A Long Lost Classic From The Golden Age of Black Sitcoms: The Redd Foxx Show from the mid-1980's
Am I the only one who remembers this lost sitcom from the 1980's? I believe I do and from the previous comment who also remembered from the mid-1980's as well. The short-lived situation comedy sitcom "The Redd Foxx Show" was comedian-actor Redd Foxx's attempt at another weekly series. This one 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 series during the mid-1970's for ABC,but it was not very successful. He also tried his hand at doing a weekly drama series during the late-1970's but that didn't work out. In 1980,Redd Foxx made his return to television..back to his former employer for NBC to do the spin-off to his hit television series of the 1970's titled "Sanford",but it lasted one season. "The Redd Foxx Show",was Redd Foxx back to his prime,during the post "Sanford and Son",and pre "The Royal Family" sitcom in the early 1990's.
Redd Foxx attempted to made a 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(the setting for this show was somewhere in Brooklyn). 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(played by two actors,one 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 to the Hughes family. Others that were frequent around the neighborhood were Sgt. Dwight Stryker,a policeman who roamed the streets and looked out for the neighbors(played by none other than Barry Van Dyke,the brother of Dick Van Dyke). Award winning actress Beverly Todd(later 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 episodes segments were enlivened by four harmonizing black kids(which were very good in there vocal talents)who worked as movers and the constituted the "Mulberry Street Du-Wop Moving Company". And speaking of major cast changes,the changes were made in episode 6 when former "Sanford and Son" alumnus Nathaniel Taylor left the series over a contract dispute. 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 best known to viewers as Sweet Daddy Williams on "Good Times" as was starring in a TON of black sitcoms in the 1970's,who was also known for starring opposite Clifton Davis in the short-lived series "That's My Mama". Another major cast change were made in March of 1986 in an desperate vain attempt to improve the program's sagging ratings,but it didn't help at all. Toni and Diana departed while Al was descended upon by his sharp-tongued lovable wife Felicia,who demanded an interest in the business in lieu of the alimony that he never paid her. Comedian-actor Sinbad was brought in as the foster son Bryon.
The reasons why "The Redd Foxx Show" sagged in the ratings was that when it premiered in 1986,ABC brought the show on during mid-season and was place on Saturday nights opposite two of the biggest shows of there day which were dominating Saturday nights over at NBC "Facts Of Life",and "227",aka "The Marla Gibbs Show" which clobbered it. Redd Foxx's short-lived sitcom was the replacement for the another short-lived comedy series "Life With Lucy"(which starred Lucille Ball in her final attempt at a weekly series and her last for ABC). "The Redd Foxx Show" ran for 13 episodes on ABC from January 18, 1986 until the final episode of the series 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 why. Speaking of the episodes,several were fairly decent. The guest star roster included Barbara McNair, Glynn Turman, to David Kaufman and even former "Sanford and Son" alumnus Whitman Mayo. The episode where guest star Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs was a banker who tried successfully to sue him after choking in his restaurant was featured in episode 6 of the series(The Good Samaritian). One episode,featured the "Godfather" himself James Brown making a cameo appearance,and in another great episode Redd Foxx does a singing part. The great R&B group known as "Kool and the Gang" sung the theme song.
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