Aired on Treasure Island Oldies – Nov 12, 2023
Four years prior to Chuck Berry being born in 1926, the city of St. Louis registered the birth of John Elroy Sanford.
Sanford gained success as a stand-up comedian with his raunchy night club act, before and during the civil rights movement. He became known as the “King of Party Records,” performing on more than 50 recordings, the majority on the Dooto/Dootone label. He was a good friend of Malcolm X who, in his autobiography, references him as “the funniest dishwasher on earth” …
In 1979, during a vacation in Hawaii, our Moments In Time creator, Tom Locke, experienced the performer’s XXX Show.
In one of his blue routines, he remarked that he was illiterate and, in his earlier years, used to sign all his contracts with two “X’s”. However, when he found out what F.O. meant, he added to the front of the X’s. Of course, we know him by his full stage name … Redd Foxx.
Foxx achieved his most widespread fame starring in the television sitcom Sanford and Son, an adaptation of the BBC series Steptoe and Son. Foxx played the role of Fred G. Sanford (“Fred Sanford” was actually Foxx’s father’s and brother’s name).
In this sitcom, that ran six years from 1972 thru 1977, Fred and his son, Lamont, were owners of a junk/salvage store who dealt with many humorous situations. Noted for its racial humor, some contend that the show help redefine the genre of black situation comedy.
Foxx was famous for having Fred Sanford fake heart attacks on Sanford and Son and was particularly skilled at pratfalls. So it was somewhat ironic when he had a fatal heart attack on the set of the sitcom, The Royal Family, on Oct 11, 1991.
Comedian Eddie Murphy has been quoted as saying that Redd Foxx was the most naturally funny person that he ever met.
Back in 1957, Foxx, in a novelty jump tune, proclaimed that “It’s Fun To Be Living In The Crazy House,” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.
YouTube video of this song:
This “Moments In Time” story is yet another example of a “golden oldie” or forgotten favorite that earned its place in the evolution of Rock & Roll.