Amos 'n' Andy
During its radio heyday, "Amos ‘n’ Andy" was - to use a popular modern-day expression - the “water cooler” show of its era. Though the Crossley poll (the rating system of the time) reported that the show had a rating of 53.4 during the 1930-31 season, such a system wasn’t necessarily a wholly reliable instrument to truly measure "Amos ‘n’ Andy’s" audience; better indicators are the facts that there was precious little telephone activity or “bathroom breaks” while the program was on the air and, in addition, many movie theaters back then made arrangements to interrupt their screenings and “pipe in” in the broadcast mid-film for fear of losing paying customers. Newspapers frequently published daily accounts of the events that took place on the serialized show. An oft-told anecdote relates that, at the peak of the show’s popularity, it was possible to take a walk around any neighborhood block on a warm spring evening and not miss a moment of the broadcast, since the windows of most homes were open and practically every radio was turned to the program.
While entertainment programs have an admirable capacity to instill loyalty in their audiences, very few have the magic to capture the public’s imagination forever...and "Amos ‘n’ Andy" was no exception to this rule. From its peak years during the Depression, the show slowly shed listeners that once constituted an audience estimated at forty million. "Amos ‘n’ Andy’s" long-time sponsor, Pepsodent, soon hitched their wagon to comedian Bob Hope and Campbell's Soup began paying the bills...but still the ratings declined. Even a move to CBS in April 1939 did nothing to resuscitate the show.
So, in February 1943, the show’s creators and stars — Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll — took a brief sabbatical to revamp the series from its original serialized quarter-hour format to a slickly-produced, half-hour situation comedy. The two men lined up a new sponsor, Lever Brothers, and the writing on the show (which in the early days had been the sole bailiwick of Gosden and Correll) received a boost from a team of comedy writers - notably the young team of scribes Bob Mosher and Joe Connelly, who would later supervise the television version of the series in the 1950s.
The new "Amos ‘n’ Andy" was radically different from the earlier program which fans had come to know and love, but in the halcyon years of the show’s “sitcom period” it made a valiant attempt to capture as much of the flavor of the old version as possible. Though each broadcast was pretty much a self-contained show from week to week, occasionally Gosden, Correll and the writers would stretch out an idea over two or more broadcasts. Beloved characters such as Brother Crawford, Fred Gwindell and Flukey were featured from time to time, but they gradually gave way to the steamrolling popularity of one George “Kingfish” Stevens.
The Kingfish was one of the program’s best-known and popular supporting characters, making his appearance in the early days of the show. But the half-hour format proved to be his meat; audiences loved his weekly attempts to swindle Andy out of some fortune or treasure which the thick-witted Andrew H. Brown had managed to acquire, and it wasn’t too long before the focus of the comedy zeroed in on a weekly formula highlighting the Kingfish’s machinations.
With the revamping of its format, "Amos ‘n’ Andy" soon vaulted back into the top-tier of radio’s comedy shows, spending two seasons in a Friday night timeslot before being added to NBC’s powerhouse lineup ("Fibber McGee & Molly"/Bob Hope/Red Skelton) on Tuesday nights beginning in the fall of 1945. After leaving NBC in 1948 as part of the notorious CBS “talent raids,” the series enjoyed even greater success, featured back-to-back with Jack Benny on Sunday nights and posting even larger audience figures than those it had enjoyed on NBC. Though a few individuals have criticized the relative sameness of "Amos ‘n’ Andy" broadcasts in its later seasons, they cannot deny that the program — and its beloved characters — were still as funny as ever.
Because of his continuing concern about the quality of the series, Charles Correll had most of the programs of the new series recorded on 16" transcription discs for his personal library. In the 1970s, Correll had the programs professionally transferred from discs to top quality 1/2" tape -- but explicitly requested that the commercials for Rinso, by then the show’s sponsor, be edited out at the same time. Thus, though the programs in this collection may be commercial-free, they're all taken right from Charlie Correll’s own transcription collection. The audio fidelity of these shows is astounding - in fact, they sound far better than when they were first heard over NBC in 1944-45 - and have been painstakingly restored for your enjoyment.
Madame Queen Marriage
Friday, October 27, 1944 - 30:00 - NBC, sponsored by Rinso
Friday, November 3, 1944 – 30:00 – NBC, sponsored by Rinso
with guest stars Jack Benny and Eddie “Rochester” Anderson
Friday, November 10, 1944 – 30:00 – NBC, sponsored by Rinso
Friday, November 17, 1944 – 30:00 – NBC, sponsored by Rinso
with guest stars Hugh Herbert and Adolphe Menjou
Friday, November 24, 1944 – 30:00 – NBC, sponsored by Rinso
Friday, December 1, 1944 – 30:00 – NBC, sponsored by Rinso
with guest star Frank Morgan
Friday, December 8, 1944 – 30:00 – NBC, sponsored by Rinso
Andy Fakes Suicide
Friday, December 15, 1944 – 30:00 – NBC, sponsored by Rinso
with guest stars The Paul Taylor Chorus
Friday, December 22, 1944 – 30:00 – NBC, sponsored by Rinso
New Year’s Show
Friday, December 29, 1944 – 30:00 – NBC, sponsored by Rinso
Victor Moore Show
with guest star Victor Moore
Friday, January 5, 1945 – 30:00 – NBC, sponsored by Rinso
George Washington Desk
Friday, January 12, 1945 – 30:00 – NBC, sponsored by Rinso
Friday, January 19, 1945 – 30:00 – NBC, sponsored by Rinso
Friday, January 26, 1945 – 30:00 – NBC, sponsored by Rinso
Breach of Promise
Friday, February 2, 1945 – 30:00 – NBC, sponsored by Rinso
Friday, February 9, 1945 – 30:00 – NBC, sponsored by Rinso
Friday, February 16, 1945 – 30:00 – NBC, sponsored by Rinso
Friday, February 23, 1945 – 30:00 – NBC, sponsored by Rinso
Income Tax #1
Friday, March 2, 1945 – 30:00 – NBC, sponsored by Rinso
Income Tax #2
Friday, March 9, 1945 – 30:00 – NBC, sponsored by Rinso