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The Gumps (radio)

The Gumps was an American radio sitcom broadcast from 1931 until 1937, mostly on CBS Radio. It was based on the popularity of the Sidney Smith's newspaper comic strip The Gumps and the first radio adaptation of comics.

The Gumps
Genre Radio sitcom
Running time 15 minutes.
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
Syndicates CBS Radio
Written by Irwin Shaw
Directed by Himan Brown
Original release 1931 (1931) [1] – July 2, 1937 (1937-07-02) [1]
Sponsored by Korn Products, Karo Syrup, Pebeco Toothpaste



The Gumps were portrayed as a cranky couple. Irwin Shaw describes them as the "Archie Bunker and Edith Bunker of their day." [1]


The show first aired on WGN Chicago from 1931 until November 5, 1934. From 1934 until 1937 it aired on CBS Radio. WGN executive Ben McCanna believed that a dramatic serial could work on radio just as it did in newspapers. When he approached Gosden and Correll to adapt The Gumps to radio, they declined and instead devised their own characters for the 1926–27 radio serial, Sam 'n' Henry. After reworking these characters for Amos 'n' Andy in 1928–29, while borrowing certain elements from The Gumps, they were on their way to becoming millionaires, and the radio serial format they created soon became the model for many other serialized radio dramas.[2]

After The Gumps were finally heard on WGN in 1931, the series moved to CBS for a four-year run (1934–1937), produced and directed by Himan Brown with scripts by Irwin Shaw. Shaw had been scripting the Dick Tracy radio series, when Brown asked him if he thought he could write comedy. Brown later said, "He was sensational". Karo Syrup and Pebeco toothpaste/tooth powder were the sponsors.



According to historian Elizabeth McLeod in the "Andy Gump to Andy Brown" section of her popular culture essay,[4] and her book, The Original Amos 'n' Andy,[5] "The Gumps" comic strip was the forefather of radio and TV sitcoms and serialized dramas. It was also the first radio show based on a comic strip.


  1. ^ a b c Dunning, J. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 302. ISBN 9780195076783. Retrieved 2017-01-13.
  2. ^ McLeod, Elizabeth. The Original Amos 'n' Andy: Freeman Gosden, Charles Correll, and the 1928–43 Radio Serial, McFarland, 2005.
  3. ^ a b c d Dunning, J. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199840458. Retrieved 2017-01-13.
  4. ^ Elizabeth McLeod. ""Amos 'n' Andy Examined"". Archived from the original on 2004-08-24. Retrieved 2017-01-13.
  5. ^ McLeod, Elizabeth, "The Original Amos 'n' Andy": Freeman Gosden, Charles Correll, and the 1928–43 Radio Serial (McFarland, 2005).