Amos & Andy

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Salty, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. Salty

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  2. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Todd VanDerWerff, a television critic whose work appears in The Los Angeles Times and is a prolific Internet contributor on several entertainment-oriented websites, calls it Amos 'n Andy of the most important pop culture items" in television history.
    Much of the show's controversy stems from the fact that two white actors played Amos and Andy on the old radio show. Charles Correll and Freeman Gosden recreated the voices of 19th- early-20th century minstrel shows in giving "life" to Amos and Andy. That did far more to perpetuate stereotypes than the very real-to-life Harlem that the television show created every week -- real except for the level of rectitude and the personalities of the two main characters.

    I never saw the the show, except in reruns. The NAACP got the program booted from the air more so due to Correll's and Gosden's "Step N. Fetchit" portrayals of the characters than due to how the black actors Alvin Childress and Spencer Williams played them. There were probably no more heinous portrayals of blacks in Amos 'n Andy than there were heinous portrayals of "white trash" households in New York City as shown in The Honeymooners. In fact, it could be said that Ralph Kramden was a white combination of Andy and the "Kiingfish."

    The show broke ground. It was controversial. But it brought the racial issues that were about to explode on the whole country in the next decade to the forefront, which might be its most important contribution.
     
    #2 thisnumbersdisconnected, Jan 12, 2014
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  3. Winman

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    I remember watching Amos and Andy as a boy and I loved it, one of my favorite shows. Great characters.

    It's a shame that shows like this are considered politically incorrect, I would certainly watch reruns if they showed them.

    I don't know, this show did not make black persons look anymore foolish than shows like Lucy or the Honeymooners made white persons look foolish. You come to know and love the characters on shows like this.
     
    #3 Winman, Jan 12, 2014
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  4. JohnDeereFan

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    Yes, but I'm more familiar with the radio version of the show.

    Not at all. In fact, I believe it shows blacks, albeit blacks played by white people, in a very positive light. Two black men, one faithfully married to the mother of his child, the other isn't all over town with every woman, but is happy to spend time with his on again, off again girlfriend, they own their own businesses (one, owns a taxi cab, the other owns a newsstand), while not educated, they always manage to foil the bad guy or to outwit Kingfish and his get rich quick schemes. In one three episode arc, they were even awarded a medal by the president for helping to capture Nazi spies (albeit, inadvertently). Both are considered to be respected members of their community.

    If someone is going to say that Amos and Andy is racist, then they should also say that the Honeymooners (a show that's built around a running gag of threats of domestic violence) and the Flintstones are racist, because the stories are all virtually identical.

    Too bad there aren't anyi black characters on TV today like them.

    Probably not, but I regularly download all the radio episodes on iTunes through the various old time radio podcasts.

    My favorite episode is the one where Amos and Andy try to get the girls ingredients to bake a cake for the annual lodge picnic, but can't, due to wartime rationing.

    Sorry. Didn't read this far down before I made my comment above.

    For the record, I also don't see Song of the South as racist. Ironically, I do see Good Times, a show largely hailed by blacks, as incredibly racist.

    Oh, and one more thing. If you're old enough to remember Amos and Andy, then you might also remember a show (both on radio and TV), called Beulah. Beulah was a spin off of Amos and Andy but, funny enough, never receives the same criticism.
     
  5. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    That was the radio show. The television series featured an all-black cast, the first such show or movie in history.
     
  6. Winman

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    And I wouldn't say this show was dealing with black "trash". In fact, all the characters were employed, wore suits, and their homes were beautiful, much nicer than the Honeymooners sets.

    I mean, the characters were foolish, but it WAS comedy. But they were portrayed as average middle class Americans.
     
  7. go2church

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    I certainly don't have the answer with what to do with old tv shows, they are products of there time. I don't think it's entirely "fair" to judge something of one time period with the standards of another. I guess I take the "it is what it is" approach. I wouldn't think this is the way all black people act any more than I would think all small town folks from North Carolina acted like characters from the Andy Griffith show.

    That being said, I can understand people not wanting to be represented by certain stereotypes on such an influential medium as television. Like some of Italian decent not being happy with portrayals of mafia types coming from Hollywood.
     
  8. Winman

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    This is a very thoughtful response. Yes, there were stereotypes, and I guess it depends on how sensitive one is. I used to actually relate to the Andy Griffith show because I was born in North Carolina. In fact, Mt. Airy on that show is a real town that my family originally came from. So, I related to the show. And yes, they could be a bit foolish and ignorant of life in the big city or high class culture, but they had good common sense, more so than sophisticated people from the big city or up North oftentimes.

    And I think that is the way all these shows worked, these folks also had great qualities that endeared themselves to us, that is why we loved these characters.

    Yes, Amos and Andy did have some real stereotypes, but the characters were good people and very lovable.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGwXqxYLPaU
     
  9. go2church

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    Edit note, should have been "their time" not "there time"
     
  10. Salty

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    and that is the crux of it. I think often too many people are way to senstive about things. Generally I come from the school of "Sticks and stones may break our bones, but names will never hurt me"

    Of course a name may hurt - but get over it - there are many more things to worry about.

