Sanford and Son (1972–1977): Season 5, Episode 15 - Greatest Show in Watts - full transcript

While babysitting an elephant, Fred holds a circus in the junkyard, allowing the cast to display their talents, especially Aunt Esther as the Bronze Goddess.

"Slimline Pilsner."

Lamont must have brought
this home for my diet.

"Half the calories
of regular beer."

Great. That means
I can have two.

Come in.

Well, if it isn't Mr. Back Rent.

How are you, Mr. Sanford?

I'm needy.

Now, look, Sanford Arms
is not a charity house.

I want my money.

That's why I came.
I'm afraid I don't have it.

I'm afraid you're in trouble.

I tried to get it for
you, Mr. Sanford,

but the circus I
work for went broke.

Oh, yeah, who was it?

Ringling Brothers,
Barnum, and Bankrupt?

No, the Orlando Circus,
but I'll have your money.

I'm going to Kansas
City tomorrow.

You're not leaving this
town until I get my back rent.

I want my 160 bucks.

Can I leave you
something else instead?

Yeah, 170 bucks.

Well, look, I was thinking
of my circus equipment.


If you don't get my money,

you'd better start thinking
about your dental equipment.

Don't you strike at me.

Go ahead!

Why don't you take
a look at what I have.

You might find it
valuable collateral.

Okay, then, let's
take a look at it.

There it is, Mr. Sanford.

I'll talk to you
later on, Esther.

You call this collateral?

Yeah, sure.


that's a watch, or a ring,
or a stereo... or a car.

This ain't no car.

The trunk is at the wrong end.

You'll get a lot of
enjoyment out of her.

She does tricks.

Oh, yeah? Tricks?

Yeah, watch this.

Come on, Daisy,
come on, come on.

That's clever.


Sit, baby, sit.


All the way up, all the way up.


All right, all right.

Sitting, that's all right,
but, see, I invented the sit.

I've been sitting
since I was 1 year old.

I want my rent money.

You can make money with Mitzie

while I'm gone, man.

Oh, yeah? What am I gonna do?

Fill her up full of air

and rent her out as
a Goodyear blimp?

That's a good one, Mr. Sanford.

Hey, that's not such a bad idea.

What, me filling
her up full of air?

No, you can use
her for advertising,

like they do with that blimp.

You know, you can
write things on her,

like on a billboard.

Mitzie the walking billboard.

You've got something there.

Yeah, you can charge
four or five bucks a day.

Yeah, $15 a day, six
days a week, that'd be...

I'd make almost $5,000 a year.

I won't be gone that
long, Mr. Sanford.

You never can tell, you know.

Jobs hard to find nowadays.

$5000 a year... I'll make me

an advertising executive.

I could get out of
this junk business

and into the jungle business.

I can see it now...
"Sabu and Son."

Then it's settled.

You use her for collateral
until I bring your rent money.

As long as you get back
by the Tri-Centennial.

A month at most, Mr. Sanford.

You'll treat her
good, won't you?

Oh, I'll treat her
like one of the family.

Okay, Mr. Sanford.

What was that?

She does that when she's happy.

I hope it doesn't
disturb the neighbors.

Well, if it does,
I'll just tell them

it's the world-famous singer
running over the scales.

Famous singer?

Yeah... "Elephants Gerald."

You're gonna be looking
good for all the people...

all the billboard watchers.

You'll be looking beautiful.

Excuse, excuse me, Mitzie.

I've got to go answer
the "telephant"...

I mean, the telephone.

Did I say that?

♪ No use sitting
alone In your room ♪

♪ Come to the cabaret ♪

I'm coming. Will
you wait a minute?

Hello, hello.

Wilson's Tobacco Shop?

Oh, yeah.

You want a walking
billboard for next Thursday?

Oh, certainly.

And listen, for
five bucks extra,

I'll have... I'll have Mitzie
put a cigar in her mouth

and smoke it.

What? What?

Well, you're another one...

and your mother.

♪ Come hear The music play... ♪

Hey, Pop.

Hey, son.

There's an elephant in the yard.

I thought I could fool you.

I thought you'd think
it was part of the junk.

Well, the junk doesn't
wear green nail polish, Pop.

Whose elephant is it?

