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Poster: Mr. Television  (see this users gallery)

This is a picture of the 3 stars of Amos 'n'Andy.. Alvin Childress played Amos Jones, Tim Moore played The Kingfish ( George Stevens) and Spencer Williams played Andy Brown. The series was extremely popular during its 1951-1953 CBS run but was targeted by the NAACP as being racist. This led to its cancellation but the show was very popular in reruns. More protests ocurred in the 1960's over the show and in 1966 it was withdrawn from syndication. It hasn't been seen since. However VHS copies of the show were made in the late 1980's and 1990's.


For more on Amos 'N' Andy go to the mini-page right here at Sitcoms Online.


Here are some articles about Amos 'N' Andy through the years.


An Article From Time Magazine


Amos 'n' Andy
Monday, Mar. 03, 1930 Article

It is related that some time ago the proprietor of a Washington cinema theatre observed that his audiences were unusually sparse around the hour of 7 p. m. He was told that Washington housewives, husbands and children, instead of flocking to his theatre immediately after dinner, were staying home by their radios to hear the daily ten-minute broadcast of a blackface team called Amos 'n' Andy. To the proprietor it seemed incredible that such a brief radio feature could substantially affect his profits. But he wired his theatre for radio, broadcast Amos 'n' Andy regularly from the stage, and with amazement watched his empty seats fill up. Other nationwide theatres soon found it profitable to follow.suit.


Then arose complaints from theatre managers who were paying high prices to have Amos 'n' Andy appear in person (Publix Theatres paid the pair $6,500 weekly). They averred that the radio scheme permitted their competitors to present Amos 'n' Andy practically without cost. Last week Variety, theatrical weekly, announced that National Broadcasting Co., sympathetic to this objection, would take legal action against the broadcasting theatres on the ground of infringement of copyright.


Observers have recently been forced to the conclusion that Amos 'n' Andy are essential to the early evening entertainment of a large proportion of the U. S. public. Two months ago their broadcasting hour was changed so that the Western time zones received their skits in the middle of the afternoon. From those zones were sent more than 100,000 letters protesting that this arrangement deprived working people of the chance to hear them. Amos 'n' Andy now oblige by broadcasting (usually from Chicago) over an Eastern NBC network at 7 p.m. (E.S.T.) and over a Midwest and Western NBC network at 11 p.m. (E.S.T.).


The overwhelming appeal of this pair, whose daily mail is prodigious, whose popularity unquestionably exceeds that of any other radio performers, consists chiefly in their blending of simple narrative interest with skillful Negro characterization. People who for years have followed the fortunes of Mutt & Jeff and the Katzenjammer Kids are naturally agog to discover what will happen to Amos 'n' Andy in their next radio installment. People who have roared mightily at Moran & Mack and the late great Bert Williams are naturally prepared to enjoy the Negroid inflection and viewpoint of Amos 'n' Andy. Their dialogs describe the homely adventures of two Negro boys (Amos is high-voiced, nervous; Andy is deep-voiced, domineering) who operate, with one cab, the "Fresh-Air Taxicab Company of America, Incorpulated." They lead humble love-lives and club-lives ("The Mystic Knights of the Sea"), and run a whole gamut of perplexities and predicaments not too exaggerated to be recognized by their listeners. They are supported by a host of supernumeraries, but they produce all these voices themselves, including that of an occasional dog. So intimately concerned do their audiences become with the careers of Amos 'n' Andy that letters arrive each day expressing hopes or fears for their enterprises, warnings, all manner of comment.


High-voiced Amos is Freeman F. Gosden, 31, native of Richmond, Va. He is a tall, erect blonde with tight, wavy hair, a broad brow and wide-set eyes. He was raised with a Negro "mammy" and a Negro playmate from whom he gained much of his extraordinary knowledge of racial peculiarities. Aged 10, he dove into Annette Kellerman's tank. Aged 12, he held eggs for the magician Thurston. For a year he went to military school in Atlanta. During the War he served in the Navy, then became a traveling tobacco salesman. Returning to Richmond he did a clog dance in a home talent show directed by Chicago professionals. They offered him a job coaching similar productions; he accepted.


Deep-voiced Andy is Charles J. Correll, 40. He is shorter than his partner, thickset, pompadoured. He was born in Peoria, Ill., sold newspapers, worked with his family's construction company, played the piano in a cinemahouse at night. He won local dancing contests, sang in minstrel shows, acted in neighborhood dramas. Finally he too became a professional coach. One of his assignments was in Durham, N. C., where he had to teach the business to a neophyte named Freeman F. Gosden. For six years they staged musical shows, plays and circuses for such organizations as the Elks, American Legion and Shriners, carried properties and costumes around the country in innumerable trunks. In 1924 they were made office managers of the company, took a Chicago apartment. For fun they obtained a radio tryout without pay. This led to regular engagements. First they sang songs, told stories; gradually they evolved their blackface manner. Gosden taught Correll the dialect; for a while they were known as Sam 'n' Henry. In March 1928, they first performed as Amos 'n' Andy.


