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>
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 »
During the show's network run, a few episodes contained the "N-word". However, when the show began to appear on the TV Land cable network, the word was edited out. See more »
Episodes Adapted from "Steptoe and Son" Are the Best!!
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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