off-Broadway productions and won an Obie award for a 1961 role in the play The Blacks. Cambridge starred in a stock version of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to The Forum in 1965. as a comedian he appeared on The Tonight Show and many other variety hours through television. His material was very much his own style and was drawn off of the racial climate of the times. He played many dramatic characters, one of Cambridge’s most memorable roles was in the Hollywood film Watermelon Man 1970 in which he played a white man who turned black overnight.

During the 1970’s he remained in semi-retirement, making few public appearances. Godfrey Cambridge died on November 29th 1976, while working on playing the role of Idi Amin in a television movie about the raid on Entebbe.

Raymond St. Jacques

(born James Arthur Johnson (March 1, 1930 August 27, 1990) was an Ame rican actor.

Born in Hartford, Connecticut, he was known for playing the roles of Coffin Ed in the 1970 bl axploitation classic Cotton Comes to Harlem, Rawhide and a two year stint as Judge Clayton C. Thomas on the syndicated TV show Superior Court from 1988 to 1989.

He died from lymphoma in Los Angeles, California in 1990. He was the father of Sterling St. Jacques (who died in 1984 from AIDS).</ p>

Judy Pace

Birth Name :: Judy Lenteen Pace

The Daily Variety, many black and white publications, and critics called Judy Pace, one of the most beautiful woman to ever appear on screen. In the 1970s, she was the personification of Black beauty but just calling her a black beauty is a slap in the face because she's a beauty period. But most importantly, she was a fine actress. She became a familiar face in the 1970s on the big and little screen, appearing in the most popular blaxploitation movies and popular television shows like, Batman, Bewitched, The Flying Nun, I Spy, The Young Lawyers, The Mod Squad, Brian's Song, That's My Mama, Sanford and Son, and What's Happening. Her presence was always welcoming, warm, sexy but innocent. She was truly graceful and a vision of loveliness. But don't make the mistake of knowing her for just beauty. She was truly a grand actress. Her dark brown complexion is always mentioned because she was the first dark complected beauty of screen. She proved to whites and blacks, that beauty doesn't discriminate and a woman with dark-skin can be a beauty too. Judy Pace was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She come from a humble upbringing. After graduated from high school she attended Los Angeles City College where she majored in sociology. Always striking, she was taught modeling by her sister then she got an offer to join the prestigious Ebony Fashion Fair and she auditioned and became the youngest model for the show. Modeling was something new and adventurous for Judy. Judy went on to model in many leading black and white publications. Judy had no aspirations to be a movie or TV star until Director William Castle saw her pictures in Ebony and chose her for a part in his film "13 Frighten Girls." Judy received favorable reviews. She showed great potential as a actress and she realize that she was meant to be a actress so she began taking acting classes and performing in L.A. theater. Small parts on television and films started coming leading to bigger and better roles such as "Three in the Attic," Judy played one of three femme fatales who band together to turn the tables on a white gigolo by loving him to death. This film was one of Hollywood's first interracial love/sex movies. Judy played her part so daring, enticing and erotic that you forgot her race and color and was hypnotized with her powerful aura. Judy had nothing but success from then on out. After losing out to Diahann Carroll for the role of "Julia," that seem meant for her, Judy found TV success in the 1960s night time soap opera "Peyton Place." Judy played Vickie Fletcher television's first black female antagonist. Judy was excellent as the manipulative, lying, cheating, back-stabber who ruins everyone's life who walked in her path. When Peyton Place was canceled, others found it hard to find work but Judy didn't. She was offered the lead in a made for TV movie called "The Young Lawyers." Judy played one of three young lawyers who take on cases dealing with the poor and oppressed. The film would later be turned into a weekly series, with Judy reprising her role.

The 1970s was the start of a new, exciting, experimenting era that'll never be seen again. It was the era of black power and black beauty. Judy more then anyone exemplified that era of thinking. She was black and beautiful, truly. She was the "new" black woman - confident, strong, sweet, sexy, vivacious, and beautiful. Judy Pace was referred to many as "The Black Babydoll" or "The Black Barbie" because she look just like a perfect doll. Judy became a ultimate favorite of the 1970s on the big screen and the little screen.

