Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, the men who made Amos 'n' Andy
the biggest success of the Golden Age of Radio, play cartoon versions of their famous characters in this long-lost prime-time animated series! Excited by the popularity of The Flintstones
among adults, ABC executives asked producers Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher (creators of Leave It To Beaver
) to deliver a new evening cartoon show. The pair drew inspiration from their background in radio; they had started as writers for Amos 'n' Andy
, and felt an animated version would be a surefire ratings smash. The characters were changed into animals to avoid the outcry against racial stereotypes that had plagued the radio show and the subsequent 1951-1953 television adaptation. So the Kingfish became the Colonel, a fox, while Andy became Calvin, a bear. Scripts were recycled from the radio show, meaning that the stories were familiar to viewers with long memories. Recruited to portray their characters were the original voices and creators of Amos 'n' Andy
, Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll (they had been replaced by African-American actors in the television version.) Despite the talent of all involved (including Looney Tunes
luminary Chuck McKimson, who directed all 26 episodes) Calvin and the Colonel
lasted only one year on ABC, and never went into syndication. Connelly and Mosher would hit a homerun with their next series, The Munsters
, but this was the last gasp for the Amos 'n' Andy
franchise. Still, with many of the original radio and television episodes commercially unavailable, Calvin and the Colonel
is enjoyable as a unique artifact of the series' long-standing popularity.
THE TELEVISION JOB: The Colonel starts a television delivery business, and enlists Calvin as his sole (unwilling) employee.
THE POLKA DOT BANDIT: A polka dot dress-wearing jewel thief just might be the Colonel's sister-in-law.
THANKSGIVING DINNER: The Colonel's family arrives for Thanksgiving dinner, unaware that he forgot inviting them a year ago.
THE COSTUME BALL: After his wife kicks him out, the Colonel meets a mysterious woman at a costume ball.