Amos and Andy on DVD Peabody & Sherman cartoons on DVD Bing Crosby Christmas Specials Beulah TV show on DVD Classic Commercials on DVD Mary Tyler Moore Show on DVD Flintstones on DVD


TVparty - classic tv

The Amos and Andy Shows

by Billy Ingram

Amos and Andy 1930sWhen CBS and NBC presented their 75th Anniversary specials recently there was an historically important series that was ignored entirely. Amos 'n' Andy, brought over to television from radio, scored massive ratings for both networks beginning in 1928.

For a significant period of time, life in America came to a virtual standstill when Amos 'n' Andy was on the air. Nearly everyone was at home listening to two white guys (Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll) pretending to be two black guys.


In 1917, Sidney Smith created the popular newspaper comic strip The Gumps, depicting lower middle class family life. Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll were slated to play The Gumps for a proposed radio program in 1926.

Before the show made it to air, the actors decided instead to create their own characters for a radio program with comic strip style continuity. Beginning January 12, 1926, Sam n' Henry became radio's first original serial and the first broadcast to feature continuing characters and storylines.

The story of two simple-minded rural guys trying to make it in the big city of Chicago, Sam n' Henry was broadcast over WGN in Chicago. While the series never specifically identified the characters as black, it was certainly understood since Correll and Gosden voiced the characters with the kind of exaggerated Negro dialect found in minstrel shows of the day. Gosden told a reporter in 1981, "We chose black characters because blackface comics could tell funnier stories than whiteface comics."

Amos and Andy castIn their five day a week, fifteen-minute program, Gosden and Correll became the first entertainers to master the intimacy that radio promised - and in the process, created the basic model for every radio and television program that followed.

Sam and Henry were roughhewn caricatures, reflecting the prevailing racial prejudices of the era, often drunk and occasionally in trouble with the law (they were arrested for gambling in an early episode).

The program was so popular on WGN that Correll and Gosden performed regularly in stage appearances as the duo in blackface for which they earned $2000 a week, a staggering amount of cash in 1927. There were also several brisk-selling Victor 78 RPM records by "Sam 'n' Henry" containing routines recorded especially for vinyl.

However successful their outside ventures, Correll and Gosden (writing all the scripts and playing all the major roles), were making only $100 a week for the radio program itself. With Chicago ratings through the roof, they reasoned Sam 'n Henry would go over just as big with a national audience. WGN inexplicably disagreed.

Amos & Andy adThe show moved to WMAQ, another Chicago station that believed in its potential. Amos 'n' Andy (renamed because WGN owned the name Sam n' Henry) began in March, 1928 over WMAQ and thirty-eight affiliates stretching from the East Coast to San Francisco. By distributing the series in this method, they invented the syndication market.

A year after its debut, Amos 'n' Andy had become a nationwide phenomenon.



Amos 'n' Andy was broadcast nationally over the NBC radio network beginning in August of 1929, sponsored by Pepsodent.

The show's laconic theme, The Perfect Song, became one of the classic themes of radio's golden age, a lilting tune reminiscent of the (supposed) lazy days of the old South.

The action moved along at a soap-opera-slow pace, but eventually the home audience came to love these simple characters. The radio program was successful from the start, its popularity resting on the novelty of listening in on two Negroes attempting to relate to life in the sophisticated world of telephones and motor cars, as if they were cave people.

Amos 'n' Andy, still written entirely by the two stars, was the top-rated program of all in 1930, with a 54.4 rating and 30 million listeners (compare that to the Super Bowl's 44.2 rating in 2004). By this time, the wily, coniving Kingfish was becoming a major personality, eventually supplanting sensible Amos as star of the show (Freeman Gosden gave voice to both characters while Charles Correll played Andrew H. Brown).

"The radio has never had a more amusing feature, nor one that has created so much havoc," critic Arthur H. Samuels opined in the New Yorker. "For Amos 'n' Andy, like Sidney Smith with his Andy Gump, have finally mastered the trick of creating suspense. With half a dozen plots running through their sketches, they hold the dramatic tension in a way to arouse the admiration of Professor Baker. For a week, the Kingfish's Great Home Bank tottered on the brink of ruin and thousands of families all over America never ate a dinner in peace. The night that the Great Home Bank toppled over, with Madam Queen's fifty dollars involved in the ruin, was the blackest since that night in October after the stock market dive."

