Sanford and Son (1972–1977): Season 4, Episode 12 - Tower Power - full transcript

A visit to a gallery of abstract art inspires Fred to create his magnum opus: a towering heap of junk.


Now, if you'll step this way,

you'll see Antwerp's
famous... Ah!

You'll see Antwerp's
famous painting,

called "Man with a Nose in Ear."

One might say it reflects

how the author sees a
man plagued with worries.

I can see that, listen,

if I had my nose in my
ear, I'd be worried too.

See, I could sneeze...

No, I ain't kidding you...

I could sneeze and
blow my head off.

Be quiet. I'd like to
absorb this lecture.

How'd you like to absorb this?

Oh, don't you tell me, tell him.

We've come here for art.

I come here for
art... Over here.

Over here is what's called,

"Assemblage Art."

Now, does anybody
here have an idea

what the author's trying to say?

Yeah. Stay off the freeway.

Ladies and gentlemen,

that concludes
our tour for the day.

Thank you very much
and please come again.

You're free to browse.

Browse. I'm getting out of here.

Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

Grab a hold of
me. I don't stay...

Hey, that was a real
nice lecture, Sandra.

You really know your work.

Well, thank you, Lamont.

I'm glad you and your
father could make it.

Mr. Sanford, so nice
to meet you again.

Thank you.

Say, listen, how
much is this pile of art?


Mr. Sanford,

art can't be measured in
terms of dollars and cents.

You see, art is a legacy.

Something left
behind by its creators.

Well, I got a legacy!


My unpaid bills.

Mr. Sanford,

the artist's whole
life is in this art.

Each piece here
represents a part of him.

What you see before you is...

well, what's... What's
inside the artist.

Well, maybe he needed a physic.



Oh, hey, Rollo.

Yeah, I know I
sound terrible, man.

I got the world's
worst headache.


Some fool has been outside
hammering and banging

all night long.


No, man, I don't know who it is,

and, look, I like
what those circulars

that you had printed up said,

you know, "Sanford and
Son's Clearance Sale,"

with the dates
printed on the bottom.

Yeah, that was hip,

and you sure that guy's
going to have them printed up

by tomorrow morning, right?

Good. What?

No, Rollo, I don't need
any original $10 bills

with Marvin Gaye's
pictures on them.


All right, I'll
talk to you later.

All right.



Pop... Huh?

Don't tell that that
was you out here

hammering and
banging all last night?


I said, don't tell me that

that was you out here

hammering and
banging all night long?

Speak right up, son.

I can't hear, my ears are numb.

You see, I've been out here
hammering and banging all night.

Hey, man, what are you doing?

What am I doing?

I'm building a legacy.

A legacy, see.

When people see this,
they'll remember me

and that will make me immoral...

That's immortal.

Have you forgotten, Pop?

We borrowed $400
from the bank, man,

and the sale is
only two days away,

and if it's not 100% successful,

we gonna be in
hock up to our ears.

We'll be ready.


I've gotta go make some
pickups with the truck.

Now, when I get back,
I'm gonna be gone all day...

And when I get
back here tonight,

I expect this thing
to be finished.

Finished. Son, you cannot
put a time limit on creativity.

Did Mrs. Bell say,
"Hurry up, man,

and invent the telephone,
I've gotta call my mother?"

And did Mrs. Edison say,

"Hurry up, man, will you
get that light bulb finished,

because it's
getting dark in here."


Hey, Pop, I'm home!

Oh, hey, Grady. How you doing?

Hi, Lamont. I'm tired, man.

I must've put over 200 miles

on that truck today.

Stop, bargain, make
a deal, load the truck.

Stop, bargain, make
a deal, load the truck.

Yeah, I know the feeling.

I'm tired too.

I must've played over
200 games of solitaire.

Shuffle, make a
deal, cheat myself.

Shuffle, deal, cheat.

It's almost 6:00, man.

Where's my pop. I'm starving.


My father, Grady, Fred Sanford.

Lamont, don't ever mention
my ex-best friend's name

in this house again.

What are you
talking about, Grady.

If a certain party who
shall remain nameless

wants to treat
his ex-best friend

the way that this
nameless person is doing,

then his ex-best friend

shall refrain from naming
this nameless person's name

ever again.

What are you
talking about, Grady?

Lamont, your father
can take his art

and shove it up his nose.

Grady, what are
you trying to say?

Who needs Nameless?
I don't need Nameless.

I'm Swinging Grady.

Gregarious Grady,
Groovy Graceful Grady.

Will you please tell me

what you're trying to say?

Lamont... I'm lonely.

I'm so lonely.

Your father, he
won't talk to me.