Judy Pace was one of the many gorgeous black leading ladies of blaxploitation films of the seventies. "Cotton Comes to Harlem" was Judy's big break and the film was the start of the blaxploitation era. Cotton Comes to Harlem was about a black leader who plans to steal poor blacks money with a bogus "back to Africa" movement basically a remake of "The Black King." It was an all star cast with Godfrey Cambridge, Raymond St. Jacques, Redd Foxx, Clevon Little, and Calvin Lockhart directed by legendary Ossie Davis.

She never acted black or white. She simply just acted and her portrayals were moving to anyone watching her, she made you become deeply involved in her roles. Even as a bad lady she made you hate her but love her a little. Judy was a natural, versatile actress; she could play the sweet, innocent girl next door, she could play a evil, femme fatale, she could play the dumb beauty and make it believable. She made you understand her and have a little heart for her. That's an actress! No one else of screen of her time was so versatile other black actresses were monotonous.

Cotton Comes to Harlem should have made Judy into a iconic blaxploitation movie star as it did the black male actors but it didn't. Pam Grier was the only black female to enjoy major success in blaxploitation films though Judy was so much more amazing. Perhaps, Judy was too much of a lady for Blaxploitation. There was no sign of stopping for Judy, roles followed in movies and TV. Judy had guest appearances on hit Black TV shows like Sanford and Son, Good Times, That's My Mama, and What's Happening, where she had significant parts and left a lasting impression on the viewers. She always was the most popular TV guest star. She became a familiar face on the small screen to viewers. Judy was in her thirties during the 1970's which was her prime but she still flaunted youthful beauty and zest.

Judy Pace went on to conquer the stage. She was in the well-acclaimed Las Vegas production of "Guys and Dolls," that had a successful run. It was a black version, where she played Adelaide. Judy's first marriage was to actor Don Mitchell who had success on "Ironsides," she had two children from that union and later she married baseball legend Curt Flood. Since Flood's death in 1997, Judy has been a major spokesperson for her husband's role in establishing free agency in professional sports. Judy is also the founder and supporter of the Kwanzaa Foundation with Star Trek legend Nichelle Nichols. Judy's sister, singer Jean Pace was married to music legend Oscar Brown, Jr., who recently passed away.

Judy throughout her career broke the color line in TV and Hollywood. Judy Pace was the first to do many things that helped future black actresses. Not many as of yet have filled Judy Pace shoes. Judy appeared on many successful TV shows where she made her part apart of the shows. Parts in movies where sometimes she was the only appealing presence. It's also historic to mention she was one of the first black bachelorette on the legendary "The Dating Game."

Judy Pace is starting to get her deserving recognition with the help of loyal fans. She's been honored through the years also. People who are becoming fans are surprised at the fact they hadn't known of her earlier.


Before Denzel Washington, and slightly after the reign of Harry Belafonte, there was Calvin Lockhart. During his nearly 30 year film career, his acting talent was upstaged only by his tremendous good looks. Though his skill and physical assests surpassed many of his caucasian contemporaries, Hollywood failed to capitalize on the ball of fire that was Calvin Lockhart. Despite the limitations of the film industry for black actors of the time, his contribution to film remains etched on celluloid; showcasing a talent unbound by continent, genre, or race. The Cocoa Lounge Remembers Calvin Lockhart (1934-2007)Calvin Lockhart was born Bert Cooper on October 18, 1934 and raised in Nassau Bahamas, moving to New York City at the tender age of 19. The story goes that during this time, he was so disturbed by people's fascination with his looks that he attempted to disfigure his face with scissors. He later moved to London where many of his early films were produced, and would also become the place he called home for 13 years. The looks that he resented so much in his youth would come to work to his advantage; in 1971 he was declared "The World's Sexiest Man" by the British public. Much of his early work can not be seen on video in the U.S., though he worked extensively in America during the 1970's. His most memorable available work can be seen in 1973's Cotton Comes to Harlem opposite Cocoa Lounge Legend, Judy Pace and the Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier comedies Uptown Saturday Night and Let's Do It Again in which he played characters "Silky Slim" and "Biggie Smalls" respectively, roles that later influenced members of the hip-hop community, most namely, the Notorious B.I.G. Though Calvin Lockhart's appearances would diminish in number and acclaim over the years, he left an indelible mark in the hearts of filmgoers the world over. He is perhaps one of the most beautiful men of African descent ever to inhabit a film frame and beyond that, a captivating presence to watch onscreen. Mr. Lockhart died March 29th, 2007 of complications from a stroke. He was reportedly filming a movie titled "Rain," one of his first screen roles in over 10 years. For Lockhart fans, the film may provide one last look at a man who was instrumental in opening doors for African American leading men. He will be truly missed.

