Sanford and Son (1972–1977): Season 5, Episode 9 - My Fair Esther - full transcript

Fred becomes a latter-day Henry Higgins when he undertakes the task of transforming ugly duckling Esther into a swan so she can win the Mrs. Watts Businessman's Contest and net Fred half the prize money.


Hey, son. Breakfast.

Uh, just a minute, Pop.

That'll be too long.

I'm cooking my
"Science Fiction Special."

What's the "Science
Fiction Special"?

Incredible Shrinking Sausage.

Hey, Pop, there it is.

Let me take a look at that.

That means we're
now official members

of the Watts
Business Association.

How about that, huh?

How about that?

It, uh... should
be a little lower.

That's low enough.

What'd you do that for?

We already belong
to an association...

The United Junkmen of America.

There's no such thing.
You just made that up.

No, I ain't. I get
letters every month.

What letters?

It's "Give to the U.J.A."

I... I send 'em a
check every year.

Pop, the U.J.A. stands for
the United Jewish Appeal.

That's why

all the receipts were
signed by Sammy Davis, Jr.

Listen, the sticker
stays up, man. Oh.

And besides, I've already agreed

to help the Association choose

Mrs. Watts Business Wife.

I'm one of the judges.

Mrs. Watts what?

Business Wife.

It's a promotional
thing for the Association,

and all the local
businessmen's wives

are eligible.

Sort of like the Miss
America contest?

Yeah. See, the contestants
are picked for talent

and poise and beauty,

and the winner gets $1000.

A thousand dollars?

That's right.

Well, I'll be back in a minute.

Where are you
going? I'm going to be

shaving my legs and
looking for some pantyhose.

Would you get over here?

No, I mean it, son.
We can fool them.

I'll... I'll get two of them
shots in... in my silicones.


I'll get that.

Hello, Fred.

Hello, Woody.

Goodbye, Woody.

What are you doing that for?

Hey, come on in, Uncle Woody.

You too, Aunt Esther.
Thank you, Lamont.

Not until that
heathen apologizes

for slamming the
door in my face.

She's right, Pop. Apologize.

I apologize, Esther,

for slamming the
door in your face.

Well, that's better.

How you doing, Woody?

How you been?

Fred, now, I wish
you wouldn't do that.

What did I do?

Fred was just having
a little fun, dear.

Come on in.

Did he hit your nose?

Try and be a little
nice to Aunt Esther.

I mean, after all,
she is Mom's sister,

you know?

Okay. Uh, Esther,
on behalf of Elizabeth,

please sit down
and feel at home.

Thank you.

And Esther, on
behalf of Elizabeth,

would you care for
something to eat?

Oh, I wouldn't
mind a little snack.

Well, son, go into the kitchen

and fix your Aunt Esther
a fish-head sandwich.

You can insult me
all you want to now,

Fred Sanford,

because when I'm chosen
Mrs. Watts Business Wife,

your insulting days
are going to be over.

I didn't know that you
had entered in that contest.

I didn't only enter into it,

I'm going to win it.

Right, Woodrow?

Hmm? Oh, yeah, right, right.

Wrong. That's...
In the first place,

you can't enter that contest
because you're not eligible.

See, one of the
things you have to be

is... is a part of
a certain race.

What race?


Esther, do like I tell
you... forget about that.

Bow out.

Keep yourself from
being embarrassed.

Why should I be embarrassed?

I got everything it
takes to win that contest.

When I was born,
my body was blessed

by Mother Nature, honey.

And as you got older, it
was cursed by Father Time.

That did it!

Come on, Woodrow. Let's go.

No... Come on!

N... No, you run... You...
you run along, Esther.

There is something I want
to discuss with Lamont.

Well, I'll go and
do some shopping.

Goodbye, dear.

Oh, you called me "dear."

Why shouldn't I call you "dear?"

You look like Bambi's father.

You old weasel-eyed heathen.

Hey, Woody,

how in the world did
you let Esther talk you

into that contest?

Was it the $1000?

Yeah, see, she wants
to give her half of it

to the church.

You know, but...
But besides that,

it's... it's for my business.

You know, publicity.


