Amos 'n' Andy Forums

CBS (ended 1953)

Understanding Amos N Andy, its context

  • Avatar of JonJax


    [1]Apr 6, 2008
    • member since: 02/17/08
    • level: 18
    • rank: Land Shark
    • posts: 156

    Amos N Andy the TV series was based on the radio series which the character's were Whites imitating stereotypical Southern and urban Blacks. When it was decided to turn into a TV show in 1951 it was deemed so controversial that they filmed the episodes as movies then played them in a movie house to gauge audience response. This made it the first filmed TV series a few months before I Love Lucy began its historic run. Before Amos N Andy a Black peson was rarely seen on TV. What is considered minstrelly in 1951 was not at the time proved by the extreme popularity of the series by Black people around the country. Many CBS affiliates in the South did not air the shows and CBS had a tough time acquiring sponsors for the series as a few years later NBC faced with the Nat King Cole Show prompting Nat to say , "Madison Ave is afraid of the dark"

    I was just 1 year old when Amos N Andy premiered although I recall seiing them as an adolescent in the late 50s and early 60s the last time they were re-run as the Civil Rights movement finally enabled the NAACP to have the show stopped from being aired. I am a Black man, not only did my parents-very race conscious persons enjoy Amos N andy so did all our relatives, neighbors and Black community, Many familys did not have TV back in the early 50s, my parents often would host Amos N Andy parties where friends and relatives would come over and watch the show, it was a community event to see dark faces on the TV, in particular an all Black cast.

    The cast was told not to be themselves but to act and sound as much as possible like the White cast imitating Blacks did on radio, my dad tells me that some Whites as first thought the cast of Amos N Andy were Whites in blackface as they didn't think Black people could actually act. Towards the end of my Pops life in the 1980s, my siblings and me bought about a dozen VHS compilations of Amos n Andy episodes and he and Moms enjoyed laughing all over again to Amos N Andy despite the change of attitudes amongs Blacs and society as a whole. For those under 50 including Black people, they have a hard time understanding this show and don't realize that places in context they are less sterotypical that much of contemporary African-American comedy and especially gangsta rap. Spike Lee's joint "Bamboozled" says it all.

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