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Character Profile of the Month - December 2001

SANFORD, Fred G. & son, Lamont
(Sanford & Son)
( 555-1079
c/o Sanford & Son Salvage
9114 South Central [also 4707 South Central Avenue]
Los Angeles, CA (Watts Area)

Fred and Lamont Sanford
Fred (on left) with son, Lamont

Fred is a 65-year-old junk dealer with an alleged heart condition. He served in World War II as a paratrooper and got a bayonet wound in his stomach. Lamont is 34-years-old and  a reluctant partner in the business of Sanford & Son Salvage. One day, he hopes to make more of himself. But, until that day, Lamont stays with his dad and suffers his grumpiness and curmudgeonly ways. Every time Lamont threatens to leave, Fred clasps one hand across his heart, starts to stagger and shouts skyward to his deceased wife "I’m coming to join you, Elizabeth, this is the big one." Fred’s highest compliment is to call someone a "Big Dummy!" The Sanford's collect and deliver their junk and other questionable antiques in a red 1962 Ford pickup and a 1947 Mercury M-47 truck.

After a hard days work, Fred reaches for the soothing refreshment of a bottle of Ripple. Over the years, Fred's love affair with Ripple has inspired him to create such concoctions as Mintchipple (Mint julep + Ripple); Cripple (Cream + Ripple); Champipple (Champagne + Ripple); Beaujolipple (Beaujolais + Ripple); and Manischipple (Manischewitz + Ripple). 

Fred’s relatives included Aunt Ethel [Lamont’s favorite] and Elizabeth’s Bible-thumping sister, Aunt Esther Anderson who calls Fred an "Old Fish-eyed Fool." Fred reciprocates and calls her "Ugly" and variations on that theme]. Once, he cried “You are so ugly that if you pressed your face in some dough...you'd have gorilla cookies.” Aunt Esther ran the Sanford Arms, a run-down rooming house next to the junkyard. Fred’s friends included Melvin, Bubba Hoover, Grady Wilson and Nurse Donna Harris, a romantic interest and possible new wife for Fred. Lamont’s friend included his best friend Rollo Larson, Julio Fuentes, an Hispanic neighbor and Janet Lawson, a divorcee [later Lamont’s fiancée] with a young son, Roger.

When Lamont left Los Angeles and got a job on the Alaska Pipeline, Fred took on two new partners: Rollo Larson & Cal Pettie. But when Lamont returned from Alaska, he and Fred moved to Arizona after selling their house, junkyard and rooming house to a white man named Phil Wheeler. An ever watchful Aunt Esther stayed behind and collected monthly payments on their mortgage while Fred’s buddies Grady and Bubba took jobs as bellboy and maintenance men at the Sanford Arms. 

TRIVIA NOTE: The American TV series Sanford and Son/NBC/1972-77 was produced by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin. They licensed the idea for the show from a British series called Steptoe & Son/BBC/1962-74, which featured the exploits of a white cockney junk dealer played by Wilfred Brambell as the elderly Albert Steptoe and Harry H. Corbett as his middle-aged son Harold Steptoe. The Sanford and Son franchise continued as the short-lived Sanford Arms/NBC/1977 (without Redd Foxx or Desmond Wilson). and was revived in 1980 on CBS as Sanford (starring Foxx and but not Wilson). Redd Foxx was born December 9, 1922 in St Louis Missouri as John Elroy Sanford. He died October 11, 1991 of a heart attack while on the set of his new sitcom series The Royal Family/CBS/1991-92. Foxx played the role of a cranky nearly retired postal worker named Alfonso Royal who lived in Atlanta, Georgia. Demond Wilson was born October 13, 1946 in Valdosta. Georgia. He became a minister in 1984. In 1994 he formed the Restoration House of America which offers guidance and vocational training to former inmates. 



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