He says he's all
wrapped up in his art!

You mean to tell
me he hasn't finished

that monstrosity yet?


All right, well, I'm gonna
put a stop to this right now.

This sale is two days away,

and he's out here
fooling around.

I tell you, I...

What is it?

Damn if I know,

but all the dogs in
the neighborhood

is just tickled to death.

Hey, Pop, would
you come down here?

Ah... comme t'allez vous?

I thought I told you when
I left here this morning

that I wanted you to
get this thing outta here.

Listen, I'm going
to try and forget

that you called this a thing.

And I'm going to try and forget

that you look like
the fruit section

out at the supermarket.

That's all right. Go on
and insult me. See if I care.

Great artists all
down through the ages

have always been insulted.

So if you want to call it a
thing, go and call it a thing.

It's a thing.

I... If you want to
call it junk, call it junk.

It's junk.

If you want to call
it ugly, call it ugly.

It's ugly!

If you want to call the
hospital and get a room ready,

now's your time,

because I'm tired
of talking to you...

See you, Lamont, and
goodbye, Nameless.

Well, son, I'll get
on back to work.

Hey, wait a minute,
wait a minute,

wait a minute, wait a minute.

Now, we've got over
$200 worth of inventory

out there in the truck, Pop,

and I can't even bring it
in here, because of this...

Tower. Tower?

That's right.

They got the Watts
Tower, the Eiffel Tower,

and now, the Fred G.
Sanford Memorial Tower,

and private park,
and historic landmark,

and forest.

You're really serious
about this, aren't you?

That's right.

Well, I'm going to
level with you, Pop.

In my opinion, you've
created a shapeless,

formless, meaningless
piece of nothing.

Son, don't be so
hard on yourself.

I'm expressing my true
feelings about your tower.

And I'm expressing
my true feelings.

I know that, Pop, but...

Look, son, this is
more than an tower.

This is part of my life.

Everything here means
something in my life.

Look at it.

I mean, just look around,

pick out something,

it has something
to do with my life.

All right, a water pistol

with a flower
sticking out of it...

What is that?

That means something in my life.

That reminds me of the
first job I had in Los Angeles.

A water pistol with a
flower sticking out of it?

Well, you were too
young to remember

when I was a night watchman
at the Carnation Milk Company.

Look, Pop, I realize
that you're serious

about this project, man,

but you're gonna
have to tear it down.

The clearance sale
is only two days away.

Tear this down?

I'd rather spend three nights
and two days in Las Vegas

with your Aunt Esther...
in a cheap room...

with the door locked...
from the outside.

Look, I realize you're
serious about it,

but this is, uh,

this is a ugly mess that
you've made, here, man.

You don't know nothing
about judging art.

You were the only
one in kindergarten

that flunked clay.

All right, I'm gonna
tell what I'm gonna do.

I'm gonna call the museum,

and I'm gonna ask
Sandra to fall by here,

and we'll let her decide
if this is art or not.

Is that fair enough?

That's fair enough. That's fair.

Now, listen here, now,
you get out of my way,

because you're
standing in the light.

What light? It's 7:00 at night.

Sure it is.

Well, get out the way,

you standing in my dark.

Beautiful... beautiful.

Stay, art. Stay, art.

Thanks for coming over. Sandra.

I really appreciate it.

Hey, you're welcome,
Lamont, but I can't stay

but a few minutes,
because I have another tour.


Hey, Pop, Sandra's here!

Hi, honey.

Hi, Mr. Sanford.

Where is it?

Where is it?

Here it is.

My art, my
masterpiece, my legacy.

You love it, don't you?

Uh, Pop, I think it
would be only fair

for you to go in the house
and let Sandra judged this,

you know, without being around.

This is it?

That's it. That's it,

and you're right, son.

What's fair is fair,
and I wanna be fair,

and you're gonna be fair,
because you love it, don't you?

I know you love it.

She gotta be a
fool not to love it.


You want the truth?

The truth.


Lamont, it's incredible.

It's shocking.
It's... It's worthless.

I mean, there's no unity.

There's no theme.

It's just a
conglomeration of items

without any social significance.

Yeah, I kinda figured that too.

Look, I wouldn't even
have bothered you

to come over here, except
for, see, I'm desperate, man.

If my father doesn't
get this out of the way,

I'm gonna have
to... call the sale off.

I understand, and I'm
sorry, but I've got to go.

All right, I'll tell my
father what you said,

and, hey, thanks a
lot for coming over.

You're welcome. I'll
see you Friday night.

You sure will.

Hey, Pop... Pop...
Yeah, coming, son.

Look here, son.

I got this book over here.

Yeah, I got it from the library.

Yeah, see, but...

