Sanford and Son (1972–1977): Season 3, Episode 1 - Lamont as Othello - full transcript

Unbeknownst to Fred, Lamont and Rollo have been taking acting classes and is preparing to play the lead in "Othello". Fred thinks that Lamont has a new girlfriend and doesn't want to reveal her identity. So, while out with Bubba one night, the two return to the house and find Lamont and his teacher Marlene practicing the scene in which Othello strangles Desdamona. Thinking that Lamont is only choking a white woman to death, he and Bubba panic, but after the ruse is revealed, Marlene tries to help Fred understand what Lamont is trying to do. Inviting Fred and Lamont to her parent's house in Beverly Hills, so that they can rehearse, Fred walks in on Marlene's parents who think he is a burglar.


Hey, Rollo.

Let's do that scene again.

Let's take it from the top.

Yeah, okay.

Othello, The Moor of Venice,
by William Shakespeare.

No, not that far, man.

Just do the scene.

You know, the prison scene.

Oh. Oh, man. Oh, yeah.

You shall close prisoner rest

till that nature of
your fault be known

to the Venetian state.


Bring him away.

Soft, you.

A word or two before you go.

I have done the
state some service,

and they know't.

No more of that.

I pray you, in your letters,

when these unlucky
deeds you shall relate,

speak of me as I am,
nothing extenuate,

nor set down aught in malice.

Speak of me as one
that loved not wisely,

but too well.

Outta sight, dude.

Hey, move over,
Laurence Olivier,

and make room
for Lamont Sanford,

the new Othello.

Hey, man, you're just lying.

You're trying to
make me feel good.

Hey, man, if I'm
lying, I'm flying,

and my mama's home crying.

You ain't been...

You ain't been in the
workshop but three weeks,

and you're almost as
good as me already.

Hey, man, we're going
to turn this play out.

I can feel it.

Hey, Rollo,

who knows what this
might lead to, man.

I mean, from a junkyard,
to a neighborhood theater,

to Broadway, to my
first motion picture.

And back to the junkyard.

I thought you said I was good.

You are good, partner,

but, I mean, you
ain't fantastic.

I mean, you ain't Jim Brown.

Yeah, brother.

Well, I'm going to
keep working on it.

As a matter of
fact, after school,

Marilyn is going
to come over here,

and we're going to go

through a few scenes together.


How're you going
to work that out

with your father around?

Are you kidding, man?
He ain't going to be around.

How're you going to
get him out of the house?

Hey, maybe I'll tell him

they're having a
nudie film festival

down at the
neighborhood theater.

Right on.

That ought to put
wings on his old heels.

Hey, lookee, I'm going to
get in the wind, my man.

Call you later.

Come, go with me apart.

I must withdraw, to furnish me

with some swift means of death

for the fair devil.

Now, art thou my lieutenant?

I am your own
forever... brother.

Right on.

See you later, bro.

♪ And would I be sure ♪

♪ That this is love
Beyond compare ♪

♪ Will all this be
true If I didn't care ♪

♪ For you ♪♪

You... Bill Kinney
used to hit that note.

Hi, son.

Hey, Pop, you're in a
good mood tonight, man.

What's happening?

Yeah, it's Lena Horne
weekend on the 10:00 movie.

You're not expecting
company, are you?

No, I'm not going to share
the Horne with nobody.

Well, if the movie
don't start till 10:00,

how come you're
starting so early?

Well, see, at 8:30, the
creature features start,

and Bubba told me to make
sure I don't miss this one,

because this is a good one.

It's all about creatures
and stuff, see?

And Bubba told
me not to miss it,

because it's a good one.

It's called The Day
of the Nite Creeper.

See, it's all about
an army of big bugs

surrounding Washington, D.C...

And, see, these bugs
are crawling up the steps,

eating their way
toward the President.

Yeah, that sounds terrific.

Yeah, and that takes
me right on up to 10:00

when it's just me and the Horne.

Uh, you know something, Pop?

Watching all that
television, man,

is bad for your eyes.

