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You are here -> HOME - RETROVILLE - 1951 - On Television - Amos and Andy
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Welcome to Retroville! It's 1951!
Amos and Andy got its start on the radio. After years of gathering its audience among both black and white listeners, the show moved to television. The two actors who had created and starred in the radio version, Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, had a problem moving to television.  The characters of Amos and Andy were black. The actors were white. While that mattered little on the radio, it certainly created a problem for television.  So, the search was launched for the actors to play the lead roles. It took four years, but they finally found the perfect pair for the show and the premiere episode was made.
I Love Lucy - premiered October 15, 1951
Main Characters:
  • Amos Jones played by Alvin Childress
  • Andrew "Andy" Hogg Brown played by Spencer Williams, Jr.
  • George "The Kingfish" Stevens played by Tim Moore
  • Algonquin J. Calhoun (the lawyer) played by Johnny Lee
  • Sapphire Stevens played by Ernestine Wade
  • Lightnin' played by Horace Stewart
  • Ramona Smith (Sapphire's mother) played by Amanda Randolph
  • Madame Queen played by Lillian Randolph

Show Concept:

  • The show was set in Harlem and centered around the activities of The Kingfish, a conniving character who was always looking to make a fast buck. As head of the Mystic Knights of the Sea Lodge, where he was The Kingfish, he involved the other lodge brothers in his endless schemes. His wife Sapphire and her mother didn't trust him. Andy, the most gullible of the lodge members, was a big fellow with a good heart, but always seemed to be caught up in The Kingfish's latest swindle. Amos was a minor character, a philosophical cab driver, who narrated the episodes. Andy's girlfriend, Madame Queen, and Lightnin', a slow-moving janitor, always helped Andy out from under The Kingfish's wheeling and dealing.

Hosts or Guests:

  • none

Writers or Producers:

  • Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, creators and producers

Sponsors:

  • unknown

Networks or stations:

  • CBS (1951 - 1953) (original programming)
  • CBS (1954 - 1966) (reruns)

Total shows or length of production:

  • Premiered in the summer of 1951
  • Final episode was filmed during the summer of 1953
  • The show continued in reruns through the summer of 1966 when pressure from different groups, including the NAACP, forced CBS to quietly sell the programming to Kenya and Western Nigeria who quickly cancelled the programs and stowed the tapes
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