After that, radio's invisible filaments slowly sensitized the entire nation to their talk, and the nation liked it. They have always written every word of their material. They make phonograph records as Amos 'n' Andy and, of their singing, as Correll & Gosden. In 1927 both were married. They are completely absorbed by their work; wherever they go they mingle with Negroes to develop their style and substance. Negroes delight in them because they recreate, not burlesque, the Negro attitude and idiom. Those who have seen them broadcast say that they often have to smother their own laughter (Gosden did it once by dousing a glass of water over his head), and they have more than once been observed with tears in their eyes.


Another Article From Time Magazine


Soup and Savings
Monday, Mar. 20, 1939 Article


Amos 'n' Andy are not what they were seven years ago, when the nation used to drop whatever it was doing to listen to them and echo such of their darktown phrases a.s "ow-wah!" and "I'se regusted." But they still command the top five-a-week 15-minute radio audience estimated at 40,000,000 weekly. For eleven years the faithful have heard Amos 'n' Andy over NBC stations, but beginning April 3 Amos 'n' Andy will move to CBS.


For stanch Amos 'n' Andy fans this means little more than a slight change in tuning, since CBS and NBC outlets duplicate each other in most important areas. But in the business of radio advertising the changeover was big doings. It indicated that henceforth Campbell Soup's huge outlay for radio advertising time (last year it was $2,279,425) would all be spent with


CBS, which at present collects only about a third of it. Last year Campbell paid NBC $1,468,353 for Amos 'n' Andy's time, and $97,284 for the Edwin C. Hill broadcasts, which will be terminated this month.


In any business but radio the loss of a million and a half account would be a crusher, but to NBC it was just an unhappy horse trade. NBC lost Amos 'n' Andy, but promptly picked off the Robert Benchley-Artie Shaw Old Gold show, a Sunday night half-hour that was bringing CBS $10,830 weekly. This becomes an NBC show beginning May 23.


In addition to the discount, Campbell stands to gain even more under CBS's summer policy, announced officially last week although it had been a CBS selling point for a year or so. Radio programs canceling for the summer usually take the chance of losing their old spot on the air come fall. NBC is still hard-boiled on this point, but CBS now permits advertisers "brief hiatuses during the summer . . . without forfeiture of time." A summer vacation on all Campbell shows would bring its savings to about $400,000.


No one was willing to admit, however, that the most consistent troupers on the air would be silenced this summer. Since March 1928, when Freeman F. Gosden became Amos and Charles J. Correll Andy, they have had one vacation, eight weeks in 1934, when they were plugging for Pepsodent. Other than that, they have missed only two broadcasts.one episode was silenced by a general SOS, but later printed in many newspapers; and once they went hunting in Maryland and were snowed in. Even when Correll's baby died last January, the show went on, the pair doing the first broadcast together, and Gosden reading all the parts at the rebroadcast few hours later. Although other radio teams are older than Amos 'n' Andy (see p. 59), when they leave NBC for CBS they will have given 5,208 performances including rebroadcasts, an unapproached radio record.


Another Article From Time Magazine


Blackout
Monday, Jan. 25, 1943 Article


It could not be so,yet it was. After 15 years and some 4,000 airings (not including rebroadcasts), Amos 'n' Andy were scheduled to leave the air next month. Campbell Soup Co., its domestic output halved by the tin shortage, no longer was willing to spend $1,800,000 yearly to sponsor the pair five nights a week.


Millions of loyal radio fans will miss them. So will Henry Ford, who writes fan letters, J. Edgar Hoover, James Thurber, Vincent Astor, and countless others whose addiction approaches that of the late Arthur Brisbane, who sometimes telephoned breathlessly after the broadcast to find out what would happen in the next episode.


Since March 1928, when Freeman F. Gosden, onetime egg-bearer for Thurston the Magician, became the long-suffering Amos, and Charles J. Correll, onetime Peoria bricklayer, became turgid, blustering Andy, they have had but one vacation, eight weeks in 1934. Now 43 and 52, respectively, they have salted away plenty, earned a rest. Their last reported salary (1938) was $7,500 weekly.


No radio performers have made more broadcasts. They were radio's first great national program. They were the chief instigators of the habit of listening to a fixed program night after night. They were the great American institution of blackface comedy at its greatest spread and financial return. Their droll dramatizations, a blend of simple narrative interest and skillful characterization, caught the Negro attitude and idiom without burlesque.


