A greasy-spoon diner in Phoenix, Arizona is the setting for this long-running series. The title character, Alice Hyatt, is an aspiring singer who arrives in Phoenix with her teenaged son, ... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
In the closing credits, the phrase "Sanford & Son was recorded on tape before a live audience" is spoken by Demond Wilson. 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 »
[clutching his chest dramatically]
Oh, this is the biggest one I ever had. You hear that Elizabeth? I'm coming to join you honey.
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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 »
This was a good series that could have been far better. The profane nightclub comedian Redd Foxx was familiar to audiences only marginally as a performer on many variety shows of the fifties. He gained a further audience as his comedy went to the record store. Still he was not a household name. Norman Lear, the creator of all in the Family produced the series.
The show tried to be a serious account of what it was like for people to survive against all odds. Unfortunately because Redd Foxx wanted it to be the series turned into a too silly sitcom that was silly and unbelievable that at times had horribly bad writing and dialogue. Sometimes the characters and the plots came across as stiff and unbelievable. Still I admire the fact Redd Foxx was a trailblazer that made it easier for black entertainers to become famous on television and the big screen.
The show was a junk dealer named Fred Sanford. He owned the business with his son Lamont, a young ambitious man that wanted to be something better. He was constantly threatening to leave the family business and his father would often resort to saying he was having a heart attack to keep him to stay. Also around was Aunt Esther, Fred's former sister in-law (he was a widower) he was constantly at odds with.
There were many friends around, such as Grady and Bubba who were Fred's friends and Rollo, who was Lamont's friend and was one the fringes of the law. Then there was one of the highlights of the earlier shows Julio, a Hispanic that the bigoted Fred was constantly worried about, and did not want as a neighbor.
The most interesting part of the show was watching Fred Sanford's constant bigotry and seeing him fit into a modern world he did not understand. Unfortunately that part of the show was not explored a lot, the show mostly focused on the almost vaudevillian style of comedy. Fred would often come into all kinds of different costumes, he always was in insult contests with Aunt Esther, and was involved in all kinds of typical sitcom situations like being handcuffed to someone he didn't like, being hypnotized, etc.
The earlier shows showed a lot of promise as to how it would deal with issues, but compared to Norman Lear's most famous creation All in the Family there were very few issues actually explored on the show, and there were hardly any real points of contention between any of the characters on the show compared with the insults Archie Bunker gave one of his family members or neighbors.
Part of the problem was Red Foxx who had his own vision of how the show should be. And while the ratings were very good on his show they could have been better if the show was better. The shows demise came when Redd Foxx left the show unwisely for his own variety series in 1977. The show was still at the top of its ratings and hard broken many black stereotypes on television.
As a result of the show there was finally a black entertainer on television that could be called a superstar. Redd Foxx bridged many gaps in entertainment as he joked about racial problems in America in a way that no comedian could today in a time of staunch political correctness. He followed a very short list of black superstars including Sidney Poitier (who was noticeably absent from public life in the 1970's) and Sammy Davis Jr.
There were two kinds of Sanford and Son Shows: the first was where Fred was always angry and yelling at different people and generally being a bigot. Those were good. Then there were the ones where they humorously explored what it was like to live in a bad neighborhood. There would be con men that would come through his house and all sorts of friends and neighbors. But the show never knew what it wanted to be. The best part of the show was the two cops, Officer Hopkins (Hoppy) and Officer Smith (Smitty) Hoppy was white while Smitty was black.
Hoppy would say something no one would understand and Smitty would translate it. Hoppy always tried to say something in slang and always got it wrong. One of the other great lines I thought was when Fred got a doctor, and the Doctor came in and said if they needed he could be a lawyer on Tuesday and Thursday.
This show is a classic and still loved by generations that followed the show. I think it is a funny show worth looking at but I am surprised at how much more they could have done with the show. It could have been much better. Red Foxx is a brilliant comedian and if you can find a routine of his it is very funny.
Also in the earlier episodes there is Slappy White, a really dirty comedian that was a long time friend of Foxx. The spin-off Sanford came earlier, minus Lamont, and that show was what this show should have been with all of the pointed criticisms of Society and everything. This show is on TV Land a lot so if you wanted to watch it you could.
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