Lockhart, whose birth name was Bert Cooper, moved from the Bahamas to New York City at age 18. He spent one year at the Coop er Union School of Engineering, then left that school to pursue an acting career.

Lockhart drove a taxi and operated a carpentry business in the borough of Queens while trying to establish a career as an actor.

In 1960 he made his Broadway debut, playing a gang leader in The Cool World, which closed after just two performances.

Lockhart then moved to Italy and formed his own theater company in which he both acted and directed. Lockhart moved from Italy to West Germany and then to England</ a>, where he landed various roles on British television and small roles in films such as A Dandy in Aspic and S alt and Pepper.

In 1974 Lockhart became an actor-in-residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.

Lockhart's first notable screen role was in Joanna, a 1967 film about an interracial romance set in London . Lockhart played a nightclub owner and the boyfriend of star G enevieve Waite.

His first lead role in a movie was in the 1970 release Halls of Anger. Lockhart played an English teacher and former basketball star who becomes vice principal of an inner-city high school to which 60 white students are being bused in.

An article in The New York Times that year described Lockhart as having "matinee-idol looks" with "chiseled-out-of-marble features" and "skin the color of brown velvet."

Later years

Lockhart returned to the Bahamas in the late 1990s. He worked as a director on several productions of the Freeport Players Guild.

Lockhart married New York Interior Designer Jennifer L. Miles, the mother of his son Julien Lockhart Miles.

His last film role was in Rain, a movie that was shot in the Bahamas and is yet to be released.

Lockhart died in a Nassau hospital from stroke-related complications. His wife indicated they would establish a scholarship fund in his name for Bahamian students interested in acting and movie production.

The Calvin Lockhart Scholarship Fund for Bahamian students interesteding acting and/or filmaking is being formed by Jennifer Miles-Lockhart and son Julien.

From Cotton Comes To Harlem..*look at the boys shoes!* I remember my own boys with them pee-wipers as they called em.

Red Foxx

Photo of Redd Foxx Photo of Redd FoxxPhoto of Redd Foxx

Photo of Redd FoxxPhoto of Redd FoxxPhoto of Redd Foxx

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The shack where Uncle Bud, played by Redd Foxx, lived

Notorious for his frank, tell-it-like-it-is style, Redd Foxx broke new ground for minorities and comedians alike. By joking about everything from sex to color barriers, he brought simmering and taboo issues into the open. His candor onstage not only jump-started what is now considered a war with censors, but also inspired and enabled other comedians to achieve more than had ever been possible. Foxx was not only "The King of Comedy," but also a talented artist. He took a sketch book with him whenever possible, and enjoyed creating his own fantastic images or capturing the essense of those whom he loved or admired. John Elroy Sanford was born into poverty in St. Louis on December 9, 1922. With a ruddy complexion, Redd became a fast nickname. He derived Foxx from admirable Major League Baseball player, Jimmie Foxx. He left St. Louis for Chicago when he was 13, and supported himself by playing the washboard in a band. When the band broke up three years later, he hopped a train to New York City. It was there that he met Malcolm Little, a man who would later be known as Malcolm X. In "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," he is referred to as "Chicago Red, the funniest dishwasher on this earth." Foxx began performing as a comedian/actor in black theaters and nightclubs, often referred to as the "Chitlin Circuit." From 1951-1955 he teamed with comic Slappy White, a lifelong friend who would also act alongside him on "Sanford and Son" and "The Redd Foxx Comedy Hour." While he was performing in Los Angeles, he was offered a deal with the Dooto record label. Foxx received $25 for his first recording. In the years to follow he would produce over 50 comedic albums. During the 1960s, as cultural barriers began to wear down, Foxx's audience grew steadily. In 1972, after his film debut in Ossie Davis' Cotton Comes to Harlem, Norman Lear signed Foxx as junk dealer Fred Sanford in a new NBC sitcom. "Sanford and Son," which co-starred Demond Wilson and La Wanda Page, was a big hit. So big, in fact, that it ranked in the top ten virtually every week it aired. At one point NBC even ran the show twice a week. When Foxx left in 1977, it was reportedly because NBC wouldn't give him a dressing room with a window. Closer to the truth, however, might have been the generous salary offered to him by ABC. In an effort to weaken NBC's powerhouse Friday line-up, ABC was determined to lure away the "Sanford and Son" star. It worked.

