Steptoe And Son, 1965, Sanford And Son, 1972
By 1965 Steptoe And Son was a huge success in the UK. Writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson were invited to the USA by Joseph E. Levine to create an American version of their hit show.
They spent some time playing with ideas and eventually wrote a script for a pilot episode. The pilot was recorded but never aired. In subsequent interviews the writers recall how the network were unsure of the reception it would get and how different states might take offence to the characters.
A pilot episode was filmed but never aired. It was believed to have been lost until 35mm print was discovered in Ray Galton’s basement by Kaleidoscope during a film shoot.
Some years later Galton and Simpson were aproached by the network and asked if they minded the idea behind Steptoe being adapted with a new setting and characters. The writers agreed and the result was Sanford and Son. The series was never screened in the UK but was a huge success in America throughout it’s six series run (136 episodes).
un-aired pilot Steptoe and Son
Based on the UK episode the offer.
Harold Steptoe is thirty-seven and, since leaving the army, has been a drudge for his widowed, selfish father Albert, totting for goods to sell in their rag-and-bone business.
One day Harold gets the offer of a better job and is determined to take it.
Sanford and Son
Fred Sanford is a cantankerous 65-year-old, black, widowed junk dealer living in Los Angeles’ Watts neighborhood. Helping him is his restless son, 34-year-old Lamont.
Sanford and Son
Fred G. Sanford – Desmond Wilson
Lamont Sanford – Redd Foxx
Based On: Steptoe and Son, by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson
Series Developed By: Norman Lear
Written By: Various
Original Transmission Dates: January 14th, 1972 – March 25th, 1977