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This was a black and white made for TV cartoon that was created and voiced by Charles Correll and Freeman Gosden of "Amos and Andy" fame. Huge stars on radio for decades, the decline of radio and the political incorrectness of their blackface characters finally ended the "Amos and Andy" run in 1960. Inspired by the success of many radio stars in Hanna-Barbera cartoons, "Calvin and the Colonel" was their attempt to resurrect their popular characters in the disguise of a fox and a bear. The attempt didn't work. The animation was second rate and as a kid, the show always seemed kind of slow and boring. The two retired for good after the failure of this cartoon.
BEING THAT WE had no independent recollection of "the Golden Age of
Radio", the only familiarity that we had with AMOS 'N' ANDY was via the
television series. We were aware that:
a) It had been a highly successful Radio Series for an extended
b) That the series characters had been the invention of a pair of
Vaudevillians; Freeman Gosden & Charles Correll.
c) That although the characters as well as the actors who
portrayed them on screen were Black, the creators were White.
WITH ALL OF this in mind, we watched, observed and drew some conclusions.
IT APPEARED TO us, the series sought to walk a sort of cultural tightrope as to the characters ethnic classification. Whereas the accents, locals and humor came across as definitely Southern, there is no particular indication that they are supposed to be Black, White or Green. The resulting "neutrality" created a sort of blandness in the personality of the characters; as well as a reduction in the range of humor and the degree that gags could be developed.
IN SHORT, THE series was the victim of a sort of "Political Correctness" in an era long before the term "Political Correctness" had become known; let alone Politically Correct.
IT WAS WORTH a try to utilize both the concept and the talents of Gosden & Correll; if only for Historical perspective. Perjhaps it would have succeeded in sustaining a viewer ship that earned a more extended run for the cartoon series. That may well have been possible if they had gone with the original Black characterizations, utilizing Black Actors.
BUT OF COURSE, we'll never know; for "if" is such a big word.
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