You know what you should do?

You should take
a nice, long walk

out in the night air.

It'll be good for you.

Yeah, out there in
that nice, healthy smog,

and those friendly muggers.

What is this all about?

Why are you trying

to get me out of the house?

Don't turn on the TV yet, Pop.

Okay, well, here's how it is.

See, um, I'm expecting
some company,

in a few minutes,
as a matter of fact,

and, well, I don't
want nobody around,

you know what I mean?

You mean female company?

You got it.

Why, you son of a gun.

Chip off the old block.

You mean, you got some
heavy action coming?

Right. Right.

So would you make
yourself scarce, Pop?

Wait a minute.

Look here.

Who's the lucky girl?

Never mind who it is.

Are you going?

Is it Jessie Mae's daughter?

Is it Jackie Warnsby,

that girl with the pretty legs

and the big... Pop!

Now, look, it's not
anybody that you know.

Now, would you please leave?

I'm going.

I have to have the house
to myself once in a while.

Say no more. I'm going.

Thank you very
much. I'll see you later.


I ain't got nowhere to go.

Well, why don't you
go down to the bar

and have a few beers and
watch some TV down there?

I was thinking about that,
but I ain't got no money.

All right, here's a buck.

Good night, Pop.

Well, they've got a $2.00
minimum down here.

All right, here you
go. Good night.

That's just to keep
the loiterers out.

Good night, Pop.

Now, listen, you
want me to be gone

about two hours, don't you?

Well, this won't
last but an hour.

Okay, now, good night, Pop.

Say, uh, give me another
buck and it's a deal.

You see, I tips.

Look, son, I'll
be back at 10:00,

so make sure that the
premises have been vacated.

Good night, Pop.

Good night.

Is it Crazy Herbert's
daughter, Evelyn?

Would you get out of here?

Nah, nee, nah, noo.

Loo, loo, loo, nah, nee.

La, la, la, la, la...

Nah, nee, noo, noo,
noo, nah, nah, nah, nah.


Oh, hello, Marilyn. Come on in.

Hi, Lamont.

Hey, I parked my
car across the street.

Is it all right?

This will be a first
for this neighborhood.

You mean, my
being in your house?

No, your car being

the first one on the
block with hubcaps.

Uh, come on in.

Make yourself at home.

Thank you.

Say, Marilyn, I
really appreciate

you coming over like this.

Teaching school during the day,

and the workshop at night.

You must be awfully tired.

Oh, no, this is the
fun part. I enjoy it.

Oh, good.

Say, would you like
some refreshments?

Potato chips or pretzels?

Father set this up for us
and then he had to split.

Most likely, he's at the club.

No, thank you.

Hey, uh, you have
quite a collection here.

Yeah, Pop and I

have been working
at it for a long time,

but you know something, Marilyn?

My heart's not
really in the business.

I mean, I've always felt

that I was cut out for
something in the arts.

You mean acting?

Acting, directing,

Something better than
what I'm doing now.

Marilyn, do you think,

if I really stuck with
it and applied myself,

that I might become an actor?

Oh, Lamont, it's a
very tough business.

You know, I mean, it's one
thing doing it like we're doing it,

as a hobby,

but to depend
on it for a living...

I don't know.

I've got the talent. I mean,
you said so yourself...

Yeah, you do.

And I'm tall enough,

I'm intelligent,
I'm good-looking...

You're modest.

Right, right.

You want to get started?

Come, Desdemona.

I have but an hour of love,

of worldly matters,
to spend with thee.

We must obey the time.

Oh, very good,
my lord. Very good.

Of course that's very good.

That's because I'm talented
and I'm sharp and I'm cool.


What's the matter
with you, Bubba?

We've got to be quiet.

If Lamont knows we're out here,

he'll think we're spying on him.

But we are spying.

No, we're not.

We just want to find out
who the mystery woman is.

I'll bet it's that
Jackie Warnsby.

It better not be.

She just married Al
Hughes' nephew last week.

That explains why
she's the mystery woman.

Weepest thou for him to my face?

