Monday, October 17, 2011

Redd Foxx
I find that more and more of the things I think are common knowledge are lost to the generation that now dominates the social networks.  This may be true of the Harlem comedian turned television actor Redd Foxx. 
He was a very raunchy comedian who was known for his 50's "party records". That was the name given to comedy record albums with language and material unsuitable for broadcast. By todays standards they are pretty tame.  However, he continued to push the envelope and kept pandering to looser mores and retained his XX rated act keeping up with the newest dirty material till his death.
In 1975 he was the star of a hit television show named "Sanford and Son". This let him charge big dollars for the dirtier material in clubs and Vegas. He was also heavy into drugs at the time and was somewhat of a loose cannon on board the network show. He was raunchy and unpredictable.
In his Vegas act the band would play him on and off with the theme from his show Sanford and Son, click on that link if you don't know it. It is a catchy tune.
One night in Vegas there was a very small crowd for a late show.  The band played the theme song, Redd Foxx walked to the microphone, looked at the crowd and said, "I'm not doin' my mother fucking show for only this many fuckin' people," and walked off.  The band immediately played the same song for his exit. 
I told John Ivy my PSM the story one night and from then on when we had an audience that was small one of us would scat the Sanford theme to the other and share a laugh.  It was all we had to do to communicate that it was going to be a small house. 
Cut to the last night of the run at the Magic Castle. Our show was so successful that we did a third show for the Sunday night crowd, which is rare unless there is enough people to justify it. It was a compliment that we were that popular but this show was the lightest of the run. Back stage in the green room we performers were trying to get up the energy to tackle what would be a more challenging show.  
Out of habit I started humming the Sanford and Son theme. John was not around and I suspected someone to ask me why I was humming that song. At that time I would get to tell the Redd Foxx Vegas walk off story again. Instead, magician Jack Goldfinger started to laugh out loud. He said, "Yes... exactly. Perfect." He not only knew the reference and the story, he was the opening act for Redd Foxx the night he walked off. He was actually there that night. 
To be honest I was never sure the story was true.  It is a great story and I love to tell it. Jack was able to fill me in on some more graphic details including the fact that he was even more insulting to the small audience than the way I tell it. 
John Ivy was the first person I wrote to with that bit of "Kevin Bacon connecting". You have to love this business cause you never know how careers overlap and stories you have always heard about can come to you first hand. If you are looking for Magic, you find all kinds on and off stage at the Magic Castle.
As you were,
Jay

4 comments:

anjeanette said...

Ha! Oh glad someone else caught it! John explained it to me and I was delighted in the inside showbiz joke.

Bob Conrad said...

Great story. Although I would never do it, I think we have all had times when we wanted to just that.

John Ivy said...

Oh, and don't worry, folks, Sanford and Son theme is standing by for the tour dates this year!!

رضا رمضان said...

Thanks a lot for sharing the post. I loved reading it!
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