Amos 'n' Andy hit their peak in 1931 when even newspapers found it good business to carry daily accounts of Amos' trial for murder. Albert Lasker, then Lord & Thomas advertising head, finally had to phone the pair to "get Amos out of that spot fast." The awful nationwide suspense was beginning to tell. The strain had become too great for thousands of parent & teacher groups, etc.


Time, familiarity, World War II and its problems have cut Amos 'n' Andy's 1939 audience (estimate: 40,000,000 weekly). Their latest Crossley rating is surpassed by about 60 nighttime programs. Even so, Campbell Soup was willing to continue them on a half-hour one-night-a-week basis. But "the boys," as they refer to themselves, were unwilling to swap programs in midseason.


Another season will begin in October. But no one wanted radio's most sustained and beloved troupers to be silent that long.


Another Article From Time Magazine


Fresh Start
Monday, Mar. 01, 1948 Article


Last week, 20 years after their first broadcast, Amos 'n' Andy were still a radio phenomenon. And Freeman (Amos) Gosden, 48, and Charles (Andy) Correll, 58, were making a bid to become the grand old men of television as well. Last week, after years of ups & downs, their show (Tues. 9 p.m., NBC) was well within the charmed circle of every radio poll (eighth on Hooper's list; second, according to Nielsen).


Gosden and Correll plan to be heard but not seen on the telescreen because 1) they do not look like Amos 'n' Andy, and 2) they speak so many roles. Competent Negro actors will silently mouth the masters' words. They planned to have the show ready some time this year.


Another Article From Time Magazine


10,000th Performance
Monday, Dec. 01, 1952 Article


For half an hour on CBS radio last week, two oldtimers reminisced nostalgically about their quarter-century on the air in the golden age of radio. It was the 10,000th time before the microphones for Amos 'n' Andy (Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll).


Introduced by the show's original announcer Bill Hay (who came out of retirement for the occasion), they brought back a few such famous characters as Lillian ("Madame Queen") Randolph and Elinor ("Ruby") Harriet, and recalled some favorite milestones from their script life: Madame Queen's breach of promise suit against Andy (". . . We was engaged 147 times in one year . . . an' it woulda been more dan dat if we'd been goin' steady"); Andy's first meeting with Kingfish, played by Gosden (Andy: "Say, scusee me for protrudin', stranger, but ain't you got ahold of my watch chain?" Kingfish: "Your watch chain? Well, so I does. How you like dat! One of dese solid gold cuff links of mine musta hooked on your watch chain dere").


This week, radio listeners who have been going steady with Amos 'n' Andy for 25 years were still worried by the bleak ,but unconfirmed , rumor that Gosden & Correll will retire at the end of this season. But, in any case, Amos 'n' Andy will live on in TV: the TV version (alt. Thursdays, 8:30 p.m.), with Alvin Childress and Spencer Williams in the title roles, is now a CBS package


Another Article From Time Magazine


Time Remembered
Monday, Mar. 31, 1958 Article


Back in the era when the loudspeaker was edging out the speakeasy among U.S. pastimes, a pair of second-rate jazz singers stood before a microphone at NBC's WMAQ in Chicago, shifted into heavy Negro dialect, and gave birth to a national institution. Within two years the Amos 'n' Andy show of Freeman Gosden (Amos, Kingfish et al.) and Charles Correll (Andy) was radio's first great popular craze, so captivating that U.S. telephone calls soon fell off 50% between 7 p.m. and 7:15, and movie theaters stopped their films to pipe in the show. Last week balding Freeman Gosden, 58, and silver-haired Charles Correll, 68, quietly celebrated their 30th anniversary,still on the air.


Over the decades, despite blasts from Negro groups objecting to the social caricatures, Southerners Gosden and Correll have stuck to their basic plot line, regularly got tuba-voiced Andy (Correll) into wild misadventures, sent earnest, gravel-throated Amos (Gosden) to his aid, and flavored the episodes with the genial con-manship of The Kingfish (Gosden).


After the TV era arrived, Amos 'n' Andy also became an all-Negro TV show on CBS. The filmed series lasted on the network only two years, though it is now being seen on individual stations. Since 1954 the famed pair have had to share radio time with guest stars and recorded music on CBS's Amos 'n' Andy Music Hall. But on last week's anniversary show, they fondly conjured up the years when Amos 'n' Andy were going so strong that car thieves found easy pickings during the program, and defendants testified that at the time of the crime they naturally were at home listening to the show (and made the alibis stick under close questioning by judges who remembered the dialogue). Said Gosden: "We love what we're doing, and we plan to go on doing it for a long, long time."


An Article from the New York Times


TV'S BLACK WORLD; Amos 'n' Andy Are Not Villains

Published: December 3, 1989


To the Editor:





As one who grew up listening to and later knowing and working with Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll (Amos 'n' Andy), I must set the record straight on a few things.


