Originally portrayed by white actor Marlin Hurt, Beulah Brown first appeared in 1939 when Hurt introduced and played the
character on the Hometown Incorporated radio series and in 1940 on NBC radio's Show Boat series. In 1943, Beulah moved over to That's Life and then
became a supporting character on the popular Fibber McGee and Molly radio series in late 1944. In 1945, Beulah was spun off into her own radio show,
The Marlin Hurt and Beulah Show, with Hurt still in the role. Beulah was employed as a housekeeper and cook for the Henderson family: father Harry,
mother Alice and son Donnie. After Hurt died of a heart attack in 1946, he was replaced by another white actor, Bob Corley, and the series was retitled
The Beulah Show. When black actress Hattie McDaniel took over the role on November 24, 1947, she earned $1000 a week for the first season, doubled the
ratings of the original series and pleased the NAACP which was elated to see a historic first: a black woman as the star of a network radio program.
McDaniel continued in the role until she became ill in 1952 and was replaced by Lillian Randolph, who was in turn replaced for the 1953–54 radio season
by her sister, Amanda Randolph. For most of the radio show's run, the series ran as a 15-minute daily sitcom, a format popular among daytime serials.