Producers Gosden and Correll toyed with the idea of recording the dialogue, to which the actors would lip-synch. But this was abandoned, and the actors were merely instructed in the vocal stylings G’n’C had used on the radio.
The show ran from 1951-’53, under the name The Amos ‘n’ Andy Show, 78 episodes in all, sponsored by the Blatz Brewing Company, and aired on CBS.
Amos: Alvin Childress (1907-1986) Childress was born in Meridian, MS, and had little in the way of film or TV credits before taking over as Amos when the show moved to the screen. He did have experience with the American Negro Theater in New York City. He would later play roles in a few episodes of such series as Sanford and Son and The Jeffersons.
Amos was nowhere near the star of the television show as he was the radio show. On TV, Kingfish was actually the lead character, along with Andy. Childress’s Amos drove cab and served as a narrator.
Andy: Spencer Williams (1893-1969) Williams found early work on the production of “race films” meant only for Black audiences. He has credits as a writer, producer, and director. Williams reportedly clashed with Gosden over the characterization and speaking mannerisms of Andy.
Kingfish: Tim Moore (1887-1958) Long before his work and Amos ‘n’ Andy, he was a veteran of vaudeville, having travelled with the minstrel show Cora Miskel and Her Gold Dust Twins. Kingfish was the catalyst of most of the show’s hijinks because of his hucksterism and conniving. Some of his antics include giving stolen ballet tickets to his wife, Sapphire, accidentally paying for a mail-order bride, and adopting Andy in order to come into money willed to his pal.
Lawyer Calhoun: Johnny Lee
Sapphire: Ernestine Wade
Mama: Amanda Randolph
Lightnin’: Nick Stewart
Henry Van Porter: Jester Hairston
While the show was one of the first to employ a predominantly-Black cast, it was, of course, also much maligned because of its portrayal of Blacks. Protests by the NAACP would ultimately spell the program’s demise in 1953.
- Alvin Childress. IMDB.com.
- Amos ‘n’ Andy. Wikipedia.org.
- Andrews, Bart and Ahrgus Juilliard. Holy Mackerel. New York: Dutton. 1986.
- Spencer Williams. Wikipedia.org.
- The Amos ‘n’ Andy Show. IMDB.com.