1970’s Christmas and Black Television

1970’s Christmas and Black Television

Good Times was a Norman Lear-produced Sit Com that ran on CBS from 1974-1979. The show was a of Lear’s earlier comedy Maude (Itself a spinoff of All In The Family). The show followed the lives of the Evans family, a poor Black family living in the high-rise projects of Chicago.

TV LAND GOOD TIMES

Most episodes featured the efforts of the Evans to get by in the ghetto and make a better life for themselves. Despite the fact that those efforts usually ended in bitter disappointment, the show remained surprisingly positive and uplifting. And like most Lear shows of the time, Good Times wasn’t afraid to moralize or bring up controversial topics.

Good Times; The Traveling Christmas – It’s Christmas, but Keith’s boss won’t give him the night off. The Evanses decide to have a party at the taxi-cab company with singing, impersonations and Santa making a visit.

 

Jeffersons

The Jeffersons, which appeared on CBS television from 1975 to 1985, focused on the lives of a nouveau riche Black couple, George and Louise Jefferson. George Jefferson was a successful businessman, millionaire and owner of seven dry cleaning stores. He lived with his wife in a ritzy penthouse apartment on Manhattan’s fashionable and moneyed East Side. “We’re movin’ on up!” intoned the musical theme of the show opener that featured George, Louise and a moving van in front of “their de-luxe apartment in the sky.”

The program was conceived by independent producers, Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin. This team’s creation of highly successful and often controversial sitcoms during the 1970s and early 1980s, helped to change television history. Programs such as Maude, Sanford and Son, and Good Times enjoyed frequent rankings amongst the top-ten most watched programs.

The Jeffersons was a spin-off of one of 1970s television’s most notable television sitcoms, All in the Family. In 1973, Lear cast Sherman Hemsley in the role of George Jefferson, Archie Bunker’s irascible and upwardly mobile Black neighbor. This character was such a hit with viewers that Hemsley was soon cast in the spin-off series,The Jeffersons.

The Jeffersons; All I Want For Christmas; George gets carried away after playing Santa for the orphans at the Help Center and Father Christmas; George and Tom reminisce about their fathers on past Christmases.

 

Sanford-and-Son

Sanford and Son debuted as a mid-season replacement in January 1972 and was an instant success. The show was produced by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin, the team responsible for All in the Family. The two shows had a few things in common. They were both based on popular British sitcoms, and both were pioneers of edgy, racial humor that reflected the changing politics of the time. Sanford and Son helped to redefine the genre of black situation comedy.

Redd Foxx played the show’s central character Fred Sanford, a Los Angeles junk dealer. Sanford’s son Lamont (Demond Wilson), is his reluctant partner in the business, always looking for a way out — but he ultimately cares for his pop too much to leave him to his own devices. A cast of quirky characters added to the hilarity of the series, and the funky theme song, written by Quincy Jones gave the show a distinct flair.

Sanford and Son was ranked in the Top 10 for its full five-and-a-half-year run. When the two lead actors opted out of the series after the 1976-77 season, the rest of the cast carried on with the forgettable follow-up series The Sanford Arms. An attempt was made at a revival in 1980 with Foxx returning to the series Sanford, but it only lasted one season.

Sanford and Son; Ebenezer Sanford – Despite attempts by his friends to spread Christmas cheer, Fred becomes a miserable scrooge.

 

whats_happening-show

What’s Happening aired on ABC from August 5, 1976 to April 28, 1979. The show premiered as a summer series. With good ratings and reviews, and after the failure of several other shows on the network, What’s Happening!! returned in November 1976 as a weekly series. It remained a regular show until 1979; ratings were modest. What’s Happening!! was loosely based on the motion picture Cooley High, also written by Eric Monte.

 

diffrent-strokes-photograph-c10101742

Diff’rent Strokes aired on the NBC television network from November 3, 1978 to May 4, 1985, and on ABC from September 27, 1985 to March 7, 1986. The series starred Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges as Arnold and Willis Jackson, two orphaned children from Harlem who are taken in by rich Park Avenue businessman Phillip Drummond (Conrad Bain) and his daughter Kimberly (Dana Plato), for whom their deceased mother previously worked.

During the first season, Charlotte Rae also starred as the Drummonds’ housekeeper, Mrs. Garrett (who ultimately spun-off into her own successful show, The Facts of Life).

Diff’rent Stokes; Retrospective – Mr. Drummond and family gather around their Christmas tree and recall the many humorous incidents that the family has shared since Arnold and Willis moved in.

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