Yeah. See, now, if Esther wins,

they'll take pictures of her
in front of my hardware store,

and she'll be in all the papers.

See, now, that's why
I got to talk to Lamont.

Where's Aunt Esther?

Uh, she had to leave.

Say, listen, Lamont.

There's something
I want to ask you.

Oh, I'm sorry, Uncle Woody.

Liquor's over
there in the cabinet.

No... no.

No, no, Lamont,
it's... it's not about...

It's not about whiskey.


You see, uh, you're a judge
in this... in this, uh, contest.

You see, now, if you could
vote for your Aunt Esther...

Hey, wait a minute.

Wait a minute. Aunt
Esther's a contestant?

I didn't know that. Yeah.

Yeah, and seeing that she's
your favorite aunt and all that...

Uh, wait a minute. I can't
stick around and talk to you.

I've got to go to
the Association.

For what? Well, now that I know

Aunt Esther's one
of the contestants,

I don't think it's fair
for me to be a judge,

so I'm going to go over
there and tell the committee

and leave it up to
them. I'll see you later.

That's that.

He was my only hope.

Listen, all you got to do
is enlist Esther in the navy,

and that way, you can
have her face buried at sea.

Now, come on, Fred.
Now, I'm not kidding.

I... I need help.

The liquor's over there.

No, now, you... you
know that I quit drinking,


You did?

You see, I need help.

Well, you came
to the wrong place.

My name is Fred
Sanford, not Henry Higgins.

Henry who?

Henry Higgin...

You know that movie that
was on TV the other night...

uh, My Fair Lady?
Well, Henry Higgins,

he's the guy that took
that girl out of the alley

and changed her from a
sow's ear to a silk purse.

You think he could
do that to Esther?

No... a sow's ear is one thing,

and a sow's face
is something else.

Well, you know, I sure... I
sure wish I could find me

somebody like him.

You know, I'd give
anything for that...

To get that publicity.

Well, you can forget about
it, because there ain't nothing

that yo... Did you say
you'd give anything?

Well, uh, almost anything.

Well, that's close enough.

You're going to
get your publicity,

and it's only going
to cost you $500.

Five hundred?

Yeah, your part
of the prize money.

You give it to me.

Now... now, you're
not thinking of...

Listen, if Henry
Higgins can do it,

so can Ready Freddy.

I'll mold her, I'll change her
from a creeping caterpillar

into a blossoming butterfly.

Yeah, now, that all
sounds very exciting, Fred,

but do you really
think you can do it?

For $500,

I could turn Ewell Gibbons
into a meatloaf freak.

"The Joanna Rhodes Beauty Book.

"Your Stairway To
A Beautiful You."

A stairway?

Esther's going to
need an elevator.

Hey, Pop, I see Aunt Esther
didn't get here yet, huh?

Yeah, I'm expecting
her any minute, son.

Look, um, now when
Aunt Esther gets here, Pop,

just try and play it a
little cool, you know,

because Uncle Woody talked
her into letting you help her,

and I think you should
give her encouragement,

you know, build
up her confidence.

Listen, son,

and what you should
do is be giving me

a little confidence
too. Save it.

No, because after all,

you know, it's... Save it, Pop.

In the first place, I don't even
know if I'm going to be a judge,

because the committee's
still deciding on that,

and in the second place,

I'm not going to show
any special consideration

for Aunt Esther.

That would be nepotism.

It would not.

Esther's your aunt,
ain't she? Yeah.

Then it would make
it "nephewtism."

Pop, if I did what
you're asking me to do,

I wouldn't be able to
look myself in the face.

You wouldn't be missing nothing.

It's not as if Aunt Esther's
going to be competing

with high fashion models
or cover girls or anything.

I mean, she's going to be
competing with her own peers.

Her peers?


You mean Godzilla's
in the contest?


I'll get it.

Now, just remember
what I told you, okay?

Oh, hi, Aunt Esther. Come on in.

Hi, Lamont.

Yeah, uh... look,

I got to go down
to the Association.

You two have fun.

Ha! Fun? Hmph.

Fun with you? Hmph.

I wouldn't have came over
here. Woodrow just begged me.

Listen, Esther, now, come
on, and let's get started.

