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Charles S. Dutton,
The Redd Foxx Show: One of the lost classics from the golden age of black sitcoms
The short-lived situation comedy sitcom "The Redd Foxx Show" was comedian-actor Redd Foxx's attempt at doing another weekly series. The series premiered nine years after "Sanford and Son" when off the air in 1977. At that time,and even after "Sanford and Son",left the airwaves,Redd Foxx tried his hand at a weekly variety show during the mid to late 1970's,but that didn't work out. He even tried his hand at doing a dramatic role in a family drama. That didn't work out. By 1980,Redd Foxx made a return to television...back to his former employer at NBC to do another spin-off to his hit television series of the 1970's titled "Sanford",but it lasted one season. With "The Redd Foxx Show",he was back in his prime,on a sitcom that came during the post "Sanford and Son",and pre "The Royal Family" sitcom during the early 1990's.
Redd Foxx attempted to make a grand comeback in 1986 in this nice short-lived sitcom about a small time businessman in New York City. Redd Foxx portrayed Al Hughes,a gruff old codger who ran a combination diner and newspaper stand in a predominately black inner-city neighborhood. Hanging around the corner were Toni(Pamela Segall-Adlon),a teenage white street kid he had adopted as his foster daughter. Diana(Rosana DeSoto)was the waitress who worked at Al's Diner. Jim-Jam(who was played by two actors;one of them was played by former "Sanford and Son" alumni Nathaniel Taylor and the other was played by Theodore Wilson)was Al's competition newspaper rival and close family friend. Others that were frequent around the neighborhood were Sgt. Dwight Stryker(Barry Van Dyke)who basically roamed the streets and was a constant lookout for the neighbors. Award winning actress Beverly Todd of "Lean On Me" fame was Al's devoted wife Felicia.
There was a lot of street life in the neighborhood,and during the early episode segments were enlivened by four harmonizing black kids who worked as movers and constituted the "Mulberry Street Du-Wop Moving Company". The show had a good premise,but had some big-time troubles especially in the major cast changes. The changes were made in episode 6 of the series when former "Sanford and Son" alumnus Nathaniel Taylor left the series over a contract dispute. In a desperate attempt to save the show,the change was made when the producers brought in actor Theodore Wilson for the rest of the series run as of February 22,1986. Wilson,for those who made not know this talented actor was known for starring in a lot of black-oriented sitcoms during the 1970's including the short-lived series "Roll Out!",which was a World War II comedy from the producers of "M*A*S*H",but was better known to viewers as Sweet Daddy Williams on "Good Times" as was known for starring opposite Clifton Davis on the short-lived series "That's My Mama". Another major cast change was made in March of 1986 in an desperate attempt to improve the program's sagging ratings,but it didn't help.
Toni and Diana departed while Al was descended upon his sharp-tongued lovable wife Felicia who demanded interest in the business in lieu of the alimony that he never paid her. In the last few episode,the producers brought in Comedian-actor Sinbad as the foster son Bryon. The reasons why "The Redd Foxx Show" sagged in the ratings was that when it premiered in January of 1986,ABC brought the show on during mid-season and was placed on Saturday nights opposite two of the biggest black sitcoms of their day that were dominating powerhouses over at NBC, "The Facts of Life",and "227",aka "The Marla Gibbs Show",which brought it to its death-knell. "The Redd Foxx Show" ran for 13 episodes on ABC from January 18,1986 until the final episode on April 19,1986. Why this show didn't last? The jokes and punchlines were not as funny as his previous sitcom and it shows in some of the episodes. Some were fairly decent while others were downright dumb. The guest star roster includes a who's who ranging from Glynn Turman,David Kaufman,and even former "Sanford and Son" alumnus Whitman Mayo. One episode had the one and only James Brown(Godfather of Soul)making a cameo appearance and the other had Redd Foxx doing a singing part. The 1980's R&B group Kool and The Gang sung the theme song.
From the previous comment:The episode of "The Redd Foxx Show" where guest star Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs as a banker who tried successfully to sue him after choking in his restaurant was in episode 6 of the series titled "The Good Samaritian").
Nathaniel Taylor was in episodes 1 thru 6. Theodore Wilson was in episodes 6 thru 13.
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