Redd Foxx Comedy Hour, The

Here’s another ticket for a show that taped at CBS but as you can see from the absence of those letters on the ticket, the show didn’t air on CBS. It also wasn’t called The Redd Foxx Show like the ticket says. There was a later program called The Redd Foxx Show and it was a situation comedy. This one was a variety show that was broadcast on ABC as The Redd Foxx Comedy Hour.

Mr. Foxx starred in Sanford and Son from 1972 to 1977. When it was finally cancelled, he signed a big contract with ABC and this series resulted. It was produced by the team of Allan Blye and Bob Einstein, and it was a very funny, innovative series that not a lot of people watched. Foxx was joined by regulars Billy Barty, Bill Saluga and Hal Smith, along with some of his old nightclub cronies like Slappy White and “Iron Jaw” Wilson. “Iron Jaw” was a performer who was often on nightclub bills with Foxx as an opening act. His performance consisted of linking about a dozen lightweight wooden chairs into a cluster and lifting that assemblage up in his teeth. That was about all he did but Foxx kept him working. Andy Kaufman also appeared once or twice.

When Redd left NBC, there were press reports that the main point of contention had been that the network wouldn’t give him a dressing room with a window in it. The actual reason was that, given the success of Sanford and Son, he felt he deserved a lot more money than NBC was offering and also that he had more to offer than just playing Fred Sanford. He wanted, for example, to host variety specials and to guest host The Tonight Show — the latter, a demand that was vetoed by Johnny Carson. ABC offered a lot more…so off he went. The opening of his first telecast showed a shot of the ABC studio and an announcer introduced him. You then heard the voice of Redd Foxx yelling, “I ain’t comin’ out ’til I get a window!”

What followed was a funny show but America wasn’t watching. A bad time slot (Thursday nights at 10) was one reason. Another may have been that people really only loved him as Sanford. The only attention the series got was when they did a sketch spoofing Farrah Fawcett’s then-famous hair-do, It was a visit to her home where everyone — including her parents, the maid and a parrot — wore Farrah wigs. The actress sued and ABC settled with a promise that her coiffure would not be mocked on any ABC show. For a couple years there, the main taboo on an ABC show was any joke that mentioned Farrah Fawcett. Other networks could and did make fun of her but it was verboten on ABC.

Records show that The Redd Foxx Comedy Hour debuted on September 15, 1977 and last aired on January 26, 1978. The above ticket is for January 20, which makes one suspect the taping either didn’t occur or that it resulted in a show that never aired. By March of 1980, Redd Foxx was back on series television…playing Fred Sanford again.