NBC's ratings dropped continuously. Meanwhile, Foxx launched his own show, "The Redd Foxx Comedy Hour." He was executive producer of the program, which first aired on September 15, 1977, and cast him alongside Sarah Hardy, Slappy White, "Iron Jaw" Wilson, Billy Barty, Hal Smith, Bill Saluga and The Gerald Wilson Orchestra. Foxx was excited about the variety show's open forum, and planned to take full advantage of the opportunity. "I'll be doing anything that can possibly be different from what's been done before." He said. "I'll be doing skits, bits, obnoxious things…. I might do Romeo and Juliet with a gorilla." In keeping with the show's tone, during the introduction a list of guest stars that would not appear on the program was read. Real guest stars included comedian Andy Kaufman and Bob Einstein's "Super Dave Osborne" character.

During the first episode, well aware that he was infamous for a special brand of comedic routines, he joked, "The only thing I can do from my nightclub act is smoke." Foxx took live questions from the audience during his monologue, demonstrating his clever and on-the-ball wit. The program's undisciplined nature made it extremely adventurous for the 1970s, and challenged both the audience and the censors to speculate what would transpire next. Nevertheless, having only been interested in hindering NBC's progress, ABC wasn't concerned with how Foxx faired at their network. The show was cancelled on January 26, 1978.

Foxx then took to Las Vegas, where he instantly became a headliner. He enjoyed performing there, and continued even while he launched another sitcom for ABC. On "The Redd Foxx Show," he played Al Hughes, a likeable, friendly newsstand owner. The cast was a mix of former co-stars, including "Iron Jaw" Wilson, and new faces, such as Nathaniel "Rollo" Taylor, Barry Van Dyke and Beverly Todd. The show did not fair well with audiences, however, and when production was terminated, Foxx left ABC for good.

In 1989, he and long-time friend Della Reese co-starred in Eddie Murphy's "Harlem Nights." Though the movie itself received little attention, critics took notice of the pair's performance. CBS jumped and signed the two for a new sitcom, "The Royal Family."

Sadly, while on the set of "The Royal Family," Foxx suffered a massive heart attack. Reese bent over him and prayed, "Don't die Redd, don't die," but it was too late. The world lost comedic genius Redd Foxx on October 11, 1991. Foxx's albums stand as proof of his legacy as they continue to sell, topping out at over 15 million copies sold.

Cotton Comes to Harlem (1965) is the eighth of ten "Harlem Domestic" detective novels that Himes wrote, and it follows the formula of its predecessors. An outrageous crime causes a chain-reaction of violence in lawless Harlem. Black detectives "Coffin" Ed Jones and "Gravedigger" Johnson are called in to restore order. The initial event in this novel involves the Rev. Deke O'Malley and his phony back-to-Africa scheme, as Himes dares to parody the Black Muslims and black nationalists, such as Marcus Garvey. The $87,000 O'Malley collects from would-be pilgrims is stolen by white supremacists and stuffed into a cotton bale that falls from their truck, to be found by an itinerant black peddler, Uncle Bud. The investigation by Coffin Ed and Gravedigger is presented almost cinematically, with cross-cutting to other scenes. While they investigate, sneak thieves Loboy and Early Riser practice the "holy dream," a con, on a church-woman inside a black church. The detectives work their stoolies in Harlem bars, but meanwhile O'Malley is fleeing. A lead takes them to Sarah's brothel, where they find Loboy, but the white supremacists are attempting to recover the cotton bale by opening a Harlem office for an outrageous Back-to-the-South movement. Uncle Bud sells the cotton bale, apparently unwittingly, to Jewish scrap-dealer Abraham Goodman, whose helper Josh attempts to sell it to the supremacists. Rev. O'Malley learns of this, but when his old girlfriend Iris finds him with new girlfriend Mabel and kills her, he is, well, distracted. He knocks her out and flees, leaving Iris to be captured by police.

