" Sansford and Son" TV Premiere Jan 14, 1972. NBC sitcom which gained immediate popularity depicting an African-American Father and son engaged in the junkyard business. Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin developed the comedy series based on the British "Steptoe and Son." The name Sanford came from John Sanford, the real name of comedian Redd Foxx, who played Fred Sanford. His son, Lamont, was played by Demond Wilson.