Sanford (TV series)

Sanford is a short-lived American sitcom television series and a sequel to the original 1972–1977 sitcom Sanford and Son. It was broadcast on NBC from March 15, 1980, to July 10, 1981.

Based onSteptoe and Son created by
Ray Galton
Alan Simpson
StarringRedd Foxx
Dennis Burkley
Nathaniel Taylor
Cathy Cooper
Percy Rodriguez
Theme music composerQuincy Jones
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes26 (list of episodes)
Running time22–24 minutes
Production company(s)Tandem Productions
Redd Foxx Productions
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Original networkNBC
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseMarch 15, 1980 (1980-03-15) 
July 10, 1981 (1981-07-10)
Preceded bySanford and Son
Sanford Arms


In 1977, after six seasons of Sanford and Son, Redd Foxx left NBC show to star in a variety show for ABC. His new show, The Redd Foxx Comedy Hour, was cancelled after four months.

First season

Sanford premiered in March 1980 as a midseason replacement. Demond Wilson refused to reprise his role as Fred's son, Lamont. His absence was explained by having Lamont away working on the Alaska pipeline. Fred's new business partner in the junkyard was Cal Pettie (Dennis Burkley), an overweight white Southerner, originally from Texas, with a generally optimistic attitude and jovial demeanor. Cal had worked with Lamont on the pipeline and Lamont sent him to visit his father. Cal moves into Lamont's old room. Rollo Lawson (Nathaniel Taylor), a recurring character on the previous series, was now working for Fred as a delivery man. (The events of the series Sanford Arms—where Fred and Lamont had moved to Arizona after selling the property to Fred's Army buddy Phil Wheeler—were ignored.)

Fred meets a customer who is an upper-class widow named Evelyn (Marguerite Ray). The two begin dating much to the dismay of Evelyn's snobbish brother Winston (Percy Rodriguez), and sharp-tongued maid Clara (Cathy Cooper), who see Fred as low-class. Her daughter Cissy (Suzanne Stone) was more accepting of Fred. Later in the season, Aunt Esther's college student son Cliff (Clinton Derricks-Carroll) moves in with Fred and Cal starts dating Cissy. (In the original series, Cliff's name was Daniel.) Officers Smitty and Hoppy (Hal Williams and Howard Platt), recurring characters from the original series, appeared in five episodes. Sammy Davis Jr. appeared as himself in two episodes, first in an uncredited cameo appearance (for which he also directed the episode), and then in the season finale in which Fred persuades Davis to perform for Evelyn's charity.

The show was highly promoted by NBC, and the premiere episode garnered solid ratings; however, the ratings dropped as the season progressed, and the show ended up ranking well outside the top 30 of the Nielsen ratings for the 1979–1980 season, whereas Sanford and Son consistently ranked in the top 10 except in its final season (by that time, the original series had dropped to number 27). Sanford was then put on hiatus to be retooled.

Second season

The show returned in January 1981 again as a mid-season replacement. The show was moved from Saturdays to the Friday night death slot. The original series of the 1970s dominated on Friday night for several seasons. Aunt Esther (LaWanda Page) appeared in the two-part season premiere (along with another episode later in the season). It was explained that her husband Woodrow had died and she was moving in to prevent Fred from being a bad influence on Cliff. While Derricks-Carroll was now featured in the opening credits, he only appeared in a few episodes of the season. This season now focused more on the relationship between Fred and Cal. Evelyn was now reduced to a recurring character and instead of being Fred's fiancee, she is simply dating him. The characters of Rollo, Winston, Cissy, and Clara were dropped with no explanation. Grady (Whitman Mayo), another recurring character from the original series, appeared in two episodes as a special guest star. Officers Smitty and Hoppy also reappeared several times.

The season attempted to rebuild the duo concept Sanford and Lamont had in the original series by focusing on storylines with their bonding. Some storylines includes Cal's racist mom coming to visit, not knowing Sanford was black, Sanford providing fatherly advice to both Cal and Cliff. This was noted in "Cal the Coward" and "Love Is Blind". A recycled storyline was used from the original series by having Cal in lieu of Lamont fall in love with an illegal alien who is later deported. A few episodes were in a more traditional sitcom format that allowed more serious moments, as the original was strictly comedy.

The retooled Sanford fared poorly in the ratings and NBC pulled the series at the end of January prior to the February sweeps, and burned off the remaining episodes over the summer.

Given the abrupt cancellation, the final aired episode was not written nor intended to serve as a series finale. The episodes were most likely filmed in mid- to late 1980 with the intention of the series doing better in the ratings.



Season 1 (1980)

