On this day in comedy on September 16, 1977, Sanford Arms premiered on NBC!
The truth is if you’d taken a vacation that lasted over a month you’d have missed this sitcom altogether. Sanford Arms was a spin-off of NBC’s popular show, Sanford and Son. That show starred Redd Foxx and Demond Wilson as the title characters who owned a junkyard. It was a hilarious sitcom and a ratings hit. However, after six seasons and much behind-the- scenes drama, Redd Foxx left Sanford and Son and went over to ABC to do a variety show. This left Demond Wilson to hold down the fort. He wanted more money than they were willing to offer for his hold down and so he left as well. Sanford and Son would now have to be renamed and retooled.
The first mistake made with Sanford Arms (after Norman Lear stepped down as executive producer and became a mere consultant) was keeping the name Sanford. Without Foxx or Wilson there was no Sanford on the premises. The storyline had the two Sanfords move to Arizona due to Fred’s failing health. They sold their place; including a rooming house next door to one of Fred’s old army buddies that we never heard of, Phil. Bubba was still around (as a bellhop). Aunt Esther was still around (to help Phil) and so was Grady (now married), but audiences didn’t care about those characters if they weren’t going back and forth with Fred Sanford and they cared even less about Phil trying to make a rooming house in Watts into a hotel in Watts.
Sanford Arms was canceled abruptly on October 14, 1977 after four episodes aired.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
Check out this clip: