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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Despite playing characters in their 60's, Redd Foxx was in his late 40's and Whitman Mayo was in his early 40's during the show's original production. Both actors had to wear make up and hair coloring to appear older than what they were (with Grady acting very elderly in his first appearance only). 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 »
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 »
Norman Lear's second sitcom Sanford and Son is definitely a 70s classic. Redd Foxx's portrayal of Fred Sanford is so funny, yet he was bigoted like Archie Bunker. He also had great chemistry with Demond Wilson, who played his son Lamont. Though Lamont was the smarter of the two, Fred kept calling him "Dummy" which I thought wasn't very nice. What made the show funny for me was Fred's frequent phony heart attacks when he would clutch his heart and bellow "OHH! THIS IS THE BIG ONE! YOU HEAR THAT ELIZABETH, I'M COMING TO JOIN YOU!!" Every time he did that, i would crack up laughing. The other phrase he constantly used was variations on "How would you like five across your lip?"
What also made Sanford and Son stand out was the chemistry between Foxx and LaWanda Page, who played Aunt Esther. Both were long-time friends who grew up in St. Louis. I thought Page delivered her lines with gusto and really brought her character to life.
My only dislike of the show were the episodes without Foxx, who sat out due to a contract dispute and were centered around Grady. Whitman Mayo was an outstanding supporting player, but I felt he couldn't carry the show as a lead actor and that was why his spin off Grady was short-lived. It was like watching an episode of The Honeymooners without Jackie Gleason.
There were a lot of good episodes, but two of my favorites were the Gong Show episode and Steinberg and Son, a TV show that mirrored the Sanford's lives. Each season of Sanford and Son is on DVD so if you haven't seen them, do so. You won't worry about commercials.
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