Shelton Brooks Timeline - Updated 9/26/2006

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May 4, 1886 Born in Amherstburg, Ontario
1901 Family moved to Detroit
1905-06 Moved to Chicago, played clubs & theatres, known as a Bert Williams style of performer in vaudeville
1909 Published Bert Williams type of song "You Ain't Talking To Me."
1910 Published Some Of These Days
1910 It's Awf'ly Hard To Say Good-bye have a picture from cover
1911 Published "Cosey Rag, The"
1911 Published "There'll Come A Time"
1911 Appeared in first musical comedy, "Dr. Herb's Prescription, or It Happened in a Dream." which was performed at Chicago's Pekin Theater, the comedy was produced by its star, Jesse Shipp,.
1911 Appeared in "The Lime Kiln" at the Pekin Theater?
1911? Traveled as a trap drummer with Danny Small's Hot Harlem Band for several months.
1912 Published "All Night Long"
1912 Published "Oh! You Georgia Rose"
1913 Published "I Wonder Where My Easy Rider's Gone"
1914 Published "Rufe Johnson's Harmony Band"
1915 Published "You Can't Mend A Broken Heart"
1915? Led a large syncopated orchestra in Chicago's Grand Theater
1916 Published "Walkin' The Dog"
1916 Published "Walkin' The Dog Fox Trot"
1917 Published "The Darktown Strutter's Ball"
1918? Hi song "I Want To Shimmy" was performed in Midnight Frolics
1918 Published "Ev'ry Day"
Nov. 1, 1918 Untitled - Columbia Test Recording
1919 Published "Jean"
1919 Published "Tell Me Why You Want To Go To Paree"
Aug. - Oct 1920 Contributed songs and performed in three musicals for the Panama Amusement Co. in Chicago. All were revivals of white shows that were rewritten for black audiences. He was leading man in all three. He played opposite Alberta Hunter. Also appearing were Ollie Powers, Marguerite Lee, and Evelyn Preer. Hunter's book says Brooks created the theater group.
Aug. 23, 1920 "Canary Cottage" opens for 2 week engagement at the Avenue Theater at 31st & Indiana.
Sept. 6, 1920 "Miss Nobody From Starland " opens at the Avenue Theater
Sept. 19, 1920 "September Morn." opens and runs until Oct. 2nd at the Avenue Theater.
Oct. 4, 1920 "Canary Cottage" opens at Lafayette Theater in Harlem
Oct. 18, 1920 "Canary Cottage" opens in Philadelphia, Maude Russell takes over female lead.
May 1921 Lost Your Mind OKeh 4340
May 1921 Darktown Court Room - OKeh 4426
May 1921 Murder in the First Degree - OKeh 4340
1922 Moves to New York - may have moved in 21
July 1922 First try-out for Lew Leslie's "Plantation Revue" was a two week run in Harlem, at the Lafayette Theatre in Harlem with Shelton as MC. The expanded show had a number of extra acts to build up the height and Shelton Brooks was one of these. He was a huge success. Jackson's page in Billboard reported (July 8, 1922) "Shelton Brooks, the comedian and composer, opened to a reception and his fifteen minutes was stretched to twenty in response to encores." (BE)
July 17, 1922 "Plantation Revue" opens on Broadway at the 48th St. Theater. The generally staid New York Times said (July 18, '22): "Shelton Brooks, who acts as a master of ceremonies, [proves] himself an exceptionally agreeable and versatile person to have around. He has a cheerful line of talk, gets it over well, and in his own acts delivers several songs that catch on imediately. "Oh, is she dumb" and 'Unexpectedly" seemed to be his longest hits last night. They and the others, are presumably of his own composition." (BE)
August 1922 The Chicken Thieves - OKeh 4682
August 1922 Collecting Rents - OKeh 4682
Sept. 1922 Back-Biting - Okeh 4776
November 1922 Shelton stayed with Plantation Revue throughout 1922, including as part of a completely new version which opened at the Winter Garden. (BE)
1923 appeared in play "K of P"
Jan.17, 1923 Not Tonight - OKeh 4776
Feb. 1923 The Family Quarrel OKeh 4798
Feb. 1923 The Third Degree
March 1923 When the Dixie Sun Goes Down - OKeh 4823
March 1923 It Takes Money To Cure My Blues
April 1923 Vocal Duets with Sara Martin, acc. by own piano
