It was today in 1972 that NBC first broadcast one of the most memorable sitcoms in TV history, “Sanford and Son.”
A lot of people in those days might have been surprised to find the show’s star, Redd Foxx, on a network sitcom, given that he was best known for comedy records so rowdy and provocative that barely any of his jokes would’ve been allowed on TV at all.
And yet it was a hit for its six seasons.
The show was partly based on a comedy in the UK, “Steptoe and Son,” about the misadventures of a secondhand goods dealer.
Redd Foxx’s birth name was John Sanford, hence the name change for the show.
By the way, he took on the nickname “Red” because of his naturally red hair, and before hitting it big in comedy worked in a Harlem restaurant with none other than Malcolm X, who referred to Foxx as the world’s funniest dishwasher.
TV’s Fred Sanford, named in tribute to Foxx’s brother, was a cantankerous 65 year old, but when the show started Redd Foxx was only 49.
He wore makeup to look older; to walk the trademark Fred Sanford walk, he put on heavy shoes.
And he said Fred’s habit of faking heart attacks to get sympathy from the other characters was something his mother used to do to get things done at home.
“Sanford and Son” is also notable for being a hit show even when Redd Foxx temporarily walked out.
The writers simply had Fred’s friend Grady run the business for the last six episodes of season three, while Fred went to a funeral in St. Louis.
The show is also famous for its theme song, by Quincy Jones; he said the song sounded the way Redd Foxx looked like as Fred Sanford.
You’re humming it now too, aren’t you?
Photographers know that sometimes you set out to take one image but end up stumbling upon something even better.
Mike Mayou went out with a drone-mounted camera near the St. Louis River in Minnesota to catch the sunset.
Instead, he got an amazing photo of three bobcats sitting on a log, all in a row, staring right at the camera, almost like a portrait.
It’d make a great album cover, too.
15 Big Facts About Sanford and Son (Mental Floss)