pitiful residuals
Fri Oct 22, 2010 02:27

Sometimes personal projects take my attention away from participating in the discussion group of Amos and Andy. It is nice to know some people enjoy my interaction and I also
expect my protagonist to continue with the blind siding. This web site has it's slow periods whether I personally participate or not. It is not dependant upon me solely alone. This forum was here before I came along and will go on whether I choose to participate or not. It is unfortunate that the web master and creator of this discussion group is non-existent and never moderates or joins in on the discussions. He has other web sites like Superman that he puts more priority on. Bob Schutz is the one who created this discussion group but he appears to be indifferent and probably never even reads the submissions in the Amos and Andy forum.

Anyway, back to the subject matter. Ann brought up the subject of actors just relatively recently getting residuals. Residuals are a very complicated subject because it is based on percentages and also is based on what is stipulated in the contract of the actor. Sometimes it is contracted to only pay one lump sum with no future payments. In the case of the actors in Amos N Andy, they got the shaft as far as getting much in the way of residuals. Because Television was relatively new back in the Fifties, it was not a consideration as to what future benefit might be derived from future showings of the films. A total of 78 episodes were filmed but an agreement was not negotiated during the time the program was on the air. When an agreement was made, it stipulated beginning dates of when residuals would be paid. In the case of Amos N Andy, the agreement date only included 21 of the later episodes that the actors received residuals for went the show went into syndication. This did not amount to much. To make the situation even worse for the Amos N Andy actors, they only received residual checks for a few years that the show was syndicated. In 1960, Ronald Reagan was President of the Screen Actors Guild and he made a concession to the film studios that no residuals would be paid to any TV show or movie that was made prior to 1960. That meant that even though Amos N Andy continued to be broadcast on TV until 1966, the checks stopped after the year 1960. The checks were only pennies on the dollar anyway and consisted of varying amounts. For example, Tim Moore received his last residual payment of $65 in January of 1958 11 months before his death in December of that same year. That indicates he was receiving a residual check once a year for $65.00. Think about it. Sixty five dollars a year for being star of a show that made millions for Correll and Gosden and even more for CBS who owned the rights to the show and syndicated it for many years.

As for whether the actors were broke after Amos and Andy folded, that is open to interpretation. Keep in mind that the main actors in Amos N Andy started out being paid $300 a week to do the show. The second year they made $500 per week. Tim Moore made the most money of the actors since he was the real star of the show and he was paid $700 a week for the second year. Not bad money for that day and age but compare that to contemporary salaries. It is not uncommon for actors to receive a million dollars and more for a single episode nowadays. Jerry Seinfeld reportedly turned down a deal for 5 Million per episode to do 22 episodes. Simon Cowell of American Idol was receiving 43 million a year before he quit. A little social commentary here as an aside. Randy Jackson who has been on Idol longer than anyone has always been the lowest paid of the three judges. Even newcomers Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler are paid millions more than he gets. Make your own conclusion as to why. I know why! Alvin Childress complained that he was having trouble finding a job because he was type cast as Amos. He later made a few token TV appearances on Sanford and Son and the Jeffersons. These small jobs only provided temporary relief. Spencer Williams made do on a military pension and social security. I don't know if Horace Nick Stewart was destitute but he did not have enough money to stop a foreclosure on his beloved Ebony Showcase Theater. Tim Moore was a different story. He made money throughout his career but found multitudes of ways to spend it. He was a high roller in every sense of the word. Tim Moore had a gambling addiction and also had a drinking problem. Tim would drop tens of thousands of dollars on horse racing and games of chance, then drink to drown his sorrows. He borrowed money to pay off his gambling debts which only served to exacerbate his financial situation and depleted any savings he had. Ironically, in one of the TV episodes, "The Diner", Kingfish tells Andy he cashed in his life insurance policy and now he won't be able to live the life of luxury when he is 90 years old. He died in 1958 at age 71.
In real life he did borrow off his life insurance and only had a cash policy left when he died of $388. His house was also heavily mortgaged with 2nd and 3rd mortgages. His estate had no money to bury him, so other entertainers led by Sammy Davis JR chipped in and came up with enough money to send him off proper. Sammy had originally auditioned for the role of the Kingfish and loved the show. So, in answer to the question if the actors in Amos N Andy died broke, generally that statement has a large degree of truth.

  • Re:A&A moviesAnn, Thu Oct 21 08:01
    I agree with your statement, Bob. I would add only that it was worse for the actors in A&A, but I think in general in Hollywood actors were scr^w^d over by the studios. It wasn't until fairly recent... more
    • pitiful residuals — Harold, Fri Oct 22 02:27
      • ResidualsSandra, Fri Oct 22 12:25
        Hey Harold. It is nice to know you are ok. I emailed you a couple times but got no reply. Glad to see you are in good health. That was a good article about residuals. I often wondered what salary was ... more
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