Oh, banish me, my
lord, but kill me not.

Down, strumpet.

But half an hour.

Being done, there is no pause.

But while I say one prayer.

It's too late.

Lamont. Lamont. Lamont!

Wait a minute.

You're supposed
to be choking me.

Yeah, I know,

but I didn't want to hurt you.

Oh, don't worry about that.
I'm not fragile. I won't break.

Well, I mean, don't
actually strangle me,

but act as though you might.

All right.

Let's try it again.

Whenever you're ready, my lord.

See what they're
doing there, Fred.

Will you be quiet, Bubba?

Be quiet.

I that am cruel am yet merciful.

I would not have
thee linger in thy pain.

What's wrong?

What's wrong?

What did you see?

This is the big one.

This is the big one.

My son is choking a
white woman in my house.

You hear that, Elizabeth?

I'm coming to join you, honey...

with a fat friend.

Don't do that, boy!

Don't do that.

Hold him, Bubba.

You can't do this!

Hold him, Bubba.

Run, lady, while
you have the chance!

Run! Run!

He has these spells,
and he's not responsible.

Please... Bubba, get off of me!

Would you just stop for a minute
and let me explain something?

Now, can't you
tell the difference

between the real
thing and a rehearsal?

A what?

A rehearsal.

Something that you
practice for a play.

A play?

That's right, a play.

Marilyn is the director

in this workshop that
I've been attending,

and we're going
to put on a play.

Oh, and I hope you'll come
and be in the audience.

You have an audience?

Of course there's
going to be an audience.

Well, you'd better have

the National Guard standing by.

I'm going to go, Fred.

I'm going back to the bar

to get me something to drink

to calm my nerves.

Wait a minute,
Bubba. Wait a minute.

You don't have to go back.

You can have a drink here.

You ain't got enough
here in this house to drink

for me to calm my nerves.

Lamont, didn't
you tell your father

about our drama workshop?

He didn't tell me nothing.

Now, about this play...

Didn't you know Jack the
Ripper was a white man?

That shows you
how much you know.

This is one of Shakespeare's

most important plays, Othello.

If you ever took
the time to read it,

you'd know that
Othello was a black man.


That's right. Othello.

A black man with
an Italian name?

He was a Moor.

A Moor?

A Moor.

I know Archie Moore.

Yeah, but see,

Othello Moore sounds
like he might have been...

Look, do you want to
hear about this or not?

Othello was a black man,

and he was married
to this white woman

that he suspected
of cheating on him,

so he choked her to death.

And you call that a play?

Mr. Sanford, may
I say something?

Lamont has been
working very hard at this,

and I'll bet you're not aware

of how good he is.

Have you ever seen him act?

I've been watching
him act all his life...

like a dummy.

Then I don't have to...

Wait a minute, Lamont.
Would you do something?

Would you do something
from the play for your father?

Well, bye.

Wait. Wait, Mr. Sanford.

No, I'm not going to
do anything for him.

He'd just laugh.

Lamont, you have
to get used to this.

I mean, your friends
and your family

are your worst critics,

and if you please them,
you can please anybody.

How about it?

Well, all right.


Mr. Sanford,

I think you're in
for a little surprise.

I think I'm in for
a little nausea.

Now, come on over here,
sit down, and just watch.

I'll watch, but I don't want to.

Hey, uh, Othello?

Will you take your foot
off my Chippendale?

I pray you, in your letters,

when you shall these
unlucky deeds relate,

speak of me as I am,
nothing extenuate.

And say besides
that in Aleppo once,

where a malignant
and turbaned Turk

beat a Venetian and
traduced the State,

I took by the throat
the circumcised dog,

and smote him thus.

What kind of dog was that?


Listen here.

Was this play written
by a Jewish fellow?

What difference
does that make, Pop?

Well, because, I mean,
they go for that kind of stuff,

you know what I mean?

But we can take it or leave it,
like we did when you were born.

The doctor said...

Pop, what are you talking about?

You take one little word
out of the whole speech

and you make a
big deal about it.