It belongs to Dan. He
left it here as collateral.

Son, we're gonna be rich.
I'm gonna be a rich man.

I've got 11 clients
lined up already.

Clients? Yeah, clients.

Come on, I'll show you
what I'm talking about.

There's an elephant in the yard.

I don't understand.

I'll show you what
I'm talking about.

Look here. See, for 15...

Move over, move
over, Mitzie. Attagirl.

Look here, son, $15 a day...

and I walk her all
through El Segundo.

Are you kidding?

That won't even cover expenses.

Do you know what it
costs to feed an elephant?

Of course, I know what it
costs to feed an elephant.

I've been feeding you
all these years, Dumbo.

Quincy, City of Los Angeles.


Sanford, King of Junk.

What can I do for you?

I'm from the City
Zoning Department.

What's the problem?

I'm afraid

you're in contravention
of the law.

Municipal Ordinance 13398...

No non-domestic animals
shall be maintained

within the municipality
of Los Angeles,

except as part of a circus
or other public entertainment.

You won't be able to
keep her here, Mr. Sanford.

This animal

is most definitely non-domestic.

Oh, that's on the outside.

I beg your pardon.

Inside, she's all dog.



Let me show you that it's a dog.

Move out of the way.

Watch this. Come on, watch.

Look here. Come here, Mitzie.


Stay. Stay.


Mr. Sanford, I'm giving
you exactly three days

to remove this elephant.


She is not a dog. This is a dog.

Would you believe an ant hill?

Three days, Mr. Sanford.

Three days.

Sic him, sic him.

Sic him.

Sic him, Mitzie.
Get him. Sic him.

Kill. Kill!

He can't do this to me.

He already did, Pop,

and it serves you right, man.

Get on the phone and
call those people up

and give them their money back?

Just hold on, hold on.

There's got to be a
loophole here somewhere.

No non-domestic
animals... municipality...

except as part of a circus.

A circus?

Hello, loophole.

I know what you're
thinking. Pop, no.

Pop, yes.

They want a circus?
I'll give them a circus.

I'll give them sawdust.
I'll give them clowns.

I'll give them the
roar of the greasepaint

and the smell of the elephant.

Pop, would you stop it now?

We're in the junk business.

We're not in the
circus business.

You know that, and I know
that, but does Quincy know that?

Now, go get me some paint.

For what?

For the new sign I'm making...

"Sanford and Son,

The Greatest Show
on Earth in Watts."

Look, you don't know
anything about circuses,

and I'm not gonna let
you turn this junkyard

into a circus.

Back, back.


Jump through the hoop.


What's the matter with you?
Don't you understand English?

Jump through the hoop.

Jump! Do you hear me?

Jump, jump!


Pop. Pop.

Don't shoot, don't shoot.

Don't shoot.

Don't shoot.

Don't you know better

than to go up
behind a lion tamer?

Come here.

King of beasts, meet
the king of dummies.

What's the matter with you, Pop?

Do you think that guy,
Quincy, is going to fall for this?

He said you had to
have a legitimate circus,

not a toy circus.

This will be a
legitimate circus.

All I've got to do is
get me a few more acts.

I've got a lion, an elephant...

Hey, where's the elephant?

Bubba's giving him a bath.

Bubba's giving him a bath?

Now, listen, son,
I'm counting on you,

because I can't open up a
circus without a tightrope walker.



See, I've started a tightrope

from the top of the building
over here to the lamppost.

Pop, that rope is at least
30 feet off the ground.

So what? So what?

Suppose I fall off of there

and kill myself?

Son... we learn
from our mistakes.

All right, I'm gonna
tell you one thing.

You can go ahead
with this circus.

You can do anything
you want to do.

Just leave me out of it.

Okay, when I start
raking in $5,000 a year,

I'll leave you out of that too.

Hey, Fred!

In here.

I got Mitzie washed,
Fred... You did?

And dried too.

Great. Any problems?

Well, at first, they didn't
want to let her in there,

so I had to slip them a
couple of bucks extra,

and then they
made me go in there.

Listen, did she enjoy it?

Oh, she loved the
wash, Fred... Yeah.

But I'll tell you,

I wasn't too crazy
about that hot spray wax.

Hey, how's the circus
shaping up, Fred?

