Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Entries : Amos 'n' Andy
Amos 'n' Andy

Amos 'n' Andy

Amos and Andy
Amos 'n' Andy, radio's first hit series, originated on Chicago station WGN as Sam 'n' Henry in 1926; it moved to WMAQ under its better-remembered name in 1928. The following year, Amos 'n' Andy became a national sensation on the NBC network.

The show's fictional title characters were black southerners transplanted to Chicago (and later, to Harlem). Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, both white, drew on conventions of “blackface” comedy as they wrote and performed the daily broadcasts. But the pair also tapped into America's curiosity about a fateful, real-life social trend: the great African American migration to Chicago and other northern cities.

Gosden and Correll endowed even their stereotyped characters with human traits that many listeners found engaging, and they occasionally included sophisticated incidental black characters. Amos 'n' Andy drew protests from some African Americans but won the praise of others. The show's move to Hollywood in 1937–38 reflected Chicago's decline as a center of American broadcasting.

Barnouw, Erik. A History of Broadcasting in the United States, vol. 1, A Tower in Babel. 1966.
Ely, Melvin Patrick. The Adventures of Amos 'n' Andy: A Social History of an American Phenomenon. 1991.
Wertheim, Arthur Frank. Radio Comedy. 1979.