That's the main thing.

Now, look.

This is what Joanna
Rhodes says...

"By applying my beauty secrets,

"even the plainest woman

can be turned
into an Aphrodite."

You ain't turning me into
nothing, Fred Sanford.

I was born a Baptist,
and I will remain a Baptist.

Oh, glory! Hallelujah!

Just... Esther...

we've only got five more days...

the amount of stuff
we've got to do here...

look at all this here.
"Wardrobe... Poise..."

Look at that.
"Walking... Sitting...

Makeup... Posture."

What's wrong with my posture?

It's full of prune pits.

See? Right here.

"Perfect posture
cannot be achieved

without perfect
posture alignment."

See? You know what happens

when you don't have
perfect alignment? What?

Your tires go bald and
your rear end shakes.

Watch me, see.

This is what it says...
"A graceful walk

"should have as little
unnecessary motion

as possible." Oh.

See, "chin in..." Oh.

And level."

Like this.

An... an... and then
"Tummy pulled in and up...

Hips tucked under."

Now, observe.

Gracefully, gracefully.

That's perfect,
Esther. That's perfect.

Is that all right, Fred?

It's perfect. That's perfect.

Th... That's so much for poise.

Let's move on to makeup.


Yeah. Makeup.

Now, look.

I got two colors here.

Pick out the one you like.
Which one do you like?

Fred Sanford... Wait a minute.

Wait a minute here.

Uh-uh. Wait, Fred Sanford.

Oh, no.

This is the devil's
paint. I ain't wearing this.

This is the devil's paint.

Now, Esther, you got a choice.

Either you put this paint on,

or I put a headlight
in your nose

and drive you
through Earl's shop.


Put it on.

Say, Esther, will
you come on down?

We'll be late.

I'm just zipping my dress up.

Well, zip it up and
come on down,

and when you come
down, act like you're serious.

Put everything you got into it.


Ah, that's it.

That's it, Esther.

Smooth and easy.

Tuck it in now.

Bring your head back.

Don't try and get your head in

before the rest of
your body gets there.

That's it.

Ah, that's... that's
good. That's good.

Now, just relax.

You can jut now if you want to.


What are you guys
still doing here, man?

You're going to be
late for the contest.

Oh, no. Uh, I... Esther,

I hope you remember
everything I told you.

Don't worry, I will.

And, son, I hope you
remember what I told you.

See, Aunt Esther never
won a beauty contest

in her whole life...

Pop, are you going
to start that again?

Okay. Now, the committee

thought enough to
let me be a judge...

I think it's only right

that I do the right thing.

Okay, okay. No nephewtism.


Good luck, Aunt Esther.

I know you've been
putting a lot, you know,

work into all of this, so...

Thank you, baby.

Good luck. I'm going over there.

See you, son.

Now, Esther, here's
the coup de grace.

Coup de grace?
Come on over here.

Sit down over here
in my chair, darling.

This is...

A wig?

Yeah. The man at the store

said that you'd look
like a million dollars.

Now, let me see.

No, I... Let me see now.

The man was right.

And here they are,
ladies and gentlemen,

in swimsuit competition.

Let's hear it out there for
our seven semi-finalists.


Get 'em, Esther.

Get 'em, baby.

Well, so far so good.

At least she got
into the semi-finals.

Yeah, but what's taking
the judges so long?

They should have picked
the three finalists by now.

Yeah. Maybe them
judges need some help.

I'll go over there
and talk to them.

WOODY: Yeah, do that.

Hey, uh, pardon
me just a moment,

and please, give
me your attention,

uh, your judgeships.

You see the beautiful
lady there in the polka dots?

Well, I think she should
be the winner. Pop.


Uh, this... this
dummy's not my son,

and that beautiful lady in
the polka-dot swimming suit

is not his aunt.

Would you get away from here?

Is that any way to talk
to a stranger, dummy?

Pop, you go sit down.

Ladies and gentlemen, I
have the judges' decision

on the three finalists,
and here they are.


Mrs... Esther Anderson!

Kindly... sir.

Mrs. Lucille Brown!


Mrs... Esther Anderson!

Mrs. Mabel Johnson!