What about the way I did
it? What about my acting?

I ain't going to say
nothing about that

if you're going to be in a play

that uses that kind of word.

You don't hear
those kinds of words

on television.

I'm going to get me
a glass of Ripple.

Hey, Marilyn,

let's just forget
about the rehearsal.

I'm sorry.

We'll have to pick another time

and another place to rehearse.

What about her place?


If she can come over here,

how come you
can't go over there?

Pop, Marilyn comes here

because the
workshop is close by.

I mean, it's easier
for her to come here

than to go all the way home.

What's the matter with you, man?

Marilyn's all right.

You live alone?

No, I live with my parents.

See, that's why you can't go.

You're wrong, Mr. Sanford.

Where do you
live? Beverly Hills.

Case closed.

I'm sorry, Mr. Sanford,
but you're wrong.

Listen, Lamont is welcome
at my house any time.

Well, tonight,

right now, in fact,
if he wants to go.

Hey, Marilyn, you don't
have to prove nothing to him.

Yes, I think that I do,

and I'd like to prove
it to you, Mr. Sanford.

I'd like for both of you to
come to my house, right now.

Marilyn, he'd only mess up

the rehearsal there
just like he did here.

The only way that I'll go

is if he sits and
waits out in the truck.

Lamont, you can't
have your father

wait out in the street.

Yes, I can.

Hey, listen, it's okay.

I don't mind
sitting in the truck,

as long as you give me a camera,

so I can take the expression

off that Beverly
Hills policeman's face

when I tell him I'm
sitting in the truck

waiting on my son,

who's inside, choking
a white woman to death.

Let's go.

Okay, listen...
You sure my truck's

going to be safe out there?

What's the matter with you,
Pop? This is Beverly Hills, man.

So what? They
steal in Beverly Hills.

Now, listen, just make
yourselves at home.

This sure is a nice place
you've got here, Marilyn.

Thank you.

First, can I get you
anything? Something to drink?

First, you may get
your mother and father,

because all of us
might need a drink.

Oh, they're away
for the weekend.

They're not here.

I know what you're
thinking, Mr. Sanford,

and I want you to come
back when they are here,

because I'd really like
for you to meet them.

Excuse me. I'm going to
see what's in the refrigerator,

and then we can get started.

Listen, I don't want
you to go to any bother.

Hey, you go do some
bothering, honey.

Go ahead and bother.

Okay, I'll be right back.

You know what's
wrong with this house?

Ain't got no smell.

You know what I mean?

It don't smell like
our house smells.

You can say that again.

No, no, I'm talking
about the smell of frying

coming out the kitchen,
you know what I mean?

Smell that.

Pure white. Smells like lettuce.

I found some fruit.

Would you like
some, Mr. Sanford?

Yeah, I'll take one.

Yeah, I'll take it all.

Lamont, should we get started?

Uh, yeah, you ready?

Hey, wait a minute, son.

You're not going to do that play

about the dog that
had the operation?

That's right, and if you
don't want to hear it,

you can go take a walk.

Oh, Mr. Sanford, listen, uh...

Maybe you'd like to
watch some television.

There's a set down the hall,

or there's one
out in the kitchen.

Just help yourself.

Hey, Marilyn, don't
worry about him.

Let's just get started, okay?




Who's there? Othello?

Ay, Desdemona.

Will you come to bed, my lord?

Don't do that.

I'm trying to do the scene.

Have you prayed
tonight, Desdemona?

Ay, my lord.

If you bethink
yourself of any crime

unreconciled as yet
to heaven and grace,

solicit for it straight.

Alas, my lord, what
may thou mean by that?

Wait, wait.

Let me go back.

"Have you..."

Do this.

LAMONT: Desdemona,
I have but an hour

of love of worldly matters

to spend with you
You must obey...

This is where the TV is.

Say, uh... I thought you folks

were going to be
away for the weekend,

so I just came for the TV.

Take it.

Take the television.
Take anything you want.

Catherine, give him your rings.

Just don't harm us.

Don't harm you?