Iris, however, seduces the officer assigned to guard her, and locates O'Malley through his assistant Barry – who plans to sell a phony list of the names of the movement's supporters to the white supremacists. Coffin Ed and Gravedigger shadow Barry to a rendezvous, where he is killed and O'Malley captured. Between trips to Mama Louise's soul food restaurant, they return to their stoolies for signs of the lost cotton bale, which they now suspect may contain the $87,000.

A break-in at the junkyard confirms this; Mr. Goodman's assistant Joshua is dead, and Goodman says that the cotton is gone. When the white supremacists and Black Muslims organize marches heading for each other, the detectives step in and re-route them with bullets. Then they find that O'Malley's church flock have rushed the station house, allowing the reverend to be sprung by gunmen. Coffin Ed and Gravedigger now proceed by illegal means. They disguise Iris as another prisoner and let her loose, tailing her to a secret hideout under O'Malley's church where the preacher's two gunmen, who have turned on him, are holding him and hoping she will arrive with the $87,000. When she doesn't have it, she is bound to O'Malley, and the gunmen engage in a losing shoot-out with the detectives. They locate the bale at the Cotton Club, where an exotic dancer uses it in her number. At the end she auctions it – to Colonel Calhoun of the white supremacists. But the bale turns out to be empty, and the detectives extort $87,000 from the Colonel in return for letting him return to the South and avoid charges in Joshua's death. In the denouement, sitting at Mama Louise's, they deduce that Uncle Bud took the money. Indeed, when they check with Air France, they learn that he has gone to Senegal, where he bought hundreds of head of cattle to exchange for the wives he plans to marry.

Himes' detective novels began appearing in 1957 and were translated to and published in French for Marcel Duhamel's Serie Noir before appearing in English, usually a year later. Coffin Ed and Gravedigger live on the same street in quiet Queens, share a common-looking but souped-up car, feast on soul food, and prefer to drink double scotches. They carry customized weapons: Grave Digger's fires tracer bullets that set people and objects on fire. Harlem residents believe that the pair will "shoot a man stone cold dead for crossing an imaginary line."1 The plot uses a motif from Hammett's The Maltese Falcon, for the object of everyone's search, the cotton bale, turns out to be worthless; and, as in Red Harvest, violent mayhem and scene-by-scene plotting dominate the book. The escape of Uncle Bud, on the other hand, draws on African-American folk motifs (Brer Rabbit and other tricksters), as do Iris's seduction of the policeman and Col. Calhoun's return of the Back-to-Africa money. Most of the minor characters are one-dimensional grotesques reminiscent of Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely, which seems to anticipate the cartoon-like treatment of his characters that Himes delighted in. He also used the brilliant repartee and description that had made Chandler celebrated: "He looked like the born victim of a cheating wife" (18), "If the syndicate had wanted to kill him, he'd be decomposed by now" (15). At a bar called Big Wilt's Small Paradise Inn, the detectives hear jazz so affecting that Grave Digger feels the instruments are "talking under their clothes" (33). This approach to hard-boiled fiction shows the influence of television, cartoons, and comics at a time when white authors, such as Macdonald, were trying to make the genre more literary.

Himes marked a course for later authors, such as Ishmael Reed in the late 1960s, James Crumley in the 1970s, and Elmore Leonard in the 1980s. The movie made of Cotton in 1970 by Melvin Van Peebles (starring Godfrey Cambridge, Raymond St. Jacques and Redd Foxx) led to the Shaft movies (made from Ernest Tidyman's novels) and the "blacksploitation" movies of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

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Comment by Edie Antoinette on January 24, 2008 at 4:13pm
I know! And in the first chase scene when the armored car is being pursued by Digger and Ed, look at the expression on their faces, especially Godfrey..bwaaaaa haaaaaaa!!!!!!
Comment by Shelley "SoleMann" King on January 24, 2008 at 4:01pm
Coffin Digger and Graveyard Ed....Lawd them names...LOLOL
Comment by Edie Antoinette on January 24, 2008 at 3:34pm
Awwww now that intro is PERFECT!!!!!! *clapping*
Perfect!!!!!!!!!!! I need to figure out how to insert it on auto-play where I have the music console...Just perfect!!!!