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
"The Meeting: Part 1"
"The Meeting: Part 2"
Jim DrakeTed Bergmann and Sy RosenMarch 15, 1980 (1980-03-15)
Fred continues coordinating his junk empire with a new partner, Cal Pettie, Lamont's friend and co-worker from the Alaskan Pipeline. And into Fred's Garden of Eden steps in Eve Lewis. Fred proposes to Eve, but feels very out of place in her sophisticated social circle, especially when wearing a borrowed magician's tuxedo.
3"The Meeting: Part 3"Jim DrakeDouglas Arango & Phil Doran and Sy RosenMarch 22, 1980 (1980-03-22)
After faking a heart attack to get out of his engagement, Fred realizes that he still has feelings for Eve.
4"The Still of the Night"Jim DrakeTed BergmannMarch 29, 1980 (1980-03-29)
Fred schemes to make easy money from Cal's smooth bourbon after discovering Cal has built a still and is making lip-smacking good moonshine using his family's secret recipe.
5"Dinner at George's"Sammy Davis Jr. and Jim DrakeLarry Rhine and Mel TolkinApril 5, 1980 (1980-04-05)
Big spender Fred insists on taking Eve to her favorite Beverly Hills bistro, but gets his ego bruised when Eve plots to pay the check behind his back.
6"Younger Than Springtime Am I"Jim DrakeStory by: Michael Morris
Teleplay by: Michael G. Moye
April 8, 1980 (1980-04-08)
Feeling old, Fred falls for a con man's quack cure and buys a fountain of youth pill called Methusatol.
"Retrospective"Jim DrakeDouglas Arango and Phil DoranApril 15, 1980 (1980-04-15)
While hauling junk from Eve's home, Fred and Cal are arrested on suspicion of burglary. While sitting in jail, they reminisce about their first meeting and of Fred and Eve's engagement party.
9"Perfect Husband"Jim DrakeHarriett Weiss & Patt SheaApril 26, 1980 (1980-04-26)
Fred and Eve's engagement hits a bump in the road when Eve romanticizes her late husband as an angel and a saint, and flesh-and-blood Fred fears he can't compete.
10"The Ring"Jim DrakeJudi Ann MasonMay 10, 1980 (1980-05-10)
After being terrorized in a jewelry store robbery, Fred discovers a $12,000 diamond ring fell into his cap. While deciding whether to return or to keep the ring, Officers Hoppy and Smitty appear at the door.
11"Cissy and the Nephew"Jim DrakeStory by: Winston Moss
Teleplay by: Marc Sheffler
May 17, 1980 (1980-05-17)
Aunt Esther's son Cliff comes to stay with Fred and falls fast for Eve's daughter Cissy.
"Cal's Diet"Jim DrakeTed BergmannMay 24, 1980 (1980-05-24)
Cal is lonely and depressed about his weight, so Fred and Cliff put Cal on a diet and exercise regimen designed to build up his body and boost his sagging self-confidence.
14"The Benefit"Jim DrakeJohn Donley and Stan TaylorMay 31, 1980 (1980-05-31)
Sammy Davis Jr. agrees to perform at Eve's charity benefit for the Children of Watts, but when Sammy doesn't show, Cliff, Cissy, Al and Fred take to the stage and showcase their talents.

Season 2 (1981)

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
"Here Comes the Bride"Jim DrakePhil Doran and Sy RosenJanuary 9, 1981 (1981-01-09)
Aunt Esther returns and moves in with Fred to watch over Cliff. Cal discovers that due to an error on Fred's marriage license, Fred was actually long ago legally wed to Esther. Fred, Esther and Cal drive to Fremont, Missouri seeking a divorce, but must first plead their case before the county's irascible old judge, who is resistant to tearing asunder what God joined together.
17"Fred Has the Big One"Jim DrakeDouglas Arango and Phil DoranJanuary 16, 1981 (1981-01-16)
After years of crying wolf, Fred suffers an actual heart attack.
18"Cal the Coward"Jim DrakeJ. Stanford ParkerJanuary 23, 1981 (1981-01-23)
When a pair of crooks threaten Fred and Cal at gunpoint, Cal can only cower in the closet. Fred cooks up a caper to give Cal the chance to prove his courage and regain his self-respect.
19"Love Is Blind"Jim DrakeStory by: Warren S. Murray
Teleplay by: Chip Keyes & Doug Keyes
January 30, 1981 (1981-01-30)
Fred invites Cliff and his new girlfriend Charlene to dinner, but Cliff neglects to tell Fred that Charlene is blind.
20"Cal's Mom"Jim DrakeStory by: Ken Hecht
Teleplay by: Bob Schiller & Bob Weiskopf
May 29, 1981 (1981-05-29)
Cal's mother comes to visit and among her baggage is bigotry against blacks. A special episode addressing racial prejudice.
21"Gaslight"Jim DrakeChip Keyes & Doug KeyesJune 5, 1981 (1981-06-05)
Suffering from a virus and delirious, Fred misunderstands an overheard conversation and now fears Cal is plotting to kill him.
22"Freeway"Jim DrakeTed BergmannJune 12, 1981 (1981-06-12)
The city is debating whether to run a freeway through Watts or the wealthy Corban Hills neighborhood. Fred, Cal and Cliff organize their neighbors and lead the charge to save their homes.
23"Jury Duty"Jim DrakeTed BergmannJune 19, 1981 (1981-06-19)
In this spoof of "12 Angry Men," Fred is the lone juror unwilling to cast a guilty verdict in a murder trial.
24"Cal's Illegal Alien"Jim DrakeStory by: Michael Morris
Teleplay by: Neil Lebowitz
June 26, 1981 (1981-06-26)
Cal just met a girl named Maria, but she's an illegal alien hiding in the Sanford home during a rash of immigration raids in the area.
25"Private Lives"Jim DrakeStory by: Jim Gagan
Teleplay by: Douglas Arango & Phil Doran
July 3, 1981 (1981-07-03)
Fred and Eve have a lover's quarrel, with each vowing to bring a better date to the art gallery opening. Grady fixes up Fred with a bubble-headed bimbo named Bunny.
26"To Keep a Thief"Jim DrakeBill Box & Dick WesterschulteJuly 10, 1981 (1981-07-10)
The 14-year-old boy who burglarized the Sanford home is ordered to work off the amount he stole. Fred and Cal hope to scare him straight.


Sanford has not been included in the syndication package with Sanford and Son. However, reruns aired on BET throughout the 1990s. The show returned to BET in March 2008. To celebrate the return, an all day marathon of all 26 episodes occurred on March 8, 2008 to celebrate Daylight Saving Time as 'San-forward'. Every episodes of the series can now be found on the online Sony Crackle TV platform, except for "The Benefit" episode.

See also


  • Brooks, Tim; Earl Marsh (2003). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-45542-8.
  • The Ironic Death of Redd Fox Part Two
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