any Amos n' Andy experts?

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Remley
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Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 5:28 pm

any Amos n' Andy experts?

Postby Remley » Fri May 19, 2006 6:06 pm

Hi all. I've been going through my Amos & Andy collection, and I'm perplexed; on Nov. 16, 1952 CBS aired the famous "10,000th broadcast" of Amos n' Andy. I've tallied up some quick math concerning Amos & Andy and I don't come up with a number anywhere near 10,000 by the year 1952:

From 1926-1943, Sam n' Henry/Amos n' Andy broadcast six nights a week at their peak. Assuming they did that every week, that comes out to 312 broadcasts a year, for 17 years, which would total about 5300 broadcasts. Then, adding the once-a-week broadcasts for Rinso and Rexall on NBC and CBS from 1943-1952, this adds about 230 broadcasts (assuming approx. 26 shows a season). The grand total would be somewhere around 5530 broadcasts by 1952.

Now I know my various assumptions will be off, but even giving benefit to doubt and rounding up, the number is still only a little over half of the "10,000" announced on the 1952 show.

Am I just being anal here, and disregarding that the producers of the show may have just been trying to attract listeners that week, over-aggrandizing the promotion of the show just as TV producers do today? Or is there anything I'm missing here?

thanks all,
Remley

Lou
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Postby Lou » Sat May 20, 2006 10:33 am

Remley -

The TIME Magazine article of Dec 1, 1952 also claims the show was the "10,000th time before the microphone" for Gosden and Correll (http://www.time.com/time/archive/previe ... 89,00.html)

However, in addition to the count being more than slightly in error, the show itself had many inconsistencies when compared to the preceding broadcasts. Here is an excerpt from an old OTR Digest, wherein OTR historian Elizabeth McLeod reveals some of them. (Also note her use of quotes around "10,000th Broadcast"):

========================================


Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2003 09:30:43 -0500
From: Elizabeth McLeod lizmcl@midcoast.com
To: old.time.radio@oldradio.net
Subject: Re: A&A's 10,000th Broadcast

[...] nothing in that episode is an accurate representation of what actually happened in the original broadcasts. A few major discrepancies:

* Amos and Andy left Georgia in March 1928 not May 1927 (as suggested by the Lindbergh newspaper headline read by Andy in the "10,000th Broadcast."
* Amos and Andy did not go directly to New York from Georgia. They first went to Chicago -- which was, in fact, a far more important destination point for actual African-Americans in the Great Migration than New York. They lived in Chicago for eighteen months, and it was in Chicago that most of the program's important early story milestones occurred: it was there that they met the Taylor family, it was there that they met the Kingfish, it was there that they formed the Fresh Air Taxicab Company. The partners did not move to New York until the start of the network series in August 1929 (a move insisted upon by the network because NBC felt that New York listeners would not be interested in a series set in Chicago.)
* Andy did not meet the Kingfish on the street, and the Kingfish was not a pickpocket. The partners were introduced to the Kingfish by their landlord, Fred Washington, in order to encourage them to join the lodge.
* The partners did not buy the Fresh Air Taxicab from the Kingfish. They bought it for $75 from a Chicago used-car dealer named Jarvis.
* Amos did not meet Ruby Taylor at church. They were introduced by Sylvester, the 19-year-old youth who lived across the street from the partners, and who was a friend of the Taylor family. Amos and Ruby did not fall in love immediately, although Ruby was clearly interested in Amos. Amos was engaged at the time to Mamie Henderson, his childhood sweetheart back in Georgia, and his friendship with Ruby was purely platonic until Mamie betrayed him by marrying a traveling man from New York about three months after Amos left Georgia. Ruby consoled him during his period of grief, and it was then that the couple fell in love.
* The account of the Breach of Promise case involving Andy and Madam Queen is entirely fabricated in the 10,000th episode. Andy was represented in the case by a professional, highly effective lawyer named Collins, not by Calhoun, who didn't even exist in the series until 1949. None of the testimony presented in the episode is taken from the actual 1931 scripts, and the outcome of the trial is completely altered: In reality, Amos's detective work revealed that the Madam was in fact still married to her second husband, who had abandoned her several years before, and had married and divorced a third time before becoming engaged to Andy. With no legal dissolution to her second marriage, the Madam had no legal grounds for an engagement to Andy -- and thus no legal grounds for a breach-of-promise case. The Madam's second husband was alive -- and was brought to the courtroom by Amos in person as proof of what he'd learned. This second husband, Raymond Queen, was ultimately lost at sea, but this didn't happen until November 1932, while the Madam was in Reno pursuing divorce proceedings. It was briefly suggested that the Madam would be charged with bigamy as a result of the revelations in the 1931 trial, but Correll and Gosden quickly abandoned this storyline when it generated protests about being inappropriate subject matter for a program with a large family audience.