And it's all about famous people

who left legacies.

I mean, it's called Who's Who.

Yeah, right, I know that, but...

And your father,
Fred G. Sanford,

is going right here,

with the gynecologists,

and the biologists, and
all them dermatologists.

See, right here
in the capital J's

for Junkologists.

Yeah, look, see, I've
got something to tell you...

You know, son,

I just don't remember
when I've been this happy.

Oh yeah?

Yeah, see, working on my art
has given my life a new meaning,

you know, something
to look forward to.

You know, because when
I leave this work of art,

I'll leave something that
people will remember,

and when I go, and
have that big one,

that real big one,

and head for that
large easel in the sky,

I'll leave part of my life here,

something people will
know and remember.

Yeah, Pop, but, see,
I... You know, son,

I feel 10... No, 15...
No, 20 years younger.

You want to play some stickball?

Uh, Pop, see, Sandra said...

Oh yeah, Sandra. Sandra.

Hey, hey, she
loved it, didn't she?

Well... She was impressed.

She said it was
shocking and incredible.

Shocking and incredible.

Son, I could cry.

Get me some of those
Handy Wipes, will you?

What else did she say?

Well, she mentioned things

like unity and theme

and social significance.

Social significance!

Now I know I'm gonna cry, son.

Social significance...

Yeah, I think I'm gonna cry too.

He's going in the Who's Who,

and I'm going into Who's Broke.

Fred Sanford... you a heathen!

The first time you
been on your knees

in the history of
your miserable life,

and you kneel to a pagan idol!

Listen, Esther, this
ain't no pagan idol,

it's a legacy.

That's what it is, a legacy,

and I wasn't kneeling
down praying,

I was working.



Don't make me laugh.

Let me tell you
something, Esther,

every time I see you,
you make me wish

that birth control
was retroactive.

What you come here
for to bug me, anyway?

I didn't even want to
see your old weasel face.

I came to see Lamont.

What's this ugly mess?

Ugly mess?

Ugly mess.

What's the name
of this ugly mess?

I call it..."Esther."

Watch it, sucker.

Listen, Esther,

I don't want to make you mad,

because when you get
mad, your bottom lip looks like

you wearing a brown
turtleneck sweater.

Now, let me tell
you this, Esther,

now, you can look at this,

and you can look at that,

but if you look at my tower,

you're going to put
50 cents in the hat.

You ain't getting no money
outta me, Fred Sanford!

Oh no?

Oh, no!

Yes, I will.

Oh, no, you won't!

Throw your hands up.

Throw them up. That's it.

Throw your hands up.

I'll show you. I'll
get my money.

Hey, would you stop it.

I'll give you some more...

What are you doing, Pop?

Go ahead and beg me for it.

I'll knock you out.

Would you stop it.

I can't leave you
alone for two minutes

without you starting trouble.

I'll uppercut her to death.


This old heathen
wants me to pay him

for coming in here!

You ought to tip me
just to look at you!

Now, that's enough.

That's enough, now.

Lamont, will you drive me over
to Pastor Stackhouse's church?

I'd love to, Aunt Esther,
but I don't have the truck.

Dummy, you mean to tell me

you loaned the truck
to somebody else?

No, I didn't loan the
truck to somebody else.

I had to park it on
the street last night,

and it got towed away.

Well, why you let the
truck get towed away?

Because there was no
place to park it in here.

Now, do you have $25
so I can go get the truck?

Do mice bark?

I have some money at
the house I can loan you.

Thanks a lot, Aunt Esther.

I was saving it to buy
me a new spring outfit.

Esther, don't get
no spring outfit,

just get a mattress and
cover your face with it.

Oh, man, just stop it.

Come on, Aunt Esther.

Oh, he makes me sick.

No, that's all right.

Aunt Esther, no.

No, Aunt Esther...

Knock on the door.


Smitty... Hoppy...


Hey, Fred,

we heard you're having
that big sale tomorrow,

and we thought
we'd come by early

and see if you had any bargains!


Yeah, we thought

we'd kind of get
the pick of the litter.

You get it? Junk? Litter?

Now, that's funny, isn't it?

You have to admit.


Well... Well, maybe it isn't.

What's on your mind?

Say... what is that?

Well, some people
might say it's junk,

and some might say it's art,

some might say it's a legacy.

Well, put me down for the
one that might say it's junk.

Listen, what can I
do for you fellows?

Well, Mr. Sanford,

I've recently been chosen

Mr. Swinging Single

down at the Traffic Division...

You've been chosen
Mr. Swinging Single?

