Amos ‘n’ Andy TV Show Pilot (1951)

12 Mar
Director  Charles Barton
Producer  CBS Productions
Contributors  Created by Freeman F. Gosden and Charles J. Correll
Length  25 minutes
B&W/Color  Black and White
UO Library Catalog description:   The first Amos and Andy television show
Call # Film Md62
Genre  Television
Rare  Yes
Online  Yes
Copyright status  Copyrighted
Physical condition  Fair
Oregon-related  No


Our catalog description and title for this film is right and wrong.  Yes, it is Amos ‘n’ Andy.  Our catalog’s adjoining title, “Check and Double Check” refers to the duo’s catch phrase.  It is also the title of the Amos ‘n’ Andy feature film, Check and Double Check (1930) in which creators of the TV show and original voice actors of the radio show, Freeman F. Gosden and Charles J. Correll, played their title roles in blackface.  This feature film was produced by RKO before their famed King Kong.  Our catalog was wrong in detailing the credits to contributors to the feature film, Check and Double Check, instead of those from the television show.  Gosden and Correl are listed as playing Amos and Andy (the television show hired African American actors to play the roles and despite its racist portrayal of black Americans, was the first prime time show with an all African American cast).  Duke Ellington and the Cotton Club Orchestra are listed as being the musical performance as they were in the feature film, but did not appear on the television program.

Our catalog’s description details the film as being the first Amos ‘n’ Andy television show.  The episode we own is titled “The Rare Coin” and is the pilot episode of the series which ran from 1951 to 1953.  In this episode, the Kingfish (Tim Moore) discovers that Andy (Spencer Williams) possesses a nickel worth $250, and tricks him into giving it to him. In his excitement he uses it to call a coin dealer. He then tricks Andy into helping him pry open the coin box, but they are caught by a policeman and taken to court. Luckily, Amos (Alvin Childress) recovers the coin and explains the situation to the judge, who lets them off with a warning. The Kingfish still insists on profit sharing, but Andy manages to trick him.

Interestingly, our copy of this film cannot be found on WorldCat while the same episode on film can be found in its data base at Emerson University.

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