It's shaping up fine.
Look, here's the lineup.


See, now, I open
up with the lion...

With the elephant.


Then the lion and the
clown. Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

You're gonna be the clown.

Yeah, good.

Yes, and after the clown,

then we bring on
the magnificent...

See, Bubba, after the lion...

the freak show.

Watch it, sucker.

Wait a minute,
Esther, wait a minute.

Bubba, I think you'd
better go somewhere

and try to mop up this water,

because there's
5,000 volts of ugly

coming this way.

You can say
whatever you want to,

you old fish-eyed fool.

Sticks and stones
may break my bones,

but names will never hurt me.

Hey, Bubba, go get me
some sticks and stones.

All right.

Shut up, clown.

That's me.

Fred Sanford,

my church heard about
this circus of yours,

and they sent me
here for a donation.

Well, tell them I don't
want the donation.

Go on back over them with them.

The Reverend Spikes says

you should give a
percentage of your profits.

Look, there ain't gonna
be any profits, Esther.

Wait a minute, wait a minute.

Wait a minute,
Bubba, wait a minute.

I just thought of something.

Yeah, but she said...

Will you shut up, clown.

I need another act.

Oh, okay.

Now, listen, Esther...

I'll give your church
50% of the profits

if you will be in my circus.

We do need the money
for our new Sunday school.

What do I have to do?

You remember that
act you used to do

at the church socials and stuff?

Oh, you mean when I
was the bronze goddess?

Yeah, can you still do that act?

Yeah, I can do it,

but I won't do it for
you, you old heathen.

I'll be doing it for my church.

Oh, glory!

Right, right.

Hey, Lamont.

Hey, hey, Lamont,
did you hear that?

Esther is gonna join my circus.

Now, if she can
do it, so can you.

Look, Pop, I've
already told you.

I'm not getting
up on no tightrope.

Now, just forget
about that, okay?

I was only kidding
about the tightrope, son.

I love you too much

to have anything happen to you.

He really means
that, too, Lamont.

Of course I mean that.

Now, come on outside,
and I'm gonna sow you

how to climb down into a cannon.

Come on, Bubba.

And now, ladies and
gentlemen, continuing

with The Greatest Show in Watts,

your ringmaster,
Fred G. Sanford.

Thank you, thank you,
ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Well, Mr. Quincy, how
did you like the act?

Very talented
elephant, Mr. Sanford.

I'll tell her you said so.
She'll never forget you.

And now, ladies and gentlemen,

continuing on

with The Greatest Show of Watts,

we'd like to introduce
our premiere attraction,

in our center ring right here...

Hey, you've only got one ring.

You're wrong, mister.

I've got this ring out here

and this one on my finger

that I'll shove down your throat

if you say anything
else, old chump.

Mr. Sanford, please, I
haven't got that much time.

Well, don't get in
the way next time.

Ladies and
gentlemen, here she is,

the premiere attraction
of Sanford and Son,

the bronze goddess of fire
from 105th and Broadway.

Yeah, Esther, do it, Esther.

Why don't you shave your
armpits like everybody else?

Why don't you shave your
beard, you old billy goat?

The hottest lips in Watts.

Yeah, yeah.

The bronze goddess of fire.

Thank you, Bronze.

And now, ladies and gentlemen,

it is time to continue

Sanford and Son
Greatest Show of Watts

by introducing the clowns.

Where are you, clown?

Right here, Fred.

Well, come on out.

Say, Bubba, I think we've
got this Mr. Quincy ready now.


Yeah, see, we can
give another act.

We can do that act
where... come here...

Where I throw the water,

and you throw the
confetti into the crowd.

Yeah, yeah. You know that one?

Okay, come on. Okay.

Mr. Clown.

Yeah, Mr. Ringmaster.

Oh, look. What?

On the floor,
there's a dollar bill.


Why did you do
that to me, Bubba?

I just felt like it.

Well, feel this.

Wait a minute.

Wait a minute
now, wait a minute.

Wait a minute, wait a minute.

Come here. Wait a minute.

Now, hold on, hold on, hold on.

Fred, wait a minute,
wait a minute.

Wait a minute.

You shouldn't have
done that, Ringmaster.


Boy, I'm mad.

You're mad?

Wow, I'm mad!

