HTF REVIEW: "Sanford and Son" The First Season (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Jul 30, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Sanford And Son: The First Season




    Studio: Columbia
    Year: 1972
    Rated: NR
    Film Length: 364 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: Full Frame



    "Elizabeth! I'm comin', honey!"
    Sanford and Son debuted in January 1972, and became
    an instant success with television viewers. The
    show was based on the British sitcom Steptoe and Son
    about a cockney junk dealer and his son. The
    Americanized version used African-Americans as its
    central characters and moved the locale from England
    to California.
    Comedian Redd Foxx plays the show's central character,
    Fred Sanford, a 65-year-old junk dealer. Sanford's son, Lamont,
    is his partner in the junk business, having
    to constantly put up with his father's antics and
    always looking for a means to get out. The wonderful
    supporting cast consists of Melvin (Slappy White),
    Bubba (Don Bexley) and Grady (Whitman Mayo), as well
    as his bible-thumping sister-in-law, Aunt Esther
    (LaWanda Page). In many ways, Fred Sanford became
    the Afro-American version of Archie Bunker -- extremely
    set in his ways and not very tolerant of other races.
    The show remained at the top of NBC's prime time
    slot during most of its 5 seasons, until when in
    1977, disputes with the stars over salaries and
    other projects caused its cancellation. Since then,
    Sanford and Son has continued to thrive in
    re-runs. It's only fitting that Columbia would choose
    this series as a DVD release.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Sanford And Son: The First Season arrives
    in a cardboard case whose inside slides out into
    a 3-pane gatefold. The 2 DVDs are held in plastic
    housing that features photos of Fred Sanford (Redd
    Foxx) and Lamont (Demond Wilson). A total of 14
    episodes are spread across the two discs.
    [​IMG]
    A small pull-out pamphlet sits in a corner pocket.
    This pamphlet opens up to a 3-page Episode Guide
    that gives a brief description of the episode and
    the complete cast of stars, writers and directors.
    Unfortunately, there is no information on original
    airdate.
    I had the opportunity to watch three episodes for
    evaluating the quality of this DVD release.
    [​IMG]
    Crossed Swords
    The first episode of the series introduces us
    to Fred and Lamont, father and son who share
    dwellings and a junk yard business. After
    Lamont buys a porcelain figurine from $10, he
    contemplates its values and figures he can resell
    it for much more. This brings him and his father
    to an auction house where Fred sits in the auction
    pretending to be a buyer so that the price can be
    jacked up higher.
    [​IMG]
    We Were Robbed
    After accidently breaking Lamont's valuable porcelain
    collection, Fred devises a way to get out of being
    blamed by staging a robbery. When the police show
    up and investigate, Fred is elevated to hero status
    for warding off the robbers. But when Lamont later
    finds his broken collection in the yard, the tables
    get turned.
    [​IMG]
    TV or not TV
    Fred wants a new color television set and Lamont
    wants a new car. The problem is that they cannot
    afford both of them. When Fred finds out that
    Lamont has bought a car and left him without a
    TV, he makes up a situation that lands him in the
    hospital with amnesia and no cure until Lamont
    buys him the TV of his dreams.
    How is the transfer?
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Upon initially seeing the show's credits played
    against Quincy Jones's familiar theme, I was a bit
    worried. Filled with blemishes and looking quite
    dull, I was afraid that the rest of the show would
    look exactly the same.
    Fortunately, the episodes look pretty decent, given
    the fact of the time period and source material.
    Though the picture looks generally dull, lacking
    sharpness and detail, the quality of the print is
    very good.
    Though the mono sound is rather flat, dialogue
    remains very distinct with just an occasional hint
    of background hiss.
    The only problem with this set is that the menu
    does not break each episode down into chapters.
    And making this worse, You cannot switch from
    chapter to chapter within a TV episode. Doing
    this only throws you back to the Main Menu. I
    found this to be a discouraging flaw.
    Special Features
    There are no added features.
    Final Thoughts
    Columbia continues to release a very diverse
    collection of television product. Sanford And
    Son: Season One certainly stands as one of the
    greatest television shows of all time, and at an
    on-line price at just above $20, this terrific
    season set is certainly not out of reach.
    Release Date: August 6, 2002
     
  2. Bryan_ZZ

    Bryan_ZZ Stunt Coordinator

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    Ron,
    Thanks for the review. I am really excited about this release and cannot wait to see what others who have not been exposed to Fred G. S-A-N-F-O-R-D. think of the show. It will expose a new audience to some of the social and political issues of the early 70's in a humorous, yet thoughtful way.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Bryan
     
  3. BrianP

    BrianP Supporting Actor

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    I will be getting this one with the Jeffersons set.
     
  4. Scott Temple

    Scott Temple Supporting Actor

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    This show is so funny. I've had it pre-ordered for several weeks now, but I still love to read the reviews. Doesn't it seem like August 6th is taking forever to get here? I want my Simpsons Season 2, Sanford Season 1, Hot Shots, and Hot Shots Part Deux DVDs, NOW![​IMG]
     
  5. Luis S

    Luis S Supporting Actor

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    Dont feel so bad Scott,I saw these for sale yesterday and the Simpsons season2 But had no cash to pick them yp [​IMG]
     
  6. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    I can't wait for this one. I've hoped for this show since TV started appearing on DVD. I just hope we end up with the Julio episodes in the future.
    I'll be comparing the video to what I've been used to in reruns. It's always been fairly dull-looking, so it should be okay.
    Also looking forward to the Jeffersons, a show I've always liked but never imagined owning. In seasons sets, it's a no-brainer.
     
  7. James_Garner

    James_Garner Stunt Coordinator

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    Ron,
    Is it safe to assume that Columbia/Tristar used the original 26-minute versions (Like "All in the Family") rather the butchered 22-minute versions that have been shown on TBS for years?
     