THANK YOU Suggah!!!!!
Comment by Shelley "SoleMann" King on January 24, 2008 at 3:22pm
Comment by Shelley "SoleMann" King on January 24, 2008 at 3:19pm
That slide show...Totally Awesome
Comment by Shelley "SoleMann" King on January 24, 2008 at 3:18pm
WOW, WOW, WOW....I love these type of blogs and the great care you put into presenting it...This is awesome

Uncle Bud....LMBO

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  1. play Norman Brown — Night Drive
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  11. play Santana — 02 Black Magic Woman-Gypsy Queen
  12. play Mongo — 02. Afro Blue

The history of the Butlers/Raw Soul is dense, but for all of us music nerds, that's normal. It is not totally clear what year the Butlers actually formed but they released their first single in 1963 on Liberty Records. That single was "She Tried To Kiss Me" and another single followed on Guyden entitled "Lovable Girl." After the Guyden single the Butlers took a break not recording another record until the single "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" was released on the Phila label in 1966. The group also backed Charles Earland and Jean Wells on one Phila single ("I Know She Loves Me"). 

As you might be noticing, the Butlers were doing a fair amount of recording but not achieving much success. The group's recordings sold regionally but never had the promotion to make an impact on the national scene. After the single with Phila, the Butlers moved to the Fairmount label (part of the Cameo-Parkway family) and released a handful of singles, some being reissued singles of the past. The Butlers were with Fairmount for 1966-67 and then moved to Sassy Records. Sassy released the group's greatest single (in my opinion) "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" b/w "If That's What You Wanted." A copy of that 45 sold for just under $500 last summer on eBay. Even though that isn't that much in the world of record collecting--it's still a hefty sum. The Butlers released another single on Sassy ("She's Gone" b/w "Love Is Good") that appears to be even 
harder to come by then the "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" single.


The true history become a bit blurred here as the AMG biography states that the Butlers last record was released on C.R.S. in 1974 (". However, between 1971 and that single, Frankie Beverly formed a group called Raw Soul and released a number of singles. Some of the songs recorded by Beverly during this period are "While I'm Alone," "Open Up Your Heart," (both on the Gregor label) and "Color Blind." "Color Blind" was released by the Eldorado label and rerecorded by Maze. Beverly's big break came when Marvin Gaye asked Raw Soul to back him on a tour. Gaye helped Beverly/Raw Soul get a contract at Capitol. Beverly decided to take the group in a different direction, a name change occurred, and Maze was created. 

The above isn't the most complete history of Beverly but hopefully someone will know a way to get in touch with the man or his management because a comprehensive pre-Maze history needs to be done on Frankie Beverly (his real name is Howard, by the way). Below you'll find every Frankie Beverly (pre-Maze) song available to me right now ("Color Blind" will be up soon). 

If you have a song that is not included below, shoot it over to funkinsoulman (at) and it will go up in the next Frankie Beverly post (later this week--highlighting Maze). Also, if you have any more information please share your knowledge. The Butlers material has been comp-ed sporadically (usually imports) but the entire Maze catalog has been reissued and is available. 

Enjoy.  "She Kissed Me" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967) 
 "I Want To Feel I'm Wanted" (not sure which label or year) "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" (Phila, 1966) "Because Of My Heart" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967)
 "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" (Sassy, 1967)
 "If That's What You Wanted" (Sassy, 1967)

Frankie Beverly is one of those cats that has lasting power. He started in the music business doing a tour with doo wop group the Silhouettes and then formed his own group called the Blenders. The Blenders never recorded a single, Beverly wouldn't appear on wax until forming the Butlers a few years later. Along with Beverly, the Butlers included Jack "Sonny" Nicholson, Joe Collins, John Fitch, and Talmadge Conway.

Beverly would later enjoy great success fronting Maze and Conway would become a
well-known penning Double Exposure's
"Ten Percent" and the Intruders' "Memories Are Here To Stay." 
 While Maze is a phenomenal group, Beverly's work before that group will always stand out as his best (imo).

The Butlers produced tunes that most Northern Soul fans would kill for and Raw Soul gave the funksters something to pursue. If, by chance, you know of a way to get in touch with Frankie Beverly or his management, please drop me an e-mail. It would be absolutely great to do an interview with him about his pre-Maze work. He's still playing out, most recently doing a New Year's Eve show in Atlanta.
:: Funkinsoulman ::

Power...Through Simplicity ♪♫♪



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