Comedy (1928 -1956)
Comedy milestone that grew out of a pre network
series, Sam n' Henry --
heard in various formats and time slots during its 34-year run.
Freeman Gosden & Charles Correll
This show must be considered as what it was -
one of the most popular shows in 20th century entertainment
- on radio especially, as it even continued on TV with other
actors. That white actors played black actors is reason for
much of the dismissal of this show's impact on its listening
audience. However, for 34 years Amos and Andy held a very singular
place in the American old-time radio experience.In its early prime, the early 1930s, it was
common for entire towns to be listening to the show. Stores
would close, even movie theatres would stop the film while
the Amos and Andy show was played instead for the movie audience.
The national audience was estimated at 40 million, and that
very large audience was made up of Americans of many races
and national backgrounds.
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All this was the creation of two men, Freeman
Gosden and Charles Correll. They were Amos and Andy from
the beginnings of national network radio until that form had
passed on, beaten on radio Top 40 bland and blatant Rock 'n'
Roll. John Dunning, in his authoritative On
the Air, The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, gives
a comprehensive overview of this singular pair who became Amos
For years, Gosden and Correll wrote the shows themselves, often
finishing just before airtime. They did all the voices. They
were in character every minute they were on the air, they never
looked at each other, they did the show cold without any rehearsal,
and they used different mikes to get just the sound and emotions
they were looking for. From Chicago they grew to national fame,
and together, they made the world of Amos and Andy live and
Through ups and downs in popularity through the
1930 and 1940s, they grew their characters and that world
they inhabited. The lawyer Stonewall, and the Kingfish grew
to be nearly as popular as the originals. Throughout the 1940s,
the show went on, although the world had changed with WWII.
The 1950s began an era that was to bring Amos and Andy to
a close as major American entertainment figures. Freeman Gosden
and Charles Correll lived to see the comedy form they had embraced,
black face, had come to mean a very different thing from what
it did then.
For other similar series, see also Amos And Andy Music Hall, Beulah, Pick and Pat, Johnson Family, Black
Crows, Johnson Family, Southland Echoes, and Sam n' Henry. See also: article on the history of Minstrel Shows and Old Time Radio.
(Please note that many of the rare recordings in this collection may be of inferior sound quality.)