  8. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    Does anyone remember the sequel series that aired on NBC in 1980-81? It was called simply "Sanford" and wasn't nearly as funny as the original. They didn't even rebuilt the sets correctly, the junk shop on this one was smaller and looked different. Many original cast members appeared in a few of the shows, but Demond Wilson never did. I think it ran at least 22 shows. The last I saw of it, BET was showing reruns in the early 90s.

    Actually there was a very short lived spin off before that called "Sanford Arms" which ran like three weeks in 1977.
     
  9. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    The one with Dennis Burkley as Cal? Yeah, I vaguely remember it. I like Dennis Burkley, and the show was mildly entertaining as I recall, but it just wasn't the same.

    Funny thing, though: I did like the "contract dispute" episodes where Fred was supposedly in St. Louis and Grady was staying with Lamont. That situation actually persisted over many episodes.
     
  10. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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  11. Brian Bunn

    Brian Bunn Second Unit

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    You BIG DUMMY Ron!! Thanks for reviewing my favorite TV show of all time on DVD.

    All you other BIG DUMMIES better go out and buy this Sanford and Son DVD set! I am gonna snatch it up faster than you can say Fred G. Sanford...and the G stands for "Gotta have it".

    I have 19 of the Columbia House Collectors Edition series VHS tapes put out about 4 years ago but am going to sell those on eBay to help finance the purchase of the entire series on DVD. Oh man...I can't wait. IMO this is one of the best uses that the DVD format can offer...releasing old TV shows in its entirety on these shiny little discs.

    In anticipation I just watched my favorite episode on tape, and perhaps THE funniest 30 minutes in TV history, entitled "Home Sweet Home", in which a Japanese firm is buying up all the properties on Fred's block to build a brewery. I was laughing so hard my sides are hurting! Oh man that is some seriously funny stuff! And I have seen the episode many times, and yet it always cracks me up more than anything I have ever watched on TV. Whewwwwww!!!

    Miss Funai: We have decided to offer you twenty-two five for your home Mr. Sanford.

    Lamont: Twenty-two five.

    Fred: What's the nickel for? (delivered in a way only Redd Foxx could do!)

    or

    Lamont: Isn't this a Samarai Sword Miss Funai? I bet there's a lot of history behind that.

    Miss Funai: Yes. My Great Grandfather used that sword to kill himself over a hundred years ago.

    Lamont: Amazing.

    Fred: What's so amazing about killing yourself? My Uncle Alphonso in St. Louis killed hisself...you don't see me hanging wine bottles all around the wall do you?

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!! Of course it is much funnier when you are watching it. I tell ya...this episode gets my vote for the funniest half hour in TV history! It don't get any better than that.


    This DVD release represents perhaps my happiest DVD moment to date...and would make owning a DVD player worth it all on its own.

    Now if we can get Seinfeld and The Wonder Years released I would truly be in DVD heaven.
     
  12. Robert_eb

    Robert_eb Supporting Actor

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    Looking forward to this release.
     
  13. Kevin J Willis

    Kevin J Willis Stunt Coordinator

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    Can't wait for August 6th! What a great day for DVD releases!
     
  14. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    David,

    Is Best Buy likely to beat the online retailers?
     
  15. Scott_J

    Scott_J Cinematographer

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  16. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Dave H, Scott is correct. See my post in Ron's review thread for The Jeffersons for full details. Essentially, unless Costco-like stores get these at the last second, and discount them a buck or two, figure it'll be $19.99 most stores. So if you see it cheaper on-line, get it.
     
  17. Brian D Scott

    Brian D Scott Stunt Coordinator

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    Oh man, I can't wait! I'm planning to surprise my mom with a DVD player and this set! Not to mention that I'll have my own!!! I can't wait 'til they get around to the season that has the episode where Fred thinks he's dying so everybody comes to see him. My favorite line of the entire series is in that episode:

    "Esther, I could stick your face in some dough, and make some gorilla cookies!"
     
  18. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Does anyone know which episode ends with Fred accidentally pulling off LaWanda Page's wig? From what I can tell, it was totally unplanned but left in because of how damn funny it was. One of the funniest things I have ever seen on TV.
    Also, I'm looking forward to the episode where another man claims to be Lamont's father, and the one where Lamont becomes interested in African customs, and the one . . . hell, just bring them all on! [​IMG] Man, I love this show!
    Actually, it looks like season 3 will be my favorite. It's got the "Lamont's father" episode I mentioned above, as well as the "Blind Mellow Jelly" episode. "I want my daddy's records!" [​IMG]
    Rollo, Donna . . . less than a week to go!
     
  19. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Enjoying the set, but a couple of things:
    Episode 2 ("Happy Birthday, Pop") lists a hat-check girl in the credits. I just got done watching it, and I don't remember such a character. Is it possible these are cut after all, or could she have been cut originally but left in the credits? Or, maybe I just missed her.
    Also, I seem to remember an extended ending theme. Right where the theme cuts off on the discs, it got into a real funky section. Is that being prematurely cut off, or is that possibly in a later season/when the credits are longer?
    There was one "scary" moment in the second episode, but it turned out okay. Lamont reads a phone number (of the 555) variety out loud, and I was afraid it was going to be cut off. Many current syndicated shows cut off the audio on at least one digit, and Fox's Revenge of the Nerds disc is even slightly edited to avoid displaying a 555 number. Here, the full number was read.
    Lastly, how are you watching the show? I've decided to savor them, so I'm watching one show a night, alternated with the Jeffersons. So, tonight was the second episode of Sanford, and tomorrow will be the second episode of the Jeffersons. I imagine some of you are already halfway through these, though. [​IMG]
     
  20. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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