Monday, January 02, 2006

The Kingfish in Marietta

In an earlier posting I mentioned that a distant cousin, Niles Trammell, an NBC executive, to be president of NBC later, was instrumental in signing up the sitcom, first on radio, then on TV, Amos & Andy. And I mused how I remembered they mentioned Marietta, Georgia, from time to time, and I wondered if they did that because Marietta was Niles Trammell hometown.

I have mentioned it to several people about the age as I am and they don't remember Marietta mentioned on the show. So that prompted me to buy a DVD of the Amos & Andy TV shows, Volume I, to see for myself, or was I just hearing things.

Last night I watched the first segment. On the inside case there is a brief story of the Amos & Andy Show and a brief history. It tells the genealogy of the program, first whites playing the rolls of blacks on the blind radio and later going to TV with an all black cast.

It went on to say the series was heavily criticized by blacks for stereotyping blacks and the NAACP tried to get it removed from the airwaves. The NAACP said, "Every character is either a clown or a crook. Negro doctors are shown as quacks. Negro lawyers are shown as crooks."

I started looking last night at the 10 shows. I watched the first one. Marietta, Georgia, was not mentioned. But, in order to swindle Andy out of a rare nickel worth $250 Kingfish knew Amos had, he pretended to be a doctor, temporary, to have Andy remove his pants to he could give him an examination, with the purpose of getting his hands in Andy's pants pocket and getting that nickel. And as a doctor he was making up medical terms as he went appeared to be a quack. So, that is where they said some Negroes came off as quack-doctors. Wait! He wasn't a doctor, only a make believe doctor to swindle Andy. Kingfish might have been a crook, but he wasn't not a quack, because you have to be a doctor to qualify to be a quack. Don't you?

This evening I watched the second show. Marietta, Georgia, was mentioned throughout the program. I wished I had counted, but I am estimating Marietta was mentioned at least ten times.

Of course I know the writers, directors, and producers have a creative license to embellish Marietta anyway they wanted. But as a Marietta native, I feel it is my job to set it straight, however the story will be better if my input goes unnoticed.

First of all, the Kingfish is looking at a Marietta High School yearbook the year he graduated - which was probably in the 1920s. There is and was Marietta High School now and then. But the Marietta High School yearbooks then you will see no black students in them. The blacks went to an all Negro school. Unfortunately, segregation in the quaint town was a fact of life until about the mid 1960s.

Secondly, the newspaper of Marietta was mentioned several times. Kingfish said the name of the paper was The Marietta Chronicle. WRONG! It is and was the Marietta Daily Journal.

I'm just trying to set the record straight - to make this sitcom more factual, which might drain the humor out of it.

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