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Sanford and Son (1972–1977)

TV Series  |  TV-PG  |   |  Comedy
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The misadventures of a cantankerous junk dealer and his frustrated son.


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6   5   4   3   2   1  
1977   1976   1975   1974   1973   1972  
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete series cast summary:
 Fred G. Sanford / ... (135 episodes, 1972-1977)
 Lamont Sanford / ... (135 episodes, 1972-1977)


One of television's all-time classic sitcoms, the Norman Lear-produced "Sanford and Son" debuted just three days after the one-year anniversary of Lear's fabulously successful, "All in the Family." Fred Sanford is a cantankerous 65-year-old, black, widowed junk dealer living in Los Angeles' Watts neighborhood. Helping him is his restless son, 34-year-old Lamont; Fred's beloved wife and Lamont's mother, Elizabeth, had died more than 20 years earlier. Fred's schemes and bigotry especially toward Julio, a Puerto Rican who was Lamont's friend, whites and other minorities often frustrated Lamont. Fred also showed overt disdain for his sister-in-law, Aunt Esther (the feeling was mutual). Many times, Lamont threatened to leave for meaningful work, but Fred faked a heart attack each time ("Oh, this time its real, I'm a-comin' 'Lizabeth!") as a sympathy ploy to get his son to stay. By 1977, Fred and Lamont had sold their business (stars Foxx and Wilson wanted to leave the series); it became ... Written by Brian Rathjen <briguy_52732@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

14 January 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sanford e hijo  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(135 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

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Did You Know?


The Sanfords' address was 9114 S. Central Avenue; Los Angeles, CA. As of 2010, if the junkyard actually existed, it would be located next to an office of the California Department of Corrections. See more »


The exterior shot of the Sanford house/junk shop as seen in the opening credits does not match the exterior of the house/junk shop as it appeared on the show. In the opening credits shots, the house's front door is seen almost flush against the street with a very small front yard and little to no junk out in front of the house. In the show however, the Sanfords have a huge front yard with piles and piles of junk scattered about and the street is very far from the front door. See more »


Lamont Sanford: Pop, if we don'y pay our bills the bank is gonna kick us out of our house
Fred Sanford: [Esther walks in] Speaking of outhouses...
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits of the episode "The Headache" (4.21), Fred and Lamont's voices can be heard. They're doing a soap opera cliffhanger parody. (Eg. Fred: "Will Lamont leave home?" Lamont: "Will you be quiet?") See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Devil Doll (1997) See more »


If I Didn't Care
Composed by Jack Lawrence
Performed by Redd Foxx
(numerous episodes)
See more »

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User Reviews

Episodes Adapted from "Steptoe and Son" Are the Best!!
5 March 2004 | by (Southfield, MI) – See all my reviews

It's already known that `Sanford and Son' was the Americanized version of `Steptoe and Son' of England, created by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. `Steptoe' was extremely funny and groundbreaking in England. When the show was brought over to the USA, it's initial transformation to `Sanford and Son' was excellent…in it's early years.

The original premise of `Steptoe' was the direct relationship between the father and son, as the son strives for a better life from the junk business, while his cantankerous father holds him back, due to fear of being alone in his twilight years. Many comedic situations resulted as a result of this conflict.

TVLand currently shows reruns of `Sanford and Son'. If you pay attention to the opening credits, and the writer(s) of the current episode is given, it is sometimes followed by… Based on `The Piano' by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. `The Piano' was an original `Steptoe and Son' episode. This meant that the upcoming `Sanford and Son' episode was merely a retooling of the respective `Steptoe' script for American audiences, now entitled `The Piano Movers'. There were 136 episodes of `Sanford and Son'. If you include all episodes, movies, and TV specials, there were 59 offerings of `Steptoe and Son'. Based on my research, of the 136 `Sanford' episodes, 16 episodes were direct adaptations of the `Steptoe' series. Those `Steptoe' copies were the funniest episodes of the `Sanford and Son' era, due to the exceptional scripts by Galton and Simpson. If you have the DVD, you are able to watch the uncut, unedited versions, which is not the case when watching the TVLand episodes. Other `Steptoe' episodes could not be duplicated because they were either far too oriented in British culture to be adapted for America, or they were considered too crude & vulgar to attempt to tone down for America, although I wish they tried.

Another strong point was the opening theme song by Quincy Jones, as well as the closing theme.

However, due to the extreme popularity of the show, Redd Foxx developed and ego, wanted more money than the producers, and disrupted production of the show to the point where Whitman Mayo (Grady) had to fill in on a temporary basis. This was one of the downsides to the show. Eventually, he came back, and the show labored on. Redd Foxx had marital problems during this time. Being distraught over that, he left the show in 1977, even though the show had more life left.

NBC tried to keep the flame lit by producing `Sanford Arms', which revolved around the Sanford Arm tenants which lived there when Fred and Lamont bought the Sanford Arms when their show was on-the-air. There was also `Sanford.', which did not have Lamont. The less said about these two shows, the better.

All in all, the `Sanford and Son' episodes adapted from the Galton and Simpson scripts from `Steptoe and Son' will always be the better episodes.

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