Old Time Radio: Amos and Andy


Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll reading the script for the popular Amos and Andy radio program on NBC.

Amos and Andy was one of the most popular shows in old time radio history.

The show evolved from the Sam N’ Henry show broadcast in 1926 and Correll and Gosden decided to produce a similar show named Amos and Andy which started broadcasting in 1928.

It was the first radio program to be syndicated and was being broadcast across the United States despite the shows being locally recorded in Chicago on radio station WMAQ.

John Dunning wrote in his On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio that Amos and Andy may have been the most popular show in radio history.

Charles Correll portrayed Amos on the broadcasts while Freeman Gosden did he voices of  Andy and Kingfish.

The show was broadcast on radio from March 19, 1928 till November 25, 1960 with the last shows having the characters being disc jockeys in the last six years of the series.

Movie houses would stop the movie in 1931 and broadcast the Amos and Andy show that night to the patrons of the theater to keep them from staying home to listen to the show on the radio.

Correll and Gosden made a point not to look at each other during the broadcasts to keep from breaking into laughter.

Dunning relates that writer George Bernard Shaw says there were three things he would remember about the United States – Rocky Mountains, Niagara Fall and Amos and Andy.

Freeman and Gosden were criticized by the media for their portrayal of blacks.

The television version of the show was my favorite version but listening to the few copies of the radio version still left in circulation made me realize the radio show was just as funny without the pictures.

NAACP charged that the television program was mocking the black community and CBS was forced to take the show off the air.

It is sad that after 32 years of being broadcast on radio that only about 350 shows can be heard today with the rest of the shows meeting an unknown fate.

Otr.net has 219 shows available to listen to for free. Show No. 158 is the best show of all Amos and Andy shows I have heard and became a Christmas tradition.