Listening to early episodes with a modern ear, it's hard to get through more than five minutes of Amos 'n' Andy because hardly anything ever happened; not much more than what would be considered boring daily conversations. For instance, one episode opened with a three-minute, one-sided phone call consisting of Andy talking a female into keeping a date with the Kingfish.

Amos and Andy movieThat same year, a book was published, All About Amos 'n' Andy and Their Creators Correll & Gosden, and a major motion picture was released entitled Check and Double Check. The film had Correll and Gosden playing their characters in blackface. The movie was a dreadful slur on several levels, not the least of which - it was boring.

Amos and AndyStill, Check and Double Check was one of the biggest grossing films of 1930. Realizing the inherent limitations of their creation, Correll and Gosden made one more film appearance in blackface in Paramount's The Big Broadcast of 1936, otherwise there would be no more film roles for the duo.

Amos and Andy cartoonThere were also toys like the wind-up, cast metal Fresh Air Taxi and a series of Amos 'n' Andy cartoons from the Van Buren studio with the original radio voices and insulting character designs that looked like they were drawn by MAD comic artist Basil Wolverton.

Amos and Andy cartoon characters The depiction of African-Americans in these shorts was one of bug-eyed, white-lipped darkies mimicking the way blacks were being portrayed in vaudeville, films and popular newspaper comic strips - straight down the line objects d'ridicule.

Amos n Andy book

book from 1931

A change in networks -
and then TV

Amos 'n' Andy - the Beginning
Amos 'n' Andy Radio Program
Amos 'n' Andy Format Change
Amos 'n' Andy TV show
What Happened to the Amos 'n' Andy Cast?

Amos and Andy
Amos 'n' Andy - the Beginning
Amos 'n' Andy Radio Program
Amos 'n' Andy Format Change
Amos 'n' Andy TV show
What Happened to the Cast?

Amos and Andy on DVD

Check out this catalog of classic TV shows on DVD!


Amos and Andy TV show cast photoAmos 'n' Andy television cast:
Alvin Childress - Amos Jones
Tim Moore - George 'Kingfish' Stevens
Ernestine Wade - Sapphire Stevens
Spencer Williams - Andrew 'Andy' Hogg Brown
Lillian Randolph - Madame Queen
Johnny Lee - Algonquin J. Calhoun
Nick Stewart - Lightnin'
Amanda Randolph - Sapphire's Mama
Roy Glenn - various roles

Amos 'n' Andy facts:
The radio show lasted until 1960.

The series was essentially a fifteen minute soap opera when it began in 1928.

Reruns of the TV version of Amos 'n' Andy were removed from syndication in 1966.

Amos 'n' Andy moved from NBC to CBS in 1948. At that time, almost a quarter of the nation's radios were tuned to the show weekly.

"And because we believed our skits should be aimed directly at the family sitting in the living-room, including the kids, we've always had for our number-one script rule 'Keep it clean.' Next to that, these rules: 'Keep it plain,' Keep it true to character,' and of course 'Make it funny.'

"There are many other questions that could be argued over. For instance, would we have the same old reliable theme song? Undoubtedly. We still think the "Perfect Song," which was written for The Birth of a Nation, a perfect song for the theme melody of Amos 'n' Andy."
- Freeman Gosden
& Charles Correll
about Amos 'n' Andy, 1942


Amazon Prime - unlimited streaming
of your fave TV shows and movies!
Get your FREE 30 Day Trial!

PR4 & PR5 Pages for Advertising


Carol Burnett Show on DVD 

Video Vault / Holiday Specials / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Lost Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / More Modern TV Shows / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog

TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!
Classic TV!

