Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll made their radio debut on January 12, 1926, as the comedic, blackface characters Sam 'n' Henry. On March 19, 1928, they introduced Amos 'n' Andy, which went on to become one of the most popular and longest-running programs in radio history. During the height of the show's popularity, almost the entire country listened to the 15-minute adventures of Amos and Andy that aired Monday through Friday. Department stores open in the evening piped in the broadcasts so shoppers wouldn't miss an episode; movie theaters scheduled their features to end just prior to the start of Amos 'n' Andy so they, too, could pipe it in.
The characters were members of the Mystic Knights of the Sea Lodge, of which George Stevens was "The Kingfish". Amos and Andy ran the Fresh-Air Taxi Company, with the more stable, married Amos doing most of the work while Andy chased girls. In 1943, after 4,091 quarter-hour episodes, it switched to a half-hour weekly comedy. While the five-a-week show often had a quiet, easygoing feeling, the new version was a brassy Hollywood-style production, complete with a studio audience, a full cast of supporting actors, and a full orchestra. Many of the half-hour programs were written by Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, later the writing team for Leave It to Beaver and The Munsters. In the new version, Amos became a minor character to the more dominant Andy and Kingfish duo. The new Amos 'n' Andy show lasted for the next 12 years as one of radio's most popular weekly programs.
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