Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Classic Reborn (again): Sanford (1980)

At the end of the 70's, NBC was struggling to find hit shows not named Little House on the Prairie or Saturday Night Live. In March 1980, they called on an old friend.

Redd Foxx reprised his role as Fred G. Sanford, going solo this time. The storyline explanation for his being in absentia in Sanford Arms was ret-conned out, as if that series never happened. Son Lamont (Demond Wilson) was, according to this series, in Alaska, working on the pipeline. One of his former co-workers, Texas native Cal Pettie (Dennis Burkley) signs on as Fred's new business partner and roommate. Lamont's old running buddy, Rollo (Nathaniel Taylor) returns, now working for Fred in Lamont's old role as a delivery driver.

Fred even finds himself a new girlfriend, Evelyn (Marguerite Ray), whose brother (Percy Rodrigues, ex-The Silent Force) isn't approving. Aunt Esther (LaWanda Page), perhaps the one constant that ties the three series together, appears in a couple of episodes in the first season, then becomes a series regular in season 2, making sure that Fred isn't a bad influence on her son, Cliff (Clinton Derricks-Carroll). Esther is now a widow, as husband Woody had passed away in the time after Sanford & Son had ended.

NBC started the series on Saturday nights, then moved it to Fridays, where the previous two series had aired, in the fall of 1980. Unfortunately, if they thought ol' Fred could reclaim the night for them, they were mistaken. CBS, with Dukes of Hazzard and The Incredible Hulk, now owned Fridays at this point. Season 2 was terminated after a month, with the remaining episodes burned off in the summer of '81.

Here's the 1st season intro, with the return of Quincy Jones' iconic theme song, "The Streetbeater":

No rating.

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