I Got What It Takes To Bring You Back - OKeh 8062
Original Blues - OKeh 8062
May 1923 Following a farewell stint back at the Lafayette, the Plantation Revue as part of Leslie's "Dover Street to Dixie" travels to Britain
May 13, 1923 Miss Florence Mills, Mr. Will Vodery, Mr. Shelton Brooks, Mr. James P. Johnson and members of the West Indian cricket team were honored in England by a black social club called "The Coterie of Friends."
Sept. 1923 Plantation Revue comes back to the United States
November 1923 The New Darktown Judge - OKeh 4996
November 1923 Then I'll Go In That Lion's Den
Aug 1924 Performed in Lew Leslie's Dixie to Broadway which was reworked show that had been in Britain. Shelton Brooks was with Florence Mills throughout (from Sept. `23 - Aug `24) this time. They did an out of town series in New Jersey and Chicago before opening in New York in late October. The New York reviewers, including such hardened professionals as Alexander Woollcott and Percy Hammond were highly enthusiastic. A columnist for Opportunity referred to Shelton Brooks as "Perhaps the most keenly intelligent and one of the best Negro comedians living." (Opportunity, Nov 1924).
May 1924 The Old Veterans & Buddies OKeh 40137
Oct. 1924 Dixie to Broadway opens in New York
Nov. 5, 1924 You Got To Go & That's Enough - OKeh 40232
mid Dec. 1924 Shelton Brooks leaves "Dixie to Broadway", on the grounds that "salary paid was insufficient. It is probable that the former co-star will head a show off to the T.O B.A. with a musical comedy now in preparation by a New York theatrical office." (Baltimore Afro-American, 12/20/1924).
Jan 1925 Pot of Gold & You'll Be A Cousin Shy OKeh 40274
Feb.1925 Barbershop Four - OKeh 40334
Feb. 17, 1925 Played piano on Ethel Waters recordings "After All These Years" &"Throw Dirt In Your Face"
March 1925 Lodge Meeting - OKeh 40334
April 1925(?) Spiritualism & Work Don't Bother Me OKeh 40385
Dec. 10, 1925 The New Professor & Jail Birds - OKeh 40528
1926 Performs in "Blackbirds of 1926" which opens at the Alhambra Theare in Harlem.
March 1926 The Fortune Teller - OKeh 40605 Domestic Troubles
Sept. 23, 1926 When You're Really Blue - OKeh 40697, Par R-3259
You Sure Are One Sick Man
Jun. 15, 1928 Hard Times - Okeh rejected
Last Night
1928 Produced and performed in "Nifties of 1928"
1929 Made a short film comedy with Hamtree Harrington for Vitaphone called "Gayety"
1929 Granted membership in ASCAP.
1930 Had twice a week radio show with Bird Allen on CBS called "Egg and Shell."
1930 Wrote "Don't Leave Your Little Blackbird Blue" for "Brown Buddies" which he had a small role in."
1930 Worked in vaudeville as a singer
1939 Had a supporting role and wrote two songs for film, "Double Deal."

Double Deal

Monte Hawley, Jeni Le Gon, Shelton Brooks, F.E. Miller, Monte Hawley and Jeni Le Gon highlight an all-star cast in this dramatic musical about rival gangs fighting the power. The legendary composer Shelton Brooks created two hit songs for the movie and the choreography for some of the dance routines is absolutely stupendous.
194? Moved to Los Angeles
Sept. 24, 1940 A concert to celebrate the 25th anniversary of ASCAP and the closing of the San Francisco and New York World's Fairs, Shelton honored
1942 Appeared at Apollo Theatre
1949 Was a mainstay in Ken Murray's "Blackouts" for 7 years in Los Angeles though only played 7 weeks in New York
1965- 1975 Headlined Ragtime concert at Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles along with Joe Jordan & Eubie Blake
1965- 1975 Appeared on Johnny Carson's "Sun City Scandals with Ethel Waters
Sept. 6, 1975 Dies Los Angeles and buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park. A 13 piece band played a slow version of "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" and then broke into spirited versions of "Some of These Days" and "Darktown Strutters Ball."

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