Amos 'n' Andy

Now available : "Amos 'n' Andy on the Air: The Chicago Years"---a selection of audio clips of Amos 'n' Andy broadcasts from the period 1929-1933. You can also view an early photo of Gosden and Correll with some of their Chicago fans. And you can see how Chicago's African Americans received radios first megastars.

Right: Freeman Gosden (Amos) and Charles Correll (Andy) contemplate a deluge of fan mail at the Merchandise Mart studios in 1936. Gosden and Correll were radio's first mega-stars. Between 1929 and 1931 the nation stopped dead in its tracks and tuned in the nightly fifteen-minute "Amos 'n' Andy" broadcast.

Gosden and Correll, 1936

Correll and Gosden as a singing duo, ca. 1925

Left: Gosden and Correll as a vocal duo, around 1925. "Amos 'n' Andy" in their first incarnation were known as "Sam and Henry", characters Gosden and Correll developed while staffers at WGN between 1926 and the early months of 1928. They were vaudvillians. Correll was a fairly decent pianist; both sang. Gosden and Correll had previously done radio stints at KYW, WLS and the Edgewater Beach Hotel-based WEBH (where they were paid for their performances with food from the dining room).

Right: Gosden and Correll on the air at WMAQ. Early in 1928, Gosden and Correll pressed WGN to allow them to record the increasingly popular Sam 'n' Henry show and to distribute pressings to stations beyond WGN's normal broadcast range. WGN, fearful of losing control of its hottest property, refused. When their WGN contract expired not long thereafter, Gosden and Correll entered into an agreement with WMAQ (then owned by the Chicago Daily News) that allowed them to syndicate their broadcasts through recordings. Since WGN owned the rights to the Sam 'n' Henry title, Gosden and Correll were obliged to find new names for their characters. Thus on WMAQ Sam 'n' Henry became Amos 'n' Andy.

Gosden and Correll in the WMAQ studios

The NBC Blue Network began broadcasting Amos 'n' Andy on August 19th, 1929 from the WMAQ studios in the Daily News Building. When NBC purchased WMAQ in November of 1931, Gosden and Correll moved their show to the newly-opened NBC studios in the Merchandise Mart.

Amos 'n' Andy generally originated in studio F. Gosden and Correll---and Amos 'n' Andy---moved to Hollywood early in 1938.

During Gosden and Correll's NBC-Chicago days, their engineer was generally a young man by the name of Glenn Webster. Glenn has shared his photo album with me. It includes a remarkable photo of Glenn and Gosden and Correll in studio F. By all means, take a look at the Glenn Webster Page.

Curator's note: For a comprehensive view of Gosden and Correll's contribution to broadcasting, visit the pages of Elizabeth McLeod.

Introduction and main index to this site
WMAQ radio history | "Amos 'n' Andy" | "Fibber McGee and Mollie" | "The Breakfast Club"
Dick Kay | Television at the Merchandise Mart | 1970 television facilities tour | Channel 5 turns 20
The "Chicago School" of television | "Kukla, Fran and Ollie" | Dave Garroway | Mary Hartline
"Lights Out" | Sound effects | 1930 studio tour | WLS | "Empire Builders" | Barry Bernson
Floyd Kalber | The Queen of Love and Beauty | "Today's Children" | Staff announcers | Carol Marin
Ron Magers | Studs Terkel l "Chicago Tonight" | Channel 5 News scrapbooks |Roger Miller recalls
Zoo Parade | Clifton and Frayne Utley | Val Press | Len O'Connor | Johnny Erp | Bill Ray | Daddy-O
Experimental Television: 1930-1933 | Bob Deservi | Kermit Slobb | Ding Dong School | Quiz Kids
Bob Lemon | The Korshak Chronicles | KYW: The Chicago Years | WENR | O.B. Hanson | Renzo
Jack Eigen | Ed Grennan | The World's Best Cup of Coffee | Glenn Webster | Mr. Piano | Hawkins Falls
Chicago Television for Kids |
Radio Hall of Fame |The NBC News Night Report: 23 February, 1967
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