HOW SANFORD & SON ENDED
Back in 1977 Redd Foxx left one of the hottest shows in television - NBC's Sanford & Son - to star in his own one hour variety series on another network. Sanford & Son was a ratings powerhouse driving NBC's phenomenal success in primetime during the mid-1970s.
Redd's variety show only lasted thirteen weeks in spite of being one of the funniest and freshest shows on the air at the time. Over at NBC they decided, naturally, to keep the Sanford & Son franchise going sans Foxx.
They had set up the premise during the penultimate season of Sanford & Son when Fred opened a boarding house in Julio's house next door, calling it the Sanford Arms. Janet Culp (The Beverly Hillbillies) could be seen occasionally that season as a stuffy tenant.
Sanford Arms became the name for the new series two years later. Demond Wilson (Lamont) reportedly wanted too much money to return so he was out. Instead the focus was on a widower (Theodore Wilson) with two kids who move into Fred's decrepit old place in order to run the hotel / boarding house next door. His cute, preppy girlfriend lived nearby so she dropped in a lot like Grady used to.
All of this made Sanford Arms the exact opposite of Sanford & Son, a bland, family-friendly sitcom steeped in 1970's traditional.
Aunt Ester, Grady and Bubba were back to lend an air of familiarity - which is weird because Don 'Bubba' Bexley, a comic who came up in the chitlin' circuit with Redd Foxx, wasn't used much on Sanford & Son after the first season, mostly Grady took his place as Fred's chief flunky.
Sanford Arms bombed big time and was cancelled after four episodes, eight were filmed. (The only good part of the clip above comes after minute 7.)
NBC and Redd Foxx kissed and made up and attempted to resurrect Sanford & Son in March of 1980 - both parties were desperate for the kind of massive success they had together just a few years earlier; NBC's ratings were in the same toilet as Redd's career.
Demond Wilson wouldn't play ball so the network, in their infinite wisdom, teamed Fred with a white redneck instead. Inexplicably, Fred Sanford also aquired a rich girlfriend. Other than Rollo and officers Smitty and Hoppy, the supporting cast from the original series - including Aunt Ester - were nowhere to be seen.
The first episode of Sanford did attract the big numbers the network was hoping for but the revised format and unfunny jokes were a big turn off. NBC yanked the show in the fall but wasn't ready to give up - after all, the initial ratings proved the public still wanted to like the show.
The peacock network switched things up when the show returned as a mid-season replacement in 1981. For one thing Sanford was moved to Friday nights where Sanford & Son dominated the ratings just five years earlier. Aunt Ester, Grady, and Hoppy & Smitty all made guest appearances. The scripts were overall funnier but the show was dropped after just four outings, returning in the summer of 1981 to burn off episodes already shot.
It's funny, NBC was the first network to ban the 'N' word back in the radio days and the first to bring it back by allowing its use several times on Sanford & Son. If I'm not mistaken, below (airing January 4, 1974) was the first time the 'N' word was used on the series. I remember almost falling off my chair when it first aired. The word was rarely ever used on TV, maybe in a drama where the rascist user would be punished by the end of the story.
Scenes like this are clipped from the syndication prints - okay for 1974 but not for 2010.
Was there anything funnier than Redd's battles with 'Aunt Ester' aka LaWanda Page? Not for me. The funniest episode at all for me was the one where Fred introduces his bride to be to his family. Recognize the fellow playing Reverend Trimble? It's Alvin Childress who played Amos on Amos 'n' Andy - he had something of a comeback in the 1970s playing small roles in movies and on sitcoms like Good Times and The Jeffersons.
LaWanda Page was a nightclub comic with a decidedly blue act, here's a bit from one of her raunchy 'party' albums - this is not safe for work!!!
HOW SANFORD & SON ENDED
Local Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Video Vault / TV Goodbyes / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / More Modern TV Shows / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog
|Television's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the 1970s / The Eighties / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments|
Hit Shows of the Seventies: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy / Gene Roddenberry in the 1970s / 1977-1978 Superhero & Science Fiction TV Shows / Patrick Duffy of Dallas Interview / Best Season of Dallas Ever? / Ken Berry Interview / TV Show Book Tie-Ins / Kathy Garver Interview / Mary Kay Place Albums of the 1970s / Remembering Ken Berry / Bruce / Caitllyn Jenner? / Bill Cosby - WTF?!? / Ed Asner Interview / Emmy Award Multiple Winners / Mary Kay Place Albums of the 1970s / That Girl & TV's Single Working Women / Can You Identify These Stars? / Star Trek Animated / Dark Shadows / Dark Shadows Movies / Dark Shadows Novels / The Night Stalker / One of the Funniest Carol Burnett Show Skits Ever / Fred 'The Hammer' Williamson / Dawn Wells / Betty White : An Appreciation / Gavin McLeod / The Next Step Beyond / The Music Dark Shadows / 1970 TV Shows / Mike Connors Remembered / Mike Wallace, Virginia Graham & Jim Longworth / Dick Clark / Woody Allen Hosts Tonight Show 1971 / Carson Tonight Show / Alan Alda Interview / Jackie Gleason Show / 1973 TV Shows / Thriller / Post Modern Sitcoms / Elvis in Greensboro / Remembering Dick Van Patten / TV Dating Shows / The Jacksons TV Show / Fall Previews of the 70s / Lance Link, Secret Chimp / Star Wars Holiday Special / Alias Smith and Jones / 1977 Year in Review / Top Ten 1970-76 / The Rockford Files / All in the Family / Sam Hall (Dark Shadows) Interview / Actor Ed Nelson / Death of Archie / Battlestar Galactica / Wonder Woman / Network Jingles / Class of '74 / Happy Days / Good Times / Mr. Bill / Dinah! / Maude / Doris Day Show / Pamelyn Ferdin Interview / The Bicentennial Minute / Jingles & Catch Phrases of the 1970s / Early Cable TV 1970s / TV commercials for Women / TV Moms / Country Music TV Shows of the 1960s & 1970s / Betty White Show / Ron Palillo / Shirley Jones Interview / Tom Bosley / Rodney Dangerfield / How Sanford & Son Ended / Sanford & Son Spin-Off Grady / Great Memoirs / Virginia Graham Show / The "N" Word on TV / 10 Classic Comedy Routines You Have To Laugh At Before You Die / Hollywood Squares / 1970's Teen Idols & The Hudson Brothers / TV Stars with 3 Hit Shows / The Rookies / Unsold Pilots / Jackie Cooper / The Good Guys / Match Game / Make Room For Granddaddy / Mannix & Gail Fisher / Bette Midler in the 1970s / Bonus 1970's Stuff: Silent Star Marion Mack / Biff Burger / 1970s Fast Food Chains / Latin Casino / Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire / 1970's Daytime Talk Shows / The Fess Parker Show / Brady Bunch Sex Dungeon? / Love, Loss & What I Watched
|Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / 1970's TV / TV Games / Honey Boo Boo / Lucy Shows / Classic Cars / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Rockford Files / Sea Hunt / Superman on DVD / Toy Gun Ads / Flip Wilson Show / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / Winchell & Mahoney / Batman TV Show on DVD Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / 1966 ABC TV Shows / 1967 TV Shows / 1968 TV Shows / Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes & Baby Doll / Fridays / TV Moms / Red Skelton / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / ABC Movie of the Week / The Goldbergs / Daws Butler Commercials / Saturday Morning Commercials / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Amos 'n' Andy / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You / Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Commercial Icons of the 1960s / Soupy Sales / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor Show / George Burns / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More!|