Television's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the Seventies / The Eighties / TVafterparty / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments
1950's TV Shows / Fess Parker & Davy Crockett / First Sitcom Couple To Share A Bed / Jack Benny Program / Highway Patrol / Betty Hutton Show / 1952 Olympics Telethon / Amos 'n' Andy / Little Rascals & Our Gang / Howdy Doody / The First Batman Movie From 1943 / Who Was the REAL Aunt Jemima? / Freedomland USA / John Wayne Won Lassie in a Poker Game! / Lucy's Sitcom Before I Love Lucy / The Lone Ranger / It's Always Jan / 1950s Shows I NEED To See / Jack Lemmon & Billy Wilder on Marilyn Monroe / So This Is Hollywood / Audrey Meadows Refused To Do This For Jackie Gleason / When Jerry Lewis Ceased To Be Funny / The Plainclothesman / Buck Rogers in the 25th Century / Remembering Tony Dow / First Solo Female Series / Kuda Bux / Was the 1959 Santa Claus Movie Too Christian?!? / When Judy Garland's Daughters First Saw The Wizard of Oz / TV During WWII / Top Ten TV Shows 1950s / Jack Larson's Suprising Life As Superman's Jimmy Olsen in the 1950s / Judy Garland's 2nd TV Special and Las Vegas Debut / Early Network News Broadcasts / Lost Desilu Sitcom: Those Whiting Girls / Lost Superboy Pilot / The Shadow 1954 Pilot / KTLA News / / Kid Show Pioneer Herb Sheldon / Aline Saarinen / Tribute to Sandy Becker / The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu / / O.Henry Playhouse / NYC's First Bozo Bill Britten / The Magical Land of Alakazam! / 1950s and 60s Bloopers / TV's First Working Woman / Cannonball - 1950s Trucking Drama / Sonny Fox Kid Shows / Lauren Bacall on Bette Davis / Sunset Boulevard Explained / Abbott & Costello TV Show / The Three Stooges: The Where They Were / The First 'Black' Show - Beulah / Women on TV in the 1950s / The Today Show / Hey Jeannie / The Jeannie Carson Show / TV's First Educator Paul Tripp / Ernie Kovacs / Soap Opera Miss Susan / Adventures of Superman Lost Episode / Bette Davis vs Ronald Reagan / Captain Z-Ro / Obscure Actress Mary Castle / Serious 1950s TV shows / Remembering David Susskind / TV's First Rerun Series / The Ken Murray Budweiser Show / Saturday Morning Serials / Two Variety Shows of the Fifties / Game Shows of the Fifties /1950's TV Wrestling / Greensboro's Soda Pop History / Mr. Adams and Eve / TV's First Star / Oh Susanna! the Gale Storm Show / Bob Hastings / TV's First Star / History of the Laugh Track / The First Interactive Video Game / Designing Winky-Dink / Buffalo Bob Smith / The McKimson Brothers & Animation / Interview with a Show Business Legend / The Soundies / Snaders Telescriptions / Steve Allen Interviewed / Racket Squad / December Bride / The Big Show / Beverly Garland & Decoy / Richard Crenna & The Real McCoys / Roger Muir / Noel Coward's 1955 TV Special / Jon Provost Interview / 1950's TV Shows on DVD / Oh Susanna! The Gale Storm Show / 1950's Old Time TV Thanksgiving / Outrageous 1950's Commercial! / The Real Superman? / Mickey Mouse Club's Cheryl / Gale Storm / Captain Allen Swift / NYC's St. Patrick's Day Parade Telecasts / Julie London / The Goldbergs / 1950's Female Singers / The Dead End Kids / Bowery Boys / Fred Allen / Ed Wynn / Mr. Belvedere Movies / Art Linkletter / The Bickersons / Marty & Live TV / George Gobel & Red Buttons / Barbara Billingsley / Billy Gray Interview / Abbott & Costello Show / The Honeymooners / Three Stooges' Joe Besser / Whirlybirds / Burns & Allen Show
Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / 1970's TV / Groucho vs William F Buckley / / TV Games / Honey Boo Boo / Lucy Shows / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / What's In Oprah's Purse? / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / Winchell & Mahoney / Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You / Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Soupy Sales / The Carpenters / Route 66 / Bozo / The Carpenters Christmas Specials / Local Kid Shows / Death of TV's Superman / Wonderama / Sesame Street / Bob Hope Specials / Little Rascals / Gay Icon T-Shirts / Alex Toth Book / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor Show / George Burns / Lucy's Lost Christmas Special / Classic Christmas Toy Commercials / Cricket On The Hearth / 1950's Holiday Shows / Amahl and the Night Visitors / A Christmas Carol on TV / The Yule Log / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More!

TV Commercials on DVD Carol Burnett Show on DVD Bobby Darin Show on DVD! “Carol Little Rascals on DVD Carol Burnett Show on DVD Doris Day Christmas Shows on DVD
Looking for classic TV DVDs?/See below:
TV Commercials on DVD Wrestling DVDs Classic TV Books

Save money!