These people must be crazy.

I that am cruel am yet merciful,

I would not have thee
linger in thy pain, so...

I... I'm doing a
scene on choking her.

I left the hall here,
and this girl's folks...

Take your hands off
the woman's throat.


Mother, Mother, wait a minute!


Help! Get the police!
Marilyn, get the police!

Don't stand there.

Just get the police.

We were rehearsing!


Yeah, don't you
know the difference

between the real
thing and a rehearsal?

I had no idea you
were going to be home.

I thought you were
going to Palm Springs

for the weekend.

We were, but we decided
to leave in the morning.


Oh, Mother,

this is my friend,
Lamont Sanford,

and he's in my drama workshop.

Hello, Mrs.
O'Neill, Mr. O'Neill.

Uh, I'm sorry we
scared you like that.

And this is his father,
Mr. Fred Sanford.

Yeah, I met in the bedroom.

Marilyn, don't ever
do that to us again.

You scared the life out of us.

Oh, Mother, really.

You should have understood
that it was just play-acting.


How can we tell

he wasn't really
stealing the TV?

First, a strange man
walks into our bedroom,

and then this out here?

What is this you're
talking about,

a strange man?

Who's a strange man?
I'm not a strange man.

Hey, Pop, he didn't
mean nothing by that.

To him, you are a strange man.

Yeah, and if he comes to Watts,

he'll be a strange man.

I'll bet you anything
he's a bigot.

Well, he certainly
is not a bigot.

We both belong to
the Urban League.

I'm getting out of here.

Oh, wait, wait.
Please, Mr. Sanford.

Dad, I know why
Mr. Sanford was offended.

When you found him
and his son in your house,

you overreacted.

What are we supposed to do

when a strange man
walks into our bedroom?

There you go again
with that strange talk...

Wait... Dad... Dad!

What I'm trying to say is
that in the case of Mr. Sanford,

you overreacted
simply because he is a...

Wait a minute, honey.

Let me explain to
him what happened.

See, now, you've had
other people make a mistake

and come into your
bedroom before?

Say, like your
daughter's friends?

Yes, it's happened.

It's happened before when
I've had people in the house.

And did you say that they
were thieves and crooks

and were going to
do you some harm?

I can't recall what I said.

No, no, you didn't,

but as soon as you saw me,
who you call a strange man,

right away, you think the worst.

Yes, I suppose I did.

And that's why
Mr. Sanford was insulted.

When you saw him,

you immediately assumed
that he was after something.


Ain't nothing in
your bedroom I want.

See, the trouble with
you is you're prejudiced.

Maybe I did overreact a little.

Yeah, you admit
it now, don't you?


Yeah, you admit it.

See, you found out something
about yourself tonight.

Yes, I suppose I did.

Sure you did,

and the next time you find
a black man in your bedroom

looking for the TV,
don't get uptight.

Don't do that.

And another thing...

Get some smell in this house.

Come on, son.

Now, wait a minute.

Wait a minute, wait a
minute. Mr. Sanford?

Why don't we all

finish this off with a nightcap?

Yes, please, stay
and have something.

Would you, Mr. Sanford? Lamont?

Well, it's okay with me

if it's all right with Pop.

As long as you don't
call me a strange man.

That's all forgotten.

All forgotten.

Come on, Sanford.

Name your poison.
What'll you have?

Give me a glass of Ripple.

Uh, Ripple? What's that?

That's the national
wine of Watts.

Well, I don't have any Ripple,

but why don't you try a
little of this special sherry?

This is Sercial Madeira
from the estate Blande 1860.

Oh, man, that tastes
like shoe polish.

What do you mean, shoe polish?

Shoe polish.
Griffin, Kiwi, Esquire.

This stuff costs $30 a bottle.

Well, you ought to
go back and get $29,

and get you some real wine.

See, you people don't
know what's good.

You people?

What do you mean, you people?

You're prejudiced.

You're the one who's a bigot.

Who's a bigot, bigot?


and Son is recorded on tape

before a live studio audience.