Hi Ken. Looking at your image, is there a particular reason why you are not using the Magic Wand to select that black background? It would probably go much faster to get started.
If you want to use the Background Eraser, I think you should increase the Tolerance to something much higher (like 20-30) or even check the Auto-Tolerance. See if it would work better. I am not sure why it would freeze though unless you are trying to move quite fast. Also, it looks like you are using a small size. Try increasing it and it would require fewer strokes. It might help.