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The Amos 'n Andy Show
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TV Series
    (June 28, 1951-1955)
    Born in United States
    Created by Charles J. Correll and Freeman S. Godsen
    Alvin Childress as Amos
    Spencer Williams as Andy
    Tim Moore as George 'Kingfish' Stevens
    Johnny Lee as Calhoun
    Ernestine Wade as Sapphire
    Amanda Randolph as Mama
    Nick Stewart as Lightnin'
    Aired on CBS, Produced by Hal Roach Studios
    Synopsis - Centers on The get-rich-quick schemes of the Kingfish and his exploits with Amos, Andy, and the Mystic Knights of the Sea Lodge (narrated by Amos).
    Based on the wildly popular radio show of the 30s and 40s, 'Amos n' Andy'
    Its title was misleading, as many episodes barely featured the Amos/Andy characters, but instead focused on the colorful scheming of the Kingfish character (later episodes were filmed in syndication, basically as a spinoff for the Kingfish).
    Its reputation as a racially offensive program preceded it, and still does (it was originally just two white comedians imitating the black dialect).
    Correll and Godsen were both dissatisfied with their black counterparts on the show and reportedly showed up on the set at least once to teach the actors how to 'play a black man.'
    Spencer Williams won the role of Andy because he resembled Charles Correll in blackface.
    Although it had an all-black cast, it was accused of further perpetuating demeaning stereotypes of blacks as being stupid/lazy (ex. Nick Stewart clearly channels Stepin Fetchit when portraying the slow, dimwitted janitor, Lightnin'.)
    Ernestine Wade's shrewish and overbearing wife character, Sapphire, left such an imprint that, to this day, the name 'Sapphire' is seen as a demeaning insult to black women.
    The show's most positive character, Amos, was also the show's most boring, with a bland personality and little to do on the show.
    The backlash over the show's airing led to a nation-wide campaign for its cancellation by the NAACP, including a boycott of the show's sponsors.
    It was one of the first programs to have reruns pulled by a major network in response to widespread protest, again led by the NAACP (1966).
    So polarizing was it within the black community that Bill Cosby actually purchased the rights to the show, specifically to prevent anyone from viewing it.
    Ironically, the curiosity surrounding the series has elevated it to the status of 'classic.'
    It was the first major TV series to feature an all-black cast and many black viewers appreciated that it was the only show on television to feature blacks in non-subservient roles (Calhoun was a lawyer, Amos was a business owner, etc.)
    It preceded I Love Lucy by four months as the first TV show to use a multi-camera setup while filming.
    It was similar to The Honeymooners (even the opening sequences are similar).
    It influenced black comedians as diverse as Redd Foxx and Marla Gibbs.
    Ernestine Wade said 'I know there were those who were offended by it, but I still have people stop me on the street to tell me how much they enjoyed it. And many of those people are black members of the NAACP.'
    It was driven off the air solely on the basis of its radio predecessor's controversial reputation, despite being a success in ratings.
    For decades, episodes could only be attained via bootleg copy (episodes would be officially released in DVD format in 2005).
    Nick Stewart and Johnny Lee both provided voice-work for Disney's 'Song of the South,' yet another project deemed offensive and banned from distribution thanks to widespread NAACP-led protest.
    Let's be honest with ourselves - were Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons or Good Times really THAT much more progressive? (yet they still regularly air today)

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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