This is the latest in what will be a series of Huffington Post pieces that I will be writing. If you like it please Like It and Share It on Huff Po, and you can sign up to get more from me.

Check out these great Apollo photos just posted by untappedcities.com. I’ve never seen the one of the Hurtig and Seamon’s Burlesque and the Harlem Opera House. Cool!

80 Years Ago tonight at the Apollo…From my book:

The Apollo’s inaugural show Friday, January 26, 1934, was billed as “Jazz a la Carte” and featured Harlem showman Ralph Cooper, Aida Ward, Benny Carter and his Orchestra, sixteen “Gorgeous Hot Steppers,” the Three Rhythm Kings, Norton and Margot, Troy Brown, Mabel Scott, and the Three Palmer Brothers. The film feature was Criminal at Large. All the proceeds of the opening-night performance went to the Harlem Children’s Fresh Air Fund. As if the lavish show and clever charity pitch were not enough, Cohen and his manager, Morris Sussman, invited representatives of various New York and out-of-town black newspapers to schmooze and “crack a quart of whiskey” at the Renaissance Casino.

Martin Luther King’s letter to the Apollo

In every way the Apollo Theater was a vital part of the Harlem community. Since 125th Street was Harlem’s main commercial artery, the merchants greatly depended on the Apollo to draw crowds to the street and generate traffic in their stores. A hot show at the Apollo meant money in the bank for everyone on 125th Street.

Local legend has it that theater owner

Frank Schiffman was personally responsible for breaking down the color barrier that existed in many of the stores and restaurants on 125th Street well into the 1940s. As the story goes, he and black film producer Oscar Micheaux went into Frank’s Restaurant, a well-known Greek-run steak house, and ordered two steaks. When Micheaux’s came smothered with pepper, Schiffman exchanged dishes with him, ordered another, and told the waiter if he ever tried that again, he’d have a hell of a fight on his hands. Soon after, blacks began working and eating there, and segregated policies elsewhere on the street slowly began to change.

The Schiffmans supported a host of organizations such as the NAACP, CORE, the Urban League, SNCC, the local YM and YWCA, and many others, and Frank Schiffman was one of the founders of the Freedom National Bank. A letter of appreciation from Martin Luther King, Jr., proudly hung in the Apollo office. The theater was always available for special benefit shows, and the Apollo hosted dozens of them, including a 1971 benefit for the families of the Attica dead, when John Lennon finally realized his wish and appeared on the Apollo stage, along with his wife, Yoko.

The Schiffmans made a conscious effort to make the Apollo a part of the community. “I want them to feel bad when a performer gives us the shaft,” Bobby Schiffman has said. “I want them to feel bad when the roof leaks. I want them to feel bad when we can’t get a first-run film…” They did feel bad when the Apollo had troubles. But more often they had reason to feel good. For years the theater was billed as “Harlem’s High Spot”—and that it was.

Welcome to the Showtime at the Apollo blog. I’m very happy with the new Kindle eBook version of my book, and I hope you will enjoy it. You can buy it by clicking on the link to the right, or go to Amazon. We spent a lot of time making it look good, and as you will see there are over 150 photos interspersed throughout the book rather than in sections. I want you to be able to see photos of what I’m writing about when you’re reading it. I think this works particularly well in the eBook version of Showtime at the Apollo, and on some devices you can even do the finger spread gesture (or whatever it’s called) on a photo, it will open in its own window, and then you can zoom in to get an even better look!
This is a newly updated and revised edition of the book in honor of the Apollo’s 80th Anniversary in 2014. It was originally published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston back in 1983, and then published in other editions including ones for the 70th and 75th Anniversaries of the Apollo.
I’ll be posting photos and links and my ramblings and musings about the Apollo — which is a place I love dearly. I think it is one of most important and remarkable cultural institutions in the world, and although it is world famous I really don’t think its importance and relevance to just about any kind of popular music, comedy and dance that we like today is fully understood and appreciated. We’ll talk more about that…
I would also very much like to hear and post your stories about the Apollo. If there is something you’d like to share about a show you saw or perhaps someone you know told you about please submit it to me for review by clicking the tab up top. 
More to come…Thanks! - Ted

Welcome to the Showtime at the Apollo blog. I’m very happy with the new Kindle eBook version of my book, and I hope you will enjoy it. You can buy it by clicking on the link to the right, or go to Amazon. We spent a lot of time making it look good, and as you will see there are over 150 photos interspersed throughout the book rather than in sections. I want you to be able to see photos of what I’m writing about when you’re reading it. I think this works particularly well in the eBook version of Showtime at the Apollo, and on some devices you can even do the finger spread gesture (or whatever it’s called) on a photo, it will open in its own window, and then you can zoom in to get an even better look!

This is a newly updated and revised edition of the book in honor of the Apollo’s 80th Anniversary in 2014. It was originally published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston back in 1983, and then published in other editions including ones for the 70th and 75th Anniversaries of the Apollo.

I’ll be posting photos and links and my ramblings and musings about the Apollo — which is a place I love dearly. I think it is one of most important and remarkable cultural institutions in the world, and although it is world famous I really don’t think its importance and relevance to just about any kind of popular music, comedy and dance that we like today is fully understood and appreciated. We’ll talk more about that…

I would also very much like to hear and post your stories about the Apollo. If there is something you’d like to share about a show you saw or perhaps someone you know told you about please submit it to me for review by clicking the tab up top. 

More to come…Thanks! - Ted