    And as shown on this thread Amos and Andy were men who did have some good qualities.

    I would like to ask the NAACP how they feel about the way Dads (Black and white) are protrayed on TV these days. - virtually every Dad is protrayed as stupid, insenestive, ect. Gone are the days of Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver.

    I just dont get upset at that many things - I just worry about the really important things. --- Just saying....
     
  11. Winman

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    Yeah, Amos and Andy were funny, that's what comedy is about. But they were good decent people and people came to love those characters.

    If you watched that link I posted, Andy wanted to get married and settle down. Today a TV character would be trying to get sex without getting married. The show portrayed black Americans as having good values.
     
  12. Zaac

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    In talking to many friends, subjects like this often arise. It's amazing the things that white people think to be perfectly innocent that black people see completely differently.

    It's all well and good for us to THINK what we do about these shows. But there are plenty of black people who lived through that time who would disagree. Many still attach the popular radio show with the tv show and are not as quick as white people are to peg the tv show as non-racist because they lived through the era that spawned what many associate with a minstrel show.

    The show raises issues critical to an understanding humor at the expense of Blacks. Back then Blacks were funny for most white Americans only insofar as they engaged in quaint, foolish or childlike behavior, or stumbled over a language they were only half heartily taught to speak, and during slavery forbidden to read. This "naive humor" reinforces the power relationships between superior whites and inferior childlike blacks. And though white people don't make the association, black people still do.

    These conversations tend to stem from white people not wanting to feel guilty about the past so they try to disassociate themselves with the things their ancestors did in the past. Like slavery.

    But the fact remains that many Blacks still make the connection so even though white people may try to make the shows seem benign, Blacks will often disagree.
     
  13. JohnDeereFan

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    Sorry, but Rochester still makes me laugh.
     
  14. Zaac

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    I'm not saying it wasn't funny. I just think that it being funny should not prevent us from recognizing that the show is still a reminder of a time that I think most Americans, White and Black, want to leave in the past..

    It's like the little buckwheat kid from the Lil Rascals. He may seem benign enough to most folks. But a lot of black folks are offended by the stereotyped portrayal of how they felt white people viewed them back then and now.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  15. JohnDeereFan

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    Actually, I don't want to leave it in the past at all. I want to bring it back. A simpler time when perversion wasn't shoved down our throat, where people were polite, where you could send your children to school without worrying what socialist propaganda they were going to be inundated with, when ladies dressed and acted like ladies, when cars were better, when movies were better...

    Ah, Buckwheat. I can still hear his classic hit, "Unce, Tice, Fee Ties a Mady"?

    I still remember where I was thirty years ago when Buckwheat was shot. Truly a dark, dark day for our country.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuLdNto8z_w

    I'm sure they'll get over it.
     
    #15 JohnDeereFan, Jan 13, 2014
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  16. Zaac

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    Oh I hear ya loud and clear. I remember those days when life was so simple. Men were men and not running around in skinny jeans. And ladies carried themselves like ladies and weren't constantly trying to see how little they could get away with wearing...in church.



    I'm sure lots of folks enjoy that type of slapstick, stereotyped humor. But we should also understand why to certain segments of the population, it simply is not funny.

    About as quickly as white people will get over them not getting over it or about as quickly as white people will stop complaining about them crying racism. :laugh:
     
  17. JohnDeereFan

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    I don't really care why it's not funny to others. Everyone has the right to their own opinions. My opinion is that it's funny. If they don't think so, then they shouldn't watch it.

    Actually, the white people I know don't care.

    When I hear people crying "racism!" where there is no racism, it doesn't bother me at all. I just laugh at them because I know others see them for what they are.
     
  18. Zaac

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    I don't know too many Black or White folks who think it's funny to drag up memories evoked by blackface and that period of blatant racism in the country.

    You call it funny. Black folks call it racist.


    Folks do tend to surround themselves with folks who have like values, or who look and act like them.

    I think you give the perfect example of why there will always be a racial divide. Because you think it's not racist has no bearing on the folks being depicted.

    When you've not experienced what they have, it's easy to not see racism where they see racism.. It's akin to folks back in the 60s asking what else do they want? We let them ride the bus, why should they get to sit at the front too?
     
  19. JohnDeereFan

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    I'm sorry you feel it's racist, but I don't.

    Are these the same "black folks" who laugh out loud when Eddie Murphy puts on white makeup to portray a white guy or an old Jewish man?

    I did? That's funny. I don't recall saying anything about an entire industry devoted to race baiting by the Left and stirring up racial division. I don't recall mentioning Sharpton, Jackson, Dyson, Obama, or MSNBC at all.

    Have you forgotten the George Zimmerman witch hunt already?

    And how many of them have actually experienced racism?
     
  20. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    I didn't say it did. I said The Honeymooners was dealing with "poor white trash" as portrayed by Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden, who was every bit as conniving if not more so than "The Kingfish."
     

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