The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Sanford & Son [Fourth Season] (1975)


  • Red Foxx
  • Demond Wilson

Episode Guide
Nominated for six Golden Globes and seven Emmys, including Outstanding Series - Comedy, Sanford & Son became one of the first shows in television history to be almost entirely centered around African-American characters. Modeled after the British TV show Steptoe & Son, the series showcased the underappreciated talents of comic genius Redd Foxx (whose skin color and bad language prevented him from becoming a superstar decades earlier). The brainchild of All In The Family creator Norman Lear, Sanford & Son signaled the beginning of a decade of sitcom classics for the prolific 1970's TV writer - Maude (1972), Good Times (1974), and The Jeffersons (1975) being the others. Wrought with memorable one-liners and well-timed humor, Sanford & Son was a Top 10 Nielsen rated show every year in which it aired except for its final season (ranking a respectable #27)…
Sanford & Son, set in the Watts district of Los Angeles, follows the life of Fred Sanford (Redd Foxx), a 65-year-old African-American junk dealer who shares his business with his 34-year-old son Lamont (Demond Wilson). With Fred's wife Elizabeth having passed away twenty years earlier, he often evokes Lamont's sympathy by clutching his heart and proclaiming, "Oh, I'm coming to join you Elizabeth!" But Fred always survives those near fatal heart attacks, continuing to disperse sarcastic putdowns (often directed at his sister-in-law Esther) and racist stereotypical remarks aimed against whites and Hispanics (especially Lamont's friend Julio). Using guilt to manipulate his ambitious son into staying and helping run the salvage shop instead of pursuing other endeavors, Fred Sanford spends most of his days lounging around the house (his junk store and home are one and the same) and hanging out with his friends - Grady, Melvin, and Bubba… Well-written and hilarious, Sanford & Son is comedian Redd Foxx at his absolute best…
The Sanford & Son (Season 4) DVD features a number of hilarious episodes including the season premiere "The Surprise Party" in which Fred returns home following an extended stay in St. Louis (i.e. contract negotiations with the network). Everyone plans a surprise party for Fred, but the celebration goes awry when Fred and Esther pick up where they left off (with their constant fighting). Meanwhile, when Fred eavesdrops on Lamont and Grady, the situation only gets worse… Other notable episodes from Season 4 include "Going Out of Business" in which an accounting error leads to Fred and Lamont owing the government more money than they have, and "The Stand-In" in which Fred and Lamont are forced to stand-in for Fred's musician friend Bowlegs when a member of his band gets injured…