Gosden and Correll were gentlemen and gentle men. Never would they have thought of using a racial slur. The characters on the show they created were good people. They were the first to portray blacks as doctors, lawyers and other professionals. Amos was a wise man with only a high-school education, a hard-working taxi owner-driver, married, with children. Andy was a single workingman. His one failing was that he was fickle about ladies. Does that make him a black caricature? We all know shyster lawyers like Calhoon, white or black. Kingfish and Sapphire would later be transformed by Jackie Gleason into ''The Honeymooners.''


There seem to be two main beefs with the show. First, Lightnin' was called a Step 'n' Fetchit. But he was a marginally retarded man who worked as a janitor. Today, ''L. A. Law'' has its Lightnin', Benny. Second, Gosden and Correll, who portrayed the voices on radio, were white. The other actors hired, however, were black, and when the show went to television, blacks did take their place.


''Amos 'n' Andy'' is something for broadcasting to be proud of. No show has ever been more consistently popular. Theaters would hold intermission when it was on the air, and stores put it on their P. A. systems to keep customers. During radio's heyday, you could walk down any street in America and not miss a word of the show coming from open windows.


With Christmas coming, I hope stations around the country will play the traditional episode. In it, Amos reads and beautifully interprets the Lord's Prayer to his daughter Arbadella. It is available on video, and I included the radio version of it on ''Jack Benny's Treasury of Old-Time Radio,'' which I produced for Longines Symphonette. IRA D. SHPRINTZEN Yonkers, N. Y.


The writer is an associate director of SAVE, the Society of American Vintage-Radio Enthusiasts. Henry Louis Gates Jr. replies:


A joke told in Moscow during the recent food shortages: Is it true you can now order a steak over the telephone? Certainly . . . and it will arrive over the television. Reflecting on the hopes (and fears) that blacks have pinned to their televised images, I had a similar point to make about the kind of sustenance this medium can be expected to provide.


As Dr. Poussaint noted, my article focused on a contemporary phenomenon - the proliferation of highly successful black sitcoms on prime time, represented by ''The Cosby Show,'' its spin-offs and competitors. I suggested (and several correspondents evidently agree) that the sitcom is a particularly unlikely genre to look to for social realism. Are the white characters any less stereotyped than the black ones? Of course not. Historically, though, minorities have had a highly anxious relation to their public images. Imagine a white audience fretting about whether Pee-Wee Herman was embarrassing the race.


The basic point is that ''Amos 'n' Andy'' didn't enslave us; and ''Cosby'' will not free us. Which is hardly Cosby's fault. It is no reproach, then, to observe that America's favorite black family, the Huxtables, are in most respects ''just like white people.'' It's simply a fact about the precedence of class over ethnic identification - and thus about the cultural distances American viewers are asked to traverse. (That much we can say, I think, without recourse to the specious euphemism of ''universality,'' a property that now appears to be indexed to the Nielsen ratings.) In short, Mr. Cosby and Mr. Poussaint have nothing to apologize for.


Inevitably, though, some will persist in finding ironic the discrepancy between these images of affluence and the bleak statistical realities. Black America, your long-awaited dream of equality and prosperity has now arrived . . . over the television.


To watch some clips of Amos 'n' Andy go to http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=amos+%27n%27+andy&aq=f



To Go to Tim's TV Showcase go to https://web.archive.org/web/20100114094112/http://www.timstvshowcase.com/amosandy.html


For a Website dedicated to Amos 'n'Andy go to http://web.archive.org/web/20051228115550/www.geocities.com/Hollywood/2587/


For Amos 'n' Andy In Person - Radio's All Time Favorites and How They Got That Way -- 1928-1943 go to https://web.archive.org/web/20080216070826/http://www.midcoast.com/~lizmcl/aa.html


For an episode guide go to http://ctva.biz/US/Comedy/Amos-n-Andy.htm


For an article on Amos 'n' Andy go to https://tv.avclub.com/amos-n-andy-was-the-rare-representation-of-black-cult-1798239784


To listen to the Amos 'n' Andy radio Show go to https://archive.org/details/AmosAndy_373 and https://archive.org/details/AmosAndy286Epspg2Of2/Aa1944-10-20042raymondMasseyMistakenIdentity.mp3


For some Amos 'n' Andy-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/shows/amos-n-andy



For 2 great reviews of this classic sitcom which produced 78 episodes in its two year run go to https://web.archive.org/web/20101204185736/http://www.museum.tv/eotvsection.php?entrycode=amosnandy and https://www.televisionheaven.co.uk/reviews/amos-n-andy
Date: Wed February 11, 2004 � Filesize: 73.9kb � Dimensions: 632 x 465 �
Keywords: Amos Andy

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