The complete scripts for the "Breach of Promise" storyline -- 64 consecutive episodes from 1930-31 -- are available on my website, at http://www.midcoast.com/~lizmcl/aabp.html.

Correll and Gosden were clearly embarrassed and upset about the adverse reaction to the bigamy storyline -- and it was never again mentioned in the series. As a result, the "10,000th Broadcast" version of the story has become a persistent OTR myth -- even to the point of being picked up and repeated by otherwise reputable historians. Arthur Wertheim, in "Radio Comedy," erroneously cites the events in the 1952 broadcast as having actually been aired in the original 1931 storyline -- even though he had access to the original scripts and could have done the research to get it right. Joseph Boskin in "Sambo: The Rise and Demise of an American Jester," makes an even graver error: he describes the scene in which Andy meets the Kingfish trying to steal his watch, as aired in 1952, and falsifies its source in his footnotes, claiming the scene actually comes from a 1928 script which, in reality, has nothing to do with the scene cited. This is the sort of bogus scholarship that makes my own work that much more difficult, and it's unfortunately all too common in academic writings on A&A.

One more interesting note about the "10,000th Broadcast." Seven years after it aired, the script was recycled for "The Amos 'n' Andy Music Hall," serialized out over a week of episodes in August 1959, to celebrate Correll and Gosden's 30th year of network broadcasting.

Elizabeth

=========================================

Remley
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Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 5:28 pm

Postby Remley » Sat May 20, 2006 12:10 pm

Thanks for this Lou.
It would appear that just about everything concerning this "10,000th" broadcast was probably a myth, done in the interest of commercial entertainment for the masses, and not accuracy.
-Remley

Sammy Jones
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Amos 'n' Andy--Twice a Night!

Postby Sammy Jones » Wed Jun 07, 2006 10:46 pm

Everyone is right in saying that most of what is contained in the "10,000th Broadcast" is false...but the 10,000 number comes a little closer to reality when you take into consideration that during the Amos 'n' Andy serial period (1928-1943), Gosden and Correll often did two shows a night. They would do one show for the east, then come back a few hours later and do it all over again for the west. I'm not sure when this practice stopped (or if it actually did during the serial run--when the show switched the the 30-minute format, there was only one performance), but using some creative math, by the time of the "10,000th Broadcast," they may have been pretty close to their 10,000th time before the microphone.

Sammy

Remley
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 5:28 pm

Re: Amos 'n' Andy--Twice a Night!

Postby Remley » Fri Jun 09, 2006 3:20 pm

Sammy Jones wrote:....Gosden and Correll often did two shows a night. They would do one show for the east, then come back a few hours later and do it all over again for the west.... they may have been pretty close to their 10,000th time before the microphone.


Actually that makes total sense; thanks for pointing that out Sammy. The 10,000 number would be much closer to accuracy with all those West Coast broadcasts. All the big shows did that before the networks started using transcriptions. Thanks again for pointing that out.

Remley

ImaginaryColours
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Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:30 pm

Postby ImaginaryColours » Fri Jul 13, 2007 9:19 pm

Don't forget that the "official" count might be counting the number of broadcasts of Amos and of Andy, thus doubling the figure.

I don't think creative math started in just the last 20 years.

Tom
the Lights man


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