Well, it was close between
me and Sgt. Kaminsky,

but then, you know,
he had to step down,

because he moved
in with his mom,

and anyway, I was looking
for a few knick knacks,

you know, a few
objects de chit chat,

to decorate my new apartment,

and price is no object.

Oh, well, maybe you'd
like to pick a few things

from over here in this stack.

I've got some nice stuff here.

Say, that's interesting,

that old brass boiler.

No, no, I said pick some
stuff from over here,

not from over there.

Hey, that boiler is great.

I could make
planter out of that.

You know, Mr. Sanford,

that would be just
the perfect thing

to artistically set off my
connect-the-dots painting

of Police Chief Davis.


Now, I'll give you
25 bucks for it.



Not for sale.

I'll go 45.

Absolutely not.

I've gotta have that boiler.

Uh, 50 bucks. I'll go 50...

Sold to the man in
the blue uniform for 5-0.

N-O. It's not for sale.

We only bought
this stuff for the sale!

Son, this is not stuff.

This is... a labor of love.

Oh, don't give that
labor of love stuff,

I got... Hey, wait
a minute, Lamont.

The sale is two days away!

Hold it! Hold it! Hold it!

You don't scream
at me I'm your father!

Fred, Lamont, look,
why don't we come back

when you get this
all settled, man.

Yeah, you get together

and, you know,
knock to each other...

No, no, hold it, that's
rap to each other.

Oh, yeah, rap to each other.

Just be honest, you know,

let it all hang off.

Hang out!

Hang out. Hang out.

Yeah, and, uh, so long?

Is "so long" right?

Just get in the car!

Get in the car!

Hey, look... Look at it, son.

So stately.

So majestic.

Get off of there,
pigeon! Get off of there!

All of you, shoo!

Wait a minute,
wait a minute, Pop.

Now, this tower of yours

is costing us a fortune, man...


All right, I'll be
right back, now.

Okay, son, I'll be up here.

Get away.

Oh. Hello, Mr. Sanford.

Oh, hi, honey.

I was in the neighborhood,
so I thought I'd drop by.

Is Lamont home?

Yeah, he's inside.

Say, listen... what
do you think of it now?

Well, frankly, Mr. Sanford,

my opinion hasn't
changed very much.


Really. I thought you'd
taken it down by now.

Taken it down?

Why should I take
down something shocking

and incredible,

and a piece of socially
significant theme art?


Well, that's what
Lamont said that you said,

and, because you said that,

that's why I'm not going to
charge you regular admission,

This one's on me.

Mr. Sanford, I'm afraid
there's been some mistake.

Yes, it is, because it
turned out a lot better

than you thought
it was, didn't it?

Now, listen,

tell me everything
that you told Lamont,

word for word.

Well, Mr. Sanford,

I believe you better sit down.

I know I owe you, Rollo.

I don't know when I'm going
to have the money, man.

I owe the bank, I owe
you, I owe Aunt Esther.

I don't print the
money, you know.

I know you do.



Hey, Rollo, I'm going to
have to call you back, all right?


Hey, Pop?


Wh... what happened, man?

What'd you do?

I tore it down,

because Sandra was by
here and told me everything.

Hey, I'm sorry, man.

Yeah, I'm sorry too, son.

No, I'm really sorry.

I mean, about
your legacy and all.

Oh, that ain't nothing.

Listen, son, after
talking with Sandra,

I realized that I
already got a legacy,

the best in the world.




I got a son that
loves me so much

he's even afraid of
hurting my feelings

by telling me my art is junk.

Hey, man... You can call Hoppy

and tell him to come over
and get that brass boiler

if he want it, and
tell him your father...

has been a fool.

Hey, you're not a fool.

You're my Pop. I love you, man.

You're a groovy old dude.

Yeah, but from now on,

I'll leave all the
artwork to you.

You know what?

I just might do
something artistic.

As a matter of fact,

I might paint a portrait if
you would pose for me?

You want me to pose for you?

Would you?


I'll pose for you,

if we can pose right out here

in front of my tower.


Well, help me get
it back together.

Here, give me a hand.


Hiya, Pop.

Hi, son.

Hey, man, that sale
turned out great, didn't it?

We made enough money
to pay the bank off and plus,

we made $300. How about that?

Hey, what's this?

Oh, it's just a little present

I bought you to show
you how much I love you.

For me? Uh-huh. Go ahead,

take the cover off of it.

Oh, wow, Pop,
that's beautiful, man.

How can I thank you?

You can thank me by starting
painting my portrait right now.

All right, I'll tell you what...

You go out in the
yard and get ready,

and I'll bring the painting
and easel out there,

and I'll paint you, all right?

Okay, I'll be ready in a minute.

Now, come on out. All right.

I'll be right out here in front.