Check and Double Check

Check and Double Check
Check and Double Check

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Melville W. Brown
Produced by William LeBaron
Written by Bert Kalmar
J. Walter Ruben
Harry Ruby
Starring Charles Correll
Freeman Gosden
Cinematography William Marshall
Editing by Claude Berkeley
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date(s) October 23, 1930
Running time 77 mins.
Country United States
Language English

Check and Double Check is a 1930 comedy film made and released by RKO Pictures based on the then-popular Amos 'n' Andy radio show. The title was derived from a catchphrase associated with the show.



The making of the picture posed several problems. Perhaps foremost was the fact that the characters of the program were portrayed as blacks but were in fact entirely voiced by whites. This had posed no problem on the radio, but obviously would not be suitable for a film where the actors could be seen as well as heard. Rather than hire black actors for the roles and instruct them to imitate to the maximum extent possible the very stereotypical voices used by the radio performers, program creators Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll performed the roles themselves in blackface.

Another problem was the attempt to base a full-length picture on a 15-minute long radio program. In order to do this, the film's producers unwisely decided to flesh out the story with a love triangle involving white characters, essentially making Amos and Andy minor characters in what was marketed as a film about them.


Duke Ellington and his band were invited to be a part of the film, not just to provide the music but also to appear performing in the film itself. This helped propel Ellington into a national spotlight.

The director did not want to give audiences the impression that Ellington's band was racially integrated, and was worried that two band band members were too light skinned. So tenor sax man Juan Tizol, who was Puerto Rican, and clarinetist Barney Bigard, a Creole, wore stage makeup to appear as dark as Amos and Andy on film.


The film was quite profitable for RKO but critically panned and a disappointment to many moviegoers. Two animated short films were made following Check and Double Check: The Rasslin' Match and The Lion Tamer. However, no sequel was ever produced and there were no further attempts at live-action portrayals of Amos 'n' Andy until the advent of network television. Today, the film is in the public domain, and several DVD editions exist.


See also

  • List of films in the public domain

External links

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