I knew it! I knew it! I knew it!

And last, but not least,
ladies and gentlemen,

our third semi-finalist is...

Esther Anderson!

Esther Anderson!

Oh, Fred!

No, don't kiss me.

Well, this brings us
down to the final category

of the judging, ladies
and gentlemen...

the talent competition.

You other ladies,

if you would please
go get ready?

Thank you. Thank you.

Come on, Fred. Come on.

I've just been informed
by Mrs. Anderson

that she will be assisted
in the talent competition

by her singing partner,
Mr. Ted Sanford.

That's Fred Sanford.

Fred Sanford.


Fred Sanford, G.

FRED: You big dummy.


Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you, Mrs. Lucille Brown.

And now, ladies and
gentlemen, for our second finalist,

we bring you... Mrs.
Esther Anderson!

And Ted!



To us.

No, no, to you.

To us.

To you.

You know, imagine us
being here together again

after all of these years.

Seems like only yesterday.

Oh, I remember.

Where was it?

♪ Down by the old mill stream ♪

It wasn't a stream.

It was a lagoon, goon.

♪ Where I first met you ♪

That wasn't me, that
was my sister, Elizabeth.

♪ And your eyes So blue ♪

They wasn't blue,
they were brown.

How'd you like two black ones?

♪ Dressed in gingham too ♪

That was polyester, sucker.

Yeah, polyester. That's you.

Half woman and half parrot.

♪ It was there I knew ♪

You don't know nothing.

♪ That I loved you true ♪

I gotta throw up.

♪ I was 16 ♪

That was your shoe size.

♪ Your village queen ♪

Queen Kong.

[IN UNISON] ♪ Down by the old ♪

♪ Mill ♪

♪ Stream ♪♪

EMCEE: Thank you!

Thank you!

Thank you, and now we
bring you finalist number three...

Mrs. Mabel Johnson!


Who will be Mrs.
Watts Business Woman

of 1975?

Will it be Mrs. Lucille Brown?

No way!

Or will it be Mrs.
Mabel Johnson?

Oh, you do better than that!

Or will it be Mrs.
Esther Anderson?

Yeah! We accept! We accept!

Judges, may I have
the final decision,


And who will be...

The winner is of the 1975
Mrs. Watts Business Wife...


Mrs. Lucille Brown!


Lucille Brown?
What's wrong with you?


Man, get out...



Well, you did it again.

I've never been so
embarrassed in all my life.

You made a fool
out of yourself, Pop.

Well, Esther deserved to win.

She had more poise
than all of them other...

wo... women put together.

Well, I'll admit Aunt Esther's
chances of winning looked good,

and she probably would
have won if I had voted for her.

If you ha...

You mean, you had an
opportunity to vote for her and didn't?

I couldn't, Pop. I
just couldn't, man.

I asked myself, am I
voting for Aunt Esther

because she deserves to win,

or am I voting for her
because she's my aunt?

So I had to disqualify myself.

I'm sorry, Pop.

That's okay, son.

You did the honorable thing.

Well, I'm glad
you feel that way.

And that $500 I was
going to get from Woody?

I don't need that,

with the cost of
living going down.

What are you talking
about, going down?

The cost of living is going up.

Not around here,

because my expenses
are going to be cut in half

as soon as I kill
you. Oh, come on.

Oh, listen, dummy,
what do you want to...

Hey, Lamont, come
out here a minute.

I want your opinion
on something.

What is it, Pop?

Well, I'm reading
this article here

about beauty
contests, and you know,

people who run them
things make a fortune.

I mean, they sell the TV rights,

and they endorse cosmetics,

and all that kind of stuff.

I know all about that, Pop.
Why did you need my opinion for?

Well, I was thinking
maybe we could get us

you know, some of that money.

You know what I mean?

We could have our
own beauty contest...

the "Miss Junk Pageant."

I think there's already enough
beauty contests around now, Pop.

No, son, see, this
one would be different,

different than all
the rest of them.

You see, I'd be the only judge,

and there wouldn't
be but one category...



Instead of thanking the
judges after they win,

the girls would thank
me before they win,

and the girl that's
the most thankful...

would win.

And I would too.