Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll were a pair of comedians and actors who, in 1926, created one of the earliest serialised radio shows, a comedy (with occasional dramatic elements) entitled “Sam ‘n’ Henry”. Which is fine and dandy, although presenting one major problem to us today: Correll and Gosden were white men who parlayed an ability to impersonate black men into a highly successful career.
“Sam ‘n’ Henry” was an almost immediate hit, but disputes over syndication and payment saw Correll and Gosden jump ship after recording some 586 episodes (the show ran daily) before their final broadcast on January 29, 1928. The show limped on without them (the radio station owned the characters) until July of that year. Gosden and Correll were by then making headlines and fortunes with their new radio show, “Amos ‘n’ Andy” which had almost exactly the same premise as “Sam ‘n’ Henry” but different names for all the characters.
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