Google+ Badge BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY
Monday, 21 October 2013
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : " THE AMOS 'N' ANDY " SHOW - IS A SITCOM SET IN MANHATTAN'S HISTORIC BLACK COMMUNITY OF HARLEM : THE SHOW WAS VERY POPULAR IN THE UNITED STATED FROM THE 1920s THROUGH THE 1950s ON BOTH RADIO AND TELEVISION :
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY
Amos 'n' Andy is a sitcom set in Manhattan's historic black community of Harlem. The show was very popular in the United States from the 1920s through the 1950s on both radio and television. The radio show was written and voiced by two white actors playing a number of different characters: the titular Amos Jones and Andrew Hogg Brown, George Stevens, better known as "The Kingfish," "Lightnin'", and many others. The number of characters portrayed by the two performers required not only their own vocal versatility, but compelled them to invent a number of innovative microphone techniques to help convey the illusion of multiple characters in the same space.
As the show came to television, black actors took over the overwhelming majority of the roles; white characters were infrequent. Although the television version in particular received some criticism even in its own time, it is notable that apart from a few of the regular characters, most of the characters portrayed are simply ordinary people, and not stereotypes. Even the Harlem neighborhood appears as any other normal American community: there are policemen, cab drivers, stores and shopkeepers, mothers with baby carriages, all going about their business in a perfectly unremarkable manner: they just happen to have black skin. Even "Amos" himself is a perfectly acceptable character, and no stereotype. He is a married man and an entrepreneur who owns and operates his own taxi business, the Fresh Air Cab Company. "Andy" is arguably more an unfortunate stereotype. He is chronically unemployed and a bit slow-witted. Despite his unemployment, he always seems to have a bit of money at hand, and one or two episodes suggest he has an adequate income from some stock holdings. "Kingfish" too is something of a stereotype going in the other direction, a clever, fast-talking huckster, always ready to cheat his friends with some get-rich-quick scheme. In this, though, Andy and the Kingfish are not so much black stereotypes as stock comic characters: they are very much in the mold of Abbott & Costello, with Andy as the naive, trusting Lou, always preyed upon by his unscrupulous friend.
What is also notable is that apart from the dialect, the scripts are remarkably un-suggestive of the characters' color. In one episode where Andy and the Kingfish have been misidentified as spies and a white factory owner is calling the police, all the viewer sees is the end of his telephone call and him making the statement, "That's their description."
Amos 'n' Andy began as one of the first radio comedy series, written and voiced by Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll and originating from station WMAQ in Chicago. After the program was first broadcast in 1928, it grew and became a hugely popular radio series. Early episodes were broadcast from the El Mirador Hotel in Palm Springs, California.:168–71 The show ran as a nightly radio serial from 1928 until 1943, as a weekly situation comedy from 1943 until 1955, and as a nightly disc-jockey program from 1954 until 1960. A television adaptation ran on CBS-TV from 1951 until 1953, and continued in syndicated reruns from 1954 until 1966. It would not be seen to a nationwide audience again until 2012.