Wait a minute now.

Wait a minute.

I'm gonna teach you.
Yeah, it'll teach you.

Get on over here.

No, I beg you,
no, don't do that.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Uh, I'm so sorry.

Uh... excuse me.

Mr. Quincy...

Bubba, get out of
here, you dummy.

Mr. Sanford, I really don't
have to see any more. No, no.

You have to see the
star act. Please sit down.

We'd like to continue
on, ladies and gentlemen,

by introducing the
most magnificent,

the most unusual,

direct from two weeks
at Muscle Beach,

here he is, Strange-o...
That's Strongo!

Excuse me.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Strongo the Magnificent.


Will you come on out?

Come on, Strongo.

And now, ladies and
gentlemen, here he is,

most magnificent specimen,

185 pounds of pure muscle,

faster than a
speeding junk truck,

more powerful
than a roto rooter,

able to leap tall women
in a single bound.

Would you stop that?

I feel ridiculous
as it is with this on.

You promised you'd help
me out, you know you did that.

Now just stand
there and look strong.


And now, ladies and gentlemen,

just a few vital statistics

about our magnificent Strongo...

51 across the back,
63 across the chest...


18 in the drumstick.

Ladies and gentlemen,
for the first feat of strength,

magnificent Strongo will
lift 300 pounds of solid steel.

Uh, wait a minute,
Pop. 300 pounds?

Don't worry about it,
don't worry about it.

It's phony. It's
fake. Just lift it.

Are you sure?

Lift it. All right.

Here he is, Strongo.

Go ahead, Strongo.


And now, ladies and gentlemen,

for his second feat of
superhuman strength,

Strongo will lift
not 300 pounds,

but 1,000 pounds.

Lets hear it for Strongo.

1,000 pounds.

You can do it, Strongo.

You can do it.

Come on, Strongo.

What's the matter?

What's the matter?

You said that thousand
pounds was fake.

It is. It's only 500.

Mr. Sanford, it's getting late.

Okay, we'll eliminate
the preliminaries

and get right on
down to the main thing.

And now, ladies and gentlemen,

Sanford and Son
Greatest Circus of Watts

will now give you
Strongo doing something

that's never been
done by a human being

in the world, ever.

Wait a minute.

He will lift something no
man has ever attempted.

If I'm gonna lift something,
I want to know what it is.

I'll let you what it is.

Hey, Bubba, bring
in the elephant.

That's it.

Wait a minute, son.

No, I'm not...

Just lift it. You can lift it.

I can't. Listen, you
want a strongman?

You be the strongman.

Here, take some
of these muscles.

I'm not gonna lift...

Mr. Sanford, Mr. Sanford,
I really must be going.

I've enjoyed it tremendously...

You've enjoyed what?

Your circus, of course.

You mean to tell me

that this actually qualifies
as a legitimate circus?

Well, the bylaws didn't say

it had to be a great
circus, Lamont.

As long as your
father... Mr. Sanford.

Hey, who are you? It's Dan.

I got a job sooner
than I thought.

Here's your rent money, $160.

How about that?

I don't know no Dan.
Throw him out of here, son.

Come on, Pop. He's
back for his elephant.

Hey, why has it got
to be his elephant?

Look, your elephant's
around back, Dan,

and I'm glad you got a job, man.

Thanks, Lamont.

Hey, don't feel sad, Pop, at
least you got your $160 back.

What is $160 when
I was getting ready

to make millions?

Who cares about
your million, sucker?

Here I went and spent
money on equipment

for a new act.

What am I gonna
do with this now?

I'll show you.


Well... Finally got
the yard cleaned up.

I hope this is the last time

something like this happens.

It is, son,

and it was a dumb idea
about a walking billboard.

I should have took your advice.

We got to talk more

so we can get to
know each other.

Well, I'll be glad to
do it. We could do that.

Sure, we could take
a walk some time,

and talk some, and
then walk a little more,

and talk a little more,

and we'll really
know each other.

That's okay by me.

Let's do that.

Okay, uh, it's kind of chilly,

so you'd better
put your jacket on.

Oh, all right.

Is there any place in particular

you want to take walk?

Yeah, what do you say

we walk somewhere
around El Segundo?

Okay by me.

Come on, son.